How to Fix a Broken Tooth with Your Austin Dentist

Your teeth are the strongest part of your body. Unfortunately, they’re also the most used, and when they sustain structural damage, your teeth cannot repair themselves. Consequently, much of dentistry revolves around treating and repairing broken teeth before extensive damage renders them useless. Your Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, has extensive experience restoring and preserving our patients’ smiles, even in the midst of extensive dental damage. Today, we explore the phenomenon of a broken tooth and how to address it for the good of your oral health.

Identifying Your Tooth’s Damage

In much the same way that your smile can fall victim to a variety of different dental diseases, your teeth can also become compromised due to numerous kinds of damage; the difference typically being the extent of damage. For instance, if your tooth is cracked, then a dental crown may be able to hold to the tooth together and protect it from further harm. A split tooth describes a crack that has been allowed to progress far enough that the tooth’s separates into two distinct parts. In such severe cases, your tooth may not salvageable, and tooth extraction might be the only option to prevent damage to the tooth’s surrounding gum tissue and jawbone. (more…)

Austin Dentist Explains What to Do When You’ve Lost a Tooth

Gum disease, which affects over 70% of adults in America, is also the number one cause of adult tooth loss. Luckily, gum disease is highly preventable and manageable, so if you’re intent on preserving your natural teeth, then you have a good chance. However, gum disease isn’t the only manner in which you can lose a tooth, and some ways (such as accidental trauma) aren’t as easily preventable. If you’ve lost a tooth, either to dental disease, trauma, or a necessary extraction, then your Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, can help you restore your smile’s beauty and function by expertly replacing the tooth.

To Replace, or Not to Replace, a Lost Tooth

If your lost tooth is in the front of your smile, then you may have already replaced it, or are in the process of doing so. When you lose a tooth in the back of your mouth, or if you simply don’t care about having a gapped smile, then you may not be as compelled to restore it. In truth, not replacing a lost tooth should never be an option. (more…)

How to Lose a Tooth to Gum Disease, by Your Austin Dentist

Hopefully, you’re not actively seeking to lose a tooth (unless tooth extraction is necessary for the good of your oral health). Given the fact that gum disease, which is the leading cause of permanent tooth loss, affects over 70% of adults in America, many of us don’t do as much as we can to prevent tooth loss, either. Your Austin dentist, Dr. Steven Van Wicklen, explains how neglect and inaction can allow gum disease opportunity it needs to cost you one or more teeth.

Skip a Brushing and Flossing Now and Then

Gum disease typically develops as a result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice every day helps control the buildup of dental plaque and the population of bacteria that forms it. With enough time, plaque can harden (calcify) into tartar, a more stubborn substance that can’t be removed with a toothbrush and floss. As bacteria continue to gather, they can threaten your teeth and gums, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Skipping the toothbrush and floss now and then may not seem very harmful, but only because you may not notice the dangers until months later, when the damages from advancing dental disease become apparent. (more…)

The Need for Dental Fillings, with Your Austin Family Dentist

Dental fillings are among the most common dental treatments today. Considering that 90% of adults in America have experienced tooth decay in at least one permanent tooth, the dental filling’s popularity isn’t exactly an anomaly. At your Austin dentist’s office, Dr. Van Wicklen offers advanced dental fillings made of white composite resin to restore your decaying tooth and preserve your smile’s aesthetic value. Today, we discuss the need for dental fillings, and the functional and cosmetic advantages of white composite resin.

The Advancement of Tooth Decay

Your tooth is comprised of layers; the outer protective shell, called enamel, is the strongest and most mineralized substance your body produces. When you eat and drink, certain oral bacteria (known as Streptococcus mutans) convert the sugar and carbs from your meals into acid, which saps minerals from your teeth while attacking and weakening your enamel. Brushing and flossing helps control oral bacteria and the acid they produce, but the more often you snack, or skip a brushing now and then, the more exposed your teeth are to acid. In time, your enamel can wear away and expose your tooth’s main structure, called dentin, to bacterial infection. (more…)

What are Invisalign Clear Braces? Your Austin Dentist Explains

You might have heard quite a bit about clear braces and their ability to straighten your teeth discretely. As an adult alternative to traditional metal braces, clear braces offer older teens and adults a more aesthetically acceptable orthodontic option. As a dedicated dentist in Austin, Dr. Van Wicklen is well-acquainted with the apprehension that patients may feel about wearing metal braces throughout their personal and professional lives. To facilitate your improved oral health without announcing your orthodontic treatment to your peers, Dr. Van Wicklen explains how Invisalign clear braces work without conventional metal brackets and wires.

All About Invisalign Clear Braces

Innovative approach

The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to move crooked teeth into a more desirable position that will improve your smile’s balance and function. Straightening your teeth is necessary to your oral health, but many patients are more motivated by aesthetic reasons; they would prefer a smile that they can be proud to show the world. Metal braces accomplish this movement through wires and brackets connected to your teeth. Invisalign clear braces approach teeth straightening without brackets and wires, using a series of clear acrylic aligners that progressively move your teeth toward their desired positions and alignment. (more…)

Austin Cosmetic Dentist’s Tips for Chemical-Free Teeth Whitening

If you wish your smile were brighter, you’re not alone. Teeth-whitening is one of the most commonly-requested cosmetic dental treatments today, and is the only dental treatment that you can perform at home (aside from your daily dental hygiene routine). While you may not be surprised to know that what you eat and drink can contribute to the gradual dulling of your smile, many people are unaware that certain foods and beverages may actually benefit the health and beauty of your smile. Your Austin cosmetic dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, explores a few methods that can help keep your smile looking its best every day.

Natural Ways to Whiter Teeth

  • Eat more fruits and veggies—They’re not just good for your overall health; crunchy fruits and vegetables, like celery, apples, and carrots, have a fibrous texture that can help scrub your teeth clean of minor stains. They also generate a healthy flow of saliva, which is your mouth’s natural way of rinsing out food debris and bacteria. (more…)

Austin Dentist Discusses S. Mutans—The Reason Candy Causes Cavities

Aside from the joy that comes with summer being just on the horizon, children (and inner-children) may also jump in excitement to learn that June is National Candy Month! Before you dig into countless treats with exuberant abandon, however, your Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, reiterates a warning that most of us should be familiar with—too much candy can lead to cavities. We add to this warning by explaining how, exactly, candy and other sweets can lead to the destruction of your teeth.

The Origins of Dental Plaque

You know that sticky, gross-feeling stuff on your teeth that you might run your tongue across sometimes (usually after you haven’t brushed in a while)? It’s called plaque, and while most people are familiar with it, fewer people understand the dangers it can pose if left on your teeth. Dental plaque is formed by hundreds of different kinds of oral bacteria and helps protect the microbes from your mouth’s defensive measures, like saliva. Some germs, such as Streptococcus mutans, undergo dangerous processes that can damage your teeth and gums as plaque clings to them. (more…)

Austin Dentist: Don’t Forget Your Mouthguard

If you play a contact sport, you know the importance of wearing padding. Without it, the sport would be far less enjoyable, more dangerous, and far more painful. However, protective gear for a contact sport should also include a mouthguard to protect teeth and the mouth from sudden, jarring collisions. Neglecting a mouthguard, on the other hand, can result in a dental emergency. Read below as your Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, discusses the important role mouthguards play in protecting the mouths of athletes. (more…)

Austin Dentist Looks at Dentures Past and Present

What is your mental image of dentures? Do you picture a bulky set of fake-looking teeth floating in a glass? If so, your mental image may be a bit outdated. Recent years have seen some incredible advances in the field of prosthetic teeth. To illustrate these advances, your Austin dentist, Dr. Van Wicklen, is comparing dentures of the past to today’s modern dentures. (more…)