Family Dentistry

Family Dentist Fairbanks AK

Your Family Dentist in Fairbanks, AK

Are you looking for a family dentist in the Fairbanks, Alaska, area? If so, you have found the right place! Our friendly staff is here to meet the needs of every patient with a welcoming smile. We pride ourselves on providing the very best customer service to the residents of Fairbanks, AK.

Dental Care with a Difference

The popular thing these days is to follow the newest trends. There are trends in healthcare, politics, and just about every other thing in our daily lives. Everyone is in a hurry due to tight schedules and family obligations. Some people even feel rushed when they go to the dentist. There's no time to sit down, chat with the dentist, ask questions about their teeth, and discuss whether they should get dentures.

In our office, we offer our patients a one-on-one approach to solving their dentistry issues. We don’t want our patients feeling as if their concerns aren’t important or that they are just another number. We always put the needs of our patients first, and that is why people in Fairbanks love us.

You’ll notice the difference from the minute you walk through our door. Our office is comfortable and inviting. When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by a friendly face. We value your time as much as our own so we won’t keep you waiting too long. We will select a date for you to return for your next appointment and quickly process any necessary paperwork. Once your appointment is finished, we will have everything ready so you can continue with the rest of your day.

Dr. Brian Yamamoto is a caring and compassionate dentist who listens to his patients and has a desire to help the people of Fairbanks get the dental care they need to stay healthy. Our patients are like our family; some have been coming to see Dr. Yamamoto for many years.

Comprehensive Dental Care

We appreciate that your time is valuable and you have many obligations. We like to make things as easy as possible and provide all of our services in one location so you aren’t forced to drive all over town to get your dental needs taken care of. We offer a full range of services to meet the needs of your entire family. Specialty care for surgical procedures, implant placement, and root canals are best performed by specialists who have additional training in those areas. We will refer these services when we feel that you will benefit from an excellent prognosis in the treatment.

Excellence in Service

We have an amazing team of professionals that help us provide excellent service to our patients in Fairbanks. Our office has state of the art equipment and we only use top of the line dental products to ensure the quality of service we provide. We offer the best because we love making you smile.

Who is Dr. Brian Yamamoto?

Dr. Brian Yamamoto graduated from the University of California San Francisco Dental School. He practiced dentistry while serving in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Wainwright. He started his own practice in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1985 in the office he is currently in today. Dr. Yamamoto’s mission is to “provide quality care at the highest standard to patients of all ages, as well as educate patients in maintaining their oral health.''  

Family Dentistry Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You have questions - we have answers!

We always welcome questions from our patients. You should know and understand everything about oral health and be able to express your concerns regarding procedures. We want to be sure you get answers when you need them. We try to provide answers to the questions patients ask most often, but if you still need more information, don't hesitate to ask.

We are here for you and want to help you make important decisions about your oral health. We want every patient to smile with confidence. We can help you set goals and devise a timeframe for achieving those goals for a healthy, beautiful smile whether it is with crowns, braces, or dentures. There is a service that is right for everyone and we can help you choose one that fits your needs.

What is the best way to replace a missing tooth?

There are many choices when it comes to replacing a missing tooth. The most permanent solution would be with a dental implant. They are very sturdy and will look and function like your own teeth. They won’t fall out and you can still eat the same foods you are used to. An implant is a permanent root and tooth replacement.

In an oral surgery procedure, a titanium post is placed into the jawbone to act as a stabilizer for the new tooth. The new post replaces your root and will be in place for 3 months in order to heal and attach to the bone. This is what creates a stable foundation for the new tooth to attach to. You will be given a porcelain crown as the new tooth, and you will be able to eat, chew, and brush your teeth as normal.

Because the implant looks like all your other teeth, no one will even be able to tell that you replaced a tooth.

Tooth Replacement Services

Dr. Yamamoto performs tooth replacement services right here in his office at Dentist Fairbanks AK. For implant placement, Dr. Yamamoto will refer you to a periodontist or an oral surgeon who will place the implant for you, often with a surgical guide made by Dr. Yamamoto to assure the most ideal restorative position for the implant crown. Because the specialist has had an additional two to three years of training, Dr. Yamamoto believes that you will get the best long-term results with this regimen. Also, if there are complications, the specialist will be highly trained to handle the situation.

With the latest technology in dental health, there is no reason anyone should suffer from a missing tooth. If you have questions about implants call us at Dentist Fairbanks AK to learn more about our dental services and how we can improve your smile.

Is my treatment covered by insurance?

We understand that most people are on a tight budget due to the economy. We don’t want our patients to be concerned about costs so we will work with you to plan your dental services around your budget. We will always discuss your treatment options including the costs to make sure there are no surprises for you when you schedule appointments. Everything is shared upfront and we will even help you file your insurance claims to make things a bit simpler. Our helpful staff can discuss your coverage, benefits, and any out-of-pocket costs you may incur. We want all of our patients to make informed decisions about their dental care.

To learn more about financing options that are available, call our office.

Will my treatment procedure hurt?

Millions of Americans have a phobia when it comes to seeing the dentist. If you are worried about experiencing pain or discomfort from dental procedures, you are not alone. We provide the very best care for our patients and your comfort is our top priority. We use anesthetics to make sure you are comfortable and do not feel any pain during your dental treatment.

If you need intensive treatment or are very apprehensive, we can pre-medicate with a prescription drug that will relax you and also has some amnesia effects. You will need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. We have chosen to not use nitrous oxide because of the potential for birth defects in pregnant women. To avoid exposure to pregnant women who don’t know they are pregnant, we have decided to not medicate with nitrous oxide.

Do I still need treatment if my tooth has stopped hurting?

Yes, you still need treatment even if the pain has stopped. The reason is that although there is no more pain, the problem that caused the pain is still there and it can become painful again at any time. Tooth decay, gum disease, and many other problems can cause pain, so in order to eliminate the pain completely we need to find and solve the problem that is causing it.

Most often, you will not feel pain from tooth decay right away. However, over time it can begin causing pain in the tooth and surrounding gums and jawbone. If you treat the problem immediately, then the problem goes away and will not cause further pain. Delaying the treatment of an infected tooth can lead to tooth loss and costly repairs later.

Our philosophy is that preventing dental problems is the key to maintaining good oral health. This is why we encourage patients to come in for a six-month checkup and cleaning. Many problems can be prevented by catching them early. We can spot potential issues during regular checkups and offer preventative measures before the tooth becomes damaged. Dr. Yamamoto can spot tooth decay before you even know there’s a problem.

Be proactive when it comes to your dental health. Schedule your next appointment today with Dr. Yamamoto at Dentist Fairbanks AK today.

Do I really need x-rays?

Dr. Yamamoto uses the X-ray as a tool to see what is going on below the surface of our teeth. You can’t always see everything with an examination of your mouth. It helps to be able to see the bone structure, tooth alignment, and any teeth that may be growing in for younger patients. Some patients have heard that it is bad to get X-rays due to the radiation emissions, but in truth, this form of digital  imaging is very safe and uses much less (80% less) radiation than other types of scans. They do not require the use of chemicals for developing so they are environmentally friendly as well.

We have a policy for our patients who are concerned with dental x-rays. If you have not had an “in between the teeth” cavity in two years and agree to floss daily and use a fluoride rinse, we can take bitewing x-rays every two years. If we detect an interproximal cavity, then we will revert to yearly x-rays until you are cavity free again for two years and then repeat the process.

Because of this, digital images are available faster and the doctor can go over your x-ray with you to discuss your treatment options. You can view it right there in the treatment room and ask any questions you may have regarding your teeth.

If the doctor has recommended tooth replacement with an implant, the specialist will use a 3-D cone beam imaging scanner to plan the placement of the implant. This piece of dental equipment helps ensure accuracy in placement and ensures that the implant will last a long time.

Contact Dentist Fairbanks AK to learn more about digital x-rays.

Why should I go to the dentist regularly?

Many people only see their dentist when they have a toothache. Patients often do this to save money by only using dental services when it they are needed. However, preventative service could stop many problems before they start. Preventing problems is almost always less expensive than fixing them later. Crisis treatment costs more in the long run because many of these issues do not show any symptoms until they reach the emergency stage. Tooth decay has no symptoms in the early stages so it’s easy to skip a few dental appointments and say, “I don’t have any problems; my teeth don’t hurt.”

Nevertheless, you still need treatment; otherwise, it will continue to get worse. The pain starts when tooth decay affects the root of the tooth. Often there is a cavity in one of the teeth that the patient may not even know about. Early detection can save you from needing a root canal later on.

Am I using the right toothbrush?

When buying toothbrushes, always get them with soft bristles. You really don’t need firm bristles because they can hurt your gums and teeth and cause unnecessary pain. Brush your teeth for a full two minutes every time, twice per day. You can use an electric or manual toothbrush; both work well for cleaning teeth. Electric toothbrushes are good for people who have trouble holding a regular toothbrush or have problems with their hands. For most patients, Dr. Yamamoto recommends Sonicare electric brushes. A timer turns off the brush after two minutes. Most people only brush for 45 seconds but with the timer on the Sonicare, you will brush for the correct amount of time or you will need to manually turn off the brush before the two-minute mark. For the same amount of time spent brushing, most patients will do a better job with the Sonicare versus using a manual brush. Costco has the basic model Sonicare at a very reasonable price. Dr. Yamamoto carries the deluxe Sonicare model here in the dental office at a reduced rate.

Be sure to replace your toothbrush often, at least every 3 months. Replace it sooner if the bristles are bent or stick out to the side. This is a sign of a damaged brush and it won’t clean very well. If your kids’ toothbrushes look like this they are either brushing too hard or chewing on the brush.

Look for toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance on the label. This means that it contains fluoride and will strengthen teeth. This is the best option for children. For adults who don’t want to use fluoride there are many other good options on the market.

The Cause of Cavities

The chief cause of cavities is bacteria. Bacteria are little organisms that collect on your tongue, gums, and teeth from food particles that aren’t brushed away after meals. Not all bacteria are bad, but any bacteria on your teeth are not good. They attach to the enamel on your teeth and get mixed in with your saliva. The result is plaque that hardens on your teeth. Hardened tartar or calculus is much easier for the plaque to attach to and will lead to periodontal problems. When sugar is introduced plaque converts the sugar into an acid, which causes decalcification of the enamel and eventually a cavity will form.

Cavities are holes in the teeth beginning from the surface that become weakened by the bacterial produced acids. Certain foods that contain refined sugar like soda, energy drinks, and hard candy are easily converted to acid that can dissolve tooth enamel, making it easier for cavities to form.

What are silver and white fillings used for?

Silver fillings are most often used for large cavities in the back teeth because the hardness helps you chew and keeps the filling stable. This has been used by dentists for more than 100 years. They are very durable and tend to last a very long time. However, it doesn’t look good when used for cavities in the front teeth.

White or tooth-colored fillings are better for small to medium-sized cavities and can be used for either front or back teeth. This is good for people who regularly speak as part of their work (giving speeches or lectures) so that they don’t think that people are looking at their mouths when they speak.

What is a partial?

A partial refers to a partial denture, either a top or bottom, to replace a missing tooth or several missing teeth. A partial can also be just a small plate to fill in one tooth, held in place by the surrounding teeth with metal clasps. It is considered a tooth replacement prosthetic and is very sturdy. You can eat and drink with partials and they are removable for cleaning and when you go to bed.

What is a denture?

A full denture is a dental prosthetic that replaces the upper or lower teeth and sometimes both. When it replaces upper and lower teeth, it is called a full denture. The base material is made to look like natural gums with porcelain crowns for the teeth. They are held in place by suction but some patients like the added security of using a denture adhesive.

How do I care for my dentures?

Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly every day. Brush the surfaces and between the teeth and gums using a soft toothbrush. Then place it in a cup of water or cleaning solution to soak overnight. Brush your real teeth and gums before going to bed. If you don’t have any real teeth then brush your gums and tongue as part of your nightly routine.

After brushing your teeth, you can use a good mouthwash to keep germs and bad breath away. If you have dental implants you just brush them the same as you would your own teeth. We can show you how to floss with implants and remove stuck food.

You will need to come in for a 6-month checkup so we can see how the denture is working. Periodically it may need to be adjusted or aligned if you start having problems with the fit. Your dentures will last for a long time but you may want to replace them after 5 or 10 years.

What is a root canal?

When tooth decay or gum disease makes your teeth sensitive to heat or cold, it may be telling you that you need root canal therapy. When the pulp of the tooth is damaged it can be very painful and cause sensitivity. What a root canal does is remove the damaged parts of the tooth and filling with a material to seal it and keep it from further damage. It will also stabilize the tooth, eliminating the need for extraction.