Types of Facial Injuries Your Oral Surgeon Can Help Correct

Oral surgery is more than tooth extractions, implant surgery, and resolving impacted teeth. It also deals with facial trauma potentially affecting your ability to speak, eat, see, or breathe. Restoring these critical functions requires an exceptionally trained oral and maxillofacial surgeon to correct the aftermath of facial trauma. Here are common facial injuries your surgeons at Hill Country Oral Surgery can help rectify.

Jaw Fractures

Sports activities, auto accidents, and falls often lead to fractures in the lower jaw (mandible), the upper jaw (maxilla), or both. In most incidents, loosened, damaged, or knocked-out teeth accompany jaw fractures.

Hill Country Oral Surgery performs facial trauma surgery to stabilize the jaw and restore correct alignment. And since our surgeons specialize in replacing missing teeth and treating injured tooth sites, they are most qualified to address jaw-related injuries.

Cheekbone Fractures

Cheekbone fractures can result from violence, falling, sports injuries, or being in a car accident. Also called zygomatic bone injuries, these fractures might be easy to overlook. Usually, they don’t initially link with functional problems.

However, if not recognized and treated soon after trauma by an experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeon, the facial injury can cause cosmetic and functional problems. With severe cheekbone injuries, oral surgery may be necessary to restore the bone to its original position and shape.

Nasal Fractures

The nose is a prominent facial feature and a frequent site of injury. Blunt-force trauma is usually the culprit. In fact, any solid blow on the face – whether from violence, a fall, an accident, or a sports activity – can result in a broken nose.

Oral surgery is not always the ideal solution for nasal fractures. However, if the nose is visibly crooked or you are having trouble breathing, oral and maxillofacial surgical intervention may be necessary.

Orbital Fractures

Violent blows to the face often fracture the eye socket. Sports activities and auto accidents are common causes.

Most orbital fractures affect the eye socket’s lower portion, where the bone is thinner. As with nasal injuries, oral surgery isn’t always necessary for eye injuries. But if there is eyeball displacement from the natural position or double vision, the patient will likely need surgical treatment.

Hill Country Oral Surgery surgeons have extensive training, certification, and experience at treating all types of facial fractures and injuries. We serve the greater Austin area with a full range of oral and maxillofacial services, including wisdom teeth extractions, dental implants, impacted canines, and pre-prosthetic surgery.

If you would like more information about facial trauma requiring oral surgery, call our Austin office at (512) 327-7233 to request a consultation.


How to Take Care of Your Toothbrush

How many times do you think about caring for your toothbrush? Once in your lifetime, maybe twice. Okay, how about never. Many of us have toothbrush maintenance low on our priority list, if it’s there at all, but it’s definitely something we should consider. A well-functioning toothbrush is critical to your dental health. A dirty one is a trap for bacteria that get transferred to your mouth.

Below, we at Hill Country Oral Surgery have devised a list of how to take good care of your toothbrush, and consequently, good care of your mouth!

Replace Toothbrush Regularly

Take a good look at your toothbrush. Are the bristles bent or frayed? Are some of the strands missing? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for a new toothbrush. Some toothbrushes have a color on their bristles to remind you it’s time to replace after fading down to a certain level.

The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush at least three times annually. When you continue to use worn, old strands, they become ineffective in cleaning your teeth.

Store Your Brush Correctly

If your toothbrush carries a strange odor, it may be that you’re not allowing it to dry between uses. To keep your toothbrush fresh and free from bacteria-attracting moisture, you should store the brush upright with enough airflow to dry. Don’t use toothbrush covers, and never allow your brush to get close to the toilet.

Clean Your Toothbrush

To give your toothbrush a good cleaning, here are some helpful hints to get the job done:

  • Dilute two teaspoons of baking soda in one cup of water to make a soaking solution for your toothbrush.
  • Soak bristles in vinegar weekly
  • Mix one teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide in one cup of water and stir the toothbrush in the solution for several minutes.
  • Place your toothbrush under a constant flow of water after use, then give it a good shake
  • Soak your toothbrush in antibacterial mouthwash for half a minute.
  • Soak your toothbrush in denture cleaning solution

If you take care of your toothbrush, your toothbrush will take care of your teeth.

Toothbrush Maintenance

Here are some hints to get the most out of your toothbrush, so it is a long-lasting weapon against tooth decay.

  • Rinse brush after using and allow it to dry.
  • Rotate two or more toothbrushes between uses to prolong toothbrush longevity.
  • If you are ill, you should replace your toothbrush when you get better.
  • Never, ever, ever share your toothbrush with someone else.

Another hint is to treat electronic toothbrushes the same way you maintain a manual toothbrush.

Learn More

If you would like more information about toothbrush maintenance or dental hygiene, contact us at Hill Country Dental Surgery today.

Call our Austin oral surgery office at 512-327-7233 to request a consultation.


10 Bad Foods for Your Teeth

A healthy diet’s role in maintaining good oral hygiene is well-documented. But are you fully aware of how some foods can affect your dental health? Here’s our oral surgeons’ top-10 list of foods you should avoid in maintaining those pearly whites.

1. Hard Candies

To start, biting or chewing hard candies leaves you vulnerable to chipping or breaking a tooth. Additionally, the sticky remains of sugary candy are harder to clean, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities.

2. Sodas

Carbonated sodas trigger a chemical reaction in the mouth that allows dental plaque to create more acid. This acid then breaks down tooth enamel, leading to discoloration and rapid decay.

3. Potato Chips

As yummy as chips are, they’re full of starch. As you munch these snacks, the starch turns to sugar, then becomes trapped between your teeth to feed bacteria, thus promoting acid and decay.

4. Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits and their acidity wreak havoc on tooth enamel, your teeth’s natural defense. Although these natural foods have health benefits, consume them with caution. We recommend after eating lemons, oranges, or limes, you should rinse your mouth with water thoroughly.

5. Bread

Like potato chips, bread contains starch, which breaks down into sugar. When you consume bread, the sugar becomes a gummy, sticky paste that lodges between the teeth to promote decay.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol cuts saliva production and leaves your mouth dry. Saliva is necessary to rinse your teeth naturally and keep them free from acid and bacteria. It also keeps your mouth free from oral infections to keep your teeth healthy.

7. Ice

Ice is only frozen water, so where’s the harm? If you have a habit of chewing on ice cubes, you can fracture or break a tooth or crack enamel. Ice can also loosen crowns, leading to an expensive visit to your dentist.

8. Fruit Juice

You may think of fruit juice as a healthy snack, but it contains plenty of natural sugars. Some fruit juices contain as much sugar as sodas. If you can’t resist your morning orange juice, be sure to rinse your mouth with water afterward.

9. Fried Foods

Battered and fried foods are rich in chemical compounds like oxysterols, acrylamide, and acrolein, which are not only harmful to your heart but can lodge between your teeth and increase decay. If you must chow down on some tasty fried chicken, make sure you brush your teeth afterward.

10. Pickles

Pickles can be the worst nightmare for your oral health. Mixing vegetables with vinegar creates a potent acidic compound, promoting enamel erosion and a severe risk to your teeth.

This list is only scratching the surface of foods to be aware of for proper oral care. If you have any questions about keeping your teeth healthy and brilliant, contact us at Hill Country Oral Surgeons. Our goal is to help you preserve your beautiful smile.


How to Care for Your Teeth During the Holidays

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and an excellent time to show off that brilliant smile. But with so many holiday treats begging for consumption, will you be able to maintain those pearly whites? The last thing you want for Christmas is to start down a path of a dental disaster. We’ve put together this guide to help you care for your teeth during this time of celebration and enter the new year with no fear of cavities –or something worse.

Get Your Teeth Cleaned First

No doubt the holidays will be busy, but don’t ignore your dental hygiene. If you’re planning to go out and shop for presents, schedule an appointment to get your teeth cleaned first. Then, you can spend the rest of the day finding that perfect gift for that someone special.

Drink Plenty of Water; Coffee—Not So Much

Nothing helps get us through a busy holiday schedule than a cup of coffee. However, many of us find we’re drinking more than we should. You may also be reaching for more sodas, energy drinks and other sugary beverages during the holiday bustle, but try to cut out caffeine and sugar and drink pure water instead.

Limit Sweets to After Mealtime

Candy and baked goods are everywhere during the holidays, laid out in bowls in houses, offices, and retail shops. We’re not saying you have to deny yourself these treats, but take heed of when you indulge and how much. The best time to eat sweets is after a meal, when your saliva count is up. This practice helps cancel acid-producing bacteria that can harm tooth enamel and leave your teeth unprotected.

Don’t Forget Your Dental Hygiene Routine

When we get busy doing things out of our regular routine, like holiday shopping and an abundance of parties and get-togethers, we may cancel some routine activities. When you alter your busy schedule to make room for holiday cheer, ensure you still stick to your dental hygiene routine. That includes flossing and brushing your teeth at least twice a day.

Need More Help?

Would you like more information on maintaining beautiful, white teeth? If so, the staff at Hill Country Oral Surgery is here to help. If you need a cleaning, or perhaps some work done before the holidays, give us a call, and we’ll fit you in. Or if you have any questions about our practice, we’re only a phone call away.

Call us at 512-327-7233 or request a consultation.


How to Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene Throughout the Holiday Season

It’s that time of year when we anticipate cooler weather and prepare for the holidays. Each year we look forward to our favorite holiday eats and treats. Whether it’s pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, stuffing, roasted turkey, or some of that irresistible homemade candy, we can’t but indulge ourselves.

But to ensure our teeth survive this special time of year, we should start the season by keeping our oral health in check. Here a few fundamental tips for doing just that.

Brush After Eating

Good oral hygiene is essential throughout the year, but more so during the holiday season. With an abundance of cookies, cakes, and other sugary treats at arm’s length, you’ll know you’ll be spoiling yourself with these delights. After enjoying a piece of pie or a gingerbread man, if you can’t brush, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water to remove sugary particles and diminish the risk of tooth decay. But if possible, don’t avoid brushing directly after eating, especially after high-sugar treats.

Avoid Temptations

This time of year, our willpower will be tested. So, don’t add to the problem by keeping treats around you if possible. At work, don’t have them readily available near your workstation, and at home, don’t put them where you can see them. This practice may mean staying out of the kitchen or living area where they are spread out or displayed. You’ll have temptation enough at holiday parties, so don’t add to it if it can be helped.

Floss Everyday

During the holidays, flossing is more critical than ever. But statistics tell us that only one in four Americans floss daily. Now’s the best time to get in the habit if you don’t floss every day. Put the floss on your nightstand and do it before bedtime. If you don’t like flossing, chew sugar-free gum to reduce plaque buildup.

Use Mouthwash

Good mouthwash products not only keep your breath fresh, but they are excellent oral hygiene products. Stock your cabinet with your favorite for your family to use regularly. Look for mouthwashes that have fluoride to combat cavity formation and strengthen your enamel.

Eat Treats in Moderation

When you consume sugary beverages or foods, the bacteria in your mouth will feed off the sugar. This increase in bacteria will form acids that will breakdown the tooth enamel. Constant snacking will increase the risk of gum disease and cavities. Although flossing and brushing will help keep the bacteria at bay, it’s also important not to overindulge. Balance your sweets with healthier foods like vegetables and raw fruits, so you can enjoy the holiday without damaging your teeth.

Learn More

If you would like more information about your oral health, please give us a call at Hill Country Oral Surgery in Austin, TX. We are committed to smiles and proper oral hygiene. Get started by contacting us online or calling 512-327-7233 today!


How Your Gut Health Impacts Your Oral Health

Every dentist will tell you that there is a close link between our gut microbiome and oral health, with trillions of good bacteria living throughout your digestive system.  Your microbiome influences your digestion, immune system, metabolism, and hormones. Research shows it can even play a role in your daily moods and emotions. Your dentist will be most concerned with an imbalance in your microbiome that can affect your oral health.

Microbiome Imbalance Affects Your Mouth

Most people are surprised that the health of their gut has an impact on their oral health. If you have too few good bacteria or too many harmful ones, this imbalance sends an inflammatory signal to your immune system, causing various symptoms to occur throughout the body – including the mouth. In fact, we can monitor dental health by examining gut health. 

Oral Health and the Leaky Gut

Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance in gut bacteria. Healthy patients have enough beneficial gut bacteria to keep the gut lining functional and robust. This balance ensures the immune system, which resides mainly in the gut, is strong. However, if there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria that causes inflammation and a leak in the intestinal lining, a number of symptoms can occur, including those that affect your oral health. Here are some conditions caused by a “leaky” gut.

Gingivitis

This inflammation of the gums occurs when a film of bacteria accumulates on the teeth. Also known as plaque, it is a type of periodontal disease. When left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more severe condition that can lead to tooth loss.  

Dental Decay

This problem occurs when the gut leaks and allows undigested material and toxins to move freely through the body. With this weakening of the immune system, your mouth is less capable of fighting off the invaders that cause tooth decay. A key component of tooth decay is toxicitiy that can even enter the bloodstream.

Tooth Decay in Children

Dental caries is the most common oral infection in children. Once this tooth infection sets in, there is no reversing it. Then the tooth decay progresses as the child grows older. It may also lead to oral afflictions like thrush and halitosis.

Reducing Oral Risk from a Leaky Gut

Here are some easy ways to reduce the risk of poor oral health from a leaky gut:

Consume Fiber-Rich Foods

By eating fiber-rich foods like beans, lentils, apples, and broccoli, you can naturally help keep your teeth clean. Also, including foods in your diet that are probiotic-rich will help with your gut health, as well.

Brush and Floss

Good dental hygiene, like daily brushing and flossing, will ensure healthy gums. They remove food particles and reduce plaque buildup around the teeth and tongue.

Gum Disease Awareness

If you notice oral symptoms like bloody or inflamed gums, don’t ignore them. They can be a sign of severe underlying dental issues that need attention. 

Regular Dental Check-ups

Come see us for a dental checkup regularly. Teeth cleanings are essential for quality dental care and health. If you have high blood sugar levels, bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth, or a bitter taste in your mouth, this may be the signs of digestive issues. 

Contact us today for any oral health concerns. 


How Your Gut Health Impacts Your Oral Health

Every dentist will tell you that there is a close link between our gut microbiome and oral health, with trillions of good bacteria living throughout your digestive system.  Your microbiome influences your digestion, immune system, metabolism, and hormones. Research shows it can even play a role in your daily moods and emotions. Your dentist will be most concerned with an imbalance in your microbiome that can affect your oral health.

Microbiome Imbalance Affects Your Mouth

Most people are surprised that the health of their gut has an impact on their oral health. If you have too few good bacteria or too many harmful ones, this imbalance sends an inflammatory signal to your immune system, causing various symptoms to occur throughout the body – including the mouth. In fact, we can monitor dental health by examining gut health.

Oral Health and the Leaky Gut

Gut dysbiosis is an imbalance in gut bacteria. Healthy patients have enough beneficial gut bacteria to keep the gut lining functional and robust. This balance ensures the immune system, which resides mainly in the gut, is strong. However, if there is an overgrowth of harmful bacteria that causes inflammation and a leak in the intestinal lining, a number of symptoms can occur, including those that affect your oral health. Here are some conditions caused by a “leaky” gut.

Gingivitis

This inflammation of the gums occurs when a film of bacteria accumulates on the teeth. Also known as plaque, it is a type of periodontal disease. When left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, a more severe condition that can lead to tooth loss.

Dental Decay

This problem occurs when the gut leaks and allows undigested material and toxins to move freely through the body. With this weakening of the immune system, your mouth is less capable of fighting off the invaders that cause tooth decay. A key component of tooth decay is a toxicity that can even enter the bloodstream.

Tooth Decay in Children

Dental cavities are the most common oral infection in children. Once this tooth infection sets in, there is no reversing it. Then the tooth decay progresses as the child grows older. It may also lead to oral afflictions like thrush and halitosis.

Reducing Oral Risk from a Leaky Gut

Here are some easy ways to reduce the risk of poor oral health from a leaky gut:

Consume Fiber-Rich Foods

By eating fiber-rich foods like beans, lentils, apples, and broccoli, you can naturally help keep your teeth clean. Also, including foods in your diet that are probiotic-rich will help with your gut health, as well.

Brush and Floss

Good dental hygiene, like daily brushing and flossing, will ensure healthy gums. They remove food particles and reduce plaque buildup around the teeth and tongue.

Gum Disease Awareness

If you notice oral symptoms like bloody or inflamed gums, don’t ignore them. They can be a sign of severe underlying dental issues that need attention.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Come see us for a dental checkup regularly. Teeth cleanings are essential for quality dental care and health. If you have high blood sugar levels, bleeding gums, bad breath, sensitive teeth, or a bitter taste in your mouth, this may be the signs of digestive issues.

If you have any oral health concerns, contact us or call us at (512)-327-7233 today for your consultation.


What Causes Sensitive Teeth and How to Stop It

Do you avoid drinking ice cold drinks because of your teeth? Do frozen deserts cause you to shudder from the jolt of pain they cause in your mouth. If sensitive teeth inhabit your life like these or other ways, something has to change…

Here, we’ll explore some common triggers for tooth sensitivity and some strategies you can implement to make it stop.

Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth

According to clinical research, about 15% of all Americans have some level of tooth sensitivity. Women tend to experience this problem more than men. The age range most affected are people from 20 to 50, and the canine teeth are the most to experience sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity is a sharp pain responding to some external stimulus like cold drinks. It generally leaves as quickly as it comes.

Here are some common causes of this discomfort:

  • Gum recession
  • Acid dissolution causing enamel loss
  • Commercial whitening procedures or products

Exposed roots are hands down the most common cause of tooth sensitivity, and this condition is caused by receding gums. Unlike enamel, tooth roots are covered with cementum, which is almost as hard as enamel. Once these roots are exposed, the teeth will become more susceptible to sensitivity and discomfort.

What Causes Receding Gums?

There are multiple causes for receding gums, including periodontal disease, brushing too hard, poor dental care, fluctuating hormones, tobacco products, grinding teeth, or a misaligned bite.

Receding Gum Treatments

A mild gum recession can be resolved with:

A Professional Deep Cleaning

During this cleaning, tartar and plaque are removed and the exposed root areas will smooth over. Afterward, it is more difficult for bacteria to attach themselves. Antibiotics may also be included in this treatment to kill any remaining bacteria.

Oral Surgery

A deep cleaning may not be enough to treat the issue because of deep pockets or excess bone loss. If this is the case, oral surgery may be necessary. A gum graft may also be employed to protect the exposed tooth from harmful bacteria.

Good Oral Hygiene

You’ll likely want to brush gently and avoid commercial whitening products that may have harmful chemicals. Good oral health also means getting regular checkups with your dentist.

An Overnight Mouthguard

If necessary, you may want to train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. An overnight mouthguard is a fantastic product that prevents this action while you sleep.

Learn More

If you need more information about your sensitive teeth or are concerned with your overall dental health, contact us today and schedule a checkup!


Top 3 Reasons to Invest in a Night Mouth Guard

Do others tell you that you grind your teeth when you sleep? Or, do you have jaw pain or chronic headaches from clenching your teeth? If the answer is yes to either question, you may need a custom-fitted mouthguard for the night. By wearing this oral device, you can protect your teeth from undue harm and provide relief from any associated oral or jaw pain.

Our professional team at Hill County Oral Surgery wants the best for you and your oral health. Here are three reasons why we recommend a custom-fitted night mouthguard.

1. Stops You From Grinding Your Teeth

The medical term for grinding your teeth is Bruxism, which refers explicitly to the moving of the jaw back and forth. This condition is common and usually occurs at night during sleep or in times of stress. Unless a sleep partner or dentist informs them, most of our patients are not even aware that they grind their teeth.

Eventually, grinding your teeth will cause excessive damage to tooth structures and the eroding of enamel. This injury can lead to increased sensitivity or decay. It may also cause pain in the jaw, neck, and face, disrupting your sleep.

2. Prevents You From Clenching Your Teeth

Another form of Bruxism is clenching your teeth or biting down for extended periods. Patients who clench their teeth during sleep may end up with significant tooth damage. Teeth clenching may also cause stress fractures in your molars, appearing as light brown hues.

If you are curious about if you clench your teeth or not, look in the mirror to see if you can find vertical hairline cracks in your teeth. Insufficient treatment for teeth clenching will increase the chance of these cracks and lead to overall dental health issues.

3. Helps You Get a Goodnight Sleep Without Snoring

A night mouthguard does not merely cover your teeth for protection but also pushes the tongue and lower jaw forward. Some custom guards have a strap that wraps around your head and chin to position the lower jaw precisely.

Custom night guards also open air-passages and reduce snoring that occurs because of vibrations to soft tissue in the upper airway. These work similarly to mouthguards for sleep apnea, as both work to pull your lower jaw forward for an open airway. The over-the-counter boil-and-bite guards won’t help you breathing or reduce snoring nearly as well.

If snoring is compromising your sleep, or that of your sleep partner, come see us about your mouthguard options. We can recommend one that will effectively help you with your unique oral concerns and improve your quality of life.

To learn more, please contact Hill County Oral Surgery today!


The Role of Oral Health in Developing and Reversing Cancer

It has always been known that proper dental care affects overall health. That said, there is also some reason to believe that it can also influence the risk of cancer. This suggestion may seem like a stretch, but researchers at Helsinki University Hospital in Finland and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden are suggesting there is a link. When a patient suffers from periodontitis, a disease of the gum tissue, it may increase their chance of contracting cancer.

The Link Between Oral Health and Cancer

This clinical study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, indicates that the bacteria causing periodontitis, treponema denticola (Td), may play a role in the development of oral cancer and other cancers. It also shows a link between cancer mortality within the population. It has been proven that Td may have an impact on the onset of cancer, a process that exists on the molecular level. The bacteria occur in malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal tract, common in pancreatic cancer.

The primary enzyme found in the Td bacteria is also found to activate other proteins that help cancer cells invade healthy tissue. It will also diminish the effectiveness of the immune system by inactivating enzyme inhibitor molecules.

Invading Other Body Parts

Another study published in the International Journal of Cancer has proven that periodontitis is linked with cancer mortality. These studies demonstrate that gum disease factors can spread from the mouth to other parts of the body to destroy tissue as related to cancer. The researchers have concluded that a low-grade inflammation from periodontitis helps facilitate oral bacteria that has severely harmful factors to other body parts.

On the other hand, prevention through proper oral hygiene and early diagnosis are critical not only for oral health but for the patient’s overall wellbeing. In other words, maintaining consistent dental health care can help patients avoid life-threatening diseases.

Learn More

To learn how you can improve not only oral health through proper dental care, but have an impact on your overall health by decreasing the risk of cancer and gum disease, contact Hill County Oral Surgery today for a consultation.