Johansen Dental Blog

Posts for: January, 2017

These restorations could truly bring your damaged smile back to life.

These dental appliances are a great way to treat damaged teeth or to replace a missing tooth. Unlike dentures, which you have to dental crownsremove every night, crowns and bridges stay fixed in place so you can treat them just like natural teeth. Our Chandler, AZ, dentists, Dr. Kent Johansen and Dr. Grant Johansen, have information about how dental crowns and/or bridges could benefit your smile.

What is the purpose of a dental crown?

A crown is a hollow cap that is designed to look like the crown of a tooth. A crown is often placed over a tooth to restore strength and improve function, particularly for teeth that are damaged, worn or weak. If a tooth has such extensive decay that a dental filling won’t support the tooth then a crown will be the best restorative treatment for your smile.

A dental crown can also be used to improve the appearance of a misshapen, malformed or discolored tooth. While there are other restorations like dental veneers for covering imperfections, in some cases a crown may be a better option, so always ask your Chandler cosmetic dentists.

When should I consider a dental bridge?

A dental bridge is often suggested if you are missing a tooth or several teeth in a row. Since leaving gaps in your smile can lead to teeth shifting into the open gap and causing misalignments, it’s important that you talk to our general dentists about what tooth replacement is the best option for you.

A fixed dental bridge uses two dental crowns, which are placed on opposite ends of the bridge to help support the false tooth or teeth in the middle. These crowns are placed over healthy natural teeth to help stabilize the bridge. Once your teeth have been prepared and the crowns have been made and cemented into place then the artificial teeth can be attached to the crowns to replace your missing tooth or teeth.

Both restorations are custom-made for you so no one will even be able to tell that you had dental work. Because of this, it will take some time for your crown or bridge to be fabricated to fit your exact measurements (usually about one week). After all, we want to ensure that you get a beautiful restoration every time.

Johansen Dental in Chandler, AZ, is committed to providing only the best in cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry. To find out whether dental crowns or bridges are right for you schedule a consultation with us today.

By Johansen Dental
January 16, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: mouth sores  

When you visit us for your regular checkup we're examining more than your teeth and gums. We're also checking to see if you're having problems with soft tissues in and around your mouth.

Besides canker sores, rashes or other types of abnormalities, our exam may uncover strange looking lesions known as lichen planus on the inside of the mouth. These purple-tinted bumps or rash-like discolorations are named for their similarity in appearance to lichen fungi found on trees or rocks. Although these mouth sores may look odd, they're fairly rare and usually do not cause concern.

Most people don't even know they have lichen planus until it's discovered during a dental exam. If there are any symptoms, it's usually a feeling of roughness, tenderness or itching. They may increase your sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods, but rarely cause extreme pain. If they're located around the gums, you may also notice a little soreness after brushing or eating.

To confirm it is lichen planus, we need to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, we remove a tiny amount of the affected tissue and have it examined microscopically. We do this not only to determine the correct diagnosis, but also to rule out more serious problems like pre-cancerous lesions or oral cancer.

Thankfully, though, this worst case scenario is quite rare, and although the condition can't be cured, there are some things you can do to keep any discomfort to a minimum. If the lesions are irritating, we recommend using a soft toothbrush with gentle brushing action. You may also want to limit or avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers and caffeinated drinks. Managing stress can also help. For some extreme conditions, we can prescribe a topical steroid to help relieve discomfort.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact us or point it out at your next appointment. Once we know what we're dealing with, we can take steps to treat you.

If you would like more information on different types of mouth sores, 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 “Lichen Planus.”

By Johansen Dental
January 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.