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ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
The following are indications of good oral hygiene:
PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE: Regular Cleaning vs Periodontal Treatment
After the initial scaling and root planing phase of treatment, data shows that patients with a previous history of periodontal disease should obtain periodontal maintenance at least four times a year. This interval will result in a decreased likelihood of progressive disease, compared to patients receiving periodontal maintenance on a less frequent basis. Tooth loss has been shown to correspond with a lack of treatment and maintenance. Because we are ethical practitioners we are unable to allow insurance benefits to dictate treatment plans. You may find that for the maintenance phase of treatment that a certain, local behemoth of an insurance company does not cover ANY of the maintenance, although one of the local Hawaii companies at least covers half of the required visits per year.
At the one year point, the periodontal status is re-evaluated and the treatment interval may be lengthened if the disease has been successfully stabilized. If there are still signs of active, progressive disease, then you may be referred to a specialist. back to top
Some types of bad breath, such as "morning mouth," are considered fairly normal and are not usually health concerns. However, persistent bad breath may be a sign of more serious problems with the gums and teeth.
Bad breath may be caused by the following:
Call our office promptly if you have bad breath with painful, swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth. We will perform a physical examination of your mouth to determine the cause. If we discover that systematic problems are the cause, we may refer you to your family physician. In severe cases of gum disease, we may recommend a specialized periodontist. back to top
Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they're too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavaties developing over time, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy. back to top
Bonding involves adhering composite resin material that is matched to the color of the tooth, to the front of the tooth. This is performed to repair damage caused by decay, to alter the alignment of the tooth, close gaps between the teeth, or for other cosmetic purposes.
First the surface of the tooth is roughened in order to accept the bonding. A gel is applied so the resin will adhere to the surface of the tooth. The composite is then placed on the tooth and the bonding agent hardens with intense light. The last step is shaping and polishing to give a lustrous finish. back to top
There are a variety of filling materials available including gold, silver, plastic and porcelain. The dentist will work with you to determine which material is best, depending on the extent of repair, where in the filling is needed, and cost. Each filling material is briefly explained below:
If decay or a fracture has damaged a large portion of the tooth, a crown (or "cap") may be recommended. Decay that has reached the nerve may be treated through root canal therapy or through a procedure called pulp capping.
SEDATION DENTISTRY/DENTAL ANXIETY
Nitrous Oxide Sedation
Intravenous (IV) Sedation
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT
CROWNS AND BRIDGES
Crowns and bridges are used to restore and enhance teeth that are damaged or to take the place of missing teeth. A crown (also referred to as a cap) is used to entirely cover a damaged tooth. A crown not only strengthens a tooth, but it can dramatically improve a tooth’s appearance, shape and alignment.
Crowns may be used to:
A bridge is an ideal method to fill the space created by missing teeth. A bridge is one or more artificial teeth cemented into place using the teeth on either side for support. This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science since it replaces a missing tooth both functionally and cosmetically. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material made to match your natural tooth color. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and aesthetics.
Bridges and crowns are made by first taking an impression of your mouth. The impression is sent to a dental lab where your crown or bridge will be custom made to fit your mouth and match your natural tooth color. A temporary crown or bridge will be placed into your mouth until your permanent crown or bridge is ready and cemented into place.
Bridges and crowns are very durable and can last a lifetime with extra care and good oral hygiene. back to top
After careful examination and treatment, the dentist may advise to have a tooth extracted. Before a tooth is removed, the dentist will take an x-ray in order to understand the shape and position of the tooth and surrounding bone. Based on the degree of difficulty, we may refer you to a specialized oral surgeon.
For a simple extraction, we will first apply a local anesthetic to prevent pain and discomfort. The tooth will be loosened with a tool called an elevator and then removed with dental forceps. Once the procedure is complete, the area may be closed with one or two stitches. We will then provide you with care instructions to alleviate discomfort and ensure proper healing. back to top
ROOT CANAL TREATMENT
This restoration method is used to restore your smile and mouth function if all your teeth have been lost. The dentures are custom created to resemble natural teeth and are positioned to take the place of natural teeth. Complete dentures are removable and may require adjustments in order to create a proper fit with the gums and mouth.
A removable partial denture is a device used when one or more natural teeth still remain in the upper or lower jaw. They usually consist of replacement teeth attached go a gum-colored plastic base which is held in place in the mouth. A fixed partial denture acts the same as a removable denture, but it is cemented into place using adjacent teeth for support.
New dentures may feel awkward or loose for the first few weeks until the muscles of your cheek and tongue learn to keep them in place and you are comfortable eating and speaking. Although this may require some practice you will adjust and enjoy the benefits a full mouth of teeth can provide. back to top
NIGHTGUARDS AND MOUTHGUARDS
Nightguards, or occlusal appliances, are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth at night as a way to protect their teeth and bite. They are custom made to fit exactly over the top teeth, and the inside part is soft. This acts as a shock-absorbing system, whereas the outside is a rigid acrylic, that is shaped very carefully according to your bite. If the teeth come together during use, the appliance guides the bottom jaw into a position where the muscles and the joints (TMJ's) are in a balanced, neutral position.
If you a guard is right for you, we will take an impression of your teeth which will then be sent to a lab to make a custom fit guard. In most cases you can choose from a variety of colors and styles. On average, guards last between 3 and 10 years.back to top
Symptoms of "TMJ" include: Headaches
Examination of the joint system involves an "occlusal analysis", gathering information from models of the teeth on a jaw simulator. Dental treatments for the condition can include replacing missing teeth, moving teeth, adjusting the bite and filling gaps between teeth. There is no one solution that is right for all cases. Occasionally a plastic mouthpiece (occlusal appliance) is used to prevent clenching or grinding that is contributing to the problem. If untreated and in severe cases, surgery may be required to repair a badly damaged joint. back to top
Cosmetic dentistry includes procedures correct imperfections or enhance the appearance of the mouth. Tooth color, alignment, spacing as well as regularity of the teeth are the characteristics that give the overall appearance. Any of these can be enhanced to provide a stunning new smile.
Tooth whitening is a popular procedure to make teeth whiter and brighter, and therefore more attractive. Bleaching can be used to whitening stained and discolored teeth, or simply to enhance a dull smile. Either way, tooth whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure ideal for most patients. Our office offers two methods of whitening: in-office whitening and tray whitening.
In-office whitening is an ideal for anyone wanting immediate results. The entire process takes place in our office in about an hour, making it the perfect choice for busy individuals. In this process, a protective gel is applied to your gums to protect the soft tissue. A special light-activated gel is then applied to your teeth and a special light or laser is used to enhance the action of the agent - making your teeth whiter and brighter. As a final step, we take impressions of your teeth to create custom trays for at home touch-ups, and give you instructions for keeping your smile bright. The result is dramatically whiter teeth that will last for years.
Tray whitening is a less expensive whitening treatment you can use while in the comfort of your own home. We will first take an impression of your mouth to create a customized clear whitening trays for you to wear. Within a few days your trays will be ready to be picked up and we will show you how to apply the special bleaching material to the trays. The whitening gel trays should be worn 30-60 minutes up to twice a day. At the end of this period, you will see maximum whitening results that are nothing short of dazzling. Occasional treatment can be used at your convenience to maintain your new smile.
LASER BACTERIAL REDUCTION
1. To reduce or eliminate bacteremia. During the normal cleaning process most patients will have some areas that may bleed, this allows bacteria that are present in all of our mouths to flood into the bloodstream and sometimes settle in weakened areas of our body such as damaged heart valve or artificial knee or hip, etc. We pre-medicate those patients we know have a heart condition or artificial joints with antibiotics so that these bacteria can’t cause harm to these areas. Latest research shows that these oral pathogens have now been linked to a number of other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, low birth weight babies, diabetes, etc. Needless to say anything that we can do to reduce or eliminate this bacteremia is a positive for our patients.
2. To prevent cross contamination of infections in one area of your mouth to other areas. Decontamination minimizes the chance that we may inadvertently pick up bacterial infection in one area of your mouth and move it to others.
3. To kill periodontal disease bacteria and stop their infections before they cause physical destruction or loss of attachment around your teeth.
The laser decontamination process is painless and normally takes about 5-10 minutes. We highly recommend that you take advantage of this service as part of your routine cleaning.
Laser decontamination is $35 and is NOT covered by insurance. Unfortunately insurance coverage is almost always behind the leading edge in high tech health care.back to top
76-6225 Kuakini Hwy, Suite B203 • Kailua Kona, HI 96740