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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By How Root Canal Therapy Can Save Your Smile
September 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal Therapy  

If you have an infected or inflamed dental pulp, a number of issues can occur, from oral sensitivity and bleeding gums, to even a total loss Root_Canalof your tooth! Fortunately, root canal therapy offered by your St. Louis, MO, dentists, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson, will relieve your pain and save your tooth—read on to learn how.


Root canal therapy treats the source of your pain

During a root canal, your St. Louis dentist opens your tooth and removes the infected or inflamed pulp, making sure afterward to clean the inside of the tooth and disinfect the root canals. Following the procedure, you will then likely leave the office with a temporary filling, which will remain in place for a week or two.

At a followup appointment, your temporary filling will then be replaced with a permanent one. Removing the pulp can weaken your tooth, particularly if the tooth is a pre-molar or molar, so your dentist will probably recommend adding a crown to the tooth to strengthen and protect it.


Treatment helps you avoid tooth loss

Tooth loss is an unavoidable consequence of pulp infection/inflammation if you don't receive a root canal. Lost teeth alter your appearance, make chewing difficult, and might even affect your ability to pronounce certain sounds clearly.

Losing a tooth may also affect other teeth. Nearby teeth may begin to drift toward the gap in your mouth in an attempt to close it, ruining your perfect smile. Changes in alignment can cause bite problems or headaches and make removing plaque more difficult. Root canal therapy not only saves your tooth but helps you avoid these issues.


Do you have any of these signs and symptoms?

Common signs of a pulp inflammation or infection may include:

  • Pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Sensitivity after eating or drinking hot, cold, or sugary foods/beverages
  • Red, swollen gums
  • A change in the color of your tooth
  • Abscess symptoms, which may include severe pain, fever, swollen lymph nodes, pus around the tooth, and facial swelling


Concerned? Give us a call

Protect your smile with root canal therapy! Call your St. Louis, MO, dentists, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson, at (317) 427-7400 to schedule an appointment.

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
August 16, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.

“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.

Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.

Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).

For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.

Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.

If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
August 06, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crown  

One of the key elements in a child’s development is their first set of teeth. Although primary (“baby”) teeth last only a few years, they’re critically important for enabling a child to eat solid foods, speak and smile.

But they also provide one more important benefit—they hold the space in the jaw reserved for the permanent teeth developing just under the gums until they erupt. But if a child loses a primary tooth prematurely because of disease or injury, other teeth may drift into the vacant space and crowd it out for the intended permanent tooth. It may then come in misaligned or remain stuck within the gums (impaction).

To avoid this, we try to treat and preserve a diseased primary tooth if at all practical. For a primary molar, one of the large teeth in the back of the mouth, this might include capping it with a stainless steel crown.

Why a metal crown? Primary molars normally don’t fall out until around ages 10-12, so it may be years for a younger child before their permanent molars erupt. All during that time these particular teeth will encounter heavier biting forces than teeth in the front.

A steel crown is often the best solution for a molar given their longer lifespans and encountered biting forces. The crown’s metal construction can stand up to these forces while still protecting the tooth from re-infection from decay. And because molars are typically outside of the “smile zone” occupied by more visible front teeth, the crown’s metal appearance isn’t usually an aesthetic issue.

Crowning a molar usually takes one visit, a dentist typically performing the procedure with local anesthesia and possibly a mild sedative like nitrous oxide gas (“laughing gas”). After removing any decayed structure from the tooth, the dentist will then fit a pre-formed crown over the remaining structure, sized and shaped to match the original tooth as close as possible.

A stainless steel crown is a cost-effective way to added needed years to a primary molar that could otherwise be lost prematurely. Preserving it may help a child avoid bite problems and expensive future treatments.

If you would like more information on dental care for primary teeth, 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 “Stainless Steel Crowns for Kids: A Safe and Effective Way to Restore Primary Molars.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
July 05, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

Do you need your wisdom teeth removed? Although removal isn't always necessary, it may be recommended if you have pain or other Wisdom Teethsymptoms. Your St. Louis, MO, dentists, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson, offer wisdom tooth extraction and other services and procedures that keep your smile healthy.


Reasons to remove your wisdom teeth

Your St. Louis dentist may recommend wisdom tooth removal if:

  • The Teeth Are Impacted: In theory, having a third set of molars (wisdom teeth) is a great idea. Unfortunately, many people just don't have enough room in their mouths for four extra teeth. Wisdom teeth can become fully or partially impacted. Impaction occurs when the teeth are partially or fully blocked by tissue and bone and can't erupt normally.
  • You're in Pain: Partially or fully impacted pain can cause considerable pain and pressure as they try to push through tissue and bone.
  • You're At Risk for Nerve Damage: Nerve damage is a possibility if a wisdom tooth constantly presses against a nerve. You may experience numbness, tingling or pain in your face for years if a nerve is damaged. Removing the tooth promptly can help prevent this issue.
  • You're Concerned About Your Other Teeth: When there's not enough room in your mouth, wisdom teeth grow in at odd angles. The teeth can overlap your other teeth or push them out of alignment. If you've worn braces for years or straightened your teeth with clear aligners, you probably don't want to risk any change to the appearance of your smile. Removing your wisdom teeth before they cause problems can help you avoid crooked teeth.
  • You've Had an Infection or Cyst: Cysts and infections can be a problem when your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
  • Your Teeth Are Decayed: Fully or partially erupted wisdom teeth may be more likely to develop decay than other teeth. If the teeth erupted normally, they can be extracted fairly easily. Partially erupted teeth will require minor oral surgery.

Protect your smile with wisdom tooth removal! call your St. Louis, MO, dentists, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson, at (314) 427-7400 to schedule an appointment.

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
May 28, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?

It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.

If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.

For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.

It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.

If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”