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Dentist Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures


Among dental restorations, implants are the closest prosthetic we have to real teeth. They not only replace the visible crown, but the titanium post imbedded in the jawbone adequately substitutes for the tooth root. Because of their unique design, implants are not only life-like, they’re highly durable and could potentially last for decades.

But while their success rate is remarkably high (more than 95% exceed the ten-year mark), they can fail. Ironically, one possible cause for implant failure is periodontal (gum) disease. Although an implant’s materials are themselves impervious to disease, the tissues and underlying bone that support the implant aren’t. If these natural tissues become infected, the secure hold the implant has can weaken and fail.

A gum infection usually begins with dental plaque, a thin biofilm of bacteria and food particles that builds up on tooth surfaces. Certain strains of bacteria within plaque can infect the gums. One particular form of the disease known as peri-implantitis starts as an initial infection and ensuing inflammation of gum tissues around an implant. The disease can quickly spread down to the bone and destroy the integration between the bone and the implant that helps keep the implant in place.

That’s why it’s important for you to keep the implant and the tissues around it clean of plaque, just as you would the rest of your natural teeth. This requires daily brushing and flossing around the implant and other teeth, and visiting your dentist regularly for more thorough dental cleanings.

You should also be alert to any signs of disease, especially around implants: gum redness, swelling, bleeding or pus formation. Because of the rapidity with which peri-implantitis can spread, you should see your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of these signs.

Preventing gum disease, and treating it promptly if it occurs, is a key part of implant longevity. Preserving your overall dental health will help make sure your implant doesn’t become a loss statistic.

If you would like more information on caring for your dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Sweet Tooth Dental
July 24, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dentures  

Even partial tooth loss can have a significant impact on your oral and general health, as well as your self-esteem and overall quality of life.dentures From difficulty eating balanced meals to the social and professional consequences of missing teeth, tooth loss can be costly in a number of ways. But the good news is that there are a number of solutions available for full and partial tooth loss. Even if you've been missing some or all of your natural teeth for years, it's never too late to fix your smile and invest in your oral health. Dr. Garrett Oka, a dentist in Kona, HI, offers a range of cosmetic and general dentistry solutions for all of your oral health needs.

Fix Your Smile and Improve Your Oral Health with Dentures in Kona, HI

You don't know what you've got until it's gone as the old saying goes, and that is especially true when it comes to your teeth. Most of the essential things we take for granted, from eating are favorite foods whenever and wherever we want without having to think about it, to speaking clearly and smiling for pictures or at the people we encounter throughout the day can be feel difficult if not impossible for people living with tooth loss. Dentures can give you back your smile and your quality of life.

Types of Dentures

There are a number of denture options available depending on your situation, ranging from traditional dentures to implant-supported overdentures, which are held in place by dental implants. There are dentures for full or partial tooth loss, and you may be able walk out of the dentist's office with a temporary pair while your permanent set is being designed.

Types of dentures:

  • Full/complete dentures
  • Immediate (temporary) dentures
  • Snap in dentures
  • Implant-supported overdentures


Find a Dentist in Kona, HI

For more information about the different types of dentures available and to discuss the best tooth-replacement option for your needs, contact Sweet Tooth Dental today by calling (808) 329-0889 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Oka.


People improve their smiles for a lot of reasons: to better their career prospects, to put some juice in their social lives or just to do something special for themselves. But you may have an even stronger reason: a once-in-a-lifetime event—maybe your wedding day—is coming up soon.

You have several options for transforming your smile for the big day—and some are even quite economical. Here are 4 affordable ways to make your smile beautiful for that forever moment.

Cleanings. While dental cleanings should already be part of your regular dental care, scheduling one right before a big event can do wonders for your smile. Not only can your hygienist remove any lingering dull and dingy plaque and tartar, but they can polish your teeth for a brighter shine. Remember, though: dental cleanings support your own hygiene efforts, they don't replace them. Your own daily practice of brushing and flossing will also help you maintain a beautiful smile.

Teeth Whitening. You can also get an extra boost of brightness with a tooth whitening procedure. Using a professional bleaching solution and other techniques, your dentist can lighten your smile to your tastes, from a more natural hue to dazzling white. The whitening effect, though, is temporary, so plan to see your dentist no more than a few weeks before your big day.

Bonding. Perhaps a tiny chip is all that stands between you and a knockout smile. Your dentist may be able to repair that and other minor defects by bonding tooth-colored materials to the chip site. These composite resin materials have the shine of enamel and can be color-blended to match your tooth's natural shade. Composite resins are also fairly rugged, although you should avoid biting down on hard foods or objects.

Veneers. Although more expensive than the previous options mentioned, veneers are still affordable compared to crowns or bridgework. Usually made of thin layers of dental porcelain, dentists bond veneers to the front of teeth to mask mild to moderate problems like heavy staining, disfiguration and minor gaps. But because veneers are custom-fabricated by a dental lab, you'll need to plan them with your dentist at least six months before your event. The resulting change to your smile, though, may well be worth the wait.

If you would like more information on transforming your smile for a special event, 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 “Planning Your Wedding Day Smile.”


The 2019 Grammy Awards was a star-studded night packed with memorable performances. One standout came from the young Canadian singer Shawn Mendes, who sang a powerful duet of his hit song "In My Blood" with pop diva Miley Cyrus. But that duo's stellar smiles weren't always quite as camera-ready as they looked that night.

"I had braces for four and a half years," Mendes told an interviewer not long ago. "There's lots and lots and lots of photo evidence, I'm sure you can pull up a few." (In fact, finding one is as easy as searching "Sean Mendes braces.")

Wearing braces puts Mendes in good company: It's estimated that over 4 million people in the U.S. alone wear braces in a typical year—and about a quarter of them are adults! (And by the way: When she was a teenager, Miley Cyrus had braces, too!)

Today, there are a number of alternatives to traditional metal braces, such as tooth-colored braces, clear plastic aligners, and invisible lingual braces (the kind Cyrus wore). However, regular metal braces remain the most common choice for orthodontic treatment. They are often the most economical option, and can be used to treat a wide variety of bite problems (which dentists call malocclusions).

Having straighter teeth can boost your self-confidence—along with helping you bite, breathe, chew, and even speak more effectively. Plus, teeth that are in good alignment and have adequate space in between are easier to clean; this can help you keep your mouth free of gum disease and tooth decay for years to come.

Many people think getting braces is something that happens in adolescence—but as long as your mouth is otherwise healthy, there's no upper age limit for orthodontic treatment. In fact, many celebrities—like Lauren Hutton, Tom Cruise and Faith Hill—got braces as adults. But if traditional braces aren't a good fit with your self-image, it's possible that one of the less noticeable options, such as lingual braces or clear aligners, could work for you.

What's the first step to getting straighter teeth? Come in to the office for an evaluation! We will give you a complete oral examination to find out if there are any problems (like gum disease or tooth decay) that could interfere with orthodontic treatment. Then we will determine exactly how your teeth should be re-positioned to achieve a better smile, and recommend one or more options to get you there.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”

By Sweet Tooth Dental
May 28, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Crowns  

Find out whether your smile could benefit from getting a dental crown.

A dental crown is a commonly used dental restoration because it can help support teeth that are broken, fractured, decaying, or even need to be extracted. Since crowns can help improve the health and appearance of a tooth, it’s no wonder that so many people have one. Of course, despite how common they are, not everyone understands the purpose behind a crown. From the office of our Kona, HI, dentist Dr. Garrett Oka, learn more about dental crowns.

What is a crown?

A crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over the visible portion of a tooth all the way to the gum line. The crown is cemented in place to protect and encapsulate the tooth. In the past, many crowns and fillings were made from metal amalgam, but our Kona, HI, restorative dentist knows how important it is for patients to have a restoration that blends in with the rest of their smile. You’ll receive a crown that is durable and looks just like a real tooth because it’s made from either porcelain or ceramic, which both look just like real tooth enamel.

Why is a crown placed?

A crown can serve several different functions. First and foremost, a crown provides a protective barrier around a broken or weak tooth todental crowns prevent further fracturing or breakage. In some instances, if a tooth has a large filling that is wearing away and not providing the tooth with the full support it needs, our Kona, HI, dentist may also recommend getting a crown instead of another filling.

A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy may also need a crown after treatment in order to support the weakened tooth. Crowns also have the ability to improve the shape, size, or color of a tooth, as well.

Furthermore, a crown can also be used to hold a dental bridge in place. A dental bridge is used to fill the gaps in your smile and to replace missing teeth. Crowns are also placed over an implant to replace a single missing tooth.

Here at Sweet Tooth Dental, we want all of our patients living within Kona, HI, to receive the proper and caring dentistry they’ve come to know and trust. If you have questions about whether your smile could benefit from a dental crown then call us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Oka.