Johansen Dental Blog

Posts for: July, 2017


In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

July 14, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Could this easy, fast and completely non-invasive dentistry technique improve the shape of your teeth?dental bonding

A lot of people don’t actually get cosmetic dentistry let alone consider it because they think it’s too expensive or requires invasive techniques. Drs. Kent and Grant Johansen in Chandler, AZ, are here to tell you about one cosmetic treatment that is completely non-invasive and also one of the most inexpensive options out there for improving your smile. We’ll leave you wondering why you didn’t consider dental bonding sooner.

What is dental bonding?

Bonding is a great cosmetic option for someone who is looking to address minor cosmetic issues with their smile. Perhaps you want to lengthen one or more teeth to get a more even smile. Perhaps you want to cover discolorations, cracks or chips. Maybe you just want to fill that small gap between their teeth. Bonding can do all this and more.

Will people be able to tell that I got dental bonding?

Most people worry that any kind of dental work will be obvious to those around them. Our Chandler cosmetic dentists are here to tell you that our job is to match the composite resin that we use to the natural shade of your tooth. This type of material is easy to match to your smile and comes in many different shades. Plus, the resin is completely and easily moldable, so once the material is applied we can easily shape it to your exact needs.

Is bonding painful?

Most people worry that any kind of dental work that they get will hurt. Bonding is by far the easiest and most painless cosmetic option out there. Plus, it’s very budget-friendly. All we have to do is apply the tooth-colored resin over the tooth, mold and shape it into place, and then harden it by shining a dental laser over the tooth. We won’t even need to numb the tooth beforehand. You’ll feel completely comfortable the entire time and won’t believe how easy it is. Even children can benefit from bonding.

Johansen Dental in Chandler, AZ, is ready to help give you the smile you wanted but always thought was out of reach. Your dental dreams are about to become a reality. Call us today to find out if dental bonding is the best approach to getting the results you want.


Children's permanent teeth normally erupt over several years after first forming below the gum line. All their permanent teeth should come in by the time they reach early adolescence.

Unfortunately, this process doesn't always happen as it should. If the erupting teeth become crowded due to a poor bite (malocclusion), teeth still to come in may not have enough room to fully erupt. They become impacted, a condition in which the visible crown remains partially or completely submerged below the gum line.

Impacted teeth create consequences for other teeth and dental health overall. They more readily cause abscesses (a localized infection within the gum tissue) and can damage the roots of nearby teeth. Impacted front canine (eye) teeth can interfere with bite function and their visual absence mars an otherwise attractive smile.

If your child's canine teeth have failed to erupt properly, there is a way to help them fully come in if you act before their mouth structure fully matures. The first step is an orthodontic evaluation of their entire bite. This will determine if there's enough space to move other teeth to make room for the impacted canines.

If so, we would then find the exact position of the impacted teeth using x-rays and possibly cone beam CT scanning for a detailed three-dimensional image. The teeth could be in a variety of positions, such as angled toward the roof of the mouth or cheek or buried high in the jawbone. If the teeth are too far out of position the best course of action may be to remove them and replace them later with a dental implant.

If the impacted teeth, though, are in a feasible position for retrieval, we first expose each tooth through the gums with a minor surgical procedure and bond a small bracket to it. We then attach a small gold chain to the bracket that loops over an orthodontic appliance attached to other teeth. The appliance will exert pressure over several months to pull the tooth into proper position.

If successful, your child will gain the use of these important teeth and a more attractive appearance. But don't delay — this desired outcome will become much harder if not impossible to attain as their teeth and jaws continue to develop.

If you would like more information on treating impacted teeth, 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”