Posts for category: Dental Procedures
An incomplete smile can take a toll on your appearance and self-esteem. Luckily, you can fill in your gaps and renew your teeth with dental implants. But how do dental implants work and what can these unique and modern dental restorations do for you? Learn how dental implants can restore your smile with Alaska’s Trusted Dental in Anchorage, AK.
What can dental implants do for me?
Depending on your situation, dental implants can help you replace only one, a few, or all of your teeth. Implants have three major methods, including single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, or implant-supported dentures. Single tooth replacement uses one implant to fill in one gap. If you are missing multiple teeth in a row, multiple tooth replacement uses a dental bridge-like restoration with an implant on either side to replace your teeth. Implant-supported dentures replace all of your teeth using four or more implants throughout your upper or lower arch.
Caring For Your Dental Implants
Dental implants are permanent and will last a lifetime with the proper care. However, failing to maintain your teeth and mouth properly can result in implant failure or rejection. Care for your implants as you would your natural teeth. Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once is only one part of the recommended oral care routine. See your dentist at least twice a year to keep up with your smile, repair problems as they appear and maintain your dental implants.
Dental Implants in Anchorage, AK
Dental implants have three main parts: the fixture, the abutment, and the prosthetic. The prosthetic, made from porcelain, replaces your missing tooth above the gum line. Your dentist implants the fixture directly into your jawbone to replace your tooth’s root below the gum line. Finally, the abutment connects the fixture to the prosthetic to hold your implant together.
For more information on dental implants, please contact Dr. Max Swenson, Dr. Robert Morehead or Dr. G. Frank Cavaness at Alaska’s Trusted Dental at either location in Anchorage, AK. Call our Midtown Anchorage office at (907) 341-3740 and our South Anchorage office at (907) 349-3569 to schedule your appointment today!
Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.
“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”
That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.
Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!
The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.
If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
Pain has a purpose: it tells us when something's wrong with our bodies. Sometimes it's obvious, like a cut or bruise. Sometimes, though, it takes a bit of sleuthing to find out what's wrong.
That can be the case with a toothache. One possible cause is perhaps the most obvious: something's wrong with the tooth. More specifically, decay has invaded the tooth's inner pulp, which is filled with an intricate network of nerves that react to infection by emitting pain. The pain can feel dull or sharp, constant or intermittent.
But decay isn't the only cause for tooth pain: periodontal (gum) disease can trigger similar reactions. Bacteria living in dental plaque, a thin film of food particles on tooth surfaces, infect the gums. This weakens the tissues and can cause them to shrink back (recede) from the teeth and expose the roots. As a result, the teeth can become painfully sensitive to hot or cold foods or when biting down.
Finding the true pain source determines how we treat it. If decay has invaded the pulp you'll need a root canal treatment to clean out the infection and fill the resulting void with a special filling; this not only saves the tooth, it ends the pain. If the gums are infected, we'll need to aggressively remove all plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) to restore the gums to health.
To further complicate matters, an infection from tooth decay could eventually affect the gums and supporting bone, just as a gum infection could enter the tooth by way of the roots. Once the infection crosses from tooth to gums (or gums to tooth), the tooth's long-term outlook grows dim.
So, if you're noticing any kind of tooth pain, or you have swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, you should call us for an appointment as soon as possible. The sooner we can diagnose the problem and begin appropriate treatment the better your chances of a good outcome — and an end to the pain.
If you would like more information on diagnosing and treating tooth pain, 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 “Confusing Tooth Pain: Combined Root Canal and Gum Problems.”
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Find out more about how you can treat gum disease without needing surgery.
When you hear the diagnosis “gum disease” you may feel rather concerned or even baffled. How did you get gum disease? Will it ever go away? What are my treatment options? Before you drive yourself mad with questions turn to our Anchorage, AK dentists Dr. Robert Morehead, Dr. Max Swenson and Dr. Frank Cavaness to find out more about nonsurgical ways to treat your condition.
Scaling and Root Planing
This deep cleaning procedure is usually the preferred way to treat gum disease without surgery. Scaling and root planing is great for patients with mild to moderate forms of periodontal disease. While a deep cleaning might make you think about the routine cleanings you get from our Anchorage general dentist, these cleanings are a bit more detailed.
Diseased gums contain infected pockets that will continue to grow if left untreated. As the infected pockets get larger it pulls the gums away from the teeth (this is what causes permanent teeth to become loose). When we perform scaling and root planing, we not only clean away plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth but also the tooth roots. We will also smooth the roots to make it a less hospitable environment for bacteria to form.
For many patients battling gum disease, scaling and root planing is the best course of action. While some patients won’t need further treatment, many people will still require maintenance care to maintain good gum health. If scaling and root planing isn’t enough to tackle your gum disease, only then will we recommend getting surgery.
Don’t let gum disease have the final say when it comes to your oral health. Call Anchorage Dental Arts LLC in Anchorage, AK today to schedule your consultation. Nothing feels or looks better than healthy gums!