Posts for: October, 2017

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
October 29, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   oral hygiene   pregnancy  
BabyYourTeethandGumsDuringPregnancy

For a healthy pregnancy, it helps to have healthy teeth and gums. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) encourages its members to advise expectant moms to see their dentist. But maintaining oral health can be more challenging when you’re expecting. For one thing, hormonal changes make you more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease, which has been linked to “systemic” (general body) health problems including preterm labor and low birth weight.

Periodontal (gum) disease results from the buildup of bacterial plaque on tooth surfaces in the absence of good oral hygiene. It typically starts as gingivitis — inflammation and redness around the gum margins and bleeding when brushing and flossing. If the infection progresses, it can attack the structures supporting the teeth (gums, ligaments, and bone) and may eventually result in tooth loss. And if the infection enters the bloodstream, it can pose health risks elsewhere in the body. Studies suggest that oral bacteria and their byproducts are able to cross the placenta and trigger an inflammatory response in the mother, which may in turn induce early labor.

TLC for Your Oral Environment

Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing or using another interdental cleaner at least once daily is your first-line defense again bacteria buildup. Professional cleanings are also important to remove hardened plaque (calculus) that brushing and flossing may miss. And regular checkups can catch problems early to avoid or minimize adverse effects. Periodontal disease and tooth decay aren’t always painful or the pain may subside, so you won’t always know there’s a problem.

Dental emergencies such as cavities, root canals and tooth fractures should be treated promptly to address pain and infection, thereby reducing stress to the developing fetus. Of course, if you know you need a cavity filled or a root canal prior to becoming pregnant, that’s the optimal time to get treated!

If you would like more information about dental care during pregnancy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the subject by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Pregnancy and Oral Health.”


By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
October 25, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Is your damaged tooth worth saving? Of course, it is if you wish to preserve your smile's appearance and functionality. No tooth is a dental crownsthrowaway. So explore the possibility of a dental crown from Columbia, SC dentist, Dr. Joel Johnson. Read details here on how dental crowns salvage cracked, abscessed or decayed teeth.

What is a dental crown in Columbia?

Your parents or grandparents probably called it a cap, and it may have been made of gold or other precious metal. This tooth-shaped protective jacket may still be fashioned from gold, but more typically today's caps, or dental crowns in Columbia, are porcelain or porcelain fused to metal (PFM).

Dr. Johnson gives his patient choice of material when he evaluates a tooth which has weakened due to numerous fillings, deep decay, dental abscess or oral trauma. He looks carefully at the tooth and gums and takes digital X-rays to evaluate its roots and supporting bone.

If a crown is a good option, he writes a treatment plan and takes oral impressions. These casts of the tooth in question and its neighbors help the dental lab construct the crown, shaping and shading it for perfect fit and bite. Dr. Johnson offers same-day crowns, too, which speed up the process significantly, avoiding long waits for crowns to return from the lab.

The dental crown procedure

This requires a local anesthetic to numb the tooth before the dentist shapes the enamel. Sometimes he must build-up the remaining structure with a post to provide a sufficient base to receive the restoration. After Dr. Johnson prepares the tooth, he uses a special adhesive to bond the crown in place. A final bite adjustment finishes the crown.

Additionally, an ailing tooth may require root canal therapy before receiving a crown. This reliable treatment removes diseased nerves, connective tissue and blood supply from the tooth's interior chambers or root canals. Once sealed and given sufficient healing time, the tooth is ready for crown placement.

Crowns also restore today's superior tooth replacements, dental implants. A dental implant consists of a titanium metal cylinder or screw, surgically inserted into a tooth socket to replace the missing natural root. A metal extension and custom-crafted porcelain crown finish the artificial tooth for realistic appearance and oral function.

Preserving your crown

Most crowns last ten to fifteen years, although ones made of precious metal last even longer. Key to longevity is good oral hygiene--that is, brushing, flossing and professional cleanings to remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. These bacteria-laden "biofilms" cause periodontitis, or gum disease, an enemy of natural teeth, restorations such as crowns and dental implants.

Keep that tooth

Why not look into a dental crown? It's a great alternative to extraction and can give your tooth the second chance it deserves. Call Dr. Johnson today for a restorative dentistry consultation in Columbia, SC: (803) 788-2555.


By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
October 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding   bruxism  
TakeChargeofStressManagementtoReduceTeethGrindingHabits

It’s hard to avoid stress in the 21st Century. We’re all bombarded with stressors, from work to family — even our smart phones!

The problem really isn’t the stressors themselves but how we respond to them and try to relieve stress. This can often have a negative effect on our health. One example: bruxism, also known as teeth grinding or clenching.

These habits involve the rhythmic or spasmodic clenching, biting or grinding of the teeth, often involuntarily, beyond normal chewing function. It often occurs while we sleep — jaw soreness the next morning is a telltale sign. While there are other causes, stress is one of the most common for adults, bolstered by diet and lifestyle habits like tobacco or drug use, or excessive caffeine and alcohol.

Teeth grinding’s most serious consequence is the potential for dental problems. While teeth normally wear as we age, grinding or clenching habits can accelerate it. Wearing can become so extensive the enamel erodes, possibly leading to fractures or cracks in the tooth.

When dealing with this type of bruxism, we must address the root cause: your relationship to stress. For example, if you use tobacco, consider quitting the habit — not only for your overall health, but to remove it as a stress stimulant. The same goes for cutting back on your consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic drinks.

Adopt an “unwinding” pattern at night before you sleep to better relax: for example, take a warm bath or keep work items or digital media out of the bedroom.  Many people also report relaxation or stress-relief techniques like meditation, mindfulness or biofeedback helpful.

There’s another useful tool for easing the effects of nighttime teeth grinding: an occlusal guard. This custom-fitted appliance worn while you sleep prevents teeth from making solid contact with each other when you clench them. This can greatly reduce the adverse effects on your teeth while you’re working on other stress coping techniques.

Teeth grinding or clenching can prove harmful over time. The sooner you address this issue with your dentist or physician, the less likely you’ll experience these unwanted consequences.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for teeth grinding, 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 “Teeth Grinding: Causes and Therapies for a Potentially Troubling Behavior.”




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

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