By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
July 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Everyday habits could be helping or hurting your oral health.Oral Hygiene

How well do you care for your smile? If you brush and floss regularly than you may think you are doing everything you need to for your smile. Not so fast. You might be missing a crucial part of the oral hygiene puzzle. Our Columbia, SC, dentist Dr. Joel Johnson is here to provide you with helpful tips for making sure you are doing everything you should be for your oral health.

Visit the Dentist

Even if everything in your mouth feels hunky-dory you still need to visit your general dentist in Columbia, SC, every six months. Why? Well, plaque and tartar can easily linger in hard-to-reach places, which can lead to cavities and gum disease if you aren’t careful. Our professional dental cleanings ensure that you have a healthy, cavity-free smile. Preventive dentistry is key to a healthy smile for the long term.

Brush Twice a Day

This habit is really not that difficult and yet you would be surprised to hear just how many people only brush their teeth once a day. To keep your smile healthy it’s important that you brush your teeth in the morning and then again right before bedtime. Don’t forget to brush all surfaces of your teeth (front, back and chewing surfaces), as well as your tongue. Also, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush head every 3-4 months, or once the bristles start to look worn and frayed.

Brush Thoroughly

How long should you brush? We’re so glad you asked! You should make sure that you are brushing for at least 2 minutes each time you brush. Not sure you’re brushing long enough? Don’t worry; you can always set a timer on your smartphone to let you know that you’ve spent the right amount of time on cleaning your teeth.

Flossing is Key

Good oral health also means flossing regularly. In order to keep spaces between teeth and the gumline healthy, you should be flossing once a day. Make sure that you are also using a clean section of floss for each tooth. Always be gentle when flossing, as being too aggressive could lead to gum injuries.

Eating Healthy = A Healthy Smile

It’s important that you are getting the proper nutrients you need for a beautiful, radiant smile. Avoiding sugar and refined starches (e.g. white bread; pasta) are key to reducing your risk for decay. This means nixing sodas, sports drinks, some fruit juices (those with added sugars), cakes, cookies and other desserts. Instead, drink lots of water and enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.

Do you have questions about your oral care routine? Want to schedule your next cleaning with us? If so, call our Columbia, SC, dental office today. We are happy to provide your smile with the treatment and care it deserves.

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
July 12, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   diabetes  

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive bacterial infection caused primarily by bacterial plaque on tooth surfaces not adequately removed by daily oral hygiene. In fact, nearly all of us will develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues) if we fail to clean our teeth and gums for an extended period of time.

Some people, however, have a greater susceptibility for developing gum disease because of other risk factors not related to hygiene. Patients with diabetes are at particular high risk for acute forms of gum disease.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body can’t adequately regulate the bloodstream’s levels of glucose, the body’s primary energy source. Type 1 diabetes is caused by inadequate production in the pancreas of the hormone insulin, the body’s primary glucose regulator. In Type 2 diabetes the body develops a resistance to insulin’s effects on glucose, even if the insulin production is adequate. Type 1 patients require daily insulin injections to survive, while most Type 2 patients manage their condition with medications, dietary improvements, exercise and often insulin supplements.

Diabetes has a number of serious consequences, including a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Its connection with gum disease, though, is related to how the disease alters the body’s response to infection and trauma by increasing the occurrence of inflammation. While inflammation is a beneficial response of the body’s immune system to fight infection, prolonged inflammation destroys tissues. A similar process occurs with gum disease, as chronic inflammation leads to tissue damage and ultimately tooth loss.

Researchers have found that patients with diabetes and gum disease may lessen the effects of inflammation related to each condition by properly managing both. If you’ve been diagnosed with either type of diabetes, proper dental care is especially important for you to reduce your risk of gum disease. In addition to effective daily brushing and flossing and a professional cleaning and checkup every six months (more frequent is generally better), you should also monitor your gum health very closely, paying particular attention to any occurrence of bleeding, redness or swelling of the gums.

If you encounter any of these signs you should contact us as soon as possible for an examination. And be sure to inform any dental professional that cares for your teeth you’re diabetic — this could affect their treatment approach.

If you would like more information on dental care for patients with diabetes, 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 “Diabetes & Periodontal Disease.”

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
July 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

It's rare to see a movie star who doesn't have a perfect, white smile these days. Many of them rely on veneers, thin restorations attached veneersto the fronts of teeth. Veneers are an excellent smile enhancement whether you're starring in a blockbuster or just want to improve some aspect of your smile. Dentist Dr. Joel Johnson offer veneers and other cosmetic services in his Columbia, SC, office.

How veneers can help your smile

Veneers cover smile imperfections with a thin layer of translucent porcelain. Veneers are created from impressions of your teeth to ensure a comfortable fit. Although the restorations are as thin as a fingernail, they provide excellent coverage for the issues that can mar your smile.

Multi-purpose veneers are ideal for many cosmetic issues

Your Columbia dentist may recommend veneers if one or more of these problems affect your smile:

  • Discolorations: Whether your tooth darkened after an injury or dental treatment or changed color due to childhood tetracycline usage, a veneer offers a simple solution. Veneers are crafted in multiple shades of white, which makes it easy to choose a shade that matches your other teeth perfectly.
  • A Dull Smile: Veneers are a good choice if teeth whitening hasn't lightened your teeth as much as you had hoped, or you're looking for a longer-term whitening option. Best of all, veneers are very stain resistant and won't be affected if you drink coffee, wine or other beverages that contain dark pigments.
  • Imperfections: Even the tiniest imperfection in your tooth enamel can be very noticeable. Veneers conceal cracks, chips, uneven surfaces and other flaws. They can also change the length or shape of your teeth. Do you feel a little self-conscious due to a crooked tooth? Thanks to your new veneer, your tooth will look just like neighboring teeth.
  • Gaps: Gaps between teeth may not affect the function of your smile but they can certainly detract from its appearance. Although you may need orthodontic treatment if you have large gaps, slight spaces between teeth can be covered with one or more veneers.

Transform your smile with veneers! Call Columbia, SC, dentist Dr. Joel Johnson at (803) 788-2555 to schedule an appointment.

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
July 02, 2018
Category: Oral Health

When your braces finally come off, you’ll hopefully be astounded by what you see –once-crooked teeth replaced by a more attractive smile. But you might also see something you didn’t expect: noticeable white spots on some of your teeth.

These spots called white spot lesions (WSLs) appear lighter than the surrounding tooth enamel due to mineral loss just beneath the surface. This happens because bacterial or food acids have contacted the enamel surface for too long and dissolved the underlying calcium and other minerals. This results in a small discolored and chalky-like area in the enamel.

WSLs are common during orthodontics because wires and brackets create hard to reach places for brushing and flossing, which can accumulate bacterial plaque. The bacteria produce acid, which weakens the enamel at these places. The tiny white spots that result are more than just unattractive—they can become entry points into the tooth for decay. That’s why they should be dealt with as soon as possible—and preferably before they’re created.

To that end, you’ll need to do as thorough a job as possible brushing and flossing while undergoing orthodontic treatment. To improve your thoroughness try using an interproximal toothbrush that can maneuver more closely around braces hardware than a regular brush. You can also improve your flossing with a floss threader or a water flosser, a device that sprays pressurized water to loosen and flush away plaque.

If you do develop WSLs, there are some things we can do to treat them. We can attempt to re-mineralize the affected enamel with the help of topical fluoride (either pastes or gels for home use or with an office application) or a re-mineralizing agent. We can also use techniques like microabrasion, which restores damaged areas beneath the surface, or inject a liquid, tooth-colored resin beneath the WSL’s surface to improve appearance and protect against decay.

If while wearing braces you do notice any white spots or other tooth discoloration let your dentist or orthodontist know right away. The sooner your dental providers can begin dealing with potential WSLs the better your chances for a healthy and beautiful outcome after braces.

If you would like more information on oral hygiene while wearing braces, 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 “White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
June 22, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants   bone graft  

Every year dentists place over 5 million dental implants for lost teeth, often removing the problem tooth and installing the implant at the same time. But getting a “tooth in a day” depends on a number of health factors, especially whether or not there’s adequate bone available for the implant. Otherwise, the implant’s placement accuracy and success could be compromised.

Bone loss can be a similar problem when a tooth has been missing for a long period of time. If this describes your situation, you may have already lost substantial bone in your jaw. To understand why, we need to know a little about bone’s growth cycle.

When bone cells reach the end of their useful life, they’re absorbed into the body by a process called resorption.  New cells then form to take the older cells’ place in a continuous cycle that keeps the bone healthy and strong. Forces generated when we chew travel through the teeth to the bone and help stimulate this growth. But when a tooth is missing, the bone doesn’t receive this stimulus. As a result, the bone may not replace itself at a healthy rate and diminish over time.

In extreme cases, we may need to consider some other dental restoration other than an implant. But if the bone loss isn’t too severe, we may be able to help increase it through bone grafting. We insert safe bone grafting material prepared in a lab directly into the jaw through a minor surgical procedure. The graft then acts like a scaffold for bone cells to form and grow upon. In a few months enough new bone may have formed to support an implant.

Bone grafting can also be used if you’re having a tooth removed to preserve the bone even if you’re not yet ready to obtain an implant. By placing a bone graft immediately after extraction, it’s possible to retain the bone for up to ten years—enough time to decide on your options for permanent restoration.

Whatever your situation, it’s important that you visit us as soon as possible for a complete examination. Afterward we can assess your options and hopefully come up with a treatment strategy that will eventually include smile-transforming dental implants.

If you would like more information on obtaining dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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Columbia, SC Dentist
Joel E Johnson, DMD, PA
9 Office Park Ct.
Columbia, SC 29223
(803) 788-2555
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