Good Habits to Adopt for a Beautiful, Healthy Smile

“Say cheese!” When it’s time to smile to do you show off those pearly whites with a big grin or do you close your lips tight and hide your teeth? At Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX we want our patients to be proud of their teeth, knowing that their smile is healthy and beautiful. We can’t achieve this goal on our own. If you want a stunning smile, you’ll have to put in the work.

How do you get your smile looking its best? A change of habits may be the key. Here are five good habits to adopt if you want a beautiful, healthy smile.

1. Visit the Dentist Regularly

Professional maintenance can make a big difference in your oral health. Visiting the dentist allows you to check in on your smile, finding potential problems while they’re still small. It is much easier and less invasive to fill a tiny cavity than to perform a root canal. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancers, measure gum and bone health, and provide treatment and home care recommendations.

A good dental visit typically includes a cleaning. This isn’t a substitute for at-home care. The hygienist will tackle your trouble spots, those areas where build-up has collected, in spite of your best home dental care efforts. A dental cleaning complements the brushing and flossing you do at home.

How often should you visit the dentist? Many dentists recommend at least two visits per year, more if you have gum disease or other dental health problems. Talk with your dentist to find out how often you need to go in.

2. Brush Your Teeth at Least 2x Daily

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes a session. These tips will help you master the art of brushing your teeth.

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Your toothbrush size should easily fit into your mouth and should allow you to easily reach all areas.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste, unless your dentist has instructed otherwise.
  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Brush all tooth surfaces including inner surfaces, outer surfaces, and chewing surfaces.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, sooner if the bristles fray. As your toothbrush wears out, it can’t clean your teeth as effectively.
  • Brush for at least two minutes, two times daily.

If you have questions about brushing your teeth, talk with your dentist.

3. Don’t Forget the Floss!

Nearly a third of U.S. adults never floss their teeth. Another third floss, but not every day. Daily flossing is a must for optimal oral health. Flossing is a type of interdental cleaning and helps keep your mouth healthy by removing build-up and bacteria from between the teeth and under the gumline. If you’re not sure how to properly floss, talk with your dentist for some tips and a demonstration.

When to floss is a common question. Timing is less important than actually getting it done. You can floss in the morning, at night, or any other time you choose. You can floss before or after brushing, or even without brushing. Getting your daily flossing done is what really matters.

4. Less Candy and More Vegetables

If you want to have a healthier body, eat better. The same holds true for your teeth. What you eat plays an important role in the health of your teeth and gums.

What does a good diet for oral health look like? Pack your plate with foods like:

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lean protein
  • Low-fat dairy

Sugar causes tooth decay by interacting with plaque to create acids that break down tooth enamel. Cut down on sugary foods to reduce the amount of sugar in your mouth. Snacks can be problematic for your teeth too. When you snack, your body releases less saliva than during a meal. Saliva washes away foods and sugars and lessens the impact of acids on the teeth. If you need a snack, choose a healthy one.

This healthy habit isn’t just beneficial for your teeth. Eating right will improve your overall health, from head to toe, not just the mouth.

5. Treat Existing Dental Problems

Smiles aren’t always healthy or beautiful. Life happens and you may be in need of some dental work before you’re ready to show off your smile. We know that getting dental work done can be intimidating. We’ll work with you to reduce nervousness. We want you to find dental solutions that work and we have many options available. Come talk with us and see how easy dental work and oral surgery can be. Our treatments include:

If you’re embarrassed of your smile or if you have existing dental health problems, come see us and explore your options.

Are these good habits already part of your life or is it time to make a change? Let’s improve on your smile together!

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.

 

The Effects of Tooth Loss on Your Health and Appearance

 

Losing even a single tooth can have a major impact on your health and appearance. Often the full consequence of losing a tooth isn’t realized immediately as these changes are subtle and occur over time. The good news is, with modern dental restoration, we can we can eliminate many of the negative effects of missing teeth, improving both health and appearance. Are you missing teeth? Learn how your missing teeth are impacting your life and then call our offices to learn about your options for dental restoration.

Loss of Dental Stability

Your teeth work together, supporting and helping to keep each other in place. When you lose a tooth, a hole opens up, allowing the surrounding teeth to shift and move positions. This can cause alignment issues and over time can affect how your teeth fit together and how you chew your food.

Bone Loss

Chewing is essential for good dental health. Your teeth help to maintain the strength of the bone that supports them. Chewing forces help keep the bone strong and dense. If you lose a tooth, the supporting bone slowly begins to atrophy. This can make dental implants and other restoration options more difficult in the future.

If it has been a long time since you lost a tooth, your bone has likely degenerated significantly. Often bone grafting is needed for successful dental implants.

Gum Recession

As the bone shrinks, so do the gum tissues. Your gums may become thinner and more delicate over the area where there is a missing tooth. Thinning gums are easily inflamed and injured by dentures and false teeth.

Changes to Facial Appearance

Missing teeth affect your appearance by more than just your smile. Bone and tooth loss can accelerate facial aging, changing the overall structure of your face. Changes to the appearance of the lips, chin, and nose are common after tooth loss. By some estimates, losing teeth can add up to 10 years to your appearance. Many patients don’t realize that these changes are caused by missing teeth and attribute them solely to aging.

Difficulty Eating

Are your favorite foods difficult or impossible to enjoy? Many patients that use dentures or have missing teeth struggle to eat certain foods. Don’t let missing teeth make you miss out on your favorite foods.

Lack of Nutrition

Patients that eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains generally enjoy better health. Unfortunately, missing teeth can lead to missing nutrition. Lower intakes of fruits and vegetables are common in denture wearers, often because these foods are too difficult to eat.

Poor chewing performance can also lead to difficulty digesting. When foods aren’t chewed as thoroughly, nutrition may not be adequately absorbed by the body as the food travels through the digestive tract.

Changes in Speech

Your teeth affect your speech. Patients with missing teeth often notice changes to their speech including slurring of certain words, lisping, or spitting. Missing teeth can also cause the tongue to increase in size, further affecting speech difficulties.

Impact on Confidence

We want our patients to laugh, smile, and enjoy life with confidence. When you have missing teeth, you may be embarrassed of your smile. Missing teeth have a negative impact on both appearance and self-confidence.

Minimizing the Negative Effects of Missing Teeth- What Can You Do?

In a perfect world, no one would ever lose a permanent tooth, but of course, this isn’t reality. Teeth can be lost for a variety of reasons including trauma and decay. Losing a tooth is a serious problem, but it is treatable. Proper treatment can help to reduce the negative effects of missing teeth. If you’re missing one or more teeth, call our offices to learn more about your options for dental restoration.

  • Dental Implants– Functioning much like a natural tooth, a dental implant consists of a titanium screw that is implanted into the jaw and a replacement crown that is attached to the implant. Dental implants can help maintain bone strength and density and tooth positioning after a missing tooth.
  • All-On-4- For patients requiring full arch restoration, we offer All-On-4 dental implants. Four or more implants are placed into the jaw to support a full arch restoration. This can be a more affordable option for patients that require many dental implants. This isn’t the right fit for every patient.
  • Bone and Gum Grafting- Bone and gum loss are common after losing a tooth, especially if it has been an extended amount of time. Bone and gum grafting can restore bone and gum appearance and density.

Losing a tooth can have a negative impact on your health and appearance, but dental restoration can eliminate many of the problems associated with tooth loss. Call us today and learn about your options for restoring your smile and your dental health.

Is All-On-4 Right for You?

 

Missing teeth aren’t just a cosmetic issue. If you have damaged or missing teeth, you may struggle to chew and enjoy your food or feel self-conscious whenever you smile. Don’t let missing teeth control your life any longer. Now, more than ever, you have options available for treating missing and damaged teeth. Dental implants are a popular choice but can be expensive and time-consuming, especially when full arch replacement is needed. All-On-4 is another option available for full mouth teeth replacement. Is All-On-4 right for you? Learn more about this treatment below and then call our offices for personalized advice about the best restorative dentistry options for your situation.

What Is All-On-4?

For patients with extensive dental restoration needs, All-On-4 offers full arch replacement with fewer dental implants. This makes it more affordable and achievable to use dental implants for replacing a considerable number of teeth. A full arch dental restoration is created and then attached to the jaw using four or more implants. The restoration is fixed, is not removable, and can restore both function and appearance to the treated arch. At Hill Country Oral Surgery we like to call this procedure Full Arch Dental Rehabilitation.

Your treatment will be customized to your needs. Many patients only require four implants to support a full arch of teeth, but more implants may be needed. Placing sufficient implants to properly support the restoration is essential for long-lasting results following this procedure.

How Long Does the Extraction and Replacement Process Take?

You may have heard the term “Teeth in a Day” referring to the dental implant process. This term can be a little deceptive and doesn’t accurately describe the full process for implants or Full Arch Dental Rehabilitation. It is true that many patients will be able to remove and temporarily replace their teeth in a single day, but additional appointments and a recovery period will be needed before the full restoration is complete.

When we can, we perform any needed extractions and place dental implants and a temporary restoration in one day. During this initial surgical appointment, we’ll secure a temporary set of teeth into the implants. These temporary teeth will be fixed in place and you will not be able to remove them yourself. These temporary teeth allow you to “test drive” your new smile. Once you’ve healed from surgery, you’ll be able to eat and use these teeth, evaluating their function and appearance. We’ll meet with you before fabricating your permanent teeth to discuss any changes you would like to make. This ensures that your final teeth will meet your specific needs and desires.

Unfortunately, not every patient is a good candidate for removal and replacement in a single day. Sometimes there are other structures in the way that must be treated prior to placing implants. Some patients have been without their teeth for many years and require bone or gum grafting. Many factors affect the placement and timing of implants.

From start to finish, the full restoration process can take several months as you prepare for your initial surgery, recover from surgery, and wait for the final placement of your permanent teeth. Teeth in a day isn’t always possible, but we’re creating something lasting. It may take longer than a day, but you’ll hopefully enjoy your new smile for the rest of your life. Take the time to do things right.

Is All-On-4 Right for Me?

All-On-4 dental restoration makes full arch restoration a possibility for many patients that would be unable to afford the procedure otherwise. Come see us and learn more about Full Arch Dental Rehabilitation if:

  • You are unable to eat and enjoy your favorite foods due to missing or damaged teeth.
  • You have extensive dental damage on one or both arches.
  • You are self-conscious about the appearance of your smile.

Come see us to explore your dental restoration options including All-On-4 and dental implants. The best way to determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure is to come meet with us. After an exam, we can assess your needs and make treatment recommendations. Each patient is different and a consultation is the only way to determine what your specific needs are.

Are missing or damaged teeth running your life? Get back in control of what you eat and when you smile with dental implants. Our Full Arch Dental Rehabilitation process has allowed many patients to restore their smile using fewer implants. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Make the Most of Your Post-Wisdom Tooth Removal Recovery

Tooth extraction is often a last effort if a tooth cannot otherwise be saved, but in the case of wisdom teeth, removal is necessary as a preventive effort. Many of our patients don’t have room in their jaws for these final teeth to fully erupt. Impaction, partial eruption, and difficulty keeping the wisdom teeth clean are common problems. Without treatment, wisdom teeth can cause alignment issues, foster tooth decay, and can lead to the development of cysts and other dental problems.

At Hill Country Oral Surgery, our expert dental surgeons and caring staff make the extraction process as easy as possible. Call today to schedule your consultation and to learn about your options for wisdom teeth removal.

Healing and Recovery after Extraction Surgery

Taking time out of your busy schedule can be difficult but is important to ensure proper healing. Most patients find that they are back to work, school, and other activities quickly. However, be sure to give your body the time it needs to heal and don’t rush into your usual routines. Returning to activity too soon can lead to complications after wisdom tooth removal.

How much time do you need for recovery after getting your wisdom teeth out? Basic timelines are provided below. Our team also provides personalized recovery recommendations before your surgery, so you know exactly what to expect.

  • Most patients will need at least 3 days of downtime and prescription pain medication. Don’t plan on attending work or going to school during this period. Many of our patients schedule their procedure for the end of the week and use the weekend as part of their recovery. This can mean less downtime if you’re worried about missing work or school.
  • You may still have some minor soreness after you’re able to return to work and school. Minor soreness typically lasts for about a week after surgery. This soreness should not interfere with your regular daily activities.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for at least 5 days after surgery.
  • Complicated wisdom tooth removal may require a longer recovery period.

Your recovery is an important time of healing. By giving your body the care it needs, you can feel confident knowing you have healed successfully and your oral health is protected.

After Wisdom Tooth Removal- What to Expect

Your recovery will progress through stages. For most patients, their comfort significantly improved after their second day of rest.

  • Right After Surgery – You’ll return home shortly after you have recuperated from sedation. You’ll need someone to drive you and help care for you, as you may be groggy. Bleeding is common at this stage, and you’ll need to change your gauze periodically. You can eat right away, even if you’re still numb. We recommend eating and taking your first dose of pain medication before the surgical anesthetic wears off, typically 2-8 hours after surgery.
  • The First Day – Rest as much as you can. You’ll be sore, but you can use pain medications to improve your comfort. Eat, rest, and take it easy. Ice packs can also be used to reduce swelling.
  • The First Couple Days – Most patients can return to daily activities after 2-3 days. You may be a little sore. Swelling and pain will decrease substantially each day after surgery.

Recovery Essentials- 3 Tips for Comfortable At-Home Care

Many of our patients are surprised by how quickly they heal after wisdom tooth removal. Our staff does our best to help you feel comfortable and rest while you are at home. These tips will help you have a better recovery from wisdom tooth removal surgery.

  • Call with any Questions – You aren’t alone during your recovery. Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns throughout the recovery process. We want to hear from you if you’re not healing as expected or if something doesn’t feel right.
  • Follow Your Recovery Instructions – We’ll give you detailed recovery instructions with tips for controlling bleeding, what to eat, medications, avoiding dry sockets, and how to carefully brush your teeth. Follow these instructions closely. We have created the recovery instructions to help you have a pleasant experience and avoid complications.
  • Avoid Common Mistakes – Many patients make the misstep of changing the gauze too soon or too often, waiting to take pain medications until the pain starts, not eating before taking pain medications, and getting physically active too soon. Avoid these common mistakes and you’ll avoid uncomfortable complications like nausea, infection, and pain.

Make wisdom tooth removal a more pleasant experience by using your recovery period to the fullest. Contact us to schedule your wisdom tooth removal at Hill Country Oral Surgery, top oral surgeons in Austin, TX.

 

 

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.

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.