Our Blog

Prevent White Marks

July 10th, 2019

The most important thing to know about white marks on teeth is that they are preventable. All you have to do to be white mark-free is to keep teeth clean and stay away from some foods and beverages. It’s that simple.

When we say simple, we mean four easy steps simple:

  1. Brush as often as recommended by Dr. Johnson, including after each meal or snack whether at school, work or home
  2. Floss at least once a day            
  3. Avoid or limit acidic foods and drinks (soda, flavored waters with carbonation, sweet tea, sports drinks etc.) for the duration of your treatment
  4. See your family dentist at least every four to six months for a check-up or more often if it’s recommended

Handy tools like interproximal brushes, floss threaders, floss holders, water irrigators and power toothbrushes can make cleaning teeth convenient, quick and, most of all, thorough. Fluoride toothpaste and/or rinses are advisable, too.

A White Mark Is Permanent

A white mark on a tooth – known as decalcification – is the very beginning of a cavity. Prompted by a build-up of plaque, calcium and other minerals leach out tooth enamel and leave a permanent white mark behind. It can progress to a full-blown cavity if plaque keeps collecting.

Plaque is made of bacteria, food particles and saliva. It feeds on sugars to form an acid that damages teeth. Poor brushing, frequent snacking and intake of sugary and/or acidic beverages contribute to white marks and decay.

Decalcification Can Happen to Patients Using Aligners

It happens to those who drink flavored waters, sparkling water, sports drinks or soda pop with their aligners in. What’s more, it can happen in a matter of weeks. Always take aligners out to eat or drink (except for tap water), and clean teeth thoroughly to remove all traces of food or beverages.

One more thing – decalcification can also happen if patients do not brush their aligners.  Food and bacteria left in the aligners can sit on the teeth and cause decalcification.

Decalcification Can Happen Independent of Orthodontic Treatment

Some people get white marks on their teeth without ever having orthodontic treatment. The marks are caused by too much soda pop or other acidic drinks, along with poor brushing habits.

For A Happy Ending

Patients who are conscientious about caring for their teeth and who limit sugary, acidic foods and drinks should not develop white marks.

Cleaning teeth is not hard. It just takes a commitment to putting in a little extra time, a little extra elbow grease, and using the right tools for the job. Questions? Dr. Johnson and her staff would be delighted for you to ask! Like you, they want your treatment result to be a healthy, beautiful smile you will both be proud of.

 

www.aaoinfo.com

Little Helpers

July 2nd, 2019

Patients with any type of orthodontic appliance should be cleaning their teeth multiple times a day. Situations inevitably come up when you’re on the go and need to freshen up. Do your teeth a favor and be prepared! Stash portable items in a backpack, purse, school locker or briefcase. You’ll be rewarded with a healthy and beautiful smile when treatment wraps up. Here are six must-haves for cleaning teeth on the go.

1. Water.

It’s your friend. And it’s readily available at bathroom sinks. After eating, or after drinking a sugary and/or acidic beverage, if you realize your toothbrush is nowhere to be found, give your mouth a thorough rinse with plain water. Swish it around to get rid of food particles or traces of beverages. Water even helps to decrease the decay-causing acidity of your mouth. A water rinse is not as good as brushing, but it’s much better than allowing materials to remain on, and in between, teeth.

2. A toothbrush.

Even without toothpaste, brushing removes food and plaque and will help you keep your teeth healthy. A travel toothbrush takes up about half the space of a regular toothbrush. But if you prefer a full-sized toothbrush, we won’t argue with you.

3. An interproximal brush.

This is a remarkable little tool. It’s small and very easy to carry along. Use it to get at food that’s stuck around brackets, between the archwire and teeth, and in between teeth. It’s effective at attacking plaque, too. You may develop such a great appreciation for your interproximal brush that you continue using it after you complete your orthodontic treatment!

4. Floss.

Also for cleaning between teeth, the space between the archwire and the teeth, and especially under the gumline. If you have braces, be sure a floss threader is stowed with your floss. That is, unless you are using “pre-threaded” floss, pre-cut to length and with an aglet tip (like a shoelace). Some brands come in single-use packets, which take up next-to-no space. Those with aligners may be able to use a flosser, if that’s the tool you prefer. A bonus: minty floss freshens breath, too.

5. A mirror.

A pocket mirror can be handy when you brush. A post-brush check will reveal whether anything unwanted is still there. An alternative: use the selfie camera in your smart phone.

6. Toothpaste.

Travel-sized tubes are convenient. ALSO...

  • Orthodontic wax – if a bracket or wire rubs a sore spot, wax quickly puts a stop to the irritation.

A little extra effort at home and away pays big dividends in shaping your new smile!

 

Source: www.aaoinfo.org

Should I Wait?

June 24th, 2019

If someone tells you that your child should have all of his/her permanent teeth before visiting the orthodontist for the first time, that “someone” is incorrect . In fact, putting off a first visit to the orthodontist until all of a child’s permanent teeth are in could do more harm than good. Here’s why:

There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

A child’s mouth is a busy place. Think about a 6-year-old. Everything is growing, including the bones in the jaw and face. At around age 6, the first permanent molars appear. An exchange of teeth begins as baby teeth fall out and are replaced by larger-sized permanent teeth. And it all happens in a predictable, particular order. Unless it doesn’t.

The gums hide about two-thirds of each tooth, as well as all the bone that hold teeth in place. The gums can mask conditions that interfere with the emergence of teeth.

Parents can watch for clues. Early or late loss of baby teeth can signal a problem. So can trouble with chewing or biting, speech difficulties and mouth-breathing. If these indicators are not addressed until a child has all of his/her permanent teeth and growth is essentially complete, correcting the problem may be more difficult than it might have been had treatment occurred earlier.

Orthodontic treatment is about creating a healthy bite – the beautiful smile is a bonus.

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to make sure the bite is right – that upper and lower teeth fit together like interlocking gears. The timing of your child’s treatment is critical and is based on his/her individual needs.

Some children can wait until they have all or most of their permanent teeth. Other children’s orthodontic problems may be better treated while some baby teeth are present. These children require growth guidance of bones in the upper and lower jaws, so there’s enough room for permanent teeth. Their treatment can be timed to predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. Once teeth and jaws are in alignment, a beautiful smile is the bonus result of treatment.

Dentists and orthodontists look at the mouth differently.

Both doctors work in the mouth. But perspectives differ based on the care they provide.

Dentists assess and promote overall oral health. They look for cavities and gum disease. They advise patients on diet and home hygiene care. And they monitor patients for diseases that appear in or affect the mouth. Dentists take “bite wing” x-rays to isolate a particular section of teeth as part of their diagnosis and treatment planning process. Orthodontic evaluations may be a lower priority for dentists.

Orthodontists are laser-focused on each patient’s bite. Orthodontists use “panoramic” x-rays to visualize all of the teeth above and below the gums, and the jaws, all at once. The bite is orthodontists’ area of specialization. 

If your dentist has not referred your child to an orthodontist, you need not wait for a referral. Orthodontists do not require a referral for your child to be seen.

Here’s what the experts say: remember age 7.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children have their first visit with an orthodontist no later than age 7. If a problem is detected and treatment is advised, you are giving the orthodontist the opportunity to provide your child with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

To answer the question that headlines this blog, there’s no need to wait until your child has lost all his/her baby teeth before you consult an orthodontist such as Dr. Pamela Johnson.  It’s fine to talk to an orthodontist as soon as you suspect a problem in your child, even if your child is younger than 7. Dr. Pamela Johnson offers a complimentary initial consultation and can be reached at (630)887-1188. Dr. Johnson has office hours 4 days a week, inlcuding evening hours. And adults – there’s no time like the present to talk to an orthodontist about getting the smile you’ve always wanted with options like Invisalign.

 

Source: www.aao.info.com

7 Myths BUSTED!

June 11th, 2019

Myth #1. Anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist.

False. While some general dentists or online companies offer braces or aligners, only an orthodontist who has taken the additional years of advanced training at an accredited residency can call themselves an orthodontic specialist or be a member of the AAO. It’s not worth the risk of permanent damage to your face and smile to allow anyone who isn’t an orthodontist to attempt to move your teeth. By selecting an AAO orthodontist like Dr. Pamela Johnson, you are choosing a specialist who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

Myth #2. Orthodontists are so expensive.

AAO orthodontists are unique health care providers who carefully customize their patients’ treatment plans and as a result, their fees directly reflect the complexity of each case. From simple cases which only take months to treat, to very difficult ones which may take a couple of years, the benefits of having an expert provide your orthodontic care will be well worth it. Dr. Johnson is an AAO orthodontist who offers complimentary consultations and flexible payment plans that are INTEREST FREE!

Myth #3. Office visits are not necessary to get straight teeth.

No Visits = No Monitoring = No Good

The reality is that the health of your gums, teeth and jaws cannot be monitored during treatment if you are never seen by a qualified orthodontist. Even the most carefully planned treatments need to be closely monitored to ensure that your treatment stays on course. These visits must be completed by a trained orthodontist should a problem arise or a mid-course treatment correction be needed. The good news is that today’s technology has allowed patients to extend intervals between appointments to as long as 8 to 10 weeks.

Myth #4. Orthodontic treatment takes several years.

Orthodontic treatment requires careful, controlled movements of the teeth to ensure they are moving into proper positions. From simple cases (which may only take a few months to treat) to the most complex cases (which could take longer), Dr. Johnson has the training, experience, and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest amount of time. It’s not worth the risk to have someone who attempts to do orthodontics as a side business because of the possible irreversible damage that could occur.

Myth #5. Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic.

There’s much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye. An improved appearance is the most obvious result. But when teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means function (biting, chewing, speaking) is improved, too – a dual treatment benefit!

That beautiful smile is the outward sign of good oral health, and sets the stage for the patient’s overall well-being. Orthodontists play a larger role in healthcare than is generally realized.

Myth #6. Orthodontists only offer metal braces.

Orthodontists spend years studying and training in how teeth move. It makes them expertly qualified to use all the tools available to provide the best care possible for their patients. That includes metal braces, as well as a full range of other appliances (devices designed to move teeth) that can be fixed or removable, with clear options available. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product or service offered by individual companies, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their fingertips. An AAO orthodontist has the expertise to provide the best appliance (at the right time) to achieve the best result in the most timely manner. Dr. Johnson would be happy to discuss treatment options with you during a scheduled consultation.

Myth #7. Orthodontic treatment is just for kids.

False. Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile. In 2014, close to 1.5 million adults were treated by AAO orthodontists! Because adults may have more complicated cases from prior dental work or gum disease, it is imperative that their treatment be provided by an AAO orthodontist who has the training, expertise and experiences to deliver the best results. Call Dr. Pamela Johnson to schedule your complimentary consultation today (630)887-1188.

Source: www.aaoinfo.com

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