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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
August 02, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: x-rays  
TheSimpleBitewingX-RayisaGameChangerforMaintainingDentalHealth

X-rays are such a routine part of dental care that it's easy to overlook how much this technology has revolutionized detecting and treating tooth decay. It's safe to say x-rays have helped save hundreds of millions of teeth over the last hundred years.

Thanks to its unique properties these invisible electro-magnetic waves give us precise images of the interior structure of teeth and gums. It's so precise that we can clearly detect even a small spot of softened, decayed tooth structure on an exposed x-ray film, often before it becomes visible to the naked eye. As a result, we can begin treating the decay earlier, minimizing the damage and increasing the chances for preserving the tooth.

There are a variety of ways we can utilize x-ray technology in diagnosing dental problems. The one, though, that's used the most is called the bitewing. The name comes from wing-like tabs extending out from a thin frame holding a segment of unexposed film. A technician places the frame inside the patient's mouth with the film on the tongue side of the teeth, and has them bite down on the tabs to hold the frame still. They then aim a camera at the patient's outer cheek, which then emits a very short burst of x-ray energy to expose the film.

Bitewings are popular because they give a full view of the back and side teeth, where decay is often hard to detect, with very little radiation exposure to the patient. And as x-ray technology has progressed over the years with digital processing and more efficient equipment, we can acquire sharper images with even less exposure. We've also developed standard protocols for when and how often we perform x-rays, so that we're getting the most diagnostic benefit for the least amount of exposure time.

Those few minutes getting an x-ray may seem routine, but the benefits to your dental health are truly amazing. The bitewing and other forms of x-rays play a huge role in helping us keep your teeth as healthy as they possibly can.

If you would like more information on x-ray diagnostics, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bitewing X-Rays.”

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
June 03, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   Crowns  
DentalCrownsfortheKingofMagic

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
April 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

According to the American Dental Association, periodontal disease is the most common reason behind tooth loss in American adults. This periodontal diseasemakes understanding why gum disease happens and how you can prevent it crucial to your oral health. Your dentist may suggest non-surgical periodontal therapy to reverse the effects of existing gum disease. Find out more about this important and powerful treatment option for your gum disease with Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson, and Dr. Frank Cavaness at Anchorage Dental Arts in Anchorage, AK.

What is periodontal disease? 
Periodontal comes from the Greek word peri, meaning “around the tooth”, and odon, meaning “tooth”. The word periodontal itself refers to the oral tissues surrounding the tooth, called the gums. Periodontal disease affects the gums and occurs when bacteria grow under the gum tissues and causes them to become infected.

How can I prevent periodontal disease? 
Those patients who smoke, do not floss, have high levels of stress, take certain medications, have certain diseases, or who have poor nutrition are more at risk for gum disease than others. Preventing gum disease is easy with a strong at home oral care routine performed daily. This routine should consist of brushing twice daily and flossing between each tooth at least once. Flossing pulls bacteria and plaque from the spaces between the teeth, which are most susceptible to buildup since your toothbrush’s bristles do not reach them. Seeing your dentist for regular dental exams and cleanings every six months also works toward preventing gum disease as cleanings remove all of the plaque and bacteria under the gums and on the teeth.

Do I have periodontal disease? 
Periodontal disease can cause some obvious, tell-tale symptoms. One of the first signs of periodontal disease is bleeding gums while you floss. Though many people mistakenly believe that this symptom means that they should cease flossing, it actually means the opposite. Continued flossing will help reverse the bleeding and allow the infected gum tissues to heal. Some other signs of periodontal disease include swollen, red, or tender gums, unexplained bad breath, and gums which pull away from the teeth to form pockets.

Treating Periodontal Disease with Non-Surgical Periodontal Therapy in Anchorage, AK
In most cases, your dentist can cure gum disease with a non-surgical periodontal cleaning. During this procedure, your dentist uses both specialized tools and hand scraping methods to remove all plaque and tartar deposits from your teeth. With the teeth clean and the root cause of the infection gone, your body’s natural healing methods can take over and reverse the uncomfortable symptoms.

For more information on non-surgical periodontal therapy, please contact Dr. Morehead, Dr. Swenson, and Dr. Cavaness at Anchorage Dental Arts in Anchorage, AK. Call (907) 276-1712 to schedule your appointment for a consultation with your dentist.

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
April 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
CharlizeTheronBackinActionAfterDentalSurgery

When they’re introducing a new movie, actors often take a moment to pay tribute to the people who helped make it happen — like, you know, their dentists. At least that’s what Charlize Theron did at the premiere of her new spy thriller, Atomic Blonde.

"I just want to take a quick moment to thank my dentists," she told a Los Angeles audience as they waited for the film to roll. "I don’t even know if they’re here, but I just want to say thank you."

Why did the starring actress/producer give a shout-out to her dental team? It seems she trained and fought so hard in the action sequences that she actually cracked two teeth!

“I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life,” Theron told an interviewer from Variety. At first, she thought it was a cavity — but later, she found out it was more serious: One tooth needed a root canal, and the other had to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant — but first, a bone grafting procedure was needed. “I had to put a donor bone in [the jaw] to heal,” she noted, “and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”

Although it might sound like the kind of treatment only an action hero would need, bone grafting is now a routine part of many dental implant procedures. The reason is that without a sufficient volume of good-quality bone, implant placement is difficult or impossible. That’s because the screw-like implant must be firmly joined with the jawbone, so it can support the replacement tooth.

Fortunately, dentists have a way to help your body build new bone: A relatively small amount of bone material can be placed in the missing tooth’s socket in a procedure called bone grafting. This may come from your own body or, more likely, it may be processed bone material from a laboratory. The donor material can be from a human, animal or synthetic source, but because of stringent processing techniques, the material is safe for human use. Once it is put in place your body takes over, using the grafted material as a scaffold on which to build new bone cells. If jawbone volume is insufficient for implants, it can often be restored to a viable point in a few months.

Better yet, when grafting material is placed in the tooth socket immediately after extraction, it can keep most of the bone loss from occurring in the first place, enabling an implant to be placed as soon as possible — even before the end of a movie’s shooting schedule.

Will Atomic Blonde prove to be an action-movie classic? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: When Charlize Theron walks down the red carpet, she won’t have to worry about a gap in her smile.

If you have questions about bone grafting or dental implants, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Immediate Dental Implant.”

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
March 23, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

Root canal therapy is a powerful tool in the fight against teeth decay. However, this procedure is often misunderstood. Luckily, your dentist root canalcan help you understand when you may need a root canal, what to expect during the procedure, and how it can benefit your smile. Find out more about root canals with Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness at Anchorage Dental Arts in Anchorage, AK.

Why is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is similar to a dental filling, a procedure which most people have undergone at least once in their lives. However, a filling repairs decay which has not yet reached the inside of the tooth to infect its inner tissues and nerves. For decay this severe, a root canal becomes necessary. The root canal removes the decayed inner tissues completely while a filling just removes the decayed portion of a tooth’s enamel.

Signs You May Need A Root Canal
It is common knowledge that a toothache is a sign that you have a decayed tooth which needs repairs. However, there are other, more subtle symptoms which could point to you needing a root canal. These include unexplained bad breath, a dark spot or hole in the tooth, sensitivity, especially to hot and cold, and pain while eating or drinking.

Root Canals in Anchorage, AK 
A root canal begins with a local anesthetic to numb the area of the tooth. This means that, though you may feel some pressure, there should be no pain or discomfort during your procedure.

For more information on root canals, please contact Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness at Anchorage Dental Arts in Anchorage, AK. Call (907) 276-1712 to schedule your appointment for an examination with your dentist today!