By Ken Yasuhara, DDS - Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry
August 13, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dental ImplantsDiscover the unique benefits you’ll enjoy when you get dental implants in Honolulu, HI.

Dealing with tooth loss? If so, you may be pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to do to get your smile back on track. Don’t worry; this is where our Honolulu, HI, restorative dentist Dr. Ken Yasuhara comes to the rescue. We pride ourselves on creating customized dental restorations to ensure that your new tooth looks and feels exactly the way you want. Want to learn how dental implants can help you? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a dental implant?

An implant is a tiny metal post or screw that, in essence, functions just like tooth roots. In fact, an implant is designed to take the place of your missing tooth’s roots. In order to do this, an implant will need to be placed into the jawbone where the tooth once was. This provides a strong, long-term foundation from which to support a false tooth.

What should I know about getting dental implants?

Implants are the next best thing to real teeth and they can last the rest of your life if you care for them properly. Of course, this doesn’t always mean that an implant is the best option for replacing your missing tooth or teeth. It’s important that you understand what goes into this treatment so that you can decide, along with our Honolulu dentist, if this is the right tooth replacement option for you.

Here’s what you should know about getting dental implants:

  • In order to get an implant you will need to undergo minor surgery right here in our office. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia, and it allows us to place the implant into the jawbone.
  • An implant is made from biocompatible metal, which means that the jawbone and oral tissue will treat the metal implant like it’s a natural part of the body. As the bone and tissue heal from surgery, they will grow around the implant and fuse together with it to become one strong unit.
  • Sometimes another minor surgery is required in order to place a second part of the implant, known as the abutment, on top of the implant to connect the metal post with the dental crown. Whether you require this surgery or not will depend on the type of dental implant you receive.
  • While an implant is designed to replace a single missing tooth, if you are missing some or all of your teeth then multiple implants can be placed along the arches of the jaw to support full or partial dentures.
  • Implants are a great option for healthy adults who are missing one or more teeth. Implants are not right for children or young teens because their jawbones are still developing.

If you are an adult faced with tooth loss in Honolulu, HI, we know that nothing is more important than getting your smile back. Let our aesthetic dentist Dr. Yasuhara and his dental team help you. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

By Ken Yasuhara, DDS - Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry
August 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   cracked mouth  
PutanEndtoUncomfortableandEmbarrassingCrackedMouthCorners

We’ve all had physical ailments that were more irritating than serious. The problem of skin cracking at the corners of the mouth fits into that category.

Both dentists and dermatologists encounter this condition often and have a name for it: perleche, derived from the French word lecher, meaning “to lick.” The term arises from patients’ tendency to excessively lick the broken skin to soothe the itching or burning.

Perleche most often arises from certain mouth conditions, although systemic problems like anemia or diabetes may also cause it. Children or younger adults, especially those with orthodontic braces or a tendency to drool as they sleep, often develop perleche; older adults with wrinkling around the mouth are also susceptible. Mouth dryness caused by reduced saliva flow may also irritate the skin and cause discomfort.

As the skin becomes irritated, the person may begin to lick the corners of the mouth to soothe them. This sets up conditions for an infection, most often caused by yeast known as candida albicans. The infection may become more acute and begin to affect the entire inside of the mouth or throat.

If you’ve developed perleche, our primary treatment goal is to reduce any infection with the aid of oral or topical antifungal drugs. One drug, Nystatin, is often taken as a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth and works its way from there through the rest of the body. You can also apply antifungal ointments several times a day to the corners of the mouth, often in combination with steroid ointments that reduce redness and swelling. You can also apply antifungal zinc oxide paste to the cracked skin, which also serves as a barrier between the skin and outer contaminants.

To reduce the chance of future outbreaks, we may recommend you rinse with Chlorhexidine, as well as replace missing teeth or refit loose dentures — these too are contributing factors to erupting yeast infections. You might also need to undergo dermatologic treatment for wrinkles if they’ve proven to be a factor in developing perleche.

Although not a major problem, perleche can be exceedingly uncomfortable and embarrassing. Thanks to a number of treatment options, you don’t have to put up with that discomfort for long.

If you would like more information on perleche (angular cheilitis), 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 “Cracked Corners of the Mouth.”

By Ken Yasuhara, DDS - Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry
August 02, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
RegularCleaningsBenefitBothYourDentalHealthandYourSmile

Dental cleanings are an important part of regular dental office visits. Performed by a dental hygienist or dentist, cleanings serve two purposes: to remove bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened deposits of plaque) from tooth surfaces missed during daily brushing and flossing; and to remove stains that can dull your smile.

There are different degrees of cleaning, including root planing that removes plaque and calculus deep below the gum line, usually for patients affected by periodontal (gum) disease. For patients in good oral health, the basic cleaning approach is known as prophylaxis, a term derived from the Greek for guarding or preventing beforehand. The techniques used in a prophylaxis remove both “coronal” (tooth surfaces visible above the gum line) plaque and staining, providing both therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.

A typical prophylaxis includes a procedure known as scaling. Hygienists use special instruments known as scalers to remove plaque and calculus by hand, or an ultrasonic device that vibrates plaque loose and is flushed away with water. The procedure removes that rough coating you often feel as you rub your tongue against your teeth, leaving the tooth surfaces feeling smooth.

Tooth polishing is a subsequent procedure to scaling that also removes plaque and surface stains. Polishing is carried out with a motorized instrument with a rubber cup in which a polishing (or “prophy”) paste is contained. The hygienist moves the rapidly rotating cup filled with the paste over the tooth surface to remove plaque and stains. The end result is a highly smooth surface and a much shinier appearance.

People with dental insurance plans are often concerned tooth polishing may be viewed strictly as a cosmetic procedure, and thus not fully qualify for benefits. This should not be the case if coded properly: tooth polishing is part of the overall prophylaxis to remove plaque and staining. The primary purpose is therapeutic and preventive; the cosmetic effect is a by-product. Most dental plans will cover one or two prophylaxes (scaling and tooth polishing) a year, but there are variations so individuals should check their plans.

If you would like more information on dental cleaning, 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 Polishing.”

By Ken Yasuhara, DDS - Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry
July 23, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   tooth wear  
PutanEndtoBadOralHabitstoSlowtheRateofToothWear

While tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease destroy more teeth than any other causes, both of these diseases are largely preventable with proper oral hygiene and dental treatment. It’s more than possible, then, to enjoy a lifetime of healthy, disease-free teeth.

But even with healthy teeth, the effects of aging will cause tooth wear over time. And although we can’t prevent the aging process from occurring altogether, there are steps we can take not to accelerate the process.

Most tissues, including bone and teeth, have a growth cycle in which older cells are broken down (known as catabolism), removed and replaced by newer cells (anabolism). As we develop during childhood, the growth phase exceeds breakdown; when we reach adulthood, the two phases come into equilibrium. But as we age, breakdown will gradually overtake growth. This aging effect results in, among other outcomes, tooth wear.

“Normal” wear appears to be greatest — and most visible — along the biting surfaces of the teeth. The forces generated when we bite or chew causes enamel to erode over time. Unfortunately, you can accelerate this process through bad oral habits: clenching or grinding teeth, often times at night while you sleep, as well as habitually chewing on hard objects like nails or pencils.

Normal forces generated when we bite or chew are actually beneficial for dental health — they help stimulate bone growth. But when they exceed their normal range as when we clench or grind our teeth, they can increase tooth wear and cause other problems such as diminished function or changes in appearance, such as a shortened facial height.

To slow the rate of wear, it’s important to modify any behaviors that may be contributing to it. In many cases an occlusal night guard worn while you sleep helps prevent teeth clenching. You may also need assistance with stress management, a major trigger for these kinds of habits, through biofeedback therapy or counseling.

If you’ve already encountered excessive wear, bonding techniques using colored composite resin, veneers or crowns that attach directly to the teeth can restore lost function and rejuvenate the appearance and color of your teeth. We can perform a “smile analysis” to determine if one of these techniques is right for you to help you regain a more youthful and attractive smile.

If you would like more information on aging and tooth wear, 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 “How and Why Teeth Wear.”

By Ken Yasuhara, DDS - Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry
July 16, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

If you feel as though your damaged, broken, or worn smile is sub-par, restoring it can give your confidence the boost it needs to look great dental crownsand feel even better. In the past, dental restorations like crowns or bridges required several weeks and the help of a dental laboratory before their completion. CEREC, a technology widely used by modern dentists, skips the laboratory step completely and allows your dentist to design and create dental restorations right in their office. Find out more about CEREC and how it can benefit you with Dr. Ken Yasuhara in Honolulu, HI.

What is CEREC?
A CEREC dental restoration system allows your dentist to design and create porcelain dental restorations like crowns and bridges right inside their office rather than outsourcing it to a dental laboratory. CEREC is a system which uses a special wand to create a 3D model of your mouth rather than an old-fashioned clay impression, CAD/CAM technology to design the restoration to your mouth’s specifications, and a machine which utilizes laser technology to carve the restoration from a block of ceramic. From there, your dentist will put the finishing touches on the restoration and place it on your tooth. The entire process has a wait time of only about an hour.

Can I benefit from CEREC? 
In the past, dentists had to rely on a dental laboratory to design and create restorations by hand, a process which took about two weeks. Patients would need an appointment before and after these two weeks to complete their restoration. However, CEREC saves you time, money, and stress by combining the process into a single, simple dental visit. CEREC cuts out the laboratory step completely, including its wait times and fees. CEREC only uses the highest quality materials and ensures that you leave your dentist’s office with a full, natural-looking smile.

CEREC Restorations in Honolulu, HI
If you think you can benefit from CEREC porcelain dental restorations, you should consult with your dentist to ensure that this treatment is right for you. Ask about CEREC dental restorations at your next routine dental examination and cleaning. For more information on CEREC, please contact Dr. Ken Yasuhara in Honolulu, HI. Call (808) 947-8900 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Yasuhara today!





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