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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Health & Wellness MEDICAL INSIGHT

Eric Engman/News-Miner

Willy Cork competes in the long jump during the track and field events at the Alaska International Senior Games at the West Valley High School track in 2004. Competitive runner Jim Madonna started the games in 2003 as a way to help seniors stay mentally and physically fit.

Submitted by Contributing Community Author

John P. Bast, DDS General Dentistry 570 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 (907) 479-2206

What are Sealants, Implants and Veneers?

GAMES Continued from Page 6

Board Certified General Surgeon

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General Surgery

457-5050 1867 Airport Way Suite 120B, Fairbanks

Is good oral hygiene, brushing and flossing regularly, enough to protect teeth? Thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the teeth’s depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. For protection, sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. Dental sealants act as a barrier, protecting the teeth against decay-causing bacteria. The sealant, a plastic resin, bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food. As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. Sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. During your regular dental visits, your dentist will check the condition of the sealants and reapply them when necessary. A common issue for patients is replacing teeth. Crowns and conventional bridges or dentures may not be the only options when replacing missing teeth. For some people, dental implants offer a smile that looks and feels very natural. Surgically placed below the gums over a series of appointments, implants fuse to the jawbone and serve as a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture. Implants are extremely stable because of the process in which they are fused. Integration of the implants into your jaw also helps your replacement teeth feel more natural and some people also find the secure fit more comfortable than conventional substitutes. Candidates for dental implants need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant. A thorough evaluation by your dentist will help determine whether you are a good candidate for dental implants. Other issues patients want to correct are large spaces between teeth or teeth that are stained, badly shaped or crooked. Today a veneer placed on top of your teeth can correct nature’s mistake or the results of an injury. Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted of toothcolored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth. They’re made by a dental technician, usually in a dental lab, working from a model provided by your dentist. Veneers can greatly improve a smile, and boost the confidence of a person accustomed to hiding easily corrected teeth. Our thanks to Dr. John P. Bast for contributing this column. The article is intended to be strictly informational.

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Contact staff writer Tim Mowry at 459-7587.

John Mayer, M.D.

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recently returned from a trip “down in America,” where he competed in Senior Games in Yuma, Ariz., and Palm Desert, Calif. He also ran half-marathons in California, Nevada and Utah. Competing in events like the Senior Games and running races helps Madonna keep fit, both mentally and physically, he said. “Certainly it’s good for me,” said Madonna, who runs 30 to 40 miles a week year-round. “My weight is down and I can eat just about anything I want as long as I maintain a rhythmic exercise routine.”

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Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  
Health and Wellness - Spring 2012  

A guide to staying healthy in Interior Alaska, geared toward Alaska's growing elderly population.