Smile

Limit Sugar Consumption To Help Reduce Cavity Risk.

August 24th, 2017

Stating “it should go without saying that tooth brushing is a prerequisite for a healthy set of chompers,” Reader’s Digest adds that another way to help prevent cavities is to “avoid eating sugar and other simple carbohydrates.” The article explains that bacteria in the mouth “thrive off of the sugars” left on teeth, releasing acids that can harm dental enamel and lead to cavities. The article also points to information on brushing and flossing at MouthHealthy.org.

MouthHealthy.org provides additional information for patients on nutrition and dental health and tips to reduce sugary snacking.

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.

Poor Oral Hygiene, Infection Among Reasons Tongue May Turn White

April 19th, 2017

Refinery discusses reasons why a tongue may turn white, stating that one cause is a film building up on tongues from poor oral hygiene. Other conditions may affect the color and appearance of tongues, such as fungal infections, yeast infections, inflammatory conditions, and cancer. The article advises brushing tongues regularly and seeing a dentist for any concerns.

MouthHealthy.org and the Oral Health Topics on ADA.org provide information on oral cancer for patients and for dental professionals. MouthHealthy.org also provides information on thrush and tongue scrapers.

Natural Teeth Whitening: Fact vs. Fiction

April 12th, 2017

When it comes to teeth whitening, you may see many different methods featured online and in magazines—from oil pulling to charcoal, and even turmeric. It's no surprise that DIY whitening is top of mind, either. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

Healthy smiles come in many shades, though it's tempting to think ingredients in our own kitchens could hold the key to a brighter smile. Still, just because a method is natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, DIY whitening can do more harm than good to your teeth. Here’s how:

Fruits

Fiction:
The approach maintains you can make your teeth whiter and brighter household staples that are naturally acidic (like lemons, oranges, apple cider vinegar), contain digestive enzymes (such as pineapple or mango) and something that is abrasive (like baking soda).

Fact:
When eaten as usual, fruit is a great choice. However, fruit and vinegar contain acid, and you put your pearly whites at risk when you prolong their contact with your teeth or use them to scrub your teeth because acid can wear away your enamel. Enamel is the thin outer coating of your teeth that protects you from tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Scrubs

Activated charcoal

Fiction:
These methods claim that scrubbing your teeth with ingredients like activated charcoal or a baking soda-hydrogen peroxide paste will bring a shine back to your smile.

Fact:
Using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow. Enamel is what you’re looking to whiten, but if you’re using a scrub that is too rough, you can actually wear it away. When that happens, the next layer of your tooth can become exposed – a softer, yellow tissue called dentin.

Instead, choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal lets you know the toothpaste you choose is safe, effective and won’t damage your teeth.

Spices and Oils

Turmeric powder

Fiction:
Swishing oils like coconut oil in your mouth (oil pulling) or using spices like turmeric can help whiten your teeth.

Fact:
There is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth. Save the oil and spices for healthy meals instead.

Still Interested in Whitening?

Patient getting her teeth whitened at the dentist

The best natural ways to keep your teeth white are everyday healthy habits, including:

If you want to try a specific whitening product or service, just talk to your dentist before you begin. Whitening may not work on all teeth, and if you are a candidate, some methods—whether at-home or in the dental office—may be better for your teeth than others.

for more information please visit www.mouthhealthy.org

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.

Study Shows that E-cigarettes Damage Gums, Teeth

January 25th, 2017

E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among young people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaping—a term for the practice of smoking an e-cigarette—tripled among middle and high schoolers from 2013 to 2014. The CDC says 13.4% of high school students used e-cigarettes in 2014. The figure stood at 4.5% the year prior. Among middle schoolers, 1.1% used the devices in 2013, increasing to 3.96% in 2014.

According to a news release from the university, scientists had previously thought that it was the smoke itself from cigarettes that caused health complications, however, this study, among others, suggests otherwise.

Lead researcher Irfan Rahman, PhD, said in the University’s news release, “We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases. … How much and how often someone is smoking e-cigarettes will determine the extent of damage to the gums and oral cavity.”

Related: Long-Term Effects of E-Cigarettes Unclear

According to the news release, the study used human gum tissue and exposed it to e-cigarette vapor. Among the results was the finding that the flavoring chemical of the components “play a role” in causing harm to mouth tissues.

Fawad Javed, a post-doctoral student at Eastman Institute for Oral Health, said in the release that some flavorings “made the damage to the cells even worse.”

A useful reminder for your patients: “It’s important to remember that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is known to contribute to gum disease,” Javed said. - See more at: http://www.dmdtoday.com/news/groundbreaking-study-shows-that-e-cigarettes-damage-gums-teeth?

Gingivitis vs. periodontitis: what’s the difference?

July 5th, 2016

Both conditions relate to your gums, but what is the difference? Actually, it turns out that gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease) are closely related. Gingivitis usually comes before, but does not necessarily always lead to, periodontitis.

Gingivitis is caused by bacteria that build up in plaque. This causes the gums to become inflamed and to bleed during brushing.

When gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. This is because the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. As plaque grows below the gum line, gum tissue and bone are destroyed, causing teeth to become loose.

Though plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, there are other factors that contribute:

Hormone changes
Illnesses (HIV, cancer, diabetes)
Medication
Smoking
Family history
Not brushing and flossing every day

for more information visit toothwisdom.org

Oral Health Important For People In Their 20s And 30s

May 25th, 2016

Pop Sugar (5/21, Williams) stated that for people in their 20s, “it can be easy to get distracted by work, relationships, money, and so much more, but your first priority should be taking care of yourself.” In its list of 31 things people in their 20s should do before turning 30, the article stated, “Don’t avoid the dentist.”

Meanwhile, in an article titled “6 health rules to follow when you turn 30,” Mother Nature Network (5/19, Hochwald) encouraged people in their 30s “to focus on forging good health habits to last a lifetime,” including caring for their teeth. The article noted the American Dental Association recommends flossing once a day. for more information visit the website www.popsugar.com
MouthHealthy.org provides oral health information for adults under 40, including healthy habits to establish and concerns unique to this age group.

Tooth Pain Included Among Seven “Seemingly Trivial Pains” That Should Not Be Ignored.

May 18th, 2016

Woman’s Day (5/12, Brody) included tooth pain that causes waking during the night among seven “seemingly trivial pains” a person “should never ignore.” The article stated that experiencing tooth pain may be a sign of bruxism, which is sometimes brought on by stress. “Call your dentist so he or she can figure out the problem,” the article stated, adding that a dentist may recommend a mouth guard.
for more information visit page www.womansday.com/health-fitness/womens-health
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on bruxism.

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

May 16th, 2016

The Daily Mail (4/27, Johnston) 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 (4/27) 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.

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

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.

Low-Carb diets can cause bad breath?

December 10th, 2015

Low-carb diets may be good for your waistline, but you might not be able to say the same for your breath.

Low-carb lifestyle junkies are more likely to suffer from a seldom discussed side effect of such diets -- halitosis, aka bad breath. And since more than 25 million people say they have tried the Atkins diet (not to mention other low-carb eating plans), according to the National Marketing Institute, bad breath may be an epidemic!

Bad breath in the low/no-carb sect is often caused by certain chemicals that are released in the breath as the body burns fat. They are called ketones, and entering into a fat-burning state of ketosis is the hallmark of the Atkins diet. So the good news is that if your breath stinks, you're probably doing a good job of sticking to that low-carb diet.

"Carbohydrates aren't readily available, so you start to use other fats and proteins as your source of energy, and as a result you are going to get a breath problem," explains Kenneth Burrell, DDS, the senior director of the council on scientific affairs of the American Dental Association.

Pass the Bread?
This is not an oral hygiene problem, Burrell says, so "all the brushing, flossing, and scraping of the tongue that you can do is not possibly enough to overcome this."

The bottom line is that you must "reconsider the diet and modify it so this doesn't happen," he says. Sure, "there may be some ways to mask it by using mouthwashes, but you can't overcome the fundamental problem other than by changing the diet -- or at least introducing some carbohydrates."

"It's a difficult problem to solve because if one uses any sucking candy or lozenge, one has to be careful that it has no sugar in it" as sugar is a big no-no on many low-carb eating plans, says S. Lawrence Simon, DDS, a New York City periodontist. Even so-called "sugar-free" products are often loaded with carbs.

"If you have a metabolic cause of bad breath, there is very little the dentist can do; you have to change your diet," he says.

In fact, "the South Beach diet permits more carbs than the traditional Atkins diet, so there is bound to be less bad breath on South Beach because you are not going into a state of ketosis," he says.

Got braces? Tips for successful holiday meals

November 25th, 2015

Eating can be quiet a challenge when you have braces on your teeth -- especially when you are faced with tempting holiday food for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah! Brackets often poke into your gums and cheeks, and you just can't seem to chew properly. It’s not just a problem for kids – a growing number of adults now wear orthodontic braces, too!

Lynn Schneider, owner of DentaKit.com and ArchWired.com, two websites that specialize in orthodontic products and information, offers her tips for successful holiday feasting, along with the help of Pamela Waterman, president of Metal Mouth Media and author of The Braces Cookbook and The Braces Cookbook 2. Schneider and Waterman both had braces on their teeth as adults, and had daughters in braces, as well.

“When you have braces, you may find that your teeth don't touch the way they did before, which changes the way you chew,” Schneider says. “As your treatment continues and your teeth shift, you may continually need to adapt to biting and chewing in a slightly different way. Patience is the key.”

But patience may be in short supply when you’re faced with delicious hard-to-resist holiday foods, which can be sticky, chewy, or contain nuts! Waterman adds, “Your holiday meals don’t have to be boring just because you are in braces. Our Braces Cookbooks offer a large variety of gourmet recipes, many which can be adapted for the holidays.”

Schneider and Waterman offer these tips to make it easier for you and your kids to cope this holiday season:

1. Slow down. Chew slowly and carefully, and cut your food into small pieces. Forget about taking big bites of anything, or wolfing down your food. The key word here is: SLOW!

2. Stick to soft food. But when faced with foods that might be a bit chewy, your knife and fork are your best friends. Cut that turkey and ham into small pieces, enjoy soups and soft foods like mashed potatoes, soften the stuffing with gravy, and stick to smooth jellied cranberry sauce.

3. Avoid stringy foods, especially if you have a palate expander. You may love to wind your pasta around your fork, but for now it would be better for you to cut it into small pieces, or it will get wound around your brackets. Also, be careful with foods that get stringy when cooked, like some soft cheeses and spaghetti squash.

4. You may love pecan pie, but for right now it won’t love you! Foods with nuts and seeds often get stuck in your brackets and will drive you crazy until you finally brush and get them out. Sticky foods will likely stick to your brackets and make a mess. Avoid biting into anything hard that may break or pop off a bracket, such as candy canes or hard cookies. For dessert, go for the pumpkin pie, mousse, pudding, soft truffles and cakes, or ice cream. Or chop the pecans extremely finely in a food processor and make a special small tart for yourself.

5. Bite with the side of your mouth. It may be virtually impossible to bite into anything with your front teeth, anyway! Get used to biting with your side teeth, instead.

6. Beware of anything containing large hidden chunks of meat or vegetables, such as burritos or sandwich wraps (including that leftover turkey sandwich!) Bite carefully into those types of foods so that you don't choke, or better yet, eat them with a fork and knife instead.

7. One-bite type appetizers and sushi can be very challenging and could gag you. You should probably cut these in half instead of trying to pop an entire piece of it into your mouth. Avoid appetizers that are hard; stick to the softer ones. Raw fruits and veggies are great, but take small bites or cut them into thin pieces.

8. Develop an arsenal of soft food recipes, and bring something to the holiday table that you know you can eat, and that others will enjoy. You don't need to sentence yourself to boring soups and shakes. There are several cookbooks that can help you prepare healthy, delicious meals, such as The Braces Cookbook, and The Braces Cookbook2.

9. If eating becomes too uncomfortable because of mouth sores or poking brackets, apply plenty of dental wax or dental silicone.

10. Holiday eating often involves parties or dinners away from home. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontic patients brush and floss shortly after eating, so a good dental kit is essential.

Celebrating the holidays with orthodontic braces may be challenging, but you can get through it successfully with a little forethought, adapted recipes, and the right dental products.

What you Need to know if your child snores,grinds, or is a mouth breather

November 12th, 2015

Snoring, mouth breathing, and grinding and clenching the teeth are all signs of sleep-disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnea in children.

How Does Mouth Breathing Hurt My Child?

While it may seem harmless, mouth breathing affects how your child develops, your child’s behavior and personality, as well as the adult that your child grows up to be.

Most healthcare professionals, including your doctor, might tell you not to worry about mouth breathing and insist that your child will “grow out of it.”

But the truth is, mouth breathing can have devastating effects on the development of the face and airway.

How Mouth Breathing Changes Facial and Oral Development

When nasal breathing is blocked, facial and dental development become abnormal.

In both human and animal studies, when nasal breathing is blocked, untreated mouth breathing leads to development of long, narrow faces with crooked teeth, receded jaw, and future TMD and headache issues.mouth breathing development

But it’s not just about looks. When the jaw and airway don’t fully develop, the airway can become easily obstructed during sleep.

During the complete muscle relaxation of deep stage sleep, the muscles around the airway also relax and collapse. The airway is a tight space, often made tighter by large tonsils and adenoids in both children and infants.

If the airway becomes obstructed, the brain must bounce out of deep sleep and into a lighter stage of sleep in order to grind and clench to push the jaw forward to allow for breathing again.

Grinding and clenching are the body’s way of reopening a collapsed airway during sleep to start breathing again. This is why grinding and clenching are the new red flag for catching sleep apnea early on.

How Mouth Breathing Impacts Behavior and Personality

Interrupting deep sleep like this impacts development.

development of mouth breathersDeep sleep is when Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is released, which is essential to a child’s brain development and long bone growth. Once deep sleep is interrupted, HGH stops being secreted. Not having enough HGH stunts your growth and brain development.

Deep sleep is the body’s chance to restore, repair, and heal from the stress of the day. It’s a time of memory consolidation and cementing learning. Hormones that control appetite and other critical functions are regulated and stabilized during this stage.

In a child who is snoring, grinding and clenching, or breathing through the mouth, the brain is not able to rest and sleep is not restorative.

Children who are deprived of deep sleep are often hyperactive as a result of adrenaline used to compensate for sleepiness. They often aren’t able to achieve their academic potential because their brains and bodies aren’t at their best in this damaged, deep sleep-deprived state. They’re often diagnosed with ADHD and other behavioral issues. They have lowered immune systems, poor health, and can be overweight.

Strategies for Parents

Make sure your child can breathe through her nose with ease.
Make sure your child has seen a dentist by age one. Make sure that this dentist is concerned with recognizing mouth breathing and its implications.
Make sure your child is treated for allergies. Allergies can force children into mouth breathing.
Make sure that your child’s diet and environment aren’t contributing to allergies.
Ask your dentist if your child needs a referral to an orthodontist if he’s mouth breathing.

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.

How Headgear braces perfect a misaligned smile

September 16th, 2015

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

What Is Headgear?

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

What Is It Used For?

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

How Is It Fitted?

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

Are There Special Instructions for Headgear Wearers?

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

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.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2015

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

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

Dental Superheros To The Rescue!

March 31st, 2015

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

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

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

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

Endodontics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sports and Energy Drinks and Your Smile

March 19th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

March 10th, 2015

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

Electric or Manual Toothbrush: What’s the Difference?

March 4th, 2015

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

Electric Toothbrushes

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

Manual Toothbrushes

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

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

After braces always wear your retainers!

February 25th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

February 17th, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

It’s a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

December 31st, 2014

People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

Tips for a Happy New Year’s Eve Celebration from Dr. Pamela Johnson Orthodontic Solutions:

•Be Safe. There’s no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year’s Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.

•Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year’s Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don’t have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.

•Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

New Year’s Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that’s coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that’s safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Pamela Johnson, have a great new year!

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.

Ready to start your Smile Transformation?

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