My Blog

Posts for: August, 2016

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
August 18, 2016
Category: Oral Health

When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.

Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.

While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.

There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”

 An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.

Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
August 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

How your dentists in St. Louis can save your smile

Restorative dentistry includes a wide range of dental procedures designed to restore chewing function and beauty to your smile. restorative dentistryRestorative procedures typically include dental crowns, bridgework, dental fillings, onlays and inlays, and dental implants. Restorative dentistry is a bit different from cosmetic dentistry because restorative procedures are usually not optional; these procedures are used to heal and repair dental disease. Dr. Jeffrey Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO want to help you discover what restorative dental procedures can do for you.

Dental crowns provide a protective sheath around your entire tooth, and are usually placed on teeth that are badly damaged or decayed, or have received a root canal. Dental crowns are made from a variety of materials, depending on your preference and the location in your mouth. Your dentists in St. Louis can create your crown from full gold, porcelain-fused-to-metal or full porcelain.

Dental bridgework is used to replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Your dentists will prepare the teeth adjacent to the bridge area to retain the cemented bridge. Your bridge is created in a dental laboratory and cemented at a second appointment.

Dental fillings repair holes in your teeth produced by decay or trauma. There are many filling materials available from your dentists, including amalgam (metal), gold or composite (tooth-colored). Your choice will depend on location in the mouth, and whether you desire an aesthetic, natural look.

Onlays and inlays are created in a dental laboratory according to exact specifications and models taken of your teeth. They are cemented at a second appointment. Onlays typically cover the entire chewing surface of your tooth; inlays cover parts of the chewing surface. You can choose from gold or porcelain, depending on your preference.

Dental implants can replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. They function as the missing “root” of your tooth and are placed in the office. After a healing period, they are capped with new crowns and look just like your natural teeth.

The world of restorative dentistry has changed dramatically, with new materials and techniques produced every year. Your dentists in St. Louis want to help you discover how restorative dentistry can repair your smile and give you back the ability to eat the foods you love. If your smile needs a little work, it’s time to call Dr. Jeffrey Johnson and Dr. Jodi Johnson in St. Louis, MO. Call today and learn more about what restorative dentistry can do for you and your smile!

By Jeffery J. Johnson & Jodi B. Johnson DDS
August 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: anesthesia  

Your teeth and gums are filled with nerves that make the mouth one of the most sensitive areas in the body. But thanks to local anesthesia, you won't feel a thing during your next dental procedure.

The word anesthesia means “without feeling or pain.” General anesthesia accomplishes this with drugs that place the patient in an unconscious state. It's reserved for major surgery where the patient will be closely monitored for vital signs while in that state.

The other alternative is local anesthesia, which numbs the area that needs treatment, while allowing the patient to remain conscious. The anesthetics used in this way are applied either topically (with a swab, adhesive patch or spray) or injected with a needle.

In dentistry, we use both applications. Topical anesthesia is occasionally used for sensitive patients before superficial teeth cleaning, but most often as an “opening act” to injected anesthesia: the topical application numbs the gums so you can't feel the prick of the needle used for the injectable anesthetic. By using both types, you won't feel any pain at all during your visit.

Because of possible side effects, we're careful about what procedures will involve the use of local anesthesia. Placing a sealant on the exterior of a tooth or reshaping enamel doesn't require it because we're not making contact with the more sensitive dentin layer beneath. We've also seen advances in anesthetic drugs in which we can now better control the length of time numbness will persist after the procedure.

All in all, though, local anesthesia will make your dental care more comfortable — both for you and for us. Knowing you're relaxed and comfortable allows us to work with ease so we can be unhurried and thorough. By keeping pain out of the equation, your dental care has a better chance for a successful outcome.

If you would like more information on managing discomfort during dental care, 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 “Local Anesthesia for Pain-Free Dentistry.”