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.

Application

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.

Care

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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How to Keep the ‘Treats’ from Playing ‘Tricks’ On Your Child’s Teeth

north Austin dentistHalloween is a beloved holiday and for good reason; children and adults alike get to be anything they want to be for an evening. For children, it’s a magical night filled with possibilities, community engagement, a little bit of healthy fright, and of course, candy. While a few bites of candy aren’t going to ruin your kid’s oral health, there are steps parents can take to ensure healthy teeth and gums – even during Halloween festivities. Our dentists provide quality oral healthcare to children in our area.

Healthy Tips for Halloween

One thing that parents can do is encourage moderation and monitor when any leftover candy is eaten. Since candy is full of sugar and sometimes acid, it can lead to tooth decay and bacterial growth. If your child has collected a surplus of candy that will easily last beyond Halloween, consider keeping the candy in a safe place where you can administer it as you see fit. An easily accessible bag of candy could mean that your son or daughter sneaks bites before supper or after nighttime oral hygiene.

During candy collection on Halloween, bring bottled water with you. Encourage kids to take sips of water throughout the night. This will help dilute harmful particles and rinse the mouth of sugar and acid. Diluting and rinsing the mouth after consuming sugar is important because sugar is the natural food source for bacteria. When candy is ingested, bacteria literally go into a feeding frenzy.

If you host a Halloween party at your home for children in your neighborhood, consider fun and tasty alternatives to candy. For instance, you can “bob” for apples and serve snacks such as celery with peanut butter and raisins. While these foods have sugar, they are healthier alternatives to store bought candy.

Before bedtime on Halloween and any subsequent days where candy is eaten, watch over your children’s oral hygiene routines to make sure they are brushing and flossing properly.

Our practice would like to wish our community a happy and safe Halloween. Call us to schedule a checkup or cleaning.

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Can Invisalign correct crowded teeth?

Invisalign Round RockSince Invisalign has been made available to the public, millions of people have improved the function and aesthetics of their smiles. This revolutionary orthodontic system eliminates the need for permanent orthodontic appliances and instead, utilizes removable aligners made of plastic to move teeth to healthier positions over the course of treatment. Invisalign can improve spacing issues such as crowded or gapped teeth, as well as misaligned bites and overlapping teeth. Our dentists offer consultations for adults and teenagers seeking an alternative to conspicuous metal orthodontia.

How does Invisalign work?

As with traditional orthodontia, Invisalign corrects the positioning of teeth by applying force and pressure. Applying continuous and steady pressure will shift teeth to a straighter alignment over time. Unlike traditional metal and wire braces, though, Invisalign is made from different materials. Patients will simply wear a custom fitted retainer-like appliance called an aligner for two weeks at a time. These custom aligners will then be swapped out for a tighter set every successive two weeks until treatment is complete.

What are the benefits of Invisalign?

Wearing Invisalign offers numerous benefits to patients. First, the construction of Invisalign aligners means that patients can receive orthodontic treatment in as discreet a manner as possible. Since these aligners are clear, they are not noticeable to others.

Another benefit related to the materials that make up Invisalign is the fact that the plastic used to craft aligners will not cut into or irritate the linings of the cheeks and lips or the tongue.

Lastly, since patients can take out their aligners for meals and oral hygiene, eating a balanced diet and cleaning one’s mouth is much easier than with traditional braces.

How do I know if Invisalign is right for me?

Even though Invisalign can help many patients, some folks benefit better from traditional orthodontia. Our dentists can help you determine the best method of treatment for your situation. To schedule a consultation with our friendly and caring staff, call us at Balcones Family Dental today.

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Zoom Teeth Whitening: Is it really possible to have a brighter smile?

Zoom teeth whitening AustinMany people try to whiten their smiles at home with over the counter teeth whitening products. Some patients come to our practice feeling very skeptical of whitening treatments because most over the counter products produce minimal, if any, results. Store bought products only contain small amounts of the active ingredients that whiten teeth and unfortunately, these many products make misleading claims. Despite the limitations of store bought products, there is a solution to achieving a visibly brighter and whiter smile with professional cosmetic dentistry. Our dentist office offers Zoom teeth whitening, a non-invasive treatment method that can dramatically lighten the darkest stains on teeth. In just one visit to our practice, patients can achieve a smile that is up to ten shades lighter. Zoom teeth whitening is safe, effective, and convenient.

How is professional teeth whitening different?

Professional teeth whitening is very different from store bought whitening gels, strips, and toothpaste because our practice utilizes prescription strength ingredients that can penetrate the enamel surface of teeth to truly bleach permanent tooth stains. Since more potent bleaching solutions are used, patients can achieve much more noticeable results that won’t damage tooth enamel.

What does Zoom teeth whitening entail, exactly?

Receiving Zoom teeth whitening is a quick, comfortable cosmetic dentistry procedure. The procedure only takes about 45 minutes to an hour. First, our team will place an oral appliance into the mouth to hold it open and then apply liquid dam and gauze over soft oral tissues and the gums to protect them from irritation. Then we will apply the prescription strength bleaching solution over the front sides of teeth. Once the solution is applied, patients will recline in our comfortable examination chairs while a dental laser hovers over the mouth to speed up the teeth whitening process. The laser concentrates a beam of light over the teeth that deepens and accelerates the bleaching procedure.

To learn more about our smile enhancing procedures, call Balcones Family Dental to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.

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