The Most Common Causes of Tooth Loss Explained

If you want to keep your natural teeth for a lifetime, it’s important to understand the common causes of tooth loss. This will allow you to take preventive action to ensure your smile stays healthy. Top reasons for tooth loss are outlined below but be sure to contact your dentist if you have any questions or concerns. They can provide personalized advice for your oral health.

If you have lost a tooth, treatment options are available. Come to see us discuss dental implants, All-On-4 restorations, and other options. Your teeth are an integral part of your overall health and should be preserved when possible, but help is available for patients experiencing tooth loss.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss has many causes, some avoidable and some out of your control. Some of the most common reasons for tooth loss include:

  • Trauma – Trauma can dislodge it from the jaw or damage a tooth beyond repair. If you experience dental trauma, call your dentist right away. Sometimes teeth can be saved with prompt treatment.
  • Tooth Decay and Cavities – A small cavity doesn’t typically doesn’t mean the tooth must be extracted, but when small parts of decay go unchecked, bacteria can spread throughout the tooth, eventually affecting the dental pulp, roots of the tooth, and even underlying bone. This type of infection can be treated with a root canal in some cases, but not always. Severe infections may require tooth removal.
  • Gum Disease – Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. Gum disease is preventable with proper dental care and treatable once it develops. Severe periodontitis that compromises bone and causes significant tissue recession frequently creates tooth loss, however. Talk to your dentist about your options.
  • Impaction – Some teeth may be impacted and unable to fully erupt into the mouth. Wisdom teeth are commonly impacted, but canines are also affected. Early recognition of the problem and prompt treatment can mean that these teeth, or others, are extracted to make room in the smile for proper eruption.

The best way to prevent tooth loss is to see your dentist regularly. They can spot problems as they develop before they become serious. Don’t wait to go to the dentist until you have a problem. Remember, dental visits are largely preventive. If you have experienced bone loss as the result of a several dental infection or long missing teeth, our oral surgeon provides grafts and teeth replacement to meet your needs.

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy to Avoid Tooth Loss

Proper dental care and healthy habits can help you to prevent many causes of tooth loss. These tips will help you keep your pearly whites healthy and strong.

  • Don’t Smoke – Patients that smoke is more likely to experience tooth loss.
  • Brush and Floss Daily – Daily brushing is a must for a healthy smile. Brush twice a day and floss once per day; these are the minimums. Your dentist may recommend a different hygiene schedule or the use of certain dental tools, depending on your needs.
  • Visit Your Dentist – Regular dental visits are important. Ask your dentist how often you should come in for routine care, which includes dental X-rays and teeth polishing.
  • Address Dental Problems – As problems arise with your oral health, get treatment as soon as possible. This can minimize the risk of tooth loss and help to preserve the bone.
  • Live a Healthy Lifestyle – Diet and overall health affect the strength of your smile. Many diseases like diabetes or osteoporosis can negatively impact oral health. Likewise, a diet that includes sticky foods that adhere to teeth and foods with added sugar can impact the health of dental enamel and increase chances for decay and gum inflammation.

Hill Country Oral Surgery is proud to provide Austin, TX with tooth extraction, dental implants, and other oral surgery services. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

 


Jawbone Recession and How to Prevent It

Your jawbone serves as the foundation for your lower face and your smile. Without a strong jawbone, the shape of your face can change, teeth can shift, and other oral health complications can arise. What causes jawbone recession? What can you do to prevent it? Learn more about this common condition below.

At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we’re committed to improving the oral health of our patients in Austin, TX. Contact us at 512-327-7233 to schedule a consultation or to learn more about the oral surgery services we offer.

What Causes Jawbone Recession?

Jawbone deterioration occurs when the bone in the jaw begins to recede, become weaker, or deteriorate. It can happen to the upper jawbone, lower jawbone, or both. There are many reasons why this may occur including:

  • Tooth Extraction- The teeth play an important role in jawbone health. Each time you bite down, your teeth stimulate the jawbone, keeping it strong and healthy. Missing teeth, often from an extraction, leave bone unstimulated and in time, it can begin to degrade.
  • Trauma- Injury or trauma to the jaw can lead to deterioration, especially if teeth are knocked out or shifted in their positioning.
  • Dentures or Dental Bridges- Dentures and dental bridges provide cosmetic replacement for missing teeth, but they do not stimulate the bone. Many patients experience jaw deterioration in the areas under dentures or dental bridges.
  • Misaligned Bite- If your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your bite may not stimulate the jawbone sufficiently to maintain a healthy bone structure.
  • Gum Disease- Periodontal disease, including gingivitis, can destroy the support for your natural teeth by eroding the bone and tooth structure.
  • Disease- Tumors, bacterial infections, osteoporosis, and other diseases can lead to jaw deterioration and tooth loss.

Early action can help to slow and stop jawbone loss. If you’ve had a tooth removed or experience dental trauma, early treatment can save your jawbone’s structure. Proper dental care and early treatment of gum disease can also help to preserve your bone health.

A Strong Healthy Jaw Is Important… Here’s Why

The jaw plays a critical role in dental health and appearance. If you’re at risk for jawbone recession, get treatment now to avoid these common complications.

  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Increase in tongue size
  • Change in facial structure and appearance
  • Inability to support dental implants
  • Changes in fit or comfort to dental restorations
  • Shifting tooth positioning
  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty eating and obtaining proper nutrition
  • Sinus expansion

The sooner you seek treatment, the less advanced the bone loss will be. We encourage patients to visit their dentist regularly and to seek out advanced dental care from an oral surgeon as needed.

Treating Jawbone Recession – What Are My Options?

If you have jawbone deterioration, treatment options are available. Learn more about your options below or call our offices for a consultation. During your consultation, we’ll provide personalized treatment advice, customized for your dental needs.

  • Dental Implants- When a tooth is removed, a dental implant can provide the biting forces necessary for dental health. We recommend placing an implant as soon as possible after extraction to minimize the need for bone grafting.
  • Bone Grafting- Bone grafting, using donor or harvested bone, can restore the structure of the jaw. This treatment is ideal for patients with significant bone loss. In many cases, bone grafting can create sufficient bone structure to support a dental implant.
  • Sinus Lift- Missing teeth can cause the sinus cavities to shift. A sinus lift puts things back into position, facilitating a better implant placement.

Regular dental care can also improve your oral and jaw health. Avoid smoking and live a healthy lifestyle. Your mouth is part of your body, and a healthier body means healthier teeth.

Restore and protect your jawbone health at Hill Country Oral Surgery, one of Austin’s top oral surgery practices.

 

 



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.

 


5 Reasons For Dental Implants

Dental implants are a replacement for missing teeth that resemble natural teeth and are designed to not be rejected by the body. Implants are beneficial in many ways: they help keep the other teeth healthy, will last a lifetime and improve the appearance of your smile. Check out 5 reasons below that you should consider getting dental implants if you have missing teeth!

  • The integrity of your facial structure will be preserved or restored.
  • Your teeth will remain healthy.
  • Dental implants can last a lifetime.
  • You will get a self-confidence boost.
  • Dental care is simple and easy.


Dental Implants Don’t Have to Be Scary

Ghosts and goblins can give you a fright, but one thing you shouldn’t worry about this Halloween is getting dental implants. At Hill Country Oral Surgery, we focus on making oral surgery as comfortable, understandable, and accessible as possible. We’ll answer any questions and address your concerns to help alleviate any fears you may be experiencing. Dental implants don’t have to be scary and at Hill Country Oral Surgery, we focus on taking the fear out of oral surgery.

Are You Nervous About Dental Implants?

Are you nervous about replacing missing or damaged teeth? Dental implants are one of the most effective ways to repair the functionality and aesthetics of your smile. For many patients, the unknown of a new procedure can feel intimidating and even scary. Come in for a consultation and let us address your concerns. As you learn more about the procedure and get answers to your questions, the fear surrounding dental implants will dissipate. Get answers so you can get your smile back.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a long-lasting solution to missing or damaged teeth. A special titanium screw is implanted into the bone in the jaw and used to support a replacement tooth, or in some cases a bridge of multiple teeth. These teeth will look and function like your natural teeth. You’ll be able to chew and smile with confidence.

Dental Implants- Your Questions Answered

Do you have questions about dental implants? We’ll answer some common questions below, but don’t hesitate to reach out if you don’t see your questions on this list. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have until you feel comfortable and confident with your decision to pursue dental implants.

  • Are Dental Implants Painful? – Dental surgery shouldn’t be a painful experience. We utilize a variety of anesthetic options, before and after surgery, to ensure a comfortable experience for each of our patients. We use a personalized combination of nitrous oxide (laughing gas), local anesthetics, IV sedation, or general anesthetics, depending on your unique needs. We also offer prescription pain relief and Exparel, a non-narcotic pain relief treatment that provides relief for up to 3 days after surgery. We’ll discuss your options during your consultation and will work with you to ensure that you’re comfortable as you recover from dental implant surgery.
  • Why Should I Consider Dental Implants? – When you lose a tooth, the bone supporting that tooth will begin to deteriorate. This can cause premature aging and changes in your facial structure. Dental implants preserve the bone and help keep your teeth and jaw healthy. Missing teeth also interfere with your ability to eat and your confidence to smile. Dental implants are easy care, just brush like regular teeth, and can last a lifetime.
  • Am I a Good Candidate for Dental Implants? – If you have missing teeth, you need to learn more about dental implants. Many patients are good candidates for this restorative treatment. If you have periodontal disease, additional treatment may be needed before you’re ready to receive implants. Patients with diabetes or those that smoke may be unable to receive dental implants.
  • How Long Does a Full Dental Implant Restoration Take? – Restoration times vary, depending on the number of teeth being replaced and the condition of your jaw. Some patients will be eligible for immediate restoration, or an implant that is placed at the same time the tooth is removed. The restoration process takes 3-6 months for most patients. We can estimate your timeline during your consultation.
  • Can You Replace Multiple Teeth with Dental Implants? – Dental implants can replace a single tooth, a bridge of multiple teeth, or even an entire arch.
  • Are Dental Implants Successful? – Dental implants are extremely successful. With more than 50 years of clinical experience and over 1 million patients, statistics tell us that dental implants have a 98% success rate. We use the latest technologies and most advanced techniques to ensure that you receive the safest, most effective care possible.
  • What’s Recovery Like After Dental Implants? – Recovery times vary, depending on the extent of your procedure and how you manage your recovery. Single implants without bone grafting require the least amount of recovery while multiple placements or extensive bone grafting can prolong the recovery period and increase the amount of discomfort experienced.

We love a good scare, but not when it comes to dental work. Come into Hill Country Oral Surgery for a scare-free dental implant experience and get your Halloween thrills at the haunted house instead. Call us today to schedule your dental implant consultation with some of the best oral surgeons in the Austin, TX area.


Flexible Spending Account (FSA) for Dental Implants? Yes!

Do you have leftover money in your flexible spending account (FSA) this year? If you have missing or damaged teeth, come into Hill Country Oral Surgery and get dental implants. Dental implants are an FSA authorized expense. Call us today and schedule your consultation to get started.

What Is an FSA?

A flexible spending account, also known as a flexible spending arrangement, is a special account where you can put pre-tax funds aside for medical expenses. You don’t ever pay taxes on FSA funds, so an FSA can save you money on your medical expenses, as much as your usual tax rate. An FSA must be obtained through an employer that offers the program. All the funds must be used for authorized medical expenses during the designated year.

FSAs can save you money on medical expenses, but they require careful management to get the maximum benefits. If you don’t spend your FSA funds during the designated year, you lose them. Many employers offer a short grace period at the beginning of the year to spend any remaining funds. Check with your employer to learn more about contribution limits, reimbursement deadlines, and important dates for your FSA. Don’t let your funds expire or you’ll lose money. There are so many ways to use FSA funds, including oral surgery and dental implants.

Can I Use My FSA Funds on Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an FSA eligible expense. That means that you can use any remaining funds in your FSA to help pay for the procedure. Redemption policies vary, depending on your FSA. Some patients receive a debit card they can use for certain FSA authorized expenses. Other policies may require you to pay for the procedure up-front and receive a reimbursement after treatment. Talk with your employer for detailed information on how to redeem your FSA funds.

Does Everyone Have an FSA?

FSAs are only available through your employer. If you don’t have an FSA, talk with your employer to find out if one is available. Not all employers offer FSAs. If you don’t have an FSA, don’t worry. Medical expenses, like dental implants, are still tax deductible in many cases. Some private insurance policies, especially those with a high deductible, offer a health savings account (HSA) which is similar to an FSA.

Affording Dental Implants- What You Need to Know

Dental implants can improve both the function and appearance of your smile. They are also a significant financial investment. If you have an FSA, your leftover funds may make the procedure more accessible and affordable. If you don’t have an FSA, you may still be able to afford dental implants.

  • Finest Care at the Most Reasonable Cost- We strive to provide our patients with the highest standard of care in oral and maxillofacial surgery. We also try to keep our costs reasonable and fair. Come in for a consultation and quote so you know how much dental implants will cost.
  • Insurance– We accept insurance and many policies pay a significant amount toward dental implants. We are happy to submit insurance claims for you. Remember, you are responsible for the entire cost of your procedure, whether your insurance company pays or not. Talk with your insurance company to find out if your policy covers dental implants.
  • Payment Policy- Our policy is that payment must be made at the time of the treatment. If you have insurance, we will ask you to pay your portion of the payment at the time of the procedure.
  • Accepted Payments– We accept a variety of payment options including cash, check, debit cards, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and Care Credit.
  • Financing for Dental Implants– If you need help financing the cost of your procedure, look into Care Credit. They provide a medical/dental credit card upon approval. This card can be used to pay for services from our offices and services offered by many other medical providers. Call our offices to learn more about Care Credit or visit their website to fill out an application.

With a variety of financing and payment options, we can provide dental implants to many patients that originally worried the cost of the procedure was out of reach. Come see us to explore your options and learn more.

The end of the year is quickly approaching. If you want dental implants and have leftover FSA funds, come see us and put them to good use. If you don’t have an FSA, let’s talk about financing options. During open enrollment time, right now for many of our patients, you’ll have more options available for changing/adding insurance or getting an FSA. If you’re hoping for dental implants in the near future, come in now so you can get the information you need before open enrollment closes. Call us to schedule your consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.


Dental Implants: The Process

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the roots of the teeth with titanium screws and substitutes missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function as normal teeth would. Dental implants are a great option for teeth replacement as they help keep the other teeth healthy, will last a lifetime and improve the appearance of your smile. The doctors at Hill Country Oral Surgery put together this graphic to help you better understand the dental implant process, if you would like to learn more about the surgery, consult with one of our doctors by calling 512-327-7233 or contacting us here!

Dental Implant Process Infographic


Do I Need Bone Grafting Before Dental Implants?

Restore your beautiful smile with dental implants. If you’re missing teeth or have undergone severe dental trauma, dental implants can help you get your smile back. We often talk with patients that are interested in implants, but a bit apprehensive about the process, especially the potential for a needed bone graft. Here’s what you need to know about dental implants and bone grafting. Contact our offices and schedule a consultation to get personalized advice.

Do All Dental Implant Patients Need a Bone Graft?

Some patients will need a bone graft before dental implants and some will not. When teeth are missing or removed, the supporting bone begins to atrophy (or shrink). Dental implants are secured into the supporting bone. For the implant to hold up to the forces that teeth face, like biting and chewing, we need to use a sufficiently sized titanium screw. If the bone has atrophied too much, we won’t be able to place an implant that will hold up over time. Additionally, the bone provides the support for gum tissue. If the bone has atrophied, your gum line contours will not look natural.

In patients with significant bone atrophy, we can restore the supporting bone using bone grafting. During your consultation, we can help you determine if bone grafting is needed for successful dental implants. The longer your tooth has been missing, the more likely you are to need bone grafting.

Bone grafting may sound intimidating, but we find the results far outweigh the inconvenience. Bone grafting helps us to truly restore your smile and to create a natural look using dental implants.

Where Do You Get the Bone for a Bone Graft?

We obtain the needed bone for bone grafting from either a donor source or by harvesting your own bone.

  • Donor Bone– Donor bone, either from a bovine (cow) or human donor source, can be used for many patients. This bone is obtained from a tissue bank and is sterilized and specially processed before it is used. The advantage of using donor bone is that we don’t need to create a second surgical site on your body. This can make recovery easier.
  • Your Own Bone- For patients needing extensive reconstruction, harvested bone from your own body generally works best. This bone can be obtained with minimal risk and without cosmetic deformity.

Many patients feel intimidated by the possibility of bone grafting, but don’t let that stop you from achieving a beautiful smile. We regularly perform bone grafting with excellent results. If you have concerns, come see us. We can help you better understand the process and answer any questions you may have. Call us today and schedule your consultation.


Can I really have “Teeth in a Day”?

You may have heard about Teeth in a Day and thought: could it really be possible? We can’t blame you for being skeptical, but it’s true: today’s technology makes it possible to undergo the restoration of a full set of teeth within a single day. The secret behind this remarkable procedure? The latest in dental implant technology.

How Is It Possible?

Before, more dental implants were needed to reconstruct a single jaw. However, new dental materials available today allow the restoration of an entire arch of teeth using fewer implants. During the Teeth in a Day procedure, multiple titanium dental implants are implanted to support an entire arch of teeth, and then a set of prosthetic teeth are fixed to the implants. Usually, a procedure called All-On- 4 is performed for Teeth in a Day. All-On- 4 uses a minimum of 4 dental implants to support the whole arch of teeth. However, the number of dental implants needed will still vary in the case of each patient.

Teeth in a Day Procedure

After your consultation and a CT scan, our highly-skilled and well-experienced experts will create a template from your teeth to serve as a temporary implant guide for your surgery.

The Teeth in a Day procedure is performed by a team consisting of a surgeon, a restorative dentist, and sometimes a prosthodontist (a dentist that specializes in complex dental restorations). They will work together to assess the best dental template that is will work best for aesthetics and function.

A follow up checkup will be required the next day to assess the performance of the temporary teeth for chewing, biting, and aesthetics.

If the temporary teeth deliver a beautiful, natural, and a comfortable smile, and also gives you the freedom and confidence to laugh and eat the food you want, it will be worn for 4-6 months until the final bridge is made.

Get an Instantly More Beautiful You

The All-On- 4 procedure doesn’t just result in a confident and beautiful smile, it can also make you look younger.

Missing teeth can cause the underlying bone to deteriorate. Loss of bone can lead to your cheeks appearing sunken, making you look older than you are. The new set of beautiful replacement teeth will support your cheeks once again.

Teeth in a Day Could Be the Procedure for You!

You can have a new set of teeth that is more comfortable and efficient than dentures. Get a whole new smile within just a day. Find out if the Teeth in a Day procedure is the treatment for your needs by contacting Hill Country Oral Surgery.