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Dental Implants Don’t Have to Be Scary

Ghosts and goblins can give you a fright, but one thing you shouldn’t worry about this Halloween is getting dental implants. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we focus on making oral surgery as comfortable, understandable, and accessible as possible. We’ll answer any questions and address your concerns to help alleviate any fears you may be experiencing. Dental implants don’t have to be scary and at Hill Country Oral Surgery, we focus on taking the fear out of oral surgery.

Are You Nervous About Dental Implants?

Are you nervous about replacing missing or damaged teeth? Dental implants are one of the most effective ways to repair the functionality and aesthetics of your smile. For many patients, the unknown of a new procedure can feel intimidating and even scary. Come in for a consultation and let us address your concerns. As you learn more about the procedure and get answers to your questions, the fear surrounding dental implants will dissipate. Get answers so you can get your smile back.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a long-lasting solution to missing or damaged teeth. A special titanium screw is implanted into the bone in the jaw and used to support a replacement tooth, or in some cases a bridge of multiple teeth. These teeth will look and function like your natural teeth. You’ll be able to chew and smile with confidence.

Dental Implants- Your Questions Answered

Do you have questions about dental implants? We’ll answer some common questions below, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you don’t see your questions on this list. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have until you feel comfortable and confident with your decision to pursue dental implants.

  • Are Dental Implants Painful? – Dental surgery shouldn’t be a painful experience. We utilize a variety of anesthetic options, before and after surgery, to ensure a comfortable experience for each of our patients. We use a personalized combination of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), local anesthetics, IV sedation, or general anesthetics, depending on your unique needs. We also offer prescription pain relief and Exparel, a non-narcotic pain relief treatment that provides relief for up to 3 days after surgery. We’ll discuss your options during your consultation and will work with you to ensure that you’re comfortable as you recover from dental implant surgery.
  • Why Should I Consider Dental Implants? – When you lose a tooth, the bone supporting that tooth will begin to deteriorate. This can cause premature aging and changes in your facial structure. Dental implants preserve the bone and help keep your teeth and jaw healthy. Missing teeth also interfere with your ability to eat and your confidence to smile. Dental implants are easy care, just brush like regular teeth, and can last a lifetime.
  • Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants? – If you have missing teeth, you need to learn more about dental implants. Many patients are good candidates for this restorative treatment. If you have periodontal disease, additional treatment may be needed before you’re ready to receive implants. Patients with diabetes or those that smoke may be unable to receive dental implants.
  • How Long Does a Full Dental Implant Restoration Take? – Restoration times vary, depending on the number of teeth being replaced and the condition of your jaw. Some patients will be eligible for immediate restoration, or an implant that is placed at the same time the tooth is removed. The restoration process takes 3-6 months for most patients. We can estimate your timeline during your consultation.
  • Can You Replace Multiple Teeth with Dental Implants? – Dental implants can replace a single tooth, a bridge of multiple teeth, or even an entire arch.
  • Are Dental Implants Successful? – Dental implants are extremely successful. With more than 50 years of clinical experience and over 1 million patients, statistics tell us that dental implants have a 98% success rate. We use the latest technologies and most advanced techniques to ensure that you receive the safest, most effective care possible.
  • What’s Recovery Like After Dental Implants? – Recovery times vary, depending on the extent of your procedure and how you manage your recovery. Single implants without bone grafting require the least amount of recovery while multiple placements or extensive bone grafting can prolong the recovery period and increase the amount of discomfort experienced.

We love a good scare, but not when it comes to dental work. Come into Hill Country Oral Surgery for a scare-free dental implant experience and get your Halloween thrills at the haunted house instead. Call us today to schedule your dental implant consultation with some of the best oral surgeons in the Austin, TX area.

Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for Dental Implants? Yes!

Do you have leftover money in your flexible spending account (FSA) this year? If you have missing or damaged teeth, come into Hill Country Oral Surgery and get dental implants. Dental implants are an FSA authorized expense. Call us today and schedule your consultation to get started.

What Is an FSA?

A flexible spending account, also known as a flexible spending arrangement, is a special account where you can put pre-tax funds aside for medical expenses. You don’t ever pay taxes on FSA funds, so an FSA can save you money on your medical expenses, as much as your usual tax rate. An FSA must be obtained through an employer that offers the program. All the funds must be used for authorized medical expenses during the designated year.

FSAs can save you money on medical expenses, but they require careful management to get the maximum benefits. If you don’t spend your FSA funds during the designated year, you lose them. Many employers offer a short grace period at the beginning of the year to spend any remaining funds. Check with your employer to learn more about contribution limits, reimbursement deadlines, and important dates for your FSA. Don’t let your funds expire or you’ll lose money. There are so many ways to use FSA funds, including oral surgery and dental implants.

Can I Use My FSA Funds on Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an FSA eligible expense. That means that you can use any remaining funds in your FSA to help pay for the procedure. Redemption policies vary, depending on your FSA. Some patients receive a debit card they can use for certain FSA authorized expenses. Other policies may require you to pay for the procedure up-front and receive a reimbursement after treatment. Talk with your employer for detailed information on how to redeem your FSA funds.

Does Everyone Have an FSA?

FSAs are only available through your employer. If you don’t have an FSA, talk with your employer to find out if one is available. Not all employers offer FSAs. If you don’t have an FSA, don’t worry. Medical expenses, like dental implants, are still tax deductible in many cases. Some private insurance policies, especially those with a high deductible, offer a health savings account (HSA) which is similar to an FSA.

Affording Dental Implants- What You Need to Know

Dental implants can improve both the function and appearance of your smile. They are also a significant financial investment. If you have an FSA, your leftover funds may make the procedure more accessible and affordable. If you don’t have an FSA, you may still be able to afford dental implants.

  • Finest Care at the Most Reasonable Cost- We strive to provide our patients with the highest standard of care in oral and maxillofacial surgery. We also try to keep our costs reasonable and fair. Come in for a consultation and quote so you know how much dental implants will cost.
  • Insurance– We accept insurance and many policies pay a significant amount toward dental implants. We are happy to submit insurance claims for you. Remember, you are responsible for the entire cost of your procedure, whether your insurance company pays or not. Talk with your insurance company to find out if your policy covers dental implants.
  • Payment Policy- Our policy is that payment must be made at the time of the treatment. If you have insurance, we will ask you to pay your portion of the payment at the time of the procedure.
  • Accepted Payments– We accept a variety of payment options including cash, check, debit cards, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and Care Credit.
  • Financing for Dental Implants– If you need help financing the cost of your procedure, look into Care Credit. They provide a medical/dental credit card upon approval. This card can be used to pay for services from our offices and services offered by many other medical providers. Call our offices to learn more about Care Credit or visit their website to fill out an application.

With a variety of financing and payment options, we can provide dental implants to many patients that originally worried the cost of the procedure was out of reach. Come see us to explore your options and learn more.

The end of the year is quickly approaching. If you want dental implants and have leftover FSA funds, come see us and put them to good use. If you don’t have an FSA, let’s talk about financing options. During open enrollment time, right now for many of our patients, you’ll have more options available for changing/adding insurance or getting an FSA. If you’re hoping for dental implants in the near future, come in now so you can get the information you need before open enrollment closes. Call us to schedule your consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Common Post-Extraction Complications

Complications can and do happen after tooth extraction. Lower your chances of common extraction complications by following your recovery instructions carefully.

Common Complications After Extraction

What complications are most common after an extraction? What can you do to avoid these complications? Learn more below:

  • Poor Pain Control – Take your pain medications on a regular schedule. Don’t wait until you feel pain. We recommend taking your first dose of pain medication shortly after surgery before the surgical anesthetic wears off. Taking your medications on schedule provides better pain control and less discomfort.
  • Excessive Bleeding – Changing the gauze too soon or too often can result in excessive bleeding. Moisten the gauze, place it over the surgical site, and leave it in place for a full hour. Replace the gauze every hour until it is pink upon removal and then discontinue gauze use. Contact us if you’re ever concerned about bleeding levels or if you have trouble controlling the bleeding.
  • Nausea – Some patients are sensitive to pain medications. Take your medications with food to reduce the risk of nausea after surgery.
  • Dry Socket – Dry socket is one of the most painful post-extraction complications. It occurs when the blood clot is dislodged too early. Dry socket can be very painful and does not respond to pain medications. Prevent dry socket by not smoking, avoiding the use of straws, keeping your mouth clean, and limiting physical activity. If you experience dry socket, contact us immediately. We can relieve your pain using medicated dressings.
  • Swelling – Ice can reduce swelling for the first two days after surgery. Sleep in an elevated position. After two days, use heat to break up any bruising.
  • Infection – Good hygiene is essential after an extraction. Use salt water rinses after eating and drinking (except water). Brush your teeth normally, but use care around the extraction sites. Some patients may need to take an antibiotic to lower their infection risk.

To avoid extraction complications, follow your recovery instructions carefully. We are here to help. Please get in touch by contacting Hill Country Plastic Surgery at 512-327-7233 if you have any questions or concerns.

Dental Implants: The Process

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the roots of the teeth with titanium screws and substitutes missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function as normal teeth would. Dental implants are a great option for teeth replacement as they help keep the other teeth healthy, will last a lifetime and improve the appearance of your smile. The doctors at Hill Country Oral Surgery put together this graphic to help you better understand the dental implant process, if you would like to learn more about the surgery, consult with one of our doctors by calling 512-327-7233 or contacting us here!

Dental Implant Process Infographic

Bone Grafting Recovery

Get your teeth back! Dental implants can restore aesthetic beauty and function to your smile, but they are investment, requiring both time and financial commitment. Some patients will need bone grafting to achieve optimal results from their implants. This ensures that there sufficient support for your implants and helps to avoid broken implants. Bone grafting also improves the contours of your gum line, for a natural, healthy looking result.

If you need bone grafting, it may take additional time to prepare your mouth for dental implants. This guide will help you understand the recovery process after bone grafting. Contact us today to learn more about your options for dental implants.

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

When teeth are missing or removed, the supporting bone underneath shrinks and atrophies. The extraction process can also damage or remove supporting bone. Without sufficient bone quantity and quality, it can be impossible to achieve a healthy and strong dental implant. Bone grafting can restore the bone, helping to improve the results of your dental implants.

Bovine (cow) or human donor grafts are often used, eliminating the need for a second surgical site. This makes bone grafting easier and more comfortable for you, the patient. If large quantities of bone are needed, we may extract bone from the lower jaw to use in your bone graft. Bone can be harvested from the body with minimal risk and no cosmetic deformity.

What’s Recovery Like After Bone Grafting?

Recovery after bone grafting is similar to recovery after tooth extraction. Plan on reducing activity for 4-5 days, although most patients are ready to return much sooner than this. We’ll give you specific recovery instructions before your surgery so you can plan time off work and make needed preparations.

  • Pain– Many patients worry about pain after dental procedures. Most find the pain to be minimal and quite tolerable with the use of pain medication. We have a variety of anesthetic and pain management options for your procedure and recovery. Your first dose of pain medication is the most important. Make sure you take before the surgical anesthetic wears off as the initial pain is often the most difficult to get through.
  • Diet– Food intake will be limited for the first few days after your procedure. Do not chew over the graft site for the first week. Start with soft, easy to chew foods like mashed potatoes, pastas, and soups. Be careful with food temperatures to avoid burning yourself.
  • Hygiene– Good dental hygiene will help you avoid infections. We may provide rinses for you to use or antibiotics for you to take. We’ll give you detailed instructions on how to brush your teeth while you heal.
  • Contact Us– Get it touch if you have any questions or concerns throughout the recovery process.

When Can I Receive Dental Implants After Bone Grafting?

Timing for implants varies after bone grafting. Some patients can receive their implants right away and others may need to wait a few months after grafting. We can give you more information about expected timeline during your consultation.

Call and schedule your consultation today.

How Is a Tooth Extraction Performed?

Our goal is to help you create a beautiful, healthy smile. Sometimes this means that we’ll need to remove a tooth or two so we can treat and improve your smile. What happens during a tooth extraction? Here’s what to expect from your procedure.

Why Are Tooth Extractions Needed?

Teeth are valuable and whenever possible, your dentist will work to repair your teeth using fillings, crowns, and other treatment options. Some teeth are too damaged to repair and need to be removed. We also remove teeth to prevent future problems or if they are infected. When a tooth needs to come out, we perform a tooth extraction.

What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?

Tooth extraction is a relatively straightforward procedure. Here’s what may happen when you come into see us for tooth removal.

  • Detailed Examination- Before an extraction, we make sure that removal is necessary. We’ll take x-rays of the area to assess the condition of your teeth. These x-rays also help us to spot potential complications, like nerves or bone disease, before the procedure.
  • Create a Surgical Plan- We want your extraction to be as easy as possible. We’ll work with you to create a surgical plan. We try to remove as many teeth as possible during a single appointment to minimize your downtime. Tooth extractions can be performed using local anesthetics, IV sedation, general anesthesia, etc., depending on your needs, your pain tolerance, and your anxiety levels.
  • Tooth Extraction- We perform most extractions in our offices and patients return home to recover. During the procedure you may feel pressure, but you won’t experience pain. We have a variety of pain relief options available to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.

Simple vs. Surgical Extraction

Some tooth extractions are relatively easy. Others are very complex. We can give you a better idea of what to expect from your extraction after an examination and x-rays.

  • Simple Extraction- A simple extraction is performed on a tooth that is fully erupted in the mouth. The tooth is loosened and then pulled out using forceps. Many times this procedure can be performed by a regular dentist, without the need for oral surgery.
  • Surgical Extraction- Surgical extractions are needed when teeth are broken off or trapped within the bone. A small cut is made on the gums and the tooth is removed. We may need to remove some of the bone surrounding the tooth or may need to break the tooth up before removing it. Stitches may be required to hold the gums closed during recovery.

 

Call Hill Country Oral Surgery today and schedule your tooth extraction consultation.

Gum Grafting Recovery

Gum grafting sounds like an intimidating procedure, but in reality, the name sounds scarier than the procedure and recovery actually are. The surgery itself is over quickly and recovery takes a couple of weeks. If you need gum grafting, come see us and learn about your options. Gum grafting is an important process and can improve your oral health. This guide will help you prepare for the recovery process.

How Painful Is Gum Grafting Recovery?

Your recovery experience after gum grafting will vary, depending on the specifics of your procedure. Gum grafts can be performed with tissue harvested from your body, typically taken from the palate, with gum tissue from the area needing treatment, or with donor tissues. The extent of your procedure and the type of tissues used will impact your comfort levels during recovery. The good news is, we have many options available for pain management and will help you create a plan to ensure your recovery is as pleasant as possible.

The mouth heals quickly and most patients feel better in just a few days. After an examination, we can give you a better estimation of downtime and an expected recovery timeline. Come see us!

Oral Care During Gum Grafting Recovery

Special attention to your oral health can help you to avoid infections and complications after gum grafting. We’ll give you specific recovery instructions after your procedure, but here are a few recovery guidelines to keep in mind as you prepare for your procedure:

  • Let the Tissues Heal– Brushing and flossing are important, but after gum grafting, you’ll want to skip these activities for a few days in the treated areas. Don’t disturb the transplanted tissues and give them time to heal.
  • Keep Clean with Rinses- We often use oral rinses to keep the mouth clean and to minimize plaque development after gum grafting surgery. Rinse your mouth as directed using the special solutions and instructions we provide.
  • Limit Physical Activity- You may need to limit your physical activity after gum grafting surgery for a few days. Avoid strenuous activities until you’ve been cleared by your doctor. You may need to take a couple of days off from work while you heal.

What Foods Should I Eat After Gum Grafting?

A soft, easy to eat diet is important during the healing process. Avoid hot (temperature) and spicy foods. Focus on soft foods like:

  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Soups

Cool any hot foods to a cool, comfortable temperature before eating. We’ll let you know when you can safely resume your regular diet.

Gum grafting may sound scary but can save your teeth and improve your smile. Let us help you restore your mouth to prime dental health. Call today and schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Common Questions About Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the last four teeth to erupt into the mouth. They grow in the back of the mouth, often coming in during the late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, many people don’t have room for them and need their wisdom teeth removed. This guide will answer some common questions about wisdom teeth removal.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Many people choose wisdom tooth removal between the ages of 15-20. At this age, your teeth may not be fully erupted, but wisdom tooth removal is often easiest before the wisdom teeth are fully developed. Some patients may need extraction at an earlier age to avoid damage to the surrounding teeth.  The best way to determine the timing of your wisdom tooth removal, or to determine if removal is needed, is to schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon. After an oral examination and x-rays, we can help you decide if and when wisdom tooth removal is needed.

If you have room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth and can keep them clean, they may not need to be removed.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are often malpositioned due to space constraints. The teeth may be unable to fully erupt or may be growing at an angle, pressing up against the neighboring teeth. An oral surgeon can help you determine if your wisdom teeth are causing problems or if they are likely to cause problems in the future. Here are a few reasons you may need to consider wisdom tooth removal.

  • Jaw Damage– Cysts can develop around new teeth. If left untreated, they can cause permanent nerve and jaw damage.
  • Sinus Issues- Some patients with wisdom tooth issues experience sinus pain.
  • Damage to Other Teeth– Wisdom teeth can cause alignment problems with other teeth. Cavities and decay on the wisdom teeth can spread to the surrounding teeth.
  • Cavities- Many patients are unable to properly clean their wisdom teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your wisdom tooth removal will be customized to your unique needs. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your individual situation and make plans for appropriate pain relief, sedation (if desired), etc. We typically remove all four wisdom teeth at once, minimizing your downtime and inconvenience. Come see us and we’ll create a treatment plan together.

What Is Recovery Like After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Recovery times vary after wisdom tooth removal, often depending on the difficulty of your extraction.  Plan on at least three days of downtime with prescription pain relief. Take it easy and get plenty of rest during the first few days. Most patients are sore for about a week, but able to resume regular activities. Complicated removals may require a longer period of downtime.

Not all patients need wisdom tooth removal, but if you do, we’re ready to help. Call our offices today and schedule your consultation.

Do I Need Bone Grafting Before Dental Implants?

Restore your beautiful smile with dental implants. If you’re missing teeth or have undergone severe dental trauma, dental implants can help you get your smile back. We often talk with patients that are interested in implants, but a bit apprehensive about the process, especially the potential for a needed bone graft. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants and bone grafting. Contact our offices and schedule a consultation to get personalized advice.

Do All Dental Implant Patients Need a Bone Graft?

Some patients will need a bone graft before dental implants and some will not. When teeth are missing or removed, the supporting bone begins to atrophy (or shrink). Dental implants are secured into the supporting bone. For the implant to hold up to the forces that teeth face, like biting and chewing, we need to use a sufficiently sized titanium screw. If the bone has atrophied too much, we won’t be able to place an implant that will hold up over time. Additionally, the bone provides the support for gum tissue. If the bone has atrophied, your gum line contours will not look natural.

In patients with significant bone atrophy, we can restore the supporting bone using bone grafting. During your consultation, we can help you determine if bone grafting is needed for successful dental implants. The longer your tooth has been missing, the more likely you are to need bone grafting.

Bone grafting may sound intimidating, but we find the results far outweigh the inconvenience. Bone grafting helps us to truly restore your smile and to create a natural look using dental implants.

Where Do You Get the Bone for a Bone Graft?

We obtain the needed bone for bone grafting from either a donor source or by harvesting your own bone.

  • Donor Bone– Donor bone, either from a bovine (cow) or human donor source, can be used for many patients. This bone is obtained from a tissue bank and is sterilized and specially processed before it is used. The advantage of using donor bone is that we don’t need to create a second surgical site on your body. This can make recovery easier.
  • Your Own Bone- For patients needing extensive reconstruction, harvested bone from your own body generally works best. This bone can be obtained with minimal risk and without cosmetic deformity.

Many patients feel intimidated by the possibility of bone grafting, but don’t let that stop you from achieving a beautiful smile. We regularly perform bone grafting with excellent results. If you have concerns, come see us. We can help you better understand the process and answer any questions you may have. Call us today and schedule your consultation.

Hill Country Oral Surgery Is One of the First Practices to Use Exparel® in Austin, Texas

Are you worried about pain after oral surgery? Many patients put off needed oral surgeries due to fear of pain. We are excited to minimize our patients’ pain and narcotic medication use after oral surgery with Exparel®. Get the procedures you need today. With Exparel®, pain isn’t going to be a problem.

What Is Exparel®?

Exparel® is a non-narcotic, injectable pain management option. It relieves pain in a specific, focused area, providing results for up to 3 days after surgery. We’ll inject the solution before your procedure and you’ll feel it start to work immediately. It will continue to numb the surgical site for the next 2-3 days. Often, no other pain relief is needed. We are one of the first oral surgery practices to offer Exparel® in Austin, Tx.

What Are the Benefits of Exparel®?

Exparel® has many benefits including:

  • Narcotic-free
  • Avoid the side effects of narcotic pain relief including nausea, vomiting, and constipation
  • No risk of abuse or addiction to the patient
  • No pain after surgery
  • No need to remember to take pain medication

Exparel® is especially helpful to patients at risk for narcotic abuse. Finally, we have more than one option available for pain management. We’ll help you decide if Exparel® or traditional narcotic pain relief is the best option for you.

Can Exparel® Be Used with All Oral Surgery Procedures?

Exparel® is a useful option for many of our oral surgery procedures. It can be used to keep you pain free after:

We’ll help you determine if Exparel® is the right fit for your procedure.

Don’t let the fear of pain stop you from pursuing your needed dental treatments. We’ll help you alleviate your fears and can provide a pain-free surgical experience. Contact us today and ask for more information about Exparel®.