6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Endodontics | Dentist Near Me

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Dentist Wahiawa

Unless you have been referred to a specialist for a root canal treatment, you may not have heard the term “Endodontics” before now. Even if you have, here are a few interesting things you may not have known about this dental specialty.

  1. “Endodontics” is taken from two older Greek terms literally meaning “inner tooth.” In the word endodontics, “endo” is a prefix meaning “inner” and “odont” is the root word “tooth.” Endodontic treatment dates back to the 17th century.
  2. Endodontics focuses on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of the internal structure of the tooth. This can include root canal therapy, apicoectomy, treatment of tooth infections, and more.
  3. Endodontists start by training as dentists. Prior to obtaining their specialization, an endodontist like our doctor will earn a degree in dentistry. Afterward, they will complete an additional 2-4 years of focused education and training to gain their specialization.
  4. Root canal treatment preserves a tooth. If you develop an infection in the soft inner tissue of your tooth, antibiotics are not sufficient to treat the issue. Rather than removing your permanent tooth, a root canal treatment will clean out the infection and fill the tooth to protect it from further damage. A single root canal treatment can preserve your tooth for a lifetime.
  5. Root canal therapy relieves pain. Contrary to popular belief, having root canal treatment is not the cause of the pain that people often associate with it. The infection or trauma that underlies the need for treatment is the cause of the pain. Even though your tooth will likely be tender for a few days, most patients notice significantly reduced sensitivity following treatment.
  6. Endodontists can help save a tooth following dental trauma. In addition to their expertise in root canal treatment, endodontists receive training in a wide range of dental trauma concerns. In many cases, our Dentist in Wahiawa may be able to stabilize or reposition an injured tooth to prevent the need for extraction.

To learn more about endodontics or to schedule your root canal treatment, contact our Wahiawa Dentist office.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
Url: https://www.wahiawadental.com/
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Apicoectomy – What is it and Why is it Needed? | Dentist Wahiawa

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If you have ever needed root canal therapy, you may know that an Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in treatment of the tooth root. However, there are some cases where traditional root canal therapy will not be possible or will not yield the best solution for your infection. In these cases, your dentist may refer you to our office for an apicoectomy. Here’s what our dentist in 96786 needs you to know:

What it is

An apicoectomy is a minor treatment that involves removing the infected tip of a tooth root, then sealing the interior of the tooth to prevent further infection. 

Why It Is Done

In most cases, when pulp in the root of a tooth becomes infected, root canal therapy is performed. This removes the infection and prevents it from spreading further. In traditional root canal therapy, the full pulp is removed from the tooth, along with any infected tissue. When this is not possible or previous root canal therapy has failed, an apicoectomy is recommended.

An apicoectomy is generally performed by a certified Endodontist, like our doctor. You will receive local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout your treatment. We will make a small incision in the gum tissue. The inflamed root tip is then removed and sealed to prevent the infection from spreading. You should expect this treatment to take 30 to 90 minutes. In most cases, an apicoectomy on a front tooth takes less time than one on a lower molar. 

What to expect afterwards

Like any oral surgery, some discomfort can occur for the first few days following the procedure. When brushing your teeth, you will want to be gentle around the area. Any further discomfort can usually be mitigated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. We may prescribe medicine, if needed, to alleviate any discomfort that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Please use medications only as directed by our doctor.

Unlike traditional root canal therapy, you may not need to have a dental crown placed following an apicoectomy.

Acting on root issues as soon as they are detected is your best defense against infection and tooth loss. For more tips on keeping teeth healthy or for questions about apicoectomies, contact our Wahiawa, HI dental office.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Kill the Pain, Save the Tooth | Wahiawa HI Dentist

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Root canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information shared by our dentist in 96786 about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter.

Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:

  • Deep tooth decay
  • Chip or crack in tooth structure
  • Tooth root fracture
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Repeated treatment on a single tooth

Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss.

Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications.

After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy.

Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our dental office in Wahiawa, HI.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Are Your Medications Damaging Your Oral Health? | Dentist in 96786

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of all Americans are currently taking prescription medications and more than half take vitamins or other dietary supplements. Even when used as directed and under medical supervision, you may experience medication side effects that can impact your oral health. Always let us know if you are taking any medicines or supplements and if those have changed since your last visit.

Here are some common side effects of medications that can impact your oral health:

Abnormal Bleeding

Blood thinning and reduced clotting accompany the use of some medications. This can cause problems with excessive bleeding during treatments for periodontal disease or oral surgery. Your Wahiawa dentist needs to know if you are taking any medications or supplements before scheduling any treatment that may involve bleeding.

Dry Mouth

Many medications can cause reduced saliva production. When your mouth does not produce enough saliva, it is more susceptible to inflammation and infection, tooth decay, and other oral health problems.

Fungal Infection

Oral Candidiasis is an oral fungal infection that can affect those who use oral inhalers for asthma and other breathing conditions. We encourage patients with inhalers to rinse their mouth thoroughly with water after using their inhaler.

Gum Tissue Enlargement

Overgrowth or enlargement of gum tissue may occur as a side effect of certain medications. Patients with this condition need to give special attention to keeping teeth and gums clean to prevent inflammation or decay.

Soft Tissue Reactions

Inflammation, oral sores, or discoloration of soft tissues can occur as a side effect of some medications. If you experience this type of reaction, we may be able to prescribe a special oral hygiene regimen that can alleviate your discomfort.

Tooth Decay

While tooth decay is not directly a side effect of medication, several types of medicines use sugar to improve the flavor, especially those in liquid, chewable, and lozenge forms. When these are taken over a period of time, the sugars left on the teeth can make the patient more likely to develop tooth decay. When possible, select sugar-free versions of medications, take with meals, or rinse your mouth after taking a sugared medicine.

Severe tooth decay can lead to the need for Endodontic treatment, such as a root canal, and can even lead to tooth loss. If you have concerns about your medications, contact our Wahiawa, HI dental office immediately.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Do You Brush Your Teeth Too Much? | 96786 Dentist

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Brushing your teeth is a vital step in maintaining good oral health. However, is there such a thing as over-brushing?

The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. People sometimes brush after every meal, or brush midday to freshen up. Although this is not always a bad thing, when you start brushing too much or for too long, you can ultimately damage your teeth.

Brushing more than three times a day, and for longer than 2 minutes, can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down as well as cause damage to your gums. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and helps fight against tooth decay. Over-brushing can damage this shield and cause teeth to become sensitive and prone to cavities.

Practicing proper oral hygiene care at home is an important part of your overall oral health. However, being aware of how much is too much is equally important in keeping your smile healthy. 

Using the right kind of toothbrush helps prevent unnecessary enamel erosion. It is recommended you use a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal of Acceptance shows that:

  • All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth.
  • Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges (a soft-bristled toothbrush helps prevent the wearing down of enamel).
  • The toothbrush can be used to provide a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque.

Scheduling regular professional cleanings and exams with our dentist in 96786 will keep your mouth healthy. 

Contact our dental office in Wahiawa, HI today to schedule a cleaning and comprehensive exam with our dentist.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Chew on This: Foods for Healthy Teeth | Dentist in Wahiawa

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No time to brush or floss your teeth? When brushing or flossing isn’t convenient, you can still keep your mouth feeling fresh by eating certain foods. When you’re on the go or in a hurry, our dentist in 96786 recommends to try grabbing one of these foods to munch on to help fight plaque and keep your teeth healthy. 

Cheese provides several benefits for your teeth, such as preserves and rebuilds tooth enamel, prevents plaque and balances your mouth’s acidity level. It also helps to produce saliva, which kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Tea contains polyphenols, which slows the growth of bacteria associated with tooth decay and gum disease. It prevents the bacteria in your mouth from turning sugar into plaque. Tea also fights the bacteria that cause bad breath.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots and celery, require extra chewing which produces saliva. Saliva helps to neutralize bacteria that cause tooth decay. Also, chewing on naturally abrasive foods removes stuck food particles, massages gums and cleans between teeth.

Vitamin-rich foods containing calcium and phosphorus can help keep tooth enamel strong and healthy. Acidic foods may cause tiny lesions on tooth enamel. Calcium and phosphate help redeposit minerals back into these lesions.

Sugarless gum contains xylitol that helps to prevent plaque and aids in producing saliva. Chewing sugarless gum also keeps your breath smelling fresh.

Raisins contain phytochemicals, which fights bacteria that causes tooth decay. Some compounds in raisins also affect the growth of bacteria that is associated with gum disease.

Water is the best way to stimulate saliva, which is your body’s greatest defense against bacteria that cause plaque and cavities. If you can’t brush after eating, rinse your mouth with water to assist in preventing tooth decay.

It is important to have a balanced diet for your oral and overall health. While these foods help to combat plaque buildup and tooth decay, no food can take the place of daily brushing and flossing. It is vital to continue your daily oral hygiene regimen and keep up with regular scheduled appointments at our dental office in Wahiawa, HI.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Root Canals Without Fear | Wahiawa HI Dentist

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According to the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), there are popular misconceptions people may have regarding root canal therapy. Unfortunately, these patients may make decisions about their health care based on this incomplete or inaccurate information. Below are some common myths shared by our 96787 dentist that you may have heard about root canal treatment.

Myth 1: Root canal treatment is painful.

In reality, the only pain that is generally associated with root canal therapy is caused by the underlying reason for the treatment – tooth decay or infected or diseased tissue. The root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, relieving the pain in the process.

Myth 2: Root canal treatment can spread infection.

In fact, root canal therapy has been proven to have a much lower incidence of bacteria entering the blood stream than tooth extraction and causes much less discomfort for the patient. Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has also found that patients who have had multiple endodontic treatments have a 45% lower risk of cancer than patients who have not.

Myth 3: It’s better to just extract problem teeth.

By saving the natural tooth whenever possible, doctors and patients avoid the need for further, more costly treatment. Root canal treatment has a very high success rate and can often allow the natural tooth to last a lifetime.

If you still experience anxiety about the prospect of root canal treatment, there is another option you may consider. Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry is pleased to offer sedation dentistry. Whether you have sensitive teeth that make treatment difficult, prohibitive anxiety that keeps you out of the dental chair, or multiple treatments that need to be done in one sitting, sedation dentistry can remove the worry from dental care.

Don’t let dental anxiety prevent you from receiving the quality care you deserve. Our qualified team is fully certified to offer sedation dentistry. Turn a potentially stressful trip to the dentist into a relaxing experience while receiving the care you need. To learn more about our sedation offerings, contact our dental office in Wahiawa, HI today!

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Changing Your Spots: White Areas on Teeth | Wahiawa Dentist

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White spots on your teeth can be irritating and affect how you feel about your smile. The good news, however, is that they are preventable and rarely cause for concern. Here are things our dentist in 96786 wants you to know about what causes white spots, how to prevent them, and what options are available should you already have them.

What causes white spots on teeth?

1.       Dental Fluorosis This can happen when a child consumes or is exposed to too much fluoride during the development of their teeth. While undesirable, this is harmless and can happen before teeth even emerge. The most common cause of fluorosis in the US is the use or ingestion of too much toothpaste.

2.       Poor Dental HygieneForgetting to brush regularly can cause white spots to develop.

3.       Braces – Wearing braces for an extended time can affect the coloration of your teeth and create white spots.

4.       Acidic or Sugary Foods – These foods can damage your teeth as well as change the color of their enamel. Rinsing your mouth after you consuming acidic or sugary items can help negate these effects.

How can I prevent them from appearing?

Following a proper oral hygiene regimen is the best way to prevent white spots on teeth. Ensure your child uses the correct amount of toothpaste – children under 3 should use a smear the size of a rice grain, and children over 3 should not use more than a pea-sized amount. It is common for children to accidentally swallow or fail to spit out toothpaste, so be sure to supervise your child as they are learning.

What are options for treatment?

If you are already dealing with white spots, you have options. Whitening or bleaching can make the coloration of your teeth more uniform. Dental veneers can restore the entire appearance of your teeth, solving not just the problem of white spots. In some cases, topical fluoride or enamel microabrasion upon the white spots themselves can do the trick.

Our doctor will recommend the optimal solution for treating white spots on your teeth. Contact our dental office in Wahiawa, HI for a consultation today.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

Should You Brush Right After Eating? | Dentist 96786

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Enamel is the guardian of your teeth and the hardest material in the body. It’s the first defense against harmful bacteria which may lead to tooth decay. When you eat certain foods, it creates bacteria which attack your tooth enamel. Carbohydrates and sugary foods are examples of these foods. Brushing directly after eating can be harmful to your enamel.

Why this is a problem

When eating or drinking, the pH balance in your mouth changes. After each bite of acidic food, the pH balance moves towards a level which causes demineralization. The new acidity softens the enamel which can cause bacteria to get into the teeth. Brushing right after you eat may damage your enamel. This is important because enamel protects your teeth from damage.  

Steps you can take to protect your enamel:

If you’ve had anything acidic, don’t brush for at least 30 minutes.

Fruits with citric acid are one example. If you are planning ingesting acidic foods or drinks, you can brush beforehand.

A glass of water will help remove the acid. Follow this by chewing sugarless gum. These steps help create saliva which will help bring back the necessary pH balance needed for a healthy smile.

Try to avoid soda as prolonged phosphoric acid can cause permanent damage.

Our dentist in 96786 says that brushing your teeth twice a day is an important habit for optimal oral health.

Have you ever been told you should brush your teeth right after eating? While this may sound like the right habit to adapt, this practice could be detrimental to the health of your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating may be a better option to keep enamel strong. Visit our office for an exam and we can give you for tips for healthy, strong teeth. Call our dental office in Wahiawa, HI today.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

How Candy Threatens Your Child’s Smile | Dentist in 96786

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How often does your child eat candy? According to a study conducted by the USDA Economic Research Service, children under 12 consume an average of 49 pounds of sugar in one year. While candy is not the sole source of sugar in a child’s diet, the impacts of sugary candy treats are particularly harmful to teeth. Here’s what you our dentist in 96786 needs you to know about candy and how it might be damaging your child’s smile.

The Impact of Sugar on Teeth

The real culprit in candy is the high sugar content. Certain types of bacteria that are present in your mouth can feed on sugar. These destructive bacteria then create acid that wears away tooth enamel. When enamel is weakened, your risk of developing decay increases. Your mouth is effective at neutralizing acids and aiding minerals that strengthen enamel if the amount of sugars and acids is not excessive. Your mouth can only do so much, which makes it essential to limit your sugar intake and maintain a regular and thorough oral hygiene routine.

Watch Out for Sticky, Sugary Candies

Not all candies are made equal. For a general rule of thumb, the sticker the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Sticky candies leave sugary residue on your teeth long after you are done eating. This gives the bacteria in your mouth more time to start demineralizing enamel. Watch out for sticky candies like gum drops and taffy.

Suckers, lollipops, and hard sucking candies are troublesome because they are in your mouth for an extended period of time. Like sticky candies, this allows for more time for harmful bacteria to get to work by weakening your teeth. You can also chip or crack a tooth if you bite too hard.

Other problematic candies include those that are gummy and coated in sugar. Think of gummy worms or another sour covered, chewy critter. Not only are they high in sugar content, but they also typically contain harmful acids that contribute to a loss of enamel.

Steps for Preventing Decay

You can help your child by limiting their candy and sugar intake. In some instances, this can be tricky and even out of your control when your child is at school or a friend’s house. What you can do is instill good oral hygiene habits in your child. Make sure they are brushing for two minutes twice each day. You can make brushing fun. Sing a song together for the two minutes, and allow them to choose a fun toothbrush and toothpaste flavor.

Candy is a fun treat. You don’t have to take it away from your child altogether, but limit their exposure to such treats and educate them about the impacts candy can have on their teeth. When left untreated, decay can spread leading to pain and infection. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office is essential. More than just a dental cleaning, we will provide a thorough examination to check for decay.

If you haven’t already scheduled your child’s next appointment, please contact our dental office in Wahiawa, HI.

Wahiawa Tokunaga Family Dentistry
Phone: (808) 622-5570
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, HI 96786

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Dentist in Wahiawa
612 Kilani Avenue
Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786

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