Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

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

Archive for Austin cosmetic and implant dentist

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.

Dental Implants – Discount, express? So many choices, methods, applications. Which one is right for you?

One of the latest trends in healthcare and dentistry in particular is exploring all of the opportunities to keep your health as long as possible in the best condition. In dentistry, dental implants are starting to push full and partial dentures to the sidelines. Dentures are still a valid option for many people, but no matter how well they are maid ( and there is a huge difference between an inexpensive denture and an expensive one) they still do not compare to feel and function of the natural teeth. We won’t even talk about all those sticky pastes we see advertised on TV so often that long-term can cause all kinds of complications in your overall health, like ongoing yeast infections and a myriad of other issues. Dentures reduce your chewing capacity to 10% of normal and most people don’t even use them when they are not in public because they are so uncomfortable. If you are missing all teeth on an arch – a full implant-supported denture may be a great option for you. Four implants are used to serve as anchors to hold a denture in place. All-on-four is another solution to the problem as well, which is a set of porcelain teeth set on a frame that will be held in place by implant-anchors. And then, of course there are single tooth implants which are a great replacement to missing teeth. So many implant options are available to patients nowadays, but how do you decipher what implant solution and what implant office is the right one for you?

With many implant clinics available as a choice, patients should consider their options carefully. They may choose to go to a clinic that specializes in implants and does them all day long. Many people choose that and are happy with the result. Some may prefer a more personalized approach, so they feel like there is a strategy tailored specifically to their personal condition, especially when there are multiple problems at hand that will require several specialists addressing several different problems. So that approach can involve one of the two options. One is going to a general dentist ->be referred to a periodontist or implantologist-> then back to the general dentist or prosthodontist who will complete the job. The other is finding a professional who can complete the whole process by himself. Needless to say the treatment is very multifaceted, so it would require a highly qualified and extensively trained dental professional who can offer you all those services under one roof. It is not easy to find a professional like that, but Austin is lucky to have a few of the best.

In our practice we advocate that approach because it is a comprehensive one, with one professional being in charge of diagnostics, treatment planning and execution on all stages. One person is responsible for the whole treatment is a great benefit to a patient. We often hear that it is the best thing about our dental office – from general, to cosmetic and implant dentistry – you can have it all done in one place, call the same doctor with any concerns or questions, and it also saves you time and money. So choose your dental implant professional wisely! Do your homework. You would not want an express or discount heart or brain surgeon, would you? Read the rest of this entry »

Cosmetic dentistry – do you need a specialist?

Angy’s List posted a good article recently touching on a subject of cosmetic dentistry. This is a good article emphasizing in a way the importance of patient education in order to make informed decisions about their care.  It is not very in-depth and it does not answer some of the questions it poses, but it at least raises a little bit of awareness that not all dentists are created equal.

While some lives are being drastically improved by quality dentistry using a comprehensive approach and individually tailored modern treatment options, some lives will be changed in the opposite direction over time, if some existing conditions are not diagnosed and taken into consideration while treatment planning. It is a sad fact of life, as many people do not perceive their teeth as an integral part of their body, a live organ that if not treated or treated improperly – can turn your health upside down and even have fatal effect on your body.

When you are looking for cosmetic dentistry, do not look for the cheapest deal in town. It will get you in trouble, as you always get what you pay for. This aspect of dental care has become so highly commercial that sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is a good recommendation and what is a bad one, let alone the consequences it may have long-term. Look for your dentist’s credentials and level of education. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

While specialists do good work, Austin is lucky to have several highly qualified general dentists who can provide you with excellent care in various aspects of dentistry. If you choose to go to a general dentist, look for those with lots of continued education and if they belong to Academy of General Dentistry, an organization providing them with opportunities for continued education and fighting for the higher standards in the dental community. Masters or Fellows of AGD are setting a great example for the dental community. Or if you choose to go to a specialist, like prosthodontist ( dentists working with restoration of implants, dentures, doing crown and bridge work), look for similar credentials according to the field of specialty. Keep in mind, you will still need a good general dentist to help coordinate all aspects of treatment you need.

If someone finished dental school 30-40 years ago and is not staying updated on modern techniques and materials, odds are – they will not have a very good perspective on all of your options.  Dentistry can differ like night and day depending on who offers it and what it can do for a particular patient. Over the last decade so many things got revolutionized in the field that not updating your dental knowledge in it should be simply shameful. Yet, don’t be fooled by the latest and the greatest. It is not what you should look for. Look for experience that can distinguish between substance and trends, knowledge of research of what is a fact and what is a myth. For a patient being picky is very important, as in our practice, for example, a significant portion of our work is redoing previous work that was done without sufficient diagnostics, planning and adequate expertise and quality standards.

In addition, don’t expect your insurance to pay for quality work. Sadly, insurances did not evolve much since the 80s and only pay for the cheapest solutions that are outdated, and often not the best and lasting option. In general they don’t pay for cosmetic work at all.

So if you are looking for cosmetic dental procedures of any kind – whitening, veneers, crowns, implants –  consult with a qualified doctor first. It is what you don’t know that can make your out-of-pocket investment go to waste. A good dentist will never do crowns and implants on someone with advanced gum disease or insufficient bone. A good dentist will never do a teeth whitening for you if you have significant sensitivity already. Crowns, bridges and tooth-colored fillings do not bleach. All that you will find out from your dentist, and only after you invest into adequate diagnostics, which insurance doesn’t pay for 100% either. But quality work is a great investment, as it can lasts longer than statistical averages and can truly change your life by giving you health, beautiful smile, confidence and shed years off your appearance! Smile makeovers do change lives every day!

Read the article from Angy’s List.

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.