dental health

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

March 30th, 2021

A vial of COVID-19 vaccine

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

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

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

1. The Vaccines are Safe and Effective

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Get All Recommended Doses

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

5. Vaccine Supply Is Increasing

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

6. You’ll Still Need to Wear a Mask

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

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

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

National Children's Dental Health Month

February 4th, 2021

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

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

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.

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2020

Johnson Orthodontics wants to wish you a Happy New Year!

We are open today but are closed tomorrow January 1, 2021. Have a fun but safe weekend and we'll see you in the new year!

Your Child's Teeth, Ages 6-12

December 17th, 2020

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

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

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

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

 

Brushing Your Teeth

December 15th, 2020

Toothbrushing Quick Facts Infographic

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

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

Proper Brushing Technique

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

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

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

source: mouthhealthy.org

Foods To Avoid With Braces

December 3rd, 2020

Man holding his mouth in pain

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

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

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

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

source: mouthhealthy.org

Foods That Benefit Dental Health

December 1st, 2020

Family eating a healthy meal

What you put in your mouth impacts not only your general health but also the health of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often appear in your mouth. So it's good to have a healthy diet. Here are some suggestions that are great for your teeth:

Water, particularly fluoridated water, is the most tooth-friendly beverage you can have.

Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are great sources of phosphorus which plays a critical role in dental health. You should also try eating cheese, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens, and almonds as they have high volumes of calcium and other nutrients that help protect and rebuild your enamel.

Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber which balance the sugars they contain and help clean your teeth. These foods also stimulate saliva production which washes harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth to prevent decay. Vegetables and fruits also have vitamin A for building tooth enamel and vitamin C for healthy gums and quick healing of wounds. But, be careful with nutritious, acidic foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits as they can have acidic effects on the enamel, so eat them as part of a meal and not by themselves.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Fight the Fear of the Dental Office

November 4th, 2020

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

1. Talk to Us

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

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

2. Distract Yourself

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

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

3. Use Mindfulness Techniques

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

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

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

source: mouthhealthy.org

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

November 2nd, 2020

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

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

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

source: aaoinfo.org

Why Mouth Guards are Essential

October 28th, 2020

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

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

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

Which Sports Should Require Mouth Guards?

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

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

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

source: aaoinfo.org

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

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

 

Invisalign®, Does It Work?

October 26th, 2020

invisalign for adults

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

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

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

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

Ready to start your Smile Transformation?

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