Posts for category: Dental Procedures
You have a lot of options for replacing missing teeth, from state-of-the-art dental implants to affordable, but effective partial dentures. But if the teeth in question have been missing for a while, you may first have to undergo orthodontic treatment. Here's why.
While they may feel rigid and firm in the jawbone, teeth are actually held in place by periodontal (gum) ligaments. These elastic tissues lie between the teeth and the bone and attach to both with tiny filaments. This mechanism allows the teeth to incrementally move over time in response to biting pressures or other environmental factors.
When a tooth goes missing the teeth on either side of the space naturally move or "drift" into it to help close the gap. This natural occurrence can reduce the space for a restoration if it has gone on for some time. To make room for a new prosthetic (false) tooth, we may have to move the drifted teeth back to where they belong.
If you're thinking metal braces, that is an option—but not the only one. Clear aligners are another way to move teeth if the bite problem (malocclusion) isn't too severe. Aligners are a series of custom-made, clear, plastic trays worn over the teeth. The patient wears each tray, slightly smaller than the previous one in the series, for about two weeks before changing to the next one. The reduction in size gradually moves teeth to their intended target position.
Many adults prefer clear aligners because they're nearly invisible and don't stand out like metal braces. They're removable, so you can take them out for cleaning or for special occasions. And, we can also attach a prosthetic tooth to the tray that temporarily covers the missing tooth space.
Whichever orthodontic treatment you choose, once completed we can then proceed with restoration to permanently replace your missing teeth. While it can be a long process, the end result is a beautiful smile that could last for years to come.
If you would like more information on your dental restoration options, 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 “Straightening a Smile before Replacing Lost Teeth.”
Do you feel hopeless about your smile? Well, then you need to learn about how you can rebuild it with state-of-the art dental implants—the sure way to get a great-looking and fully functional smile! At our St. Louis, MO, office, Drs. Jeffrey and Jodi Johnson use titanium implants to replace single teeth, support multi-tooth bridges, and even anchor complete dentures. Are you ready to feel good about your smile?
Here's how implants work
A dental implant is a titanium metal screw that is placed directly into the empty socket where the natural tooth roots had previously been. The surrounding bone then bonds to the implant as the site heals. This bonding process is called osseointegration, and it is responsible for the implant's lifelike security and durability.
Once the device is fully integrated into the jaw, your St. Louis, MO, dentist attaches an extension post (abutment) and customized porcelain crown. Two, four, or more implants anchor prosthetics such as bridges or dentures. Whatever the case, osseointegration practically guarantees long-term retention of these amazing devices. The Journal of Oral Implantology estimates the dental implant success rate at about 98 percent.
Could you receive dental implants?
The best tooth replacement scenario is the insertion of a dental implant soon after dental extraction. This way, the underlying jaw bone does not have a chance to recede once the natural tooth is removed.
However, even people who have had smile gaps for years can receive dental implants. Dr. Johnson will evaluate you with examination and special X-rays to determine your jaw bone health, size, and density. The more bone you have, the quicker your dental implant will integrate into the jaw. Special augmentation procedures can also add bone to the areas which are deficient.
Caring for your implants
It's as simple as caring for your natural teeth. As the American Dental Association (ADA) advises:
- Brush twice daily with a quality fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily with and ADA-approved product your hygienist recommends
- Avoid bruxism, or teeth clenching, by wearing a protective mouth guard at night
- Avoid tobacco—both cigarettes and smokeless tobacco—because it leads to an infection that degrades the bone and gums at implant sites
- See your dentist semi-annually for a complete check-up and professional cleaning
Find out more
Drs. Jeffrey and Jodi Johnson love to see their patients smile! They offer dental implants as the best tooth replacement options around. Looking to rebuild your smile? Call their office for a dental implant consultation, and learn all the details. Phone (314) 427-7400 today!
While children are less likely than adults to experience periodontal (gum) disease, the same can't be said for tooth decay. One aggressive form of decay called early childhood caries (ECC) can have a profound effect on a child's dental development and future health.
That's why dentists who treat young children often use a variety of preventive measures to reduce the risk of ECC and other dental diseases. One popular method is dental sealants, dental material coatings applied to the biting surfaces of teeth that fill in the naturally occurring pits and crevices. These areas are highly susceptible to plaque formation, a bacterial biofilm of food particles that tends to accumulate on teeth. It's the bacteria that live in plaque that are most responsible for the formation of tooth decay.
Roughly one third of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have received some form of dental sealant. It's a quick and painless procedure applied during a routine office visit. The dentist brushes the sealant in liquid form on the teeth, and then hardens it with a special curing light. It's common for children to begin obtaining sealant protection as their molars begin to come in.
With their increased popularity among dentists, researchers have conducted a number of studies to see whether dental sealants have a measurable effect reducing tooth decay. After reviewing the cases of thousands of children over several years, many of these studies seemed to show that children who didn't receive sealants were more than twice as likely to get cavities as children who did.
As evidence continues to mount for dental sealants' effectiveness protecting young children from decay, both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry now recommend it for all children. Not only can sealants help preserve children's teeth now, but they can reduce future costs for dental treatment that results from tooth decay.
With smart phone in hand, you can instantaneously find out just about anything. Unfortunately, online search results aren’t always accurate. Case in point: there’s an idea floating on the World Wide Web that root canal treatments cause cancer.
Sounds ludicrous? Yes, but like other strange ideas this one has historical roots (pardon the pun). In the early 20th Century, a dentist named Weston Price propagated the idea that leaving a “dead” organ in the body caused health problems. By his view, a root canal-treated tooth fell into this category and could potentially cause, among other things, cancer.
But concern over root canal treatment safety is on shaky ground: dentistry examined Dr. Price’s ideas over sixty years ago and found them wanting. But first, let’s look at what a root canal treatment can actually do for your health.
Tooth decay is an infection that first attacks the outer tooth enamel and then continues to advance until it infects the inner pulp. It can then travel through the root canals to the roots and bone. Without intervention, the infection will result in tooth loss.
We use a root canal treatment to save the tooth from this fate. During the procedure we remove and disinfect all of the diseased or dead tissue within the pulp and root canals. We then fill the empty chamber and canals with a special filling and seal the tooth to prevent any further infection. And while technically the procedure renders a tooth unable to respond to thermal sensitivity or tooth decay, the tooth is still alive as it is attached to the periodontal ligament and its blood supply and nerve tissue. The tooth can still “feel” if you bite on something too hard and it doesn’t affect the tooth’s function or health, or a patient’s overall health for that matter.
As to Dr. Price’s theory, extensive studies beginning in the 1950s have examined the potential health risk of root canal treatments. The latest, a 2013 patient survey study published in a journal of the American Medical Association, not only found no evidence linking root canal treatment to cancer, but a lower risk of oral cancer in 45% of patients who had undergone multiple root canal treatments.
While root canal treatments do have potential side effects, none are remotely as serious as this online “factoid” about cancer. It’s far more likely to benefit your health by saving your tooth.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 Canal Safety.”
Want a quick and lasting way to improve the health, appearance, and function of your smile? At our St. Louis, MO, office, Drs. Jeffery and Jodi Johnson deliver same-day dental crowns, the modern way to completely restore an injured, decayed, or infected tooth. Read below to learn how the crown process works and how this restoration will help you both keep your tooth and make it look great again.
Do you need a crown?
A dental crown protects and supports a tooth that has a limited healthy structure above the gum line. Some people need crowns after root canal therapy, to cap the tooth after receiving a filling, or to fix a tooth that is so oddly shaped it doesn't fit in with the rest of the smile.
Dr. Johnson will look at your tooth and take digital X-rays to see if it's healthy enough to receive a crown. If it is, you can look forward to keeping your tooth and avoiding the problems extraction causes such as an obvious gap, bone and gum recession, and a shifting of neighboring teeth.
The process of receiving a porcelain crown
Anticipate a one-to-two-hour restoration process from start to finish. Yes, modern CAD/CAM processes (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) now allow your dentists to design, create, and place your new crown right in their St. Louis, MO, office. Called CEREC restorations (Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic), these crowns (and partial crowns called inlays and onlays) are perfectly configured and have an accurate fit and bite.
Throughout your treatment, you'll be comfortable and relaxed; you can even see your porcelain crown milled right in the treatment room. Oral impressions, negative imprints of your tooth, are taken digitally; so you won't have to deal with gooey impression putty.
Your dentist will remove the damaged portions of your tooth and shape it so that it accepts the crown. When the crown is ready, Dr. Johnson may enhance the color and sheen a bit and then bond the crown directly onto your tooth. An inlay resides between the cusps of a tooth, and an onlay fits over the entire top of the tooth. Both types of partial crowns blend seamlessly with the rest of the tooth.
Explore a renewed smile
You don't have to live with a weak, failing tooth. Dr. Jeffery Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson want to help. Call their general/family dental practice today to arrange your consultation: (314) 427-7400.