Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Okabe Dental Arts
April 01, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

He once lived in Australia, wore his hair in a mullet, and played guitar in a band called The Ranch. Today, country music star Keith Urban looks different than he did when he started out — and it’s not just the mullet that’s changed. As before-and-after pictures show, he’s had a smile makeover. His teeth, which were dull yellow in color, and used to have a large gap in front, are now white and shiny. The gap is still there — though it has been reduced to a more modest size. How did he manage to upgrade his image, yet keep part of his signature “look” intact?

Cosmetic dentistry has a number of ways to improve the appearance of a smile like Keith’s. One is tooth whitening. It’s a simple procedure that can be done in our office or at your home; either way, it’s an effective treatment that offers great value. In-office whitening, using the most concentrated solutions under our direct supervision, will give you the fastest results. We can also prepare a take-home kit, with custom-made trays and safe bleaching gels you can use at home. You’ll get similar results, but it will take a bit longer.

Of course, whitening isn’t permanent (though it can be repeated when necessary); not all teeth can be lightened as much as you might like; and it doesn’t correct gaps or unevenness. There’s another treatment that does, however: dental veneers. These are wafer-thin coverings made of porcelain, which are bonded to the prepared surfaces of your teeth. They are available in a number of shades — from natural to “Hollywood white” — and can even hide minor chips or spacing problems. That’s why veneers are often the treatment of choice when you’re looking for a “red carpet” smile.

Perhaps the best thing about veneers is that they give you plenty of choices when it comes to designing your smile. You can choose how white you’d like your smile to be, and even fix some “flaws” — or not! So how much you choose to close that gap in your teeth is up to you… but if you’re asking our opinion, the mullet has to go.

If you would like more information on dental veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “Porcelain Veneers.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
February 26, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

Let us Help You Overcome Dental Fear

People who avoid the dentist have a higher risk of gum disease and tooth loss.  More troubling is the fact that research suggests that neglecting dental care can lead to more serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke and diabetes.  Protect your mouth and overcome your dental anxieties with help from our dentist in Honolulu, Dr. Jonathan Okabe. 

Maintain open Communication with Dr. Okabe

Studies have proven that the most important factor in overcoming dental anxiety is good dentist-patient communication.  It is proven that communication is a crucial factor for relieving dental anxiety and phobia.  Openly express your concerns with your dentist, as this will allow them to adapt the treatment to your personal needs. 
It is natural for people to feel some level of anxiety when visiting a dentist, but when your anxiety is preventing access to proper care, it is essential that you speak with your dentist to help overcome your anxiety.  Establishing trust and keeping patients informed throughout a visit to the dentist helps to calm dental fears in Honolulu area patients.  

Other Approaches for Addressing Your Dental Fears

  • There are several psychological and behavioral approaches for addressing your dental fear in Honolulu, which include:
  • Realize that others share your fears and are ready to help you overcome them.
  • Identify your fears and educate yourself about realistic and unrealistic expectations, possible treatment options and what they involve.
  • Choose a dental team with the technology, tools and skills that make you feel safe and well cared for.
  • Before your dental appointment, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
Establishing trust and keeping you informed and in control throughout a visit to our office helps immensely in calming patients in Honolulu with dental fear.  Another option is to even use hand signals to communicate with your dentist throughout a procedure, which will make you feel that you are more in charge of your anxieties. 

Dr. Jonathan Okabe, our dentist in Honolulu, is always available and willing to help in the reduction of your dental anxieties.  With proper communication, Dr. Okabe can come to an effective solution to bringing your anxieties down.

By Okabe Dental Arts
January 24, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

If you are at all uncomfortable at the thought of getting a dental implant, you might be pleasantly surprised to learn the truth about these marvelous state-of-the-art tooth-replacement systems — and the special role of a relatively new device, the mini-implant. So, first, let's go over some basic facts.

What's a dental implant? Basically, it's just a replacement for the root part of the tooth, the part that lies beneath the gum line. It attaches to a crown, which is a replacement for the visible portion of the tooth. But instead of ceramics or metals, implants are made of titanium, which becomes fused to the surrounding bone. When complete, implants are much stronger and longer-lasting than other methods of tooth replacement, like bridgework and dentures.

Implants are presently regarded as the best way to replace missing teeth, with a success rate of over 95%. They also help prevent bone loss in the jaw, a major goal of modern dentistry. Having one put in is an office procedure that's generally accomplished with local anesthesia, and most patients experience only minor discomfort. Standard dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, or multiple teeth. The mini-implant, which is just a miniature version of the same technology, is now playing an increasing role in many other phases of dentistry.

Why mini-implants? Because in several situations, this smaller and less expensive alternative offers a solution that's just as good — or better — than any other dental treatment. One area where mini-implants excel is in supporting lower jaw overdentures.

Many people find that lower dentures are far more troublesome than upper dentures. The movement of the tongue muscle, and the smaller area of surface contact (compared to the upper denture, which is supported by the palate) often results in a poor, loose fit, which leads to problems when eating or speaking. These problems can be solved by affixing a lower overdenture (an implant-retained denture) with just two mini-implants.

Not only do mini-implants help prevent bone loss, they also give the denture wearer increased stability, comfort, and confidence. And they do so at a price that's more economical than you might think. In some cases, the mini-implants can be placed in a single one-hour office visit, and your own denture can be modified to fit them — so you can go home and eat a steak that night!

Another area where mini-implants are finding increasing use is in orthodontics. Orthodontic appliances (commonly called braces) move teeth by exerting a light force on them, using a wire which is fixed to a solid anchor point. Traditionally, other teeth are used as anchors — but sometimes these teeth move as well! By using immovable mini-implants as the anchor points, the process is greatly simplified. Strategically placed mini-implants called TADS (temporary anchorage devices) can be used to correct both skeletal (jaw) position and dental (tooth) position problems.

Mini-implants may also be used in upper dentures and temporary bridgework.

If you would like more information about mini-implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw,” “The Great Mini-Implant,” and “What are TADS?”

By Okabe Dental Arts
January 16, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crown  

A crown restoration is a fabricated replica of a natural tooth. The mechanics and methods to prepare the tooth and attach the new crown are standard procedures in dentistry. But the crowns themselves — their individual shape, color and material from which they’re constructed — can differ greatly depending on each patient’s individual needs and desires. All these factors can have a bearing on cost — not to mention the process a dentist may employ to produce a custom crown.

Crowns are usually fashioned by a dental laboratory technician using castings of the patient’s mouth prepared by the dentist. These professionals should be considered artists as well as scientists. And, like artists with certain areas of strength and expertise, individual technicians may also develop high practical skill for a particular type of tooth replacement; it’s not uncommon for a dentist to use a different dental technician for a particular type and size of tooth to be restored. This could prove to be a factor in the final cost.

The efforts to create the best color in the crown can also affect cost. While we think of teeth as uniformly “pearly white,” there really are variations and gradations in normal tooth color (even within the same tooth). Again, a bit of artistry is important here, as the dentist communicates with the technician on not only the color but also the subtle hue gradations along the length of the crown. Your input as a patient is also valuable in determining color — you must be satisfied with the final product. Fortunately, it’s now possible to take a “test drive” of your potentially new look with a provisional crown that will allow you to see just how your permanent crown (which will be made of longer-lasting, higher quality materials) will appear.

These factors, as well as the limitations you may face by your insurance coverage, can greatly influence the final cost of treatment. As your dentist, we will consult and work with you to find the best crown restoration option that will fit both your dental needs and your financial ability.

If you would like more information on your options for crowns and other restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Value of Quality Care.”

Dental Implants HonoluluIn the New Year, bring life back into your smile with dental implants from Honolulu dentist, Dr. Jonathan Okabe.  Using the latest in implant technology, your implants are virtually indistinguishable from other teeth.  After your procedure you will have a full mouth of healthy teeth to show off.  With years of clinical research and remarkable overall success rates, dental implants offer the best long-term prognosis of any tooth replacement method.

The Dental Implant Procedure

Before dental implants are placed, your bone density needs to be assessed to ensure that you have sufficient quality and quantity of bone tissue available where the implant will be placed.  If there is insufficient bone or significant bone loss has occurred due to periodontal disease, then you may need bone grafting before the implant can be placed.  In some cases, mini implants can be used if the bone density is too low for larger implants.
Once you have been assessed and the treatment is planned and explained, the appropriate implant system and size of the implant will be selected and surgically placed.  The implants function as the root of your tooth, requiring a hole to be drilled into your jawbone to accommodate it.  Local anesthesia is often used when placing an implant, but if you are anxious, you may choose to be sedated during your treatment instead.  It is up to Dr. Okabe t to decide what the best solution is.
A small hole is carefully drilled into your jawbone avoiding damage to nerves and other important facial structures.  Once the hole has been drilled, the implant screw is either gently tapped or screwed into place ensuring a tight fit.  With the implant securely in place, a protective screw cover or cap is placed over the implant and the gum tissue sutured over the top. 

Experience the Benefits in Honolulu with Dental Implants

Replacing your teeth with dental implants provides you with a host of smile benefits.  Some of the benefits of dental implants include:
  • Mouth is restored to natural state – implants look and feel like your own teeth, restoring speech and a renewed ability to comfortably eat the foods you love.
  • Long-lasting – implants are durable like your natural teeth, and can last a lifetime with proper care.
  • Tooth-saving – dental implants won’t alter or impact adjacent teeth.  They simply fill in the space of missing teeth to protect remaining teeth from unwanted shifting.
  • Improved oral and general health – implants stop the progression of jawbone loss that often follows tooth loss, maintaining the integrity of your facial structure.
Regaining your smile is possible, and if you have missing teeth, avoid serious repercussions and talk to your dentist in Honolulu, Dr. Jonathan Okabe about implants today.

Dentist Honolulu, HI
Okabe Dental Arts
1221 Kapiolani Boulevard
Honolulu, HI 96814
(808) 596-0837

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