Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

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

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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.

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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.

Austin's Dentist Standard of Care. Planning in Dentistry.

Clinically, planning is everything in dentistry. It’s what we believe at Austin Smile Creations, your Westlake Dentist. We drive this point home among colleagues, patients and, well, really anyone we have the pleasure of meeting. Planning is the difference between success and failure, we believe. While any dentist may experience success without planning, it’s the risk they are willing to take at a patient’s expense. Planning goes hand-in-hand with perfection in all areas of dentistry, and because we strive for perfection in all areas of dentistry, the key to reaching that is all in Dr. Gotun’s expert planning.

So what does this mean for the patient? Put simply, we give each patient the best quality and most individualized care that can be offered in dentistry. When we say Dr. Gotun tackles each case on a case-by-case basis that’s exactly what we mean. He dissects each case individually, after thorough examination and in-depth diagnostics. Remember all those x-rays that are taken at an initial appointment- 18 to be exact? Or what about the gooey impression material needed to create exact replicas of each individual’s teeth and bite? Or maybe a 3D image called a CBCT scan- Cone Beam Computed Tomography– basically a 3D map of both head and jaw? All are diagnostics, which are part of necessary planning in what we consider our only option at Dr. Gotun’s office: taking really good care of people. Because we care about each patient’s health in it’s entirety (did you know your dental health affects your overall health? More on that later…), we are absolutely keen on proper planning for patient’s to recieve only the best dental care.                                                  

From a patient perspective, if you ask me, there’s nothing else I would want more than knowing and trusting I’m getting the best dental care. Any dentist has the ability to cement a crown, but is that dentist looking at how that crown will affect your bite? Does the dentist look at the way the temporomandibular joints align and possible tension on those muscles and joints naturally? Do they study if a procedure will affect your comfort? Are they using a semi-adjustable articulator to analyze your models before even beginning to plan treatment? Do they complete in-depth research of what will treat the problems and not just the symptoms? This is our standard of care at Austin Smile Creations, because this is the philosophy we all believe in.

Ultimately, we want patients to know what kind of quality they receive in our practice. We want patients to be involved, understand and ask about treatment options. We dedicate ourselves to finding the longest lasting results, because we want to have the happiest patients! For the team at Austin Smile Creations to reach these goals and provide exceptional dental care all begins with proper planning in every stage of dentistry.