Johansen Dental Blog

Posts for: October, 2016

Neil Patrick Harris What the Oscars Host Treasures Most

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

October 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out all that your smile will enjoy when you get dental implants in Chandler, AZ.

Maybe you’ve been considering getting dental implants to replace your missing teeth. Perhaps you’ve been sitting on the computer dental implantsdoing all the research you can to find out if this is the right dental restoration for you. Of course, our Chandler, AZ dentists, Dr. Kent Johansen and Dr. Grant, are here to tell you about all the advantages that come with getting dental implants.

Natural-Looking Restorations: While dentures and dental bridges have certainly come a long way over the years to look more and more like real teeth, there is only one real tooth replacement that is designed to look and function like a real tooth and that’s dental implants. In fact, implants are the next best thing to natural teeth because they actually function just like natural tooth roots.

They Last a Long Time: Other dental restorations only last a few years before needing to be adjusted, repaired or even replaced. Dental implants, on the other hand, are designed to last the rest of your life because they are the only restoration that actually fuses together with natural bone. But in order to promote longevity in your implants it’s important that you maintain good oral hygiene to ensure that your implant lasts the rest of your life.

Preserve Natural Teeth: In order to get a dental bridge, healthy surrounding teeth must be used to support the restoration. However, if you choose to get dental implants in Chandler, you won’t have to worry about affecting the health of your other teeth.

Prevent Bone Loss: When you lose a tooth the jawbone starts to deteriorate. This affects not only the health and shape of your jawbone but also affects the structure of your face. Over time, natural teeth start to shift into the open space, causing misalignment and other issues. When a dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth it will stimulate the jawbone enough to not only prevent bone deterioration but also promote the growth of new bone cells.

Don’t dental implants sound like a wonderful restoration? We think so, too! Find out if dental implants could give you your smile back by calling our Chandler, AZ dental office today. Turn to Johansen Dental for the best dental care possible.


Orthodontic treatment is a big investment. But given the benefits for future good health and a more attractive smile, it's well worth it.

In the here and now, though, braces wearers face a different threat to their dental well-being — dental disease. Wearing braces can actually increase the risk of disease and make it more difficult to fight.

Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, the two most common forms of dental disease, usually arise from plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces. The bacteria produce acid, which erodes enamel and makes the teeth susceptible to decay. Certain bacteria can also infect the gums and eventually weaken their attachment to teeth. Thorough brushing and flossing everyday removes this disease-triggering plaque buildup.

But braces' hardware can make brushing and flossing more difficult. The brackets attached to the teeth and wires laced through them make it more difficult for floss and brush bristles to access all the areas around the teeth. Plaque can build up in certain spots; it's estimated braces wearers have two to three times the plaque of a person not wearing braces. Acid can also remain in contact with some of the enamel surface for too long.

It's important, therefore, if you wear braces to make a concerted effort to brush and floss thoroughly. Besides improving technique and taking more time, you might also consider additional aids. You can obtain toothbrushes specially designed for use with braces, as well as floss holders or threaders that make it easier to access between teeth. Another flossing alternative is an oral irrigator that sprays water under pressure between teeth is an alternative to flossing.

As a precaution against acid damage, we can boost enamel protection with additional fluoride applied to your teeth. We may also prescribe antibacterial rinses to keep the bacteria population low.

Above all, be sure to look out for signs of disease like swollen or bleeding gums or pain. As soon as you sense something out of the ordinary, be sure and contact us.

If you would like more information on keeping your teeth disease-free while wearing braces, 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 “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”