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Dentist Blog

Posts for: November, 2016


There are an assortment of techniques and treatments in an orthodontist's toolkit, braces being the most common and best known. Of course, there wouldn't be any tools at all if teeth couldn't move naturally.

Teeth aren't directly connected to the jawbone. An elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament lies between each one, with tiny fibers attaching to the tooth on one side and to the bone on the other. The ligament's elasticity and other qualities allow micro-movements of the teeth as we bite.

The ligament can also adapt to changes in the mouth and teeth by allowing the teeth to move to different positions. That's the basic concept behind braces: we thread a thin wire through brackets attached to the teeth, which we then attach to anchor points (usually back teeth not intended to move) and apply tension to it. Gradually over time, the target teeth move.

But what if your malocclusion (poor bite) is more complicated or the back teeth can't supply enough anchorage for moving the intended teeth? That's where we take advantage of other sources of anchorage.

One such source is the patient's skull, which we can make use of through special headgear worn a few hours a day. The device consists of a strap under tension that runs around the back of the head or neck to a wire housing attached to brackets on the target teeth. If you want to “pull” the teeth forward, the strap would come over the chin, forehead or a combination of both.

We may sometimes want to isolate some teeth to move without moving nearby teeth, such as moving front teeth backward to close a space without affecting teeth further to the rear. We can create a separate anchor point in the jaw with a TAD or temporary anchorage device.

TADs are tiny screws made of stainless steel inserted temporarily into the bone. We loop an elastic band over the TAD on one end and to a bracket or tension wire attached to the target teeth on the other. When we've achieved the teeth's new position we can easily remove the TAD from the bone.

These various tools make it possible to correct difficult or complex malocclusions. They may not always look attractive, but they'll help ensure the final result is.

If you would like more information on available orthodontic treatments, 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 “Orthodontic Headgear & Other Anchorage Appliances.”

By Sweet Tooth Dental
November 14, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental fillings  

Are you worried that you may have a cavity? Although tooth decay is never good news, it's simple to treat with dental fillings. Dr. Garrett fillingsB.K. Oka, your Kailua Kona, HI, dentist, shares information about dental fillings.

Why do I need a filling?

Tooth decay will continue to spread if it isn't removed. Removing the decayed area is essential in preventing the spread of bacteria. Fillings restore and seal teeth, preventing a bacterial attack.

What types of fillings can your Kailua Kona, HI, dentist make available to you?

Although silver fillings were once the only option, several new types of fillings have been introduced in recent years. The type of filling you receive may depend on the location of the tooth and your preferences. Common filling types include:

  • Composite Resin: In years past, there was no way to hide a filled tooth. Thanks to composite resin fillings, your filled tooth will look no different than your untreated teeth. Flexible composite resin is available in a variety of shades designed to match the color of your teeth.
  • Porcelain: Porcelain fillings are also tooth-colored and are very stain resistant. They're made in a laboratory or in-house using computerized technology. Porcelain fillings don't react to temperature changes, which can reduce cracking of filled teeth.
  • Cast Gold: Cast gold fillings are a good choice if you want a long-lasting filling material. These fillings are just as noticeable as silver amalgam fillings, but some people find the gold color appealing.
  • Glass Ionomer: Glass ionomer fillings are often used to fill cavities on teeth roots and front teeth. These teeth-colored fillings look like natural tooth enamel but don't last quite as long as other filling types.

Don't let tooth decay ruin your smile! Fillings offer the ideal way to restore your smile. Call Dr. Garrett B.K. Oka, your Kailuna Kona, HI, dentist, at (803) 329-0889 to schedule an appointment.