What Causes Dental Implant Failure and How Can You Avoid It?


Dental implants are designed to last. With proper use, they can enhance your smile and restore dental function for decades. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we regularly perform dental implant placement in Austin, TX and have an excellent success rate.

Unfortunately, dental implants do occasionally fail. This is not a common problem but can be a frustrating one when it occurs. Learn what causes dental implant failure and get our best tips for avoiding this problem. Our goal is a beautiful, healthy, restored smile after tooth loss or extraction. Call us to schedule your consultation with one of our skilled and experienced oral surgeons.

Common Causes of Dental Implant Failure

What causes a dental implant to fail? There are many potential reasons. Some problems occur shortly after placement and may keep the dental implant from properly integrating with the jawbone. Other issues can arise long after the implant is placed, often due to disease, infection, or improper care. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common causes of dental implant failure in Austin, TX.

  • Patient Health- Your health plays a critical role in determining the success of your implants. Some medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases and blood diseases, may make implants inadvisable. We’ll talk about your health, including any medications you may be taking, to ensure that implants are safe and recommended for you.
  • Smoking- Smokers experience higher levels of implant failure. This doesn’t automatically disqualify a smoker from the procedure, but it is something we should talk about. If you smoke, stopping is one of the best things you can do for your oral and overall health.
  • Implant Rejection or Allergic Reaction- Rejection occurs when the body reacts negatively to a foreign substance, in this case, the dental implant. Other patients may experience an allergic reaction to components used in the implant. Allergic reactions are very rare since the implants we use are made using a specially treated titanium.
  • Nerve or Tissue Damage- Nerve or tissue damage during implant placement can cause problems with integration.
  • Infection- Infection can cause implant failure at any time during the life of the implant. Initially, infections may interfere with the implant’s ability to integrate. Later, infection can erode bone holding the implant in place.
  • Overloading- Too much pressure, too soon on a new implant can cause failure.
  • Not Enough Implants- For patients requiring extensive restoration, we often use implants to support bridges, allowing for full arch reconstruction with as few as four implants. These procedures can be highly successful but require careful planning to ensure sufficient support. Too few implants can lead to dental implant failure.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene- Good oral hygiene is critical to maintaining natural teeth or dental implants. Poor hygiene can lead to bone or gum loss or infection, common causes of dental implant loss.
  • Lack of Bone or Gum Tissue- Implants must be supported by sufficient bone and gum tissue. We use bone and gum grafting as needed to ensure that patients have the needed structure within the mouth to successfully support dental implants.
  • Tooth Grinding- Dental implants can stand up to biting and chewing forces for many years, but tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, can be problematic. If you have this problem, come see us, and we can recommend treatment options to protect either your natural teeth or your implants.

These are some of the most common causes of dental implant failure but are not the only potential causes. We’ll talk with you extensively about the risks and benefits of this procedure during your consultation.

Avoiding Dental Implant Failure- What Can You Do?

One of the best ways to prevent dental implant failure is to choose an experienced and careful oral surgeon for your implant placement. Dental implants aren’t a quick fix, and any dentist that tells you they are should be avoided. We take our time with dental implants to ensure that they are ready to withstand years of chewing and smiling. Choose an oral surgeon with extensive dental implant experience, like Dr. Cavaretta and Dr. Rasmussen.

Taking care of your teeth is the other key to success. We’ll provide you with detailed recovery instructions, and we will teach you how to care for your implants so they can last.

Learn more about dental implants at Hill Country Oral Surgery. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule your consultation with us.


Can Jaw Surgery Relieve Difficulty Chewing and Biting?

Jaw surgery changes lives, improves bites, and beautifies smiles. Corrective jaw surgeries are a specialty of our oral surgeons here at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX. Learn more about jaw surgery. Find out if you’re a candidate. Finally, call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons.

What Can Jaw Surgery Do for Me?

Jaw surgery is a versatile procedure that can correct a host of major and minor dental problems. In some cases, it is used for cosmetic changes, but generally, the primary goal of jaw surgery is to correct functional problems of the jaw and teeth.

What can jaw surgery do for you? This procedure treats many common dental problems including:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Gummy smiles
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial injuries and trauma
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Gaps between the teeth or lips when the mouth is closed
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Weak or receding jaw/chin
  • Sleep apnea
  • Excessive wear of the teeth

If you have any of the conditions on this list, come in for a consultation with one of our surgeons. Jaw surgery may not be the right fit for you, but when it is, it can dramatically improve symptoms, often completely resolving medical or dental complaints.

Jaw Surgery to Improve Chewing or Biting

Jaw surgery is often used to correct alignment issues between the upper and lower teeth. When the teeth and jaws don’t meet properly, biting and chewing difficulties can arise. Moving the jaws so the teeth meet up can improve jaw function. It can also make it easier to eat and chew. In addition to functional benefits, many patients notice an improvement in their smile’s appearance after jaw surgery.

Orthodontics and Jaw Surgery- Which Option Do I Need?

Orthodontics, like braces or invisible aligners, are often used to move the teeth. This can correct some bite and alignment issues but not all of them. If the jaw bones aren’t in alignment, getting the teeth into alignment can be difficult or impossible. We’ll work closely with your orthodontist to create a surgical plan that complements your orthodontic goals. Jaw surgery complements orthodontics for many of our patients.

Addressing only teeth alignment and neglecting jaw positioning and function can lead to long-term dental problems later. Uneven jaws can cause orthodontic shifting, poor facial aesthetics, periodontal issues, and joint pain if they aren’t properly treated and addressed. Jaw surgery creates a strong foundation for future dental work.

Preparing for Jaw Surgery

If you need jaw surgery, call our Austin, TX oral surgery practice to schedule a consultation. We provide a complete and comprehensive consultation using both models and x-rays. We use 3D models and computerized techniques to show patients alignment issues and to illustrate the positive impact that jaw surgery will have. You’ll see how your bite will improve and how your appearance will change.

We’ll work closely with your other dental providers, including your general dentist and your orthodontist. Jaw surgery is a delicate procedure and requires a collaborative approach for the best results.


Ensure Dental Health During the Holidays with These Tips

No one wants a dental emergency over the holidays. Keep your smile merry and bright all season long with these healthy dental care tips. And should a dental emergency arise, during the holidays or any other time during the year, give Hill Country Oral Surgery a call at 512-327-7233. As a top oral surgery practice in Austin, TX, we are prepared to help our patients when dental emergencies arise.

Enjoy the Candy Canes but Not Too Many

Sweets and treats abound during the holidays. We want you to indulge and enjoy the season but it’s best to keep our consumption reasonable. Candy and sugary foods are terrible for your teeth. Limit sweets to once a day and brush when you’re finished. If you can’t brush, rinse with water.

Your teeth will thank you if you choose your treats with your teeth in mind. Chewy treats stick around long after you’re finished enjoying them. Swap caramels, toffees, and candy canes for fudge, cookies, or even better, dark chocolate.

A Holiday Break Doesn’t Mean a Break from Dental Hygiene

A change in routine often leads to slacking on everyday habits, important ones like brushing and flossing your teeth. Don’t neglect your dental habits. We hope you’ll use the extra time during the holidays to improve your dental habits, not let them slide.

As you have days off during the holidays, try to incorporate a new positive dental habit, rather than letting established habits falter. Not a great flosser? Become one over the holidays. Use the extra time to improve your brushing skills. Give your smile the gift of better dental habits. What can you do to improve your dental hygiene this holiday season?

Teeth Are for Chewing, Not Opening Packages

It is easy to break a tooth but much harder to repair the damage. Teeth are for chewing, not opening packages or removing clothing tags. As you wrap and open gifts, keep a pair of scissors nearby and use them instead of your teeth.

Dental Needs Don’t Pause for the Holidays

We know the holiday season is busy and fitting in regular dental care can be a challenge, but if you have dental needs, they still need to be addressed. Regular dental visits and cleanings, restorative and repair work, tooth extractions, etc. should be a priority, even over the holidays. If you need to schedule an appointment, give us a call, and our staff will help you set things up.

Resolve to Improve Your Dental Health in 2019

Finally, while you’re enjoying the holidays with your family, spend a little time reflecting on your resolutions for the new year. We hope that one of your resolutions will be better dental health in 2019. Every smile is different, and you can choose the resolutions that will best help you achieve beautiful pearly whites. Some ideas for a healthier smile include:

  • Fix Dental Problems- Do you have a tooth that needs extracting or a gap that needs a dental implant? Resolve to fix any existing dental problems in 2019. We’re scheduling consultations for January and February now. Call us to get on the schedule!
  • Visit the Dentist Regularly- Consistent dental visits can help you avoid many dental problems. Ask your dentist how often you need to come in for cleanings and checks. If you haven’t been consistent on dental visits, 2019 is a great time to start.
  • Brush Better- Brushing teeth shouldn’t take a lot of time, but it does require a few minutes. Many of our patients don’t spend enough time brushing or don’t brush effectively. Ask your dentist for tooth brushing tips and try to spend at least 2-3 minutes brushing, 2x a day.

Making a few small changes with the coming new year can transform and improve your smile for decades to come. Whatever you resolve, make sure that your teeth make the list.

Wishing you a happy holiday season from all of us at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX.

How to Choose Your Best Bone Graft Material

Beautiful dental restorations require a strong foundation. When placing dental implants, we need sufficient bone to support the implant through the strain of biting forces. If bone has degraded, bone grafting may be needed. Our oral surgeons are experienced in dental bone grafting using donor and patient-collected bone.

Learn about your options for bone graft material below. If you require this additional step before your dental implants, we’ll discuss options in detail before your procedure.

Why Are Bone Grafts Needed for Dental Implants?

Teeth apply pressure to the bones in the jaw each time you bite. This pressure and stimulation keep the bone healthy and strong. When a tooth is lost, the bone slowly begins to degrade. This is a very gradual process and can take months or years before the bone loss is pronounced. Bone can also be damaged during the extraction of a severely decayed tooth.

To place a dental implant, we need bone. Patients that have been without a tooth for an extended period often lack sufficient bone, both in quality and quantity. Bone grafts supply us with the quality bone needed for a successful implantation.

Bone structure is essential to facial structure. Grafting restores jawline contours for a full and healthy-looking lower face.

Do I Need a Bone Graft?

Bone grafts aren’t always needed for dental implants. The longer a tooth has been missing, the more likely a graft is needed. Patients with recent tooth loss often don’t require this procedure. We never recommend bone grafting if it isn’t necessary for functional or aesthetic results.

Where Do We Get Bone for Bone Grafting?

The bone we use for grafting comes from either a donor source or is harvested from the patient.

  • Donor Bone- Using bone from a donor eliminates the need for a second surgical site. We use donor bone from human or bovine (cow) sources. This bone is processed and sterilized before implantation and is obtained from a tissue bank.
  • Patient-Harvested Bone- Another source for bone is the patient. We often extract this bone from the lower jaw, either from the chin or behind the third molar area. This bone is obtained with minimal risk and without cosmetic deformity.

Which Bone Graft Type Is Best for Me?

The best bone graft material depends on many factors. We need an examination and consultation to determine your best treatment approach.

  • Tissue bank bone, either bovine or human, simplifies the grafting process. We can immediately start the graft, without having to harvest the tissue first. It speeds recovery since only one surgical site is created.
  • Patient-harvested bone is used most often in implant sites that require significant reconstruction.

We have an in-house 3D CT machine. This allows us to create detailed imaging of your existing bone anatomy. This information is used to determine if bone grafting is needed, and which graft materials are most appropriate.

Call Hill Country Oral Surgery to learn more about your options for dental implants and bone grafting in Austin, TX. Our phone number is 512-327-7233.


What to Do During an Oral Health Emergency

Do I need to see a dentist now? Can I wait until morning? The stress of an oral health emergency is often worsened by a lack of information about the best course of treatment. Treating most common dental emergencies starts with a trip to the dentist or oral surgeon. Call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX at 512-327-7233. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained and experienced in treating oral health emergencies and traumas.

Common Oral Emergencies and What to Do About Them

Oral health emergencies can occur at any time, day or night. Some are caused by trauma or injury. Others arise from complications from existing dental work or oral health conditions. Infection, pain, or damaged teeth are all signs of a potential dental emergency.

Treatment options and urgency vary, depending on the type of emergency. If you’re not sure, get in touch and we’ll help you determine if urgent treatment is needed or if you can safely wait for a few days or hours.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries- Soft tissue injuries include cuts and lacerations to the face and mouth. These are repaired by suturing. Our trained oral surgeons carefully suture soft tissue injuries to minimize the cosmetic impact of the injury. We also carefully examine the area to ensure that facial nerves, salivary glands/ducts, and other essential structures are not damaged.
  • Facial Fractures- Bone injuries to the face and jaw are treated similarly to bone injuries elsewhere on the body. The area is typically stabilized, allowing the bone to heal. We use different methods to accomplish stabilization including jaw immobilization, surgical plates, screws, etc. We always strive to maintain appearance as much as possible and minimize incisions and scars.
  • Knocked Out Teeth- A dislodged or avulsed (knocked out) tooth is a serious dental emergency. Prompt care is essential for the best treatment results. The sooner the tooth is reimplanted, the more likely it is to survive. If the tooth is knocked out, do not attempt the clean or rinse the tooth. Pick it up from the crown, not the root, place it in salt water or milk, and contact us immediately. If the tooth can’t be saved, dental implants can restore appearance and function to the area.
  • Chipped or Broken Teeth- See your dentist as soon as possible. We have many options for treating chipped or broken teeth. The best treatment depends on the type and extent of the damage.
  • Toothache- See your dentist as soon as possible. Treatment for a toothache is dependent on causes of the ache. In extreme cases, an extraction may be needed.
  • Lost or Damaged Dental Work- Lost or damaged fillings, bridges, and orthodontic braces require prompt dental treatment.
  • Infection- Oral infections can progress quickly and may cause damage to the teeth and soft tissues. In some cases, oral infections can spread to other parts of the body, creating a serious medical emergency. Contact your dentist as soon as possible.

We try to see emergency patients same-day whenever possible. Call us and we’ll get you in as soon as we can.

Preventing Oral Emergencies

A little prevention can dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of many oral injuries. Protect your beautiful smile!

  • See Your Dentist Regularly- Dental cleanings and exams can prevent tooth decay and infection. Ask your dentist about recommended frequencies for these important preventative visits.
  • Address Dental Problems- As dental problems occur, treat them. Infections and decay can spread, creating serious emergencies later.
  • Protect Your Mouth- Sports injuries are a common cause of oral health emergencies. Use appropriate oral protections, like mouth guards, when participating in activities where injury to the face may occur.

When an oral health emergency strikes, call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX. Our skilled oral surgeons focus on providing exemplary patient care, during both regular and emergency visits. Our goal is a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile for every patient.


Can Halloween Candy Actually Damage Your Smile?


Ghosts, witches, and goblins, beware. Too many Halloween treats can wreak havoc on your smile. Learn how to enjoy one of fall’s favorite holidays without damaging your pearly whites.

What Does Candy Do to Teeth?

You’ve probably heard your dentist say that sugar is bad for your teeth. In reality, it isn’t the sugar that causes the damage, but the plaque bacteria that feed on sugar in your saliva. Your mouth is home to many different types of bacteria, some good and some bad. Sugar is food for harmful bacteria that create acid and damage tooth enamel. This leads to small holes in the enamel, called cavities.

Cavities start small, but they can grow quickly. Without proper attention, other dental problems can develop including bone and gum loss, extensive decay, and potentially the need for tooth extraction and dental implants. Prevention and early treatment are key to avoiding major dental problems later. A little candy can do a lot of damage if you’re aren’t careful.

Worst Halloween Treats for Your Teeth

When it comes to tooth damage, all treats are not created equally. Some types of candy are worse for teeth than others. As you choose Halloween candies, focus on less damaging options when you can. Some of the most tooth-damaging candies and Halloween treats include:

  • Sticky, Chewy, Gummy Candies- Caramels, taffy, and gummy candies stick to the teeth and between them. This increases the risk of tooth decay because the sugars stick around longer and aren’t as easily washed away by saliva.
  • Sour Candies- Sour candies are highly acidic. This acid can break down tooth enamel. Sour treats damage enamel in multiple ways: from the sugar in the treats and from the acids.

If you’re going to eat candy, non-sticky and non-sour treats are less damaging to the teeth.

Minimizing Tooth Enamel Damage While Enjoying Halloween Treats

Sugar causes dental problems, but you can minimize the damage with a few simple strategies. Protect your teeth this Halloween by:

  • Drinking Lots of Water- Water can help minimize the effects of sugar on the teeth. Hydrate more if you’re eating lots of sweets. Rinsing the mouth out with water after eating candy can reduce the amount of sugar that remains in the mouth.
  • Saving Candy for Mealtimes- Saliva production increases at mealtimes. Eating candy with a meal can reduce damage to the teeth.
  • Don’t Snack- Avoid snacking on candy throughout the day.
  • Brush After Eating- Brushing your teeth after a treat can remove enamel destroying bacteria from the mouth. If you’re enjoying acidic candies or beverages, wait 30 minutes before brushing since your enamel may be temporarily weakened from the acids.
  • Floss- Candy and sugar can get between the teeth, where saliva can’t wash it away. Flossing helps to remove sugar and bacteria from between the teeth. Flossing daily is recommended, and especially if you’re eating candy.
  • Visit Your Dentist Regularly- Whether you’re eating candy or not, regular dental visits are always an important part of maintaining good dental health. Your dentist can spot and treat problems early before they develop into a more extensive problem.

Halloween means candy, but it doesn’t have to mean tooth decay. Follow these tips to protect your teeth from damage.


Benefits of a Boutique Dental Practice

Are you tired of feeling like a number, not a person, when you go to the dentist? Do you want better care, personalized attention, and the latest treatment technologies in dental care? Consider a boutique dental practice. These personalized practices approach dentistry differently than a traditional practice and provide patients with many unique benefits.

Hill Country Oral Surgery is proud to be a boutique oral surgery practice located in Austin, TX. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our available dental and oral surgery services.

What Are the Benefits of a Boutique Dental Practice?

A boutique dental practice is a smaller, patient-oriented practice. Like a big box department store differs from a small independent shop, corporate and boutique dental practices differ, sometimes substantially. Both have benefits, but only a boutique practice can offer the personalized care that our patients desire.

Being a boutique practice allows us to offer patients a different kind of dental experience including benefits like:

  • Extensive Training– Our surgeons, Cavaretta and Dr. Rasmussen, are trained and experienced oral surgeons. We are dedicated to learning and are constantly striving to learn new skills and gain additional knowledge. Large, corporate practices often use inexperienced or minimally trained dentists.
  • Many Available Treatments– We offer a variety of oral surgery services including wisdom tooth extraction, impacted canine treatment, apicoectomies, jaw surgery, and dental implants.
  • Individualized Treatment– Each of our patients brings both their dental needs and their life experiences to our practice. Some patients find dental treatment scary and intimidating. Other patients may have medical needs that impact their care. Our patients vary in their budgets, insurance coverage, treatment priorities, and anatomy. We work with each patient to create an individualized care plan. We want to find solutions that work for you and that you’re comfortable with.
  • Consistency of Care– At Hill Country Oral Surgery, each patient develops a relationship with their surgeon and with the members of our staff. Our two surgeons are members of the Austin community. You won’t meet with a nameless, faceless, ever-changing surgeon here. You’ll know your oral surgeon and will receive consistent quality care with each visit.
  • State-of-the-Art Facility– Our facility is beautifully outfitted with the latest technologies in oral and maxillofacial surgery. We use 3D x-ray analysis, guided implant surgery, and 3D printing to provide our patients with the best available care.
  • Time– We take the time to listen to your questions, concerns, and thoughts. We want our patients to feel comfortable and give each patient our undivided time and attention. Building trust takes time.

Discover these benefits and more at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

How Do I Find a Boutique Dental Practice?

Finding a boutique dentist or oral surgeon can be challenging. Take your time, do your research, and keep looking if you’re unhappy with the quality of care you receive. Recommendations are a valuable way to find patient-focused dentists. We are grateful to our many wonderful patients for sharing our practice with friends and loved ones.

Boutique dental practices put the patient back into dentistry. We are excited to offer our patients some of the best care, training, and experience available in oral surgery. Call us to schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX.




All-on-4 vs. Dentures

All-on-4 is a surgical procedure where dental implants are placed to support an entire arch of teeth, and a permanent, non-removable restoration is fixed to the implants. Full dentures are removable teeth that are secured with dental paste. Read our infographic below to learn about the differences between the two options.

If you’re interested in all-on-4 or dentures, contact us today.

Reasons for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

You may have heard that dentures don’t fit well or that they are uncomfortable. This may have been true in the past, but a modern, properly fitted denture can dramatically increase quality of life for a patient. To ensure the best fit and comfort, we may recommend pre-prosthetic surgery in advance of denture placement. This prepares the mouth for a dental prothesis.

Getting Your Mouth Ready for Dentures

Dentures sit on the bone ridge of the jaw. Any irregularities in the bone can interfere with the fit and comfort of a denture. Pre-prosthetic surgery helps to prepare the mouth for dentures. It may include one or more of the following procedures:

  • Bone smoothing
  • Bone reshaping
  • Ridge reduction
  • Removal or excess gum tissue
  • Extractions
  • Exposure of impacted teeth
  • Bone removal

Before recommending pre-prosthetic surgery, we carefully examine the mouth and pinpoint those areas that may require additional treatment. Just like a foundation supports a home for decades, your jawbone will support your dentures. A strong, properly prepared support means a better fit and increased comfort for the life of your dentures. This isn’t a step you want to skip.

Reasons for Pre-Prosthetic Surgery

Why is preparation surgery needed before dentures? There are many reasons for the surgery, but a common one is tooth extraction. Many patients require tooth removal before getting dentures. An extraction can leave the jawbone sharp and uneven. This can cause comfort and fit problems with the dentures if it isn’t properly addressed. Pre-prosthetic surgery can smooth things out and prepare the area for dentures.

Do I Need Pre-Prosthetic Surgery Before Dentures?

Not all patients will require pre-prosthetic surgery. To determine if you’ll need the procedure, come in for a consultation. After an exam, and possibly imaging, we’ll know if you’ll need surgery. Most of the procedures required are minor, and recovery is usually pretty minimal. We’ll tell you what to expect during your consultation, after we have a better idea of which procedures you’ll require.

Alternatives to Dentures- Dental Implants in Austin, TX

Dentures aren’t the only way to restore a smile. Many of our patients are opting for dental implants in place of dentures. Implants place a titanium screw into the jaw. This screw supports a crown of one or more teeth. Implants can be used to fill in a single missing tooth or an entire jaw.

Like dentures, implants often require preparation surgery. We may recommend bone or gum grafting to help prepare the mouth for dental implants.

Dental implants function like natural teeth, but they can require extensive surgery to place. Implants may also be more expensive than dentures. We can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you.

A little preparation often means better results. This certainly holds true for dentures and dental implants. Modern dentures are nothing like the ones your grandmother wore. With proper fit and care, you can enjoy a better appearance, increased oral functionality, and a comfortable fit. Come into Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX to learn more about your options for dental restoration.