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 dentistry

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 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 – 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.

Laser Away! Westlake Premier Dentist Introduces New Technology for More Comprehensive Approach to Dentistry for His Patients.

Technology is one hundred percent a language we speak in this twenty-first century. It advances and we adapt and evolve with it as a society. While it remains somewhat controversial, in medicine, technology has proven advantageous. Whether learning the benefits of certain advancements or to discontinue those systems and methods, learning happens. At Austin Smile Creations it is critically important to Dr. Gotun and his team to invest their skills in technology that ultimately delivers comprehensive, high quality dentistry while advancing patients closer to optimal health. Recently, Dr. Gotun and the Austin Smile Creations team invested in a laser to offer that more dynamic, comprehensive approach to dentistry for patients.

A little bit about lasers though, they’ve been used for diverse applications outside the medical world, though many people identify lasers with hair removal and eye surgery in medicine. Excitingly, dentistry itself is becoming more involved with lasers because of the benefits it provides. “It’s amazing how effective a laser procedure is when treating soft tissue abnormalities and periodontal disease in my practice, while synonymously providing no discomfort to patients and increasing healing time tremendously,” says Dr. Gotun. And when considering comfort level in dentistry, little to no discomfort is a thumbs up for patients. So, the success this practice has seen with their newly adopted laser has been substantial.

Below are before and after photos taken for a frenectomy performed with a laser in December 2013. In this particular case, the patient needed the frenulum removed due to the strength of it pulling on the gingivae essential for a future bridge or implant. The Austin Smile Creations team always follows up with patients to check the success of their work shortly after procedures are completed (it’s a major part of their philosophy in patient care). In this case, aforementioned patient came back three weeks after the procedure for a check. As seen below, the patient had completely healed without any bleeding involved, any post-operative medication needed, very slight numbing during the frenectomy required, and no discomfort or change in lifestyle the day after the procedure.

 

Before: 12/9/13                     After: 12/9/13                  3 weeks after: 1/2/14

“If we can obtain these types of results within a few weeks and offer patients treatment options that no longer cause any discomfort during a procedure nor post-operative, you can guarantee it’s a win in my practice,” Dr. Gotun claims. From a dentist who has been practicing for over thirty years, staying current and evolving with new technology has been and will remain to be a testament to this practice’s success. Take note.