Braces

Adult Orthodontics

June 8th, 2021

Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. Leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and difficulty chewing. Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better and decreasing the risk of future dental problems regardless of age.

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

Our office offers clear braces, traditional metal braces, and Invisalign. Give our office a call to set up a consultation with Dr. Johnson.

aaoinfo.org

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

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!

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.

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

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

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

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.

Bruxism Among Signs Of Stress Not To Ignore.

October 11th, 2017

PopSugar states that “it’s important to deal with and resolve the causes of stress, because when left unchecked,” it may affect physical, mental, and emotional health. The article states that “stress can manifest itself in telltale ways,” identifying several “physical signs” not to ignore since they may suggest “mental and emotional health” is “buckling under the strain.” One sign of stress is bruxism, which may cause jaw pain, tooth damage, and headaches. According to the article, additional signs of stress may include lack of energy, getting sick easily, and changed eating habits.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on bruxism.

Oral Health Issues May Indicate Other Health Conditions.

October 2nd, 2017

Reader’s Digest discusses what oral health issues could reveal about overall health, stating, for example, that signs of gum disease include red, swollen, and bleeding gums, which may also be a sign of diabetes. “If gums bleed a lot and are swollen or the patient is having frequent abscesses or infections, the dentist might start to question if you have a family history of diabetes,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram. Reader’s Digest adds that chronic bad breath may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, which may also damage teeth, and although several factors can contribute to dry mouth, the condition may also be a sign of the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome.

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide information on diabetes for dental professionals and patients. In addition, the ADA offers the online course: Diabetes and the Dental Professional. The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org also provide information on xerostomia for dental professionals and for patients. In addition, MouthHealthy.org provides information for patients on gum disease and bad breath.

“Worst Halloween Candy” For Dental Health.

September 27th, 2017

Reader’s Digest states that chewy, sour, and hard candies are among the “worst Halloween candy” for teeth. In general, candy is harmful to teeth because as oral bacteria eat sugar, acid is created as a byproduct, says Dr. Matthew Messina, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. The acid can then dissolve tooth enamel. Chewy candies are “among the worst offenders” since they stick to teeth, and Dr. Messina notes that sour candies contain both sugar and acid. Reader’s Digest also includes hard candies on the list since they generally linger in the mouth longer. On the other hand, the article states that “chocolate tops the list of best bets,” noting Dr. Messina explains chocolate washes off teeth more easily than other candy options.

Visit MouthHealthy’s Kids’ Halloween Headquarters for additional information, including tips for a healthy Halloween and a Halloween Candy Survival Guide.

Drinking Fluoridated Tap Water Encouraged.

September 7th, 2017

The Daily Mail reported that it tested the pH levels of “popular brands of bottled waters,” finding some had a pH level of four. The article stated that beverages with “pH levels closer to zero are more acidic” and may erode dental enamel. The article reported that bottled water may also contain “insufficient amounts of fluoride.” Given this, a dentist quoted in the article discussed the benefits of drinking fluoridated tap water. The article also noted that the American Dental Association encourages drinking fluoridated water to help prevent dental caries.

Business Insider (8/11, Schmalbruch) reported that adding flavor to water, especially citric flavors, can lower the pH level, making it “more acidic.”

Additional information about fluoride and community water fluoridation is available at ADA.org/fluoride. The ADA Catalog also features the Fluoride Nature’s Cavity Fighter brochure. The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provides additional information on dental erosion for dental professionals.

Redbook Discusses Toothpaste, Flossing, Dental Emergencies.

July 31st, 2017

Redbook provides oral health tips, emphasizing the importance of brushing teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing. The article also discusses dental emergencies, recommending people seek care from a dentist immediately if they break a tooth.

The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org provide additional information on brushing teeth for dental professionals and patients. The Oral Health Topics on ADA.org and MouthHealthy.org also provide additional information on interdental cleaners, including floss, for dental professionals and patients. MouthHealthy.org provides information for patients on dental emergencies, including dental trauma. The ADA also lists an emergency tooth preservation product with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

ADA Spokesperson Discusses Teeth Whitening.

June 29th, 2017

Allure provides an overview of how teeth whitening works and some of the differences between over-the-counter products and in-office whitening. The article features information from American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina, who advises speaking with a dentist before whitening teeth. “It’s always good to have a thorough examination done by your dentist before starting on a whitening program,” Dr. Messina said. Allure includes Crest 3D White Whitestrips Glamorous White in its list of “the best at-home teeth whitening kits at the drugstore.”

Bro Bible encourages readers to use Crest 3D White Whitestrips Glamorous White, noting they’re the only whitening strips that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

To see the complete list of ADA Seal-accepted over-the-counter products, visit ADA.org/Seal. Dental professionals can also direct their patients to MouthHealthy.org, ADA’s consumer website, for evidence-based information about teeth whitening.

ADA Spokesperson Identifies Strategies To Avoid Bad Breath.

June 19th, 2017

In a consumer-directed video on the Business Insiderwebsite, American Dental Association spokesperson Dr. Ada Cooper provides tips to avoid bad breath, which can be caused by several factors, including poor oral hygiene and dry mouth. Dr. Cooper reminds people to brush their teeth at night to remove food from the mouth. In addition, brushing the tongue and drinking plenty of water can help remove odor-causing bacteria, says Dr. Cooper. If these methods do not help, Dr. Cooper encourages people to visit their dentist to determine if something else may be causing bad breath.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on the causes of bad breath and solutions for it.

Brushing, Flossing Essential For Oral Health.

June 15th, 2017

discusses the importance of caring for gums as part of a good oral hygiene routine. The article shares advice from a dentist, who recommends using the proper flossing and brushing technique, avoiding tobacco products, managing stress, consuming a healthy diet, and visiting the dentist regularly.

MouthHealthy.org also provides resources for patients on flossing, including the correct flossing technique, and on brushing teeth, including the proper brushing technique.

Proper Toothbrush Storage “Really Matters.”

April 24th, 2017

USA Today notes that toothbrushes can harbor bacteria, including fecal coliform bacteria. Although it is unlikely these bacteria will cause adverse health effects, USA Today states that “how you store your toothbrush is often what really matters.” The article notes that the American Dental Association recommends people rinse their toothbrushes with tap water after brushing and allow toothbrushes to air dry, since covering toothbrushes can create an environment more conducive to bacteria growth. In addition, the article recommends people replace their toothbrushes every three to four months and never share a toothbrush.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide additional information on toothbrush care for patients and dental professionals. In addition, the ADA provides a list of toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Pictures Show How Sugary Drinks Can Damage Teeth.

March 27th, 2017

The Daily Mail shares several images showing how sugary drinks may damage teeth. A dentist at the San Diego Dental Studio set up the experiment, which involved placing one tooth in “a bottle of a popular energy drink, another into cola, a third in diet cola and the fourth into water as the control.” The images show the teeth placed in the colas experienced staining after two weeks, while the enamel on the one placed in the energy drink was “literally crumbling.”

Meanwhile, the Sacramento carries an “Ask Mr. Dad” column, which responds to a reader’s question about whether caffeine is unhealthy for children. The response states that caffeine is “a problem for kids” for several reasons, including that caffeinated items, such as soda, are often acidic, which “can increase the risk of developing cavities.” In addition, “coffee drinks may also stain teeth.”

For additional information about the impact of sugary drinks on dental health, read the ADA Health Literacy in Dentistry Essay Contest winner’s article, “The Truth About Sugary Drinks and Your Smile.”

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on nutrition and dental health.

Receiving Preventive Care Among Tips To Stay Healthy And Live Longer.

March 20th, 2017

In an article and broadcast on its website, TODAY shares tips on how to stay healthy and live longer, while avoiding hip fractures. The tips include standing on one leg at a time while brushing teeth for two minutes to help with balance, along with incorporating jumping into exercise routines, receiving enough calcium and vitamin D3 each day, and managing stress. TODAY also emphasizes the importance of preventive care, including dental visits, to maintain health and avoid higher health costs in the future.

MouthHealthy.org provides oral health information by life stages, including for adults between 40 and 60 and adults over 60.

6 Ways to Make Your Mouth Extra Kissable for Valentine’s Day

February 15th, 2017

From the “Kiss Me” messages on tiny candy hearts to romantic songs on the radio, a kiss is probably on your list this Valentine’s Day. Before cozying up to your loved one this year, make sure your mouth is in good health because, as it turns out, a kiss is more than just a kiss.

Kissing stimulates saliva, which can help fight cavities. However, if the person you’re kissing has poor dental and overall health, you run the risk of getting unwanted germs, illnesses or diseases instead of candy, flowers or cards this Valentine’s Day.

Here’s what you need to know about making your smile a vision of love for February 14.

Cavities Can Be Contagious
Whether through kissing or something as simple as sharing a fork, the bacteria that causes cavities can spread to another person. Brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth once a day for cleaner kisses and a cavity-free smile.

Beware Bad Breath
Bacteria is a big culprit of bad breath, so regular habits like brushing and flossing are especially important. Other ways to stay fresh are over-the-counter antimicrobial mouthwashes or chewing sugarless gum. Both can freshen your breath instantly and get saliva flowing—especially after you eat foods with a strong scent. (And look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on both!)

Share a Life (But Not a Toothbrush)
For many couples, a big relationship step is keeping a toothbrush at each other’s place. Just make sure you each have your own because sharing toothbrushes also means sharing germs.

Brighten Your Smile
Nothing is more attractive than a confident smile. If whitening makes you feel better about yours, talk to your dentist about which option is best. There are a number of over-the-counter whitening products, or you could get an in-office treatment at your dentist.

Smoking Isn’t Attractive
Smoking is bad for your breath and stains your teeth – not to mention terrible for your overall health. Smoking affects how well you smell and taste. People who use tobacco twice as likely to get gum disease as someone who doesn’t smoke. Smokers are also more at risk for oral cancer. Give yourself a gift this Valentine’s Day and quit today.

Don’t Forget About the Dentist!
A good relationship with and regular visits to your dentist can help keep your mouth at its best all year long. Your dentist can help keep you healthy, discuss any concerns and give more advice on keeping your smile fresh.

For more information please visit MouthHealthy.org

Old Toothbrushes Among Items To “Toss Immediately.”

February 8th, 2017

In a consumer-focused article, Realtor includes old toothbrushes among several bathroom items to “toss immediately” for “the sake of space, your health, and your sanity.” The article states that for those who have been using the same toothbrush for more than three or four months “that’s too long,” according to the American Dental Association. In addition, toothbrushes should be replaced sooner if bristles are “bent or frayed,” since they do not clean teeth as well. The article also encourages people to dispose of old makeup; expired sunscreen; hotel toiletries; almost empty shampoo bottles; unused beauty products and gifts; old razors; and expired medications, encouraging people to follow the FDA’s guidelines for safely disposing unused medication.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide additional information on toothbrush care for patients and for dental professionals. In addition, the ADA provides a list of toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Halitosis

January 9th, 2017

Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives.

What Causes Bad Breath?
There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.

Bacteria
Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry Mouth
Feeling parched? Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

Gum Disease
Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

Food
Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

Medical Conditions
Mouth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?
Brush and Floss
Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

Mouthwash
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

Clean Your Dentures
If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

Keep That Saliva Flowing
To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.

Quit Smoking
Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly
If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor.

Source; https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en

NIH: Differences Between Those Who Floss And Those Who Don’t Can Be “Striking.”

November 30th, 2016

In its November newsletter, the National Institutes Of Health states that although news stories have questioned the benefits of dental flossing due to lacking research, dentists have “seen the teeth and gums of people who floss regularly and those who haven’t,” and “the differences can be striking.” The article notes that “red or swollen gums that bleed easily” can indicate “flossing and better dental habits are needed.” A dental health expert at NIH says, “Cleaning all sides of your teeth, including between your teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach, is a good thing.” While strong evidence showing the benefits of flossing “may be somewhat lacking,” the article observes that “there’s little evidence for any harm or side effects from flossing, and it’s low cost.” The article encourages people to talk to their dentist to address any questions or concerns about their teeth or gums and to learn the proper flossing technique.

The ADA has released a statement on the benefits of using interdental cleaners, and a Science in the News article titled “The Medical Benefit of Daily Flossing Called Into Question” discussed evidence about the impact of flossing on oral health.

MouthHealthy.org also provides resources for patients on flossing, including the correct flossing technique.

Taking Care Of Children’s Oral Health Is Necessary.

November 30th, 2016

In an article in U.S. News & World Report , Jonathan Fielding, MD, professor of public health and pediatrics at UCLA, states that “we are not taking care of our children’s teeth,” noting that “tooth decay is among the most common chronic conditions of childhood,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Poor oral health in children can cause pain and infections and adversely affect school attendance and learning. Dr. Fielding notes that according to the American Dental Association, there are “more than 125 health conditions that may affect or be affected by oral health, including cardiovascular disease, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, obesity, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.” In addition, the ADA states that children with tooth decay are more likely to have tooth decay as adults. Given this, Dr. Fielding recommends children practice good dental hygiene and make dietary changes, while also stressing the need for additional public health steps, such as expanding access to fluoridated water, applying fluoride varnish and sealants to teeth, increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates, and expanding the availability of dental coverage.

The ADA’s Action for Dental Health aims to prevent dental disease before it starts and reduce the proportion of adults and children with untreated dental disease. Learn more.

for more information please visit bulletinhealthcare.com

Study Shows Taking Video Selfies May Help Improve Brushing Technique

November 10th, 2016

Lance Vernon, senior instructor at Case Western Reserve University, writes in the Conversation, that in the wake of studies questioning the value of flossing and regular dental x-rays, it may be time to “talk about something we can all agree on – toothbrushing.” A recent “very small study” in India looked at whether a video selfie may improve people’s brushing. The idea is that people may be “more self-conscious” about their toothbrushing while recording themselves, and so they may improve their technique. While the results are “complicated,” Vernon says it did show that people can take selfies of toothbrushing and others can use them to “analyze how well they brushed.”
for more information please visit www.mailview.bulletinhealthcare.com

Despite FDA Ban From Soaps, Triclosan Considered Effective Ingredient In Toothpaste.

November 9th, 2016

The New York Times reports that the ingredient triclosan, which the FDA banned from antibacterial soaps recently, can still be legally used in some toothpastes. According to FDA spokesperson Andrea Fischer, the ingredient is “demonstrated to be effective at reducing plaque and gingivitis.” Fischer adds, “Based on scientific evidence, the balance of benefit and risk is favorable for these products.” The article noted that a 2013 Cochrane review “concluded that toothpastes with triclosan and fluoride outperformed those with only fluoride.”

The ADA reported previously that a study in the May 2016 issue of mSphere was “designed to examine whether use of consumer products” containing triclosan could “alter gut microbiome composition, endocrine function, and markers for obesity, diabetes, and inflammation.” The ADA says the study is “strongly suggestive” of triclosan’s “safety for use by humans.”
The ADA provides official commentary on the FDA’s final rule and the Times reporting here.
for more information please visit www.ada.org

30 Percent Of Americans Floss Daily, Survey Finds.

May 12th, 2016

US News & World Report (5/2, Sternberg) reported that a recent survey to determine how often people floss their teeth found that 30 percent of the population floss daily, over 37 percent floss less than daily, and nearly 33 percent say they never floss. For the analysis, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, looking at information from “9,056 US adults, age 30 and up, who participated from 2009 to 2012.” Among the findings, males and people 75 or older were more likely to report never flossing than females and those age 30 to 44, respectively. ADA spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina said, “It’s nice to have a study that actually looks at [flossing] and gives us a big enough sample to work with,” observing that it is probably good news that two-thirds of patients are flossing daily or regularly. Lead author Duong T. Nguyen, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Something as simple as flossing is, to a lot of people, a bane. ... Yet, in the long run it can be so beneficial – it can prevent tooth loss and everything that comes with it.”
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on flossing, including “5 Steps To A Flawless Floss.”

Popular Health Foods May Contribute To Teeth Discoloration, Dental Erosion.

May 3rd, 2016

The Daily Mail reports that “some of the most popular health foods” may negatively affect dental health. The acid content in green smoothies, for example, may damage enamel, while nutrient-rich beetroot may contribute to teeth staining. The article provides several “tooth-friendly” alternatives, recommending whole fruits and vegetables, nuts in moderation, and cheese.

Meanwhile, a second article in the Daily Mail states, “People make a number of simple mistakes” that can harm teeth, such as chewing ice cubes, eating dried fruits, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using teeth as tools, and having tongue and lip piercings.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on diet and dental health, foods that affect dental health, and habits that harm teeth.

Reader’s Digest Identifies Seven Health Issues Dentists May Detect

April 21st, 2016

Reader’s Digest (4/19, Bender) states that “dentists are trained to spot more than just cavities,” listing seven dental problems that “may signal a health issue happening elsewhere in the body.” The article states, for example, that a dentist may be able to detect that a patient has diabetes. “Red, swollen gums that may bleed are the hallmarks of periodontal disease,” and people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. “If gums bleed a lot and are swollen or the patient is having frequent abscesses or infections, the dentist might start to question if you have a family history of diabetes,” says ADA spokesperson Dr. Sally Cram. Dentists may also be able to detect if a patient is stressed. “Grinding or clenching your teeth can be a sign that you’re under pressure,” the article states, adding that Dr. Cram also notes canker sores appear more often in people who are stressed. In addition, dentists may be able to identify patients with acid reflux, low bone mineral density, an autoimmune disease, an eating disorder, or celiac disease. By Rachel Grumman Bender
Reader's Digest provides additional information

New Toothpaste Fights Tooth Decay

February 17th, 2016

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a new toothpaste that aims to improve oral hygiene by binding to plaque and showing it as green, revealing areas a person missed while brushing. The article stated that researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a short-term study of Plaque HD, finding plaque was reduced by 51.3% after people brushed with the toothpaste for up to 10 days. American Dental Association spokeswoman Dr. Mary Hayes has not tried the toothpaste, but said it could serve as a consistent reminder to patients. Dr. Hayes added that areas between the teeth and at the gumline are common areas patients miss.
(2/8, Johannes, Subscription Publication)

"Another Good Reason To Straighten Your Teeth"

January 14th, 2016

Periodontal disease has been seen as a risk factor for a host of systemic issues, including heart disease, kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. A study from Taiwan suggests that it may be linked with pancreatic cancer as well. Researchers identified 139,805 subjects with periodontal disease and 75,085 subjects without it in the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Next, they performed Cox proportional hazards regression to compare the incidence of pancreatic cancer between the groups. The research showed a predominant positive association between periodontal disease and pancreatic cancer risk among subjects age 65 and older, though it was not observed among those younger than 65. Periodontal disease also proved to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer independent of diabetes, hyperlipidemia, allergies, viral hepatitis, peptic ulcer, pancreatitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (as a proxy for cigarette smoking), and alcoholic-related conditions (as a proxy for drinking alcohol). However, the underlying biological mechanisms behind the association require further investigation, researchers said.

How coffee can actually protect your teeth

January 4th, 2016

Your morning mugful might do more than just boost your energy — it could protect your teeth, too. In a recent study, Boston University researchers discovered that men who drank one or more cups of coffee per day showed significantly less bone loss in their teeth over 30 years than those who sipped less.

Along with having sturdier (and, yes, more stained) teeth, the daily coffee drinkers showed no signs of gum disease, like bleeding gums. This was even after the researchers controlled for factors that could increase their risk, like alcohol consumption, smoking, and brushing or flossing too hard. Coffee, it seems, was an X-factor in keeping these teeth healthy.

According to study author Raul Garcia, this could be thanks to the chemical components in brewed coffee, which have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds — including caffeine, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid — combat the oxidative damage and inflammation that cause gum disease. Oxidative damage can also lead to a whole host of diseases that affect your whole body, like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

RELATED: The Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

It's not surprising then, that the more coffee the men consumed, the more their teeth benefited. "Men who drank more than six cups per day had, on average, significantly fewer teeth with moderate to severe bone loss than those who drank less than six," Garcia says. "But of course, that much coffee per day may have other negative consequences, such as sleeping problems." More than four cups a day has also been linked to irritability, rapid heartbeat, and even an increased risk of early death.

So how much coffee is ideal for your teeth? "Although we didn't report data on this, we looked into it, and we found that an average of two or more cups a day had the most benefit," Garcia says. Other experts have suggested capping your consumption at three cups. But note that if you take your coffee with sugar, you up your risk of cavities.

Propel Orthodontics

December 21st, 2015

Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions is proud to introduce a new treatment option in our office. Propel Orthodontics is a new advance in orthodontic technology with the ability to straighten teeth in significantly less time.

Propel is a micro-invasive treatment that uses micro-osteoperforations to stimulate the bone to remodel faster therefore "Excellerate" your tooth movement."

Micro-osteoperforation with propel is:

Clinically proven safe and effective
Doctor-performed in a few minutes during your regularly scheduled office visit
Can be used with braces or clear aligners.

Micro-osteoperforation with propel offers straightforward solution to
your orthodontic needs in just a few steps.
1. Your doctor evaluates your orthodontic needs using an x-ray.
2. Before Propel, rinse twice with chlorhexidine, a disinfectant.
3. Your doctor anesthetizes the area and applies Propel where needed.
4. Your doctor discusses options for your next visit, and you can get back to your busy schedule!

Benefits of Micro-Osteoperforation with Propel
- See faster results without added discomfort
- Use Propel with any type of orthodontic appliance, whether braces or aligners.
- Receive Propel treatment during your regular office visit.
- Save time with fewer office visits.
- Forget surgery. Micro- Osteoperforation requires no recovery time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Gum Disease

November 4th, 2015

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects the joints, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. Anyone can get it, though it affects women more than men, and it’s most common among older people. The immune system attacks the body’s tissues, but its exact causes aren’t known. Yet research has found a connection between RA and periodontal disease.

One recent study included 44 patients diagnosed with RA according to American Rheumatism Association criteria attending the Morales Meseguer Hospital Rheumatology Service in Murcia, Spain, and 41 control subjects. Patients younger than 18 or suffering systemic diseases that could affect the immune system were excluded.

Each patient received a full periodontal examination. Bleeding on probing was significantly greater in the RA group (0.9 +/- 0.36) than the control (P < 0.001). The plaque index also was significantly higher in the RA group (0.76 +/- 0.34) than the control group (0.55 +/- 0.2, P < 0.001).

Overall, the researchers concluded that the RA patients showed a 0.13 increased risk of periodontal disease (95% confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.37). They also determined that these patients must be instructed to intensify their oral hygiene regimes.

Five ways to stop Bleeding Gums

October 26th, 2015

As you brush your teeth, you might notice a bit of redness around your gums. While you might be tempted to ignore the blood, bleeding gums is an early sign of gum disease, according to the National Library of Medicine. The bleeding is due to inflammation in the gums caused by build-up plaque or overly vigorous brushing. If you notice some blood when you brush or floss, it is essential that you see a dentist. There are also some things you can do on your own to stop bleeding gums.

Eat a Healthier Diet

Improving your diet can go a long way toward improving your oral health and stopping bleeding gums. A diet full of whole foods, such as vegetables and fruits, gives your gums the nutrients they need. If your diet is packed with nutritionally deficient, sugary foods, such as candy, soda and refined breads, your gums aren't getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy and intact.

Improve Your Dental Care Routine

Taking good care of your mouth at home can also help stop bleeding gums. Brushing and flossing regularly removes bacteria from the mouth that can inflame your gums, and using the right devices and brushing properly can also help improve the overall health of your mouth and reverse early gum disease. For example, a medium- or firm-bristled toothbrush can be damaging to the gums when pressure is applied during tooth brushing. Brush gently, using short strokes, to effective brush the teeth and gum line.

Relax

If you're always on the go or always up against a deadline, the amount of stress in your life could be causing your gums to bleed. High levels of stress can affect your oral health in a number of ways. First, stress increases inflammation in your body, which makes your gums more likely to bleed. Too much stress also reduces your immune system's functionality, making it more difficult for your body to fight infection and to heal. A 2006 study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, found that women with stress-related depression had higher levels of inflammation in the gums and increases levels of plaque buildup.

When you're stressed out, you're also less likely to take good care of yourself. That might mean you skip brushing or flossing or choose to eat fast food instead of a balanced meal. Reduce stress in your life by learning to say no to projects when you have too much on your plate and by taking a few minutes to breathe in and out when you start to feel overwhelmed.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is terrible for your health. Along with increasing your risk for certain cancers and heart disease, it plays a big role in the development of gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. The toxins in tobacco smoke keep your gums from getting the nutrition that they need, and can lead to inflammation. Quitting can be tough, but it's one of the most important things to do if you want to protect your oral and overall health.

Stop Sharing

Gum disease and bleeding gums are contagious. If your partner has a lot of bacteria in his or her mouth, then you're likely increasing your risk for gum problems. Avoid sharing anything that comes into contact with another person's mouth, from toothbrushes to water glasses.

Seeing your dentist for an examination and teeth cleaning on a regular basis is essential to putting an end to bleeding gums and to treating gum disease before it becomes a major issue. If it's been a while since you've seen your dentist and you've noticed a bit of blood when you brush, make an appointment today. Getting the issue diagnosed and making the necessary changes will help improve the health of your mouth considerably.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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.

Giving thanks this holiday season

December 24th, 2014

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season here, Dr. Pamela Johnson and our entire staff at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions wanted to stop for a moment and extend our best wishes to you, our patients, referring doctors and families, this holiday season.

As always, if you know anyone we can help, just let us know. We promise to give them the same quality orthodontic care that we have given you.

We hope that this holiday season brings fond memories. Thank you for being part of our family.

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.

October is National Orthodontic Health Month!

October 2nd, 2014

What does the month of October mean to you? For people in the northern hemisphere, October is when the weather starts to get a little chilly: heavy jackets might come out of storage and the summer clothing gets packed away. You might start making plans for the upcoming holidays or looking at the beautiful and changing autumn scenery. October means something a little different to our team because this is National Orthodontic Health Month. During October, orthodontic clinics all over the country work together to promote their services and inform the community about the important work we do.

National Orthodontic Health Month is an awareness campaign created cooperatively by orthodontists and other dental health professionals. During this month, we make a special effort to promote dental health and orthodontic health in particular. This is a great time to get your questions answered by dental professionals in your community and to learn more about exactly what an orthodontist can do for you and your family. Events held in connection with National Orthodontic Health Month are also an opportunity for us orthodontists to come out and meet community members. If you have never been to an orthodontist before, you might not know what to expect. Meeting one of us in person before your checkup is a great way to find out what kind of person you’ll be seeing during your appointment.

Meeting Dr. Pamela Johnson in a relaxed “meet and greet” atmosphere can be especially helpful for any young orthodontic patients in your family. Kids of all ages–and their parents!–can feel anxiety about going to the dentist. Getting to know the person you have an appointment with can make the experience a lot less stressful for everyone. We don't want anyone to avoid seeing a dental professional for regular checkups just because they don't know who we are. Just meeting and talking with the orthodontist you'll be seeing may be enough to make you feel more comfortable about your upcoming appointment.

Dental health is something that affects everyone; healthy teeth and gums contribute to a healthy smile and a lifetime of comfort and well-being. Orthodontists are just one of the various dental practitioners you could visit at some point in your life, so taking a little time to learn who we are and what we do is certain to be a helpful experience. We look forward to seeing you and your family this October at our Willowbrook, IL location!

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.

June is National Dairy Month!

June 3rd, 2014

In honor of June being Dairy Month, Dr. Johnson and her team at Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions would like to remind our patients about the importance of dairy to your overall health! Regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, has been found to lower your chances of contracting gum disease (also known as periodontal disease).

Those who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease. Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth and a smile that will last a lifetime.

Questions about which foods you should steer clear of and which you should enjoy? Give us a call or ask us on Facebook by clicking on the link!

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.

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.

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.

Congratulations Nathan!

December 5th, 2013

"Congratulations Nate!"

Our patient Nate, who lives in Berwyn IL. and attends Nazareth Academy in LaGrange Park, was recently awarded his Eagle Scout! He received congratulation letters from Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Dr. Johnson's personal favorite JORDY NELSON! Congratulations Nate. This is a huge accomplishment! We are so proud of you.

Tornado Relief for Washington IL.

November 21st, 2013

The Randall Park neighborhood of Downers Grove is hosting its own Tornado Relief Donation Drive on Friday, Nov. 22. They hope to fill two school buses with supplies for the tornado victims in Washington, IL.

Anyone interested in donating can drop items at 5305 Park Ave., from 1 pm to 6 pm. Donations can also be delivered to the School of Holistic Massage and Reflexology located at 515 Ogden Ave., Suite 300, in Downers Grove. Please call ahead to 630-968-7827 to arrange a drop-off.

Supplies may include:

  • pillows
  • soap
  • cleaning supplies
  • large trash bags
  • tools-rakes, shovels
  • batteries
  • non-electric light sources
  • work gloves
  • mops, towels and blankets
  • shampoo
  • water, sport drinks, baby formula
  • infant care items
  • non-perishable food/granola bars
  • manuel can openers
  • toilet paper
  • first aid kits
  • toothbrushes and toothpaste

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.

Welcome To The Team!

November 13th, 2013

We would like to welcome Julia to our office as our new Sterilization Technician. Julia was a former patient of our practice. She is currently a senior at Downers Grove South High School. In her free time she enjoys cheerleading, baking/cooking and going to the gym. Welcome to the team Julia!

CPR Re-Certification

October 31st, 2013

Dr. Johnson and Staff just renewed their CPR certificates! We're always looking out for our patient's well being.

Happy Halloween

October 31st, 2013


Happy Halloween from Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontist and Staff. We would like to remind you of the candies that should be avoided and that candies that you can indulge on.

Avoid:
•Caramel
•Nuts
•Licorice
•Jelly Beans
•Hard Pretzels
•Bubble Gum
•Candy Corn
•Lollipops

Enjoy:
•Melt-in-your-mouth chocolates
•Peanut butter cups
•Milk Shakes
•Gelatin/Ice Cream
•Sliced Apples

Remember to always brush and floss after your Halloween treats!

There's a new face in our office!

October 28th, 2013

Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontist has a new face in the office! Paulina is doing her externship here and needs 200 clinical hours in order to complete her Dental Assistant Certificate from Everest College. She enjoys reading books and taking care of her pups on her time off. Welcome to the office Paulina!

Pamela Johnson Community Service Scholarship Award

October 23rd, 2013

Kenny IdaCongratulations to our patient Kenny Ida! He was selected as the $1,000.00 recipient of this year's Dr. Pamela Johnson Community Service Scholarship Award. Kenny has been very involved with students who have special needs while in high school. He was an adaptive physical education leader, an assistant coach for Hinsdale South Special Olympics soccer team and a special education soccer tournament volunteer while in high school. Hinsdale South Special Olympics soccer team was state bound and Kenny traveled with them to Illinois State University this summer. He is also attending Illinois State University this fall as an incoming freshman and majoring in special education.

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