My Blog

Posts for: May, 2015

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
May 16, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental anxiety  

Although we’ve made great strides over the last century making dental visits more pleasant and comfortable, many people still feel a little apprehension about them at one time or another. For a few, though, this apprehension escalates into high anxiety — so high they may even avoid important dental treatment altogether.

If you have a significant phobia regarding dental visits and treatment, here are some things you can do to reduce your anxiety and feel more comfortable when you undergo treatment.

Let us know about your feelings of anxiety. We’re conditioned by society to regard such fears as irrational or “silly,” and so we tend to hide our negative emotions. Dentists, however, have been trained to work with fearful patients to reduce their anxiety levels. Being honest with us about your fears and nervousness is the first step to developing an anxiety-reducing strategy that will make your visits more pleasant.

Counteract bad experiences with good. For most people the fear they have during dental visits stems from earlier unpleasant experiences at the dentist. The fear can be so ingrained that simply trying to convince yourself or to be told “there’s nothing to be afraid of” will have little to no effect. Instead, build a memory collection of positive and pleasant dental visit experiences that serve to counteract the unpleasant. To do this we might first get you acclimated to routine visits and then gradually transition to more invasive procedures. This may increase the normal time for dental treatment, but the reduction in anxiety is worth the extra time.

Consider sedation therapy. In addition to modifying your experiences, you may also benefit from sedation medications that reduce anxiety, especially in the early stages of treatment. Depending on your medical history and current status, we can prescribe a sedative for you to take an hour or so before your appointment to help you relax. We can also increase the level of anesthesia (from local to intravenous or gas anesthesia, for example) if your anxiety is especially acute.

Taking proactive steps to minimize dental visit anxiety will increase the probability that you’ll obtain needed dental care. Your teeth and gums will be healthier for it.

If you would like more information on coping with dental visit anxiety, 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 “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”

By JJ Johnson DDS, PC
May 15, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: CEREC  

CERECWhile traditional restorative dentistry from your average St. Louis dentist can provide you with beautiful results, the amount of time these procedures take can also provide quite the hassle. Not only do you often have to visit your dentist multiple times, but you typically have to wait a couple of weeks until your new crowns, inlays or onlays are ready as well. Talk about inconvenient!

Thankfully, when you visit Jeffery Johnson, DDS and Jodi Johnson, DDS in St. Louis for your restorative dentistry, you have an option that is much quicker, easier and more efficient: CEREC restorations.

What is CEREC?

CEREC, which stands for "Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic," is an exciting new dental technology that allows your St. Louis dentists to perform common restorative dentistry procedures in a fraction of the time by creating the restorations in office during a single appointment. Whether you need fillings, inlays, onlays, crowns or veneers, you no longer have to wait.

How Does CEREC Work?

The CEREC process requires four steps. First, your dentist will examine and clean your teeth to remove any existing decay and assess the damages. Secondly, your dentist will take a picture of your prepared tooth, which will be uploaded to the CEREC machine.

At this point, your dentist would typically send the impressions to the laboratory. With CEREC, however, this step is eliminated completely, saving both you and your dentist time and hassle. Your dentist will use the CEREC machine to create your filling, crown or veneers, and then simply print the new device to the in-office milling machine right then and there. The milling process generally only takes between ten and twenty minutes, and once it is complete, your dentist can attach your new, permanent filling, crown or veneers right then and there.

What Advantage Does CEREC Offer?

The biggest advantages CEREC offers are the amount of time and number of office visits saved. The advantages don't stop there, however. CEREC also requires less drilling, fewer injections, and less tooth loss. You don't have to deal with temporaries, and your doctor has the ability to quickly remake your crowns, fillings and veneers should anything happen to the ones you have.

Don't make several visits to your St. Louis dentist for restorative dentistry over the course of several weeks. Make a visit to see Drs. Johnson and Johnson for a beautiful CEREC restoration you'll be proud to call your own!

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
May 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?