Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

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

Archive for Reconstructive Dentistry

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.

What to Look for in an Excellent Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized dental specialty, which means anyone calling themselves a cosmetic dentist is not required to complete extra training or certification to use that title. Outcome for aesthetic dental treatment therefore varies widely from one dental office to another. But here’s how you can find a cosmetic dentist who is able to help you achieve your goals, and provide you with the best in cosmetic dental care:

Treatment Options – There are many dental treatments that help you achieve similar goals. For example, a fixed dental bridge can replace a missing tooth, but it won’t last as long or look as natural as a dental implant. A good cosmetic dentist will help you pick the treatment that provides long-lasting results and looks just like your real teeth.

Choices in Materials – Furthermore, it’s important that the materials chosen for your cosmetic restoration are the best for aesthetics. A porcelain-over-metal dental crown will look natural when brand-new, but tends to age poorly – showing a black line against your gums. Restorations made from solid porcelain, ceramic, and zirconia look more like real dental enamel and are just as strong as metal crowns.

Experience and Training – While cosmetic dentistry may not be a dental specialty, there are still professional development courses in dental aesthetics that dentists can take to hone their skills. You can measure a dentist’s commitment to the best in cosmetic and restorative dentistry by how many education hours they take that go beyond the minimum required to keep their license.

Recognition – Perhaps the best measuring stick for a dentist’s cosmetic treatments are how patients, and the community, respond to their care. Before selecting a cosmetic dentist, read their patient reviews on popular sites like Google+ Local and Yelp to get an idea of their treatment approach and how satisfied past patients have been.

An Extensive Portfolio – You can further your research by visiting the dentist’s website, or even their office, to view their before-and-after portfolio. Use these images to get an idea of what finished treatment has looked like for other patients. This information will help you decide, beyond a dentist’s technical qualifications, if you actually like the way they’ve treated other patients’ smiles. Check to make sure that the cosmetic dental restorations look natural and that you’d want the same look for yourself.

At Austin Smile Creations, Dr. Tor Gotun offers the best in cosmetic dental care with options like dental implants, dentures, porcelain crowns, teeth whitening, and porcelain veneers. He has even completed over 3,000 hours of continued education, which has included specialty training in prosthodontics, TMJ therapy, and restorative dentistry. For more information about cosmetic dentistry, and to view our Before and After gallery, visit our website or schedule your consultation online.

Why Dental Implants Fail: How You Can Get Successful Treatment with Dental Implants

Dental implants have a high track record of success for restoring teeth — they’ve provided significant benefits to patients looking for ways to get new teeth that are strong and contribute to improved oral health. However, as successful as implant treatment may be, there are still issues that can prevent a dental implant from doing its job.

We take care to give our patients the best in dental implant placement. Below, we’ve listed common causes of implant failure, and how our office helps patients deal with those issues:

Lack of bone density – Your new tooth, or teeth, use a titanium post as a base for stable support. That post is surgically placed and extends into bone in your jaw, where it integrates with bone and acts as a real tooth. This process is a significant factor in the success of your dental implant treatment. If you have diminishing bone density, there’s a chance that the implant post doesn’t have sufficient tissue to anchor itself.  Before recommending dental implants, we perform a thorough oral health exam where we determine the quality and density of bone in your jaw; we won’t place an implant if it won’t actively contribute to your oral health and wellness.

Poor placement – Selecting the right angle and location for surgical placement of your implant is an important part of getting a strong restoration. Placement is critical to how the final restoration will fit into its new environment between other teeth – closing gaps, having the right angulation, and following the natural patterns of the teeth are all essential. Without properly pinpointing placement, your implant could become loose or cause discomfort.  Dr. Gotun uses cone beam imaging, 3D scanning, to create a treatment plan fitted to your needs. This diagnostic imagining creates a guide for precise implant placement that greatly boosts the success of your dental implant.

Patient health habits – Inefficient brushing and flossing practices, failing to keep your implant clean after placement, symptoms of periodontitis, and even smoking can contribute to implant failure. If gum tissue isn’t healthy, or your ability to heal from treatment is compromised from tobacco use and poor oral hygiene, there is a higher likelihood that your dental implant will fail. Our office treats periodontal problems and helps manage symptoms to improve your oral health. We help you restore ideal tissue health so that you can benefit from dental implants. 

Dr. Gotun has over 30 years of experience in helping patients restore smiles with dental implants — and we can help you too. If you have questions about getting long-lasting treatment with dental implants, contact our Austin dental office to speak to our team.

Why Choose All-Ceramic Cosmetic Dentistry?

Treatments like dental crowns, fixed bridges, and veneers help patients get beautiful new smiles, but these prosthetics have historically been made with metal – which isn’t the best for cosmetic benefit. Many modern dental patients choose all-ceramic dentistry to help improve their oral health and the naturally beautiful quality of their restored smiles.

Our all-ceramic dental treatments provide the following benefits for cosmetic dentistry patients:

No Visible Aging – Metal-based prosthetics can begin to show a black line on gums as they spend more time with your smile. All-ceramic cosmetic treatments don’t have a metal base, and won’t end up looking unnatural over time.

Strength and Durability – Many patients choose metal-over-porcelain treatments, believing them to be the best choice for long-term durability. While metal restorations are indeed strong, all-porcelain dentistry can be just as sturdy as their metal-based counterparts. Our office proudly offers Empress® crowns, veneers, and bridges, which provide increased strength for cosmetic dental restorations; these treatments are heat-pressed to offer a stable and strong base for renewed smiles.

Better Match for Natural Teeth – While porcelain-over-metal crowns and bridges could be color-matched to your natural teeth, all-ceramic cosmetic treatments more closely mimic the properties of natural dental enamel; ceramics offer a natural translucency that metal dental treatments can’t match up to.

Reduced Sensitivity to Heat and Cold – Metal conducts heat and cold, unlike ceramic materials, which means that your metal dental crowns or metal fixed bridge can cause zings of discomfort when you bite into something hot, or drink an ice-cold beverage. Metal restorations also expand and contract with temperature changes, increasing the risks for cracked teeth as the size of your restoration alters with differing temperatures.

Same-Day Production – Advances in dental technology have made getting quicker, more customized care, a reality for a greater number of patients. Machines like the E4D system in use at our office create crowns and other restorations from a solid block of porcelain or ceramic in at little as one office visit. In comparison, metal-over-ceramic treatments take weeks to be created at an outside dental lab.

We help our patients get the best in cosmetic dentistry, porcelain dental restorations, and custom-made crowns and bridges at our Austin, TX dental office. If you have questions about getting all-ceramic dental treatment, contact us to learn more or to schedule your consultation with Dr. Gotun.

Dental Implants: The Smart Choice for Oral Health

If you have a missing tooth, there are several options available to help restore your bite and smile. The most advanced method for tooth replacement involves the use of dental implants, so your new tooth can be both secure and the most seamless fit for you. If you’re considering getting a dental implant in Austin, Texas, let’s first take a look at alternatives and why implants have become the popular choice for tooth replacement.

Your Non-Implant Options

Your implant alternatives are typically fixed bridges and full or partial dentures.

Getting a fixed bridge involves placing two caps on the teeth adjacent to the tooth gap. These are connected to a false tooth that sits where your normal tooth used to be.

A removable partial denture uses a molded retainer and base that hugs your real teeth and holds a false tooth, usually made of porcelain. You can take the denture out when needed for cleaning or eating.

A removable full denture can work if you are missing all the teeth in your upper or lower jaw (or both). Prosthetic teeth connect to a custom-fitted base, which sits over your gums. Removable full dentures are secured place with denture adhesive and removed at the end of each day.

Problems with Bridges and Dentures

Both bridges and dentures come with potential drawbacks that are worth considering:

  • Fixed bridges are supported by healthy teeth, which require that those existing teeth be altered to make room for the crowns that hold the fake tooth.
  • Partial dentures restore your smile’s appearance, but they don’t do much in the way of improving your bite power. Full dentures can shift and irritate the gums, and they have a tendency to look less natural. It’s common for them to interfere with eating and talking. Many patients notice that they make a noticeable clicking sound, with some people complaining that they also get in the way of tasting foods.

A Superior, Permanent Solution: The Dental Implant

A dental implant eliminates many of the issues associated with bridges and dentures; there’s no preparation of the adjacent teeth, so you don’t have to alter healthy structures to replace a tooth or teeth. Dental implants’ real claim to fame, though, is the stability you get. The titanium rod fuses directly with your jawbone, so you typically get strength and function that is similar to what you’d have with a real tooth. The connection to the bone also means that your implant can help keep up healthy jaw bone volume, in the same way as a real tooth. As a final bonus, dental implants usually last longer than the alternatives — properly cared for, they can last a lifetime.

Ready for your Dental Implant? Make Your Appointment!

Dr. Tor Gotun is one of the most experienced and skilled implant dentists in Austin, Texas, with more than 30 years in the dental field. To make your consultation appointment with him at Austin Smile Creations, use our appointment request form or call (512) 329-5140.

Why Cosmetic Dentistry at Austin Smile Creations? It’ll Change Your Life.

The more I learn working for a Master Dentist at Austin Smile Creations in Westlake, TX, the more I see why cosmetic dentistry the way Dr. Gotun approaches it not only makes sense, but literally changes patients’ lives. And I mean literally. I’ve been a bit skeptical in the past about a smile actually changing a person’s life, but I’ve been lucky enough to see the transformation in person. Forget about the level of quality we provide at Austin Smile Creations for a second, cosmetically changing a patient’s smile automatically boosts their confidence and they often don’t even realize it.

At Austin Smile Creations we gauge this transformation by studying a patient’s body language. We are heavy on greeting every patient with a smile, so we notice when patients don’t smile and, yes, we take note of smiles, non-smiles and compensated smiles. This past week we started on the provisional crown phase for a patient, consisting of reconstructing his entire upper arch. Side note, this patient told us at the beginning of this transition he will be our hardest patient to convince that new teeth will make a difference in his life. By the way, we get a lot of these. Prior to creating cosmetic work of this magnitude for this patient, he rarely ever smiled. After we completed seating the provisional crowns, we had the patient come back to get feedback about functionality, aesthetics, and review post-op care instructions. This is all part of the provisional phase of treatment. We never complete the final phase of crowns without proper diagnostics, and provisional crowns allow for any changes. All so we can make sure we hit perfection for the final crown phase or as Dr. Gotun likes to say, we hit Bingo! Needless to say, when this patient walked through the door, he walked through the door with a smile. And we noticed. After all, we’re in the teeth business. I won’t go into all the other details about non-verbal changes the patient exhibited, but in three days the change was obvious and pretty significant.

In thirty years of cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Gotun can attest to how much cosmetic work changes patients’ self-esteem, gets them out of pain, and has a residual effect that ultimately emulates one concept: patients are all together happier. It’s why we love cosmetic, reconstructive, diagnostic dentistry. It not only inspires and motivates us, but we get to witness the quality of our service firsthand through patient satisfaction. We finish patients and we help them get healthy. And that is the biggest reward.