The Benefits of Metal-Free Dental Implants

The Benefits of Metal-Free Dental Implants

Hill Country Oral Surgery is proud to offer metal-free dental implants to our patients in Austin, TX. These strong and durable implants provide our patients with another option for tooth replacement and restoration. We want to help you get your smile back. Come in for a consultation to learn more about your options for tooth replacement, including metal-free dental implants. Call our office at 512-327-7233 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced oral surgeons.

Dental Implant Options in Austin, TX

We offer both metal and metal-free dental implants for tooth replacement. Why do we offer both types of dental implants? Each type has different strengths and using both metal and metal-free selections ensures that our patients have access to the options they need for a successful procedure.
Metal dental implants are usually made from titanium, a strong and corrosion resistant metal. These implants are currently the most commonly used type of dental implant in the U.S. and at our practice here in Austin, TX. Titanium implants consist of the screw, an abutment, and a crown. The titanium screw is implanted into the jawbone and, in time, will fuse with the bone to create a strong, solid support for the tooth. The abutment extends out of the bone and is the portion of the implant where the crown, or replacement tooth, will be attached. Titanium implants are the preferred option for many patients, including those that plan on creating a bridge of replacement crowns for multiple missing teeth, like with our All-on-4 implant treatment, a technique that restores a full arch using four or more carefully positioned implants.
Metal-free dental implants are made from zirconia, a strong ceramic material that never corrodes. We use the NobelPearl implants from Nobel BioCare. They are one of the newer options available and are some of the most effective metal-free options we’ve ever seen. We are delighted to finally be able to offer our patients a top-quality metal-free solution for tooth replacement.

The Benefits of Zirconia Dental Implants

Zirconia implants aren’t the right fit for every patient, but when used appropriately, they do offer many benefits including:
Reduced Oral Bacteria- The metal-free dental implants we use are specially constructed to reduce plaque and oral bacteria on and around the implant. Combine the unique design with good oral hygiene to dramatically improve oral health.
Shorter Surgery- Metal-free dental implants can reduce surgical and recovery times for some patients. They are placed using a different technique that benefits some patients significantly.
No Metal Allergies- Metal-free dental implants are made from ceramic, not metal. Although metal allergies are rare, these implants are ideal for patients that cannot use a titanium implant, for whatever reason.
Natural Looking Appearance- The screw and abutment portion of a titanium implant is a silver, metallic color. This can occasionally be seen through the gumline, especially in patients with thinning gums or bone. Zirconia dental implants have a white base, that looks more like a natural tooth root. Metal-free dental implants create a more natural appearance in patients with thinning gums.
Zirconia implants are also strong and long lasting, like their titanium counterparts. These implants integrate effectively into the bone, withstand biting forces, and provide beautiful, natural looking results.

Metal or Metal-Free Dental Implants: Which Should I Choose?

If you were to ask us whether metal or metal-free dental implants are the best, we would have a hard time answering. In truth, both types of dental implants are effective and valuable solutions. Both will help stimulate the bone in the jaw, protecting against bone loss and deterioration. Both implant types will restore form and function to a mouth after tooth loss. Both metal and metal-free dental implants are long lasting. We offer two distinct types of dental implant because each option has benefits.

Which one is best for you? The only way to know is to come in for a consultation. We usually have a clear preference between metal and metal-free options after a consultation. Examining your mouth, taking the necessary x-rays and imaging tests, and discussing your goals will help us find the best tooth replacement option for you. Call us and schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX.

Recovering from Root Surgery (Apicoectomy)


Infection and disease can affect any part of the tooth. When infected tissues are located below the gumline and root canal treatment has failed, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend an apicoectomy, also known as root-end surgery. A skillfully executed root-end procedure may be able to save your tooth.

Do you need an apicoectomy in Austin, TX? The oral surgeons at Hill Country Oral Surgery invite you to our office for a consultation. We’ll talk more about the procedure, explain your options, and address any questions or concerns you have. Call us at 512-327-7233 to schedule your apicoectomy consultation. There will be some healing after your procedure, but with good care and the right information, most patients enjoy a relatively easy recovery process.

What Is an Apicoectomy?

Root-end surgery is a specialized dental procedure that is performed on the root end of the tooth, under the gumline. It is performed after a failed root canal if infection returns after the procedure and retreatment would not be effective.

What happens during an apicoectomy? The procedure begins with an incision in the gum tissue to expose the root. Diseased and infected tissues are removed, along with a portion of the root tip. The tooth is sealed to prevent further infection and, if needed, a bone graft may be placed to provide additional support. Once the tooth is cleaned and stabilized, the incision is sutured closed.

An apicoectomy allows us to save many teeth that would otherwise be lost. Exposing the root of the tooth provides superior access to infected and diseased teeth, allowing us to clean and rehabilitate them. It also provides access to the bone surrounding the tooth for grafting. This is a last resort procedure, and without treatment, the tooth would likely require imminent removal. Preserving the tooth helps our patients to avoid extractions and the need for a dental implant.

Recovery After an Apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is a surgical procedure, but for most patients, recovery is minor. Additional procedures performed with your root-end surgery, like bone grafting, will typically extend the recovery period and restrictions. We’ll tell you what to expect from your recovery and will provide detailed instructions for post-apicoectomy care during your consultation.

  • Expected Side Effects- Swelling, soreness, minor bleeding, and numbness are common side effects of this procedure. They are normal and expected in most patients.
  • Ice- Place ice packs on the skin of the cheek on the side where the apicoectomy was performed. This is most effective on the day of surgery and helps to reduce swelling.
  • Pain Control- Ibuprofen, an over-the-counter medication, is usually sufficient to manage discomfort after surgery. Take pain medications before you’re in serious pain, as soon as you start to feel discomfort. Some patients may require a prescription pain relief option, especially if bone grafting or other procedures were performed with your root-end surgery.
  • Medications- Many patients will require antibiotics during healing. Fill any prescriptions as soon as possible and follow the prescribing instructions carefully.
  • Hygiene- Avoid brushing the area where the surgery was performed until instructed, and brush carefully after brushing is resumed. Vigorous rinsing can also irritate the fresh incisions. Gentle rinsing with a saltwater solution helps to keep to area clean and free of food and debris. As much as possible, leave the area alone, and give your body time to heal.
  • Smoking- Do not smoke or use nicotine products for several days before the procedure and until you’re fully healed.
  • Diet- We typically recommend a soft food diet for a few days after your procedure.
  • Activity- Restrict activity of the day of surgery. You can return to work and other activities as soon as you’re comfortable, usually a day or two after the procedure.
  • Follow Up Care- We will meet with you a few days after surgery to assess healing. Contact us if your recovery isn’t progressing as expected or if you have any concerns. Just call our office and a member of our staff will assist you.

Recovery after an apicoectomy is easier than expected for most of our patients. Many experience significant relief after their procedure due to a resolution of tooth pain and discomfort. An apicoectomy is a permanent treatment solution that can significantly extend the life of a diseased tooth.

Contact Hill Country Oral Surgery to learn more about apicoectomy recovery in Austin, TX.

Which Teeth Can Be Replaced by Dental Implants?

woman with full set of teeth

When you’re embarrassed by your teeth, smiling can feel like an impossibility. Damaged, missing, or broken teeth can keep you from enjoying life’s special moments. Dental implants give you a reason to smile again. Hill Country Oral Surgery is one of the top oral surgery practices for dental implant placement in Austin, TX. We look forward to exploring tooth replacement options with you and helping you rediscover your smile.

Any missing tooth can be replaced by a dental implant. Our advanced implant technologies allow us to replace a single tooth or an entire arch, whatever you need to smile with confidence again. Restore beauty and function to your smile with dental implants.

Dental Implants for Single Tooth Replacement

Incisors, molars, canines, and bicuspids, basically all types of teeth in the mouth, can be replaced using dental implants. The implant features a titanium screw that is implanted into the jawbone, acting like the natural root of the tooth. Attached to this screw is an abutment that anchors the replacement tooth, or crown. These replacement teeth look and function like a natural tooth.

Dental implants restore appearance and function to the mouth. Once the screw has fused into the bone, the implant functions almost exactly like a natural tooth, allowing patients to chew and bite foods effectively. The implant exerts biting forces onto the jawbone, stimulating it and helping bone structure to remain strong. Dental implants help maintain oral health and improve appearance by filling in areas where teeth are missing.

All-On-4 Full Arch Rehabilitation

When extensive tooth damage is present, multiple extractions and tooth replacements may be needed. Some patients may require full arch reconstruction. This is often accomplished using four or more dental implants and a full dental prosthetic arch. Some of our patients have heard this procedure called “All-On-4” or “Teeth in a Day”, but we prefer to call it full arch dental rehabilitation.

Using fewer implants lowers the cost and minimizes the amount of surgery needed to repair and rehabilitate dental function. Full arch replacement using singular implants would be very expensive and would require multiple, extensive surgeries. By supporting a replacement arch with fewer implants, we reduce the time and expense of surgery, without compromising on the quality of the results.

Dental Implants vs. Other Tooth Replacement Options

Dental implants are one of the most popular and effective options for tooth replacement in Austin, TX. Come in for a consultation with us to explore all of your available options for tooth restoration.

Dental implants offer many benefits over other tooth replacement options. They are implanted into the jawbone, and once healing is complete, look and function very similarly to a natural tooth. Dental implants are long lasting and can last for decades with proper care. They are also versatile and can be used to replace almost any tooth in the mouth.

We would love to explore your options for tooth replacement, including dental implants, during a one-on-one consultation. Call our Austin, TX oral surgery office at 512-327-7233 to schedule your consultation with us.

What Factors Contribute to Long Term Success of Dental Implants?

woman smiling with healthy teeth

Modern-day dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. They are a strong and effective option for replacing missing teeth. Dental implants can last and last, but only if certain conditions are met. Learn the factors that contribute to the long term success of your dental implants. Contact us to explore your options for tooth replacement and restoration with some of the top oral surgeons in Austin, TX.

A Strong Foundation

Lasting dental implants begin with a solid foundation. The implant is comprised of a titanium or metal-free screw, an abutment, and a crown. The screw is implanted into the jawbone during a specialized surgical procedure. In time, the bone will heal around the implant screw, fusing it into the jawbone. This is only possible when there is plenty of high quality, dense bone available. Many patients that have missing teeth, especially if they’ve been missing for many years, are lacking the required bone.

If a dental implant is placed with insufficient or weak bone, it may crack or break the bone or fail to properly integrate. Pre-surgical preparations are needed to ready the jawbone for implant surgery. Bone grafting can increase the quality and quantity of available bone. We perform bone grafting using both donor and patient-harvested tissues. Pre-treatment, using techniques like bone grafting, helps to create a solid foundation for long term dental implant success.

Sufficient Gum Coverage

The gums are a protective layer that cover the roots of natural teeth and the base of dental implants. When the gums are weak, thin, or unhealthy, problems can develop with dental implants. Gum grafting rebuilds the gum tissue, ensuring that the implants are properly covered and protected. This also improves the aesthetic appearance of dental implants.

Not all patients will require gum grafting, but for those with weak or damaged gums, this procedure can dramatically enhance the final aesthetic results, and improve the longevity of the dental implants.

Implant Positioning

Precise placement of dental implants is important, both for the appearance and function of the teeth. Our oral surgeons use both freehand and guided dental implant placement. Guided placement can improve outcomes for some patients, especially those with complex placement needs. Prior to surgery, precise guides are created, using imaging and other tools, that show the exact placement and required depth for each dental implant.

We often use guided dental implant placement for patients requiring:

  • Multiple sequential implants
  • Lowered bone volume or density
  • Specific positioning needs
  • Prior dental trauma
  • Tight tooth positioning
  • Bone grafting
  • Same day implant extraction and placement

Skillful placement of the dental implant, using either a guide or freehand techniques, is essential for a long-lasting result. A trained and experienced oral surgeon with extensive experience in dental implants is critical.

Long Term Care

The implantation process is only the beginning. After the implants are placed, proper care is essential for helping them to last. We’ll provide detailed post-surgical care instructions and your dentist can help you to maintain your dental implants after you’ve healed from surgery.

Follow these care instructions, along with any others you receive from your dentist or oral surgeon, to help your implants last:

  • Don’t smoke- Smoking can cause dental implant failure. Avoid smoking and other nicotine products, even after healing is complete.
  • Daily dental care- Dental implants are cared for much like natural teeth. Brush, floss, and care for your teeth as instructed by your dentist and oral surgeon.
  • Visit your dentist- Regular dental care is important, with or without dental implants. Come to all follow-up visits after your implantation surgery and visit your dentist as recommended.

Avoiding common risk factors for dental implant failure will dramatically increase your chances of long-lasting dental implants.

One of the most important ways to ensure implant success is to choose an experienced dental provider for your implant surgery. Hill Country Oral Surgery has performed countless dental implant procedures and has a high success rate due to our extensive training, careful planning, and comprehensive patient education. Our oral surgeons will help you avoid common pitfalls to give your dental implants the best possible chances of success.

For tooth replacement in Austin, TX, call Hill Country Oral Surgery at 512-327-7233 and schedule a consultation with one of our oral surgeons, Dr. Vincent Cavaretta or Dr. Tyler Rasmussen.

Is it Normal for Wisdom Teeth to Cause Discomfort?

Is it normal for wisdom teeth to cause discomfort? You would think that this question has a simple
answer, but unfortunately, it doesn’t. Yes, it can be normal for the wisdom teeth to feel uncomfortable.
Discomfort can also be a sign of a problem that requires attention.
If you’re unsure of the cause of your wisdom teeth discomfort, come in for a visit or see your dentist. If
you need wisdom tooth extraction, trust one of our skilled oral surgeons for your procedure. Reach out
to Hill Country Oral Surgery by phone at 512-327-7233 to schedule a consultation.

When Is Wisdom Tooth Discomfort Normal?

The wisdom teeth are the last teeth in the jaw to come in. They develop behind the final set of molars,
at the very back of the jaw. We usually see these teeth erupting between the ages of 17 to 25. When the
wisdom teeth come in, some patients experience discomfort. The area may become swollen and
sensitive as the tooth or teeth erupt through the gums. This discomfort is normal and will usually resolve
in a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication can be used to relieve symptoms as the teeth come in.
If you’re between the ages of 17 to 25 and are experiencing discomfort due to the eruption of wisdom
teeth, there is no reason to be concerned. Monitor your symptoms and contact us if they become
severe or don’t resolve as expected. If you have concerns, reach out.

Wisdom Tooth Pain and Problems- When to See Your Dentist

Since wisdom teeth are located so far back in the jaw and protrude later in life, they can cause crowding,
by pushing otherwise well-aligned teeth out of position. These third molars are prone to complications,
as they do not always descend straight through the soft tissue. See us if you experience:

 Shifting of other teeth due to wisdom tooth crowding
 Pain or discomfort in the area
 Inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues, which could signal an infection
 Pain when chewing or biting
 Jaw pain or difficulty opening the mouth
If your wisdom teeth are healthy and aren’t causing problems, you may be able to keep them. If
problems arise or will arise in the future, extraction is usually recommended. Removing wisdom teeth
before they are fully developed can reduce complications and risks. We find that patients have an easier
recovery when we remove wisdom teeth preemptively, as indicated, rather than waiting for
complications to develop.
A consultation with an oral surgeon is the best way to determine if wisdom teeth extraction is needed.

What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

We want our patients to play an active role in creating their treatment plan for wisdom teeth extraction.
We will discuss surgery, sedation, and anesthesia options during your consultation as we create your
surgical plan.
Most patients will have all four wisdom teeth removed during a single surgical visit. Wisdom teeth
removal usually takes about an hour. Patients feel no pain, due to the use of a local anesthetic. The
techniques used for extraction vary, depending on the maturity of the tooth, the placement of the roots,
and location of nerves and sinuses. Our oral surgeons will use their extensive training and years of
experience to remove your wisdom teeth using the safest and most effective methods.
The most difficult part of wisdom tooth extract for many patients is recovery. We’ll provide detailed
recovery instructions and pain medication as needed. Most patients heal quickly and resume school,
work, and other activities in a few days.
Wisdom teeth don’t usually cause discomfort unless they are first coming in. If you’re experiencing
wisdom tooth pain, come into Hill Country Oral Surgery and find relief.

Introducing Metal-Free Dental Implants

zirconia dental implants

Few things are as magical as a first smile after years of embarrassment about your teeth. Dental implants are one of the tools that we use to restore functionality and beauty to the smiles of our patients with missing or damaged teeth. For many years, our surgeons have used state-of-the-art titanium dental implants with excellent results. We’re excited to introduce a new treatment option for permanent teeth replacement, metal-free zirconia implants.

Learn more about metal-free dental implants in Austin, TX by calling Hill Country Oral Surgery at 512-327-7233.

Metal-Free Dental Implants – A New Option for Patients

Dental implants serve as a replacement for missing or damaged teeth. The base of the implant is placed into the jawbone, where it integrates during the healing process. Traditionally, the base of the implant is made from titanium, a strong and corrosion-resistant material. Our metal-free implants are made from zirconia, a strong ceramic material that never corrodes.

We still offer titanium dental implants and use them often. They are ideal in many situations, including for patients that require a bridge anchored by implants. Our new zirconia implants aren’t a replacement for titanium ones, but another option. Come in for a consultation, and we’ll help you choose between titanium and metal-free zirconia implants.

Let’s explore the benefits of metal-free dental implants.

Ideal for Patients with Metal Allergies

Titanium allergies are rare, affecting less than 1% of patients tested in a study. However, 1% adds up quickly. In the Austin, TX area alone there are potentially thousands of people with a titanium allergy. Zirconia is a ceramic material, not a metal. Patients with a titanium allergy can receive zirconia implants with no risk of an allergic reaction.

Beautiful, Natural-Looking Appearance

Zirconia is white, offering a similar appearance to natural tooth and bone. Occasionally, titanium implant posts will show through the gumline, casting a greyish appearance on the area. This is most common in patients with thin gum tissue. This discoloration doesn’t occur with zirconia implants. Metal-free implants create a beautiful, natural looking smile.

New Two Piece Design

Metal-free dental implants used to only have a one piece design.  This greatly limited the clinical situations in which it could be used.  Newer technology has now introduced a two-piece, metal-free design.  This technology now allows us to serve a greater population of people without compromising on treatment.

Single Tooth Replacement

Currently, zirconia implants are best suited for a singular tooth replacement. Patients that need to replace multiple teeth will likely require titanium implants. We offer All-On-4 arch replacement using titanium implants for patients requiring full arch smile restoration.

Zirconia or Titanium Dental Implants- Which Option Should I Choose?

There are benefits to both zirconia and titanium implants. We use both in our practice and love seeing the new smiles that these implants create. Come in for a consultation, and we can explore options with you. Some patients will benefit from a zirconia implant, some from a titanium dental implant, and some will achieve beautiful results with either option. Call us to schedule your consultation and get your smile back. Our metal-free dental implants expand your options for tooth restoration.

Can Jaw Surgery Cure Your Sleep Apnea?

An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep. This can lead to a lack of sleep, development of other health conditions, and a decrease in the quality of life. Although there are many causes of sleep apnea, jaw problems are often a contributing factor. Jaw surgery can help many patients with sleep apnea to find relief from this dangerous and exhausting disorder.

The Jaw and Breathing

The jaws are essential for proper breathing, eating, and speech. We use them every day and often take them for granted. Although breathing primarily occurs through the nose, the jaws are responsible for keeping the back-up airway, the mouth, open so it can be used as needed. When nasal congestion occurs, mouth breathing takes over, and the jaws help keep the air passages open so breathing continues uninterrupted. When the jaws aren’t properly aligned, this important air passage may be blocked, and our bodies may be unable to obtain the necessary oxygen.

Jaw misalignment can cause a variety of health and breathing issues including:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Neck pain
  • Hearing issues, including ringing in the ears
  • Jaw pain
  • Sleep apnea

Bringing the jaws into alignment can alleviate many of these symptoms. Many of our patients have found relief from their sleep apnea after corrective jaw surgery.

What Is Orthognathic Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery also called orthognathic surgery, repositions the jaws to create alignment. This improves appearance, corrects bite issues, and often alleviates health and breathing issues, like sleep apnea.

Jaw surgery is never one size fits all. Some patients will need to have the jaw shortened or lengthened. Other patients may require repositioning of the upper or lower jaw. We perform jaw surgery on either the upper or lower jaw, and often both jaws together.

Jaw Surgery for Sleep Apnea

The most common type of jaw surgery for sleep apnea patients is called maxillomandibular advancement. This procedure moves the upper and lower jaws forward to enlarge the airway. This increases space for both the soft palate and the tongue. This procedure can dramatically improve breathing for many sleep apnea patients. Talk to your doctor about other potential treatments to explore all of your options.

Do I Need Jaw Surgery for My Sleep Apnea?

Jaw surgery is typically needed when the teeth and jaws don’t properly meet. Orthodontia can correct some problems with bite when they are caused exclusively by the teeth. If the jaw bones are not in alignment, jaw surgery is recommended.

If you have sleep apnea, we may be able to help. Come in for a consultation and we can discuss the procedure in more detail and determine if you’re a good candidate.

Can jaw surgery cure sleep apnea? Many of our patients have experienced positive improvement from sleep apnea after jaw surgery at Hill Country Oral Surgery. Jaw surgery in Austin, TX can also improve the aesthetic appearance of the face and jaw and address many health and breathing issues. To find out if you’re a good candidate for this procedure, come in for a consultation. Our skilled oral surgeons can evaluate your jaw positioning and medical history to determine if you will benefit from this procedure.


The Advantages of Guided Implant Surgery for Your Smile

Missing teeth don’t have to be a life sentence. Dental implants can successfully restore your smile and improve your oral health. Properly placed implants can last a lifetime and allow patients to retain bone structure in the jaw, to eat foods with ease, and to smile with confidence. Call Hill Country Oral Surgery to learn about your options for dental implants in Austin, TX.

Dental implants are long lasting, but only if they are properly placed. Our surgeons use the latest tools and technologies available, including guided implant placement, to ensure the best possible results. Using a guided technique allows for a more predictable result and is much safer than other dental implant placement methods. Using the guided implant technique allows us to complete difficult implant placements, procedures that would be otherwise impossible.

Guided Implant Surgery Basics

The bases of dental implants are held in place by the jawbone, much like the root of a natural tooth. Once in place, the bone surrounding the implant screw grows, securing the implant in place. Biting forces exerted on the teeth stimulate the jawbone, maintaining a healthy bone structure and helping the implants to remain solid and stable. Implants are designed to last and many patients will enjoy them for a lifetime.

A successful implant must be placed into healthy and dense bone. If the bone is too weak, the implant won’t take hold or will become damaged from biting forces. Dental implants require solid support for success.

Guided implant surgery improves outcomes in dental implant placement by utilizing technology to plan the best locations for each implant, based on bone structure and quality. Before the procedure, a custom guide is created, showing the oral surgeon the exact placement areas and depths for each implant. These guides are made using the patient’s x-rays and imaging studies, along with a specialized software program that analyzes each patient’s unique variables. We have all the equipment available in-house to create and print customized guides for our dental implant patients.

Is Guided Implant Surgery Right for Me?

Guided implant surgery represents the latest technology in dental implant placement. It improves outcomes for many of our patients. We often use guided dental implant placement on patients with:

  • Multiple sequential implants
  • Specific positioning requirements
  • Limited bone density or volume in the jaw
  • Past dental trauma
  • Bone Grafting
  • The close proximity of other implants or teeth
  • Same day extraction and implant placement

Guided implant surgery often improves outcomes. It allows us to completely plan the surgery before placement. Using 3D imaging tools, we can show patients options and give them a realistic idea of the results we can achieve. It also allows us to pinpoint those areas that may need pre-treatment or bone grafting to ensure the best aesthetic and functional results.

There are times when a guided implant placement isn’t the best fit for a patient. These patients may benefit from a placement technique known as freehand implant placement. During freehand placement, the oral surgeon will determine implant locations using judgment, experience, and dental training. Our surgeons are familiar with both guided and freehand placement options and will choose the most appropriate option for each patient.

Invest in your smile. By using guided dental implant placement, we can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. Hill Country Oral Surgery also offers X-Guide Dynamic 3D Navigation, a state-of-the-art technology that provides real-time guidance to the surgeon during implant placement to ensure optimal placement of each implant.

Learn more about dental implants in Austin, TX by calling our oral surgery office for a consultation.


Leukoplakia: Diagnosis and Treatment

Spotting a new white or gray patch inside of the mouth can be a disturbing find. Is it cancer? Is it treatable? We always encourage our patients to get in touch with us if they see changes in their oral health or if they develop any patches or spots that don’t go away.

Leukoplakia is a common cause of white patches in the mouth. It is common and usually harmless but can indicate an increased risk for some cancers. A quick check can help us determine if the changes are anything to worry about and ensures that you receive prompt treatment if it is needed.

What Is Leukoplakia?

Leukoplakia is the mouth’s reaction to long-term irritation. It manifests as a white or gray patch and can occur almost anywhere in the mouth, including the cheek, tongue, or roof/floor of the mouth. Leukoplakia can occur at any age, but we see it most commonly in older adults. Hairy leukoplakia, a type of leukoplakia that creates white patches with a fuzzy appearance is only seen in patients with HIV or AIDS.

Common causes of leukoplakia include:

  • Irritation from rough teeth or fillings, poorly fitting dentures, etc.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco use
  • Sun exposure
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Oral cancer

Leukoplakia is typically painless, but some patients experience sensitivity in the area. The patches often develop slowly, over a period of weeks or months. They may be flat or raised, smooth or slightly rough.

How Is Leukoplakia Diagnosed?

If you develop an unknown white patch inside of the mouth, come see us, even if you think it is leukoplakia. An examination is needed to rule out the possibility of oral cancer. Come see us, and we’ll help you figure out what’s going on and how to best treat it. Leukoplakia can be a sign of a larger problem.

How Is Leukoplakia Treated?

Before we can treat leukoplakia, we need to find and address the source of the irritation. A rough tooth may be smoothed, a damaged filling repaired, or poorly fitting dentures replaced. Some patients address denture fit issues with dental implants. If the leukoplakia is caused by tobacco use, we will recommend that you minimize or stop using these products.

Removing the source of the irritation will often cause the lesions to go away. This can take time, often a couple of months. In some cases, the patches are removed with surgery. We’ll help you determine the best course of treatment for your leukoplakia.

Keep an Eye on Your Oral Health

When was the last time you looked inside your mouth? We recommend a monthly self-examination of the mouth to look for changes and signs of oral cancers. Changes in the mouth can be indicative of changes in your overall health. Don’t ignore lumps or sores. Come in and let us help.

If you have white patches in your mouth, call Hill Country Oral Surgery at 512-327-7233 to schedule an oral cancer screening in Austin, TX.


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.