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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Okabe Dental Arts
August 20, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dental implants have emerged as the premier replacement option for lost teeth. Their life-like appearance, durability and versatility have made them extremely popular with patients.

Implants aren’t a quick fix, though: in most cases the process takes months to complete. Here’s a chronological overview of what you can expect if you decide on dental implants.

Stage 1: Planning. The process begins at least a few weeks before the actual implantation with an examination to determine what’s best for your individual case. Implant materials and designs are quite numerous, enabling us to precisely match individual tooth types, shapes, lengths and color. We then use x-rays or CT scanning to identify the best locations for the implants — careful planning here increases the chances that implantation will go smoothly and the final outcome will be aesthetically pleasing.

Stage 2: Implantation. Once we’ve finished planning, it’s time to surgically insert the titanium implants into the pre-determined locations in the jawbone identified during Stage 1. While this procedure is relatively minor and routine, the surgeon still operates with precision and care to ensure the best functional and aesthetic outcome.

Stage 3: Integration. In most cases after implantation, we’ll need to wait for a few weeks before attaching the final crowns. Because bone has an affinity for titanium, it will grow and adhere to the implant during this waiting period, anchoring it securely into the bone that will increase its long-term durability. We attach temporary teeth made of acrylic plastic (along with giving you some precautions on biting and chewing) to help you function normally during the waiting period.

Stage 4: A Transformed Smile! Once integration has been achieved and the gum tissues fully healed, we can then attach the permanent crowns. These crowns are typically made of strong, durable materials that will fit the healed gum tissues more precisely than your temporary crowns. Depending on the type of implant used, the crowns are either cemented or screwed into place onto the implant.

The process of dental implantation involves a lot of time, effort and precision. In the end, though, it’s well worth it — the joy of new teeth that will function well for years and look great too!

If you would like more information on dental 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 article “New Teeth in One Day.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
August 18, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Coffee and red wine enthusiasts, listen up! Whether you’ve got a wedding or a big job interview coming up or are just in need of a little makeover, Okabe Dental Arts is excited to offer Zoom teeth whitening to our patients in the Honolulu area. Zoom! Teeth Whitening in Honolulu

What causes tooth discoloration?

Most people are aware that consuming certain foods and drinks, such as berries, coffee and red wine, smoking or chewing tobacco, and poor oral hygiene can cause teeth to become yellow, brown or otherwise discolored on the surface. Other factors, such as tooth trauma, certain medications or fluorosis - a condition caused by exposure to too much fluoride as teeth are developing - can actually cause tooth discoloration from the inside. In these cases, unfortunately, brushing and flossing just won’t help get rid of the funny color. This is where Dr. Okabe comes in.

Do I really need to go to the dentist to whiten my teeth?

In short, no, but you certainly won’t regret it if you do. Teeth whitening performed by Dr. Okabe is a secure and easy method that can last up to five years with proper oral hygiene practices. Additionally, only your dentist has access to strength the Philips Zoom whitening system, so you won’t find it in any over-the-counter trays, strips or toothpastes. It’s also much safer, as certain commercially-available teeth whitening products can contain abrasive chemicals and substances that have been shown to actually wear down tooth enamel over time, meaning you’ll eventually have much bigger problems than yellow teeth.

What is Zoom whitening?

Philips Zoom whitening is a procedure performed by your Honolulu dentist to achieve instant, noticeable results. In just one forty-five minute session, Dr. Okabe can make your teeth up to eight shades whiter than when you walked in our door. There’s no waiting several weeks for results to maybe appear and you won’t catch yourself saying “I think I see a difference?” with this powerful treatment. Your friends and family will know instantly that you’ve got a smile you just can’t hide. Additionally, Philips reports that ninety-nine percent of patients report little or no pain or sensitivity during the procedure, something that teeth whitening has become notorious for causing.
So if you’re looking for a teeth whitening treatment that seems too good to be true, quick, painless and long-lasting, consult Dr. Okabe and the Honolulu team at Okabe Dental Arts today. You’ll be smiling brighter when you do.

Nothing says confidence like a bright, beautiful smile. But problems with your teeth’s appearance — discoloration, abnormal shapes, or gaps — may be giving you reasons not to smile. If so, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers.

A veneer is a thin covering of porcelain or other dental material permanently attached to the face of a tooth to improve its appearance. Veneers help resolve a variety of aesthetic issues: their life-like color can brighten dull, stained teeth; they can “lengthen” shortened teeth caused by wear or normalize congenitally misshapen teeth; they’re also helpful in reducing small gaps or used in conjunction with orthodontics for more serious misalignments.

The first step to a better smile with veneers is to assess your teeth’s current condition and develop a treatment plan. Your input is extremely important at this stage — what changes you believe would improve your smile. We would also offer valuable insight, based on our knowledge and experience, into what is realistically possible and aesthetically appealing regarding porcelain veneers.

Once you have decided to go forward, the next step is to prepare the teeth for attaching the veneers. Depending on their size and location, this preparation can range from no tooth structure removal to a relatively small amount of structure. If the latter is needed, we remove only what’s necessary to achieve the aesthetic result since structural reduction isn’t reversible.

After preparing an impression of your teeth, we would send it and other instructions to a dental technician to create the permanent veneers. In the meantime, we’ll install a temporary set for you to wear while the permanent set is under construction.

Once we attach the permanent veneers, they will adhere so securely a drill or laser would be needed to remove them. We achieve this attachment by creating microscopic pores on the face of the teeth and the inside of the veneer with a mild acid solution. The bonding cement seeps into these pores and creates a strong bond that virtually unites the tooth and veneer into one.

Although your new veneers are made to last, you’ll need to maintain them like your other teeth, with a little added caution when biting and chewing. All in all, though, you’ll be able to smile again with confidence — for many years to come.

If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Porcelain Veneers.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
July 09, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Sure, we might often wish that we could look like the models on the cover of magazines. We might push ourselves to try and go to the gym so we can get that bathing-suit body or we might try every skincare product possible to get that flawless skin; however, it’s amazing what airbrushing can do to make these models perfect. If you’re looking for a more natural, and significantly easier way to look like you walked right off a magazine shoot, then perhaps a straighter smile would do the trick. One thing you might notice about people in your favorite magazine is their ideal smiles. If you want to straighten your crooked smile once and for all, then your Honolulu dentist is here to help.Invisalign

Here are some helpful facts about Invisalign treatment:

  •  Invisalign is made up of clear aligners. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks, gradually and subtly shifting your teeth into their proper position.
  •  Most traditional braces are worn for two years; however with Invisalign in Honolulu, the process is a bit faster. The average Invisalign wearer can expect to sport their clear aligners for about 9-15 months.
  • They are tailor made to fit you. If you’ve ever had a suit or article of clothing made just for you, you might even say that it fits you like a glove. There’s nothing like it. Well, the same goes for Invisalign in Honolulu, HI. Each aligner is molded to fit the shape and contours of your mouth, giving you custom-made braces that feel great!
  • You can remove them during meals and when brushing and flossing. This is a big relief for many of our patients because this means no food restrictions. Enjoy all your favorite foods without worrying about your clear braces in Honolulu. Furthermore, you can brush and floss regularly, which is a big advantage over those who wear traditional braces.
Are you ready to say yes to a straight, stunning smile? Ready to give those magazine models a run for their money? Then it might be time to get Invisalign in Honolulu. If you’re ready to take the next step toward a straighter smile, then call your Honolulu cosmetic dentist at (808) 596-0837.
Are you impressed with Invisalign’s results? Are you glad you made this choice for your smile? If so, we want you to share your Invisalign stories with us. Help inspire others to get the smile they know they deserve.
By Okabe Dental Arts
June 17, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

According to popular culture, a root canal treatment is one of life’s most painful experiences. But popular culture is wrong — this common treatment doesn’t cause pain, it relieves it. Knowing the facts will help alleviate any anxiety you may feel if you’re scheduled to undergo the procedure.

A root canal treatment addresses a serious problem involving the pulp of a tooth that has become infected. The pulp is a system of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues inside the tooth that helps the tooth maintain its vitality. It also contains a series of minute passageways known as root canals that interconnect with the body’s nervous system.

The pulp may become infected for a number of reasons: tooth decay, gum disease, repetitive dental procedures, or traumatic tooth damage. Once the pulp becomes irreversibly damaged it must be completely removed from the tooth and the root canals filled and sealed in order to save the tooth.

We begin the procedure by numbing the affected tooth and surrounding tissues with local anesthesia and placing a dental dam (a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl) over the area to isolate the tooth and prevent the spread of infection to other oral tissues. We then drill a small hole in the top of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. Using special instruments, we then remove the infected or dead pulp tissue through the access hole and then wash and cleanse the root canals and pulp chamber with antiseptic and antibacterial solutions.

After additional preparation, we fill the root canals and pulp chamber with a filling especially designed for this kind of treatment, usually a rubber-like substance called gutta-percha that easily molds and compresses when heated. We then seal the access hole with a temporary filling (until a permanent crown can be fashioned) to prevent infection from reentering the pulp space. After the procedure, you may experience some minor discomfort easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

You’ll find the root canal treatment alleviates the symptoms prompted by the pulp infection, particularly acute pain. What’s more, a successful root canal will have achieved something even more crucial to your health — it will give your tooth a second chance at survival.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “A step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”