Are dental crowns a factor in Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign north AustinInvisalign is a great alternative to traditional orthodontia. Millions of people throughout the United States and beyond have improved the placement of their teeth by wearing Invisalign. Although this orthodontic system effectively straightens teeth and corrects spacing issues, it is still a relatively new form of orthodontic treatment and many people have questions about how Invisalign works and who best benefits from it.

You might be wondering what makes Invisalign different.  Perhaps you are wondering if this treatment will interfere with previous dental work like crowns. Those with dental crowns can utilize Invisalign to straighten their teeth without negatively affecting their restorations. In some cases, wearing Invisalign is preferred to traditional orthodontia for those with dental crowns because Invisalign doesn’t utilize fixed oral appliances that require bonding to restorations on teeth.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign works by applying consistent gentle force and pressure to teeth, much like traditional metal and wire braces do. The difference, however, is that Invisalign is a retainer-like oral appliance made from semi-pliable plastics. Called “aligners”, Invisalign’s oral appliances are removable and not fixed or bonded to teeth.

Patients will wear a set of aligners for two weeks and then receive a new, tighter set. Tighter aligners are worn in succession throughout the course of treatment to produce noticeable results. With time, patients will begin to see results like straighter teeth that are evenly spaced.

What are the benefits of Invisalign?

Compared to fixed orthodontia, Invisalign offers some unique advantages. Invisalign’s aligners are removable. This means that people can remove their aligners for brushing, flossing, and eating. Many patients report that oral hygiene and eating is difficult because metal and wire braces can be obstructive. Removable aligners resolve this potential issue.

An obvious benefit of Invisalign is this teeth straightening system’s discreet appearance. Since aligners are clear and plastic, others will likely not notice that you are receiving orthodontic treatment. Moreover, the plastic design of aligners will not cut into soft oral tissue, thus increasing one’s level of comfort during treatment.

To find out if Invisalign is right for you, call Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 to reserve a consultation.

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Why are veneers made of porcelain?

veneers north AustinCosmetic dentistry has become more accessible to people throughout the United States. This is because advancements in technology and widespread use of restorative materials like porcelain and composite resin have made improving one’s smile more affordable than in years past.

The purpose of veneers is to conceal smile flaws by improving the shape and appearance of teeth without affecting one’s ability to chew or speak comfortably. The reason porcelain is used to make veneers is the fact that this material is incredibly natural looking. Porcelain reflects light like biological teeth do and it comes in a number of white shades to match diverse skin tones and the color of neighboring visible teeth.

What are veneers, exactly?

Essentially, a veneer is a tooth-shaped cosmetic enhancement that is permanently bonded over the outside surface of a natural tooth. This process allows a veneer to conceal a variety of imperfections including chipped, misshapen, and stained teeth. When used over multiple teeth, veneers can produce a uniformly straight and proportionate smile.

A trained dental technician handcrafts each veneer from high quality pieces of porcelain. A dentist determines the size and shape of a veneer after taking impressions of teeth. The shape and size of one’s mouth and teeth are taken into consideration when making these custom cosmetic enhancements.

How long do porcelain veneers last?

Receiving veneers is a minimally invasive procedure that slightly alters natural teeth to produce permanent results. With proper care, porcelain veneers can last up 10 to 15 years before needing to be replaced.

Since porcelain is used to make veneers, these cosmetic enhancements are durable and stain resistant. Unlike natural teeth, which are porous, porcelain will not absorb stains as easily as biological tooth structure. Veneers are also coated with a glaze to protect their color and luster.

If I’m interested in cosmetic dentistry, what should I do next?

If you want to improve the appearance of your teeth, we invite you to schedule a smile makeover consultation at our practice. At your appointment, we can explain the different services we offer and help you determine which procedure(s) is best for your needs.

Call Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 today to reserve a consultation.

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State-of-the-Art Technology to Enhance Patient Care

dentist North AustinLike other healthcare providers, our dentist practice utilizes state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat a number of conditions that affect the teeth, gums, and mouth. Advanced technology allows our team to diagnose and treat conditions in their earliest stages when patients receive routine checkups and cleanings. Early diagnosis and treatment typically allows our dentist to treat conditions as conservatively and minimally invasive as possible. Some of our technology includes digital radiography, laser-assisted cavity detection, intraoral cameras, and iTero Digital Scanners.

Digital Radiography

Digital radiography eliminates the need for radiographic film. Instead, a sensor on the X-ray machine will relay images in digital format to a high-resolution computer monitor. Once the images are uploaded to the monitor, our team can zoom in and out with ease. This makes for precise and accurate diagnoses as well as a great tool for explaining conditions and treatment to patients.

Laser-Assisted Cavity Detection

When cavities are detected early on, the restorations used to fill in dental caries are typically smaller. The smaller the restoration, the more tooth structure can be retained. Diagnodent is a laser-assisted cavity detection device that utilizes light waves to evaluate the density of teeth and therefore detect tooth decay in its earliest stages.

Intraoral Cameras

Similar to digital radiography, intraoral images are uploaded in digital format to high-resolution monitors. This camera is useful for studying the health of soft oral tissue, especially in hard-to-see areas of the oral cavity. Essentially, an intraoral camera gives our team (and our patients) a detailed tour of the entire mouth.

iTero Digital Scanners

iTero digital scanners allow our team to take impressions of one’s mouth for crowns and bridges without the traditional putty material associated with dental molds. Digital scanning improves patient comfort and reduces the time spent preparing impressions. Using a handheld wand, the iTero scanner produces accurate and precise images for custom restorations.

We are proud to offer residents of our community the latest technology. Call our practice today to ask questions or reserve a cleaning or checkup.

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5 Benefits of Invisalign

Invisalign Round RockInvisalign has become a very popular tooth straightening system – especially among teens and adults. This revolutionary orthodontic method improves the positioning of teeth in a very inconspicuous manner. Patients with Invisalign enjoy a number of benefits including comfortable and effective treatment. Our dentist office is honored to offer Invisalign to members of our community.

Invisalign Straightens Teeth Effectively

Like traditional, metal and wire braces, Invisalign slowly moves teeth to straighter and healthier positions over time. Invisalign utilizes force and pressure with form-fitting oral appliances to move teeth during the course of treatment. This orthodontic system can improve the appearance and position of gapped, crooked, and overlapped teeth as well as a person’s occlusion.

Invisalign is Discreet

Invisalign treatment consists of wearing clear, plastic appliances called aligners. These aligners are very discreet and are virtually undetectable to others. This makes straightening one’s teeth much more inconspicuous than other forms of orthodontia.

Aligners are Removable

Invisalign aligners can be removed for meals and oral hygiene. This allows patients to thoroughly clean their teeth without brackets and wires obstructing their toothbrush or floss. Those receiving Invisalign can also eat any type of food comfortably.

Invisalign is Comfortable

Since Invisalign is made from soft plastic, the aligners will not cut into or irritate the linings of lips and cheeks. This makes receiving teeth straightening treatment much more comfortable when compared to traditional metal braces.

Straight Teeth are Healthier Teeth

When teeth are positioned properly, patients tend to enjoy better oral health. This is because properly spaced, aligned teeth are easier to keep clean and thus, are less susceptible to dental caries, gum disease and the advanced problems related to these conditions.

Our practice believes that it’s never too late to straighten one’s teeth and improve one’s oral health and appearance. If you are interested in straightening your smile, we recommend that you schedule a consultation with our dentists to find out if Invisalign is right for you.

Call our friendly team today to reserve an appointment at Balcones Family Dental.

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Are dental implants prone to cavities or gum disease?

dental implants Round RockDental implants are used to provide a base for a restoration to replace one or more teeth lost due to dental trauma, infection, gum disease, or to replace teeth that never emerged properly.

The implant is made from titanium, a metal that is known for its ability to fuse with bone. In addition, titanium is generally well accepted by body tissue to decrease the chance of rejection.

The restoration itself is usually porcelain, a material that is strong and stain resistant. Since it is not a living organism, it cannot develop decay. The entire natural tooth is either removed or has been lost so concerns for cavities are for surrounding biological teeth, not the restoration.

Your dentist will have thoroughly investigated your dental and overall health before going ahead with the dental implant procedure. This is a critical step in determining the outcome of this process.

Placing an implant demands certain requirements … sufficient bone to fuse with the implant (lack of bone does not necessarily negate the procedure, but may require an initial step to supplant bone with either a natural or synthetic bone material to promote bone growth where needed). This is where concerns regarding gum disease may play a role in qualifying for a dental implant.

Gum disease can deplete the bone in gum tissue which can lead to implant failure. If your dentist has determined your candidacy for dental implants, you will need to carefully follow all the instructions given to aid in a successful outcome.

Healthy patient … if the patient is healthy enough for teeth to be extracted without concern, that is generally sufficient enough to move forward. Any chronic diseases or illnesses that might impact the outcome will be thoroughly vetted.

Patient commitment … The patient must understand that a dental implant can take months from start to finish. They must be vigilant in keeping the implant area clean; infection can result in implant failure. Tobacco use is highly discouraged as smoking is another leading cause of implant failure.

While gum disease and dental decay can impact surrounding natural teeth, once the implant is healed and the restoration has been placed, the patient can control what happens going forward. Daily brushing and flossing coupled with dental visits every six months will help keep teeth, gums, and dental implants healthy for life.

To learn more about dental implants or other tooth replacement solutions, contact Balcones Family Dental at 512-200-7422 today.

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How do I get started with Invisalign?

Invisalign Round RockIf the image in your mirror does not reflect what you want due to an overbite, under bite, or cross bite, contact our dental team to learn how easy and convenient Invisalign orthodontic treatment is to obtain a smile makeover that can enhance your appearance and improve your dental health.

At your initial appointment, you will have dental x-rays, impressions and photographs taken. These tools will aid in determining your candidacy for Invisalign teeth straightening.

Once accepted, these same tools will be sent to the Invisalign lab. Utilizing 3-D digital technology, a series of clear aligners will be fabricated that will be updated every few weeks as your teeth progress to their new location.

Invisalign teeth straightening will provide many benefits unavailable with other methods:

They are clear … this makes wearing these braces virtually invisible. This is very important for teens and young professionals who want straight teeth without the concerns of metal braces.

They are removable … this makes your daily oral hygiene tasks of brushing and flossing a breeze as you just remove the aligners to complete this job, rinse your aligners, and replace.

In addition, you can continue to eat all the foods you love. Take the aligners out while snacking or during meals … just remember to replace as soon as you are finished.

They are comfortable … The material used to make the aligners is strong enough to gently shift teeth to their correct placement, but without any metal or wires to damage soft oral tissues.

They are convenient … You will still need to see your Invisalign dentist to make sure the program is on track, but these appointments will not include uncomfortable wire tightening. Simply update the aligners on the schedule provided.

Wearing your aligners the recommended 20 to 22 hours every day will allow your teeth to be relocated to the correct occlusion. Once there, you will wear a retainer to help assure your teeth solidify their new position.

Our skilled team at Balcones Family Dental can assist in providing you a smile makeover; in addition, straight teeth will contribute to healthier teeth and gums for your lifetime. Call 512-200-7422 today to schedule your Invisalign consultation.

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Smile Confidently with Porcelain Veneers

cosmetic dentistry Round RockA healthy, appealing smile is not only pleasing to the eye, but it can also increase your self-esteem. Aligned, white, and bright teeth can also increase your level of confidence. The various options in cosmetic dentistry can make choosing one overwhelming. Thankfully, porcelain veneers improve the color and overall look of your teeth, giving you a great reason to smile.


Your dentist will first shave a small layer of enamel from the surface of your teeth. This gives the porcelain veneers ample space for application, but also ensures a secure bond to your natural teeth. A light anesthetic will be administered before trimming enamel from the teeth.

Then, a mold of your existing teeth will be taken and then sent off to a lab for the fabrication of your veneers. The fabrication process may take up to two weeks, which is sufficient time to customize veneers comfortably to your teeth and mouth.

After the veneers arrive back to our office, bonding will take place. The veneers are placed on top of your existing teeth and bonded in place using a dental-grade cement. Adjustments are made before a specialized light is used to harden and secure the porcelain veneers in place. Excess cement may also require removal to protect the natural look of your veneers.


Caring for your new veneers is simple since they do not require specialized cleaning or maintenance. Continue brushing twice a day and flossing nightly. Porcelain is resistant to stains, but reducing your intake of coffee, tea, and soda is smart to protect your new smile’s bright, white color.  

Porcelain veneers offer a natural, permanent investment in your smile. If you want to improve the look of your teeth and increase your self-esteem with cosmetic dentistry, contact our office at Balcones Family Dental where our dentists are eager to teach you more about veneers.

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New City, New Dentist: Tips to Find your New Dental Provider

dentist north austinMoving to a new location can be a stressful experience, but it does not have to affect your underlying health and wellness. Of course, regular checkups and treatments are necessary to stay healthy, so finding new medical and dental providers in your new city is essential. After moving to a new city, consider using these tips to find your new dentist.

Contact your Benefits Department

Dental insurance is a great option for affordable care. However, many insurance providers limit your options when it comes to coverage, so consider contacting your benefits department for a list of in-network dental providers.

In many cases, your benefits department will offer you a few local dentists that all accept your insurance coverage.

Ask New Neighbors and Coworkers

If you are searching for a dentist in your new city, your new neighbors and coworkers can offer suggestions on friendly, experienced, and affordable dental providers in your new area.

Ask your Primary Care Physician

If you have already found and established a primary care physician in your new city, allow them to offer recommendations on local dental providers. Since your doctor has access to your medical records, they can give you suggestions on dentists that will suit your oral and medical health needs.

Schedule a Consultation

Contacting your insurance provider and asking for recommendations may give you some ideas on new providers in your city, but you should schedule a consultation to meet before deciding on your new dentist.

It is important to tour the facility, meet all of the staff, and undergo a full exam during the consultation. Ask your potential dental provider what treatments they recommended for healthy, appealing teeth. In addition, meet with the billing department to learn how their payments and claims are arranged with patients and insurance providers.

Moving away from old neighbors and coworkers can be challenging, but you can find a good quality dentist with a bit of effort. If you are new to the area, contact our office at Balcones Family Dental to schedule a consultation.

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Your Most Common Teeth Whitening Questions Answered

Zoom teeth whitening AustinZoom teeth whitening is one of the leading cosmetic applications that is both affordable and readily accessible. Some patient questions include:

How long will whitening last?

This is not a permanent solution; however, you can do several things to make your new bright smile last. Avoid or limit the things known to stain dental enamel, like coffee, tea, red wine, cola (or drink them through a straw so liquid will bypass teeth), berries, tomato-based sauces, or any food known to contain food dyes. If you are going to consume these, plan to brush or rinse as soon as possible to reduce exposure to teeth.

How often can I whiten?

You should not whiten more often than once per year, as touch-up kits are available as needed. But proper care may keep your teeth bright for up to a year.

Will I experience sensitivity?

If you are prone to sensitivity due to gum recession or any other reason, simply inform your dental provider. Special care for sensitive areas will be taken as well as you will likely be advised to use a toothpaste designed for sensitivity for a couple of weeks prior to whitening to lessen the problem.

How will teeth whitening affect my previous cosmetic dental work?

If you have any restorations like tooth colored fillings, crowns, dental bonding, etc. that appear in the smile line, teeth whitening will not have any effect on them. Your biological teeth will lighten; however, your cosmetic enhancements will not. If you anticipate any procedures to be done, whiten first so our cosmetic dentists can best match to your new dental shade.

I think I may be pregnant … can I get my teeth whitened?

Patients that are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to delay having teeth whitened until after they are no longer doing either.

Will whitening damage my teeth?

Research indicates that Zoom whitening products have no negative effect on dental enamel.

If I get my teeth whitened, how white can I expect them to get?

Many patients experience up to eight shades lighter, but our dentists will inform you of what you can expect your specific results to be.

If you have further questions, call us at Balcones Family Dental to discuss your own teeth whitening treatment.

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Dental Myths: Only Children Get Cavities

North Austin dentistIt may seem like children are more prone to experience dental decay, but cavities are not restricted to youngsters. Children may be less likely to perform the correct daily oral hygiene regimen that many adults maintain, and their diets may not be as closely monitored as an adult. In addition, the minerals that help to preserve our teeth and keep them healthy are just forming, making children’s teeth seem more susceptible to decay.  These factors can lead to plaque build-up … one of the leading causes of dental decay. Seeing your dentist every six months does not replace daily dental care and good diet choices.

In addition to plaque build-up on teeth, dental decay can occur any time the dental enamel is breached. Adults suffer from stress that can lead to teeth grinding. Grinding away on dental enamel can lead to cracked or broken teeth. Decay or even more serious problems can occur from this condition.

Ineffective or negligent brushing and flossing allows food particles to build and harden on teeth. Improper care can lead to dental decay no matter your age.

Lifestyle habits like smoking (or tobacco use of any kind), illicit drugs, over-indulgence of sugar laden foods alcohol abuse are all factors contribute to the dental condition. Adults that participate in any or all of these actions greatly increase the likelihood of experiencing dental decay or gum disease.

Many medications that are designed to improve a physical condition may produce negative results for dentition.

A dry mouth is a leading cause for dental decay. The inability to produce sufficient saliva can result from illness, medication, or a temporary condition. Staying hydrated or using one of the over the counter products intended to help this situation is recommended.

Chronic illnesses like diabetes or heart disease seem to go hand in hand with dental problems making the need to maintain appointments with the dentist very important.

As we age, forgetfulness becomes an issue. Keeping reminders around or making sure needed dental tools are readily available may be helpful.

Infants, children, teens, young adults, and senior citizens are all candidates for dental decay. Prevention means limiting sugary snacks and beverages, brushing daily with a fluoridated tooth paste, flossing daily and seeing our dental team every six months.

If decay does occur, having it treated right away may prevent costly and time consuming restorative treatment later. So don’t delay and call our office today to schedule your next appointment!

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