The Next Steps After Tooth Extraction

 

Tooth extraction is often the first step to correcting dental problems and restoring an attractive, healthy smile after extensive decay or dental trauma. If you need to have a tooth removed, call our office and schedule a tooth extraction consultation with one of our highly trained and experienced oral surgeons. Getting that tooth removed is important, but it is only the first step to a healthier mouth. This guide will explain the next steps to take after tooth extraction.

Tooth Extraction in Austin, TX- What to Expect from Your Procedure at Hill Country Oral Surgery

We realize that you may be nervous about your upcoming tooth extraction. We are here to help throughout the process. Get in touch with questions and let us know if you have concerns. Our goal is to help you get your smile back, on your terms.

As we prepare for your tooth removal, we’ll talk about what to expect before, during, and after your procedure. There are many different options and variables that can affect your treatment plan. We’ll talk with you about anesthesia options including local anesthetic, nitrous (laughing gas), oral sedation, IV sedation, and general anesthesia.

Tooth removal is often paired with other treatments like bone grafting or placing a dental implant. Performing these treatments at the same time as your extraction can speed up your treatment timeline, helping you to achieve your oral health goals with fewer trips to the oral surgeon and less recovery time. We’ll talk with you about your options during your consultation.

Most extractions are performed in our offices on an outpatient basis. You’ll return home shortly after your procedure. Depending on the anesthesia used, you may need someone to drive you home.

Recovery After Tooth Removal

Most patients resume regular activities shortly after tooth extraction. If you’re only getting a single tooth removed, you may be ready to return to work the very next day. We recommend taking a day off if you can, but it isn’t always necessary.

More extractions typically mean more downtime. Impacted teeth may also require a longer recovery period as removal is more invasive. Pairing your tooth removal with bone grafting or implant placement will prolong the recovery period. Plan on missing some work if you’re removing multiple teeth, removing an impacted tooth, getting bone grafting, or having implants placed.

Tooth Replacement- Do I Need Dental Implants?

Losing even a single tooth can have a big impact on your oral health and appearance. Dental implants can replace a missing tooth, improving both the appearance and function of your mouth. Implants feature a surgical-grade titanium screw that is placed into the jaw, an abutment that connects the implant with your crown, and the crown (replacement tooth). Dental implants stimulate the gum and bone tissues much like a natural tooth and play an important role in maintaining oral health after tooth extraction.

If you’re missing multiple teeth, we may be able to use a dental bridge to reduce the number of implants needed. We also offer All-on-4, a type of full arch dental rehabilitation that replaces an entire arch of teeth with four or more implants.

To ensure good results from a dental implant, we may need to perform bone or gum grafting first. An examination and consultation will help you determine your next steps.

Continuing Oral Care

Restoring your smile after tooth removal may require multiple visits to your dentist or oral surgeon. We’ll work in conjunction with your regular dentist to repair damage, address cosmetic issues, and improve your oral health. Once your full restoration is complete, continuing oral care will help to maintain your smile and minimize future tooth damage.

Good oral health habits are important throughout the restoration process. We’ll provide detailed information about proper oral care after any procedures. We also will encourage you to work with your dentist to determine proper oral care after you’re fully recovered from surgery.

  • After an Extraction- We recommend salt water rinses for the first several days after an extraction if you consume anything other than water. Brush your teeth normally, taking care to avoid the extraction sites.
  • After Bone Grafting- Use a salt water rinse after eating or drinking. Brush your teeth normally, but not directly over the graft site.
  • After Dental Implants- Do not brush directly over dental implant sites for at least a week. You can, and should, brush the adjoining teeth. Use Peridex, a dental rinse that we’ll provide, twice a day. Brush your teeth 30 minutes after using the rinse to prevent tooth staining. Rinse with salt water after you have anything to eat or drink.
  • Long-Term Oral Care- Caring for your teeth after tooth removal or dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth. Your dentist can provide more information on brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings.

Proper dental care will help you preserve your remaining teeth and avoid complications after tooth extraction.

Call our offices to schedule your consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery. We look forward to helping you with your dental health needs.

 

Oral Surgery Procedures You Should Never Wait On

Your oral health often gets put on the back-burner. With busy lives, many patients procrastinate, putting off necessary care and prevention until they have a serious dental problem. Many patients believe specialized treatments like oral surgery can wait until the timing is better, but there are times when your oral health needs to be a top priority, such as when teeth are severely damaged or painful.

If you have a bothersome dental problem, don’t delay treatment. Call Hill Country Oral Surgery to learn more about how we can help you.

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

If you need your wisdom teeth taken out, earlier is better than later. Extraction gets difficult as you get older and the risk of complications can increase in older adults. The average age at which patients have their third molars removed is between 15-20. Timing varies substantially, and you may need yours out sooner or later. Schedule an appointment with us to find out when and if you need wisdom tooth removal.

Delaying your wisdom tooth surgery can lead to complications including:

  • Infection – Wisdom teeth may only erupt partially, depending on their angle and position within the bone. Bacteria and food can become trapped in the gum tissues around a partially emerged tooth, leading to painful infections and related health problems, such as bone loss.
  • Shifting Alignment – If your teeth are beautifully aligned, and you have no room in a jaw arch to accommodate new molars, the emergence of wisdom teeth will cause bothersome dental crowding,
  • Decay – Wisdom teeth are often difficult to keep clean because they are located far back in the jaw. This can lead to the development and spread of tooth decay.
  • Cysts – Some patients develop cysts around their impacted wisdom teeth. These can damage teeth, bone, and the jaw.

We recommend that all patients receive proper screening to determine if wisdom tooth removal is needed. An examination and X-rays can help us determine if you need your wisdom teeth taken out. We can also help you figure out the appropriate timing for your procedure.

Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth is stuck in hard or soft tissue and is unable to erupt. Wisdom teeth are most commonly impacted, but they aren’t the only teeth that experience this issue. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we often treat impacted canines. Unlike wisdom teeth that aren’t necessary for routine oral function, the canines are a necessary part of your dental arch and bite. Whenever possible, impacted canines are preserved and brought into proper position, not removed.

Quickly treating impacted canines is essential. There is a limited window for treatment, and once it passes, the teeth cannot be saved. The earlier we begin treatment, the better our chances for success. Early treatment also means less invasive care.

Often, canine teeth become impacted because they are blocked by retained baby teeth or tightly crowded adult teeth. By removing select teeth, we can clear a path for a natural eruption. This works best if the necessary teeth are removed before age 11-12. In the early teens, we may be able to pull the impacted teeth into proper position and have patients visit orthodontists for appliances that can include a small chain and bracket. By the early 30s, the impacted canine is often fused permanently into the jaw. At this point, extraction is needed. A dental implant or fixed bridge can be used to fill in the missing space on the arch after removal.

If you have impacted canines, the clock is ticking. Don’t wait to consult with an oral surgeon about your options.

Apicoectomy

Root canals removed infected tissue from the inside of the tooth, but they may not be thorough enough is the infection has moved beyond the roots of teeth. If this is the case for you, you may need an Apicoectomy, also known as root-end surgery. This procedure may be able to salvage a deeply infected tooth, preventing the need for extraction and replacement.

Facial Trauma

When a traumatic injury occurs, it is always an emergency. At Hill Country Oral Surgery we are uniquely qualified and extensively trained to treat facial trauma. This includes:

  • Facial lacerations
  • Intra-oral lacerations
  • Avulsed teeth (knocked out)
  • Fractured facial bones
  • Fractured jaws (upper and lower)

Timely treatment improves outcomes. If you experience facial trauma from a vehicle accident, sports injury, accidental fall, work-related injury, contact us as soon as possible to explore your treatment options.

Dental Implants

If you’ve lost a tooth or had it extracted, start exploring dental implants as soon as possible. Without a tooth in place, the supporting bone begins to deteriorate. If you wait too long for dental implants, there may be insufficient bone to support the implant and overall oral health. When this occurs, patients require bone grafting before their implants can be placed.

If you’ve lost a tooth and are considering implants, don’t wait. Placing your implants shortly after tooth removal and healing provides the best results, minimizing the need for bone grafting. Once placed, implants stimulate the bone, much like a natural tooth, ensuring that the jaw remains strong and healthy.

Don’t procrastinate when it comes to your oral health. If you need to see an oral surgeon for any of the procedures above, call us today and schedule your consultation.

School’s Out and Your Wisdom Teeth Should Be Too

School, sports, and homework fill the calendar during the school year, leaving little time for necessary dental care. Summer vacation, however, presents the perfect opportunity to schedule wisdom teeth removal. When the procedure is scheduled over summer break, patients recover with ease, without worrying about missed school or having to go back to class when they still don’t feel great. If it’s time for your child – or even you – to have your wisdom teeth removed, call and schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

At What Age Should Wisdom Teeth be Extracted?

Wisdom tooth removal is a common rite of passage for high school students. We typically recommend patients consult with their dentist or oral surgeon early to determine when and if removal is needed. The average patient will need to have these third molars extracted sometime between the ages of 15-20. Since the late teens and early 20s are an important time for education, it can be challenging to fit wisdom tooth removal in during the school year.

If you haven’t spoken to your dentist about your wisdom teeth, see us. A careful examination and a series of X-rays can help us get a better idea of how third molars are positioned and in what direction they are moving.

Downtime after Wisdom Tooth Removal: What to Expect

Should you schedule your child’s wisdom tooth removal this summer or wait until the school year starts again? Summer is a convenient time for many of our patients, but since downtime is minimal, this procedure can be performed throughout the school year as well. Recovery timelines vary depending on the complexity of your extraction.

Most patients require at least three days of downtime. During this initial period, prescription pain medication may be needed to manage discomfort. We don’t recommend going to school or work during this time. To reduce time off, many patients schedule their procedures for the end of the week and use the weekend as part of their recovery period.

High school and college sports can complicate wisdom tooth removal. Most patients need at least a week off from strenuous physical activities. You may be sore for the first week or two after surgery. This shouldn’t interfere with your daily activities, like school, but heavy exercise should be avoided until you’re cleared to resume more strenuous activities. Try to schedule your procedure around important sporting events or seasons. Many of our student-athletes have summers off and can get their wisdom teeth removed without missing critical events.

Don’t Wait for Extraction!

The teenage years are busy, but that shouldn’t mean putting-off important procedures like wisdom tooth removal. If you’ve been told you need your wisdom teeth out, schedule your procedure this summer. Waiting to remove your wisdom teeth can lead to oral health complications like:

  • Tooth Decay – Wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean. This can lead to changes in the bacterial balance in the mouth. Keeping your wisdom teeth in when they need to come out can lead to cavities and decay that affect your other teeth too.
  • Changes to Alignment – If there isn’t room for your wisdom teeth in the jaw, they’ll push and squeeze to make a space. This can cause your other teeth to shift, changing dental alignment and crowding other teeth.
  • Infection – Impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth can become infected as bacteria collect around soft tissue. If infection sets in, you may experience severe pain and potentially dangerous health complications.
  • Difficult Removal Later – Wisdom teeth can be more difficult to remove later in life and the risk of complications increases, especially for older adults. If your teeth are going to cause problems later, it is often best to remove them sooner.

If you or your child need your wisdom teeth out, don’t delay this important procedure. Call Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX to determine if this procedure is necessary and when.

Do You Need Wisdom Tooth Removal This Summer?

Summer goes by so quickly. If your child needs tooth extraction this year, call us today and schedule your consultation. We’ll explain options for wisdom tooth extraction and help you plan for the surgery and recovery period. Many of our wisdom tooth extraction patients are teenagers, and we welcome questions from both parent and patient throughout the process. Call today and your wisdom teeth out while school is out.

Gum Grafting: Get that Healthy, Attractive Smile Back!

Do you have gum recession? Gum disease, genetics, and lifestyle habits, and other factors can cause the delicate gum tissues to recede, exposing more of the tooth and increasing the risk of tooth decay. Unfortunately, once gum tissue is lost, it generally doesn’t return. Restore function and beauty to your appearance with gum grafting. Learn how this procedure can enhance your oral health.

What Is Gum Grafting?

Gum grafts are used to cover the roots of the teeth and restore a healthy, attractive smile after gum recession. Several options are available for gum grafting, but one of the most common is known as connective tissue grafting. In this procedure, tissue is removed from a donor site, often the roof of the mouth, and attached to the gum tissue near the treatment area. This grafted tissue will take hold over time, creating new, healthy gum tissue and restoring the appearance of your gums.

Since there are many types of gum grafting available and many sources for the tissue, we’ll discuss your options in depth during your consultation. Your treatment options will vary depending on the condition of your gums and your treatment needs.

What Are the Benefits of Gum Grafting?

Many patients choose gum grafting for aesthetic reasons, but looks aren’t the only reason to consider this procedure. A gum graft can halt further gum recession and bone loss. It covers the exposed roots and helps to protect them from tooth decay. It can reduce tooth sensitivity. Improve your appearance and your dental health with gum grafting.

Do I Need Gum Grafting?

For minor gum recession, gum grafting may not be needed. Talk with your dentist about the best treatment options for your gum recession. Once gum loss is more advanced, gum grafting is often the most effective treatment option. You may need gum grafting if:

  • You have been told by your dentist that gum grafting is needed.
  • You have moderate to severe gum recession.
  • You have exposed roots and want to restore a more youthful and attractive smile.
  • You want to improve your dental health after gum recession.

If you do need gum grafting, visit an oral surgeon to discuss your options. Gum grafting is a complex and delicate procedure and requires a highly skilled surgeon for optimal results.

Recovery After Gum Grafting- What to Expect

A successful gum graft requires careful attention during the recovery process. Good surgery alone won’t lead to lasting results if you don’t do your part during recovery. Follow our recovery instructions carefully and get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

  • Be Gentle– During the initial stages of recovery, your graft is held in place only by sutures. It takes time for a biological seal to develop and any trauma, even slight trauma, to the area can disrupt healing and cause a full or partial loss of the graft.
  • Wear Your Palatal Stent- A palatal stent is placed at the donor site to aid with healing. Keep it in place for 48 hours, after which it can be removed for cleaning. After 48 hours, you only need to wear the stent as needed for comfort.
  • Limit Physical Activity– Limit yourself to light physical activity for the first 10 days.
  • Diet– We’ll provide very specific diet instructions during the healing process. Pay careful attention to these instructions. For the first 48 hours, we require a liquid only diet. On the third day, you can add in soft purees. Soft foods, with no chewing on the donor site, can be resumed after one week and harder foods after two weeks. Do not chew on the graft site for at least 4 weeks.
  • Don’t Brush Until Instructed- Do not brush the graft site until we give the go-ahead. After you have been cleared to resume brushing, use only an ultra-soft toothbrush and take care to brush away from the graft, upward toward the top of the teeth.

How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?

After gum grafting, take care of your teeth to prevent future problems from occurring. Gum grafting provides long lasting results and many patients will not need retreatment. Good dental hygiene and proper care of your teeth and gums will increase the longevity of your graft.

  • Brush 2x daily with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Follow your dentist’s advice for proper brushing and flossing.
  • Floss daily.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months, more often if needed.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Address dental problems quickly should they occur.

Restore your smile and dental health with gum grafting. If you have gum recession, come into our offices to learn more about this restorative procedure.

Dental Implant or Bridge- Which Is Best for You?

Missing teeth? Should you get a dental implant or bridge? We’ll compare these two popular tooth restoration choices so you can choose the best replacement option for your situation. Contact our offices to schedule a personalized consultation and to get expert advice from our oral surgeons. We love helping people to get their smile and dental health back on track.

What Is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are much like a natural tooth. A titanium screw is placed into the tooth position, supporting a crown. After the screw is placed, the bone will grow around it, anchoring the screw into the jaw and providing long lasting support for the replacement tooth. Dental implants are specially designed to not be rejected by the body and, with proper care, can provide lifelong tooth replacement. Since the titanium screw is placed into the jaw, in most situations, the only visible part of the implant is the crown, which is formed to perfectly match the surrounding natural teeth. Oral surgeons with implant experience are the best choice for dental implants.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

Dental bridges are used to hide the gap caused by missing teeth. The natural teeth surrounding the gap are used to support the replacement crowns, which float between the supporting outer teeth. Placing a bridge does not require surgery and can often be performed by a regular dentist. Unlike implants, bridges aren’t always natural looking and can be a temporary solution to missing teeth.

Implant vs. Bridge

Dental implants and bridges are both used regularly to replace missing teeth. Here’s a quick look at some of the differences between these two options.

  • Cost– Generally, a bridge is less expensive than dental implants. Costs vary widely depending on the type of bridge or implant used, the number of teeth that need replacement, the amount of time since the tooth was removed, etc.
  • Longevity– Implants can last for a lifetime with proper care. A dental bridge can be difficult to clean resulting in a shorter lifespan, and generally more problems.
  • Surgical/Non-Surgical- Placing implants is a surgical procedure. Provided you have healthy surrounding teeth, a bridge can be placed without surgery.
  • Damage to Surrounding Teeth- To fit a bridge, the supporting outer teeth will need to be modified significantly. Implants are self-supporting and do not impact the surrounding teeth.
  • Dental Health– Since an implant is placed into the bone, much like a natural tooth, it preserves the underlying bone and jaw structure with little to no gum and bone loss. With a bridge, bone and gum loss do occur.
  • Care– Care for implants just like natural teeth by brushing flossing, and visiting the dentist every 6 months. Bridges require some different care, including specialized floss and brushes.
  • Appearance– Implants look like natural teeth. They provide superior results to bridges in terms of appearance.
  • Special Considerations– Implants require healthy bone for placement. If the tooth has been missing for an extended period of time, bone or gum grafting may be needed before an implant can be placed due to natural deterioration that occurs without a tooth in place.
  • Timeline– Bridges can be made and placed in a couple of weeks, start to finish. Getting implants is typically a longer process. Bone grafting, gum grafting, and other needed procedures can extend the amount of time required for full replacement.

Both implants and bridges have unique pros and cons. We’ll work with you and your dentist to choose the best tooth replacement option for you. In general, implants provide better results, but they are more expensive and require surgery to place. Since implants function much like regular teeth, they are the best option for truly getting your teeth and smile back.

All-On-4

For patient that need extensive oral restoration, we offer a procedure that offers full arch tooth replacement with only four dental implants. We call this procedure All-On-4 or Full Arch Dental Rehabilitation. Four or more implants are carefully placed in the jaw and are used to support a full arch of replacement teeth. By using fewer implants, we can offer full arch restoration at a much lower price. Many patients will come in for the procedure in the morning and will leave with replacement teeth in place. This option is best for patients that need all or many of the teeth in the jaw replaced.

What Is the Best Tooth Replacement Option for Me?

Choosing between tooth replacement options can be difficult. We recommend working closely with your dentist or oral surgeon to explore the pros and cons of dental implants, dental bridges, and full arch restoration. Call us today to schedule your consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Our Guide to Taking Proper Care of Your Dental Implants

Get your smile back with dental implants. Once you have implants, help your new smile to last by taking proper care of your implants and your oral health. Here’s what you need to know about caring for dental implants. We’ll give you more specific care instructions as we meet together, preparing for your implant placement surgery. Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns.

Implant Care- Very Similar to Caring for Natural Teeth

Brush, floss, rinse, repeat. Caring for dental implants is very similar to caring for natural teeth. Even better, replacement teeth can’t get cavities, although they will wear over time. With proper care, your implants have the potential to last for a lifetime. Here are some details on the basic care your implants will need.

  • Brush– Regular brushing is an important part of caring for your teeth. You can use a manual, sonic, or electric toothbrush, unless your dentist has a specific recommendation for you. Brush your teeth twice a day, at a minimum, to remove plaque and bacteria from the mouth. If you have tight or hard to reach spaces because of your implants, you may need to use specialized brushes like an interproximal brush to clean these areas.
  • Floss– Floss your teeth and implants at least once a day to remove plaque from areas that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. You may need to use a floss threader to get floss around implants, under bridges, and through bars to properly clean the teeth. Your dentist will help you learn how to properly floss around an implant. Many people are poor flossers, but with implants especially, it is important to step up your game and get in the flossing habit. Avoiding infection and keeping your mouth clean is important for the longevity of your implants and for your overall dental health.
  • Visit the Dentist– Regular dental cleanings will keep your smile in tip-top shape. Even with regular brushing and flossing, plaque and tartar can build up in hidden, hard to clean areas. Regular cleanings will remove this build-up, before it becomes a serious problem. Regular dental visits also check for problems with the implants, ensuring they remain strong and healthy. Your dentist will help keep your body healthy by looking for oral cancers and swollen lymph nodes. Most patients will see their dentist every six months with dental implants, but some may require more frequent visits.
  • Specialized Tools– Your dentist may recommend some specialized tools to make caring for implants more successful. Some patients use water flossers, antimicrobial oral rinses, gum stimulators, and other tools to maintain oral health. Talk with your dentist for specific recommendations about tools that may be helpful to you.

If you want your implants to last, regular care is essential. These steps may sound basic, but they are the key to good dental health, with or without implants.

Right After Implants- Care for Your Implants During Recovery

Once your implants are established and healed, you’ll care for them similarly to natural teeth. However, right after placement, they will require special care during the recovery process. Here’s how to care for your implants during recovery.

  • Stay on Top of Pain Control– Most patients find that implant placement is less painful than tooth extractions. We recommend that you start using pain medications before the surgical anesthetic wears off.
  • Do Not Brush the Site for a Week- Avoid brushing the surgical site for a week after surgery.
  • Rinse with Peridex- You’ll need to rinse 2x daily with Peridex, a prescription oral rinse, in the morning and at night. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after using Peridex as it can stain the teeth. For the first week, rinse with salt water after eating or drinking.
  • Do Not Play with Sutures– Your sutures should stay in place for 5-7 days and will fall out on their own. Do not play with the sutures or they may fall out too soon.
  • Do Not Chew on the Surgical Site for a Week- Maintain a soft diet for the first few days. Avoid chewing with the implants for at least a week. We recommend that you avoid hard foods like chips and nuts for a week after treatment as they can irritate the healing tissue around your implants.
  • Keep Up with Follow Up Care– We’ll see you again about 2-3 months after placement to ensure the bone is healing properly around the implant. In most cases, you’ll be able to see your dentist for a final restoration around this same time. If the implant is not exposed, you’ll need a small procedure to uncover it after 2-3 months.
  • Practice Good Dental Hygiene- Don’t wait to start good dental hygiene practices. You should resume regular brushing the day after placement, avoiding the site for about a week. Follow our recommendations for brushing, flossing, etc. as soon as possible. Dental problems can develop quickly if good hygiene isn’t practiced.

With proper care and maintenance, your dental implants can provide long lasting beauty and function to your smile. Call us today to schedule a dental implant consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Oral Surgeons > General Dentist for Oral Surgery- Here’s Why

You want the best for your teeth, your mouth, and your health. When you need oral surgery, choose an oral surgeon. An oral surgeon is typically your best choice for oral surgery for many reasons, including anesthesia safety. We’ll discuss a few of the many benefits of choosing an oral surgeon over a general dentist when you need oral surgery.

More Procedures Available

A general dentist may offer a few oral surgery procedures, but often your options are limited. An oral surgeon offers a greater variety of oral surgery options. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we can take care of all your oral surgery needs from wisdom tooth removal to dental implants. An oral surgeon specializes in oral surgery. They have more training and more experience. Just like you choose a heart surgeon for heart surgery, choose an oral surgeon for oral surgery.

More Training and Experience

For a dental cleaning or simple filling, go see your regular dentist, but if you require advanced oral surgery, choose an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons have more training and experience performing delicate and complex surgical procedures. See your oral surgeon any time you need one or more of the following procedures:

  • Wisdom tooth removal
  • Tooth extractions
  • Exposure of an impacted canine
  • Apicoectomies
  • Pre-prosthetic surgery
  • Facial trauma
  • Jaw surgery
  • Dental implant surgery
  • Bone grafting
  • Sinus lift

While a general dentist may only perform these advanced procedures occasionally, if at all, an oral surgeon regularly practices and hones their skill on these types of procedures. An oral surgeon has more training and experience than a regular dentist on surgical procedures like the ones listed above.

The reverse is also true. An oral surgeon should not be your only dentist. You need a general dentist to help you maintain and improve your oral health. Regular cleanings, fillings, and oral health screenings are best performed by a general dentist.

Anesthesia Safety

One of the most important reasons to choose an oral surgeon for oral surgery is anesthesia safety. Anesthesia risks are low, but when complications occur, they can be very serious. Oral surgeons have more training and more experience with dental anesthesia and are a safer choice for oral surgery. Oral surgeons are better prepared for emergency situations than most general dentists. When an emergency happens, training and experience matter.

Getting an anesthesia permit for in-office anesthesia is surprisingly easy. Dentists must meet bare-minimum requirements for training and education. Oral surgeons are held to a much higher standard. During their training they undergo a rigorous and extensive training program, often in a hospital setting, under the direct supervision of anesthesiologists. This training is much more advanced and comprehensive than the training required for an anesthesia permit.

Anesthesia Safety at Hill Country Oral Surgery

We take anesthesia safety seriously at Hill Country Oral Surgery. Here’s what we do to keep you safe when using anesthesia:

  • Variety of Anesthesia Options– We offer a wide range of anesthesia options include local anesthetics, IV sedation, oral sedation, nitrous oxide, and general anesthesia. With many options available, we can customize your treatment to your needs, choosing the safest, most effective options for your treatment.
  • Up-to-Date Monitoring Equipment– We use the latest, up-to-date monitoring equipment to ensure your safety during treatment. Our state-of-the-art facility is carefully equipped for safe and effective anesthesia delivery.
  • Medical History Review– Before administering any anesthesia we carefully review your medical history with you and perform a complete physical examination.
  • Anesthesia Permit– We hold a valid anesthesia permit from the Texas Board of Dental Examiners.
  • Life Support Training– Our doctors are certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Many other members of our staff have received advanced anesthesia training. We also train in the rescuing of patients and managing of airways in the ICU and emergency room.

Questions to Ask Your Oral Surgeon About Anesthesia Safety

If you’re preparing for oral surgery with anesthesia, make sure you choose an oral surgeon for your procedure. Ask your surgeon the following questions to ensure that they take anesthesia safety seriously.

  • How will you keep me safe during dental anesthesia?
  • What are the risks and benefits of the type of anesthesia you’re recommending for my procedure?
  • What type of emergency resuscitation training do members of your staff receive? Do any members of your staff have anesthesia training?
  • How will I be monitored during surgery to ensure anesthesia safety?
  • What plans are in place in the event of an anesthesia emergency?

Anesthesia safety is an important reason to always choose an oral surgeon for your oral surgery needs. Call us today to schedule your consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

5 Questions to Ask Before Dental Surgery- Anesthesia Safety


Information is power. If you’re preparing for dental surgery, get the information you need to be safe and knowledgeable about your procedure. Ask the following questions about anesthesia safety to your dentist or oral surgeon before any surgical procedure.

What Are My Anesthetic Options?

We offer a wide variety of anesthetic options, allowing us to customize your treatment to your medical needs and anxiety level. We will carefully discuss your health, dental needs, and anxiety levels during your consultation and will recommend anesthetic options including:

  • Local Anesthetics- Local anesthetics block pain sensations in a specific area. These are often administered via injection near the area we will be treating. Local anesthetics can be used alone or paired with sedation options. Local anesthetics are very effective and most patients report little to no pain when using this option. Local anesthetics do not help a patient to relax, they only numb pain sensations.
  • Nitrous Oxide– Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, provides mild sedation for dental procedures. It is inhaled through a mask with oxygen and can help increase comfort during some procedures. You will be able to hear and respond while using nitrous oxide, but will feel calm and comfortable. The effects of nitrous oxide are short-lived and most patients return to normal shortly after the mask is removed. This is usually paired with local anesthetics.
  • Oral Sedation– Oral sedation uses oral medications for sedation before a dental procedure. This can reduce fear and anxiety before a procedure and can help you to relax during treatment. Oral sedation levels vary, depending on the patient’s response and the medication selected. You will be unable to drive if using oral sedation and will need someone to bring you to the procedure and take you home. You may not remember your dental procedure after oral sedation. This is usually paired with local anesthetics.
  • IV Sedation– IV sedation, also known twilight sedation, uses an IV (intravenous) medication for sedation. IV sedation relieves anxiety and encourages relaxation. IV sedation may cause you to not remember aspects of your dental treatment. Many patients describe the experience as drifting in and out of sleep. You will be unable to drive after IV sedation and will need someone to take you home.
  • General Anesthesia– General anesthesia leaves a patient totally unconscious and unresponsive during a dental procedure. This approach is generally reserved for those undergoing extensive dental work or those with high levels of dental anxiety.

We also have privileges at a local hospital and can perform complex procedures there for additional safety. Whether you’re receiving a simple extraction or complex gum grafting with dental implants, we have the right anesthetic options to keep you comfortable and safe throughout your procedure.

What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Anesthesia/Sedation Methods You’re Recommending?

Each anesthesia method has specific risks and benefits. We’ll discuss these in depth before your procedure. It is important to weigh the potential risks with the benefits that each option offers to find the ideal balance between results and safety.

If you’re uncomfortable with the anesthesia option we recommend, let us know. We can further explain our reasoning and help to alleviate your concerns. We may also be able to select a different anesthesia option that you’re more comfortable with. Dental surgery should be a collaboration between doctor and patient. We’ll work with you to find options that work best for your situation.

Is Dental Anesthesia Safer with a Dentist or Oral Surgeon?

Dental anesthesia can be performed in-office with excellent safety. Generally, an oral surgeon is a safer choice for dental anesthesia due to their advanced training. Regular dentists must complete bare minimum requirements to receive a dental anesthesia permit, but oral surgeons receive additional rigorous and comprehensive training in a hospital setting, training well beyond the basic requirements for an office anesthesia permit. Generally, oral surgeons are a safer, more experienced choice for office anesthesia.

How Have You Prepared for Emergency Situations?

No one wants to think about an emergency happening, but sometimes, they do arise. Ask your oral surgeon how they have prepared for emergency situations. At Hill Country Oral Surgery we are:

  • Certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
  • Properly permitted with anesthesia permits from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.
  • Dedicated to training for emergency situations including rescuing of patients and airway management in the intensive care unit and emergency room.
  • Outfitted with the most up-to-date monitoring systems in a state-of-the-art facility.

Before you receive dental anesthesia, ask these questions and any others you may have. Remember, knowledge and information are the key to a safe and effective dental surgery. We always welcome questions and are ready to address any of your concerns. Call us to schedule your oral surgery consultation today.

Oral Surgery Safety- What You Need to Know

Getting oral surgery can be scary, but don’t let fear keep you from getting the dental work you need. To alleviate your fears and help you find a skilled oral surgeon, we’ve put together a helpful guide about oral surgery safety. We know dental surgery can be intimidating, but with the right information and a skilled surgeon, it can be a positive, rewarding experience. Get your smile back and restore dental health. Call us if you have any questions or to learn more about the services we offer at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Oral Surgeon vs. Dentist

An oral surgeon, also known as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, is a type of dental specialist. They have attended dental school and hold a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree, like a traditional dentist, but they have additional training. After dental school and a licensing exam, a dentist can open up a practice and begin seeing patients. Oral surgeons have more education than a standard dentist. After dental school, they obtain specific surgical training, a process that can take an additional four to six years. A regular dentist can perform many surgical tasks, like extractions or dental implants, but since an oral surgeon has more training and more experience with these surgical techniques, they generally achieve better outcomes.

For a dental cleaning or a simple cavity, go see your regular dentist, but if you need surgery, see an oral surgeon. Oral surgeons offer many types of dental surgery including:

Choosing Your Oral Surgeon

If you need an oral surgeon, your general dentist is an excellent place to start. They often offer referrals and may be able to recommend a surgeon in your area. If you live in the Austin, TX area, Hill Country Surgery is an excellent option for all your dental surgery needs.

As you meet with potential surgeons, ask lots of questions. Choose an oral and maxillofacial surgeon that is willing to spend time with you, answer your questions, and alleviate concerns. You should feel comfortable and confident with the surgeon you’ve selected. If you feel rushed or not listened to, choose a different surgeon.

What Sets Hill Country Oral Surgery Apart from Other Dental Practices?

Techniques and technology are constantly evolving in oral surgery and dental implants. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we keep up with the changes, remaining at the forefront of these advances. We want our patients to receive the best outcomes possible from their procedures and work diligently to ensure that we offer state-of-the-art options when possible.

We’ve adopted several emerging technologies, often not offered by other dentists, to provide our patients with precise, safe, and successful surgery outcomes.

  • 3D X-Ray Analysis– We have our own in-house cone beam CT that we can use to evaluate your anatomy in 3D. This helps to facilitate safe extractions and dental implant placement. We can easily evaluate your bone condition, proximity of vital structures, and even virtually place implants during your consultation.
  • Guided Implant Surgery– For complicated implant placements, we can import your 3D X-ray into specialized planning software. This allows us to carefully plan your surgery and fabricate surgical guides for precise placement. In many practices this is contracted out to third party companies, but at Hill Country Oral Surgery, we complete every step of the process in-house.
  • 3D Printing– We have an on-site 3D printer to fabricate custom surgical guides that aid us in accurate implant placement. This allows for expedited treatment and reduces delays. We also have in-office quality control, ensuring that each guide meets our exacting standards.
  • Advanced In-Office Anesthetic Options- We want your dental surgery to be as comfortable as possible. Anesthetic options must be highly tailored to a patient’s needs and personal desires. We can customize your anesthesia options and individualize your procedure to reduce and eliminate anxiety. Our in-office anesthetic options are chosen with your safety in mind. We use the most up-to-date monitoring systems available and are fully equipped to handle emergency situations. Oral surgeons have specialized anesthesia training and we carry all the necessary permits for in-office anesthesia from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners.

Safety should be a priority when preparing for any dental procedure, but especially before oral surgery. Choosing the right surgeon can significantly improve your results from oral surgery. Although some dentists offer surgical treatments, remember that oral surgeons have specialized training and may provide improved outcomes, especially with complex cases. Choose a surgeon with advanced training, lots of experience, and the latest available technologies. Call today to schedule your oral surgery consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Wisdom Teeth – To Pull or Not to Pull?

Getting your wisdom teeth pulled is a teenage rite of passage, but is it really necessary? Do all wisdom teeth need removal? You would think the answer to the question, “Should I pull my wisdom teeth?” would be a simple one, but in reality, it’s quite complex. The oral surgeons at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX help us dig into this heated debate below.

Why Would You Pull a Perfectly Good Tooth?

All your life you’ve been cautioned to take care of your teeth. Brush, floss, rinse, repeat. Morning and night, you’ve taken care of your pearly whites. And suddenly, we’re talking about taking teeth out. Wait a minute, why would you pull a tooth that isn’t having problems? Don’t you need all your teeth?

Wisdom teeth are a little different; essentially, wisdom teeth are the final four teeth to erupt in the mouth. And like your roommate’s BFF that crashes at your apartment and never pays rent, there often isn’t enough room for these late-comers. When there isn’t enough space, the wisdom teeth may be difficult to clean, or in some cases, may not fully erupt into jaw. These impacted, or stuck, teeth can be a source of cysts and benign tumors in the jaw. And who wants that? If you can’t fully clean the teeth, decay can develop, causing gum disease and damage to neighboring teeth. Your wisdom teeth might not be a problem now, but give it time. Many people develop problems with their wisdom teeth later in life. Think of them as a ticking time bomb in your mouth.

Wisdom tooth removal isn’t always necessary. If you have enough room for the teeth to fully come in and you can get them clean, you can probably keep them. Don’t get too excited though. Most people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed.

Can’t I Wait Until I Have a Problem with My Wisdom Teeth?

If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing a problem yet, do they really need to come out now? Many oral surgeons advocate preventative removal of wisdom teeth for one simple reason: it’s often easier in the teens and early twenties. When wisdom teeth are first coming in, the roots are less developed. The older you get, the more established the roots become and the more difficult tooth removal becomes. Younger patients heal more easily and quickly. Early removal can reduce complications and lead to faster recovery after surgery. It also keeps dental problems from developing due to wisdom teeth that just don’t fit. Why delay the inevitable?

What’s the Best Age for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

So, you need to have your wisdom teeth removed. When should you have it done? At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we typically recommend that patients remove their wisdom teeth sometime between the ages of 15-20. You may need to remove them sooner or later. Visit an oral surgeon for an exam and X-rays to find out if you’re ready to get your wisdom teeth removed.

I’m Terrified of Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery

Surgery is scary, right? Many people put off their first visit to an oral surgeon because they are nervous about getting their wisdom teeth removed. If you need to get them out, go see an oral surgeon to explore your options. A consultation isn’t anything to worry about. You’ll open wide and we’ll take a quick peek at your teeth. Typically, wisdom tooth consultations also include X-rays to give us a better idea about what’s going on underneath the gums. You don’t have to worry about shots, pain, or incisions during a consultation. It is simply an opportunity to look at your mouth and figure out a plan for the future.

After an exam, your surgeon will be able to give you a better idea of the next steps. Maybe you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief because your wisdom teeth can stay. If not, your oral surgeon can discuss surgery and the many options available to make the procedure less intimidating. Remember, your surgeon is on your team and wants you to have a pleasant experience, even though surgery isn’t fun.

Oral surgeons have a variety of tricks up their sleeve to make wisdom tooth removal a more comfortable process. Oral, IV, or nitrous oxide sedation may be recommended to help you feel more relaxed and less nervous about the surgery. There are many pain relief options available during and after surgery, including non-narcotic pain relief. Don’t stick your head in the sand and forget about your wisdom teeth. Get information and make an informed decision. With a skilled oral surgeon, wisdom tooth surgery is quick and relatively easy.

To pull or not to pull? It really depends of what you’ve got going on in your mouth. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones that gets to keep your wisdom teeth. And if not, stock up on the ice cream and enjoy a television binge for a day or two while you recover. We hear Stranger Things Season 2 just came out on Netflix.