Steven K. Okamoto, DDS & Michelle Okamoto, DDS
Owner & Associate
22330 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite E, Torrance | 310-373-1120 | okamotodds.com
The dental practice of Dr. Steven Okamoto is a 2,500-square-foot center featuring advanced technology in restorative, prosthetic and implant dentistry. As part of the facility, Dental Sleep Centre of the South Bay offers treatment of sleep apnea, bruxism and other sleep disorders. Dr. Steve has been practicing dentistry for 30 years; he also practices in Newport Beach. He and his daughter, Dr. Michelle Okamoto, both participate in extensive continuing education in dental health.
What is your area of specialty?
Dr. Steve: “Prosthodontics is one of only nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. A prosthodontist is a dentist with additional education in the restoration and replacement of missing teeth as well as a wide variety of other esthetic and cosmetic procedures. This includes crown and bridge, as well as dental implants to replace removable partial and complete dentures. After graduating from dental school, Dr. Steve was a resident in the UCLA Hospital Dentistry program. He continued his graduate studies through a prosthodontic residency, also at UCLA, where he received extensive training in diagnosing and treating temporomandibular disorders (TMD) of the jaw, traumatic injuries to oral structures, and congenital or birth anomalies such as cleft palate.”
What can patients expect when they visit your office?
Dr. Steve: “Our team will do their best to answer your questions or review your concerns about your dental health and specific needs. The office, although updated with the latest technology, still subscribes to the old-fashioned approach of listening to patients’ concerns.”
How does dental health contribute to overall good health?
Dr. Steve: “Over the past decade a lot of attention and research has focused on the relationship between dental health and overall systemic or body health. Several studies now suggest that uncontrolled periodontal disease may be a contributing factor to cardiac health, as significant as high blood cholesterol. Current research has found that periodontal disease has been associated with endocarditis, diabetes osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and immune disorders.”
What is your #1 tip for patients to maintain their oral health?
Dr. Michelle: “The simple things that patients can do at home are: brush your teeth at least twice a day; floss daily; eat a healthy diet and limit snacks; replace your toothbrush every three to four months; and schedule regular dental checkups. Patients should contact their dentist as soon as any oral problems or irregularities arises.”
Why see a dentist twice a year?
Dr. Michelle: “Because the dentist is often visited more frequently than the physician, the dental team is trained to identify conditions that may need further diagnosing such as oral cancer, various skin disorders and obstructive sleep apnea.”
How do dentists and physicians work together to treat patients?
Dr. Steve: “Today, physicians are looking for assistance with dental health professionals when they suspect heart disease with their patients. This communication was unheard of even as recently as 15 years ago. Often an orthopedic surgeon will request a thorough dental examination prior to proceeding with a joint replacement such as a hip or knee. Patients with a cardiac valve replacement will require special premedication with antibiotics prior to having various dental procedures. In addition, some trained general dentists and prosthodontists are able to assist the oncologist when a patient undergoes chemotherapy or radiation treatment to the head and neck. These dentists can consult and treat patients who undergo such cancer treatments to ensure that the patient is comfortable, able to eat nutritious foods to sustain physical strength and health, treat conditions that may manifest from such therapy, and institute a program to ensure that the dentition and oral tissues are not affected.”
How do you maintain your own health?
Dr. Michelle: “I enjoy staying active by taking classes at Cardio Barre in Redondo Beach and other dance classes up in Los Angeles. In my free time, I take advantage of the amazing southern California weather with hikes near the beach and exploring new places along the West Coast. I also have a love for cooking and enjoy trying new healthy recipes.”