Dental Fillings: For the Holes in Your Teeth

A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by decay, and if left untreated, the infection can completely consume the tooth until it falls out or requires an extraction. Before it becomes so severe, however, Dr. Van Wicklen can usually treat mild to moderate cavities with restorative dental fillings. A dental filling describes cleaning and sanitizing a tooth cavity, then filling it with tooth-colored composite resin to seal and protect the rest of the tooth. The resin is tinted to the specific color and shade of your natural teeth, and bonded to the tooth’s surface to create a discreet and highly-effective restoration. (more…)

Advice from Your Emergency Dentist

By definition, emergencies are sudden, urgent, and usually unexpected. While most dental emergencies live up to that standard, some can be the advanced results of a pre-existing condition. For instance, a sudden, severe toothache can indicate a recent traumatic injury, or it can develop because a cavity is exposing the nerves in your tooth. Whenever you or a family member are faced with a dental emergency, call your Austin dentist as soon as possible. In the meantime, Dr. Van Wicklen describes how to protect your damaged tooth and reduce discomfort until you reach our office. (more…)

Why Gum Disease Costs the Most Teeth

Gum disease is an unpleasant affliction, even though many people may not consider it a serious problem. Those who have allowed gum disease to run rampant with their smiles, however, know better. As the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America, gum disease affects nearly 80% of the adult population, and once it’s grabbed a hold of your gum tissues, it’s pretty much there to stay. Thankfully, gum disease is highly preventable, and highly controllable after it develops. With the right care, you don’t have to suffer tooth loss at the hands of the dental infection. (more…)

Invisalign—It’s About More than Looks

dentalxraysAre your teeth crooked, but you’re not keen on the idea of wearing metal braces for a couple of years to correct them? Straightening your smile is about more than vanity. Crooked teeth can throw your bite off balance, leading to a host of dental problems, including excessively worn teeth and TMJ disorder (a dysfunction of your jaw’s joints that often results from malocclusion). Traditional orthodontic treatment usually produces fantastic results, but if you’re an adult, the conspicuous braces can negatively affect your confidence in your personal and professional life. If your goal is to improve your confidence in your smile, then your treatment shouldn’t achieve the opposite. At your Austin dentist’s office, you can have a straighter, more appealing smile without the use of bracket-and-wire technology through the use of Invisalign®—the clear alternative to traditional braces. (more…)

How to Actively Keep Your Smile Bright

Time is no friend to the color and appearance of your teeth. As they age, the pearly-white shade that once defined your smile can fade, and your teeth might stain from the years of biting, chewing, and drinking your food and beverages. If you wait until they’re already dull and stained, then you may need a professional teeth-whitening treatment to restore their beauty. However, if you actively fight the natural causes of teeth stains—the color molecules in your food and the bacteria that weaken your teeth—you can keep your smile bright for longer and prolong the need for a cosmetic touchup. (more…)

The Importance of Dental Implants

For most patients who’ve lost one or more teeth, Dr. Van Wicklen often recommends replacing lost teeth with an appropriate number of dental implants. The titanium root devices are surgically inserted into the jawbone to replace the roots of your missing teeth, and can be used to restore your smile whether you’ve lost one, several, or all of your teeth. In fact, many dentists recommend dental implants for their ability to stabilize replacement teeth, and the benefits they provide to your long-term oral health. What are these benefits, you may ask? As prosthetic teeth roots, dental implants provide plenty of them. (more…)

How Do Stars Get Their Smiles So Bright?

The red carpet may be rolled up, but this year’s Oscar night left a lasting impression on many people. Though the night was packed with memorable moments, including a few surprises, what stood out most on a lot of celebrities were their dazzling smiles. It wasn’t a lighting trick; modern cosmetic dentistry techniques have helped numerous stars and non-celebrities alike achieve aesthetically perfect smiles. In fact, many such techniques are available at your local Austin dentist’s office, including one of the most popular treatments—porcelain veneers. (more…)

What is a Cavity, Exactly?

You may hear a lot of talk about cavities, especially when you visit your dentist. As the most common chronic disease among children and adults alike, cavities are familiar even to many patients who’ve never had one. If you’ve already suffered a cavity in one of your permanent teeth, you can protect your other teeth by understanding how to prevent future cavities from forming. (more…)

You Broke a Tooth. Now What?

You’ve clenched and ground your teeth until one of them broke, or tooth decay weakened your tooth enough that the right amount of pressure caused it to break. Or, perhaps you were in an accident, or a fight, and your tooth broke from blunt force trauma. Regardless of how it happened, your tooth broke, and your next step should be to fix it as soon as possible.

What a Broken Tooth Means

Given the fact that teeth break quite frequently, you might be surprised to know that your teeth are protected by the most resilient substance your body produces, tooth enamel. (more…)

Keep Austin Weird, but Keep Your Toothpaste Weirder

Let’s say that you brush your teeth twice daily over a period of 20 years. That’s 7,300 days, or 14,600 brushing sessions! Now, think about the typical drugstore offering of toothpaste flavors. Ice mint, fresh mint, polar mint, spearmint…you can see where we’re going with this. After 20 years of mint, why not consider shaking things up with a new flavor? Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, a general dentist near UT Austin, shares his list of wonderful and weird toothpaste flavors. (more…)