South Austin Dentist Answers Root Canal FAQs

Do root canals hurt?

The myth of painful root canals has been dispelled with modern technology, minimally invasive methods, and local anesthesia. The modern root canal procedure is typically not any more uncomfortable than receiving a filling. Our South Austin dentist will work diligently to offer you comfortable dentistry that is as minimally invasive as possible. Customer satisfaction is our goal, so if you need extra measures to help you feel more comfortable, just inform one of our friendly team members.

Why do I need a root canal?

Tooth decay starts with a buildup of bacteria which turns into plaque. The plaque combines with sugar and saliva to create acid. The formation of acid wears away your tooth enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to infection. The decay starts as small dental caries, which develop into bigger cavities. If the cavities are untreated, the decay reaches deeper into the tooth. Once it has infected the internal structure of your tooth, a root canal is necessary to eliminate the toothache and prevent an abscess.

Why do internally infected teeth feel like severe toothaches?

While some internally infected teeth fly under the radar, most teeth with internal decay result in toothache. Often, this is a person’s first signal that they need a root canal. The reason you experience toothache is because the infection has reached the pulp center. Inside the middle of the tooth is the pulp chamber, which houses the tooth’s nerves, blood vessels, and living tissue. When this part of your tooth is damaged, it sends pain signals to your brain. Root canal treatment removes the infected tooth pulp and replaces it with a filling. (more…)

FAQs for Dental Implants in Austin

What makes up a dental implant?

A dental implant is made of two parts. A biocompatible, titanium rod allows the implant to become fused to the jawbone securely. The other half of the artificial tooth is the porcelain crown, which is the only exposed portion of the dental implant. This part of the restoration is made to look like a natural tooth. The dyed porcelain mimics the coloration, shape, and function of a healthy tooth.

What are the benefits of a dental implant?

  • Dental implants offer better security with eating, talking, and laughing than dentures.
  • Implants can be cleaned and maintained easily.
  • These artificial teeth match the feeling of natural teeth more closely than any other dental restoration.
  • The rod implanted into the jawbone prevents alveolar deterioration and keeps adjacent teeth from drifting out of place.
  • The porcelain crown has a similar, semi-translucent quality of natural teeth, making the artifical tooth discrete.

How long do dental implants last?

Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper dental care. Brushing and flossing at least two times a day will keep your dental implant and your entire mouth healthy. Factors like gum disease, oral cancer, an adjacent abscessed tooth, and other severe oral infections can contribute to the failure of a dental implant.

How do you clean a dental implant?

You can maintain your dental implant with the same oral hygiene routine you use for your natural teeth. Scheduling regular dental cleanings and checkups is also important for the health of your tooth restoration. (more…)

Veneer FAQs Answered by Austin Cosmetic Dentist

What cosmetic issues can veneers correct?

Porcelain veneers are a multitasking cosmetic enhancement for your smile. If you have light staining or discoloration, porcelain veneers can cover the unsightly stains with white restorations that blend with the rest of your smile. Veneers are also useful for correcting misshapen teeth and smoothing jagged tooth edges by attaching the ideally shaped porcelain shell over each individual tooth. Additionally, gaps in your smile and the appearance of crooked teeth will disappear.

What are the benefits of porcelain veneers?

The porcelain used to make veneers is not only durable, but also stain resistant. With proper dental care, including routine brushing and flossing, and regular dental cleanings, your porcelain veneers can last for decades. Porcelain veneers are also beneficial for receiving a complete smile makeover in a short amount of time. Porcelain veneers can be completed in as little as two office visits with the modern technology and techniques of Dr. Van Wicklen. (more…)

South Austin Dentist HasTips for Proper Daily Oral Hygiene

Freshen Your Breath: Clean Your Tongue

Do you brush your teeth thoroughly, drink plenty of water, and still have bad breath? You may be missing your tongue. Bacteria often deposit on the back of the tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush bristles to remove the bacteria and cleanse your tongue. With each swipe, rinse the scraper or toothbrush to remove bacteria so you do not replace it on your tongue.

Avoid Gum Recession: Don’t Brush Too Hard

Some people believe harsh brushing removes more surface stains and more thoroughly cleans your teeth. While firm pressure against your teeth is necessary, brushing too hard can cause gum recession or even tooth wear. Eroded enamel from aggressive brushing can leave your smile vulnerable to tooth decay. If you are bleeding during regular brushing, try exerting less pressure. The American Dental Association recommends using a soft bristled brush. Dr. Van Wicklen can tell you if you are brushing too hard at your next dental examination and recommend fluoride treatments to build back your enamel protection.

Brush with Purpose: Stop Multitasking

Many of us are guilty of wandering about the house or bathroom during brushing, preparing for the rest of the day or night. Instead of multitasking, pay attention to how you are brushing your teeth. You may realize that your distracted brushing habits lead to incomplete brushing. Make sure that each time you brush your teeth that you spend at least two minutes cleaning your smile. (more…)

Prosthetic and Aesthetic Dentistry in Austin

All dentists strive to keep their patients’ teeth and gums healthy, but not all dentists have the knowledge and skills needed to restore function and comfort to their patients’ smiles with restorative dentistry and beautify their patients’ smiles with cosmetic dentistry. South Austin dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen does both.

Defining Aesthetic and Prosthetic Dentistry

To do this, Dr. Van Wicklen uses aesthetic and prosthetic dentistry.

Aesthetic dentistry—more commonly referred to as cosmetic dentistry—pertains to the appearance of your smile. Prosthetic dentistry—often called restorative dentistry—involves the replacement of missing teeth and related mouth or jaw structures.

Aesthetic and Prosthetic Dentistry in Austin

Depending on your specific dental needs and smile goals, you may only require prosthetic dentistry or aesthetic dentistry, or you might need a combination of the two. Throughout your smile makeover process—from your initial consultation to the completion of your treatment and the unveiling of your brand new smile—Dr. Van Wicklen will offer his expert opinion and perform your treatment with the utmost level of skill, training, and experience.

To fulfill your prosthetic and aesthetic smile goals, Dr. Van Wicklen offers the following procedures, treatments, and more at his south Austin dentist office:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Cosmetic dental bonding
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Dental crowns and bridges
  • Composite dental fillings
  • CEREC crowns
  • Dentures and partials
  • Dental implants

To find out if you can benefit from prosthetic and aesthetic dentistry, contact Dr. Van Wicklen’s dentist office, located in Austin, Texas, by phone at (512) 448-3131 or online at

Cosmetic Orthodontics in Austin

South Austin cosmetic dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen provides a plethora of cosmetic dental services to his patients from the greater Austin area. From porcelain veneers, to teeth whitening, to dental implants, and everything in between, Dr. Van Wicklen can help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Today, Dr. Van Wicklen wants to discuss your options when it comes to cosmetic orthodontic treatment.

What is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is defined as any dental treatment that corrects irregularities of the teeth or of the relation of the teeth to the surrounding anatomy. To put it simply, orthodontic treatment is used to correct any malocclusions that occur (bad bite, misaligned teeth, etc.). (more…)

One-Day Dental Crowns from Your South Austin Dentist

South Austin cosmetic dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen strives to provide only the most innovative and advanced dental treatments and procedures to his dental patients. To do this, Dr. Van Wicklen is proud to offer a number of state-of-the art technologies and techniques to his patients from across the greater Austin area. Today, Dr. Van Wicklen wants to focus on the creation and benefits of CERAC dental crowns.

What is CERAC?

Like traditional dental crowns, CERAC (short for Ceramic REConstruction) crowns are made from the highest quality materials and can restore look, feel, and function to a tooth that has been damaged from injury, decay, or invasive dental work. Unlike traditional dental crowns, however, CERAC crowns can be created in approximately one hour, limiting the total time you spend at Dr. Van Wicklen’s dental office. (more…)

What to Expect at Your First Appointment

As an Austin family, general, and cosmetic dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen and our team believe that quality dental care goes much deeper than just routine, bi-annual dental checkups and cleanings. From the first time you set foot in our Austin dentist office, it is our goal that you experience a new height of comprehensive dental care.

Our Comfortable Amenities and Personal Touch

To do this, we focus on two main aspects of the dental care we provide for our Austin dental patients. The first focus is our comfortable office amenities and dental care with a personal touch.

We are proud of our Austin dental office. With state-of-the-art dental technology, including top-notch sterilization methods, digital radiography, and more, we feel that our in-office dental technology keeps us on the cutting edge of what’s new in dental care. In addition to this technology, we also offer patient comfort measures, including televisions and music in the operatories, to keep you relaxed and at ease while in the dental chair. (more…)

Who is Austin Dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen?

In Austin, Texas, it takes a lot to set a cosmetic dentist above the rest. Dr. Steven Van Wicklen’s practice philosophy and his dedication to his patients’ dental care do just that. Read on to find out more about one of Austin’s leading cosmetic, restorative, general, and preventive dentists.

Dr. Van Wicklen’s Philosophy

Voted “Best of Austin” by the Austin Chronicle, Dr. Van Wicklen and our dental team pride ourselves on quality dentistry with an emphasis on patient comfort and premier dental care with a personal touch. We strive to provide our patients with the most up-to-date services and utilize the most modern sterilization and dental techniques, as well as the most advanced technology.

We firmly believe that our best patients refer our best patients, so we strive to make every interaction you have with Dr. Van Wicklen and our team even better than the one before. We want to be your dental home for all of your dental needs, both large and small. (more…)

Two Dental Health Concerns Addressed by Your Austin Dentist

In today’s world, things like mercury exposure and radiation exposure are big concerns for the general public. Coincidentally, both things relate directly to dental care, so Austin dentist Dr. Steven Van Wicklen wants to point out two pieces of information that will effect how you view these issues in relation to your professional dental care.

Dental Care and Mercury Exposure

Once upon a time, all cavities were filled with amalgam fillings, which are dark, heavy metal restorations made of a combination of trace metals, including silver, tin, aluminum, zinc, and mercury. In recent years, these fillings have been deemed harmful to children, expectant mothers, and elderly people. They have been proven to leak and break down over time thanks to the wear and tear that your teeth endure on a daily basis, releasing potentially harmful mercury content into your bloodstream. (more…)