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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

HilaryDuffsChippedFrontTeethRepairedwithVeneers

Many Hollywood luminaries use porcelain veneers to enhance their smiles. Take actress and singer Hilary Duff, who, according to People magazine, had veneers placed on her two front teeth after chipping them on a microphone during what must have been an extremely energetic performance.

Well, you don't have to be a Hollywood star to benefit from a smile enhanced with porcelain veneers. If you have small chips, cracks, slight tooth rotations or minor spacing problems, veneers may be able to give you back your smile — or an even better one.

The word “veneer” refers to a super-thin covering, and in dentistry a veneer is a thin layer of porcelain that replaces your natural tooth enamel. Porcelain is the material of choice because of its strength, translucency, and ability to resist erosion.

In the right hands, dental porcelain can mimic tooth enamel perfectly. To make veneers, a skilled dental technician will mix porcelain powder (in a shade specified by the dentist) with water and then fire the material in an oven like pottery; the porcelain is built up in layers for a truly lifelike effect.

Before a veneer is bonded to a tooth, often we need to remove a tiny bit of the tooth's existing enamel so that the final effect will not be too bulky. The procedure is virtually painless and can be completed in as little as two visits. Because enamel is removed, this particular cosmetic treatment is not reversible. Sometimes veneers can be added directly onto the tooth surface without any tooth reduction and therefore are reversible if used in this way.

Once you have veneers, please keep in mind that while extremely strong, porcelain veneers are not indestructible; you won't want to do things like crunch ice or break nuts open with your teeth. And if you are a teeth-grinder, you should wear a nightguard to protect your beautiful new smile. With proper care, your veneers will last 20 years or more.

If you would like more information about porcelain veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design Enhanced With Porcelain Veneers.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time For Change.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
January 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces  

Your Honolulu dentist can give you the perfectly straight smile you crave with orthodontics.

It’s very rare to have naturally straight teeth, and while we may envy those rare few who do, it doesn’t mean you also can’t have that same gorgeous smile. Orthodontic treatments have certainly come a long way over the decades and now there is an option Bracesto fit just about any lifestyle or budget imaginable. Now you can choose braces that offer superior comfort without the “metal mouth” look. Discover the different types of orthodontics your Honolulu dentist can offer you.

Traditional Braces

While metal braces might seem like the braces you remember from your childhood, they have changed for the better. The wires are thinner and the brackets are smaller, making the metal braces you get at your Honolulu dentist seem subtler. Even though people will still notice your braces you won’t feel quite as bulky and they offer a less expensive price tag than other orthodontic treatments.

Ceramic Braces

For those still wanting to go the more traditional route for braces may want to consider this type of braces. While they may look similar to traditional brackets, they are made from ceramic so they appear clearer. This means you’ll be wearing braces that blend in better with your smile, making them more discreet.

Lingual Braces

If you want to have braces that no one will see, then you may be interested in lingual braces in Honolulu. While they might look the same as traditional braces, they are cemented to the back of the teeth instead of the front to keep them hidden from plain sight. However, due to their location, it can be harder to clean your braces effectively, so consider how thorough your oral hygiene is before opting for these braces.

Clear Braces

You may know clear braces by the brand name Invisalign, a series of clear aligners that are custom-made to fit over your teeth just like whitening trays. The most obvious benefits are that the braces are clear and removable so you don’t have to change your diet to accommodate them or have to deal with trying to brush around your braces every night. However, clear braces aren’t for everyone. Children and those with more severe dental cases aren’t ideal candidates for clear braces.

If you want to straighten your teeth and regain confidence in your appearance, then call your Honolulu dentist today to schedule an orthodontic consultation. Get one step closer to the smile you’ve always wanted.

DentalImplantsandNaturalTeeththeSimilaritiesandtheDifferences

You've probably heard about dental implants — today's best option for replacing missing teeth; maybe you even have one or more already. A dental implant is a tiny screw-shaped metal post that sits in your jawbone and supports a lifelike dental crown. Natural teeth and implant-supported teeth have differences and similarities.

The main difference between implants and natural teeth — besides the fact that you were born with one and not the other — is the way they attach to your bone. Implants actually fuse to the bone, becoming part of it. This is a unique property of titanium, the metal from which implants are made. Maintaining that attachment is extremely important; we will discuss how best to ensure that in a moment.

Natural teeth do not ever become part of the bone that surrounds them. Instead, they attach to it via the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), which is made up of tiny fibers that go into the tooth on one side and the bone on the other. These fibers form a sort of hammock for each tooth.

Another difference is that natural teeth can decay while implant-supported teeth can't. But that doesn't mean you don't have to worry about dental hygiene — far from it! And here's where we get to the main similarity: oral hygiene is extremely important to maintain both teeth and implants. Lax oral hygiene for either can result in bacterial infections that may lead to gum disease, and even bone loss.

The main enemy of a properly fused implant is a bacterial infection known as “peri-implantitis” (“peri” – around; implant “itis” – inflammation), which starts when bacterial biofilm (plaque) is allowed to build up on implant-supported crowns. Peri-implantitis can lead to a well-like or dish-shaped loss of bone around the implant, which in turn can cause the implant to lose its attachment to the bone. If this happens, the implant can no longer function. Fortunately, this infection is preventable with good brushing and flossing techniques at home, and regular professional cleanings here at the dental office.

So another similarity, then, is that natural teeth and implants can last a lifetime with proper care. And that's the result we're aiming for!

If you would like more information about dental implants, please call us or schedule an appointment. You can also read more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
December 01, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   smoking  
DentalImplantsandSmoking-CauseforConcern

You probably already know that using tobacco causes significant health risks: It increases your odds of getting various cancers and coronary diseases, to name just a few. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to kick the habit, even when they know they should. Tooth loss is another issue that can cause trouble for your health, in the form of bone loss, malnutrition, and social or psychological problems. Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth — but does smoking complicate the process of getting implants?

The short answer is yes, smoking can make implant placement a bit riskier — but in the big picture, it doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) have this procedure done if it’s needed.

Smoking, as you know, has harmful effects in your mouth (even leaving aside the risk of oral cancer). The hot gases can burn the oral cavity and damage salivary glands. Nicotine in smoke reduces blood flow to the soft tissues, which can affect the immune response and slow the processes of healing. At the same time, smoking promotes the growth of disease-causing oral bacteria.

How does this affect dental implants? Essentially, smoking creates a higher risk that implants may not heal properly after they are placed, and makes them more likely to fail over time. Studies have shown that smokers have an implant failure rate that’s twice as great as non-smokers. Does this mean that if you smoke, you shouldn't consider implants to replace missing or failing teeth?

Not necessarily. On the whole, implants are the most successful method of replacing missing teeth. In fact, the overall long-term survival rate of implants for both smokers and non-smokers is well over 90 percent — meaning that only a small percentage don’t work as they should. This is where it’s important to get the expert opinion of an implant specialist, who can help you decide whether implants are right for your particular situation.

If you do smoke, is there anything you can do to better your odds for having a successful dental implant? Yes: quit now! (Implants are a good excuse to start a smoking-cessation program.) But if you can’t, at least stop smoking for one week before and two weeks after implant placement. And if that is not possible, at least go on a smoking diet: restrict the number of cigarettes you smoke by 50% (we know you can at least do that!) Try to follow good oral hygiene practices at all times, and see your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.

If you have questions about smoking and dental implants, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
November 25, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   invisalign  
Invisalign ImageTired of crooked or overcrowded teeth? If so, you may be considering your orthodontic options right now; however, the idea of having a mouth full of metal might not sound ideal. If you’re serious about getting a straight smile, then consider Invisalign treatment in Honolulu and find out how you can get the smile you want without all the metal.
 
Experience a discreet way to straighten teeth: Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, the idea of getting braces a little later in life can seem frustrating. You don’t want people noticing your braces first; however, with Invisalign no one will be able to tell you have them on at all. These clear aligners are virtually impossible to see. Feel confident giving a presentation in front of the classroom or discussing an important project with clients. No one will know you are wearing braces but you.
 
The clear material promises superior comfort: Metal brackets and wires can irritate gums and feel downright uncomfortable. However, Invisalign is created from comfortable, flexible plastic. Plus, these aligners are custom-made to fit your smile, so you will find that these braces cause little discomfort.
 
Revel in the freedom to eat whatever you want: With traditional braces, patients have some dietary restrictions. This means no sticky foods like gum, hard foods like chips and nuts, or crunchy snacks like carrots or apples. Even hard breads and popcorn can damage the wires. If you love any of these foods then you know how bummed you would be if you had to cut them from your diet. Luckily with Invisalign treatment you don’t have to. Just remove your aligners when you want to enjoy your favorite foods. Just make sure to brush or at least rinse out your mouth before putting your Invisalign back in.
 
Enjoy how easily braces fit into your lifestyle: You don’t have to worry that coworkers are staring at your teeth during a meeting and you don’t have to worry about changing you entire oral regime. Invisalign makes it as easy to do your day-to-day activities with braces as it would be without. You don’t have to buy special cleaning products like Water Piks to safely brush and floss around wires and brackets. Just remove your aligners when you want to clean your teeth. It’s that simple!
 
If you want to find out if Invisalign treatment in Honolulu is right for you and your smile needs, call our office today to schedule an orthodontic consultation. Get the straighter smile you deserve.