Renewing Smiles with Innovative Dental Restorations
Getting your smile back to good health is our passion. Dr. Paul Tanaka believes strongly in helping each patient receive the best possible care. That’s why our office provides top-quality restorative dentistry, using state-of-the-art technology to make treatment faster, simpler, and more effective.
If you’re dealing with a smile that’s damaged, has missing teeth, or is in need of repair, our skilled dental team is here to help! Contact our office and make an appointment today.
CALL US: 808-737-6229 REQUEST APPOINTMENT
Does My Smile Need Restoring?
If your smile is unhealthy due to tooth decay, damaged teeth, or tooth loss, a dental restoration is often the most effective solution for restoring your health. Restorations are designed to strengthen teeth and protect against decay and damage.
When deciding if you need a restoration, Dr. Tanaka carefully considers how your concerns are affecting your health and quality of life, and whether they pose a greater risk. A small chip may not be an issue. Cavities and missing teeth, however, can have long-term consequences.
If you’re unsure whether you need a restoration, the best step is to schedule a dental exam. Dr. Tanaka takes the time to help you understand your situation and provide answers to your questions so that you can make important dental health decisions with confidence.
Our Restoration Services
At our office, we employ some of the most innovative dental technology to help our patients receive the best possible care. Our comprehensive restoration treatment options include:
Missing Teeth Cause More Than Awkward Smiles
No one enjoys having a missing tooth. Aside from the impact on your smile’s aesthetic, the uncomfortable feeling of having a gap and the difficulties trying to bite, chew, or speak around it make it an unpleasant experience. However, there are also serious health concerns that come with a missing tooth.
When a gap is left open after tooth loss, the daily force of chewing can cause teeth to shift into the space, affecting alignment and chewing effectiveness. Impaired chewing also makes digestion more difficult.
The most significant effect, however, is on your jawbone. The body relies on chewing pressure passed through the tooth root to maintain jaw strength. Without that pressure, the jawbone stops receiving stimulation and begins to deteriorate in a process called resorption. This not only weakens your jaw and your bite but even alters your facial features, aging your appearance.
All of these reasons make it imperative to consider replacing teeth whenever possible to maintain good health and a better quality of life.
Tooth Replacement Options
There are several options for replacing teeth, each with different benefits and approaches.
Dentures: The most well-known replacement for teeth, dentures are available as either full or partial dentures. Full dentures replace an entire arch of teeth and rest over the gums, held in place by suction or dental adhesive. Partial dentures are custom-made to replace teeth as needed and use special clasps to anchor onto the remaining teeth. Dentures must be removed and cleaned regularly.
Fixed Bridges: These are used to replace a few teeth and cover the gap between the remaining teeth. The prosthetic teeth are suspended just above the gums by anchoring to the neighboring teeth, which are fitted with crowns. Fixed bridges are typically made of tooth-colored ceramic material, such as porcelain.
Dental Implants: Implants can support all kinds of restorations, from single crowns to full dentures. A titanium post is inserted into the jaw, where the bone fuses to the implant and provides stability. They are the only restoration to replace the root of the tooth as well as the crown, completely restoring the tooth.
Advanced Restoration with Implants
With their versatility, permanence, and effectiveness, dental implants have become an exceedingly popular tooth replacement option over the last decade. If you or a loved one are considering dental implants, here’s what you should know about this beneficial treatment option.
How Do You Know if You Need Dental Implants?
There are many factors to consider when thinking about getting implants. Whether you have dentures now or you’ve never had tooth replacement, you may have good reasons to look into dental implants.
These five signs may tell you that it’s time to consider dental implants:
- You have difficulty when chewing or biting and may avoid eating foods you enjoy.
- You feel uncomfortable with your smile's current appearance.
- You’re dissatisfied with your current dentures or dental bridge.
- You’re worried about bone loss and changing facial shape.
- You want to avoid altering healthy teeth.
Who Can Get Implant Treatment?
Most people will be eligible to receive dental implants. The titanium posts are a bio safe material, and they are capable of supporting any level of restoration, which makes them a good choice whether you need a single tooth replaced or an entire dental arch.
When evaluating someone for implants, Dr. Tanaka focuses on two important factors: jawbone strength and oral health. Healthy jawbone density is needed to provide stability to the implant, or else it won’t be able to withstand years of daily chewing.
Likewise, oral health problems such as gum disease can cause both the gums and bone to shrink, taking away implant support. To ensure the implant’s success, Dr. Tanaka may recommend additional procedures, such as bone grafting, and establishing good oral health before the dental implants are placed.
Dental implant placement is a surgical procedure. Therefore, it’s important to share your medical history with the dentist and discuss with your primary doctor about whether surgery is a good option for you.
The Dental Implant Process
Receiving your implant restoration typically happens in four stages, though the time between each stage will vary from person to person.
Dr. Tanaka evaluates your smile to determine whether you are a candidate for dental implants. He also investigates which type of restoration would be most effective for you, and gauges the optimal implant placement according to your situation. Depending on your needs, you could receive as few as one implant or as many as six to eight for an entire arch.
At your scheduled surgery, Dr. Tanaka places a titanium post using innovative navigational technology to ensure the ideal placement. Each implant is precisely located and angled to provide support and distribute chewing pressure evenly across your jaw.
After surgery, your gums and bone are given time to heal. This time is also needed for the jawbone to fuse to the implant for complete support. The healing process varies, but typically takes a few months to complete. A temporary restoration can be provided to complete your smile until healing is finished.
Finally, when your gums and bone are fully healed your dental implant can be completed. Dr. Tanaka will place your customized permanent restoration, and you can now speak, bite, and chew just as you would with your natural teeth.
How Navigational Implant Technology Makes Your Treatment Better
When it comes to dental implants, getting the placement right is vital to ensuring the success of the treatment and the overall comfort of the patient. Even the most meticulous planning makes little difference if it isn’t carried out well during the procedure itself.
Dr. Tanaka uses the latest innovative technology with Navigational Implant Surgery. This dynamic 3D guidance system calculates and displays the ideal placement to ensure the optimal position, angle, and depth of the implant post. The system provides Dr. Tanaka advanced precision and control, which means greater results for you.
Do Dental Implants Last Forever?
Once placed, dental implants fuse with the jawbone and become a permanent part of your smile. As long as your jaw has sufficient density and you maintain good oral health, the implant itself will last the rest of your life.
The restoration on top of the implant may eventually need replacement, either due to accidental damage or daily wear and tear. Fortunately, this is a simple process of crafting and affixing a new restoration, which is non-invasive. You won’t have to go through surgery again after the initial placement.
Completing Your Restoration with Dental Crowns
Whether you need to protect a tooth or reshape it, a dental crown is often the most effective solution. Each crown is a custom-shaped cap placed over the tooth, providing stability and protection from decay or damage.
Crowns are often used to repair or save teeth from:
Chips or breakage
Weakness from a large filling
Small or misshapen teeth
Crowns may also be used for cosmetic issues, such as a tooth that is badly discolored or oddly shaped.
Can a Crown Be Done in One Visit?
Our office provides same-day crowns for patients thanks to our CEREC® machine. This technology allows us to craft custom crowns right in our office.
We use 3D imaging to map out your tooth, then send that directly to the milling machine. The machine then shapes the tooth out of high-quality ceramic. Once complete, Dr. Tanaka places the crown and makes final adjustments to ensure optimal comfort.
The entire process takes about 2-3 hours on average, and you can walk out of the office with your new tooth in place.
Are Crowns as Strong as Real Teeth?
Crowns are specifically designed to be able to withstand daily biting and chewing. When properly cared for, a crown can last an average of fifteen years or more.
The only weakness of a crown compared to an actual tooth is the fact that a crown is not naturally attached to the tooth. Because it must be bonded in place, eventually this bond may break down, releasing the seal around the tooth.
Dr. Tanaka carefully examines all restorations, including crowns, during your six-month dental exam. If the seal or the crown is wearing down, he’ll discuss your replacement options with you.
Can You Replace Crowns?
No crown can last forever, and they will eventually need replacing. The question is not whether you can replace a crown, but whether you should.
Crowns can last over a decade with proper care. As long as they are secure and in good condition, it’s generally better for yourself and your tooth to leave a crown in place as long as possible. However, there are certainly instances when replacing a crown would be beneficial to you.
Some of these situations include:
- The crown is cracked, worn, or broken.
- The seal on the crown is loose.
- The crown is irritating your mouth or gums.
- A cosmetic crown is stained or otherwise aesthetically unappealing.
What if I Only Have Minor Damage?
For smaller issues, such as cavities and minor damage, a composite filling is capable of strengthening your tooth without affecting most of the overall structure. Dr. Tanaka offers custom composite fillings that are perfectly color-matched to your surrounding enamel. This allows the fillings to blend in and makes them nearly invisible to others.
A Healthy Smile is Waiting for You
Dr. Tanaka and his team are passionate about helping our patients get the care they need to protect their healthy, natural smiles. Whether you need complete tooth replacement or a simple filling, we have the skills, tools, and expertise to help. Schedule your consultation at our Honolulu office to see how we can help you today!
CALL US: 808-737-6229 REQUEST APPOINTMENT