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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

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.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
May 07, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

If your teeth are worn or damaged, your dentist may suggest a restorative dentistry treatment plan to hash out the issues with your smile Regular_Dentistand correct them to give you a beautiful, functional grin. However, understanding restorative dentistry and the ins-and-outs of its procedures is crucial to making an informed decision when it comes to your dental health. Find out more about restorative dentistry with Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO.

What is a restorative dentist?
Restoration dentistry focuses mainly on the function of your smile and aims to take your broken, worn, or damaged teeth and allow them to work correctly once again. A restorative dentist has extensive post-schooling training in this facet of dentistry and often undergoes ongoing education on the subject.

Can restorative dentistry help me?
Restorative dentistry can achieve many goals in various situations. If you have a broken tooth, a dental restoration such as a crown can cover the tooth to protect it against daily use and ensure that it remains intact. A restoration can also help in the case of a missing tooth. A dental bridge fills the gap and is held in place by a crown on either side. The crowns attach permanently to the healthy teeth around the gap.

Restorative dentistry from our St. Louis office
A restorative dental procedure can increase the functionality of your smile while simultaneously improving its look. A restoration changes the appearance of a tooth and is customized to fit seamlessly into your smile. This allows you to correct slight imperfections, fill in a gap, or otherwise improve your smile’s aesthetic appearance to feel great about the way you look.

Don’t hesitate to increase your smile’s functionality (and your self-esteem) with restorative dental procedures to help you get a look you love. Find out more about restorative dentistry with Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO. Call (314) 427-7400 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
March 19, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root resorption  

Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease pose the most common dangers to dental health. But there are some rare conditions that can also place teeth at risk to be on the lookout for during regular dental checkups.

One such condition is root resorption in an adult tooth, in which the root itself or its surface breaks down and is absorbed by the body. Resorption occurs naturally in a primary (“baby”) tooth so it can loosen and give way for an incoming permanent tooth. ├é┬áResorption still occurs in a limited form with young permanent teeth but should eventually stop.

Sometimes, though, it doesn’t, either from the inside of the tooth out (internal resorption) or more often from the outside in, usually around the neck-like (or “cervical”) portion of the tooth. This more common occurrence, External Cervical Resorption (ECR), can first appear as pink spots on the enamel and then progress into cavity-like areas. If not found and treated promptly, damage can occur quickly and lead to tooth loss.

We don’t fully understand the exact nature and causes for ECR, but we have identified risk factors for its development. Excessive orthodontic force on the teeth or any other trauma can cause damage to the periodontal ligament (which holds teeth in place with the jaw bone). Teeth grinding habits and some dental procedures like internal tooth whitening can also be risk factors.That being said, though, the vast majority of people who experience these issues don’t develop ECR.

Although the causes aren’t fully understood, we can still treat it: the key to success is early detection. You probably won’t notice early signs of ECR, but we can often detect spots from routine x-rays. We can then remove the tissue cells within the lesions causing the damage and restore the area with a tooth-colored filling material. If ECR has extended near the tooth’s interior pulp layer, then a root canal treatment may be needed.

Needless to say, the more extensive ECR occurs in the roots, the less likely the tooth can be saved and may need to be extracted. It’s important, therefore, to maintain regular dental checkups (at least twice a year) to increase your chances of catching a developing problem early.

If you would like more information on root resorption in adult 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 “Root Resorption: An Unusual Phenomenon.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
February 27, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: palatal expander  

People mainly identify orthodontics with braces. But while they’re a major part of it, braces aren’t the only way this important dental specialty can make a difference in a person’s bite.

For example, orthodontics can help guide the development of a younger patient’s facial structure that could head off future upper teeth misalignment. The area of focus is the upper jaw and palate (the roof of the mouth) that jointly make up a structure called the maxilla. The maxilla is actually formed by two bones fused together in the center of the palate along what is known as the midline suture running from front to back in the mouth.

The two bones remain separated until puberty, which helps accommodate rapid structural growth during childhood. But problems can arise if the upper jaw is too narrow, causing a “cross-bite” where the lower back teeth bite abnormally outside the upper ones. This can crowd upper permanent teeth and cause them to erupt improperly.

Using a technique called palatal expansion we can correct this abnormality if we act before the maxillary bones fuse. The technique employs a custom-made appliance called a palatal expander that attaches to the posterior teeth of the upper arch. Expanders have two halves joined by a small screw device to increase tension against the teeth to widen the jaw. A parent or the patient (if old enough) increases the tension by using a special key to turn the adjustment screw a tiny amount each day. This may cause minor discomfort that normally eases in a few minutes.

The patient wears the device until the jaw expands to the desired width and then allows the bones to stabilize in the new position. This can sometimes create a small gap between the upper front teeth, but it often closes on its own or it may require braces to close it.

While palatal expanders are not for every case, they can help normalize development and improve the bite, and thus preclude more extensive orthodontic treatment later. But time is of the essence: after the maxilla has fused, surgery will be necessary to separate them and widen the palate. It’s important then not to delay if your child could benefit from this effective treatment.

If you would like more information on palatal expanders and other orthodontic treatments, 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 “Palatal Expanders.”