Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

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

Archive for Westlake Hills dentistry

Dentist in Westlake Hills, 78746, for 20 years!

Providing Westlake Hills With the Best Implant, Cosmetic and General Dentistry for Over 20 years!

Dr. Gotun established his practice in Austin in 1985, but he moved to Westlake Hills, 78746, in 1994. In 2014 we have celebrated our 20th anniversary in this fantastic community! Having been part of its history and a witness to all the evolution in Rollingwood and Westlake Hills here in Austin, Dr. Gotun is proud to tell his patients all the stories about the area ( and he knows many!), all the celebrity clients that he has had over the years, all the iconic figures he had the privilege to meet.

Learn from the Best!

A mentor and a patron for the students in Westlake High School, Dr. Gotun got to educate many young aspiring students about the joys and the challenges of the dental profession. Having participated in Westlake High School Independent Study Mentorship program for many years, our practice feels fortunate to have had a chance to help the students explore careers, discover their true passions and find a direction in life and their professional future. It is an exciting time in their life and we are glad to be a part of it by showing them that excellence in dentistry can be achieved through a lifetime of dedication to continuing education and  ever-evolving experience and practice. With such a commitment at stake, it is crucial to make the right choice for a successful career in the future!

Award-Winning Westlake and Rollingwood Community Member. Come and Meet Your Neighbor!

Westlake Picayune has also featured Dr. Gotun’s Lifelong Service and Recognition Award in 2012 for his rare dedication to continuing education and contribution to the field of dentistry.This is a rare honor and Dr. Gotun is the only dentist in Central Texas to ever receive LLSR.

Local Westlake dentist receives rare honor from peers

Visit us in Westlake Hills! We are located at the first stoplight of Bee Caves Rd west of MoPac. Take a right onto Edgegrove and turn directly into our private parking lot. Our office is right across from Collectic Home and Trader Joe’s.

Our building is surrounded by private calm and beautiful green park and one can enjoy the views of the Eanes Creek out of the floor-to-ceiling windows in every operatory in the office.

2724 Bee Caves Rd, Austin, TX, 78746. Serving Central Austin, Westlake Hills and Rollingwood.

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The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush may be nastier than you think. Find out when to ditch it.
By Stephanie Watson
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Do you know what’s lurking on your toothbrush?

Your toothbrush is loaded with germs, say researchers at England’s University of Manchester. They’ve found that one uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, and staphylococci (“Staph”) bacteria that cause skin infections.

But don’t panic. Your mouth wasn’t exactly sterile to begin with.

Mouthful of Bacteria

“The bottom line is, there [are] hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths every day,” says Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University.

That’s no big deal. Problems only start when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. McCombs says.

“It’s important to remember that plaque — the stuff you’re removing from your teeth — is bacteria,” says dentist Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. “So you’re putting bacteria on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth.”

Could Your Toothbrush Be Making You Sick?

Probably not. Regardless of how many bacteria live in your mouth, or have gotten in there via your toothbrush, your body’s natural defenses make it highly unlikely that you’re going to catch an infection simply from brushing your teeth.

“Fortunately, the human body is usually able to defend itself from bacteria,” Harms says. “So we aren’t aware of any real evidence that sitting the toothbrush in your bathroom in the toothbrush holder is causing any real damage or harm. We don’t know that the bacteria on there are translating into infections.”

Still, you should exercise some common sense about storing your toothbrush, including how close it is to the toilet.

Don’t Brush Where You Flush

Most bathrooms are small. And in many homes, the toilet is pretty close to the bathroom sink where you keep your toothbrush.

Every toilet flush sends a spray of bacteria into the air. And you don’t want the toilet spray anywhere near your open toothbrush.

“You don’t store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there?” McCombs says. “It’s just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible.”

You also wouldn’t eat after going to the bathroom without first washing your hands. The same advice applies before brushing your teeth, McCombs says.

Toothbrush Storage Tips

Once you’ve moved your toothbrush away from the toilet, here are a few other storage tips to keep your brush as germ-free as possible:

  • Keep it rinsed. Wash off your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
  • Keep it dry. “Bacteria love a moist environment,” Harms says. Make sure your brush has a chance to dry thoroughly between brushings. Avoid using toothbrush covers, which can create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep it upright. Store your toothbrush upright in a holder, rather than lying it down.
  • Keep it to yourself. No matter how close you are to your sister, brother, spouse, or roommate, don’t ever use their toothbrush. Don’t even store your toothbrush side-by-side in the same cup with other people’s brushes. Whenever toothbrushes touch, they can swap germs.

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.

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 Smile Creations Introduces an Interview with a Master Dentist.

There are not very many opportunities an individual gets to speak or even work with one of the best in their line of work. It’s an even rarer occurrence to sit down every day and witness their thought processes. At Austin Smile Creations in Westlake, TX, we have that rare opportunity to not only work beside, but to have a close relationship with a true dental guru: Dr. Tor Gotun. But then we need to answer the following to obtain any credibility in that statement, how can anyone label another as the best? We could very well consider Dr. Gotun’s richness of qualifications to validate such a bold statement. Imagine 30,000 hours of continuing education beyond a Doctoral Degree, a 99% success rate in surgically complicated dental procedures, holding the title of a Master in the Academy of General Dentistry, mentoring and teaching some of the best in the dental field, genuinely caring and therefore individualizing each patient’s treatment plan, and persistently reading dental literature. In all this busyness, Dr. Gotun took the time to sit down with the Austin Smile Creations’ team and answer a few questions we had.

ASC Team: Dr. Gotun, what do you think sets your practice and you as a dentist apart from most other dentists out there?

Dr. Gotun: Let me start by saying there is nothing necessarily wrong with how other dentists practice, I just choose to practice differently. I take what I like to call a whole body approach to dentistry. The thing about it is that teeth are not independent of themselves. The body is a system in which all parts have the potential to affect other parts. An infection in your heart will eventually flow to other parts of the body. The same is true for teeth. I look at the body as a whole and how I can achieve the best results for each individual given their needs, medical and anatomical boundaries, and dental history. I collect so much information on a patient through accurate diagnostics that my ability to predict success and carry it out is exceptionally high.

ASC Team: What has kept you motivated to practice dentistry for 30 years?

Dr. Gotun: The medical field is not only a rewarding field to be in because you get to help people feel better and achieve a result they may not have ever imagined, but it’s also ever-evolving. It never gets old. There is always something else to read, try, see, participate in, and perfect. It’s my passion. It’s hard to describe because it’s in my bones, and truly something I love to do. Some people never find that passion. I am lucky to wake up every day and do what I love.

ASC Team: One more question Dr. Gotun, what made you choose not to specialize in the dental field, say a periodontist or an oral surgeon?

Dr. Gotun: It’s funny you all ask that, since most people think a general dentist doesn’t perform to the level of care as a specialist or may not know the extent of what a specialist may know. I never specialized because I am able to practice all forms of dentistry from crowns to periodontal surgeries, oral surgery to treating temporomandibular disorders, and orthodontics to endodontic therapy. It keeps my work interesting, as well as allowing me to provide a service unparalleled to my patient base where they can receive treatment all in one place.  

While Dr. Gotun’s accent can be intimidating at first, he is clearly a dentist who candidly cares about quality dentistry in an industry that claims anything besides extracting teeth are optional. Dr. Gotun is a dentist that visualizes dentistry in his dreams and thrives on perfecting his own technique. Such passion and conviction certainly set the standard high, keep his staff alive, his patients satisfied, and his practice thriving.

Reconstructive Dentistry. Austin's Best Cosmetic Dentist in Westlake 78746.

Working many years within the dental profession we notice smiles at Austin Smile Creations. Then again, don’t most people notice a smile or non-smile for that matter? Not only do we notice everyone’s smile, we are oftentimes extremely critical of our own. After all, we’re bombarded with images of beauty in this society every way we look. The most fantastic thing about working with Dr. Gotun is because he has the ability to completely reconstruct a smile to near perfection, as a team, we get to be a part of those life-changing moments with patients. And believe us when we say it’s life-changing.

We are in the healthcare profession, but we also consider ourselves esteem boosters, creative artists, and flawless visionaries. Reconstructing smiles is not a teeth-in-a-day process, because it’s literally impossible and much too risky (but they sure have the advertising down, don’t they?). Our multi-disciplined approach requires patience and commitment, but the results are unparalleled. We have seen patients get promotions in their line of work, change their outlook on life, find their soul mates, and just turn into all-around happier people when their smiles are made new.

We offer everything here at Austin Smile Creations from root canal therapy to periodontal treatment and maintenance to sinus lifts, implants, treating temporomandibular disorders, and complete smile makeovers. We provide excellent payment options to our patients, so you are able to invest in a smile you want and need. We ask you to regard your smile as an investment. After all, the more you smile the happier, healthier, more attractive, and confident you become!