Posts for: May, 2019

By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
May 30, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

How an extraction from your dentist in Columbia, SC, can help your smile

Sometimes, a severely decayed or badly damaged tooth can cause your entire smile to rot. In these cases of extreme decay, root canals often become unable to save a problematic tooth, thus creating a situation where a tooth extraction can actually help your oral health! Read on to learn how Dr. Joel E. Johnson in Columbia, South Carolina, can use this treatment to save your smile.

What tooth extractions can do for you

While tooth extraction is generally a last resort operation, this treatment can sometimes prove necessary to save your smile and relieve enormous dental pain. So, how do you know if you need a tooth removed? Well, you may need a tooth extracted if you have a tooth that...

  • Has lost a substantial amount of bone support due to periodontal disease and has now become loose
  • Has lost too much tooth structure to be repaired with either a filling or a crown
  • Is causing severe pain even after treatment with a filling or a root canal

These are just a few examples of when an unhealthy tooth should be extracted, but there are also many instances of healthy teeth that may need to be removed, as well. You may need healthy teeth removed if:

  • You are going to have orthodontic treatment: Some orthodontic patients do not have sufficient mouth room to treat all of their teeth. Removing some teeth can make orthodontic treatment easier and quicker, giving you better results.
  • You have wisdom teeth: Quite often, people don’t have enough room in their mouth for the onset of wisdom teeth. By removing this third set of molars, patients can avoid a number of potential issues caused by improper tooth eruption including infection, pain, and cyst formation.

 

Give us a call!

Your dentist can help you decide if tooth extraction is the best option to help your smile. For more information about tooth removal, call Dr. Joel E. Johnson in Columbia, SC, today at (803) 788-2555!


By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
May 28, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Veneers  

Restoring a dull, damaged smile can be as easy as adding dental veneers to your teeth. The versatile restorations are offered by your Columbia, SC, dentist, Dr. Joel Johnson.

How can dental veneers help my smile?

Veneers are designed to hide a variety of problems that affect the fronts of your teeth. Unlike crowns, dental veneers only require minimal changes to your teeth. Before you receive your veneers, your Columbia dentist will remove a very thin layer of tooth enamel. This step ensures that a comfortable, natural-looking fit for your restorations.

Your dentist will also make an impression of your teeth, which will guide the dental laboratory technicians who create your porcelain veneers. Once your permanent restorations are ready, they'll be attached to your teeth with dental cement.

Dental veneers can completely change the appearance of your teeth. They're often used to make crooked, twisted or oddly shaped teeth look just like your other teeth.

Is your smile uneven due to a few short teeth? Shorter-than-normal teeth can occur naturally or may gradually become a problem if you grind or clench your teeth at night. Luckily, your dentist can add a few veneers in a shade that matches your other teeth exactly.

Veneers can also:

  • Keep Imperfections Out of View: Whether you're concerned about a crack, chip, uneven surface or other flaw, veneers offer an easy way to conceal flaws. They can also hide discolorations caused by large fillings or the antibiotic tetracycline.
  • Close Gaps: Would you like to eliminate gaps between your teeth? Veneers can be used to close slight spaces, while orthodontic treatment may be a better option for large gaps.
  • Whiten Your Teeth: Teeth whitening can remove stains caused by coffee, tea, cola or brightly colored foods, but those stains will quickly return if you continue to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or tea. Dental veneers offer a better option if you don't want to give up your favorite foods and beverages. They're very stain resistant and available in many shades of white.

Revitalize your smile with dental veneers! Call your Columbia, SC, dentist, Dr. Joel Johnston at (803) 788-2555 to schedule your appointment.


AMinorProcedureCouldMakeBreastfeedingEasierforYouandYourBaby

The American Academy of Pediatrics and other healthcare organizations recommend breastfeeding as the best means for infant feeding. While bottle feeding can supply the nutrition necessary for a baby's healthy development, breastfeeding also provides emotional benefits for both baby and mother.

But there might be an obstacle in a baby's mouth that prevents them from getting a good seal on the mother's breast nipple—a small band of tissue called a frenum. This term describes any tissue that connects a soft part of the mouth like the upper lip or tongue to a more rigid structure like the gums or the floor of the mouth, respectively.

Although a normal part of anatomy, frenums that are too short, thick or inelastic can restrict a baby's lip or tongue movement and prevent an adequate seal while nursing. The baby may adjust by chewing rather than sucking on the nipple. Besides a painful experience for the mother, the baby may still not receive an adequate flow of breast milk.

Bottle-feeding is an option since it may be easier for a baby with abnormal frenums to negotiate during nursing. But the problem might also be alleviated with a minor surgical procedure to snip the frenum tissue and allow more freedom of movement.

Often performed in the office, we would first numb the frenum and surrounding area with a topical anesthetic, sometimes accompanied by injection into the frenum if it's abnormally thick. After the numbing takes effect, we gently expose the tissue and cut it with either surgical scissors or a laser, the latter of which may involve less bleeding and discomfort. The baby should be able to nurse right away.

If you wait later to undergo the procedure, the baby may already have developed compensation habits while nursing. It may then be necessary for a lactation consultant to help you and your baby "re-learn" normal nursing behavior. It's much easier, therefore, to attempt this procedure earlier rather than later to avoid extensive re-training.

While there's little risk, frenum procedures are still minor surgery. You should, therefore, discuss your options completely with your dental provider. Treating an abnormal frenum, though, could be the best way to realize the full benefits of breastfeeding.

If you would like more information on treating tongue or lip ties, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
May 18, 2019
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: dental implant   bridge  
YourTeenagernotReadyforanImplantHeresWhatWeCanDoInstead

Losing a tooth can be traumatic, but a dental implant can dramatically turn that experience around. Providing functionality, life-like appearance and durability, implants stand out as the premier restoration for lost teeth.

For adults, that is. An older child or teenager with a missing tooth may need to wait a few more years for an implant. The reason: jaw development. A person's jaws, particular the upper jaw, continue to grow with most growth completed by early adulthood. Natural teeth with their periodontal attachments develop right alongside the jaw.

But because an implant attaches directly to the jawbone, its position is fixed: it won't change as the jaw grows and may gradually appear to sink below the gum line. That's why we wait to place an implant until most of jaw maturity has occurred after full jaw maturity. For females, we try to wait until 20 years of age and for males, usually 21 years of age. These are guidelines as some people mature faster and some slower, so a discussion with your dentist or surgeon is necessary to make an educated decision.

While we wait, we can install a temporary replacement for a child's or teenager's lost tooth, usually a partial denture or fixed modified ("Maryland") bridge. The latter affixes a prosthetic (false) tooth in the missing tooth space by attaching it to the back of natural teeth on either side with bonded dental material. It differs from a traditional bridge in that these supporting teeth aren't permanently altered and crowned to support the bridge.

During the time before implants we should understand that the area where the implant will be placed will undergo some bone deterioration, a common consequence of missing teeth. Forces generated as we chew travel through the teeth to stimulate renewing bone growth all along the jawbone. But with a lost tooth the chewing stimulation ceases at that part of the bone, slowing the growth rate and leading to gradual bone loss.

Fortunately, the titanium posts of dental implants stimulate bone growth as bone cells naturally grow and adhere to their surfaces. Before then, though, if the bone volume is diminished, we may need to graft bone material to stimulate bone growth that will enlarge the jaw bone enough for an implant to be placed.

It usually isn't a question of "if" but "when" we can provide your child with an implant for their missing tooth. In the meantime, we can prepare for that day with a temporary restoration.

If you would like more information on dental restorations for teenagers, 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 “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”


By Joel E. Johnson, DMD, PA
May 08, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth wear  
3ThingsYoucandotoSlowToothWear

Unlike our primitive ancestors, our teeth have it relatively easy. Human diets today are much more refined than their counterparts from thousands of years ago. Ancient teeth recovered from those bygone eras bear that out, showing much more wear on average than modern teeth.

Even so, our modern teeth still wear as we age—sometimes at an accelerated rate. But while you can't eliminate wearing entirely, you can take steps to minimize it and preserve your teeth in your later years. Here are 3 things you can do to slow your teeth's wearing process.

Prevent dental disease. Healthy teeth endure quite well even while being subjected to daily biting forces produced when we eat. But teeth weakened by tooth decay are more susceptible to wear. To avoid this, you should practice daily brushing and flossing to remove disease-causing dental plaque. And see your dentist at least twice a year for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups.

Straighten your bite. A poor bite, where the top and bottom teeth don't fit together properly, isn't just an appearance problem—it could also cause accelerated tooth wear. Having your bite orthodontically corrected not only gives you a new smile, it can also reduce abnormal biting forces that are contributing to wear. And don't let age stop you: except in cases of bone deterioration or other severe dental problems, older adults whose gums are healthy can undergo orthodontics and achieve healthy results.

Seek help for bruxism. The term bruxism refers to any involuntary habit of grinding teeth, which can produce abnormally high biting forces. Over time this can increase tooth wear or weaken teeth to the point of fracture or other severe damage. While bruxism is uncommon in adults, it's still a habit that needs to be addressed if it occurs. The usual culprit is high stress, which can be better managed through therapy or biofeedback. Your dentist can also fashion you a custom guard to wear that will prevent upper and lower teeth from wearing against each other.

If you would like more information on minimizing teeth wear, 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 “How and Why Teeth Wear.”




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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