Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

Archive for Dental Restorations

Why Should I Consider Guided Implant Surgery?

If you are one of the many American adults missing one or more natural teeth, you were likely recommended dental implants as a restorative solution. Implants prevent the deterioration of bone and muscle around the site of a missing tooth. While implant placement occurs in many dental offices, treatment approaches vary and can incorporate advanced imaging processes for a guided approach to implant surgery.

Austin Smile Creations believes in utilizing the best dental implants technology available. At our practice, this means computer-assisted implant surgery for safe and predictable results. Dr. Tor Gotun, our highly rated implant dentist, discusses this approach with you and how it is used for a personalized treatment plan.

Before starting this conversation, let’s evaluate the benefits offered by guided implant surgery:

Safety

With guided implant surgery, Dr. Gotun can see your dental architecture prior to the procedure. A 3-D model of your mouth is created using CBCT scans and implant planning software to determine the ideal placement site for your implant. Equally important, this computerized model highlights sections of the jawbone that are too weak to support implant placement. Pre-operative healing is improved and complications are minimized.

Safe placement is enhanced by the use of a custom surgical guide created from a patient’s CBCT scans. Components built-in to the guides allow implants to be placed only as deeply as needed to ensure they are safe and secure.

Predictability

Guided implant surgery is designed to produce predictable results. This is achieved through digital technologies that shift the focus from decision-making at the time of the procedure to highly accurate pre-operative preparation and planning. By taking scans and designing implant treatment in advance, implant procedures become faster surgeries that produce reliable outcomes. Surgery for a single tooth implant can take less than 20 minutes, and full arch implants have been completed in less than an hour using guided techniques.

With this technology, Dr. Gotun ensures patients are included in the decision-making process. He provides an accurate model of their mouth and shares projections on the outcome of the planned procedure before it takes place. Patients are given realistic postsurgical expectations for each treatment option as it relates to their specific dental condition.

If you are ready to see how guided implant surgery can safely and predictably restore your smile, contact our office! Set up a consultation with Dr. Gotun at Austin Smile Creations today.

Mini Dental Implants

If you use dentures but still feel self-conscious about the state of your smile, dental implants are proven to work as an alternative that function just as well as regular teeth. But if you’re concerned that the regular implant procedure is too invasive or costly, or if you’re wary of bone grafting procedures that may be needed in your case, you may want to consider mini dental implants, which offer their own unique benefits

All In the Name

Dental implants have been known to work wonders but not all patients qualify, usually due to the depleted bone volume. Fortunately mini dental implants can serve as an alternative in those cases, since they can be applied to tissue of varying strength and quality. Like their larger counterparts, mini implants are made of titanium, which provides the jawbone with a strong foundation. And since these implants, as the name suggests, are smaller, the procedure itself is less invasive and can even be a one-day appointment.

Benefits of Mini Dental Implants

Mini dental implants have their own unique perks, which include but are not limited to:

• Less expensive than conventional implants
• Existing dentures can be retrofitted to fit minis
• No bone grafting or sutures required
• Supports dentures, bridges, fixed crowns

Though mini dental implants are considered an alternative to regular implants, they share the same overall benefits:

• Healthy, natural looking smile
• Comfortable and more efficient chewing, leading to better digestion
• Improved self-esteem, which may have been affected by tooth loss
• Lasting results, with proper care

Making the Right Choice

If you’ve been researching dental implants and are not sure if they’re a right fit, take comfort in knowing that there are many ways to improve your smile. Remember – whether you go with regular or mini dental implants, it’s important to get those vacant spots in your smile filled for a variety of reasons.

Dr. Gotun is well versed in implant dentistry and offers mini implants as a means to secure full dentures. If you’re worried that you aren’t a candidate for full-sized implants, or if you’ve been turned down by another dental office, schedule an appointment with Austin Smile Creations to see how we can help. We are committed to providing the best in implant dentistry with flexible treatment options.

Dental Implants: Beyond the Cosmetic Appeal

Tooth loss affects millions of Americans every year. Traditionally, dentures and bridges have been the go-to solution for this problem; however, as dental technology has improved, so have alternative solutions for replacing teeth.  Dental implants are not only cosmetically appealing, but also provide a resilient, long-lasting solution to tooth loss. In addition to looking natural, dental implants offer numerous benefits that can help you achieve and maintain great oral health. If you’re facing tooth loss, here are some reasons why dental implants may be an excellent solution for you:

Improving Overall Dental Health

Dental implants encourage better dental health in several ways: by replacing the root of the tooth with a titanium post, your new teeth act in the same way as your natural teeth and nurture bone health and oral function. In comparison to dental implants, dentures may cause inflammation, as well as canker sores, by rubbing on soft tissue.

Preserving Jawbone

Tooth loss can severely weaken the jawbone, putting you at risk of further tooth loss and dental complications. Through the process of osseointegration, the titanium posts of the dental implants fuse to and reinforce bone. This can prevent facial collapse and premature aging commonly seen in patients with multiple missing teeth.

Preventing Movement of Existing Teeth

Following tooth loss, the surrounding teeth gradually shift to fill the empty gap. This can have a domino effect on the alignment of your bite and jaw and lead to other health problems. To be held properly in place, traditional dentures and bridges rely heavily on surrounding teeth and bone. Implants help prevent the shifting of existing teeth by permanently filling in the gaps in your smile.

Implants Do Not Require Special Care

Dental implants are made of biocompatible materials and are permanent fixtures to your new smile; they require no additional maintenance aside from your regular oral hygiene routine. You don’t need special soaks, rinses, or flossing tools to keep your implant clean.

Flexibility

Dental implants provide an excellent alternative for patients requiring multiple restorations in the event of total tooth loss.  Implants can be strategically placed to provide maximum support for a customized, removable over-denture. Implant-supported dentures look and fit naturally, leaving the patient with a healthy smile.

With over 30 years of experience and more and 3,000 hours of continuing education, Dr. Gotun has helped many patients restore their smiles with dental implants. If you are interested to find out more about dental implants, contact our Austin office today to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry is a general term that covers many different dental treatments used to help improve your smile. But that can mean that cosmetic dentistry is a confusing topic for some. We help clarify what cosmetic dentistry can do by answering some of the most common questions we hear about treatment:

What are my options for whitening my teeth? Generally, there are two ways to whiten your teeth with professional treatment: in-office whitening or at-home whitening kits. Both treatment methods effectively lift stains on teeth. At Austin Smile Creations, we offer the convenience of customized whitening trays for use at home under the doctor’s supervision, due to its better outcome predictability and reduced sensitivity side-effects.

How can I repair a chipped tooth? – There are many options for repairing a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the chip and which tooth is damaged. For less severe damage, it’s possible to restore a tooth to its natural appearance with a porcelain veneer or composite bonding. For a tooth in need of more comprehensive care, a porcelain dental crown can be placed. Any of these choices allows you to get a fully-restored new tooth.

If I have a lot of aesthetic smile problems, do I need extensive treatment? Not necessarily! A treatment like porcelain veneers is capable of correcting multiple flaws, such as severe discoloration, mild misalignment, cracked chipped or cracked tooth, or even teeth that are unevenly sized. However, in some instances, additional care may be required. For example, it’s always best to build a new smile on top of healthy gums, so your treatment lasts as long as possible. For this reason, Dr. Gotun may recommend periodontal therapy for patients with advanced gum disease.

What do I do for small problems like gaps between teeth, or teeth that are tipped and tilted? For mild cases of misalignment and tilted teeth, a treatment like porcelain veneers – as mentioned above – can provide a total transformation with minimal treatment. Because getting porcelain veneers requires prepping teeth and placing a thin shell of porcelain on top of them, your teeth can be re-designed to be straighter and more even.

I need to replace a whole tooth – what can I do? There are many tooth-colored and life-like options for replacing teeth. For many patients, the ideal solution is dental implant. Implants are strong and last a lifetime with proper care. However, for patients who prefer removable, or non-surgically placed, prosthetic teeth, other options include partial dentures and bridgework.

I have several decayed teeth – how can I make them look healthy again? This depends on the severity of decay on each tooth. For teeth with very small spots of decay, a tooth-colored composite filling will do the trick and leave you with a smile that looks totally natural – no metal amalgam. For moderate decay, there are onlays and inlays – pieces of porcelain (that sometimes look like puzzle pieces) which are used to replace decayed portions of teeth. In the event that there’s too much damage for a filling or an inlay/onlay, a tooth-colored dental crown can be used to restore your smile’s healthy appearance.

When it comes to helping patients get the cosmetic smile repairs they need, our office provides top-of-the-line, customized care. Dr. Gotun uses strong and beautiful tooth-colored material for all crowns, inalys, onlays, veneers, and bridges.

If you have a question about cosmetic dentistry that we didn’t answer here, contact our Austin dental office for more information.

When You May Need Dental Surgery

Many oral health problems, when caught early, can be treated without the need for surgical intervention. There are other times, however, when an oral health problem has advanced or a dental emergency causes a need for oral surgery.

Many oral surgeries are less complex and invasive than some patients believe and are often essential in restoring your health and oral function.  You may need oral surgery for any of the following:

Extracting a tooth: Simple extractions, such as removing a damaged tooth, often don’t require oral surgery. However, more complex cases – like with impacted wisdom teeth – do mean surgical intervention. In the case of tooth impaction, surgery is needed to safely remove the tooth and prevent damage to healthy, surrounding teeth.

Replacing a tooth: When a permanent tooth has been removed because of extensive decay, or has been knocked out in an accident, replacing it is the best choice for your health. Many patients with missing teeth are now opting for dental implants, which are whole replacement teeth and include a new root and crown. The process for getting an implant involves surgically placing the new tooth root, which makes your new tooth or teeth much stronger than most other prosthetics.

Treating gum disease:  Periodontal surgery is needed when a patient’s case of gum disease has progressed and is posing a threat to the health of their teeth. For patients with deep pockets of bacteria, where the gum tissue is pulling back from the teeth, pocket reduction surgery may be recommended. Pocket reduction surgery helps clean bacteria from very deep gum pockets, and helps gum tissue re-adhere to teeth in a healthy way.

Supporting other dental treatments:  When you need restorative dental care, you may also need some pre-treatments to support best outcomes. For certain restorations, such as dental implants and fixed bridges, patients will need healthy and dense supporting tissue to accommodate treatment, which is where oral surgery can help. Patients who have been missing teeth for some time may have lower jaw bone density. In these cases, a bone graft helps build-up healthy bone so your implant can be placed securely or so you can receive a fixed dental bridge.

At Austin Smile Creations, we’re able to provide experienced oral surgery care for patients in need of wisdom teeth extractions, dental implant placement, or any necessary pre-treatments, like bone grafting. We offer advanced oral surgery with the latest techniques, including PRP and PRGF, as well as Low Level Laser Therapy, which makes these procedures much easier, speeds up healing, and eliminates pain. Contact our office today for more information on the oral surgery treatments we provide.

A Life Without Your Natural Teeth

You may have missed this video from around the web last week, but if you press play, you’ll see Danica Patrick (famed NASCAR driver and GoDaddy.com spokeswoman) exercising her funny bone in this stunt that shows the unsuspecting public what life would be like without their natural teeth.

It’s something that not all of us think about — if you brush and floss your teeth twice a day, you’re doing all you need to keep your teeth for life, right? While more people are keeping their natural teeth into later years, it’s possible to miss big problems (like tooth infections, abscesses, and signs of gum disease) that lead to tooth extraction, if you aren’t making your routine trips to the dental office.

If you do happen to need a tooth extracted, however, you won’t necessarily find yourself having to live in Danica’s new reality – liquefying your meals to make them easier to eat. Modern restorative dental treatments give patients options for keeping their ability to bite and chew – actions we take for granted, but that are impacted by the loss of even a few teeth.
These treatment options include:

  • Dental Implants – The most sturdy way to replace teeth, a dental implant can take the place of a whole tooth (from root to crown) or can be used to permanently secure a full arch of dentures. Dental implants are long-lasting and versatile in their ability to support new teeth and help patients improve their overall oral health.
  • Full and Partial Dentures – These tried and true prosthodontics are sets of replacement teeth that are either held in place with adhesive (full dentures) or are attached to a retainer-like device and replace a few missing teeth (partials). Either option helps you enjoy better aesthetics and function.
  • Fixed Bridges – Another choice for replacing one missing tooth, or a small group of teeth, is fixed bridges, which are permanently bonded in place and make use of sturdy dental crowns. Fixed bridges are another popular restoration that also improve the appearance of your smile and make it easier to eat.

Danica’s message hits home for many Americans who don’t put their oral health at the top of their priorities list. While it’s always best to keep your own natural teeth – you don’t have to live without full biting and chewing function in the event of tooth loss. Call Austin Smile Creations if you have questions about dental implants or other cosmetic and restorative solutions for replacing teeth in Austin, TX.

What TMJ Disorder Does to Your Oral Health

While TMD is a disorder of the joint that connects both arches of your jaw, its effects go far beyond jaw issues. Dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint can have an impact on your oral health and your overall feeling of wellness, producing headaches and even neck and shoulder aches.

In terms of health and aesthetic of your teeth, TMJ disorder throws off the balance of your bite and causes you to constantly clench or grind your teeth, with the resulting effects on your oral health being:

Wearing down of biting surfaces – Patients with TMD often involuntarily grind their teeth, especially while sleeping. This persistent pressure on the biting surfaces of teeth causes abnormal wear and tear. Worn-down teeth eventually need to be treated with dental crowns for aesthetics and to reinforce them for improved oral function, such as biting and chewing.

Cracking or chipping teeth – In addition to worn-down teeth, TMJ disorder also causes teeth to crack and break from persistent jaw clenching. Cracked teeth require additional dental work, in the way of prosthetics (veneers or crowns) and possibly even root canals.

Diminished bite quality – Dysfunction of the jaw joints can eventually wear on cartilage and make things like biting, chewing, and even opening your mouth difficult and painful. Bad bite alignment due to genetics can also be something that aggravates TMD symptoms, making bite balance a cyclical issue for TMJ therapy.

Just about everyone has some small degree of TMD, but severe cases produce visible and uncomfortable drawbacks for dental patients. The best way to protect your oral health, and prevent the need for more complex dental care down the road, is to take a proactive approach to taking care of your TMD.

At Austin Smile Creations, we offer effective and comfortable therapies to help you manage your temporomandibular joint disorder, including treatment with splints, Botox®, and other procedures to prevent grinding and clenching of teeth. We can also help restore the alignment of your bite with non-invasive restorative dental therapies. Contact our office today to learn more about TMD side effects and how they can be treated.