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Posts for tag: braces

By Okabe Dental Arts
November 19, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?

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.

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.
By Okabe Dental Arts
February 21, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental hygiene   braces   orthodontics  

Taking care of your teeth is a lifetime commitment, if you want your teeth to last a lifetime. But it can be especially challenging if you're wearing traditional metal braces. With a little extra attention, though, you can reduce the risk of dental disease during orthodontic treatment.

The goal of oral hygiene is to remove biofilm, a layer of leftover food particles called plaque that is a haven for disease-causing bacteria. Orthodontic braces make access more difficult for performing oral hygiene. A little extra effort and attention, though, can make a big difference.

First, be sure you're eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy snacks (especially those high in carbohydrates) between meals; this will discourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth. You should also limit your intake of sodas, sports or energy drinks since their high acidity contributes to tooth enamel erosion.

Although more difficult for someone wearing braces, brushing is still essential to good hygiene. Begin by holding a soft, multi-tufted bristle brush at a 45-degree angle, and then brush the surface area between the gum and the braces all the way around. Return to your starting point and brush the area from the braces to the edge of the top of the teeth in the same direction. Be sure you do this for both the upper and lower jaw and on both the cheek and tongue side.

Flossing is also more difficult, but not impossible. Instead of conventional floss thread, you can use special floss threaders, small interdential brushes, or an irrigation device that sprays pressurized water to remove food particles between teeth.

Above all, it's important to keep up regular office visits with us. In addition to monitoring overall dental health, we can also apply or recommend additional fluoride products to help strengthen teeth or prescribe antibacterial rinses to reduce the mouth's bacterial level.

Keeping up a good daily hygiene regimen and regular checkups will ensure that the smile you gain from wearing braces is healthy as well as beautiful.

If you would like more information on oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic 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 “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”


Metal braces for correcting teeth alignment have long been a fixture of adolescence. But although they're effective, they tend to put a crimp on a teenager's life with changes in diet and irritation and discomfort from the devices and regular adjustments. For many teens, though, these are minor compared to the change in their appearance that comes with traditional braces, and the embarrassment they may feel.

In recent years, there's been a growing use of another orthodontic device that reduces many of these inconveniences, especially regarding appearance. Known as the clear aligner, this transparent, “almost invisible” device can be taken out for eating, cleaning or important social events.

Clear aligners are a sequential set of clear trays made of polyurethane plastic that are generated for an individual patient using information derived from x-rays, photographs or models. Each tray in the sequence is slightly different from the previous one to account for the tooth movement achieved wearing the previous tray. The patient will wear a tray for about two weeks and then, if all looks well, move to the next tray. This process continues until the teeth arrive at the proper alignment, a period of about six to twenty-four months depending on the patient's initial condition and their progress.

Up until recently, aligners were a viable option for a limited category of patients, mainly adults. Recent advances have changed that. Aligners now include tiny “power ridges” that enable them to move teeth in more than one plane, something previous versions were unable to do. “Eruption tabs” can also be incorporated into aligner sets to hold the space for permanent teeth that haven't erupted yet — a must for many younger patients. We can also temporarily bond attachments to the teeth known as buttons (made with a composite that blends in with the natural tooth color) that give more leverage and stability to the aligner.

With these changes, clear aligners are now an effective choice for a wider group of patients, including many teens. Aligners are comfortable to wear, easy to care for, and for teens acutely conscious of their appearance, less obtrusive than traditional metal braces.

If you would like more information on clear aligners, 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 “Clear Aligners for Teens.”