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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Okabe Dental Arts
October 31, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  
SettingtheRecordStraightonRootCanalTreatments

If there was an “Unsung Hero” award for dental procedures, the root canal treatment would win hands-down. Much aligned in popular culture, today’s root canal treatment is actually a valuable tool for saving teeth that would otherwise be lost. And contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they relieve it.

To help you understand its true worth, here are some common questions and answers about the root canal treatment.

What problem does a root canal treatment fix?
A root canal treatment stops a bacterial infection that has invaded the innermost part of a tooth — the pulp — and is advancing toward the end of the root through small passageways known as root canals. Most people first notice the problem as a sharp pain in the affected tooth that may suddenly dissipate in a few days. The infection has attacked the inner pulp tissue, rich in nerve fibers; when the nerve fibers die they stop sending pain signals. The infection, however, hasn’t died: as it advances, you may then begin to experience pain when you bite down or when you encounter hot foods. You may also notice tenderness and swelling in nearby gums.

How does the procedure stop the infection?
A root canal treatment removes all the infected or dead tissue and cleanses the pulp chamber. We enter the pulp chamber through a small access hole created in the tooth’s biting surface. After tissue removal, we then “shape” and prepare the empty chamber and root canals (often with the aid of microscopic equipment) to be filled with a special filling. After filling, the tooth is then sealed to prevent re-infection (most often, we need to install a permanent crown at a subsequent visit for maximum protection).

How much pain can I expect during and after the procedure?
During the procedure, none — the tooth and surrounding gums are fully anesthetized before we begin the procedure. Afterward, you may experience mild discomfort for a few days that can be relieved with over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.

What’s the ultimate value for a root canal treatment?
The procedure can save a tooth severely damaged by the infection. Even covered by an artificial crown, a living tooth continuing to exist and function normally within the mouth is usually more conducive for optimum oral health than an artificial tooth replacement.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”

ForMichaelBubletheShowMustGoOnEvenWithouttheTooth

What happens if you’re right in the middle of a song, in front of an arena full of fans… and you knock out a tooth with your microphone? If you’re Michael Buble, you don’t stop the show — you just keep right on singing.

The Canadian song stylist was recently performing at the Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia, when an ill-timed encounter with the mike resulted in the loss of one of his teeth. But he didn’t let on to his dental dilemma, and finished the concert without a pause. The next day, Buble revealed the injury to his fans on his Instagram page, with a picture of himself in the dentist’s chair, and a note: “Don’t worry, I’m at the dentist getting fixed up for my final show tonight.”

Buble’s not the only singer who has had a close encounter with a mike: Country chanteuse Taylor Swift and pop star Demi Lovato, among others, have injured their teeth on stage. Fortunately, contemporary dentistry can take care of problems like this quickly and painlessly. So when you’ve got to get back before the public eye, what’s the best (and speediest) way to fix a chipped or broken tooth?

It depends on exactly what’s wrong. If it’s a small chip, cosmetic bonding might be the answer. Bonding uses special tooth-colored resins that mimic the natural shade and luster of your teeth. The whole procedure is done right here in the dental office, usually in just one visit. However, bonding isn’t as long-lasting as some other tooth-restoration methods, and it can’t fix large chips or breaks.

If a tooth’s roots are intact, a crown (or cap) can be used to replace the entire visible part. The damaged tooth is fitted for a custom-fabricated replacement, which is usually made in a dental laboratory and then attached at a subsequent visit (though it can sometimes be fabricated with high-tech machinery right in the office).

If the roots aren’t viable, you may have the option of a bridge or a dental implant. With a fixed bridge, the prosthetic tooth is supported by crowns that are placed on healthy teeth on either side of the gap. The bridge itself is a one-piece unit consisting of the replacement tooth plus the adjacent crowns.

In contrast, a high-tech dental implant is a replacement tooth that’s supported not by your other teeth, but by a screw-like post of titanium metal, which is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical procedure. Dental implants have the highest success rate of any tooth-replacement method (over 95 percent); they help preserve the quality of bone on the jaw; and they don’t result in weakening the adjacent, healthy teeth — which makes implants the treatment of choice for many people.

So whether you’re crooning for ten thousand adoring fans or just singing in the shower, there's no reason to let a broken tooth stop the show: Talk to us about your tooth-restoration options! If you would like additional information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Dental Implants vs. Bridgework.”

By Okabe Dental Arts
September 26, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
PorcelainVeneersHowLongWillTheyLast

If your teeth are stained and discolored, misshapen or too small, porcelain veneers may be just the opportunity to treat yourself to a beautiful smile that can last for decades. They may be used to restore a single tooth that is broken or stained, or many teeth that are worn or discolored. If you have small teeth with gaps between them, veneers can close the spaces.

Porcelain laminate veneers are thin layers of dental restorative material that are bonded onto your teeth. With porcelain laminate veneers you can change a tooth's shape, size, and color. They require a minimal amount of tooth preparation (reduction of enamel on the original tooth) and are a great way to help you have a beautiful smile now and for decades to come.

They can last from seven to twenty years or more. Part of what determines their exact longevity is the health of your mouth. Gum tissues may deteriorate and the gum line may shrink back away from the roots of your teeth. So brushing, flossing, and other good dental habits are important in maintaining your investment in your smile.

Veneers don't require special treatment, and you can eat nearly anything with them. Keep in mind one precaution, however. Porcelain, like glass, can break with too much stress. This means that biting something that applies a strong twisting movement to your teeth may cause the veneers to shatter. If you grind your teeth at night you may need to wear a night guard to protect your veneers. It doesn't happen often, but if a veneer detaches it can usually be rebonded to the tooth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about porcelain veneers and see if they are right for you to enhance or change your smile. You can also learn more about veneers by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers: How long will your porcelain veneers last?

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

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.