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.

Common Post-Extraction Complications

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

Common Complications After Extraction

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

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

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

Bone Grafting Recovery

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

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

Why Do I Need a Bone Graft?

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

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

What’s Recovery Like After Bone Grafting?

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

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

When Can I Receive Dental Implants After Bone Grafting?

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

Call and schedule your consultation today.

Common Questions About Wisdom Teeth Removal

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

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

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

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

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

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

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

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

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

What Is Recovery Like After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

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

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