Southeast Alaskans are proud individuals, seeking to carve unique existences in the Last Frontier. Accustomed to being self-sufficient and forging their own paths, the feeling of having to sacrifice is not uncommon. However, there is one thing that residents don’t have to go at alone or sacrifice, and that is dentistry.
The Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) works to ensure that everyone in its service areas can get the dental care they need for clean teeth, healthy gums, and mouths free of diseases.
SEARHC’s Dental Clinics
With so much of Southeast Alaska inaccessible by car, even from village-to-village on the same island, SEARHC works to provide dental clinics to people wherever they might be located within our service area. SEARHC has clinics in Juneau, Haines, Sitka, Wrangell and Klawock, as well as a children’s clinic located in Juneau.
Rest assured, residents outside of communities with SEARHC dental clinics aren’t out of luck. SEARHC traveling dental clinics frequent the communities of Angoon, Hoonah, Kake, Klukwan and Pelican. Addresses for these clinics can be found on the dentistry page of SEARHC’s website.
The centers process most insurance for patients, including Denali KidCare
Why good dental care is important for adults
Good dental care helps ensure a nice smile and strong teeth, along with helping to protect against cavities, root canals or gum disease. These days, though, dental care is about so much more.
For one thing, studies have repeatedly shown a link between poor dental health and Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia. Medical News Today noted in 2013, “Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire in the UK discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of patients who had dementia when they were alive. The bug is usually associated with chronic periodontal (gum) disease.”
What happens, generally, is that plaque that sits on teeth long enough gets into the bloodstream and eventually makes its way to the brain. Dementia and Alzheimer’s is far from the only havoc plaque can wreak, as plaque has also been found to damage vital organs and even cause organ failure.
The good news is that people aren’t stuck with bad dental health for life. As SEARHC notes on its website, “Gum disease and tooth decay can be reversed, or completely prevented, with regular trips to the dentist and good oral care starting at a young age.”
Even people who haven’t had regular trips to the dentist needn’t fear. Alaska is, after all, a state built on forging new beginnings. SEARHC helps make new dental beginnings possible for all Southeast Alaskans.
How often dental cleanings are needed
The American Dental Association recommends that people receive cleanings as often as their dentist determines is necessary. As noted by the ADA 2013:
“Based on data analysis, researchers speculate that high-risk patients would likely benefit from more frequent dental visits, while low-risk patients may see the same benefits from only one cleaning per year. The key takeaway for consumers, underscored by this study, is that personalized oral care is a necessity for good dental health.”
Often, people will need dental cleanings once every six months. It all depends on the individual. SEARHC can work with people to help determine how often cleanings are needed. SEARHC dentists can also examine patients’ mouths for possible oral cancer and other mouth-based disorders including cold sores, canker sores, and saliva gland disorders.
Southeast Alaskans are proud individuals. With the help of SEARHC, anyone who lives in this part of America can be proud of their dental health, too.