Prosthetic Dentistry from Your Austin Dentist

A few weeks ago, we talked about cosmetic dentistry, which is also called aesthetic dentistry. Austin dentist Dr. Stephen Van Wicklen is renowned in the art of aesthetic dentistry, but he is also highly skilled in another popular form of dental care: prosthetic dentistry.

What is Prosthetic Dentistry?

Because your teeth are a functioning mechanism that are designed to help you bite, chew, speak, and smile, your teeth endure extreme pressures and temperatures everyday, and it comes as no surprise that your teeth are subject to a great amount of wear and tear over the years. Repairing this wear and tear is where Dr. Van Wicklen and prosthetic dentistry come into play.

Prosthetic dentistry, which is also referred to as restorative dentistry, is the restoration or replacement of the teeth.

Just like cosmetic—or aesthetic—dentistry deals directly with the appearance of your teeth, restorative—or prosthetic—dentistry deals directly with the structure of your teeth, and you have many options when it comes to repairing and restoring your dental mechanisms and oral structures. (more…)

What’s The Deal with Gum Disease?

What Causes Gum Disease?

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Gum disease is caused by bacteria, mostly Porphyromonas gingivalis. This bacterium likes the airless environment below your gum line. Once there, it begins to cause irritation in your gum and bone tissue. This inflammation causes the red, swollen, tender gums that bleed during flossing and are a classic hallmark of periodontitis. Over time, chronic inflammation wears down your gum tissue and creates pockets between your gums and teeth. These pockets fill with even more bacteria and the cycle continues. Teeth start to become loose and can even come out—gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

What Else Can Gum Disease Affect?

Periodontal disease has been linked to several different systemic disease and health problems. Gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, Alzheimer’s, complications in pregnancy and diabetes, and even obesity. The microbes that cause gum disease can cause inflammation elsewhere in the body, and chronic inflammation contributes to a host of medical issues. Conversely, treating gum disease improves health outcomes for patients across the board, and can mean the difference between keeping and losing teeth.

How Can I Fight Gum Disease? (more…)

Oral Care for Kids

Children need to learn proper oral care at an early age, and it’s up to their parents to encourage correct behaviors. Remember, your child should visit Dr. Van Wicklen around age one to assess for developmental teeth problems and learn good oral habits.

Children’s Dental Care

Baby teeth fall out, so what’s the point of protecting them? Tooth decay can cause teeth to rot and fall out too early. This leaves holes that the surrounding teeth will drift into, making it difficult for permanent teeth to grow in properly. Visiting the dentist at an early age will provide your children with a good habit of regular checkups and cleanings. Dr. Van Wicklen can show you and your child how to take care of young mouths. You should also lead by example and show your kids how to brush. They can follow what you do and feel like big kids for doing it themselves.


What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

In today’s standards, a “beautiful” smile is white, straight, and sparkling. If you look in the mirror and see discoloration, chips, cracks, misalignment, or any other visual problem, Dr. Van Wicklen offers cosmetic treatments that can help fix your defects.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic techniques can change and improve the visual appearance of your smile. The treatment can either correct or cover your tooth imperfections to achieve the bright smile of your dreams. Although cosmetic changes are mostly used for aesthetic appeal to make your smile better to look at, cosmetic enhancements can also help restore problems to make your teeth easier to clean.


A Great Smile is Closer Than You Think with Invisalign

The benefits of straight teeth go far beyond just having a beautiful smile. Straight teeth are easier to clean, allow you to bite and chew more effectively, and contribute to the overall health of your gums and jaw. Given the choice, we’d all love to have perfect teeth, but how many of us are willing to endure years of metal braces to achieve it? Well, with Invisalign, you don’t have to.

How does it work?

Invisalign uses a series of clear plastic aligners to straighten teeth. We start treatment by first taking impressions, photos, and X-rays of your teeth. We then send these to Align Technology, where they use 3-D imaging to create a plastic aligner for every stage of your treatment. You’ll change your aligner approximately every two weeks until the desired effects are achieved. (more…)

Six Bad Dental Habits

Good hygiene is important to keep your teeth healthy, but you have to do it correctly. If you relate to any of these top worst dental habits, visit Dr. Van Wicklen to restore your smile.

  1. Improper Brushing: Brushing incorrectly does more harm than good. Top brushing mistakes include brushing too hard, not often enough, and neglecting certain areas of your mouth. It’s important to follow proper brushing behaviors to scrub your mouth clean of bacteria.
  2. Improper Flossing: Most people neglect flossing to begin with, but those that do it may not do it correctly. Bacteria can build up between your teeth in hard-to-reach areas for your toothbrush. Flossing mistakes include skipping flossing and not using enough floss.
  3. Using Only Mouthwash: Many people think that mouthwash kills bacteria from all over your mouth, and can be substituted for brushing and flossing. Brushing and flossing helps scrub away and remove bacteria stuck on teeth. Mouthwash follows standard hygiene to kill what’s lingering in your mouth and freshen your breath.
  4. (more…)

The Importance of Your Medical History

Did you know your oral health and overall body health are connected? Body illnesses, diseases, and medications can affect what happens in your mouth and how certain treatments react and work. At your appointment with Dr. Van Wicklen, we will take a full medical history and family history analysis to help determine your risk of problems.

How Does My Body Affect My Mouth?

Your medical analysis will take into consideration all health problems and conditions. For example, if you’re pregnant, you may be more at risk of developing gum disease. If you have frequent headaches or jaw pain, it may be a sign of TMJ and tooth grinding. If you’re taking certain medications for any illnesses, it may lead to dry mouth or other oral changes. Determining your health conditions will help us determine the cause of your dental problem and keep close watch on problems that you’re at risk of developing.


“How Often Should I Have a Dental Checkup?”

If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, don’t worry! Dr. Steven Van Wicklen won’t judge you. He and his team of dental professionals will be happy you made the right choice. Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are imperative to protecting your oral health. Even if you brush thoroughly, floss daily, and stay away from sugary foods, it’s still not enough! Professional dental cleanings tackle threats by thoroughly removing damaging buildup and particles that can lead to serious oral health problems if left untreated.

What’s the importance of a dental checkup?

One of the most important components of a dental checkup is the cleaning. Our team will gently remove all plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is especially dangerous to your gums and teeth. It is basically a transparent, yet dangerous film of bacteria that coats your teeth—especially hard to reach places! If you haven’t had a dental cleaning in a while, chances are plaque buildup is resting at your gum line. Plaque leads to periodontal (gum) disease and can inflame and infect the soft tissues of your mouth. The threats that plaque presents are drastically diminished with a proper dental cleaning at our Austin dentist office. (more…)

Are You Looking for a Dentist in Austin?

Dr. Steven Van Wicklen is experienced in preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Serving the Austin community since 1985, he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Texas’ Health Science Center in San Antonio. He also received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. He recently won the “Best of Austin” award from the Austin Chronicle and is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. He directs the daily operations of his practice along with his caring staff of dental hygienists and administrative support. Dr. Van Wicklen promotes a sanitary and welcoming environment and utilizes modern dental technology. His office is equipped with music and televisions to help you relax during your dental visits.

Services Offered

  • Preventive Dentistry—digital X-rays, thorough cleanings and plaque removal, gum examinations and cleaning, laser cavity detection, and oral health education
  • Restorative and Cosmetic—teeth whitening, dental bonding techniques, porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges, and tooth-colored fillings
  • Oral Surgery—tooth extractions and wisdom teeth removal
  • Prosthodontics—dentures and partial implants (more…)

Welcome To Your Austin Dental Blog!

Welcome to the new dental blog for Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, DDS!

The goal of this blog is to educate our readers and patients about how to keep healthy smiles for life. We encourage you to subscribe to our blog by entering your email address on the right side of this page so you can receive new posts and updates. We will be posting regularly about dental education, oral treatments and techniques, office news, and community health information.

Our team provides comprehensive dental care in a comfortable and friendly environment. We are devoted to treating your smile with a personalized treatment plan to tailor to your individual dental needs. We strive to create relationships with our patients built on trust, respect, and communication. We are here to answer any questions and concerns you may have about your smile.