Author Archives: Designer 1stDentist

There are people who resist smiling even when they’re happy. Most of the time, it’s because they’re embarrassed to show they are crooked, widely spaced or misaligned teeth. If you have the same problem, then you need to see an orthodontist. It’s that simple.

But improving your smile is only one of the reasons to see an orthodontist. There are also potential health issues that could arise due to malocclusions (bad bite). You won’t be able to properly clean your teeth, which may lead to tooth decay and/or gum infection.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

An orthodontist is trained and experienced in treating malocclusion. Aside from finishing 4 years of dental school, they undergo 3 more years of training to become an orthodontist. They can help improve your bite and straighten the teeth by correcting how your jaws line up and how your teeth (upper and lower) fit together.

Orthodontists use various orthodontic appliances like the traditional braces as well as the more modern aligners like Invisalign to move the teeth.

Why See an Orthodontist

Generally speaking, patients see an orthodontist to straighten their teeth. But, as mentioned earlier, there are other equally important reasons to seek orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics can treat crowded or crooked teeth, as well as overbites and underbites. If left untreated, these issues can cause infections in the teeth and gums, and even result in tooth loss. Malocclusions also make speaking and chewing difficult.

When to See an Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists advises that children see an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier, even if there are no apparent problems. At this age, their jaws are still developing and any issues can be easily corrected.

That is not to say that adults shouldn’t see an orthodontist. In fact, the average adult orthodontic patient is between 26 and 44 years old. We even have patients as old as 70 requiring braces.

Here at Clear Smiles Alaska, we make every effort to provide our patients with the best orthodontic care. We want to make your treatment convenient, effective and efficient. This is why we’re excited to offer PROPEL in our practice. This technology stimulates bone remodeling so the teeth will move faster into their ideal position.

With Propel Technology, Dr. Sparaga can finish your treatment more efficiently. The treatment time will be shorter so you can see the results you want with fewer visits to our office.

What is PROPEL?

The PROPEL system can be used in combination with traditional braces, Invisalign or other orthodontic treatment. It utilizes innovative procedures and devices to move the teeth quickly. Research has found that with PROPEL, teeth will move 50% faster than with braces or aligners alone.

Here are the main advantages of PROPEL Orthodontics:

1. It’s convenient.

Propel is easy to operate portable device you need to use for 20 minutes each day. You can use it while you browse the Internet, watch TV or read a book.

2. It’s painless.

Unlike surgery, Propel doesn’t require incisions or a recovery period. Think of it as a daily teeth massage.

3. It’s very efficient.

With Propel, your teeth will be straightened a lot faster than without. Research shows that what would otherwise take 2 years of orthodontic treatment can be shortened to just 15 months.

PROPEL enables Invisalign or braces to do their job faster. With this system, you can have the smile you want in the shortest time possible. To find out more about PROPEL, please schedule an appointment with our orthodontist.

So, you’ve finally decided to start orthodontic treatment. Congratulations! We know that it’s not an easy decision to make but we’re glad you’ve made the right choice. In any case, you may be wondering what to expect on your first visit.

A lot of people fear orthodontic treatment. But at Clear Smiles Alaska, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. We’re here to help you get the smile you deserve, and we will go out of our way to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible with your treatment.

Here’s a short guide on what to expect from your very first appointment.

When you arrive in our office for your initial appointment, we will begin by taking X-rays and photos of your teeth and mouth. X-rays are needed to accurately assess and examine your teeth, so Dr. Sparaga can create a customized orthodontic treatment plan for you.

After taking X-rays and photos, Dr. Sparaga will perform an extensive examination of your mouth structures so we can have a precise idea of how to maintain or improve your oral health.

Because there are several treatment options for each case, we will discuss each option with you including the costs, duration of treatment and other important concerns to help you determine the most suitable treatment for you. Feel free to ask questions or tell us about any concerns you may have regarding the treatment. We want our patients to be well-informed so they can make the right decisions about their oral health and well-being.

Here at Clear Smiles Alaska, we strive to make your visits comfortable. We also want to be as efficient as possible so you don’t have to stay longer than necessary. We use the latest technology to improve our patients’ smile in the shortest time possible.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us. We’re excited to welcome you here and we look forward to providing you with the highest level of care so that you get the result you’ve dreamed about.

Over the years, orthodontic treatments have improved considerably. There are always newer and better products and technologies that will help our patients achieve the smile they want.

Today, there are several orthodontic treatments available. Braces continue to be a very popular option for people who want to straighten their teeth. However, Invisalign is also becoming highly in-demand among orthodontic patients.

So how is Invisalign different from braces? Let’s take a closer look.

Traditional Braces

Braces are comprised of archwires and brackets placed across the teeth. They are secured by means of a special elastic tie. The brackets can be made of metal, composite or ceramic and the patient can choose from a wide array of colors for the brackets.

The archwires are flexible and are attached to the brackets in order to apply constant pressure on the teeth so they will gradually move.

Traditional braces can correct problems like teeth alignment issues, crowding, protrusions, crooked teeth, and irregular spacing (gapped teeth). Braces will progressively move the teeth to their ideal place to give you a more attractive smile.

The duration of treatment using traditional braces varies. Some cases need less than a year, while others can take more than two years. Once the braces are removed, your orthodontist will prescribe a dental retainer so that the teeth won’t return to their original position.


Invisalign is often referred to as “invisible braces.” It’s basically a series of clear aligners that you wear without other people realizing you’re actually wearing them. Invisalign can be used to treat crowded teeth, spaced teeth, crossbites, overbites, and minor bite irregularities.

The clear aligners are specially made for each patient using computer technology to ensure that they fit you perfectly. The aligners are removable so you can take them out when you eat, brush and floss your teeth. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll be required to wear the clear aligners for at least 20 hours each day.

You will be given 2 sets of aligners during each dental visit, spaced around 4-6 weeks apart. The duration of treatment also varies, depending on each case. Most adult patients can complete treatment in about a year, sometimes less.

Invisalign is an excellent alternative to clunky, uncomfortable braces. However, it should be noted that it may not be able to treat major orthodontic issues. To determine if you’re a suitable candidate for Invisalign, please call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sparaga of Clear Smiles Alaska.

A tooth gap, also known as diastema, can appear between any two teeth. Usually, it appears between the two upper front teeth. Closing the gap can improve your smile and boost your confidence. So what are your options for correcting tooth gaps?

Here at Clear Smiles Alaska, we can recommend any of the following procedures, depending on factors like the severity of the gap, how soon you want to fix your smile, your budget, as well as the number of tooth gaps you have.


The most convenient solution to gaps in between teeth are braces. However, going this route entails a longer and costlier treatment time, not to mention, the inconvenience of having to wear clunky metal braces. Unless the gaps are severe, braces may not be absolutely necessary.

Invisible Braces

 “Invisible braces” like the Invisalign system uses a series of clear aligners that are designed to gradually move your teeth into their ideal position. Unlike braces, Invisalign is nearly invisible and you can remove your aligners when you brush your teeth or when you eat.


This dental procedure uses a highly moldable plastic resin material that can be made to precisely match the color of your natural teeth. The dentist can create a sculpted form that can mimic your natural teeth to give you a perfect smile.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are an alternative to bonding. The veneers are basically super thin shells made of porcelain that the dentist will apply to your teeth so you can get the smile you want quickly. Veneers are convenient, affordable and do not require a lot of preparation.

Dental Crowns

Another way to fix tooth gaps is a dental crown. These crowns are permanently bonded to your tooth/teeth to cover any imperfections and restore the strength and function of the damaged tooth/teeth. If your dentist has determined a dental crown is the right treatment option for your gapped teeth, he will take an impression of the tooth and send it to the laboratory where your custom dental crown will be made.

If you want to fix the gaps in between your teeth to achieve a better-looking smile, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sparaga. We work very hard to ensure our patients get the smile they deserve.

Left untreated anterior deep bites can cause a lot of problems. Upper and lower incisor wear, palatal soft tissue impingement and overlapping teeth, to incisal entrapment and TMD with muscular reaction can all be blamed on deep bites. Since we begin life on a soft diet (Gerber’s, etc.), and chew so little, we frequently develop a deep anterior bite in the mixed dentition phase, e.g. age 8 or younger. This precipitates a Class II skeletal and dental pattern eventually.

Correction of deep bites is slow and can be difficult for the patient, especially with braces since the upper incisors will frequently cleave off the lower incisor brackets when biting down. This also used to be difficult for Invisalign to accomplish, but for a different reason…The aligners are too gentle in grasping posterior teeth from which to apply incisor intrusion or torquing forces. However, aligners have a distinct advantage over braces in providing protective plastic over the incisors when biting as well as propping the bite open due to aligner thickness. Further, with the advent of orthodontic mini-implants, we now can apply traction to aligners to open the deepest of bites successfully.

Below you will see the result of skeletal anchorage applied to deep bite incisors with Invisalign only. Many orthodontists still believe that “Invisalign can’t-do that”, and instead suggest braces treatment. These images demonstrate what Invisalign really does do, every day, right here at Clear Smiles Alaska. Invisalign is not a compromised treatment in orthodontics; rather it is a kinder, gentler tool with which to exert orthodontic forces, just like braces. As in any new technology, training, experience and willingness to embrace the new technology is a must in order to make it work. At Clear Smiles Alaska we are proud to have made that commitment 8 years ago, when we went “Invisalign Only” and have successfully treated over 1100 patients to date, with no full braces. When you contemplate one of your patients who has a need for orthodontic correction of a deep bite, severe or minor, think Invisalign at Clear Smiles Alaska. WE can do it.



It’s almost time for our yearly Permanent Fund Dividend and as proud Alaskans we want to celebrate that! To help stretch the value of your PFD, for a limited time we are offering $500.00 off of the down payment for your Invisalign or Accelerated Invisalign treatment. Please contact our office staff to receive this celebratory gift and start on your journey towards a beautiful new Invisalign smile!

This offer is for new patients only and expires 12/31/2014.

When is the best time to begin orthodontic treatment? This is a question that is often asked of me by parents, especially as they see other young children in orthodontic appliances. My specialty training in orthodontics placed emphasis both on early treatment (7-10 years old) as well as treatment occurring later with all of the permanent teeth present.

My Answer
I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to treat numerous patients with both techniques and then review them in the following areas: finished results; duration of treatment; a number of appointments; loose appliances; cooperation and patient motivation/enthusiasm. Combining this information with new wire and appliance technology, I have concluded that for the vast majority (approximately 80 percent) of young patients, it is best to delay treatment until most, if not all, the teeth are in.

The Reasons

The five major advantages and benefits of waiting:

  1. Decreased time in braces or Invisalign and fewer appointments, resulting in:
    • Less chance of enamel decalcification and root shortening.
    • Less time absent from school or work,
    • Less opportunity for broken braces or appliances,
    • Generally, less cost.
  2. Bone growth is occurring more rapidly during the adolescent years, increasing treatment effectiveness. 
  3. Understanding and cooperation are better when a child is mature.
  4. Completing treatment in one phase is less costly than a prolonged two-phase program.
  5. More stable results.

The most optimal time to realize these benefits will vary somewhat with the individual child, but for most children, it is usually between the ages of 11 and 12.  Orthodontic treatment begun during this window of opportunity will usually result in braces being on for 18-24 months instead of 3 to 4 years or more.


There are a few orthodontic conditions that do warrant a brief period of early treatment.  These include:

  1. Crossbites causing the lower jaw to shift,
  2. Severe jaw imbalances (such as an upper jaw that is too far back),
  3. Space maintenance for early loss of primary (baby) tooth,
  4. Excessive crowding causing damage to teeth bones and/or gums,
  5. Airway problems.

Additionally, if a young patient is suffering psychologically or socially from crooked upper front teeth, a brief period of partial braces can improve both the smile and self-image dramatically.  Though braces or Invisalign will typically still be needed when all the teeth erupt, I do feel this is a valid treatment indication for some youngsters.

Parting Words

Needless to say, the timing of orthodontic treatment is an important issue that can make orthodontics either a rewarding and enjoyable experience or one that is prolonged and tedious.  Our observation program is set up to allow us to evaluate the patient’s dental and overall development on a regular basis in order to begin orthodontic therapy at the appropriate time.

I hope that this information has given you both a better understanding of our practice and a positive introduction to orthodontics.  Additionally, I hope you can see that waiting is sometimes the best “treatment”.  

Dr. Sparaga placed 2nd in the 2012 Invisalign Summit Shootout.  Invisalign Summit is a premier education event, combining more than thirty presentations and sessions with the excitement of Las Vegas. Doctors gather every other year for this invitation-only, three-day event to discover the latest and greatest clinical and practice development techniques and to learn what’s new in Invisalign product innovation.

A Clear Smiles Alaska patients treatment and the excellent skills of Dr. Sparaga placed 2nd of over a hundred submissions by other elite Orthodontist.  Dr. Sparaga was requested to speak on the treatment of a Dutch Harbor, AK Fisherman’s Invisalign treatment.  The extraordinary treatment with the use of innovative cutting-edge technology can be seen in the following video.