Posts for: June, 2015

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
June 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers  

Find out how two simple visits to your Columbia, SC dentist could give you a brand new smile.

Are you tired of looking in the mirror and noticing small dental imperfections? Are these issues keeping you from having the beautiful Veneers smile you want? If so then it’s time to contact your Columbia, SC dentist Dr. Joel E. Johnson about dental veneers.

About Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are thin, custom-made translucent shells that are adhered to the front of your teeth by your Columbia, SC dentist to hide dental flaws and change the color, shape or size of your teeth.

While often made from porcelain, dental veneers can also be made from composite resin. Porcelain offers a variety of benefits over composite resin including the ability to resist surface stains. Porcelain also reflects light, which offers a tooth-like quality. Talk to your Columbia, SC dentist about which type of veneers are best for your smile.

What Dental Veneers Fix

Dental veneers are often used to hide these common dental issues:

  • Teeth that are chipped or cracked
  • Misaligned or oddly shaped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Minor overlapping of teeth
  • Severely stained or discolored teeth (usually caused my certain medications or excessive fluoride treatment)
  • Worn down teeth

Dental veneers have the ability to give you a whiter smile when teeth whitening treatment just wouldn’t be effective, particularly for internal dental stains. Dental veneers can also give you a straighter, more aligned smile without needing braces.

Getting Dental Veneers

The first step to getting dental veneers requires minor tooth preparation. During this tooth prep your Columbia, SC dentist will remove trace amounts of tooth enamel to make room for your veneers. This process is completely non-invasive and won’t require anesthesia to be completed. We only remove about ½ millimeter of enamel from your teeth. Then we will take impressions of your teeth, which will be sent to a lab where they will make your veneers.

Once your veneers have been made, we will have you come back to our office so we can permanently cement the veneers to your teeth. Before attaching them, we will temporarily place the veneers to check the look, and make any adjustments necessary. Then we will clean and roughen the surface of your natural teeth to help make bonding easier, and apply a special cement between your teeth and the veneers. Finally, we will use a special light to harden the cement.

Ready to find out more about dental veneers and whether they are right for you? If so, then it’s time to call your Columbia, SC dentist Dr. Johnson today to schedule a consultation. Let’s get you a smile that you’ll be proud of!

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
June 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Since their development in the laboratory over five decades ago, lasers have found increasing use in our everyday lives. In the field of medicine, it’s not uncommon to find lasers in the offices of dermatologists, ophthalmologists and surgeons, to name just a few. Now, some dentists are finding that lasers can offer an alternative means of treating gum disease — and one that may have advantages in certain situations.

You probably know that a laser produces a special kind of light — in fact, its name is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Essentially, a medical laser uses electrical energy to produce an intense and narrow beam of concentrated light. This light can be directed to a particular area, often via a fiber-optic channel. The laser’s precision allows a doctor or technician to focus the light energy exactly where it’s needed — to remove diseased tissue, seal off blood vessels, and sterilize a wound, for example.

For several years, periodontists — dentists who specialize in treating diseases of the gums — have been researching the use of lasers for treating certain types of gum disease. In standard clinical practice, hand-held instruments and ultrasonic cleaning tools are used at regular time intervals (3 – 6 months) to remove the sticky bacterial biofilm, as well as calculus (tartar), that forms in between teeth and gums. If that still isn't effective, gum surgery may be required to access the affected area, remove diseased tissue, and reduce pocket depth (the space below the gum line that gets larger as bone loss occurs) to prevent reinfection.

Recently, however, several new procedures have been developed that use lasers to accomplish some or all of these goals. One type of therapy uses a special laser that emits pulses of light with a specific wavelength (color) of 1064 nanometers. This light passes through healthy cells like a sunbeam through a window — but when it encounters darkly-pigmented bacteria, it vaporizes them instantly!

One of the potential advantages of laser treatment is its precision: focused directly on the area where trouble occurs, it targets diseased tissue but leaves healthy tissue alone. Another is that laser treatment is less invasive: It requires less tissue removal, and may cause less discomfort and tissue shrinkage (gum recession) than conventional periodontal surgery. And because it produces small amounts of heat, it can seal blood vessels and help control bleeding.

While lasers have long shown promise for treating gum disease, until recently it wasn’t clear if they offered any advantages over traditional methods. Now, several studies have shown that certain laser treatments can be just as effective as traditional gum surgery in many cases — with the potential benefit of being less invasive. In the future, the use of lasers for periodontal procedures is likely to increase.

It’s important to remember that no single treatment — not even a laser — can “zap” gum disease in one fell swoop. Controlling periodontal disease requires effective at-home oral hygiene combined with regular professional care. If you have questions about periodontal disease, please call our office to schedule a consultation.


Exchanging passionate kisses with big-screen star Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a dream come true. But according to Liam Hemsworth, her Hunger Games co-star, it could also be a nightmare… because J.Law’s breath wasn’t always fresh. “Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth said on The Tonight Show.

Lawrence said the problem resulted from her inadvertently consuming tuna or garlic before the lip-locking scenes; fortunately, the two stars were able to share a laugh about it later. But for many people, bad breath is no joke. It can lead to embarrassment and social difficulties — and it occasionally signifies a more serious problem. So what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?

In 9 out of 10 cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. (In rare situations, it results from a medical issue in another part of the body, such as liver disease or a lung infection.) The foul odors associated with bad breath can be temporarily masked with mouthwash or breath mints — but in order to really control it, we need to find out exactly what’s causing the problem, and address its source.

As Lawrence and Hemsworth found out, some foods and beverages can indeed cause a malodorous mouth. Onions, garlic, alcohol and coffee are deservedly blamed for this. Tobacco products are also big contributors to bad breath — which is one more reason to quit. But fasting isn’t the answer either: stop eating for long enough and another set of foul-smelling substances will be released. Your best bet is to stay well hydrated and snack on crisp, fresh foods like celery, apples or parsley.

And speaking of hydration (or the lack of it): Mouth dryness and reduced salivary flow during the nighttime hours is what causes “morning breath.” Certain health issues and some medications can also cause “dry mouth,” or xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water can encourage the production of healthy saliva — but if that’s not enough, tell us about it: We may recommend switching medications (if possible), chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.

Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a great way to avoid bad breath. The goal of oral hygiene is to control the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath — so keeping them in check is good for your overall oral health. Remember to brush twice and floss once daily, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and visit the dental office regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.

So did J.Law apologize for the malodorous makeout session? Not exactly. “[For] Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, yeah, I’ll brush my teeth,” she laughed.

Hemsworth jokingly agreed: “If I was kissing Christian Bale I probably would have brushed my teeth too. With you, it’s like, ‘Eh. Whatever.’”

If you would like more information about bad breath and oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than Just Embarrassing.”

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