77-6443 Kuakini Hwy Kailua Kona, HI 96740(808) 329-0889

Dentist Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Sweet Tooth Dental
March 06, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Teeth Whitening  

What's the best way to brighten stained teeth? Just renew your smile with professional teeth whitening from Dr. Garrett Oka, your dentist at Sweet Tooth Dental in Kailua Kona, HI. One of the most requested cosmetic treatments at Sweet Tooth Dental, whitening dramatically improves tooth color for that "WOW" impact.

How teeth whitening works

To pursue a white, bright smile fast, ask your dentist in Kailua Kona, HI, about the teeth whitening service he offers. He'll detail the treatment, go over your medical history, and examine your teeth and gums. That way, you'll know if your mouth is healthy enough for this popular cosmetic treatment.

If it is, you'll choose at-home or in-office whitening. Both use concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel to lift stubborn organic matter right out of your tooth enamel. Smoking, coffee, dark foods and poor oral hygiene habits are responsible for most extrinsic dental stains. Luckily, teeth whitening removes most of them, leaving teeth brighter by several shades of color.

If you choose in-office whitening, you'll relax in the dental chair for about an hour while your dental team applies the whitening gel. Once your dentist rinses it off, you're done.

The at-home version involves daily application of the whitening gel with custom-fitted acrylic trays. After about a week or so, you'll see a shiny, white smile. Results are similar to in-office whitening.

Keeping a white smile

It's easier than you may think. However, you may have to change some habits. Here are suggestions which work for many teens and adults who wish to keep their smiles bright and beautiful:

  1. Stop all tobacco usage. It leads to gum disease and oral cancer and also stains teeth brown.
  2. Drink plenty of water every day, particularly after consuming dark dietary choices, such as soy sauce and black tea.
  3. Brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes with a quality fluoride toothpaste, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Floss carefully every day to remove plaque.
  4. Limit coffee, tea, and cola, or drink them with a straw.
  5. Get professional cleanings and check-ups twice a year at Sweet Tooth Dental.
  6. As needed, get whitening touch-ups on selected areas of your mouth, such as your top front teeth.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) says your white smile can look great indefinitely. Isn't that great?

Quick, easy and economical

That's professional teeth whitening from Dr. Garrett Oka, your caring dentist in Kailua Kona, HI. For a one-on-one consultation on your cosmetic dentistry options, phone Sweet Tooth Dental for an appointment: (808) 329-0889.

By Sweet Tooth Dental
March 03, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

In many ways, the teenage years are the best time to have orthodontic treatment. It’s a good time emotionally because your teen is likely to have friends who also wear braces; orthodontic treatment becomes a rite of passage they can go through together. It’s also advantageous in a physical sense because all 20 baby teeth have come out, and most of the 32 adult teeth (except the 4 wisdom teeth) have emerged. At the same time, especially with younger teens, jaw growth is not yet complete — allowing orthodontists to harness the growing body’s natural adaptability. We can use a variety of appliances to do that — some of which weren’t around a generation ago!

Appliance Choices

In many cases, traditional metal braces are still the best way to achieve the desired results. However, these are not the “train tracks” of old. Braces are smaller and lighter, with brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of teeth rather than to bands that encircle the entire tooth (except in the very back). Braces can be made much less noticeable by using ceramic brackets that are clear or tooth-colored; however, ceramic brackets are easier to break than metal. An even stealthier way to undergo orthodontic treatment is with clear aligners. These removable clear plastic “trays” are custom made with the help of computer software that divides the treatment process into two-week stages. After each two-week period, the tray is changed and the next stage of movement takes place until the teeth are in correct alignment. The Invisalign system has two modifications especially for teens: “eruption tabs” that hold space open for emerging molars, and “compliance indicators” that can tell parents and orthodontists if the teen is keeping the trays in for the prescribed amount of time. We’d be happy to discuss whether clear aligners would be an option for your child.

Keeping It Clean

No matter which type of appliance is used, oral hygiene becomes even more important during orthodontic treatment. Wearing braces presents special challenges in terms of keeping teeth clean; however, it’s extremely important to do an effective job every day so that gums do not become inflamed and cavities do not develop. It’s far easier to clean teeth with clear aligners, which can be removed, but the aligners themselves can build up bacteria, leading to the same types of oral health issues if they are not cleaned each day.

Making It Count

Another way in which orthodontic treatment will not vary regardless of the type of appliance chosen is the necessity of a retention phase. Everyone who has their teeth straightened (and this goes for adults and younger kids, too) must wear a retainer to hold the teeth in their new and improved alignment while new bone grows around them. Yes, braces are easier to wear than they used to be… but no one wants to wear them twice!

If you have questions about braces for your teen, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Clear Aligners for Teenagers” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Sweet Tooth Dental
February 18, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Restore Your Smile With Dental Implants

When your teeth become cracked, decayed or chipped, it can put a damper on your confidence, your ability to eat and your overall health. While some dental concerns can be remedied with cosmetic methods, severe damage, or missing teeth require extra care. At Sweet Tooth Dental in Kona, HI, Dr. Garrett B.K. Oka offers reconstructive dental procedures, and dental implants are a popular option.

Dental implants can permanently restore the function, appearance, and strength of your teeth, giving you a fresh start on your oral health.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is essentially a replacement for an original tooth. It uses a screw like post, secured under the gum and into the jaw bone, as the support for an artificial tooth. Dental implants stay firmly in place and require no removal for cleaning or sleeping, as would other tooth replacement options like dentures.

At our Kona office, your dentist will ensure your dental implants are comfortable, appear natural and are customized for your mouth.

What can I expect during a dental implant procedure?

Because dental implants are a surgical procedure, your dentist at our Kona office will apply a local anesthetic pre-procedure to help alleviate any potential pain or discomfort. Upon making a small incision in your gum, your dentist will insert the implant into your jawline, which will serve like the root of a natural tooth. We will have an artificial tooth crafted to size and tinted to blend in with your natural teeth, and it will be attached once the bone has begun to grow around the implant. As with any surgery, you may find the need for an over the counter pain reliever for a few days after your implants are in place, and should avoid any hard or crunchy foods to decrease soreness.

Are dental implants easy to care for?

You will find dental implants are as simple to care for as your natural teeth. Thorough brushing and flossing, along with regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist at our Kona office, should be sufficient for maintaining your oral health.

Don't let damaged teeth interfere with your health and your smile. Call Sweet Tooth Dental in Kona at (808) 329-0889 to talk to a dentist about dental implants.


Moving teeth through orthodontics may involve more than simply wearing braces. There are many bite conditions that require extra measures before, during or after traditional orthodontic treatment to improve the outcome.

One such measure is extracting one or more teeth. Whether or not we should will depend on the causes behind a patient's poor dental bite.

Here, then, are 4 situations where tooth extraction before orthodontics might be necessary.

Crowding. This happens when the jaw isn't large enough to accommodate all the teeth coming in. As a result, later erupting teeth could erupt out of position. We can often prevent this in younger children with space maintainers or a palatal expander, a device which helps widen the jaw. Where crowding has already occurred, though, it may be necessary to remove selected teeth first to open up jaw space for desired tooth movement.

Impacted teeth. Sometimes an incoming tooth becomes blocked and remains partially or fully submerged beneath the gums. Special orthodontic hardware can often be used to pull an impacted tooth down where it should be, but not always. It may be better to remove the impacted tooth completely, as well as its matching tooth on the other side of the jaw to maintain smile balance before orthodontically correcting the bite.

Front teeth protrusion. This bite problem involves front teeth that stick out at a more horizontal angle. Orthodontics can return the teeth to their proper alignment, but other teeth may be blocking that movement. To open up space for movement, it may be necessary to remove one or more of these obstructing teeth.

Congenitally missing teeth. The absence of permanent teeth that failed to develop can disrupt dental appearance and function, especially if they're near the front of the mouth. They're often replaced with a dental implant or other type of restoration. If only one tooth is missing, though, another option would be to remove the similar tooth on the other side of the jaw, and then close any resulting gaps with braces.

Extracting teeth in these and other situations can help improve the chances of a successful orthodontic outcome. The key is to accurately assess the bite condition and plan accordingly.

If you would like more information on orthodontic options, 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 “Removing Teeth for Orthodontic Treatment.”


Stained teeth can be embarrassing — so much so you may even hesitate to smile. Before you seek out a whitening solution, though, there are a few things you need to know about tooth staining.

Tooth staining is more complex than you might think. There are actually two types: extrinsic, staining from foods and other substances of the outer surface of the enamel; and intrinsic, discoloration deep within a tooth that affects their outward appearance. The latter staining has a number of causes, including the type of dental materials used to fill a tooth, a history of trauma or the use of the antibiotic tetracycline during early tooth development.

There are some noticeable differences between the two types, although an examination is usually necessary to determine which you have. Extrinsic staining tends to be brown, black, or gray, or occasionally green, orange or yellow. Intrinsic staining can be red, pink or, if caused by tetracycline and fluoresced under ultraviolet light, yellow. If only one tooth is discolored it’s most likely intrinsic due to decay in the tooth pulp.

What can be done also depends on which type. Extrinsic staining can be modified through whitening, with either an office application or a home kit (there are differences, so you should consult with us before you decide). It may also be essential to modify your diet by restricting foods and beverages (coffee, wine or tea) known to cause staining and by eliminating tobacco use. You should also practice daily hygiene, including brushing with a toothpaste designed to diminish staining, and regular office cleaning and polishing.

Intrinsic staining can’t be addressed by these methods. Instead, you may need to undergo a procedure where we enter the interior of the tooth and insert a bleaching agent. If this isn’t an option, you can also choose a cosmetic restoration such as a porcelain veneer or crown that will cover the tooth to better match the color of your other teeth.

Dealing with stained teeth begins with a visit to our office to determine what type of discoloration you have and to learn your options. But regardless of what type you have, there is a way to a brighter smile.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments of tooth staining, 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 “Tooth Staining.”