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Dentist Blog

Posts for: February, 2016


A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”


Vacationing abroad can be the trip of a lifetime — or a nightmare if you have a medical or dental emergency while traveling. Dental care in many locations around the world can be limited, expensive or even dangerous.

Here are 3 important things you should to do to prepare for a possible dental emergency during that dream vacation in a foreign country.

Have a complete checkup, cleaning and necessary dental work before you leave. Whoever said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” must have been a traveler. Better to take care of problems beforehand than have them erupt into an emergency far from home. Be sure especially to have decayed or cracked teeth repaired, as well as any planned dental work like root canal treatments before you go. This is especially important if you’re flying — high altitudes can increase pressure and pain for many dental problems.

Research your destination’s available dental and medical care ahead of time. Standards and practices in other countries can differ from those in the United States, sometimes drastically. Knowing what’s available and what’s expected in terms of service and price will help immensely if you do encounter a health emergency while traveling. A good starting place is A Traveler’s Guide to Safe Dental Care, available at www.osap.org.

Know who to contact if you have a dental emergency. While it may be frightening having a dental issue in a strange place, you’re not alone — there are most likely a number of fellow Americans in your location who can help. Have contact information ready for people you know or military personnel living in your locale, as well as contacts to the American Embassy in that country. And if you’re staying in a hotel, be sure to make friends with the local concierge!

It’s always unsettling to have a dental emergency, but especially so when you’re far from home. Doing a little preparation for the possibility will help lessen the stress if it happens and get you the help you need.

If you would like more information on preparing for dental emergencies while traveling, 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 “Traveling Abroad? Tips for Dealing with Dental Emergencies.”

By Sweet Tooth Dental
February 02, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out all that dental implants have to offer your toothless smile.

Are you tired of other people noticing the gaps between your teeth? Do you often get self-conscious about your smile? Maybe it’s time dental implantyou talk to your Kailua Kona, HI dentist, Dr. Garrett B.K. Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental, about what dental implants have to offer and whether they are right for you.

Built Tough

Since a dental implant is meant to replace a missing tooth, it needs to look and feel like a real tooth. Even if you can’t have your real tooth back, the implant is the next best option. Not only does the implant function like the roots of a tooth, but the implant is also made from titanium, so there is no doubt that it’s strong and durable.

Designed to Last

Other tooth restorations have a shelf life of a few years before needing replacement. While dental implants may also need their own adjustments from time to time, they are designed to last the rest of your life, if you continue to care for your smile properly.

Eating and Speaking are Restored

When dealing with tooth loss, it’s amazing how quickly eating and speaking become a challenge. Instead of eating your favorite meals or going out to dinner with friends, your toothless smile has you self-conscious. But when you get dental implants in Kailua Kona, you don’t have to worry about these issues anymore. Better yet, unlike dentures, you won’t have to worry about your teeth slipping or moving around in your mouth.

Protect Your Jawbone

Leaving gaps in your mouth can also cause further issues for your smile, including loss of your jawbone because there is a lack of stimulation from your teeth. Before your jawbone begins to deteriorate, opt for dental implants. Because implants act just like tooth roots, they actually stimulate the jawbone to produce new bone cells, which keeps your jaw healthy and happy.

Maintain your Gorgeous Facial Structure

Once you lose teeth and your jawbone begins to deteriorate, it isn’t hard to imagine that your face will also start to change and sag as a result. Before cheeks begin to cave in, it’s important to look for a long-term solution like implants that can help you keep your face’s original structure.

Have we piqued your interest with dental implants? If so, then the next step is making sure you are right for this treatment. Schedule a consultation with your cosmetic dentist in Kailua Kona, HI. Turn to Dr. Garrett B.K. Oka at Sweet Tooth Dental to get your brand new smile.