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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

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