My Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
August 30, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Has your once sparkling smile become dull? Teeth whitening treatments erase stains that cause yellowing and discoloration on tooth dental stainsenamel. Anchorage, AK, dentists Dr. Max Swenson, Dr. Frank Cavaness and Dr. Robert Morehead of Anchorage Dental Arts discuss the benefits of professional teeth whitening.

Professional products make a difference

Over-the-counter kits contain weaker forms of hydrogen peroxide, the whitening agent that removes stains. When you visit our Anchorage office, we'll use professional strength hydrogen peroxide to quickly and effectively remove stains that have built up over the years.

There's no waiting involved with professional whitening

Many over-the-counter whitening products take weeks to work. Professional whitening eliminates the waiting. In fact, your smile will be visibly brighter after your hour-long whitening session. Although results will depend on the severity of your stains, it's not uncommon to see a difference of three- to eight-shades.

Your oral health is our priority

Foods and tobacco stains aren't the only reasons your teeth become discolored. Some dental problems can also cause discolorations in teeth. If your dull smile is caused by a dental issue, or you have a cavity, it's important to treat these issues before proceeding with whitening.

When you whiten your teeth at home, you may increase the risk of gum and root irritation if you don't apply the product perfectly. Unfortunately, that can be more difficult than it sounds. Before whitening your teeth, our staff will apply a layer of gel to your gums and roots to protect them and pull back your lips and cheeks with retractors. Once your gums and roots are protected, we'll carefully brush on the hydrogen peroxide gel.

In-home whitening kits make touch ups easy

We also provide in-home whitening kits that are perfect if you prefer to whiten at home or want to occasionally touch up your smile. We'll make an impression of your mouth that will be used to create trays for your upper and lower teeth. You'll also be given a supply of whitening gel, which you'll add to the trays before you put them in your mouth. If you choose in-home whitening, you'll need to use the trays for a few weeks to achieve your desired results.

Professional teeth whitening can revamp your smile. Call Anchorage, AK, dentists Dr. Max Swenson, Dr. Frank Cavaness and Dr. Robert Morehead of Anchorage Dental Arts at (907) 276-1712 to schedule your appointment.

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
August 23, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
DontBreakItLikeBeckham

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
July 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
JohnnysTeethArentRottenAnyMore

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
July 16, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: loose teeth  
LooseAdultTeethRequireImmediateAttentionandTreatment

During your lifetime you’ll eat thousands of meals — and generate a lot of force from chewing over the years. But thanks to a support system of gum tissues and bone, your teeth can normally handle it.

What your teeth can’t handle, though, are higher than normal chewing forces on a continual basis. This can happen if you grind your teeth, which can produce 20-30 times the normal force. The habit often arises in adults because of high stress and often occurs during sleep.

These abnormal forces can stretch the periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in place, cause the teeth to become loose and at increased risk for loss. The best treatment strategy is to reduce clenching with, for example, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs or lower the effects with a mouth guard that won’t allow the teeth to make solid contact during clenching.

Your teeth can also become loose even with normal chewing forces if you have advanced periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease arises from dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles left on teeth due to poor oral hygiene. As it builds up, it causes inflammation of the gum tissues resulting in bone loss and causing the gums to detach from the teeth, increasing pocket depth.

Our first step in this case is to treat the gum disease by removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from all tooth and gum surfaces. This includes infected areas below the gum line and around the roots, a circumstance that could require surgical access.

As treatment progresses in either of these scenarios the gum tissues heal and often regain their attachment to the teeth. But that can take time, so we may need to stabilize any loose teeth in the short term. The most common way is to splint them to other secure teeth. This is done by using a clear acrylic bonding material to join the loose teeth together with a strip of metal or other rigid material (like joining pickets in a fence).

When symptoms arise, quick action is the key to preventing lost teeth. If you notice swollen, painful or bleeding gums or especially loose teeth, don’t delay — contact us so we can begin treatment as soon as possible.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for loose teeth, 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 “Loose Teeth.”

By Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC
May 23, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

A dental crown is a cap or covering that is designed in order to fit over a damaged, broken or decayed tooth. It can even be used to dental crownsreplace a tooth in certain instances, especially when bridges are used. A crown’s job is to cover a tooth above the gum line unlike that of dental veneers that just cover the front of the tooth’s surface. For missing teeth, crowns are also a great treatment option. A dentist in Midtown and South Anchorage, AK such as Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness from Alaska's Trusted Dental will be able to evaluate each patient and determine whether or not they are a viable candidate for crowns or bridges.

More about Crowns and Bridges

Crowns are generally used to strengthen damaged teeth so they can function like they once did before. They are custom made to improve the appearance of the tooth whether color, contour or shape. They can even be used with bridges to shorten the space of a missing tooth or teeth. Generally, two crowns are used on either side of the missing tooth, known as abutment teeth. These are the supports for the crown placed in between them. This is known as a dental bridge. A dentist in Midtown and South Anchorage, AK such as Dr. Morehead, Dr. Swenson and Dr. Cavaness from Alaska's Trusted Dental will be able to determine whether or not a crown or bridge would benefit your oral health situation.

When you’re interested in hearing more about crowns and bridges, a dentist in Midtown and South Anchorage, AK such as Dr. Morehead, Dr. Swenson and Dr. Cavaness from Alaska's Trusted Dental is your greatest resource. In order to schedule an appointment at their dental office, call 907-276-1712 today.