What your dentists in Anchorage, Alaska want you to know about maintaining your smile
You’re proud of your smile, and you want to keep it looking great. A great looking smile isn’t the only reason to practice good oral hygiene habits. You also want to protect the health of your smile and prevent decay and other dental problems. Your dentists at Alaska’s Trusted Dental want to share their knowledge of how to keep good oral hygiene habits. They have two convenient office locations in Midtown, and South Anchorage, Alaska to serve you.
Your oral hygiene routine doesn’t have to take up much of your time or be tedious. In fact taking care of your smile requires only a few minutes, but the benefits are worth it. You can start by:
Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush after you eat and before you go to bed; use a toothpaste containing fluoride to help strengthen tooth enamel. Make gentle circular motions along the gumline and every surface of every tooth. You can also gently brush your tongue where bacteria often hide.
You should also add flossing once each day to clean in between your teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach.
You can finish your routine with a fluoride mouth rinse. Just remember not to eat, drink or rinse immediately afterward. The longer the fluoride stays on your teeth, the better.
You should also visit your dentists in Anchorage regularly for a dental examination and x-rays. Your dentists use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools to detect dental problems while they are small and easily fixed.
As part of your good oral hygiene routine, schedule an appointment with your dentist at least once each year. You should also plan on visiting your dental hygienist for a professional cleaning once every six months to keep your teeth sparkling and your gums healthy.
Start keeping good oral hygiene habits today! You will notice the benefits immediately; a more beautiful smile, fresher breath, and healthier teeth and gums. For more information about keeping good oral hygiene habits and other dental concerns, call your dentists at Alaska’s Trusted Dental with offices in Midtown, and South Anchorage, Alaska. Call today and take care of your smile!
There are plenty of options today for replacing missing teeth, including dental implants. But if the teeth have been missing for some time, complications can arise that limit your restorative options.
The most consequential possibility is bone loss. Bone has a life cycle: old cells dissolve (resorb), and are then replaced by new cells, stimulated to grow by the forces applied to the teeth during chewing. But the bone won't receive this stimulation if a tooth is missing — so growth slows down, which causes the bone volume to diminish with time.
Another complication can occur involving other teeth around the open space. These teeth will naturally move or “drift” out of their normal position into the missing tooth space. As a result we may not have enough room to place a prosthetic (false) tooth.
If either or both of these complications occur, we'll need to address them before attempting a restoration. Bone loss itself could eliminate dental implants as an option because they require a certain amount of supporting bone for correct placement. Bone loss could also make correcting misaligned teeth difficult if not impossible.
It might be possible, though, to regenerate lost bone with a bone graft. The graft is placed, sometimes along with growth stimulating substances, within the diminished bone area. It then serves as a scaffold upon which new bone can form.
If the bone becomes healthy again, we can then attempt to move any drifted teeth back to where they belong. Besides braces, there's another treatment option especially popular with adults: clear aligners. These are a series of removable, clear plastic trays that, like braces, exert gradual pressure on the teeth to move them. Patients wear each individual tray for about two weeks, and then switch to the next tray in the series to continue the process.
Unlike their traditional counterparts, clear aligners can be removed for cleaning or for special occasions. More importantly, they're much less noticeable than traditional braces.
Once any problems with bone health or bite have been addressed and corrected, you'll have a fuller range of options for replacing your missing teeth. With a little extra time and effort, you'll soon be able to regain a smile you'll be proud to display.
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
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 replace 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.
Over the last century dentistry has acquired the knowledge, techniques and treatments to prevent or minimize tooth decay. With this enhanced knowledge we’ve amassed a wealth of data about what increases dental disease development and what prevents it.
This has produced a balanced approach to identifying and treating disease-causing factors and incorporating factors that inhibit tooth decay. Known as Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA), this approach first identifies each patient’s individual set of risk factors for dental disease and then develops a customized prevention and treatment plan to minimize their risk.
Rather than simply reacting to occurrences of tooth decay — “drill and fill” — CAMBRA anticipates and targets your susceptibility to decay. The primary factors can be represented by the acronym BAD: Bad bacteria, particular strains that produce acid, which at high levels erode enamel and expose the teeth to infection; Absence of saliva, or “dry mouth,” an insufficient flow of saliva that can’t effectively neutralize acid and restore mineral content to enamel; and Dietary habits too heavy in sugar or acid, which can result in bacterial growth and enamel erosion.
With an accurate picture of your particular risk level we can then apply countering factors from the other side of the balance — those that protect teeth from decay. In this case, we use the acronym SAFE: stimulating Saliva flow when needed or applying Sealants on chewing surfaces most susceptible to decay; Antimicrobials that reduce unhealthy bacteria levels and give healthy bacteria an opportunity to thrive; incorporating Fluoride, a chemical known to strengthen enamel, through hygiene products or direct application to the teeth; and an Effective diet, low in sugar and acid and high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
There are a number of preventive and treatment measures that fall into each of the four preventive factors. Using the CAMBRA approach we can develop a treatment and prevention plan that incorporates measures that uniquely fit your dental health situation. With such a plan we can greatly reduce your risk of disease development and impact and better ensure a long and healthy life for your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on managing dental disease prevention, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
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