FAQ

Sedation Dentistry

How does sedation dentistry work?
Our Doctors will prescribe you your sedation medication prior to your dental appointment. You will take the prescribed amount an hour prior to your dental appointment. Your companion will accompany you to our office, and by the time you arrive, you will be drowsy.

When you arrive at our office you will be escorted into a comfortable room, covered with a thick warm blanket, and connected to a monitor to watch your vital signs. After you are well sedated and comfortable, the Doctors and the experienced clinical team at Alaska Advanced Dentistry will take care of your dental needs.

How long will I be sedated for?
You can be sedated for up to five or six hours after taking the pill. The time you are sedated will vary depending on your needed treatment.

How complex are the dental treatments?
Complex dental treatments that often require six to eight appointments can be done in as little as one at Alaska Advanced Dentistry all while you snooze!

What type of person is a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
People who have difficulty getting numb will find that sedation dentistry eliminates this problem. Sedation dentistry is a safe way to reduce the fatigue of extended dental treatment requiring long visits. However, the Doctors will be able to decide if sedation dentistry is best for you after your first visit.

Will I be unconscious?
No, you will be in a deeply relaxed state, and you will be responsive.

How long will I be sedated?
Depending on your needs, from two to six hours.

Will someone need to accompany me?
Yes, due to the sedative effects of the medication you will need someone to drive you to our office and home again accompanying you for at least 24 hours after your dental appointment.

Dental Implants

What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is a titanium metal replacement for a root of a tooth that is surgically implanted in the jawbone.

As the body heals for approximately two to six months after the surgery the bone around the implant fuses to the implant through a process called osseointegration.

After the healing phase is complete the implants are used to anchor crowns, bridges, or dentures.

What is the dental implant process?
At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we begin with a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical and dental history, and a full clinical examination of the entire mouth and missing tooth area. The clinical exam should also include specific X-rays.

After assessing the patient a comprehensive treatment plan can be devised. From that point, implants are surgically placed in the jawbone under local anesthesia.

The length of the healing time is based on the quality and quantity of bone as well as the type of implant placed. After adequate healing is allowed to occur the implant can be used to support a crown, bridge, or denture

How many dental implants should be placed?
This is a question that should be determined during the treatment plan. A good rule-of-thumb is to place one implant for each tooth replaced.

Other decisive factors for the number of implants needed for success are the quality and quantity of the patient’s bone. Equally as important are the existing anatomy of the bone and the financial resources of the patient. (At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we try not to let financial problems get in the way of good dentistry.)

Are there different types of dental implants?
Yes, several types are available. The American Dental Association considers both the endosteal and the subperiosteal implants to be acceptable.

An important factor for selection is to determine whether your jawbone can adequately support the implant. Most dental implants placed today are endosteal root form fixtures (similar to a man-made tooth root).

What can be done for a single missing tooth? 
In the case of a single missing tooth, a dental implant can be placed in the jawbone area of the missing tooth. The implant will serve as a replacement for a tooth root and an individual crown. The total apparatus is referred to as a single-tooth implant crown.

Once in place, the implant crown will look, feel, and function like a natural tooth. They are cleaned and flossed just like natural teeth, and best of all they do not require any special tools to clean around them like bridges. Although dental implants will not decay, they require impeccable oral hygiene.

Cosmetic Dentistry

REPLACE SILVER FILLINGS WITH TOOTH COLORED FILLINGS:

What is tooth whitening?
Tooth bleaching involves the placement of a bleaching solution on the teeth to eliminate stains and discoloration. The solution is held in place by a custom-made see-through tray that fits over the teeth, much like a mouthpiece worn by a professional boxer.

What are the different methods of tooth whitening?
Two bleaching methods are available at Alaska Advanced Dentistry: Custom made trays or Opalescence treswhite (much like the ones you see at your local grocery store, but with higher bacteria fighting bleaching power). The difference between the two is the strength of the whitening agent and the time it takes to get effective results.

How can broken teeth be repaired?
Bonding by the doctors is typically painless and can yield dramatic results in a single office visit. Essentially, bonding hides any natural flaws through the placement of a thin plastic coating on the front surface of the teeth. After treating the tooth surface, the doctor will apply a puttylike bonding material that is then sculpted, shaped and colored to suit your needs. A high-intensity light causes the plastic to harden after which the new surface is smoothed and polished. Bonding can lighten stains, close gaps and even alter crooked or malformed teeth. At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we can even utilize it to change the shape or color of a single tooth or if necessary to remake your entire smile.

What are porcelain veneers?
The veneer is actually a thin piece of porcelain similar in size to a fingernail. Once it is “bonded” onto the tooth it becomes extremely strong. The Doctors also blend the veneer in with the remaining tooth structure so that it is unnoticeable to the naked eye. Once in place it looks, feels, and functions just like a regular tooth.

At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we can use porcelain veneers to change the shape and color of a single tooth or if necessary, revamp an entire smile. Porcelain veneers can also be used to correct teeth that have been worn from clenching and grinding.

Family Dentistry

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
This is a good habit to start early! The teeth must be cleaned as they erupt. Use a damp wash cloth or a toothbrush. If your health care provider agrees, use a tiny dab of fluoride toothpaste. Tooth brushing is definitely a parent’s job in the preschool years. Children are usually able to brush their teeth well when they are 8 years old. Be sure to check your child’s teeth regularly for any chalky white or brown spots which could be the beginning of tooth decay.

What dental problems can my child have?
Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD), which is preventable. BBTD can result from long periods of exposing baby teeth to liquids that contain sugar including formula, milk, breast milk, and juice. A baby who has a habit of sleeping with a baby bottle filled with any sugary liquid or a breast in their mouth is at risk of getting BBTD. Frequent snacking on sweet or sticky foods can also cause decay. The earlier your first dental visit is the better chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth can chew food well, speak clearly and share precious smiles. Start your child on a lifetime of good dental habits now!

How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or a bottle?
Taking your baby off of the breast when he/she falls asleep can prevent baby tooth decay. Hold your baby while bottle feeding. Always take a bottle filled with milk or juice away from the sleeping child. If your child requires a bottle at bedtime, provide a bottle filled with water. Instead of a bottle try comforting your child with a pacifier or a favorite toy or blanket. Check with your health care provider to make sure your child is getting the right amount of fluoride. Brush your baby’s teeth with a soft toothbrush daily.

Should I worry about thumb sucking?
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; most stop by the age of two. Prolonged (beyond age 5 or 6 years) thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems.

When should my child see a dentist?
“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age.

Caps & Crowns

Why have dental crowns?
The crown serves two important functions. First, it restores the appearance of your teeth and your face. If your tooth is severely decayed or cracked the dentist will need to restore it prior to preparing a cap. Teeth also support the muscles in our faces, so anything less than a full tooth may affect the way you look.

Second, a crown will be the same size and shape as the natural tooth. As a result, it will keep your jaw and bite aligned; it will also make sure that other teeth do not shift locations or take on a greater share of the work of biting and chewing.

What are dental crowns made of?
At Alaska Advanced Dentistry our dental crowns are most often made of gold or porcelain. Crowns also can be made of stainless steel, but those crowns are often temporary and not designed for long-term wear. Porcelain crowns usually are built on a metal base, which fits snugly over the natural tooth. We will choose a porcelain that matches the color of your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns usually are so carefully matched in color they cannot be distinguished from your natural teeth. Many people choose porcelain crowns for their cosmetic appearance and the confidence it gives them.

How do I care for dental crowns?
Once your crown is in place make sure the area is brushed well and that you floss below the gum line. While the crown protects your remaining tooth from further decay you must protect the base of the crown from bacterial growth and gum disease.

Regular brushing and flossing as you would your natural teeth will ensure that your crown will be in place for years to come!

Root Canals

What are treatments of root canal disease?
A root canal procedure limits the infection and keeps it from destroying the tooth. During the root canal treatment procedure, the dentist removes the inflamed or infected tissue, carefully cleans, disinfects, and shapes the root canal space inside the tooth and then fills and seals this space.

It may take one or more appointments to complete the procedure. A protective restoration should be placed after root canal treatment has been completed in order to restore the tooth to function and help prevent tooth fracture.

At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we think of a root canal as washing the invasive bacteria out of the root, filling it with a biocompatible material that soothes the area, and then sealing it back up again. Top it off with a solid filling or a crown, and you’re as good as new.

What is the purpose of root canal therapy?

• Stop the toothache
• Prevent bacteria and pain from spreading into the jaw
• Maintain the original tooth instead of replacing it with a denture or bridge

Dentures

What do dentures feel like?
For a few weeks, new dentures will feel awkward until you become accustomed to them. They might feel loose until the cheek and tongue muscles learn to hold them in position. It is not unusual to feel minor irritation or soreness. The patient needs to see his or her dentist for regular fit adjustments to relieve any sore areas.

Do dentures need to be replaced?
At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we find that dentures will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear over a period of time and normal shrinkage of your gums and bones.

Are you able to eat with dentures?
Eating with dentures will take a little practice. You should start with soft foods that are cut into small pieces. As you become used to chewing, you can return to your normal diet.

Are there foods you should avoid while using dentures?
There are only a few eating restrictions for denture wearers. Avoid biting down directly on crunchy or hard foods like whole apples, hard pretzels, crusty bread, or large sandwiches. They can break because of the angle where the denture comes into contact with the hard surface.

Biting is limited only by the stability of the dentures themselves. Insufficient bone structure (shrunken bone ridges covered by gum tissue), old or worn dentures, and a dry mouth decrease stability.

Are there foods you should avoid while using dentures?
There are only a few eating restrictions for denture wearers. Avoid biting down directly on crunchy or hard foods like whole apples, hard pretzels, crusty bread, or large sandwiches. They can break because of the angle where the denture comes into contact with the hard surface.

Biting is limited only by the stability of the dentures themselves. Insufficient bone structure (shrunken bone ridges covered by gum tissue), old or worn dentures, and a dry mouth decrease stability.

If I wear dentures, is adhesive necessary?
Today’s dentures have been significantly improved through advances in both dental and materials technologies. As a result, dentures that fit properly usually do not require adhesives to secure the dentures. When you are just getting used to dentures adhesives may be advised, but otherwise should not be necessary.

At Alaska Advanced Dentistry we feel a loose denture is a sign that it doesn’t fit your mouth correctly. When first getting used to dentures you may notice them slipping when you laugh, smile, or cough, which is caused by air getting under the base and moving it. The more you wear dentures the better you will be able to control their movements in these situations.

If your mouth has insufficient bone structure dentures will be more difficult to retain. Dental implants may be advisable. These are placed in the bone and retain the denture with small, precision attachments.

What Dentures Are Right For You?

What are partial dentures?
Partial dentures are dentures that replace only a few missing teeth.

What are complete dentures?
Complete dentures are dentures that replace a complete set of missing teeth.

What is the difference between conventional and immediate dentures?
Conventional dentures are dentures that are made and placed after the remaining teeth are removed and the tissues have healed. Immediate dentures are dentures that are placed immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth.

What is an over-denture?
An over-denture is a denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants.

How do you wear a removable denture?

Removable partial dentures are attached to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments.

Will the partial denture change the way I speak?
Your partial denture may help your speech. It can be difficult to speak clearly when you are missing teeth. However, it also will take time to get used to it.

Good Oral Hygiene With Dentures

How do you clean your dentures?
When cleaning your dentures you should first rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Then moisten your toothbrush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface scrubbing gently to avoid damage.

How many times a day does my denture need to be cleaned?
The denture needs to be cleaned two to three times daily.

What should I do if my dentures crack or break?
Call your dentist immediately. Normally, dentures can be repaired quickly often on the same day at Alaska Advanced Dentistry. Damaged dentures can cause additional oral health problems, so see your dentist right away. Never attempt to repair dentures yourself. They require professional repair and adjustment.

Why can you not fix broken dentures with glue?
Glues often contain harmful chemicals and are not effective in the proper repair of dentures.