Need to Know

6 Travel Tips for Your Teeth

June 15th, 2021

Vacation marked on a calendar

The summer is almost here, and we know many of our patients and their families will be traveling this year. Here are some great dental travel tips to keep your summer both fun and healthy!

  1. Schedule a Dental Visit Beforehand

    No one wants to have a dental emergency during vacation. If you can, schedule a checkup with your general dentist and make sure you have seen Dr. Johnson if you are due for an appointment. That way both can check to make sure your teeth and the orthodontic appliances are in good shape.

  2. Have Emergency Contacts Ready

    Have your general dentist and Dr. Johnson's phone number in your phone or their businesses cards in your wallet before leaving for vacation. Many dental emergencies can be solved at home or over the phone.

  3. In Case of an Emergency...

    If you are out of the country and you need to see a dentist immediately, contact your local consulate or U.S. embassy. The concierge at the hotel may give recommendations, but the local consulate or U.S. embassy will provide independent recommendations.

  4. If You Forget Your Toothbrush

    No toothbrush? Rinse vigorously with water or put toothpaste on a clean washcloth or your finger. When you have a chance, go to the nearest drugstore to get a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. If you don't see the seal, get the softest brush you can find.

  5. How to Properly Pack Your Toothbrush

    Letting your toothbrush air dry is the best way to avoid bacteria and keeping it clean at home. However, when traveling, it's more important to keep your toothbrush clean and out of contact with other things than to air dry. Use resealable plastic bags to keep your toothbrush separate from everything else in your luggage. Once you arrive, then you can take it out to air dry.

  6. Pack ADA Approved Gum

    Chewing sugarless gum can help relieve ear pressure during a flight – and help keep cavities at bay on vacation. Research shows that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can help prevent cavities. That’s because it gets saliva flowing, which helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria.

www.mouthhealthy.org/

My Retainer Feels Tight. Can I Wear It?

May 25th, 2021

As long as your retainer doesn’t hurt and still fits over your teeth, you can wear it – even if it feels tight. Your teeth may have slightly shifted, and you may need to wear your retainer longer each day to prevent your teeth from moving.

Try wearing your retainer full-time for a few days to encourage your teeth to move back into their correct positions. If the retainer continues to feel uncomfortable, call Dr. Johnson's office to determine the next steps.

What if the retainer doesn’t fit at all or feels painful?

Don’t force it. Contact Dr. Johnson, who will evaluate your situation and determine what actions, if any, are needed. It could be as simple as making a new retainer or, if necessary, making some clear aligners to tweak a tooth or teeth back into proper position.

aaoinfo.org

National Facial Protection Month

April 28th, 2021

April might almost be over, but Spring sports are just beginning!

Remember to wear a mouth guard when you're at practice or any games. If you don't have one, Dr. Johnson can get you suited up! Call our office at 630-887-1188 to help protect your smile.

 

Teeth Grinding

April 15th, 2021

Teeth, Mouth, Dental, Dentist, Tooth, Lips, Oral, Gum

Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. A study in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association suggests that teeth grinding is also associated with alcohol and tobacco use. People who drink alcohol and smokers are approximately twice as likely to grind their teeth.

In a September 2020 report, the ADA Health Policy Institute found that more than half of dentists surveyed saw an increase of patients with dental conditions often associated with stress: Teeth grinding and clenching, chipped and cracked teeth, and symptoms of a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder such as jaw pain and headaches.

The symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • dull headaches
  • jaw soreness
  • teeth that are painful or loose
  • fractured teeth

Dr. Johnson or your general dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth during sleep. In some cases, your dentist or physician may recommend taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime. If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety.

Teeth grinding is also common in children. However, because their teeth and jaws change and grow so quickly it is not usually a damaging habit that requires treatment and most outgrow it by adolescence.

Although in adults teeth grinding is often the result of stress, the same is not always true with children. Other possible causes of teeth grinding in children include:

  • irritation in the mouth
  • allergies
  • misaligned teeth

If you’re concerned about your child’s teeth grinding, ask your child’s dentist or Dr. Johnson about the potential causes and, if necessary, the possible solutions.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Sparkling Water - Is It Good For My Teeth?

April 5th, 2021

glass of sparkling water

Is the satisfying fizz of your favorite sparkling water putting you at risk for tooth decay? Because any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level, some reports have questioned whether sipping sparkling water will weaken your tooth enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form).

So, Is Sparkling Water Affecting My Teeth?

According to available research, sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth—and here's why. In a study using teeth that were removed as a part of treatment and donated for research, researchers tested to see whether sparkling water would attack tooth enamel more aggressively than regular lab water. The result? The two forms of water were about the same in their effects on tooth enamel. This finding suggests that, even though sparkling water is slightly more acidic than ordinary water, it's all just water to your teeth.

Tips for Enjoying Sparkling Water—and Protecting Your Teeth

  • Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too—it’s the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities, washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on and keeps your mouth from becoming dry (which can put you at a higher risk of cavities).
  • Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that does increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.
  • Sparkling water brands with added sugar can no longer be considered just sparkling water. They are a sugar-sweetened beverage, which can contribute to your risk of developing cavities. So remember—sparkling or not—plain water is always the best choice.

source: mouthhealhy.org

7 Things Your Orthodontist Wants You to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines

March 30th, 2021

A vial of COVID-19 vaccine

What do flossing, fluoride and the COVID-19 vaccine have in common? Preventing disease.

Dr. Johnson cares for your mouth because your oral health is essential to your overall health. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she and many orthodontists and dentists have been working to put your health and safety first by taking extra steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the office.

Now, we have COVID-19 vaccines to add to the other tools we’ve all been using to fight the pandemic — like wearing masks, washing our hands and avoiding crowds. As vaccines become available to more people, you may have some questions about them. Here’s what the CDC (and Dr. Johnson!) want you to know about COVID-19 vaccines.

1. The Vaccines are Safe and Effective

As doctors of oral health, credible scientific information is important to us when recommending treatments for our patients. While these vaccines were developed in a shorter time frame than some other vaccines, it’s important to know that the science behind them was not rushed. These vaccines were tested by thousands of people to make sure they work and are safe for patients like you. The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the data from the tests and authorized them for emergency use after determining they are safe and effective for the public.

As an additional safety measure, the CDC has set up expanded safety monitoring systems like the V-Safe smartphone tool to monitor vaccinations in real time.

2. The Vaccine Won’t Make You Sick, But It Does Have Some Side Effects

There is no possible way COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19. They might, however, come with some side effects that make you feel uncomfortable for a short time.

Because vaccines teach your body how to recognize and fight off a COVID-19 infection, you might feel some of the symptoms you’d get if your body were fighting off the real virus, such as a fever, according to the CDC. While unpleasant, this is actually a sign the vaccine is working in your body.

3. You Should Still Get the Vaccine Even If You’ve Had COVID-19

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 have some natural immunity that may protect them from getting sick again, but some people do get re-infected. It’s unclear how long natural immunity to COVID-19 lasts and it can vary from person to person. The CDC recommends that people who’ve had COVID-19 still get the vaccine.

4. Get All Recommended Doses

If you are receiving the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you need two doses to get the same level of efficacy seen in the clinical trials. For the Pfizer vaccine, the second dose is recommended three weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, the second dose is recommended four weeks after the first. And if you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you only need a single dose.

5. Vaccine Supply Is Increasing

While the first available doses of the vaccine have been set aside for healthcare workers and other essential workers, more will be available soon. The CDC has given government agencies recommendations for the order in which different groups of people should be vaccinated, with the end goal of making the vaccines available to everyone. Your local government may also allow different groups, such as people over 65, to receive the vaccine sooner.

6. You’ll Still Need to Wear a Mask

Vaccines are just one layer of protection we can use in this pandemic, so it’s not time to get rid of your mask just yet. Here’s why: a vaccine will protect you from getting sick from the virus, but we don’t yet know if it will prevent you from spreading the virus to others. That’s why the CDC continues to recommend people to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and avoid crowds even after getting vaccinated. Your dentist and Dr. Johnson will also continue to require masks at your appointment.

7. You Can Get the Vaccine If You Are Planning to Get Pregnant

Whether you are planning to get pregnant soon or in the future, you should still get the vaccine when it is available to you. The CDC states there is no evidence that the antibodies created from COVID-19 vaccines will cause problems with a pregnancy. The CDC also says there is no evidence that fertility issues are a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine.

Can I Use My HSA or FSA for Orthodontic Treatment?

March 22nd, 2021

What is an HSA or FSA account?

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), often offered by your employer, allow you to set aside money for qualifying health care expenses for yourself, your spouse and eligible dependents.

Can I use my HSA or FSA for orthodontic treatment? 

In most cases, yes, you can use your HSA or FSA for eligible orthodontic treatment. Only the portion of your orthodontic payments(s) not paid by your dental insurance or any other plan may be considered an eligible expense.

How can my HSA or FSA help save me money?

HSA and FSAs are types of savings account that let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for qualified medical expenses. By using untaxed dollars in an HSA or FSA to pay for your orthodontic treatment, you save money.

Contact your HSA or FSA provider for specific details.

Water Flossing: What is it and should I do it?

March 18th, 2021

Woman using ADA-accepted Waterpik water flosser

Water flossing is a way to clean between and around your teeth. A water flosser is a handheld device that sprays streams of water in steady pulses. The water, like traditional floss, removes food from between teeth.

Water flossers that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance have been tested to be safe and effective at removing plaque, which puts you at a higher risk for cavities and gum disease. Water flossers with the ADA Seal can also help reduce gingivitis, the early form of gum disease, throughout your mouth and between your teeth.

Water flossers can be an option for people who have trouble flossing by hand. People who have had dental work that makes flossing difficult—like braces, or permanent or fixed bridges—also might try water flossers.

Cleaning between your teeth once a day is an important part of your dental hygiene routine. You should also brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and see your dentist regularly.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Why are Mouth Guards Important?

March 11th, 2021

Mouthguard

Imagine what it would be like if you suddenly lost one or two of your front teeth. Smiling, talking, eating—everything would suddenly be affected. Knowing how to prevent injuries to your mouth and face is especially important if you participate in organized sports or other recreational activities.

Mouth guards, also called mouth protectors, help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw. They typically cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

When Should You Wear a Mouth guard?

When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouth guard is an essential piece of athletic gear that should be part of your standard equipment from an early age.

While collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth, any athlete may experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.

source: mouthhealthy.org

National Children's Dental Health Month

February 4th, 2021

This year's theme for National Children's Dental Health Month is "Water, Nature's Drink." Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits help children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

And to celebrate at Johnson Orthodontics, we're hosting a coloring contest! Come grab a coloring sheet in our office, create your masterpiece, and return it by March 15, 2021. You can either return it in person or mail it to us. Three will be chosen randomly to receive a mystery gift card! Good luck and have fun!

The Benefits of Clear Braces

January 27th, 2021

Have you considered straightening your smile lately?

Many adults are turning to orthodontics because they didn’t have an opportunity to correct their smiles as a child or, over the years, their teeth have drifted back out of alignment. The problem is, what adult wants to spend a year or more wearing metal braces? The awkward teenage years were bad enough the first time!

Nevertheless, orthodontic technology continues to improve, and we are able to offer a option for our patients using Invisalign

Invisalign, a clear braces system that relies on transparent aligners instead of metal brackets and wires, can help straighten your smile without the hassles that most people associate with braces.

For instance:

  • With Invisalign, you take out your aligners while you eat, which means you don’t have to worry about food restrictions or miss out on your favorite crunchy or chewy treats.
  • You also remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth, so there’s no need to brush around brackets or attempt to thread floss through wires.
  • You’ll be provided with a series of aligners at a time, so you don’t have to keep coming back to the office for “tightening” – you just switch to the next aligner in the series.
  • As long as you wear your aligners for the recommended 22 hours per day, you can remove your clear braces for a special event if you like (although the aligners are virtually invisible, so there’s very little need).

Invisalign can be used to treat mild to moderate misalignments and correct crowded, widely spaced, overlapping, and twisted teeth. We are more than happy to assess your smile and see if Invisalign will work for you!

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Care

January 21st, 2021

You may have seen our previous posts about how it is highly recommended that children see an orthodontist by the time they are 7 years old. There are a couple reasons for this. An orthodontist, like Dr. Johnson, can periodically observe the growth and eruption of permanent teeth to make sure everything is coming in properly. And if teeth are erupting in positions that would cause issues in the future, early treatments can be done.

Here are a few options that orthodontists can do during the early years:

Palatal expander - In younger patients, palatal expansion may reduce the need for extractions or prevent impacted teeth. It helps make the upper jaw wider to help reduce crowding in abnormally narrow arches. Cases not corrected in growing patients could lead to surgery, bite problems, or more costly treatments down the road.

Early interceptive treatment - Sometimes a short time in braces can correct problems early and prevent larger problems later. An example of interceptive treatment is correcting an anterior crossbite.

Tooth removal - Sometimes removing baby or impacted teeth can help permanent teeth grow in better and encourage them to come in closer to their ideal position without orthodontic appliances. Dr. Johnson will suggest the best time for extractions, if they are necessary, to take advantage of your child's growth and development.

Remember, early visits are highly recommended but not all early visits result in orthodontic treatment. One of three things could result from your child's first visit:

  1. There may be no need for treatment at the time.
  2. Treatment may be needed in the future, so periodic appointments for observation would be recommended.
  3. A problem already exists that would benefit early treatment and will be discussed during the consultation.

Source: aaoinfo.org

Seeing a Dentist During Orthodontic Treatment

January 19th, 2021

Many patients ask Dr. Pamela Johnson if they still need to see a general dentist when they are coming to her office every other month for orthodontic treatment. The answer is yes. It's very important to see your general dentist even when receiving orthodontic treatment. There are a number of reasons why, but here are three crucial examples:

  1. Regular cleanings are super important
    Having braces means there are extra nooks and crannies that food particles can get stuck in. Even with regular brushing and flossing, it can be hard to reach everything around the brackets, bands, and other appliances. Your dentist will be able to give a professional cleaning that will ensure most, if not all, plaque and tartar are removed. This still applies even if you're wearing clear aligners or Invisalign.
  2. Help protect against decalcification
    Decalcification is when white spots develop on the tooth surface, and this is irreversible. If left untreated, it can also lead to cavities. Practicing good oral hygiene helps prevent decalcification but seeing your general dentist is another strong way to help prevent this.
  3. Cavities prolong orthodontic treatment
    Seeing your dentist on a regular basis during treatment helps prevent cavities. Having cavities can delay the completion of your orthodontic treatment. Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments or other treatments to help strengthen your teeth and protect them from cavities.

Regular dentist visits are so important. If you do not have a general dentist, you can call or email our office and we can recommend one in your area.

Brushing Habits to Break in 2021

January 5th, 2021

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, we tend to make resolutions and goals, including breaking bad habits. Here are some dental bad habits that are important to work on.

Keeping Your Toothbrush Too Long
The American Dental Association highly recommends changing your toothbrush every 3 months. Frayed and broken bristles won't keep your teeth clean. The best trick to remembering is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season!

Not Brushing Long Enough
On average, a person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds. You should actually brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Setting a timer or humming a song to yourself would be great for helping fight this bad habit.

Brushing Too Hard
You may think brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner, but it could actually damage your gums. So be gentle with you teeth.

Brushing Right After Eating
Try waiting at least 60 minutes before brushing your teeth after you eat, especially if you had anything acidic like lemons or soda. Drink water or chew sugarless gum with the ADA Seal of Acceptance while you wait to brush.

Storing Your Toothbrush Improperly
After brushing, keep your toothbrush upright and in the open. Putting your toothbrush in a closed container gives germs more of a chance to grow.

Using a Brush with Hard Bristles
Soft bristles are a safe bet. And remember to be gentle while you're brushing! If you have any questions about which toothbrush is best for you, talk to your general dentist.

Improper Brushing Technique
Here's one technique to try for a thorough brush: First, place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Then, gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes. Next, brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Finally, to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Using a Brush That's Not Best for You
There are many different toothbrushes that you can use, including manual and power brushes. Try different types until you find the best one that works for you.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Your Child's Teeth, Ages 6-12

December 17th, 2020

When a child's adult teeth are coming in, we know parents may be wondering when all of their teeth will be in and if they're on track with other children. However, it's good to know that not all children get the same teeth at the same time.

Around age 5 or 6 is when children start losing their bottom and top front teeth. From ages 6 to 12, they will continue to lose their baby teeth and gain their adult ones until they have usually lost the last of their 20 baby teeth by age 12. In general, once they are 12 to 14, they should have all of their adult teeth except their wisdom teeth.

Again, everyone doesn't follow this exactly, but we've included a handy chart of when permanent (adult) teeth start to come in for you to see and use for guidance.

Remember, it's highly recommended to see a general dentist starting with your child's first birthday and to see an orthodontist when they are 7 years old.

 

Brushing Your Teeth

December 15th, 2020

Toothbrushing Quick Facts Infographic

Dental care is very important not only for your teeth, but your overall health. The American Dental Association has a few recommendations to help you have and keep a healthy mouth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth. A good way to remember is to change your toothbrush at the start of the new season.
  • Make sure to use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste.

Proper Brushing Technique

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Of course, brushing your teeth is only a part of a complete dental care routine. You should also make sure to:

  • Clean between teeth daily once a day. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
  • Eat a balanced diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for prevention and treatment of oral disease.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Foods To Avoid With Braces

December 3rd, 2020

Man holding his mouth in pain

When you have braces there are certain foods that can cause them to break easily. It's best to try to eat softer foods that do not require biting into them to eat (like corn on the cob or ribs). Here is a list of foods that are sticky, chewy, or hard and dangerous for braces:

  • ice
  • nuts
  • popcorn
  • hard candy
  • gum
  • chewy candy like caramel or gummi bears
  • whole hard fruit like apples and pears and hard, raw veggies like carrots
  • corn on the cob
  • hard pretzels
  • peanut brittle
  • pizza crust
  • hard rolls or bagels
  • ribs

You can get around some of these foods by cutting them into bite-size pieces or pulling the corn off the cob or meat off the rib bone. Along with these suggestions, try softer foods. Here is a list of some examples:

  • scrambled eggs
  • oatmeal
  • soup with soft vegetables or pureed or cream soups
  • soft cheeses, including cottage cheese
  • smoothies and milkshakes
  • pudding and custard
  • meatloaf
  • mashed potatoes
  • sorbet and frozen yogurt
  • tortillas (soften by microwaving or steaming)
  • yogurt
  • soft-cooked, shredded chicken and meat
  • protein shakes
  • tofu
  • ripe fruits, such as peaches and nectarines, cut into bite-size pieces
  • couscous, quinoa, bulgur, soft-cooked rice
  • pasta and noodles
  • polenta
  • baked apples
  • peanut butter
  • chicken or tuna salad
  • refried beans
  • avocado
  • applesauce
  • macaroni and cheese
  • pancakes
  • soft bread
  • saltines and matzoh
  • mashed bananas
  • cooked veggies
  • hummus
  • canned or cooked fruit

source: mouthhealthy.org

Oral Health

November 18th, 2020

Your mouth is a window into the health of your entire body. Oral health is often taken for granted, however your mouth can show early signs of nutritional deficiencies, infections, and systemic diseases that affect your body. The health of your mouth and teeth are important, no matter the age.

While most Americans enjoy excellent oral health, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease for children. Around 100 million Americans do not see a dentist once a year. Many believe that you should only see a dentist when you are in pain, but in reality, seeing a general dentist on a yearly basis can help prevent oral health issues in the future. Still, it is important to see a dentist if you are in pain. Do not put off seeing anyone when you are feeling any form of discomfort.

Remember, you can practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Change your toothbrush every three or fourth months and have a balanced diet. And make sure to see your general dentist for check-ups to keep your smile bright and healthy.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Office Update

November 9th, 2020

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you and your family are doing well during these uncertain times. I wanted to reassure you that Johnson Orthodontics understands your worries. To date, our office has had 0 COVID cases. Our policies and procedures have worked very well and we are strictly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), American Dental Association (ADA) and American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) guidelines in order to keep our patients and staff safe.

While some of our polices may appear overly cautious, we remain committed to doing our very best to ensure your safety. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with these procedures. As oral healthcare professionals, we are leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of disease. We have always had the precautions of using masks, goggles, gloves, sterile instruments and devices as well as handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces.

During this pandemic, we have increased our efforts to keep our office sterile by adding plexiglass barriers and using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and gowns. We have also purchased a medical grade air purifier. We practice social distancing by seating our patients every other chair in the office since we reopened six months ago and we do not allow more than a few individuals in our reception area to prevent overcrowding. Our office also encourages a “one way in, one way out” policy to reduce the possibility of crowded pathways. Lastly, we have included the option of virtual consultations for new patients, emergencies, and Invisalign patients through our website.

While check-in may involve a few extra steps, it has helped ensure everyone’s safety. We ask screening and triage questions at the door and check temperatures of patients and staff. We understand that when you come to our office on a more regular basis, it can feel unneeded and repetitive to answer the questions and have your temperature checked. However, it appears to have helped us remain a safe and healthy place for our families.

The top priority of the office is our patients’ health. With these procedures in place, we have had minimal disruption in our services and 0 COVID cases in the office. This would not have been possible without the understanding, trust, and cooperation of our wonderful families. So a big heartfelt thank you to all of our patients and families for keeping everyone healthy!

With best wishes for your family’s health and safety,

 

Dr. Pamela Johnson

Fight the Fear of the Dental Office

November 4th, 2020

We know going into any dental office, whether it's the dentist or orthodontist, can cause some nervous butterflies. You could be scared that the treatment may hurt, you haven't been in for a while, or you're nervous to hear how your orthodontic treatment may go. Whatever your reason, Johnson Orthodontics will make sure your dental and emotional health are taken care of. Here are some strategies you can use at your next appointment to help ease any anxiety you may have:

1. Talk to Us

Sharing your thoughts and feelings makes a huge difference when you are anxious. If you have anxiety about your visit to Johnson Orthodontics, make sure to get your concerns off your chest by speaking with Dr. Johnson. Our team will be able to give you the best treatment if we know your needs.

  • Tell us about your anxiety. You can explain this to the receptionist when you make your appointment, and remind Dr. Johnson and the dental staff when you arrive.
  • Ask questions. We will answer all your questions and concerns, and sometimes knowing what's going to happen during your treatment could alleviate your fears.
  • Give us a signal. Talk to Dr. Johnson and the dental staff about creating a signal for when you are feeling overwhelmed and need a break during your appointment.
  • Feel any pain, tell us. Please don't feel embarrassed if you feel any pain or about your pain tolerance. Talk to our team so we make sure you feel comfortable.

2. Distract Yourself

Here are a few things you can do to try to take your mind off what's going on when the team is working on your teeth. You can do one or a combination of the strategies below.

  • Listen to music or an audiobook. Bring your headphones in and you can drown out the noise around you.
  • Keep your hands busy. Sometimes having something in your hands can help, so if you have a stress ball or even a fidget spinner, bring it in.
  • Daydream. Close your eyes and imagine being somewhere else that's relaxing to you.

3. Use Mindfulness Techniques

Another strategy is to try breathing techniques. This can also be combined with the suggestions for keeping your mind occupied.

  • Count your breaths. Inhale slowly and exhale for the same number of counts. Do this multiple times before you come in, in the lobby, or while you're in the dental chair.
  • Do a body scan. Relax your muscles by starting from your head and going through each body part until you get to your toes.

Dental visits of all kinds can seem scary, but we promise to be there for you every step of the way. We want to make your time getting your orthodontic treatments as easy and relaxing as possible. So try these strategies, and don't forget to let us know if you have any questions or concerns!

source: mouthhealthy.org

Can Pacifiers and Thumb Sucking Affect My Child's Teeth?

November 2nd, 2020

The short answer is yes. While thumb sucking and using a pacifier are natural reflexes, if these habits are prolonged it can exert force on the teeth and jaws.

Some common orthodontic problems due to prolonged thumb sucking and pacifier use include:
- Protruding front teeth, also known as "buck" teeth
- Open bite, which is when the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap and could cause swallowing or speech problems
- Crossbite, upper teeth that fit inside the lower teeth. If not corrected, the jaw can shift to one side causing lopsided jaw growth

If you notice prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, please contact Dr. Johnson. As an orthodontist, she can identify any orthodontic related issues caused by these habits and can offer early treatments to help your child break the habit and correct any current problems. Seeing an orthodontist at a young age will help your child:
- correct harmful oral habits
- guide jaw growth
- lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- guide permanent teeth into better positions

source: aaoinfo.org

Why Mouth Guards are Essential

October 28th, 2020

With schools returning to in-person learning and sports coming back, it's important to know that wearing a mouth guard while playing sports is essential to protecting your children's teeth.

Most parents support the idea that mouth guards should be worn, but studies show a significant percentage of them do not wear their mouth guards while playing sports. In early 2017, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) collected data in an independent survey* that delivered a clear message: 99 percent of parents whose children play organized sports felt youth should be required to wear mouth guards in order to play. Yet 37 percent of parents said their child never wears a mouth guard while playing sports. This includes games, practices and recreational play.

There is also a misconception that repairing a knocked out or broken tooth is not very expensive. According to the study, parents estimate it would cost $1,142 to replace a damaged permanent tooth, but in reality, costs to treat one knocked-out tooth over a lifetime can range from $5,000 to $20,000**. Parents and patients may not realize that restorations may have to be repeated periodically, which amplifies repair or replacements costs.

Which Sports Should Require Mouth Guards?

In a nutshell, all of them. The AAO's study shows that while a majority of parents think mouth guards should be required for football and hockey, only half the parents said the same thing for basketball and even less than that agreed for baseball. A 2007 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association ranked basketball as the sport at the top of the list for the highest rate of dental injuries for both men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletes. And according to mouth guard manufacturer Shock Doctor, one in four injures on the basketball court occurs above the neck.

Wearing mouth guards should also be extended to sport practices. Forty percent of parents reported that their child’s sports practices are less structured than games, and generally have few or no medical personnel nearby.

Overall, when playing sports, whether it's an official game, practice, or a quick scrimmage in the park with friends, a mouth guard should be worn to protect the teeth from injury.

source: aaoinfo.org

*The American Association of Orthodontists commissioned Wakefield Research to conduct the 2017 AAO Sports Survey among 1,000 U.S. parents whose children play organized sports. The survey was conducted in January 2017 using an email invitation and an online survey. The overall sampling error rate for this survey is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

**Sports Health, “Common Dental Injury Management in Athletes,” vol. 7, no. 3, May-June 2015, p. 250.

 

Invisalign®, Does It Work?

October 26th, 2020

invisalign for adults

Many still believe that braces and orthodontic treatment is for children and teenagers. But that is not true. Orthodontic treatment is for patients of all ages. One type of treatment that adults can do is Invisalign® clear aligners.

How do they work?
Invisalign® clear aligners use the most advanced technology to give you your best smile. Using a series of aligners made with SmartTrack® material, Invisalign treatment can straighten your teeth with 75% more predictability.

First, Dr. Pamela Johnson scans your teeth and with a complete team of specialists, they'll craft a complete digital treatment plan. The aligners are trimmed along your gum line for optimal comfort and aesthetics and are designed to gradually and predictably adjust your teeth as you continue to live your life the way you want. With the combined help of Invisalign and Dr. Johnson, you'll gradually reveal your brand new smile.

And, it's more affordable than you think. Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign treatments just as they would other orthodontic treatments. Ask Dr. Johnson and her team how to use your orthodontic insurance coverage to help pay for Invisalign treatments.

Candy You Can Eat With Braces

October 22nd, 2020

Halloween is almost here! We know things may be different this year, but we're all going to indulge in some candy-goodness at the end of this month. If you're worried you can't have candy with braces, we have great news for you! Enjoying good candy with braces is still an option. However, there are certain candies that you want to avoid because they have a higher chance of damaging your braces and setting back your orthodontic treatment process.

Candies to avoid:
- Caramels
- Taffy
- Hard candy
- Chewy candy
- Jellybeans
- Licorice
- Bubble gum
- Suckers
- Sour candy
- Popcorn
- Nuts

Now you're probably thinking well what can I eat? Softer, melt-in-your-mouth candies are better and less risky when you have braces. So here are the candies you can enjoy in moderation.

Candies you can eat:
- Chocolate (without caramel or nuts)
- KitKats
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- 3 Musketeers
- Marshmallows
- Cookies

Remember, any candy in excessive amounts can be harmful to your teeth and braces. The candy can accumulate around your braces and lead to white marks (decalcification), cavities or gum disease. Make sure to brush your teeth well after having your sugary snacks! Happy Halloween!

source: aaoinfo.org

How Soon Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

October 20th, 2020

As a parent, you want the best for your child and that includes healthy teeth and a pleasing smile. The American Dental Association recommends that a child visits a general dentist by their first birthday. Your dentist can alert you to any concerns about how the teeth and jaws are developing.

But when should you have your child see an Orthodontist?

Most orthodontic treatment begins between the ages of 9 and 14, but a check-up no later than age 7 gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. By age 7, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to determine whether an orthodontic problem is occurring. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment, but seeing an orthodontist at age 7 would be beneficial and help your child receive treatment faster if they do. Well-aligned teeth look and feel good, and they contribute to good dental health and the ability to speak, chew, and bite.

Myths about Orthodontic Treatment

October 15th, 2020

There are common myths about orthodontic treatment that are spread on a daily basis. We'd like to debunk these misconceptions.

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

False. Some general dentists or online companies can offer braces or aligners, but only after taking additional years of advanced schooling at an accredited residency can a dentist call themselves an orthodontic specialist. That's why it is important to see a specialist, like Johnson Orthodontics, to straighten your teeth as they will possess the skills, knowledge, and experience to give you the best smile.

2. Orthodontists are expensive.

False. Orthodontists customize their patients' treatment plans and as a result, the fees reflect the complexity of each case. For simple cases that take a short amount of time, to difficult ones that could take years, the benefits of having a professional provide orthodontic care will be well worth it. Johnson Orthodontics provides complimentary consultations and flexible payment plans, and we are willing to work with our patients in order to help them get their best smile.

3. Orthodontic treatment takes several years.

It depends. Orthodontic treatment requires time, pressure, and cooperation. Each case is different as simple cases may only take a few months to treat while difficult ones can take years. In order to straighten your teeth, Johnson Orthodontics will add an appliance to put constant pressure over time to move your teeth into position. Treatment also requires cooperation from the patient in continuing good dental hygiene and avoiding foods that could damage the appliance. Rest assured, Johnson Orthodontics has the training, experience, and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest time possible.

4. Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic.

False. While improved appearance is the most obvious result, there are many benefits to having orthodontic treatment done. When your teeth and jaws are aligned biting, chewing, and speaking could improve. There are also important health benefits. Crooked teeth allow plaque to build up which leads to cavities, gum disease, or bleeding gums. Teeth that stick out are also more likely to be injured or fractured and can lead to teeth grinding and chipping.

5. Orthodontists only offer metal braces.

False. Orthodontists have a full range of appliances besides metal braces to straighten your teeth. Here at Johnson Orthodontics we offer a variety including clear braces and Invisalign® for both teens and adults. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their disposal to help you get your new smile.

6. Orthodontic treatment is just for kids.

False. As mentioned earlier, we have Invisalign® for teens and adults, and we have other products that can be used to help adjust adult teeth. Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile. Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Source: aaoinfo.org

What Your Orthodontist Wants You to Know During This Time

October 13th, 2020

We know these are uncertain times, but we wanted to let you know our office is open and safe for you to come in. Our mission is to keep our patients and staff safe while providing excellent orthodontic care. We want to reassure you that we are taking all precautions to protect everyone. Here are a few things we want you to know:

1. We are taking many more precautions to protect our patients and staff.

  • Wearing the proper PPE
  • Practicing social distancing etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfecting more than ever before
  • Asking screening questions and checking temperatures at the front door

2. We continue to stay on top of all safety protocols.

Here at Johnson Orthodontics we continue to educate ourselves on the safety protocols as well as update our infection control protocols to ensure we align with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and all other applicable guidelines.

3. Dentists and orthodontic specialists have always been leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of diseases.

As oral health professionals, we are leaders in safely practicing with blood borne pathogens and respiratory pathogens. We are taking all the CDC recommendations and implementing them in our offices.

4. Your oral health is representative of your overall health.

We use appliances such as springs, coils and memory wires that apply continuous pressure to your teeth and jaw in order to straighten your teeth. Because of this, it is important that adjustments are made to the appliances in a timely manner and that we monitor the movement of your teeth. Also, it's important to know that leaving misaligned teeth untreated could lead to other dental problems.

 

 

 

Why Filing Teeth Yourself is a Bad Idea

October 8th, 2020

If you, your friends, or family use TikTok you may have seen a new trend where people use a nail file to grind their teeth down to make them more even.

Don't do this!

Unlike fingernails which grow back, teeth are permanent. When you attempt to file your teeth at home, you're chipping away at the protective layer of enamel and damaging your teeth. Losing the enamel could lead to tooth sensitivity or even loss.

If you have uneven teeth, come to Johnson Orthodontics. An orthodontist is trained to know the best teeth practices. As an expert, they can determine why your teeth are uneven and can inform you if you are a good candidate for a professional filing, called enameloplasty, or if another type of orthodontic treatment would be more beneficial.

source: aaoinfo.org

Three Facts About Taking Your Child To The Orthodontist

September 10th, 2020

 

Ever wonder when you should take your child to the orthodontist? Below are three reasons you should schedule an orthodontic consultation.

#1: You notice something doesn't look quite right.

Parents often recognize that something isn’t quite right about their child’s teeth or jaws. The teeth may not be fitting together properly.Your child may have difficulty chewing or biting. There may be mouth breathing or teeth grinding issues. When you notice something not quite right, it’s time to get it checked out.Impacted teeth or severely delay eruption of teeth can prevent the adult teeth from growing in correctly. The orthodontist may need an x-ray to see what's below the surface.

#2: Age 7 is the magic number!

Adult teeth start erupting between the age of 6 and 7. Extra teeth, missing teeth or impacted teeth need to be noticed early.

Early orthodontic treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing or getting worse. For example, a palatal expander can widen the upper jaw while your child is still young and the bones are more pliable. Orthodontic treatment can improve sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sometimes baby teeth need to be removed in order to guide the adult permanent teeth into a better position.

#3: You don't need a dentist to tell you it's time to see an orthodontist.

A referral might not be made if the dentist isn’t evaluating the bite correctly. Why wait? New patient exams are easy and fun for your child. No referral is needed!

Virtual Consult

August 17th, 2020

Do you need braces or Invisalign but don’t have the time to make it into the office?  Let us help you discover your orthodontic treatment options directly from the comfort of your own home using your cell phone and our online Virtual Consult!

At Johnson Orthodontics, we are proud to offer complimentary Virtual Consults to help you decide which orthodontic treatment option is right for you.  All you have to do is click on the virtual consult button and follow the instructions. You will need to download a few photographs so that Dr. Johnson can evaluate your teeth and bite!  You will receive feedback from our office and recommendations about your next steps.

We believe that your time is valuable.  We hope you find our new feature helpful and contact us soon. Call (630)-887-1188 for more details.

Will My Teeth Stay Where My Orthodontist Moved Them?

August 13th, 2020

Change is a natural part of life. Just as our bodies change throughout our whole life, our teeth change too. We start out with no teeth, then get baby teeth, and shed those in favor of permanent teeth. Sometimes there are problems with tooth placement and jaw positions. That’s where Dr. Johnson is called in to bring about a change for the better, and transform misaligned teeth and jaws into a healthy and beautiful smile.

After orthodontic treatment is complete the most reliable way to keep your teeth where Dr. Johnson moved them is by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Your teeth will not stay where Dr.Johnson moved them unless you do. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment concludes are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

When treatment is complete, there is a “settling in” period; teeth adjust as you bite, chew, swallow and speak – actions that all place forces on your teeth. These small changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. If your retainer is not worn as prescribed, however, large changes occur instead. Large changes are disappointing to the patient, and to the orthodontist. If you are in retainers, and should you notice an unwanted change in your bite or your smile, or if you should lose a removable retainer or damage a fixed retainer (bonded in behind teeth), contact our office right away. Don’t give teeth an opportunity to shift. Commit to wearing retainers as prescribed by Dr. Johnson and limit undesirable changes!

Call Dr. Johnson office for more information 630-887-1188!

 

source:aaoinfo.org

Will I Need to Wear Retainers After Treatment?

August 3rd, 2020

Whether you’re thinking about orthodontic treatment, or currently undergoing treatment, you may be wondering, “Will I need to wear retainers after treatment?” The answer is yes, and here’s why. Getting straight teeth is only half the battle; the other half is keeping them straight, and that is where retainers come in.

Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment concludes are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

Why are retainers needed?

Retainers are prescribed for two reasons: first, to allow the bone that holds teeth to rebuild after teeth have moved, and second, to maintain the healthy new positions of teeth after active orthodontic treatment ends. Your body changes your whole life, and your teeth change too.

Are there different retainer options?

Yes, there are two general kinds of retainers: removable (put in and removed by the patient) and fixed (placed and removed by the orthodontist)Both types of retainers hold teeth in their new positions after “active” orthodontic treatment is completed. This allows newly formed bone to mature around the teeth.

Two common removable retainers:

  1.   Wire retainers are made of wire and a plastic-like material. The part of the retainer that covers the roof of the mouth or goes behind the lower front teeth is plastic and wires help told the teeth in place.
  2.   Clear retainers are transparent trays made of a plastic-like material that are exact replicas of the teeth.

The orthodontist will teach you how to insert, remove and take care of a removable retainer.

fixed retainer consists of a thin, custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the tongue-side of upper or lower teeth.

How long will I have to wear them?

As long as you want to keep your teeth straight, many patients wear retainers nightly for life.  Wearing retainers becomes part of your oral hygiene routine: brush and floss before bed, and wear retainers at night for a lifetime.

 

source: aaoinfo.org

Is There a Benefit to Early Treatment?

July 23rd, 2020

Timing is everything – even when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information. AAO orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in young children.

There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:

  • No treatment is expected to be necessary.
  • Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to grow.
  • There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment.

While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. A patient may require a second course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into their best positions.

The kinds of problems orthodontists may recommend treating while a child still has some baby teeth include:

Early Treatment | Houston Orthodontics | Houston TX

  • Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
  • Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side
  • Very crowded teeth
  • Excessively
  • spaced teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
  • Thumb-, finger-, or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or abnormal swallowing.

Early orthodontic treatment can take many forms. The orthodontist could prescribe a fixed or removable “appliance” – a device used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Sometimes no appliances are necessary. Rather, removal of some baby teeth may help the permanent teeth erupt better. The extractions will be timed to take best advantage of a patient’s growth and development.

Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.

To give your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile call to make a consultation appointment today 630-887-1188!. No referral needed! . Dr. Johnson can alert you to potential problems and recommend treatment when it is most appropriate for your child. Remember, timing is everything.

 

source:aaoinfo.org

3 Reasons to Take Your Child to the Orthodontist Today

July 20th, 2020

 

Wondering when it’s the right time to take your child to the orthodontist? Here are three reasons you should get an orthodontist appointment for your kiddo scheduled now.

#1: You may notice something appears off but there are also some things the untrained eye won’t see.

Parents are often the first to recognize that something isn’t quite right about their child’s teeth or jaws. You may notice your child’s teeth not fitting together, difficulty chewing or biting, mouth breathing or other issues. When you notice something not quite right, it’s time to get it checked out. Sometimes it’s more than meets the eye. ⅔ of what goes on in your mouth happens below the surface. Your child may have impacted canines, preventing adult teeth from erupting properly. Let an orthodontist take a look and see what is below the surface with an x-ray.   You do not have to wait for your general dentist to refer you because a referral is not needed to schedule an initial appointment with an orthodontist!

#2: The earlier, the better. Take them by age 7! 

By age 7, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate if a problem exists or is developing. Most orthodontists take x-rays and photos to evaluate any concerns or potential problems with permanent teeth – such as extra teeth, missing teeth or teeth coming into the wrong positions.

Some problems lend themselves to early treatment and may prevent more serious problems from developing or intercept any issues from getting worse. For example, your child may benefit from a palatal expander which will widen the upper jaw while they are still young and the bone is still pliable – saving them from more costly and einvasive orthodontic work down the road. Orthodontia also has been shown to improve sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Sometimes baby teeth can be gently removed to guide the other permanent teeth into a better position.  Consult with your orthodontist to learn more.

#3: You don’t need a dentist referral.

Parents may assume that their dentist will make a referral to an orthodontist when the time is right. A referral might not happen if the dentist isn’t evaluating the bite.

Call Johnson Orthodontist for a consultation 630-887-1188 !

source:aaoinfo.org

How Orthodontics Works: Braces

June 11th, 2020

 

   

Successful orthodontic treatment depends on three things – pressure, time and cooperation. Braces – a fixed orthodontic appliance typically comprised of brackets, bands and wires – put pressure on teeth to gradually move them into the correct position over time. Patient cooperation is needed by keeping teeth clean, avoiding food items that break the brackets, limiting sugary drinks, visiting the general dentist every 3-6 months and wearing elastics as prescribed by the orthodontist.

Patients with braces typically visit the orthodontist every six-to-ten-weeks, until teeth are aligned properly. These maintenance visits ensure teeth are moving correctly and allow your orthodontist to adjust treatment and tooth movement as needed.

Depending on the complexity of the case, a short-term touch up can take just a few months, while comprehensive treatment including bite correction, could last several years.

Other appliances and tools – such as a palatal expandertemporary anchorage devices (TADs), rubber bands – may also be incorporated in your treatment to help speed up the process or improve the result.

After teeth are in the correct position, the braces and other appliances will be removed. Patients are often fitted for a removable/and or permanent retainer to help teeth stay put for years to come.

But aren’t braces old school?

While braces are often considered the traditional approach, there’s a reason the appliance has been a trusted treatment option for decades – they work. Especially for complex cases. Why? Well, because braces are a fixed appliance, they allow for greater control and more detailed tooth movement.

Considering treatment?

Call Johnson Orthodontics office for a free consultation 630-887-1188 !

source: aaoinfo.org

My Orthodontist’s Office Has Reopened. Is It Safe to Go?

June 4th, 2020

 

When the time comes and your orthodontist’s office reopens, you may be wondering what precautions your orthodontist is taking to ensure your safety. While the appointment process may look a little different, don’t worry, your orthodontist has always been on the front lines of preventing the spread of diseases. From treatment and waiting room disinfection to the strict use of personal protective equipment (PPE), the safety of patients and staff members continues to be of utmost importance.

During the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, the safety of patients and staff continues to be a top priority:

Before, during and after treatment:

When it comes to preventing the spread of disease, rest assured that your orthodontist has always been strict on universal precautions. Precautions have always included the use of masks, glasses, gloves, sterile instruments and devices as well as clean and disinfected environmental surfaces.

Additionally, frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, chairs, desks and bathrooms are cleaned and disinfected often. Other objects that may be difficult to disinfect, such as magazines, reading material and refreshment stations, may even be removed all together. Your orthodontist might also ask you to brush your teeth at home before coming to the office.

The process may look a little different:

While your check-in may involve a few extra steps this will help ensure the safety of patients and staff. For instance, the process may include screening and triage questions, waiting in your vehicle versus the waiting room, checking your temperature or asking that you follow social distancing and infection control etiquette. Some orthodontists may recommend against bringing companions to appointments, unless necessary. If companions do accompany patients, they may also be screened during patient check-in.

 

source: aaoinfo.org

7 Common Bite Problems in Children and Adults

April 16th, 2020

Your bark may be worse than your bite, but your bite is a very important part of your oral health. In orthodontics, “bite” refers to the way upper and lower teeth come together. A bad bite, called a “malocclusion,” happens when teeth meet improperly, or they don’t meet at all. While each individual bite problem is unique, there are seven broad types of bite problems that are common in children and adults.

1. Crossbite

When upper teeth fit inside of lower teeth. Can be caused by misalignment of teeth (including baby teeth) or a misalignment of the bone; can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth.

Possible consequences if not corrected: The jaw shifts to one side; lopsided jaw growth; wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”.

Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, upper teeth are to the inside of bottom teeth.

common bite problems: posterior crossbite

Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, the top teeth are behind the bottom teeth.

common bite problems: anterior crossbite

 

2. Underbite

The lower jaw sits in front of the upper jaw.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Face has “bull dog” appearance; tooth wear; stress on jaw joints.

common bite problems: underbite

 

 

 

 

3. Open bite

Anterior open bite: Occurs when the back teeth are together, and the upper and lower front teeth do not overlap. This can result from excessive sucking, tongue thrusting or mouth breathing.

Posterior open bite: Occurs when the front teeth meet, but the back teeth do not.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Swallowing problems; tongue pushes through teeth when swallowing. Possible speech problems.

common bite problems - open bite

 

 

 

 

 

4. Deep bite

When the bite is closed, the upper front teeth cover the bottom teeth too much.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth can bite into lower gums; lower teeth can bite into the roof of the mouth. Possible gum disease, early enamel wear.

common bite problems: deep bite

 

 

 

 

5. Crowding

Insufficient space for the teeth. This can be a result of big teeth or inadequate space in the jaw or both. This may result in teeth that overlap, are rotated, or take on a crooked/staggered appearance.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Hard to clean; possible cavities, especially in between the teeth; gum disease.

common bite problems: crowding

 

6. Spacing

Too much space between teeth. It can result from missing teeth, undersized teeth, oversized jaws, or a combination of these conditions.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Food gets stuck in open areas. Possible cavities, gum disease.

common bite problems: spacing

 

 

 

 

 

7. Protrusion

Front teeth that stick out (“buck” teeth). Teeth may appear protrusive because the upper jaw is too far forward, the lower jaw is too far back, the teeth grew in at an angle, or a combination of these conditions. Sometimes people who have protrusive front teeth also have a deep bite.

Possible consequences if not corrected: Upper teeth are prone to accidental breaking; hard to comfortably close the mouth and lips, leading to dried out oral tissues followed by tooth decay. Speech problems. Long, narrow face.

common bite problems: protrusion

 

 

 

 

The fact is that if any of these common bite problems exist in a child’s mouth, they likely will not self-correct. Untreated problems tend to get worse with time. Many times, the bite problems are best treated while the child is still growing, so make an appointment with an orthodontist today.  You don’t need to wait until your dentist refers you.

The goal of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite. When teeth and jaws line up in the right way, the force created to bite, or chew food is evenly distributed. A healthy bite is important for clear speech.

 

 

source:aaoinfo.org

4 Ways Your Smile Changes As You Age

April 8th, 2020

It’s no secret, as you age, so does your smile. Teeth wear down as we chew our way through a lifetime of meals. Did you also know, teeth can move and shift well into adulthood? Here’s a roundup of 4 common changes orthodontists see in patients as they age:

1. Bottom teeth crowding

As you age, your jaw bone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jaw bone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth. Crowding can also occur because other issues such as breathing through your mouth, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.

2. Front teeth gap

Space between two front teeth is referred to as a diastema, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Crowding of teeth or unproportioned jaws and teeth can cause spacing to gradually occur. Swallowing, with the pressure of your tongue pushing against your front teeth, rather than positioning itself at the roof of your mouth, can also cause teeth to separate over time. Gum disease is another trigger for spacing, because of the inflammation.

3. Post-orthodontic teeth shifting

Our bodies change our whole life, and our teeth change, too. After orthodontic treatment a retainer is needed to maintain teeth in position. As we age, if teeth are restored or lost, new proper fitting retainers will be needed to prevent unwanted change.

4. Wrong bite

Do you get headaches, clicking and popping jaw joints, grind your teeth or even back pain? You may have a bite disorder, which occurs when the lower and upper jaw don’t align, called malocclusion.

These changes may be completely normal, but that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. The number of adults undergoing orthodontic treatment is at an all-time high. An estimated 1.61 million adults underwent orthodontic treatment in the U.S. in 2018. That’s one in four adults!

source:aaoinfo.org

My Orthodontist’s Office Is Closed, What Does That Mean for My Treatment?

March 23rd, 2020

Image result for calm down cartoon images

Given the outbreak of COVID-19, your orthodontist may have made the difficult, but important, decision to postpone any non-emergent appointments. You can be assured that this decision was not made lightly but was made to protect patients, staff and families.

Given the closure, you may have a few questions.

Will this delay my treatment?

We know part of successful orthodontic treatment is showing up for your appointments. If that’s not an option under these unusual circumstances, it’s okay. Don’t panic. Though your appointments are scheduled out to achieve maximum success, this hiccup shouldn’t have much of an impact on your overall treatment plan. Given the situation, your orthodontist will work hard to get your treatment plan back on track when they reopen.

You can help keep treatment on track by following your orthodontist’s directions, avoiding hard and sticky foods and keeping your teeth clean.  With limited appointments available, now is not the time to be breaking brackets, and keeping your teeth clean will ensure the best possible result.

What now?

Make sure to stay in contact with your orthodontist about when they plan to reopen and get any appointments you’re going to miss rescheduled. For many offices, information regarding this is available on practices’ Facebook pages and/or websites.

A timeline as to when they reopen may be up-in-the-air, but you can rest assured they are making decisions with your best interest in mind.

My orthodontist said they will continue “essential dental care.” What does that mean? 

If you have an urgent need during this time, such as pain or injury, your orthodontist will likely be available for emergency appointments. Please contact their office to determine the best course of action for your specific situation.

There’s a lot of uncertainty right now, but what’s one thing we know for sure? 

Your orthodontist Dr. Johnson looks forward to seeing you back in our office soon!

call our office Johnson Orthodontics 630-887-1188 !

source:aaoinfo.org

Taking Care of Your Retainer

March 18th, 2020

Image result for retainer cartoon

Wrapping up your orthodontic treatment? Congratulations! You put a lot of effort into reaching this important milestone. To make sure your beautiful new smile lasts a lifetime, you are ready to embark on the next stage of your treatment – and maybe most its important: wearing retainers.

Retainers are amazing little devices that hold your teeth in their new positions while bone tissue rebuilds around them, stabilizing them. It’s a process that takes time. Even after new bone has solidified, you may need to wear retainers for a long time.

Teeth can move because the bone that holds them in place continually breaks down and rebuilds. During “active” orthodontic treatment, when teeth are being moved, the orthodontist uses braces or aligners to deliver gentle, controlled forces to guide teeth into their proper places. But forces are continually at work in the mouth that can move teeth when you bite, chew, swallow and speak. To counteract these naturally-generated forces, continued retainer wear may be advised. Nothing can prevent 100% of tooth movement, but when retainers are worn as prescribed, they are the best tool available to minimize movement.

The most important thing to know about retainers is that they can only do their jobs when they are in your mouth.

There’s More Than One Kind of Retainer?

Depending on the kind of orthodontic problem you had, your AAO orthodontic specialist may suggest removable or permanent retainers, or a combination of the two.

Removable retainers are the kind you put in and take out. Traditional Hawley retainers are made of wire and a hard, plastic-like material. The part of the retainer that covers the roof of the mouth or goes behind your lower front teeth can be standard-issue pink (like the inside of your mouth), or can be personalized with colors or graphics to make a fun fashion statement. Nearly-invisible removable Essix retainers are available, too. They are molded from your teeth and are made of a transparent, plastic-like material. They resemble clear aligners that are used to move teeth.

Permanent retainers (“fixed”) are placed and removed by your orthodontist. Each is a custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the tongue-side of your teeth.

You and your orthodontist can discuss what’s right for you.

You’ll get a “prescription” for retainer wear – that is, when to wear them, and for how long. Follow your prescription for best results.

If you don’t wear your retainers as prescribed, not only may your teeth move, they may move so much that your retainers won’t fit. If that should happen, contact your orthodontist right away.

A Few Words of Advice

When your removable retainer is not in your mouth, put it in its case.

  • Always carry a retainer case with you.
  • Avoid dropping your retainer into a pocket or purse – the retainer can be damaged.
  • Never wrap your retainer in a napkin – it’s too easy to throw away.
  • Keep your retainer out of the reach of pets – dogs in particular seem to be attracted to retainers, and can quickly chew them into a state of uselessness.
  • Avoid heat – your retainer can become deformed if it’s left on a heater, a hot stove, or in a hot car.

Keep your retainer clean.

  • Your orthodontist will give you instructions for cleaning removable retainers, which could include brushing with toothpaste before you put them in and after they are removed, and/or the use of an effervescent cleanser.
  • Permanent retainers can be brushed and flossed; interproximal brushes may also be helpful.

If you have removable retainers, ask your orthodontist if they should be removed before you eat.

If you have an Essix retainer, you may be advised to avoid drinking liquids (except water) when the retainers are in place. Liquids can seep into the retainer, and the liquid is held against the teeth until the retainer is removed. Liquids with color (coffee, tea, red wine, etc.) can stain teeth. Liquids with sugar and/or acids, such as regular and diet soft drinks, can cause tooth decay.

If you have a problem with your retainer – it’s lost, broken, warped, too loose, too tight, etc. – contact your orthodontist.

Unless it’s lost, bring your retainer with you when you visit your orthodontist.

Now It’s Up to You

Keeping your smile healthy and beautiful is in your hands. Keep up with home hygiene and see your dentist regularly. To preserve the great results you got from wearing braces or aligners, wear your retainers as instructed by your orthodontist. Contact your orthodontist any time you have a question or concern about your retainers or the alignment of your teeth.

source:aao.info

Will Orthodontic Treatment Cause White Marks on My Teeth?

March 9th, 2020

Image result for white scars on teeth cartoon

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 your orthodontist, 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? Your orthodontist and his/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.

 

 

source: aaoinfo.org

Will I Need to Wear Retainers After Treatment?

March 3rd, 2020

Whether you’re thinking about orthodontic treatment, or currently undergoing treatment, you may be wondering, “Will I need to wear retainers after treatment?” The answer is yes, and here’s why. Getting straight teeth is only half the battle; the other half is keeping them straight, and that is where retainers come in.

Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment concludes are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

Why are retainers needed?

Retainers are prescribed for two reasons: first, to allow the bone that holds teeth to rebuild after teeth have moved, and second, to maintain the healthy new positions of teeth after active orthodontic treatment ends. Your body changes your whole life, and your teeth change too.

Are there different retainer options?

Yes, there are two general kinds of retainers: removable (put in and removed by the patient) and fixed (placed and removed by the orthodontist)Both types of retainers hold teeth in their new positions after “active” orthodontic treatment is completed. This allows newly formed bone to mature around the teeth.

Two common removable retainers:

  1.   Wire retainers are made of wire and a plastic-like material. The part of the retainer that covers the roof of the mouth or goes behind the lower front teeth is plastic and wires help told the teeth in place.
  2.   Clear retainers are transparent trays made of a plastic-like material that are exact replicas of the teeth.

The orthodontist will teach you how to insert, remove and take care of a removable retainer.

fixed retainer consists of a thin, custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the tongue-side of upper or lower teeth.

How long will I have to wear them?

As long as you want to keep your teeth straight, many patients wear retainers nightly for life.  Wearing retainers becomes part of your oral hygiene routine: brush and floss before bed, and wear retainers at night for a lifetime.

 

source: aaoinfo.org

Is There a Benefit to Early Treatment?

February 25th, 2020

Timing is everything – even when it comes to your child’s orthodontic treatment. “Early” treatment, also called “interceptive” treatment, means treatment that is performed while some baby teeth are still present.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child’s first check-up with an orthodontist be performed when an orthodontic problem is first recognized, but no later than age 7. Why age 7? By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to evaluate the developing teeth and the jaws, which in turn can provide a wealth of information. AAO orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems even in young children.

There are generally three outcomes of an initial check-up:

  • No treatment is expected to be necessary.
  • Treatment may be needed in the future, so the child will be followed periodically while the face and jaws continue to grow.
  • There is a problem that lends itself to early treatment.

While there are many orthodontic problems that orthodontists agree are best treated after all permanent teeth have come in, early treatment can be in a patient’s best interests if their problem is one that could become more serious over time if left untreated. The goal of early treatment is to intercept the developing problem, eliminate the cause, guide the growth of facial and jaw bones, and provide adequate space for incoming permanent teeth. A patient may require a second course of treatment after all permanent teeth have come in to move those teeth into their best positions.

The kinds of problems orthodontists may recommend treating while a child still has some baby teeth include:

  • Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
  • Crossbites – when the jaw shifts to one side
  • Very crowded teeth
  • Excessively spaced teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all
  • Thumb-, finger-, or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

Some of these orthodontic problems are inherited, while others may result from accidents, dental disease, or abnormal swallowing.

Early orthodontic treatment can take many forms. The orthodontist could prescribe a fixed or removable “appliance” – a device used to move teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold teeth in place in order to bring about desirable changes. Sometimes no appliances are necessary. Rather, removal of some baby teeth may help the permanent teeth erupt better. The extractions will be timed to take best advantage of a patient’s growth and development.

Regardless of how treatment goals are reached, the bottom line is that some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult.

Dr. Pamela Johnson can alert you to potential problems and recommend treatment when it is most appropriate for your child. Remember, timing is everything.

Call our office for your consultation 630-887-1188!

 

Source: aaoinfo.org

What is a Crossbite?

February 11th, 2020

A crossbite is a type of malocclusion, or a misalignment of teeth, where upper teeth fit inside of lower teeth. This misalignment can affect a single tooth or groups of teeth, involving the front teeth, back teeth, or both:

  1. Posterior crossbite: If the back teeth are affected, upper teeth sit inside of bottom teeth.
  2. Anterior crossbite: If the front teeth are in crossbite, one or more top teeth sit behind the bottom teeth. Not to be confused with an underbite, when all the top teeth, or jaw, are behind the bottom teeth

When teeth are lined up correctly, the upper teeth are naturally wider because they lay on the outside of the bottom teeth.

What causes a crossbite?

A crossbite can occur from genetics, delayed loss of baby teeth or abnormal eruption of permanent teeth, even prolonged actions like thumb sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way can generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place; bone can be distorted.

Why does a crossbite need to be fixed?

A crossbite may reveal an underlying jaw problem that is best addressed at a young age, while the face and jaws are still developing. Possible consequences if not corrected include:

  • the jaw shifting to one side
  • lopsided jaw growth
  • wearing down of outer layer of the tooth called “enamel”

How does an AAO orthodontist correct a crossbite?

Depending on the scope of the crossbite, treatment may involve the use of a palatal expander, a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance used to make the upper jaw wider. This would be used alongside an appliance designed to move the teeth, such as braces or clear aligners.

A trained orthodontic specialist knows when each method, or both, and can help you determine which is best for you.

 

Call our office Johnson Orthodontics for a consultation 630-887-1188.

source: www.aaoinfo.org

Why the Number of Adults Seeing an Orthodontist Is at an All-Time High

February 10th, 2020

 

 

Parents no longer take the back seat while their kids reap the benefits of orthodontic treatment. With one-in-three orthodontic patients over the age of 18, the number of adults seeing an orthodontist is at an all-time high.

Experts believe this upward trend is likely here to stay – why?  

It works.

Orthodontic treatment is just as effective for adults as children. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age because it’s the same physiological process.

Depending on the complexity of the case, as well as what the patient wants to achieve, a short-term touch up can take as little as several months while comprehensive treatment can take much longer. Orthodontic specialists will customize your smile according to your preferences, and they don’t require a referral from a dentist.

Treatment doesn’t have to be noticeable to others.

Advances in orthodontics have made treatment more comfortable and less noticeable than ever. Many of today’s treatment options are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance to better fit any lifestyle.

Options include clear aligners, tooth-colored braces, tiny but more

traditional metal braces, and braces that go behind the teeth.

Because not every appliance is suitable for every kind of orthodontic problem, an orthodontic specialist will be able to determine which type is right for the best result.

It’s more than a beautiful smile.

Yes, straight teeth are attractive and create confidence, but there’s more to it.

Leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wearing of tooth enamel and difficulty chewing. We are living longer than ever before, and healthy teeth are therefore more important than ever.

Adults are taking note and prioritizing their dental health.

For more information please call our office 630-887-1188. Johnson Orthodontics

source: www.aaoinfo.org

Vaping + Oral Health

January 30th, 2020

We’ve long understood the negative correlation between smoking and oral health, but it turns out vaping can cause similar, irreversible, damage. Damage that may lead to the death of gum tissue, gum disease and, in some cases, loss of teeth – making vaping a significant risk to your oral health.

Does vaping ruin your chances of successful orthodontic treatment?

It’s possible. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco like t

raditional cigarettes, but they do contain nicotine, which is a risk to your mouth.

Literature indicates nicotine reduces blood flow, which can lead to the death of gum tissues and gum recession. It also may cause gum inflammation and swelling, tooth sensitivity, increased risk of cavities and, in some cases, loss of teeth.

In addition to the damages noted above, the combination of the dry mouth, bacteria and tooth decay resulting from nicotine is a formula for gum disease.

So, why does this matter for successful orthodontic treatment?

The key factor in determining a good candidate for orthodontic treatment is the health of teeth and gums. It is imperative to have a periodontal (gum) check-up with either a periodontist or your general dentist to make sure that your mouth is a good candidate prior to beginning treatment.

The acceleration of gum damage caused by vaping reduces the ability of teeth and gums to respond to orthodontic treatment. In other words, your teeth do not move as fast if you are vaping.

There is also an added tendency for teeth to relapse into previous positions post-treatment, due to increased risk of gum disease.

The takeaway:

The harm vaping may cause is completely preventable. If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, you’re considering investing a lot of time and effort in creating a healthy smile. Don’t chance damaging it.

Give Dr. Johnson a call and set up your complimentary consultation today. (630)887-1188

source: www.aaoinfo.org

Smiles Change As You Age

October 23rd, 2019

It’s no secret, as you age, so does your smile. Teeth wear down as we chew our way through a lifetime of meals. Did you also know, teeth can move and shift well into adulthood? Here’s a roundup of 4 common changes orthodontists see in patients as they age:

1. Bottom teeth crowding

As you age, your jaw bone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jaw bone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth. Crowding can also occur because other issues such as breathing through your mouth, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.

2. Front teeth gap

Space between two front teeth is referred to as a diastema, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Crowding of teeth or unproportioned jaws and teeth can cause spacing to gradually occur. Swallowing, with the pressure of your tongue pushing against your front teeth, rather than positioning itself at the roof of your mouth, can also cause teeth to separate over time. Gum disease is another trigger for spacing, because of the inflammation.

3. Post-orthodontic teeth shifting

Our bodies change our whole life, and our teeth change, too. After orthodontic treatment a retainer is needed to maintain teeth in position. As we age, if teeth are restored or lost, new proper fitting retainers will be needed to prevent unwanted change.

4. Wrong bite

Do you get headaches, clicking and popping jaw joints, grind your teeth or even back pain? You may have a bite disorder, which occurs when the lower and upper jaw don’t align, called malocclusion.

These changes may be completely normal, but that doesn’t mean you just have to live with them. The number of adults undergoing orthodontic treatment is at an all-time high. An estimated 1.61 million adults underwent orthodontic treatment in the U.S. in 2018. That’s one in four adults!

Whether you’re eight or 80, the biological process of orthodontic treatment is the same. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving. Check out our Adult Guide to Orthodontics for more information.

Give Dr. Johnson a call and set up your complimentary consultation today. (630)887-1188

 Source: aaoinfo.org

National Orthodontic Month and National Prevention Bullying Month

October 9th, 2019

Teeth are the number one feature bullies focus in on – with space between teeth, missing teeth and shape or color of teeth coming in as some of the top features targeted.

“It’s time … it’s time to make it stop,” said Kirk Smalley, founder of Stand for the Silent, referring to bullying in general.

Stand for the Silent has fast become one of the leading and most effective anti-bullying organizations by reaching more than 1,505,000 kids in nearly 1,500 schools. The mission is simple – bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.

Students, start making a difference today with these four steps:

1. Educate yourself and your peers.

Stand for the Silent found when students tell a trusted adult about bullying, they believe things only get better 18% of the time.

Thousands of incidents and tragedies reveal school administrators cannot intervene and prevent incidents from happening if they do not know about them. It takes a team effort. Students, teachers, parents, community members and social media community members need to be equipped with awareness and tools to get the right information to the right people at the right place at the right time, so they can make it stop.

You are somebody. You can be a hero.

2. Practice empathetic awareness.

Become part of a culture of caring. Step back and strive to understand other people’s emotions and perspectives, as well as how they may respond to certain situations. Don’t just sit back when you notice something. You have the power to intervene. Stand for the Silent teaches us that the fear of getting involved is temporary, but the regret you have for not is permanent.

3. Pledge to be the change.

Take the Stand for the Silent pledge, “From this day forward, I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself. I am somebody, and I can make a difference. I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hands that leads another back to the path of hope and aspiration. I will not stand silent as others try to spread hatred through my community. Instead, I pledge to lift up those victims and show them that their life matters. I will be the change, because I am somebody!”

4. Start your own chapter.

Choose to stand for the silent by starting a chapter at your own school. Have all members signs a pledge card, find an adult sponsor, vote to appoint officers, create a name and mission, determine a meeting location and meeting times. Follow this more detailed step-by-step guide to get started.

The bottom line – you are somebody, and you can make a difference.

Stand for the Silent runs solely off donations from those who support its mission. Help them reach 100,000 more kids by making a donation at gofundme.com/help-sfts-reach-100000-more-kids. Interested in sponsoring a Stand fort the Silent presentation at a school near you? Learn more at standforthesilent.org/schools/host-a-presentation.

For National Bullying Prevention Month and National Orthodontic Health Month, AAO challenged it’s 19,000 member orthodontists to come together in the fight against bullying. Orthodontists worldwide are pledging to stand for the silent and encouraging their patients to do the same.

Together, we can set it ALL straight.

Source: aaoinfo.org

The Leaves are Starting to Change...is Your Bite Changing too?

September 18th, 2019

CHANGE IS A PART OF LIFE!

Everything changes with time. At this time of year, bursts of vibrant fall colors are a visual reminder that change happens. Change can be predictable, like the annual transformation of leaves from green to glorious golds, reds and oranges. In some instances, change can be so gradual that it’s nearly imperceptible.

We can expect changes in our bodies, too. Let’s talk about the changes that happen with our teeth.

Teeth are set in bone, not stone.

There’s no question that bone is a hard substance. But unlike stone, bone is living tissue. It is in a constant state of change. Bone cells are broken down and rebuilt; this process is called “bone remodeling”. It takes stimulation to keep the process moving. For bone in the jaws, it comes from biting, chewing, swallowing and speaking. Just as these actions place force on the teeth, the force, in turn, stimulates bone remodeling, which is why teeth can move.

It is this remodeling process that makes orthodontic treatment possible. Appliances like braces and aligners are tools that Dr. Johnson uses to place controlled forces on teeth in order to move them into ideal positions.

Without an orthodontist like Dr. Johnson guiding the direction and amount of pressure applied to teeth, they are free to move where the forces take them. As a result, your bite – the way your upper and lower teeth come together – may be off.

Have you noticed a change in your bite?

Maybe your bottom front teeth are just beginning to crowd? Perhaps a permanent tooth was lost and its former neighbors are on the move? Maybe you previously had some orthodontic treatment but you’ve noticed some shifting in your teeth? Whatever the cause, a visit with Dr. Johnson is recommended.  Dr. Johnson has received highly specialized training and education in orthodontics, including correcting changing bites. Of course, the sooner, the better. If you notice shifts in tooth positions, timely intervention may minimize movement.

So this year, when it comes to your teeth, let the fall colors be your reminder that change doesn’t have to be inevitable. A healthy and beautiful smile really can last a lifetime. Just ask Dr. Johnson and call the office to set up your consultation. (630)887-1188

Source: aaoinfo.org

What's the Deal With Wearing Retainers?

September 5th, 2019

Whether you’re thinking about treatment with Dr. Johnson, or you are currently undergoing treatment, you may be wondering, “Will I need to wear retainers after treatment?” The answer is yes, and here’s why. Getting straight teeth is only half the battle; the other half is keeping them straight, and that is where retainers come in.

Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon! In order to maintain the finished result created by Dr. Johnson retainers must be worn! While small changes after treatment concludes are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

Why are retainers needed?

Retainers are prescribed for two reasons: first, to allow the bone that holds teeth to rebuild after teeth have moved, and second, to maintain the healthy new positions of teeth after active orthodontic treatment ends. Your body changes your whole life, and your teeth change too.

Are there different retainer options?

Yes, there are two general kinds of retainers: removable (put in and removed by the patient) and fixed (placed and removed by Dr. Johnson)Both types of retainers hold teeth in their new positions after “active” orthodontic treatment is completed. This allows newly formed bone to mature around the teeth.

Two common removable retainers:

  1.   Wire retainers are made of wire and a plastic-like material. The part of the retainer that covers the roof of the mouth or goes behind the lower front teeth is plastic and wires help told the teeth in place.
  2.   Clear retainers are transparent trays made of a plastic-like material that are exact replicas of the teeth.

Dr. Johnson will teach you how to insert, remove and take care of a removable retainer.

fixed retainer consists of a thin, custom-fitted wire that is bonded to the tongue-side of upper or lower teeth.

How long will I have to wear them?

As long as you want to keep your teeth straight, many patients wear retainers nightly for life.  Wearing retainers becomes part of your oral hygiene routine: brush and floss before bed, and wear retainers at night for a lifetime.

Source: aaoinfo.org

One Little Rubber Band Did WHAT?!

August 21st, 2019

How not to fix a gap!

The December 2018 issue of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics reports on an 8-year-old boy in Greece who had a gap between his two permanent front teeth. According to that article, his parents did not consult an orthodontist. Instead, taking matters into their own hands, they used a tiny rubber band to pull their son’s teeth together. The gap was gone after two days, but so was the rubber band. The parents assumed it broke. They were happy with the outcome and unconcerned about the rubber band.

One little rubber band caused extensive damage.

On the surface the DIY treatment seemed to be a quick, easy and inexpensive approach to close a gap. Unfortunately, the DIY treatment resulted a long-term, difficult and costly fix. One little rubber band caused extensive damage. It worked its way up the teeth and under the gums and destroyed the tissues that hold the teeth in place. The rubber band in effect pushed the two front teeth out of the gums and bone. The teeth were loose and looked longer (think Bugs Bunny). In addition, the patient experienced pain and swelling in the gum tissue around those teeth.

The youngster visited the pediatric dentistry department of the Dental School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. After his teeth were stabilized with a wire, his next stop was the school’s department of periodontology. He was diagnosed with acute, severe gum disease. X-rays showed more than 75% of the bone that held the boy’s teeth in place was lost. But why? The rest of the teeth and gums were healthy. After three weeks of no improvement, gum surgery finally revealed the culprit: the missing rubber band. The boy’s next stop for treatment was the school’s department of orthodontics.

Sadly, even with professional help, the boy’s two front teeth could not be saved.

But this story has a happy ending. Thanks to the high quality of care provided by the team of dental specialists, including orthodontists, pediatric dentists, periodontists, and dentists specialized in operative dentistry, the youngster sports a healthy and beautiful smile today.

How they did it.

Tooth movement came first. Orthodontists moved the lateral incisors (the teeth next to the front teeth) forward to take the places of the front teeth. The remaining upper teeth moved forward, too. Once in position, the new front teeth were built up so that they looked like front teeth. As well, the pointy canine teeth were re-shaped to look like lateral incisors. And the first premolars were modified so that they would look like the canines.

Most people would never guess what it took to give the patient good function and a natural appearance. Truly, his smile is a testament to the science and artistry of those on his care team.

One small rubber band – multiple complications.

It took three years and nine months of treatment to repair the damage caused by an elastic band that well-meaning parents had their son use to close a gap between his front teeth.

Advice from the experts – see an orthodontist...Like Dr. Johnson who has over 20 years of experience and has treated thousands of patients over the years!

One of the article’s co-authors, Dr. Ross Brenner, says in a video regarding the boy’s case, “Patients and parents should know use of an elastic gap band to close a space between two teeth may result in severe periodontal destruction and eventual tooth loss. Prior to any tooth movement, patients are urged to see an orthodontist to find out their best plan.” The American Association of Orthodontists wholeheartedly agrees.

That being said, please give our office a call and set up a complimentary consultation with Dr. Johnson at  (630)887-1188.

 

Source: aaoinfo.org

Two Phase Treatments

August 13th, 2019

Problems that will eventually need orthodontic attention can become obvious long before a child has all of their permanent teeth. Depending on the type of problem a child has, Dr. Johnson may recommend two-phase treatment. It means that treatment is done at two different times, often to take advantage of predictable stages of dental development and physical growth. Here are six things parents should know about two-phase orthodontic treatment.

1. Two-phase orthodontic treatment is for kids, but it’s not for all kids.

Most orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase of comprehensive treatment, however, there are a few exceptions.

2. Two-phase orthodontic treatment can be used to:

Help the jaws develop to ensure adequate space for all of the permanent teeth, especially the permanent canines.

  • May reduce the need to pull permanent teeth in the future.
  • Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child but may require corrective surgery if treatment occurs after growth ends.
  • Normalize the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw, especially in the case of an underbite.
  • Intervene in a child’s prolonged sucking or abnormal swallowing.
  • Damaging pressure can move teeth in the wrong directions and/or change the shape of the bone that supports teeth.
  • Tuck in upper front teeth that stick out to reduce the risk of those teeth being broken or knocked out.

3. Moving baby teeth is not done for the sake of their appearance.

While baby teeth can move during Phase One orthodontic treatment, their movement is part of the process to ensure sufficient space for permanent teeth.

4. Phase One of a two-phase orthodontic treatment begins when a child still has some baby teeth.

If an appliance is used in Phase One care, it could be a form of braces or another fixed appliance, or could be a removable appliance. The type of appliance used depends on the needs of the individual patient.

  • Some children may need to have baby teeth removed to clear a path for the permanent teeth to come.

5. A resting period follows Phase One orthodontic treatment.

6. Phase Two of orthodontic treatment usually begins when most or all of permanent teeth are in.

The goal of Phase Two treatment is to make sure teeth are in their proper places for good function, a healthy bite and a pleasing appearance.

Give your child the best chance at a healthy, beautiful smile. Follow the American Association of Orthodontists’ (AAO) recommendation that all children have their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist, such as Dr. Johnson no later than age 7. If an orthodontic problem is developing, Dr. Johnson will be able to monitor growth and development so that your child can have the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.

Please feel free to call Dr. Johnson for an orthodontic consultation. We offer day and evening hours, four days a week including late hours. (630)887-1188

 

Source:aaoinfo.org

What is With Those "Observation" Visits?

July 30th, 2019

Dr. Johnson may have suggested periodic observational visits for your child, which may include x-rays, an oral exam and photos. Their purpose is to keep an eye on how your child’s teeth, face and jaws are developing. Visits may be scheduled once or twice a year.

Are these visits are really necessary? Yes they are! These visits allow Dr. Johnson to monitor changes as your child grows.

Dr. Johnson will be observing for:

  • Baby teeth are being lost on schedule
  • Permanent teeth are coming in symmetrically, in the correct sequence at the correct time
  • Upper and lower jaws are developing properly
  • Permanent teeth have enough room to come in
    permanent teeth coming in

If treatment is necessary to intercept a developing or existing problem, there is often an ideal time for treatment to begin. These return visits help determine the best time to in start treatment.

Treatment doesn’t always mean a child gets braces. Treatment could consist of pulling a stubborn baby tooth at the right time, or intervention help to stop sucking habit. Dr. Johnson is an expert in knowing what type of treatment is needed, and when it will be most beneficial.

Do continue to have your child seen periodically by Dr. Johnson if it has been recommended. You will be giving your child the opportunity to get the best results from their orthodontic treatment and the precious gift of a healthy, beautiful smile.

Source:aao.info.org

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

What Is an Impacted Tooth?

May 29th, 2019

You may have heard the term “impacted” used to describe a tooth and wondered what it  meant...

In orthodontic or dental terms, “impacted” means that a tooth either has not come in (“erupted”) when expected or a tooth that cannot erupt because it does not have room or may be coming in the wrong direction or position. What causes an impacted tooth may not be known – for some people, it just happens. Genetics can play a role, so if a parent had an impacted tooth, their child may experience the same problem.

We often hear about older teenagers or adults having impacted wisdom teeth. But other teeth can be impacted, too.

Fixing impacted teeth

In the X-ray above, the permanent canine is coming in sideways, colliding with the root of another tooth.

Children who are getting their permanent teeth can have impacted teeth. A permanent tooth can be trapped in the gums if a baby tooth does not fall out on time or if something blocks the permanent tooth’s path, such as a cyst. A permanent tooth may not erupt at all, or if it does, the tooth may appear in the wrong place. Sometimes, an impacted tooth can harm the roots of neighboring teeth. Impacted teeth can also cause crowding, and may cause already erupted teeth to move into unhealthy positions. Children may find it difficult to bite or chew, and there can be tenderness or pain. As the teeth become crowded, appearance is affected, and self-esteem can decline.

The permanent first molar is stuck or “impacted”, the baby tooth will not allow the molar to erupt.

Fixing an impacted tooth can range from relatively simple to complicated. It all depends on the extent of the problem. Extracting a baby tooth may be all that is needed to make room for the permanent tooth to erupt into the proper position. But if an upper jaw is too narrow, it may be necessary to expand the jaw, which creates more room for permanent teeth to come in. Other problems might require a combination of oral surgery and orthodontic treatment to place an attachment on the impacted tooth and Dr. Johnson would then guide the tooth into the proper position.

Fixing impacted teeth

Timely treatment ensures teeth come in properly, reducing the damage done to other teeth.

The old adage “a stitch in time saves nine” applies here. It may be easier for Dr. Johnson to identify and correct a patient’s problem when it is forming rather than waiting for it to fully develop. To this end, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children get a check-up with an AAO orthodontist no later than age 7. Orthodontists’ specialized education enables them to diagnose even subtle problems while some baby teeth are still present. If a problem is in the making, an early check-up and x-ray will help Dr. Johnson assess the case for recommend intervention when it’s best for the patient.

Dr. Johnson offers initial consultations  with no obligation. No referral is needed from the dentist, but dental check-ups are necessary during any orthodontic treatment. A check-up with Dr. Johnson gives your child the best opportunity to enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. You will be happy to know that Dr. Johnson is an accredited orthodontist and member of the AAO.

When you choose Dr. Johnson for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Please call Dr. Pamela Johnson today for your consultation at (630)887-1188.

 

Source: www.aaoinfo.com

Am I Too Old for Braces?

May 20th, 2019

Did you ever look in a mirror and think to yourself, “Sure wish I could have had braces when I was a kid”? You can’t go back in time, but you can still get the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wished was yours. It’s not too late. Orthodontic treatment can be as successful for adults as it is for adolescents. Don’t let your age keep you from consulting an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) member orthodontist, such as Dr. Pamela Johnson.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s the same physiological process that moves teeth through bone. Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.

Adults can have complicated cases, though, for a variety of reasons. They may have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen or worn teeth, or other dental disease. These are conditions well within your orthodontist’s realm of treatment experience. This is just one reason it’s so important to make sure you are being treated by an orthodontist. Dr. Johnson has years of formal education in orthodontics after graduating from dental school. As an AAO orthodontic specialist, Dr. Johnson has the education and expertise you need to manage your orthodontic care and reach your best possible result.

Treatment lasts an average of 22 months. During that time, orthodontist visits are scheduled about every six to eight weeks. It’s a comparatively small investment of time that pays big dividends in improved dental health, better function (biting, chewing), the ability to more easily keep your teeth clean, and higher self-confidence.

It’s so heart-warming to witness the first time an adult patient sees his/her new smile. Dr. Johnson refers to this as "the fun part" of the braces off appointment. Sometimes there are tears through smiles, and sometimes pronouncements of outright joy and usually a picture for our The only regret expressed is that this step was not taken sooner.

The opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile has not passed you by!  You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hiding your smile. Just because you didn’t have orthodontic treatment when you were a youngster doesn’t prevent you from doing something about it now. Your age doesn’t matter. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted. It starts with a new patient exam with Dr. Johnson.

Dr. Pamela Johnson is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) which is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

When you call Dr. Johnson for orthodontic treatment you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

 

Source: www.aaoinfo.org

What Does a Deep Bite Mean?

May 16th, 2019

Patients seeking orthodontic treatment rarely report a “deep bite” or “overbite” as their primary concern. Typically, they are more concerned about crowding or crooked teeth. Many are surprised when their orthodontist explains the need to “open” their bite or “level” their lower arch.

What is a deep bite?

A deep bite is a malocclusion in which the upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth when back teeth are closed. This is also called an overbite or closed bite.

While a deep bite may or may not be an esthetic concern for most patients, its presence usually indicates there are other problems that should be addressed.

What causes a deep bite?

The most common is a small lower jaw. When the lower jaw is shorter than the upper, the upper teeth are further “forward” and the lower teeth continue to grow until they hit the back of the upper teeth (the cingulae) or the roof of the mouth. Additionally, as the lower front teeth grow up under the top ones, they often get squeezed together creating crowding and alignment issues.

Another cause of a deep bite is a missing lower tooth. This creates a condition similar to having a short lower jaw. Finally, extremely strong biting muscles, common in patients who clench or grind their teeth, can deepen the bite.

Why does a deep bite need to be fixed?

Besides looking better, there are at least four other reasons:

  • Over-erupted lower front teeth tend to wear down more quickly. Patients who clench or grind their lower teeth against the cingulae of the upper teeth experience excessive wear that can result in the loss of tooth structure.
  • If a patient is biting into the roof of their mouth, painful sores or ulcers may develop. These can make normal eating very uncomfortable.
  • If a substantial amount of tooth structure has been lost, the orthodontist will need to recreate the space needed for restoration by moving the upper and lower teeth apart (opening the bite).
  • Unraveling the crowding and crookedness that usually accompanies deep bites requires that the deep bite be corrected to allow room to align the crowded teeth.

How does an orthodontist correct a deep bite?

First, either the upper and lower front teeth, or both, can be moved up into the supporting bone. Or second, the side and back teeth can be elongated which opens the bite and creates that same effect as intruding the front ones.

A trained orthodontic specialist knows when each method, or both, should be used. Additionally, these movements can be accomplished with either braces or clear aligners, and your orthodontist can help you determine which is best for you.

 

Source: AAO.org

Don't Be Fooled By At Home Gimmicks!

May 1st, 2019

You’ve seen the trendy ads for mail-order dental aligners that took over bus stops and subway cars a few years ago: “Don’t watch the gap; close the gap.” “Straighten your smile in an average of six months.” The promise? To turn your snaggletoothed frown upside down without the pricey services of an orthodontist.

Fast forward to 2019, however, and dental specialists tell The Post that perfect pearly whites aren’t always the result of these services — and may require additional, costly procedures.

“I’ve had a lot of patients — particularly millennials — who jumped on board with the do-it-yourself aligners and now are coming to my practice because they aren’t happy with the results at all,” says Dr. Janet Stoess-Allen, founder of Park Avenue Orthodontics on the Upper East Side.

Dr. Brent Larson, director of the orthodontics division at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, says that he, too, is increasingly called upon to correct unintended consequences of DIY aligners. “One of the common complaints is, ‘Well, my teeth might be a little bit straighter, but I can’t bite well anymore.’ ”

Companies such as SmileDirectClub shot to success by selling Invisalign-style tooth trays directly to consumers, eliminating office visits for savings of up to 70 percent. To date, SmileDirect has gussied up the grins of more than 500,000 patients nationwide, a rep for the Nashville, Tenn.-based company tells The Post. A recent deal with CVS Health will double SmileDirect’s retail locations from 246 outposts in North America. Also, United Healthcare announced last week that SmileDirect’s services are now covered in-network for its 1.5 million-plus members; some could correct their crooked choppers for under $1,000 without having to file a single claim.

‘One of the common complaints is, ‘Well, my teeth might be a little bit straighter, but I can’t bite well anymore.’’

Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer, an orthodontist and the chief clinical director of SmileDirectClub, tells The Post that the DIY label is a misnomer. “There are doctors involved at every step of the way,” he says. “Our program is doctor-prescribed and doctor-directed.”

For most SmileDirect customers, that interaction happens remotely. The process begins when customers get their choppers scanned at a retail location or use a mail-in mold kit to create dental impressions at home. Then, a SmileDirect dentist or orthodontist reviews the resulting images alongside the patient’s medical history, in some cases requesting X-rays or additional information before approving treatment.

“All this data is identical to the initial review that’s performed in a traditional environment,” Sulitzer says.

Patients who get the OK then receive a full set of custom aligners in the mail, along with instructions on providing virtual progress photos and feedback to an assigned dentist or orthodontist at least once every 90 days. For patients experiencing problems such as pain or loose teeth, SmileDirect makes referrals to brick-and-mortar dental offices, Sulitzer says.

Still, Larson, who also serves as president of the American Association of Orthodontists, says successful teeth straightening requires face time from start to finish. “There are many things I cannot assess remotely,” he says. “I need to know the health of the supporting gum tissue and bones. I need to know whether there’s any pathology or other things that might impact the treatment. I need to know how the jaw moves and functions, so that I can make people have a healthy, functional bite when we’re done, so that they can actually chew food successfully.”
Enlarge Image
Orthodontist Brent Larson says that one issue that can arise with aligners supervised remotely is a posterior open bite, where back teeth don’t touch evenly.Orthodontist Brent Larson says that one issue that can arise with aligners supervised remotely is a posterior open bite, where back teeth don’t touch evenly.

Eventually, sloppy treatment can bring on the grin reaper. “It can cause problems long term with the health and function and life span of a tooth,” Larson says. “One of the challenges is that the problems that can result often don’t show up immediately. So people don’t relate those problems with trying to move their teeth.”

Sulitzer says the process isn’t designed for complex cases and describes SmileDirect as a “disruptive technology” that nixes inefficiencies and punctures the inflated profits of orthodontists who treat mouths like ATMs.

“Orthodontists have had it great for a long time. A lot of this is — and I hate to say it — it’s about protecting their market,” he says. “In any disruptive environment, the establishment pushes back and says, ‘It’s bad; it’s unhealthy; it’s dangerous.’ I’m a little bit frustrated by the orthodontist community, because they seem to just be very aggressive in disparaging our model when really they don’t know enough about it to do that.”

But Larson says people should know that teeth straightening is not “something that just changes your look. It’s actually a very complicated biological procedure.”

Stoess-Allen agrees and worries that mail-order orthodontia is too tempting for many patients to resist. “I think this is something that doctors really need to oversee,” she says. “And I think that’s something more and more people will learn over time — unfortunately, at their own expense.”

 

Source www.nypost.com

Holiday Foods can be tricky for Braces

October 7th, 2015

While last generation's mark of adolescence—braces—has mercifully evolved into an accessory for people of all ages, the long list of treatment-prolonging foods remains unchanged.

Today's braces are more visually appealing and less painful, and wearers don't have to make as many visits to the orthodontist. More than half of teen-agers recently surveyed about their braces report that they are not self-conscious about them. More than a quarter of them say their braces make them look cool.

But foods on the "don't" list, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, licorice and caramel, are just as appealing to adults as they are to kids. With one of every five orthodontic patients older than age 18, the holidays present a challenge for an entirely new group of revelers.

Although adults may not include bobbing for apples as an activity at holiday parties, orthodontic patients won't be able to enjoy that bowl of mixed nuts commonly served as an accompaniment during cocktail hour.

The same goes for those caramel-nut taffy apples so artfully displayed at the table's center, brownies with walnuts and pecan pie on the dessert menu.

However, a little awareness and creativity in the kitchen can result in substitutions everyone can enjoy such as pumpkin, parfait, ice cream, fruit cups, gelatin and thinly sliced apples dipped in yogurt or creamy chocolate sauce.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontic patients brush and floss after eating sweets. Some dentists recommend brushing within five minutes after eating anything, especially after a meal, and having a travel toothbrush on hand when dining away from home.

How Headgear braces perfect a misaligned smile

September 16th, 2015

During a person's orthodontic treatment, the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible) can be more uneven in their positions than in traditional cases of misalignment. In these situations, based on a clinical diagnosis and digital imaging, the orthodontist may recommend wearing headgear braces for a certain portion of your child's overall orthodontic treatment. But what are they, and how are they different from your traditional wires and brackets?

What Is Headgear?

Headgear is the general name for a type of external appliance that applies specific forces to guide the growth of your face and jaw, according to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO). Orthodontists use them in special cases where your teeth need to move into a position that isn't possible with brackets, wires or clear retainers found in routine care. Because these braces consist of wires that engage both the inside and outside of the mouth, you or your child may feel that it looks a little strange. But it is used by orthodontists very often and for a common purpose – and it's a necessary part of the beautiful end result.

What Is It Used For?

Retraction headgear (also known as Class II correction) is designed to retract the upper jaw, and protraction headgear (also known as Class III correction) is used to move the upper jaw forward while guiding and stabilizing the lower jaw. The process chosen depends on the patient's individual needs. Headgear appliance therapy is usually used when a child or young adult is still growing in order to take advantage of the bones in the jaw when they're still erupting into place. This way, the appliance can guide the teeth and jaw bones into their new positions before they've settled.

How Is It Fitted?

There are two common types used: The "facebow" type consists of a single strap that fits around the back of your neck and has a wire that attaches to the front braces of your teeth. The "J hook" type uses wires that attach to your braces and straps that fit over your head and neck. The appliance should be worn 12 to 14 hours per day.

Are There Special Instructions for Headgear Wearers?

Because the additional appliance hooks onto the existing braces, headgear braces have to be removed when eating, sleeping, playing sports or any time the patient might accidently have it pulled or bumped during physical activity. Regardless of the little extra effort required when wearing orthodontic headgear, the healthy and beautiful smile achieved when the treatment is complete will have made the hard work involved well worth it.

Perfect Bite, Pretty Face?

September 10th, 2015

The appearance of a person's bite affects how their attractiveness, personality and intelligence is rated by other adults, according to a study.

A study published in the November 2011 edition of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics asked 889 people to evaluate photos that had been manipulated to show either a normal bite or one of six imperfect bites, called occlusion or malocclusion in the dental world.

“The ratings of attractiveness, intelligence, conscientiousness, agreeableness and extraversion differed significantly depending on the occlusion status depicted,” the report said.

Those with an underbite were rated least attractive, intelligent and extraverted. Females with an imperfect bite were rated more favorably than males. Younger and more educated respondents were more critical in their evaluations than older, less educated respondents.

Drs. Jase A. Olsen, a private practitioner in Southern Pines, N.C., and Marita Rohr Inglehart, associate professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry conducted the study.

"Judgments that are negatively influenced by the effects of malocclusion might leave those without a normal occlusion at a social disadvantage and professionally handicapped," the study notes.

The study also quotes earlier research showing that "attractive" people were perceived to be more intelligent and socially competent, to have a more positive personality, to have better social interactions and to receive more favorable professional ratings.

In addition, the study quotes from the National Health and Nutrition Examination III from 1988-91, which showed that 57 percent to 59 percent of adults had some degree of an imperfect bite.

Although that study is two decades old, it still provides the most current prevalence data for malocclusion among U.S. adults.

The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics is the official publication of the American Association of Orthodontists.

© 2015 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

Back to School with braces

September 3rd, 2015

Going back to school with braces will be a new experience for many of you. The good news is that you are certainly not alone. A lot of patients prefer to get their braces on during the summer months. Just look around and you will see many new smiles under construction at your school!
Here are a few tips to help you transition into the school year while staying on target with your orthodontic treatment goals:
1. Remember to avoid crunchy and chewy foods at lunch. Also, be sure to cut questionable food into small bite size pieces and chew very carefully with your back teeth.
2. Take a couple of minutes after lunch to brush your teeth to be certain you don’t have food trapped in your braces.
3. Scheduling your adjustment appointments in advance will improve your chances of getting after school appointments.
4. If you are wearing rubber bands, be sure you have them with you and stay on the schedule we have given you.
5. If you are wearing a retainer, be sure to bring your retainer case to school. That is one of the most common places that patients lose their retainers!
6. As tempting as it is in class and while studying, avoid chewing on pencils or even holding them between the teeth as it can place a large amount of pressure on the teeth. This can cause teeth to shift or crack, and can even break dental work.

Braces can improve your smile and your Oral Health

August 20th, 2015

Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a "bad bite," a condition known as a malocclusion that involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. Correcting the problem can create a beautiful looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and possibly tooth loss.

Orthodontics is a specialty area of dentistry. The purpose of orthodontics is to treat malocclusion through braces, corrective procedures and other appliances to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment. An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an additional three year period of full time post graduate schooling to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Good oral hygiene is especially important when braces are present. Brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will keep your teeth healthy. Patients with braces should maintain a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. Dr Johnson will recommend avoiding certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. These foods may include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.

What is an Orthodontist?

July 16th, 2015

There are three steps in an orthodontist’s education: college, dental school and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted* as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). • Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists.” • Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only.** • Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan. • Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals. • Only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists

The importance of daily flossing

May 21st, 2015

Daily flossing is an important component of plaque removal, but it’s one that many people avoid because they find flossing painful. But the right flossing products can make flossing easy and painless.

Many people think that standard dental floss is the only effective product for tooth flossing. But there are many products to meet the needs of people of all ages with any type of dental condition. If one of these conditions applies to you, consider some specialized flossing options:

You have sensitive gums - If you have sensitive teeth and gums that bleed easily, choose soft floss that slides easily and comfortably between the teeth

You have braces - If you wear braces or have dentures, that doesn’t mean that you can’t floss. Try specialized floss, such as Oral-B’s Super Floss, which has a stiff end that you can thread beneath the main wire of your braces and a spongy component that slides easily between the teeth

You have a child - It’s important to teach children the benefits of flossing at a young age. You can start teaching children to floss their teeth at about age 5-7 years, but many children are less than enthusiastic, and they may complain that flossing hurts or is difficult. Try a kid-friendly flossing tool.

You have difficulty manipulating floss - Try an electric flosser, an electric flosser is neat and easy, especially if you don’t like reaching into the back of your mouth. And an electric flosser provides the right amount of pressure to leave your gums feeling pleasantly stimulated.

Adapting Your Diet after an Orthodontic Adjustment

April 20th, 2015

If you have just gotten braces or had them tightened, it may take a few days for your teeth to adjust. During this time, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent unnecessary pain and potential damage to your teeth, gums, and appliances. Don’t worry: Any discomfort you experience will soon disappear. And it’ll all be worth it in the end. Your new, beautiful smile will be yours for a lifetime!

Change What You Eat

Eating inappropriate foods can cause unnecessary pain. Here are some easy ways you can adapt your diet and eating habits after an adjustment.

1.  Cut your food into small pieces. Any food that requires chewing can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. This includes sandwiches, pizza, meat, and bread.

2.  Eat softer foods. In the first couple of days, stick to soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and soups. Mashed potatoes and applesauce are good options as well. It’s easy to cook fruits and vegetables to make them softer: just steam them in the microwave!

3.  Be gentle with your teeth. Braces give your teeth a workout, so to ease soreness, be gentle with your teeth. Avoid chewy foods that can further irritate already-sore teeth and gums.

Dealing with Discomfort

Even if you alter your diet and take extra precautions, your mouth may still be sore or irritated. Here are some ways to reduce any lingering discomfort.

1.  Eat slowly and carefully. If it hurts to chew something, stop! If chewing is needed, try to use your back teeth as much as possible.

2.  Put pain on ice. Try sucking on some small pieces of ice. Don’t chew on the ice; this will make your discomfort worse. You can also use an ice pack or put frozen peas in a bag and apply pressure to the sore areas.

3.  Use wax. Put wax on any metal part that irritates your mouth. If you need some, please let us know!

4.  Do a salt rinse. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes. Just don’t swallow the salt water.

Following these simple tips will get you back to smiling in no time! If you have any questions about your treatment, or how to eat with braces, please give us a call or ask us during your next appointment!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2015

Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind young athletes to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring. Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention.

"A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equ...ipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced. Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard.”

Dental Superheros To The Rescue!

March 31st, 2015

As an orthodontic patient, you are probably more aware than most that the dental world involves a variety of specialties – orthodontics being one of nine dental specialties identified by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Because there are myriad factors involved in taking care of your mouth, teeth, gums, and jaw, we sometimes call on our partners who specialize in different areas of dentistry. You can think of us and our partners as a team of dental superheroes, each with a different special power – although we usually work alone, we rely on each other for backup in tricky situations.

You were most likely referred to us by your general dentist, who diagnosed your need for orthodontic treatment. In turn, we may need to refer you to a different type of specialist, should we spot any indication of a different type of problem.

Below you'll find a handy reference guide to each of the nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA. Of course, should we ever refer you to another doctor, we will explain in detail exactly why your individual oral health requires a closer look by a particular specialist.

Endodontics

Dentists specializing in Endodontics are focused on the dental pulp, or soft tissue inside your teeth. As such, they are authorities on root canal treatment (extraction of the pulp from an infected tooth). With expertise in both root canal treatment and avulsion (salvaging teeth that have been knocked out), endodontists are the tooth-saviors of the dental world.

Probably the best-known of the dental specialties, Orthodontics sets its sights on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites. (These problems are known in the field as malocclusion, or "bad bite.") Orthodontists straighten and align teeth and jaws, most often using appliances such as braces and retainers.Orthodontics

Experts in the tissues that support the teeth (gums and other areas), periodontists are most often associated with the treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontists also treat complications arising from gum disease, such as lost bone and gum tissue.Periodontics

In this specialty, dentists are concerned with diseases that affect the oral, jaw, and facial areas. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology includes diagnosis as well as research into the causes and effects of these diseases.Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology

Specialists in Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology are trained to produce and interpret radiologic (x-ray) images and data, which are used to diagnose and manage conditions of the oral, jaw, and facial regions.Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology

Surgery involving the bones and tissues of the face, mouth, and neck is the task of the oral surgeon. Operations include wisdom teeth removal, orthognathic (jaw) surgery, dental implants, and surgery to remove cancer. This specialty also includes cosmetic facial surgery, which can address birth defects and ease the effects of trauma, accidents, and aging.Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Commonly known as Pediatric Dentistry, Pedodontics is the branch of dentistry dedicated to the oral care of infants and children. Trained in child development and psychology as well as dentistry, experts in this field are especially attuned to children's needs, and focus heavily on preventative care.Pedodontics

Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to tooth restoration and replacement, providing a variety of options to either fix or replace problem teeth. From crowns and veneers, which work with the teeth in your mouth, to bridges and dentures, which replace them outright, prosthodontists identify the best solution for damaged or missing teeth.Prosthodontics

For those specializing in Dental Public Health, the community itself is the focus, rather than individual patients. Dentists practicing in this field concentrate on educating the public about dental health, as well as researching, preventing, and controlling dental diseases throughout a community.Dental Public Health

Sports and Energy Drinks and Your Smile

March 19th, 2015

While they may sound refreshing after a long jog or pick-up game of basketball, energy and sports drinks may do more harm than good. The high level of sugar and acid found in many of these drinks can cause damage to tooth enamel, thus elevating your risk for tooth decay.

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C, minerals, and other antioxidants. These drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. That stated, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports- or energy-drink habit, we encourage you to minimize your consumption, use a drinking straw or rinse with water after drinking. As odd as it may sound coming from us, do not brush immediately after drinking sports and energy drinks; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today, so take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call or ask us during your next visit!

Study: Fluoridated Water Associated With Better Oral Health In Older People.

March 10th, 2015

The Irish Times reports that according to a study by researchers at Trinity College Dublin of nearly 5,000 adults and census data from 2006 "older people have better oral health if they live in areas where the drinking water is fluoridated." Additionally, the study "found that those living in areas where the water included low levels of fluoride were more likely to have all their own teeth." The researchers also measured the bone density of those included in the study and "found no association between the use of fluoridated water and bone density."

Electric or Manual Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

March 4th, 2015

You live in the golden age of toothbrushes. Until a few decades ago, people used twigs or brushes made from animal hair to clean their teeth: not very soft and none too effective. Now you have a choice of manual brushes with soft, medium, or hard bristles. Or you might choose to go with an electric toothbrush instead.
Have you ever wondered whether manual or electric brushes provide better cleaning? Actually, they both do the job. The key is to brush and floss every day, regardless of the kind of brush you prefer. At our office, we like to say the best brush is the one you’ll use. So if you prefer manual, go for it. If you prefer electric, turn it on. Both types have their advantages but both types will get the job done as far as removing plaque, if used properly.

Electric Toothbrushes

  • Provide power rotation that helps loosen plaque
  • Are great for people with limited dexterity due to arthritis or other physical limitations
  • Are popular with kids who think the electric brushes are more fun to use
  • Can come with variable speeds to help reduce pressure on sensitive teeth and gums
  • Uses timers to ensure you brush evenly across the four quadrants of your mouth and for the optimal two minutes each session

Manual Toothbrushes

  • Can help brushers feel they have more control over the brushing process
  • Allow brushers to respond to twinges and reduce the pressure applied to sensitive teeth and gums
  • Are more convenient for packing when traveling
  • Are cheaper and easier to replace than the electric versions

In many ways, the golden age is just beginning. There are already phone apps available to remind you to brush and floss. New apps can play two minutes worth of music while you brush, help you compare the brightness of your smile, or remind you to brush and floss throughout the day. Maybe someday, there will be an app that examines your teeth after brushing to identify spots you might have missed.

After braces always wear your retainers!

February 25th, 2015

Why retainers?
After your orthondontic treatment is finished, and your braces are removed, you will need retainers to hold your teeth in their new positions.

For how long do I need to wear retainers?
It takes time for the bone and all the tissues around your teeth to reorganise and therefore it is necessary to use retainers until your bite stabilises. In the first month after the braces are removed, the risk of relapse is very high.

Relapse means that the teeth can take up to one year or more to stabilize after treatment. If you had gaps between your teeth before treatment, the retention period will be longer.
Usually, retainers are worn for as long a time as you have had your braces. If your teeth move back to their original positions, you may need fixed braces again to correct them.

Nearly 25% of orthodontic patients have to wear braces again because they didn’t wear their retainers!

What Will My Retainers Look Like?
At one time, all retainers were made of pink plastic and silvery wire, and were removable. That kind is still available, but now you may have a choice of different colors or patterns — you might even be able to customize yours! Another alternative that may be appropriate is a clear retainer that fits over your teeth, making it nearly invisible. In some cases, you can have a thin wire bonded to the inside of the teeth instead of a removable retainer. It doesn't show, and you don't have to worry about taking it out.

Do I have to Wear Them All the Time?
Your orthodontist will prescribe the retention plan that is best for you. Some retainers are used full-time for the first 6 months; after that, the retainers are worn only at night, for a few years. Other retainers are worn full-time for about a week, and solely at night thereafter. Fixed retainers are normally kept in place for 5 years.

Is it Important to Use Your Retainers as Instructed?
Removable retainers should be taken out during eating, contact sports and  when you brush your teeth. To clean the retainers, remove them first and brush them in tap water using a toothbrush and some toothpaste. Brush your teeth after this.

The safest place for your retainers is in your mouth. If you are not using the retainers they should always be kept in a box. There is a great risk of losing retainers if they are wrapped in tissue paper after you remove them from your mouth.

How Will Retainers Affect My Daily Life?
A removable retainer has a wire holding the front teeth. It will be visible but much less than the fixed braces. If you have a removable retainer in your upper jaw, it will take you one to two days to get accustomed to them and speak properly. It is normal to experience a lot of saliva in your mouth with a new retainer.

Always bring the box to store your retainer should you need to remove them. If you have a fixed retainer, you should spend more time to brush the back of your teeth. You have to brush all around the wire so that calculus will not form. You will be instructed on how to use dental floss with a floss-threader. Remember not to use your front teeth for biting hard foods or objects. Fixed retainers do not affect speech.

Will my teeth never change when the period of retention is over?
Bone has the capacity to change and remodel for as long as we live; that is why a broken bone can heal.

From 20 to 50 years of age, faces mature and teeth continue to push forward, causing crowding of the lower front teeth. This happens regardless of whether you have had wisdom teeth removed, extractions of teeth or previous orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth.

To avoid the risk of late crowding, removable retainers can be worn at night for a longer period and fixed retainers kept in for more than 5 years.
Adult patients usually sleep with their retainers on for the rest of their lives, if they want their teeth in perfect alignment.

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

February 17th, 2015

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

Study: 58% Of People More Likely To Be Hired After Tooth Whitening.

February 9th, 2015

On its website, Valet Magazine (12/17) reports that according to a recent study commissioned by Match.com, good teeth are what women “judge men on most” when first considering a romantic relationship, while independent research firm Kelton Research “found that 58% of a study’s participants were more likely to be hired and 53% received larger salary offers after their teeth had been whitened.” Citing the advice of dentists, the article goes on to advise on methods to whiten teeth, including visiting the dentist for a professional whitening treatment.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month!

February 3rd, 2015

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene. Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children. In the past year 51 million school hours were lost due to dental problems. ...Research has shown that if a child’s tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self- esteem.
Parents and caregivers can help encourage good oral health by:
* Encouraging a well-balanced diet that limits sugar and starchy foods. If these foods are included in the daily diet, eating them with a meal and not as a snack produces extra saliva to help rinse the food out of the mouth.
* Using fluoride toothpaste protects children’s teeth (for children less than seven years old, use only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush).
* Asking a dentist or doctor about how to protect child's teeth with dental sealants and fluoridated drinking water.
* Brushing teeth twice daily. Parents may need to help younger children with this.
* Flossing teeth daily. You'll need to floss for your children until they are around four years old.
* Scheduling regular dental checkups every six months.

5 Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

January 20th, 2015

Tooth sensitivity is common in many of our patients, and can usually be identified by pain or discomfort when consuming foods or beverages that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sensitivity can be felt when brushing or flossing, and can also be experienced after routine dental procedures such as the placement of a filling or crown, tooth restoration, or even teeth cleaning. Such sensitivity is usually temporary; if it does not cease after four to six weeks please consult us.
Tooth sensitivity is often due to the breakdown of tooth enamel or a receding gum line, which can occur from:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Vigorous brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth

In most instances, tooth sensitivity is treatable. Here are a few remedies you can take advantage of at home:

  1. Try a desensitizing toothpaste which contains chemicals that block sensations like hot and cold from reaching the nerves in your teeth.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be gentler on both your teeth and gums.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice every day and flossing once daily.
  4. Switch to a fluoride mouthwash.
  5. When possible, avoid acidic foods such as tea, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you may benefit from professional treatment. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, please be sure to contact us. We can set up an appointment to discuss your unique situation and determine the best way to address the problem.

Too old for braces? You Might be Surprised

January 13th, 2015

Although adolescence is a common time to get braces, there’s no reason for adults of any age to have to deal with crooked teeth, overbite, underbite, or other dental issues. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists notes that demand for orthodontic treatment in adults continues to grow, with adults representing 20% of new patients.

You’re never too old for braces or other orthodontic appliances, but it’s important to consider the following:

  1. Braces don’t have to be as noticeable as the metal brackets of the past. Many adults opt for ceramic or plastic braces, which are bone-colored or clear, respectively. Another option is a lingual appliance, which attaches to the back side of your teeth. These so-called “invisible” braces are much less noticeable than traditional options.
  2. By adulthood, bone growth has stopped. This means that certain structural changes can only be achieved by surgery. Although this typically affects people with significant crowding, bite, or jaw problems, Drs. Neil Warshawsky and Ketti Boller can provide an individualized treatment plan that addresses your unique issues.
  3. Treatment may take a bit longer. The length of orthodontic treatment tends to be slightly longer for adults than adolescents. Exact estimates vary by individual, but the average length of time for adult braces wearers is two years, according to the Harvard Medical School.
  4. Outcomes are just as good for adults! Many adults worry that it’s too late to treat their orthodontic problems. However, treatment satisfaction tends to be very high, which is a testament to how effective braces can be in middle-aged and older adults.

Oral Piercings: Is it Worth it?

December 16th, 2014

Piercing, like tattooing, is one of today’s popular forms of “body art” and self-expression. If you’re thinking about getting a piercing – or if you already have one or more – there are some health risks you should know about.

Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Just touching your mouth jewelry (tongue barbells and lip and cheek labrettes) can lead to infection. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them – which is a perfect opportunity for bacteria from hands to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.

Pain and swelling are other possible side effects of piercing. Your tongue – the most popular piercing site in the mouth – could swell large enough to close off your airway! Piercing also can cause uncontrollable bleeding or nerve damage. Damage to the tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss.

The hoop, ring, stud, and barbell-shaped jewelry can hinder your ability to talk and eat. Some people also develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings – which can lead to cracked, scratched teeth; gum damage and recession; and sensitive teeth. There may also be a need for restorations, such as crowns or fillings, and additional dental treatment due to piercings.

Consider the potential pitfalls of piercing carefully before getting one. Keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, and will need regular upkeep. Make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.

If you have an oral piercing, pay special attention to it. Clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry when you brush your teeth. Of course, let us know if you have any questions.

How Do Braces Move Your Teeth Anyway?

December 9th, 2014

We hear this question all the time. Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time, on an average of two years. Traditional orthodontic treatment works when we attach braces and brackets onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where we insert orthodontic wires when you first get your braces on, as well as your subsequent adjustment visits. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape, and so do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.

Not long ago, orthodontists had a single option—stainless steel wires–and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.

When you first get your braces, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, you will notice we will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.

Each time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting the right amount of pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move at a steady pace and allow us to assess progress and ensure we keep your treatment plan on track.

As for rubber bands and elastics? Most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. These elastics are typically placed from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, pulling on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite and a beautiful smile.

If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

Does my child need two-phase treatment?

November 12th, 2014

Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves two separate and distinct periods that your child receives orthodontic treatment. It allows your son or daughter to begin early treatment of bite and jaw problems, in order to reduce the dental issues he or she experiences later on.

Two-phase orthodontic treatment with Dr. Pamela Johnson can improve how well the second phase of the treatment works and helps to make room for permanent teeth. Overall, two-phase treatment helps to position the teeth and the jaw for an attractive profile. Our team recommends that you bring your child to our Willowbrook office at the age of seven or eight, so that Dr. Pamela Johnson can determine if early (Phase-One) treatment is necessary.

Phase-One

Phase-One orthodontic treatment is known as early treatment. It begins shortly after your child’s first orthodontic examination, usually around age eight or nine. The main goal of Phase-One orthodontic treatment is to help make room for permanent teeth, which reduces crooked teeth as a result of overcrowding. It treats the jaw and bite growth, and issues like crossbite or underbite. This can reduce the need for your child to undergo extractions.

Phase-Two

Phase-Two orthodontic treatment is when braces are placed on the upper and/or lower teeth. The purpose is not just to correct spaces or misaligned teeth, but also to correct overbite or underbite concerns. Phase-Two usually begins around age 11 or 12, and the braces are worn for an average of two to three years, depending on your child’s unique needs. Some children have fewer issues and wear braces for little more than a year, while others need them for up to four years.

Signs your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment

If your child exhibits the following signs, he or she may be a good candidate for two-phase orthodontic treatment:

•Losing baby teeth early, before five years of age

•Problems with biting or chewing

•Sucking the thumb after age five

•Evidence of a crossbite, where the teeth don’t come together when opening or closing of the mouth

•Teeth are crowded at age seven or eight

•Protruding teeth on the top or bottom

Not all children need to have early treatment, but if your child shows any of these signs, you should bring him or her to us for an evaluation at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions.

We Offer Invisalign Teen!

October 21st, 2014

Dr. Pamela Johnson and our team are excited to offer Invisalign Teen, a clear alternative to braces that's just for teens! With Invisalign Teen, we are able to straighten your teen's teeth without the hassle, discomfort, and embarrassment of traditional braces.

Invisalign Teen's clear aligners are virtually invisible. What's more, they are removable, which means your child is free to eat anything they choose, as well as brush and floss with ease! And best of all, Invisalign Teen uses no wires or metal to straighten your teen's teeth.

Invisalign Teen aligners are made from a ligthweight plastic material and fit precisely on the teeth. Invisalign Teen has become a popular treatment here because it helps our younger patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile without their friends noticing.

Our team is aware that most teens today have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes, they tend to lose things, including their retainers or aligners. But with Invisalign Teen, if your child happens to lose an aligner, let our office know as soon as possible and we will have the aligner replaced.

For more information on Invisalign Teen, please give us a call at our Willowbrook office today!

Make your oral health a priority

September 3rd, 2014

At Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions, we know good dental health requires only a few minutes a day. We thought we’d provide some practical advice on how to improve your or your child’s smile between your adjustment visits with Dr. Johnson. Start by brushing your teeth twice a day. Proper brushing techniques are an essential part of maintaining good oral health during your orthodontic treatment, as well as preventing gum disease. More care and time are needed to adequately brush your teeth when you are wearing braces. Brushing daily helps remove decay-causing plaque from tooth surfaces. Please consult Dr. Johnson if you would like us to review brushing techniques with you or your child. The use of a mechanical toothbrush such as a Sonicare or Oral B can aid in removing plaque around braces. Flossing daily will also prevent plaque to build up between the teeth and prevent stains between your teeth. Research has shown the bacteria of gum disease has been linked to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes and memory loss. Lastly, we encourage you to throw away old toothbrushes and replace them every 2 or 3 months, or after an illness.

We hope this helps! If you have any further questions about any of these tips, please contact our office or ask your general dentist during your next scheduled visit! Or, ask us on Facebook!

Adults and Braces: Not just for kids anymore

August 27th, 2014

Just hearing the word “braces” can take many of us back to junior high — that painful era when we wore unattractive glasses, endured unflattering haircuts, and carried a mouthful of braces to complete the awkward adolescent look. Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles.

Braces for Adults

Perhaps you never had braces as a kid and you are embarrassed by your crooked teeth. Or you went through a round of braces a decade ago and stopped wearing your retainer, which allowed your teeth to shift. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces in adulthood is an excellent way to create the straight, beautiful smile you deserve.

What are my options?

With recent advances in orthodontic medicine, there are numerous options for adults who need braces. The basic option is traditional metal braces. These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or require other major orthodontic changes. Metal braces are typically the least expensive option. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is aesthetics. Many people find them unattractive and distracting.

If you are a professional who is worried about your personal appearance, clear ceramic braces may be a better choice. Clear braces are capable of handling very crooked teeth or bite issues, but they cost more than metal braces. You also have to be careful about smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages while wearing clear braces. These items may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth.

Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners. The series is custom made for your teeth, which makes this option more expensive than either metal or ceramic braces. In general, the Invisalign process takes anywhere from three to 18 months to complete. You should be aware that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems, teeth that are lower or higher than others, or severely overcrowded teeth.

Although you may be nervous about the prospect of getting braces as an adult, you should not let your fears stop you from talking with Dr. Johnson.  A consultation at our Willowbrook office will address your concerns and provide information about the best course of treatment for you. No matter what your personal situation, adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and create the smile you’ve always dreamed of.

Besides straight teeth, what are the benefits of braces?

August 13th, 2014

Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.

Difficulties with Speech

Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.

Bone Erosion

Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.

Digestion

Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.

Dr. Johnson and staff will be happy to answer any of your questions about your orthodontic treatment. Visit us in our Willowbrook office today!

Preventing Decay While Wearing Braces

July 15th, 2014

Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods.

Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, popcorn can also bend or break your braces. On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing.

You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can’t always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools.

There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can also find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning.

It’s important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.

As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

What causes crooked teeth?

June 23rd, 2014

There are several reasons why some people’s teeth grow in crooked, overlapping, or twisted. The most common is hereditary, while other causes include irregularly-shaped teeth or jaws, premature loss of baby teeth, and habits such as thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting. It is very important that you schedule an appointment at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontist so that we can make an early diagnosis and treatment plan that will best suit your or your child’s needs.

Establishing a proper bite is not just cosmetic but can dramatically improve our patients’ dental and overall health.

Crooked teeth can:

•Interfere with proper chewing

•Hinder proper oral hygiene, which increases the risk of tooth decay, cavities, and gingivitis

•Strain the teeth, jaws, and muscles, increasing the risk of breaking a tooth

Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We look forward to helping you or your child achieve the bite and smile that will last a lifetime. Give us a call at our Willowbrook office to book your initial consultation.

The advantage of Invisalign® at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions

May 5th, 2014

Part of what makes Invisalign “work” is that it’s customizable for just about anybody. To find out if you are the right candidate for Invisalign treatment, the first thing our team at Johnson Orthodontics do is to take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

Next we use special software to map out the exact path your teeth will take from the beginning of your treatment to the end. Based on the results, a set of custom aligners are created just for your teeth. Throughout the course of treatment, you will be required to wear these clear, removable aligners one at a time; each one moving your teeth closer and closer to their final, perfectly aligned position. And since the aligners are virtually invisible, nobody around you will even know you are wearing braces!

If you have questions about Invisalign, or would like to find out if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment, please give us a call.

You're Never Too Old To Treat Yourself To a New Smile!

April 28th, 2014

Did you know one in every five orthodontic patients is an adult? We’re living longer and technology is improving, making orthodontic treatment an appealing and safe option for patients of all ages. As the trend toward treatment later in life grows, we’re seeing braces on parents as well as children – and even adult celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Gwen Stefani and Nicholas Cage have shown off their braces. It’s never too late to look and feel your best!

Can Braces Work for Adults?

People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The physical process for moving teeth is the same, young or old, which means it’s never too late to address issues such as an overbite or underbite, crooked or crowded teeth, or jaw disorders.

How Do I Get Started?

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment, we’ll make a consultation appointment with you. During this meeting we will perform a general assessment of your oral health, discuss options for treatment, and answer any questions you may have. We will also discuss matters of cost and insurance. The next step is an orthodontic records appointment in which we take x-rays, photos, and an impression of your teeth. This information drives your unique treatment plan.

What Are the Benefits?

Straightening your teeth can improve your smile, your self-esteem, and your dental health. Technologically advanced new treatments make it easier to identify the option that best fits your lifestyle. Modern techniques and materials have made braces and aligners more effective, comfortable and unobtrusive than ever.

If you think you might benefit from orthodontic treatment, give our team a call so we may set up a consultation to determine what type of treatment best meets your needs!

Should I visit the dentist during my orthodontic treatment?

April 21st, 2014

So, you just got your braces on, and you’re wondering if you should continue visiting your general dentist since you’re seeing Dr. Pamela Johnson every other month. Patients always ask us if they should continue to see their dentist while in orthodontic treatment. In short, the answer is yes.

Today, we thought we would share a few reasons why it’s crucial to keep up with your regular visits with your dentist in addition to coming in for your regular adjustment appointment at Johnson Orthodontic Solutions.

One of the best reasons to visit your dentist while you undergo orthodontic treatment is to remove plaque and tartar. Having braces provides additional nooks and crannies in which food particles and bacteria can hide. Eventually, plaque and tartar can form around your brackets, bands or other appliances which can lead to cavities. Having your teeth professionally cleaned can help ensure most, if not all, plaque and tartar is removed. Even if you are undergoing clear aligner treatment, dental checkups and cleanings are equally as important.

The next reason to visit a dentist is to help protect your teeth from decalcification, or the loss of calcium in your teeth. A potentially serious condition in which white spots on your tooth surfaces, decalcification is irreversible and if left untreated, can lead to cavities. Decalcification is preventable; patients who cut down on sugary sweets and acidic foods, practice good oral hygiene, and visit their dentist regularly can help prevent decalcification.

The final reason we recommend visiting your dentist while you have braces is this: cavities can prolong your treatment. If you are interested in completing your orthodontic treatment on time and without any delays, visiting your dentist every six months or as recommended can go a long way toward making that a realistic goal. Your dentist can provide fluoride treatments or other treatments that strengthen your teeth and protect them from cavities.

Making sure to visit your dentist will help ensure your teeth look their best once your braces come off. If you do not have a general dentist and would like a recommendation on finding one in Willowbrook, Hinsdale, Darien, and Burr Ridge, please give us a call or let us know at your next adjustment appointment!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 14th, 2014

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Pamela Johnson and her team  want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard  fitted by our team for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pamela Johnson, please give us a call.

Broken or dislocated jaw

April 1st, 2014

A broken jaw is a break (fracture) in the jaw bone. A dislocated jaw means the lower part of the jaw has moved out of its normal position at one or both joints where the jaw bone connects to the skull (temporomandibular joints).

If your teeth appear to fit together properly when your mouth is closed.

  • Apply ice to control swelling
  • Restrict diet to soft foods and if no improvement occurs within 24 hours, seek dental care to rule out subtle injuries.
  • If in doubt at any time, contact your dentist or seek medical attention.

A broken or dislocated jaw requires prompt medical attention because of the risk of breathing problems or bleeding. Hold the jaw gently in place with your hands while traveling to the emergency room. A bandage may also be wrapped over the top of the head and under the jaw. The bandage should be easily removable in case you need to vomit.

Please DO NOT attempt to correct the position of the jaw. A dental professional should do this.

The difference between a General Dentist and an Orthodontist

March 3rd, 2014

Orthodontists are specialists in moving teeth and aligning jaws.

All orthodontists are dentists first. Out of 100 dental school graduates, only six go on to become orthodontists.

There are three steps in an orthodontist's education: college, dental school and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete two or three academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).

  • Only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves "orthodontists."
  • General dentists do fillings, crowns, dentures, cleanings and whitening.
  • Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only.
  • Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.
  • Orthodontists use a variety of "appliances," including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists' advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient's treatment goals.
  • Only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontists.

National Children's Dental Health Month

February 3rd, 2014

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene. Tooth decay is the number one chronic illness in children. In the past year 51 million school hours were lost due to dental problems. Research has shown that if a child's tooth decay goes untreated, it can lead to tooth loss, speech problems and even loss of self-esteem.

Parents and caregivers can help encourage good oral health by:

  • Encouraging a well-balanced diet that limits sugar and starchy foods. If these foods are in the daily diet, eating them with a meal and not as a snack produces extra saliva to help rinse the food out of the mouth.
  • Using fluoride toothpaste protects children's teeth (for children less than seven years old, use only a pea-sized amount on their toothbrush).
  • Asking a dentist or doctor about how to protect your child's teeth with dental sealants and fluoridated drinking water.
  • Brushing teeth twice daily. Parents may need to help younger children with this.
  • Flossing teeth daily. You'll need to floss for your children until they are around four year old.
  • Scheduling regular dental checkups every six months.

Know what to do if tooth is loose or broken

January 9th, 2014

Mouth guards are one of the least expensive pieces of protective gear available. They can help prevent or minimize tooth and jaw injuries. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends mouth guards be worn any time the teeth could come into contact with a ball, a hard object, another player or the pavement. The recommendation applies to organized sports as well as leisure activities like bicycling.

If mouth guard is not worn and an injury occurs, follow these first aid tips.

Broken Teeth:

  • Clean the injury area and put an ice pack on the lip or gum.
  • Cover any exposed area with sterile gauze.
  • Save the tip of the tooth (for possible reattachment) and call your family or pediatric dentist right away.
  • Store the tooth fragment in water.

Loosened Teeth:

An accident can cause a tooth to come loose from the socket, a tooth can be:

  • Pushed into the socket (intruded)
  • Knocked part way out of the socket (extruded)
  • Pushed sideways, but still in the socket (luxated)

What to do if an accident occurs:

  • Apply an ice pack to the injury.
  • You may attempt to gently push an extruded tooth back into the socket.
  • Call your family or pediatric dentist for immediate attention. Early stabilization is the best chance for the tooth to reattach itself.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

November 19th, 2013

More than 5 million teeth are knocked out every year. Both adults and children are at risk. With proper emergency action, a tooth that has been entirely knocked out of its socket often can be successfully replanted and last for years. Because of this, it is important to be prepared and know what to do if this happens to you or someone with you. The key is to act quickly, yet calmly, and follow these simple steps.

  • Call your family or pediatric dentist for immediate attention.
  • Locate the tooth; hold it by the crown (the wide part, not the pointed end/root).
  • Remove large pieces of debris, but avoid rubbing or touching the root.
  • Rinse the tooth. Do not scrub. If using a sink, be sure to put the plug in the sink so that the tooth will not go down the drain if it is dropped.
  • Attempt to gently put the clean tooth back in its socket. Cover with gauze or tissue and bite down to stabilize it, if possible, or hold the tooth in its socket until seen by the dentist.
  • If the tooth cannot be put back into its socket, store the tooth in liquid until you see the dentist. Put the tooth in milk or saline solution ( contact lens solution with no preservatives). Do not soak or store the tooth in water because water will kill the cells on the root that are vital for successful reimplantation. If milk or saline solution are unavailable, the tooth can be stored in the cheek where saliva will help provide vitality to the root surface. If stored in the cheek, be careful not to swallow the tooth.
  • DO NOT LET THE TOOTH DRY OUT.

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