Frequently Asked Dental Questions in Austin, TX - Oral Health FAQ's

  1. How is Dr. Gotun different from everybody else?
  2. What happens when I come in for an exam?
  3. Why do you take photos?
  4. Why do you take so many x-rays?
  5. What else happens at a full exam? What are impressions and why are they necessary?
  6. What is a treatment plan and why do I need one? What are my options?
  7. Preventative care: Why is it important?
  8. What does gum disease mean? Can’t I just get my teeth cleaned and cure it that way?
  9. What happens if I don’t take care of these cavities right away?
  10. Are there any special guidelines for pregnant women? 
  11. What about my old metal fillings? Should they be replaced?
  12. How long does this take? What if I can’t do it all right away?
  13. Can I get my teeth bleached?
  14. What about veneers instead of crowns?
  15. I’m afraid of getting my wisdom teeth out – will it hurt?
  16. Do you use laughing gas if I want it?
  17. What are root canals, why do I need one, and why does it sometimes take more than one appointment to complete treatment?
  18. What is the difference between temporary, provisional or permanent crowns? Why do you do them?
  19. What are temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and what are the approaches we use to treat them?
  20. Please explain about braces and retainers: why do they take so long? Why use metal braces instead of clear ones?
  21. What about implants?
  22. Important to know about our policies.

How is Dr. Gotun different from everybody else? Please take a minute to read this.

Our goal is to find and treat the underlying causes of problems, not just the symptoms.

All dentists are unique in their own ways. There is a difference in experience, education and often philosophy, or school of thought. While neither is right or wrong, in medicine there are no simple answers, because no two bodies are the same. Our mouth does not function separately from our body, it is just as important as any other organ and it's health or lack of such will influence the whole body accordingly. Taking into consideration anatomical, genetic and many other differences we all have is extremely important for the diagnostics to be accurate and for the treatment to be effective. Most people don't realize that the process of accurate diagnostics and treatment planning is extremely complex. To be able to be outstanding at it Dr. Gotun has over 3000 hours of continued education, which is 10 times more than the requirement for a general dentist. Dr. Gotun's advanced education and skill in multidisciplinary dentistry allows him to perform all aspects of dentistry in his practice. From root canals to surgeries, orthodontics and implants - he can do it all and that is extremely rare. It is also important that only ONE highly skilled professional does it all at all stages of treatment, because this ensures impeccable execution at every stage, which makes these treatments far more successful than average statistics. We do not cut any corners. We do it right the first time, or we will not do it all. Dr. Gotun is a Master in the Academy of General Dentistry. Less than the top 1% of dentists in the US hold that title. He is currently in charge of development of CE programs for dentists all over Texas.

Dr.Gotun’s philosophy is uncompromised quality of care for the best possible outcome in the long run for even the most hopeless of dental conditions.

Over 30 years of experience and well-known excellence in dental care in Austin and Texas have polished Dr. Gotun’s techniques and methods. He chooses only the best and most efficient up-to-date technologies, materials and techniques that have proven to work long-term, have fewer side-effects, are the least invasive and that ensure the most effective dental care for his patients. Dr. Gotun has extensive experience and advanced training that enables him to create unique individual solutions for his patients. Some of these solutions are so outside of the textbook that Dr. Gotun has spent years sharing his knowledge with new generations of dental professionals.

" I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and get to work! I love what I do and I will practice dentistry as long as I physically can!” This statement by Dr. Gotun says it all. Think about this for a minute:  What is there in your own life that makes you feel as passionate? You will feel and appreciate the difference this attitude can make in getting the care you need!

Some can consider our practice non-mainstream and that is exactly what a lot of people are seeking, when their condition cannot be successfully resolved or managed by the standard of care. Dr. Gotun’s integrative approach has been very successful for many years and many cases have been solved against all mainstream dental beliefs. Our patients appreciate his philosophy and we are proud that many of them have stayed with him his entire career. We have patients who have moved out of state who still come back annually to have their care here! top >>>

What happens when I come in for an exam?

First of all we will welcome you to our practice. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to make your visit more comfortable. Every patient’s need and desire are very important to us and we will make sure you get proper attention and care. Then, as in any office, there’s paperwork. You can download forms from our website to fill out at home if you prefer. If not, please arrive 15 minutes early, and you can fill out the forms here. Make sure to bring your driver’s license, insurance card if you intend to use dental coverage, and your social security number for our records.

We will be gathering a comprehensive amount of data about your oral health and history, using x-rays, measurements, models and photos, as well as a thorough visual examination by Dr. Gotun. This gives us the information we need to give you the quality care you deserve, from diagnosis to alternatives in treatment. top >>>

Why do you take photos?

Photos help us diagnose your oral health at a higher magnification than with the naked eye or using magnification loops. They give us an opportunity to show you what we see, and you will be able to see the problems for yourself, which in turn will help you make informed decisions about your treatment options. Photos are a great tool for us and they help us in monitoring your status or changes. They also enable us to answer questions in a way that is easier to understand, as they are a great visual aid.

Why do you take so many x-rays?

In order to have accurate, adequate information that enables us to treat you as effectively as possible, we take multiple x-rays. As some people are concerned about the radiation from x-rays, here are some facts for your consideration:

  1. If you think you may be pregnant, please make sure you let us know and as an additional precaution we will not take x-rays.
  2. While most medical professionals are in consensus that the exposure to radiation should be minimized for everyone, the consequences of neglecting your oral health are much more serious. No true diagnostics can be done without some type of x-ray or CBCT. The amount of radiation you’re exposed to when taking x-rays varies by the type of x-ray or scan and here is a table that demonstrates the various amounts of exposure.

Tables comparing natural, dental and medical radiation levels 

There are several different types of x-rays, which we use for different purposes at different stages of diagnostics:

  1. A “full mouth” set consists of 4 bitewing x-rays and 14 periapical x-rays. They show us what we can’t see with the naked eye: with these 18 different views, we can see each tooth individually and from different angles or positions, including the roots and bone in the jaws. This is how we create a correct picture of the extent of cavities or other defects. Taking just 1 or 2 x-rays, though appropriate in an emergency situation where you have pain with a single area of the mouth, may or may not pick up cavities, especially if they are small. The more x-rays we take the more information we have and the more accurate is our diagnosis. When you come in for a regular full exam, we take a full mouth set of x-rays.
  2. A “panoramic” x-ray gives us a more rounded view of the teeth and their relation to the jaws. We can see major structures such as the sinuses, the nerve pathways and the location of the wisdom teeth. If you need surgery or extractions, this information is vital to the ease and success of the procedure.
  3. Another type of x-ray is the cephalometric, which may be taken from the front of your head toward the back, or from the side. We use these in some orthodontic cases, if there has been trauma, or if we suspect temporomandibular disorder. These views give Dr. Gotun an idea how the patient deviates from a standard pattern of growth and how this needs to be corrected.
  4. Occlusal x-rays are taken from the top of the head toward the chin or vice versa, and are very useful in revealing such problems as supernumerary teeth (too many teeth, some of which may not have erupted yet) or problems infiltrating the upper jaw and facial area.
  5. One of the most important new diagnostic techniques is “cone-beam” computer tomography. It is especially useful for diagnostics in relation to TMD, orthodontics, surgeries or implant planning. This technology uses a scanner able to collect data to create a complete volumetric reconstruction of a patient’s head and jaws. This 3D model reveals incredibly precise details of bone density and the structures of the face and mouth. The use of this technology assures you as a patient that if a complex procedure is required, we have the most accurate information possible to plan our approach and achieve the best results.
Although it’s rare that we need every type of the x-rays we’ve just described, these are some of the diagnostic tools that may be used to form your unique, accurate diagnosis. In turn, that allows us to discover and address the causes of any problems you may be experiencing, not just the symptoms, which makes the treatment efficient.                  

What else happens at a full exam? What are impressions and why are they necessary?

IMPRESSIONS AND MODELS. To complete the exam, we take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and gums to create study models. These are 3-dimensional models that show us how your teeth work together. We will put these models on a tool called an articulator to correctly demonstrate how your teeth truly fit (or in some cases, do not fit) together. Simply taking the models and stacking the upper jaw casting over the lower one does not depict the actual interaction of the jaws (relationship between tooth positioning and joint function), so the articulator is necessary.

To find out your individual anatomical jaw position we use a measuring tool called a face-bow, which is a means of measuring how the teeth relate to the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). When these measurements are incorporated into the articulator holding the upper and lower jaw models, the result is an accurate depiction of how your mouth functions. These diagnostic casts are a means to study flaws or problems, and communicate them to you, the patient. We also use these initial models as a reference if further work needs to be done.

All of these procedures are done very gently with the patient’s comfort and individual needs in mind.                   

What is a treatment plan and why do I need one? What are my options?

A treatment plan is a way to create a map of priorities, from the primary issues that should be addressed as soon as possible, to less urgent needs. It allows us to create a sequence of the procedures needed to determine the most efficient way to achieve a healthy and beautiful smile. It is also very instrumental for a patient, as it lets you see the full extent of treatment, its stages, and specifically how we plan to achieve long-term oral health for you. We practice quadrant dentistry (we work on a quarter of your mouth at a time), which allows us to save you time and money. When possible, we group various procedures to be done at once and that is both convenient and cost-effective. Treatment plans can change with time, as changes occur in your body as well as your life.

Preventative care: Why is it important?

Preventative care is important because the condition of your teeth, gums and the bony structures of your jaw determine the outcome of any restorative or cosmetic work done at any stage of your life. However, as you grow older or consider most treatment options, your overall dental health is a deciding factor in treatment alternatives as well as the cost of these treatments and their durability. In addition, your dental health can have a profound effect on your general health as well. Serious problems such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes and even preterm babies have all been linked to poor dental health.

There are two types of procedures that are done for preventive dental care:

Prophylaxis: (AKA Teeth cleaning) – Periodic removal of plaque, tartar and stains from the teeth using mild abrasives (mild acids and polishes), scalers and an ultrasound unit.

Perio maintenance: Periodic removal of plaque and calculus under the gum line, with some scaling and root planning followed by polishing the teeth. This prevents subgingival decay, bone and tooth loss.

In our office Dr. Gotun performs all periodontal procedures himself, including routine cleanings, so he can personally monitor his patient’s dental conditions and be there for them when changes occur and questions arise. At every visit Dr. Gotun also performs oral cancer screenings.

What does gum disease mean? Can’t I just get my teeth cleaned and cure it that way?

Gingivitis is a superficial infection of the gum tissue caused by bacteria. The gum tissue becomes red and sometimes swollen. Bleeding may occur. It’s never cured; we may only control the side effects. This is why if left untreated the superficial infection can become gum disease (periodontitis). Plaque gets below the gum line and you will start losing jaw bone. Another problem with oral infections is that they are contagious, so you can spread gingivitis to family members and loved ones. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, strokes, and problems during pregnancy, among other health challenges.

What happens if I don’t take care of these cavities right away?

It is important to realize that dental visits nowadays are as painless and comfortable as ever. Most fillings can be done with minimal discomfort, in a short period of time, and the result is the most natural–looking and healthy teeth. But if you choose to postpone treatment here are some facts to consider:

There are many consequences to neglecting oral health. First, untreated cavities lead to pain, and eventually, it may become extreme. Secondly, you may lose teeth. Tooth loss is a problem: if you think dentures will make up for lost teeth, remember that your chewing capacity will be reduced to about 10% of normal. Because of the reduced ability to chew, digestion is also affected, especially the processing of all-important fiber in our food. So, malnourishment can be the result, leading to a decline in overall health. Also, dentures can be uncomfortable, and even a good fit initially can change over time. Using dental adhesives often leads to rampant yeast infections – another problem that can affect your health in general. Research also points to a link between denture use and stomach cancer.

These are just a few of the reasons why we encourage our patients to treat their oral health as seriously as they would any other physical condition in the body. The connection is very important and we are happy to educate our patents and answer any of the questions they might have to help them in the decision-making for their treatment options.

Are there any special guidelines for pregnant women?

Yes, but first of all, congratulations! While it is a very exciting time in your life, it is also the time to assume a great responsibility of caring for the well-being of two people instead of one. There are some simple but vital points to remember:

  1. It is always a great idea to make sure your oral health is in a good condition before you even become pregnant, as there is an array of issues, like infections due to gum disease, etc., that can impact your baby’s health.
  2. It is extremely important to notify our office that you are pregnant as some dental procedures may not be recommended for you during the pregnancy or we may need to alter our approach to treatment because of it. Please consult with our office and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
  3. Assuming that all the necessary dental issues have been addressed, the next thing to focus on is nutrition. Everything you eat and drink will affect not only your own general health, but your unborn baby’s as well. Eat right and take any prenatal vitamins your obstetrician recommends so that you and the baby will get all the calcium you both need. Guard against the urge to snack between meals. Anything that tastes even slightly sweet contains sugar, including milk and fruit, so you should brush and floss, especially after consuming any carbohydrates.
  4. Good hygiene is the best prevention against a number of pregnancy-related issues. The surge in hormones that generally starts in the second month can cause gums to react differently to the plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t get regular cleanings, the result can be an increased chance of tooth decay, “pregnancy gingivitis,” or other infections. Untreated dental conditions pose a risk to your unborn baby as well as yourself. Gum irritation is also thought to be one of the causes of “pregnancy tumors,” which are localized swellings in the gums. These lumps are noncancerous, but they can be painful and disfiguring. Please check with us if you develop any growths or if you notice any changes in your mouth, and remember that regular cleanings are the best way to avoid these problems.

What about my old metal fillings? Should they be replaced?

Some people get concerned about the mercury in metal fillings. Research shows that there may be more available mercury in our cereal grains due to modern agricultural practices and groundwater contamination than in your old amalgam fillings – until we drill into them. But keep in mind that when drilling happens, we use suction in dentistry to whisk away all the particulates and prevent bodily harm. The real problem with the amalgam fillings, however, is that they expand when they set up, and they cause potentially damaging internal pressure on the teeth. The result is that the amalgams eventually pop out, or worse, they crack the tooth. Cracked teeth left untreated may require a root canal, extraction, or replacement with bridges or implants. Replacing the amalgam fillings with porcelain ones is a good idea, and the replacement material will look much more natural. Research has shown that replacing the fillings on a 7- to 15-year cycle is to be expected from wear and tear and new decay.

How long does this take? What if I can’t do it all right away?

Each case is unique, and we take time to solve it appropriately and sensibly for each individual. We all live in the real world, and know that everybody has different challenges in life. However, what often happens when someone puts off dental care is that a small problem becomes a big problem, both in terms of your health and your pocketbook. At our office we will create a treatment plan for you, identifying priorities for your treatment and then we proceed in stages. We work with your schedule and make sure we help you plan your treatment based on your individual situation and needs.

Can I get my teeth bleached?

Yes, if you can put up with the results! It is recommended to get all necessary fillings addressed first, so that you have no cavities or dark restorations. Fillings bleach differently than teeth, and as a result of this procedure, there might be some color variation in your teeth. Crowns do not bleach at all. Some patients start having pain after using bleaching materials, therefore an evaluation by dentist is needed first, as well as supervision during the bleaching process. There is also very little information on what the long-term effects of bleaching may be. Whitening is also not recommended if you have sensitive teeth.

What about veneers instead of crowns?

Veneers or laminates, which are very thin porcelain shells bonded to the front of the teeth, are great to correct stained teeth, defective enamel or color variations in young people. Aside from color correction, veneers can also be used to make minor corrections to teeth that are shaped irregularly, although they change only the front of the tooth. How old should you be to have veneers? It doesn’t matter, as long as you are willing to redo them later if you place veneers before you finish growing.

However, as we age past 35, gum recession often exposes the root surface of the tooth, which can stain and therefore margins of the tooth become visible. In other words, over time you may not have the result you originally expected from veneers. Therefore, ¾ or full crowns look and function better than veneers. Crowns are more flexible when correcting imperfections, and can have other therapeutic benefits. They have different applications than veneers.

I’m afraid of getting my wisdom teeth out – will it hurt?

This is not a traumatic procedure for the vast majority of patients using modern pharmaceuticals and following post-treatment instructions. The younger you are, the less trouble you will generally experience, but the benefits for every age outweigh the discomfort. There is a small amount of pain after the procedure, which can be controlled by resting for about 48 hours after the procedure, eating a soft, liquid diet, and avoiding too much activity. We will send you home with a complete set of instructions and any prescriptions you need to minimize your discomfort. top >>>

Do you use laughing gas if I want it?

Some procedures are easier if the patient can use a sedative. We use oral pharmaceuticals for conscious sedation to help a patient relax, although you can still speak, respond to verbal commands or physical stimulation and breathe on your own without help. All body functions remain normal, but you feel relaxed and sleepy.

Inhalant sedation – using “laughing gas or nitrous oxide” – has much the same effect as oral medication. However, we use it only under special circumstances. It can’t be used with patients who have asthma, emphysema or other respiratory problems, for example, or with anyone who suffers from claustrophobia. There is also evidence that young women exposed to certain levels of nitrous oxide run an increased risk of having babies with birth defects, so we choose not to expose employees or patients to this possibility unless it’s absolutely necessary. However, as in all situations with our patients, each case is unique, and if this is the sedation most suited to your needs, we have the option of offering nitrous oxide to you.

What are root canals, why do I need one, and why does it sometimes take more than one appointment to complete treatment?

A root canal treatment is a common dental procedure used when a tooth is badly damaged or infected. Root canal therapy is a way to treat the interior structures of the tooth, which extend into the root(s). Keep in mind that while incisors have only 1-2 roots, bicuspids and lower molars have 2-5 roots each, and upper molars have 3-7 roots. This contributes to the complexity and the length of treatment. The structures within each tooth include the pulp tissue (composed of nerves, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissue) and the canal inside each root. The pulp can become infected, for example, if the tooth is damaged by a deep cavity, if the tooth has cracked, or if an old filling has begun to leak. In some cases, patients may feel no pain: often the first symptoms of an infection are sensitivity to hot foods or liquids, swelling, or pain when chewing. When an infection becomes established, root canal therapy is necessary. If left untreated, the result is not only pain (which can be quite severe), but loss of the tooth, and possible bone loss in the vicinity of the infected tooth as well. A missing tooth causes problems with adjacent or opposing teeth, and solutions to address this can be much more costly than having the root canal therapy.

Treatment involves creating an access to the pulp by drilling a hole in the tooth and cleaning out the damaged pulp and decay. Then, one of two options is chosen: the tooth may receive medication and be left open to drain, or each canal is filled with an inert material and the tooth is sealed until healing can be assessed. The goal, however, is to help you keep your tooth, because that missing tooth can cause a variety of serious problems, not to mention lead to the necessity of either a bridge or an implant. The best news is that in our practice, root canal treatments are successful in 95% of cases and teeth with treated root canals can last a lifetime, barring new trauma.

Sometimes the infection is so well established that a second treatment is necessary, or even a third attempt. In that case there will be a need for one or two more appointments to complete the root canal treatment.

A tooth that has had a root canal treatment always needs further work in order to make it structurally sound and functional. Whether it is a filling or a core build-up followed by a crown, this final step is necessary to preserve the tooth’s integrity and functionality.

What is the difference between temporary, provisional or permanent crowns? Why do you do them?

A crown is a protective cap placed on a tooth for cover and support when there is not enough tooth structure left to hold a filling or to protect weak or broken teeth. Sometimes a tooth becomes so reduced by decay or accidental damage that fillings won’t hold up under the tremendous stresses we generate as we chew. In this case a crown may be recommended to preserve the tooth. Crowns are also used sometimes to correct a problem such as crooked or discolored teeth, or to cover an implant.

There are three different types of crowns: permanent, temporary and provisional. When a tooth is shaped for a crown, you may need a temporary crown as a placeholder until the laboratory can manufacture your permanent crown. A provisional crown is used for treatment purposes. Before permanent crowns are seated, provisional crowns allow us to see how your own individual healing process resolves. They allow us to see if there will be gum recession and if the permanent crowns need to be adjusted to make sure you get the most seamless and natural look with your permanent crowns. If you have a TMD disorder, the provisional crowns help us learn about how your teeth will function with permanent restorations and allow us fine-tune them for the best, most comfortable and long lasting result. Provisional crowns also give us a much more accurate idea of the cosmetic outcome of your new crowns, allows us to make sure you are happy with the new look and allows us to gauge how you tolerate changes in your bite. After that we can seat permanent crowns. Following the above process ensures that your permanent crowns will look and function very well for a very long time. Large restoration cases require extremely precise and comprehensive work and we are meticulous with every detail, as we want to ensure that your investment into your smile will make you happy, look natural, last, will not cause any new dental problems, and finally will truly change your life for the better.

What are temporomandibular disorders (TMD), and what are the approaches we use to treat them?

TMD is a neuromuscular problem, sometimes due to dislocation or injury, sometimes genetic, sometimes it can be linked to arthritis, and is often associated with stress. Symptoms include pain in and around the ear, chronic headaches or pain in the neck, tenderness of the jaw, or a clicking or popping noise when you open your mouth. As long as TMD is muscular, we have a fair chance of correcting it. If the problem is not addressed and becomes a joint problem, then it becomes very difficult.

Almost everybody has some level of TMD, but only some cases become truly painful and interfere with the normal way of living. Sometimes simple exercises relieve the problem. Relaxation and stress control are very important, too, because this can reduce the symptoms tremendously. But some cases are more severe. People suffering from TMD may have many different symptoms and many different reasons for their problems. That is why it is essential to diagnose the problem correctly and treat it in a comprehensive way. Many problems occur due to the way the teeth come in contact. There any many possible causes of such an imbalance, and some of them we can correct. To do this, we use splint therapy (a therapeutic mouthguard specifically designed for you to restore the balance in the joint) or we have to rebuild the teeth with crowns, or both. We may also refer you for additional support to a trusted colleague in a field such as chiropractic to address other possible neuromuscular problems contributing to this condition. Some cases benefit from counseling, others from pharmaceuticals such as muscle relaxers, NSAIDs, or even antipsychotics. Dentox (a form of Botox used in dentistry) is effective in the right circumstances. All cases are different and therefore we create an individual comprehensive plan to address the causes of the problems to manage pain and eventually restore the joints to the best condition possible. The best solution is to seek help at the first sign you may have a problem, so we can address it in the early stages. Dr. Gotun has extensive training and thirty years of experience in this area. In fact, he is one of the best neuromuscular dentists in the field.

Please explain about braces and retainers: why do they take so long? Why use metal braces instead of clear ones?

Braces are tools to move teeth from an undesirable position to a desirable one. The goal is to improve the function of the teeth and for aesthetic reasons. There are many causes for malocclusions (teeth and jaws that are crooked, crowded or malaligned), such as thumb-sucking, genetic causes or accidents. Even allergies, because they cause us to breathe through the mouth and affect the position of the tongue, which influences the development of both jaws and can cause abnormal movement of the teeth. Left untreated, these problems often lead to hygiene problems and eventual tooth loss, difficulties in chewing or even speaking, or to TMD (jaw or head pains).

Braces come in two types: fixed and removable. Metal braces are fixed and can only be removed by the dentist. Brackets are attached to each tooth and then connected by a wire. The wires and brackets cause active movement in planned increments in the desired direction. You do not want to rush this process, which can require one to four years. Nature dictates the time frame, because you are removing bone in one place and building it in another. Rushing defeats the therapeutic purpose, because it can actually pull teeth out of the jaw bone. After all, the treatment is a relatively short time span if you plan to live 80 years with healthy teeth! We use metal braces in most cases because they are less expensive, last longer, and create a more predictable outcome. And if you are a competitive athlete or just very active, we will design a mouthguard for you to protect your metal braces.

Removable braces such as Invisalign or other clear braces are easier to clean, but they depend on the cooperation of the patient wearing them in order to succeed. Their functionality is somewhat limited and they are more useful for minor corrections.

Retainers are non-active appliances used after treatment to hold teeth in the new position. Some stay in the mouth, while others are removable.

To ensure that a malocclusion is addressed as early and as easily as possible, treatment should begin with the growing child. Children as young as four and no older than seven should have an orthodontic evaluation in order to spot problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth. However, adults should not hesitate to consider braces, either. You not only improve your smile; you invest in your oral health, and that means your overall health as well!

What about implants?

When a patient has a serious problem with a tooth, we do our utmost to save it. If we cannot, then one of the options to consider is an implant. An implant of surgical grade titanium is an artificial base or root for a crown, placed directly in the bone of the jaw, which eventually fuses into the bone. To be a candidate for an implant, a patient must have healthy gums, adequate bone, and be ready to commit to regular visits for hygiene and dental care.

An implant can replace a single missing tooth, sparing the patient of the need to have healthy adjacent teeth shaped for crowns when a bridge is needed, or if the lost tooth is a molar at the end of the arch of the jaw, an implant can reinstate chewing efficiency. However, one of the best uses of dental implants is to stabilize dentures, especially in cases where there are no teeth to hold the denture in place.

Implants have their drawbacks: a patient must have adequate healthy oral tissues and bone to even be considered for an implant. We send all patients for bone density analysis to ensure the best possible outcome. Once we begin treatment, the entire process can take as long as nine months to complete, depending on the individual. Implants restore the ability to chew well, encourage bone retention, and make dentures more comfortable and efficient which means that they can be a great benefit for patients.

Dr. Gotun has worked with dental implants his entire career, but he has always been very conservative in their application. For many years, implants were very complicated to deal with and were quite an unpredictable solution to missing teeth. The technology evolved greatly in recent years. Dr. Gotun believes that the newest digital technology is precise enough that the outcome of implants is more predictable and has fewer side effects. It is truly a safer alternative to bridges and dentures than in the past. We are pleased with these improvements and are ready to answer your questions about them. Although the technology used currently in various offices is pretty much the same, there are differences in approach and philosophy. While some can offer same-day implants, Dr. Gotun prefers to proceed with caution, doing thorough diagnostics and treatment in stages, to observe the progress and healing, and make sure that he achieves the best possible result for an individual. After all, it is a very complex process and different people respond to it in their own unique ways.

Important to know about our policies:

INDEPENDENT. While we work with most PPO insurance plans and utilize our patients’ insurance benefits to their maximum potential, we are not affiliated with insurance companies and their fee schedules. Our treatment planning is based entirely on what is the best up-to-date dental treatment for your condition. We are not affiliated with any pharmaceutical companies and we are not distributors of any technology or product line. We are taking upon ourselves to be an entirely independent dental care provider with one goal in mind: your health and well-being. We believe that being independent helps us achieve superior results, as we have a better response time to new research, modern technologies and materials than the insurance industry and we choose them solely based on their performance in the long-run and their effects on patients’ overall health.

FEES. It is important to know that the fees for dental treatment vary from practice to practice. While the price range is often similar, the fee is based on techniques, materials and the complexity of the procedure, which varies based on the individual anatomy of a patient. In our practice, we use the best and newest technologies and materials while Dr. Gotun makes sure he stays ahead of the curve in modern research and new developments in dentistry. Our ultimate goal is to achieve superior results, as we often take on cases that cannot be successfully resolved by standard approaches.

Our fees are very competitive. We choose to remain a small family practice and see a limited amount of patients to make sure we can dedicate the time and effort to each patient to deliver superior care. Our financial policy is designed to save you money in the long run. While we offer some financing options, you will be pleased to learn about the savings we offer for payments in full at the time of service. This way we do not have to pass the collection costs on to our patients and keep our fees at the same level as most dental practices of similar philosophy.

APPOINTMENTS. We never double-book and the appointment time is reserved only for you. There is rarely any waiting at our office. We see all our patients promptly; therefore we ask that you arrive to your appointment early. Please familiarize yourself with our missed appointments policy.

INSURANCE. We gladly assist you in utilizing your insurance benefits to their maximum potential, but our office cannot guarantee coverage or predict their payments with 100% accuracy. We file insurance electronically and provide all supportive documentation at no cost to you. However, you are responsible for payment of any balance on your ledger that is not covered by insurance.

No matter the situation, we are here to help our patients obtain the best dental care possible and we will be happy to answer your questions, help you find solutions and work with your schedule.



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If you are reading this testimonial, I assume you are looking to alleviate pain in one or more of your teeth or to improve your smile cosmetically. Either way you can save yourself some time, stop right now and go make an initial evaluation appointment with Dr.Gotun and his staff at their cozy, comfortable office with a relaxing peaceful view of Eanes Creek. You can search the 1200 or more listings in the Austin area and the BEST you could hope for would be to find another dentist equally as skilled and talented as Dr.Gotun. I do NOT think it is possible to get BETTER quality dental work than what you will get at this office.

The one thing that made everything so simple for me was the photographs. During the initial exam Dr.Gotun takes a series of photographs of your teeth along with x-rays. You then get to see your teeth on a laptop screen, in color, up close and larger than life. If you can live with what you see then you can count your blessings and Dr.Gotun will let you be on your way, unless of course you would like to schedule a cleaning!

In my case I could see the damage, decay and buildup from many years of poor oral hygiene and neglect. In addition to the problem teeth that brought me to the dental office I could easily see that most of my teeth were in need of some type of restoration work. Dr. Gotun has my permission to show all of my records to anyone interested in seeing them. I am sure you will be as amazed as I still am at what Dr. Gotun was able to accomplish considering the very poor condition my teeth were in at the start of the process.

The cost was substantial in my case due to amount of work that was required. However, the work was spaced out over several years which made the cost much easier to budget. Dr.Gotun was not on my dental insurance plan, so I accessed some savings and my credit to finance the work and paid it off like any other significant asset I have purchased. My teeth are the most rewarding investment I have ever made.

If I could give anyone one bit of advice other than my story, it would be “do NOT let dental insurance be the major factor that guides your decision-making”. I was never happy with any of the experiences or results I had when I tried to use the dentists that were covered under my plan. I am proof that 12 years on with regular flossing and brushing, the investment in your restoration work done by Dr.Gotun can still be yielding satisfaction and compliments from friends and random strangers.

I have never gone to bed without flossing and brushing after seeing those photographs in my initial visit. Good luck and I hope to be reading your success story here sometime in the future.

Chuck M. Austin, TX

Dr. Tor Gotun probably saved my life and he's added some years to it. You don't usually say that about your dentist, but I believe it in my case.

More than 10 years ago, after many years of neglecting my teeth and an unhealthy life style, I went to Tor, my neighborhood dentist, even though he wasn't on my State of Texas dental insurance network.

I soon learned of the challenges to getting my gums and teeth back to a healthy status. The way Tor explained it, I knew it was complex and that Tor had the skills and vision to get me there, as long as I did my part. I also knew it would take time and not be cheap.

Now, years later, I still have most of my original teeth and only a few very nice, state-of-the art crowns. I am following Tor's advice for taking care of my teeth and gums, including his regular cleaning schedule. What my dental insurance didn't cover, I was able to use Austin Smile Creations' association with Care Credit to finance the costs without any interest charges as long as I pay off balances within a year of each charge.

By the way, we had only one procedure that didn't work out as planned, but Tor made good on it and the solution turned out as good or better.

As a bonus, all of Tor's top flight members are both professional and personable, always considerate of my needs, interests, and schedule.

Bottom line, Tor is better than my expectations. He pays attention to more than just how my mouth looks; he's concerned about my overall health and how my life-style affects, and is affected by, the health of my teeth and gums.

Bill H. Austin, TX

I have been going to Dr. Gotun since he used to have his practice on William Cannon Drive ( 20 years now). Now he is located in Bee Caves. He is an excellent dentist.

The thing I like best about Tor Gotun is he is relatively pain free when administering his shots to numb your mouth. Dentists I have had before always seemed to be a bit heavy handed in this activity.

He is very up to date with modern dental technology. He can make a crown or cap in his office at the moment of your appointment and have you leave with a fully functioning mouth. I have friends who use other dentists who must wander the city of Austin for at least a week with a hollowed out molar stuffed with gauze as they await their topping to arrive by mail to their dentist's office.

The staff is very friendly, and Dr. Gotun will never talk down to you. He is very good at explaining why he is doing something or why he wants to do a procedure. He may have gotten two of my wisdom teeth, but I will still try to hold onto the remaining two regardless of his explaining the safety factors of hanging on to them as you get older.

Randy S. Austin, TX

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Contact Us.We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form.

Contact Us

We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.