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 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.

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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.

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.

Austin Laser Dentistry. What Are Dental Lasers and What Do They Do For You?

By visiting a laser dentist, you’ll have the opportunity to experience a new and exciting technology. We would like to give you some basic information and perhaps reduce any of your concerns.

Dental lasers are a family of instruments. Some lasers are used for surgery ( soft tissue lasers), some to cure restorative materials ( curing lights) and enhance tooth bleaching, and others to remove tooth structure for elimination of disease and restoration, some speed up healing and stimulate tissue growth and repair ( photomedicine) – different lasers for different procedures. All lasers require eye protection. Safety glasses with special lenses will be provided. Family and guests in the dental operatory at the time of your laser treatment may also be asked to wear protective eyeglasses.

Lasers do not make whining sounds or other annoying noises. You may experience the sound of a rush of air, since air suction is often used to keep the area cool and cleaner. You should be able to relax and be comfortable while the dental laser is in use.

Depending on your treatment needs, your Austin laser dentist may use the laser for a long period of time or possibly only for brief moments. However, even those procedures that require only a short period of laser usage benefit from the advantages of laser therapy. With laser surgery, there is a reduced need for local anesthesia, bleeding is minimized, swelling is controlled, and there is usually little, if any, postoperative discomfort. Laser energy enhances the effect of tooth bleaching agents for a faster and more effective result. Natural looking restorative materials for teeth are more quickly cured to greater hardness.

Dental lasers are used for a variety of treatment procedures. Your dentist knows which types of patient care are more patient friendly with a laser than with alternative traditional methods. The dentists using lasers have devoted training time and expense to be able to bring you the many advantages of this exciting new technology.

Read more about the dental lasers that we use here in Austin

Correcting Oral Health Problems with Cosmetic Dentistry

If you’re struggling with a less-than perfect smile, you’re not alone. Cracked and chipped teeth, as well as teeth that are misaligned or stained, are common problems that almost everyone can relate to experiencing. If you want a better-looking smile, the process doesn’t have to be intimidating or complicated. We’re happy to help you on your way to a more attractive smile that’s healthy as well. Check out our list of fixes for common dental problems: What Cosmetic Dentistry Can Fix • If you have a mild case of crooked and discolored, you might want to consider veneers, which are made from porcelain and which attach to the front of your teeth. They can make your smile look straighter and brighter in just one treatment. o If your case of misalignment isn’t ideal for veneers, clear braces with Invisalign® are a popular choice for both young and mature patients. Invisalign® uses a system of clear trays to gently pull your teeth into the right position. These clear braces offer ideal comfort and are completely discreet. • If you’re dealing with missing teeth, we can recommend a fixed bridge, which puts two crowns on the teeth next to the gap, filling the gap with a false tooth (pontic). Another option is a dental implant. Dr. Gotun can insert a titanium rod directly into your jaw and cap it with a crown. You also can turn to a full or partial denture, which can be anchored on multiple implants. • Teeth that are decayed or have cracks and chips can be corrected with crowns that protect your teeth from further damage and make your smile look as it did before any injury took place. • Stained teeth are easy to brighten with whitening gels. We create custom trays that are made to fit your smile and provide a professional whitening agent that can boost your smile’s appeal in just a few applications. Change Your Appearance and Get Healthy With our menu of cosmetic dental services, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get your smile back to its best. If you have questions about getting cosmetic dentistry in Austin, Texas, or if you’d like to schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Gotun at Austin Smile Creations at (512) 277-5140 or use our online contact and appointment request forms.

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.

A Failed System. Why Doesn't My Insurance Pay For This?

Given the current trend with the American healthcare system taking a drastic change, insurance is undoubtedly the hot topic among Americans. We have briefly discussed this trend previously, but have yet to dive into what insurance means within the dental world. More specifically, what it means for a practice like Austin Smile Creations where a whole body approach to optimal dental health means choosing an almost solitary journey and certainly a journey away from what insurance considers the dental standard.

Unlike many practices and dentists, Dr. Tor Gotun and the Austin Smile Creations‘ team choose a path that is far above dental insurance standards. There are not very many general practices that are adding bone, titanium mesh plates, and membranes to generate growth of new, healthy bone, so patients can plan to keep their teeth for a lifetime (or at least the most biocompatible and structurally compatible prosthetics available to their natural teeth- implants). Even the most necessary of procedures that allow patients to keep their teeth and therefore sustain a quality of life that cannot be compared, many dental insurances won’t even consider covering.

We must then explore what are dental insurance companies’ standards? Since there aren’t any regulations on how insurance companies decide on reimbursement levels, there is no way of knowing what they will actually pay until a claim is submitted and an explanation for that claim in sent back to the provider. Think of one dental insurance company. One dental insurance company has hundreds of plans underneath it’s umbrella. Now, take twenty-three large dental insurance companies, hundreds of third party, smaller insurance companies that link themselves to several of the large companies, hundreds of plans that an employer has the option to pick from, and hundreds of different guidelines for 10,000 different dental codes. To say in the least, it’s a mess and clearly meant to confuse it’s consumer- the patient. Consider everything outside of actually extracting teeth is optional. This is what dental insurance companies believe, an archaic principle. It applies to eighteenth century folks who didn’t have the technology and education available that we have at our fingertips today. So if everything except extracting a tooth is optional, it would make sense that dental insurance pays the least expensive alternative treatment, like a composite (white) filling at an amalgam (silver filling) rate. It would make sense that they have age limits, exclusions, pre-existing conditions, deductibles and annual maximums for the year. On one end, patients who need several major procedures performed to improve or even sustain a quality of life, the expense becomes mostly out of pocket for the patient. On the other end, patients who only need minor work and routine cleanings, end up paying a higher premium than what’s actually used at their dental office. Either way, insurance companies make money.

What we do different at Austin Smile Creations is that we have chosen to be of service to each patient. Patients have individual needs for treatment and therefore have highly specialized and individual treatment plans. If insurance weren’t in the business of making money, they would understand the medical necessity for procedures that dentists like Dr. Gotun provide: allografts, autografts, PRP, PRGF, sinus lifts, and bone augmentations to name a few. The Austin Smile Creations’ team knows the quality of dentistry they provide to each patient, and such, continue on this uphill battle against insurance companies standards. And we continue on this journey, refusing to accept an unacceptable standard of care.