Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Discover how your Anchorage dentist can easily replace a missing tooth.
About Dental Crowns
A dental crown looks just like a tooth-shaped cap that covers over the entire tooth to protect it from damage. Dental crowns are often recommended when a tooth is damaged or weakened by decay, infection or trauma. The purpose of a dental crown is to restore function back into the tooth and to prevent further damage.
About Dental Bridges
Your Anchorage, AK dentist will often recommend getting a dental bridge to replace a missing tooth. The main purpose of a dental bridge is to also “bridge” the gap left by your missing tooth and to help you achieve that complete smile. A dental bridge consists of two dental crowns and a pontic, or artificial tooth, which is cemented to the dental crowns to restore your smile.
Getting Crowns and Bridges
The first step your Anchorage dentist will take is to shave down the two natural teeth on either side of the missing tooth. These teeth will serve to anchor the dental bridge in place. Then impressions will be taken of your teeth and sent to a lab, where they will custom-make your dental crowns and bridge.
Once your bridge is complete, we will secure the crowns to the nearby teeth and then cement the bridge to the crowns to give you a new tooth that looks just like a real tooth.
Caring for Your Crowns and Bridges
What makes crowns and bridges ideal is that you don’t have to change your oral care regime to properly care for your new dental work. Just treat them just like natural teeth and be sure to brush them at least twice a day and floss one a day. Furthermore, you need to keep up with your dental visits and see your Anchorage dentist every six months for maintenance and routine care to make sure everything is working as it should. With the proper care, bridges can last up to 10 years or more.
If you want to say goodbye to tooth loss then it’s time to see your Anchorage, AK dentist for help. Schedule an appointment today with Anchorage Dental Arts and get closer to attaining that full smile again.
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
Now in your adult years, you feel you’ve functioned pretty well even with a few misaligned teeth. You may also think having them straightened at this point may not be worth the effort and expense.
But there are solid reasons — beyond, of course, the psychological and social benefits gained from a new smile — why straightening teeth even as an adult can be a wise investment. Orthodontics not only enhances your appearance but may also improve your long-term oral health.
Restores proper oral function. Teeth that are aligned properly will tend to function properly. Although you can still chew, speak and smile with teeth that aren’t quite aligned properly, over time you’ll put more stress on both the teeth and the jaws, which could lead to more wear than what normally occurs with aging. By re-aligning teeth to a more normal position you could be extending the life of your teeth and reducing your risk of other functional problems.
Reduces the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Some people with misaligned teeth are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Besides difficulties with bacterial plaque removal (a must to avoid gum disease), a person with misaligned teeth can also encounter more defects involving bone and gum tissues like gum recession that can contribute to the progression of gum disease. By straightening teeth (and performing plastic periodontal surgery if needed), we can reduce this risk dramatically — as long as we’re performing periodontal treatment for existing gum disease before and during orthodontics.
Facilitates tooth replacement. When we lose a tooth, the mouth’s natural mechanism is to move remaining teeth to fill the void left by the lost tooth. This can make it difficult to position a dental implant or similar tooth replacement in a functional and aesthetically appealing way. By applying orthodontics to move drifting teeth back into their proper place, we restore the best condition for achieving success with a tooth replacement.
The best way to know how much you could benefit from orthodontic treatment is to visit us for a full dental evaluation. From there, we can help you decide if treatment for straightening misaligned teeth is right for you.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, 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 “Why Straighten Teeth.”
As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.
What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.
For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.
Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.
Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.
So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
Find out when it may be a good time to consider getting a tooth extraction.
No one likes to think about losing a natural tooth; however, there are certain situations in which the tooth just cannot be saved and the best course of action is to have it extracted. However, when should you consider a tooth extraction and when does it become the best treatment option? It’s important to know when getting a tooth extraction from your Anchorage, AK dentist is ideal so you don’t pull a tooth unless you truly need to.
Decay and Trauma: Sure, the main goal of permanent tooth is to last your entire life; however, situations often occur in which this just isn’t the case. The most common reason for an extraction is if a tooth is so severely damaged that it is beyond repair. Both direct trauma to the tooth and serious decay can be to blame for this.
Infections: An infection is another reason for a tooth extraction. When an infection reaches the inner parts of the tooth (e.g. the pulp), it can cause irreparable damage. While this can often be corrected with root canal treatment, if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or a root canal isn’t enough, then your Anchorage, AK dentist will recommend an extraction.
Overcrowded Smile: If you are dealing with a crowded smile then your Anchorage dentist may need to remove a tooth to make room. This sometimes happens before orthodontic treatment so that teeth actually have the ability to move and shift properly. Also, when wisdom teeth come in they can cause teeth to crowd together. When this happens the wisdom teeth need to be extracted. Impacted wisdom teeth (those that don’t fully erupt from the gums) can also cause infection and decay and need to be removed.
Gum Disease: Severe and untreated gum disease affects not only the soft tissue of the mouth but also the bones. This causes teeth to become loose. When this happens the one course of action is to extract the loose tooth and replace it.
If any of these situations sound familiar then you may benefit greatly from a tooth extraction. However, contact your Anchorage, AK dentist to schedule a consultation. Only with a thorough exam can we accurately determine the best treatment option for your smile.