April 28th, 2021
April might almost be over, but Spring sports are just beginning!
Remember to wear a mouth guard when you're at practice or any games. If you don't have one, Dr. Johnson can get you suited up! Call our office at 630-887-1188 to help protect your smile.
April 5th, 2021
Is the satisfying fizz of your favorite sparkling water putting you at risk for tooth decay? Because any drink with carbonation—including sparkling water—has a higher acid level, some reports have questioned whether sipping sparkling water will weaken your tooth enamel (the hard outer shell of your teeth where cavities first form).
So, Is Sparkling Water Affecting My Teeth?
According to available research, sparkling water is generally fine for your teeth—and here's why. In a study using teeth that were removed as a part of treatment and donated for research, researchers tested to see whether sparkling water would attack tooth enamel more aggressively than regular lab water. The result? The two forms of water were about the same in their effects on tooth enamel. This finding suggests that, even though sparkling water is slightly more acidic than ordinary water, it's all just water to your teeth.
Tips for Enjoying Sparkling Water—and Protecting Your Teeth
- Sparkling water is far better for your teeth than sugary drinks. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of regular, fluoridated water, too—it’s the best beverage for your teeth. Water with fluoride naturally helps fight cavities, washes away the leftover food cavity-causing bacteria feast on and keeps your mouth from becoming dry (which can put you at a higher risk of cavities).
- Be mindful of what’s in your sparkling water. Citrus-flavored waters often have higher acid levels that does increase the risk of damage to your enamel. Plan to enjoy these in one sitting or with meals. This way, you aren’t sipping it throughout the day and exposing your teeth over and over again to the slightly higher level of acid it contains.
- Sparkling water brands with added sugar can no longer be considered just sparkling water. They are a sugar-sweetened beverage, which can contribute to your risk of developing cavities. So remember—sparkling or not—plain water is always the best choice.
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.
March 18th, 2021
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.
March 2nd, 2021
We wanted to thank our Dental Assistants for their hard work and dedication! We couldn't do what we do without them!
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.
- 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
December 23rd, 2020
Our office will be closed Thursday, December 24th and Friday, December 25th for the holiday. We hope you all have a wonderful and safe time with family and friends! We'll see you Monday!
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.
December 15th, 2020
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.
December 3rd, 2020
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:
- hard candy
- 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
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
- soup with soft vegetables or pureed or cream soups
- soft cheeses, including cottage cheese
- smoothies and milkshakes
- pudding and custard
- mashed potatoes
- sorbet and frozen yogurt
- tortillas (soften by microwaving or steaming)
- soft-cooked, shredded chicken and meat
- protein shakes
- ripe fruits, such as peaches and nectarines, cut into bite-size pieces
- couscous, quinoa, bulgur, soft-cooked rice
- pasta and noodles
- baked apples
- peanut butter
- chicken or tuna salad
- refried beans
- macaroni and cheese
- soft bread
- saltines and matzoh
- mashed bananas
- cooked veggies
- canned or cooked fruit
December 1st, 2020
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.
November 25th, 2020
We want to wish everyone a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow!
November 18th, 2020
Your mouth is a window into the health of your entire body. Oral health is often taken for granted, however your mouth can show early signs of nutritional deficiencies, infections, and systemic diseases that affect your body. The health of your mouth and teeth are important, no matter the age.
While most Americans enjoy excellent oral health, cavities remain the most prevalent chronic disease for children. Around 100 million Americans do not see a dentist once a year. Many believe that you should only see a dentist when you are in pain, but in reality, seeing a general dentist on a yearly basis can help prevent oral health issues in the future. Still, it is important to see a dentist if you are in pain. Do not put off seeing anyone when you are feeling any form of discomfort.
Remember, you can practice good oral hygiene at home. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. Change your toothbrush every three or fourth months and have a balanced diet. And make sure to see your general dentist for check-ups to keep your smile bright and healthy.
November 9th, 2020
Dear Family and Friends,
I hope you and your family are doing well during these uncertain times. I wanted to reassure you that Johnson Orthodontics understands your worries. To date, our office has had 0 COVID cases. Our policies and procedures have worked very well and we are strictly following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), American Dental Association (ADA) and American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) guidelines in order to keep our patients and staff safe.
While some of our polices may appear overly cautious, we remain committed to doing our very best to ensure your safety. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with these procedures. As oral healthcare professionals, we are leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of disease. We have always had the precautions of using masks, goggles, gloves, sterile instruments and devices as well as handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting environmental surfaces.
During this pandemic, we have increased our efforts to keep our office sterile by adding plexiglass barriers and using the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and gowns. We have also purchased a medical grade air purifier. We practice social distancing by seating our patients every other chair in the office since we reopened six months ago and we do not allow more than a few individuals in our reception area to prevent overcrowding. Our office also encourages a “one way in, one way out” policy to reduce the possibility of crowded pathways. Lastly, we have included the option of virtual consultations for new patients, emergencies, and Invisalign patients through our website.
While check-in may involve a few extra steps, it has helped ensure everyone’s safety. We ask screening and triage questions at the door and check temperatures of patients and staff. We understand that when you come to our office on a more regular basis, it can feel unneeded and repetitive to answer the questions and have your temperature checked. However, it appears to have helped us remain a safe and healthy place for our families.
The top priority of the office is our patients’ health. With these procedures in place, we have had minimal disruption in our services and 0 COVID cases in the office. This would not have been possible without the understanding, trust, and cooperation of our wonderful families. So a big heartfelt thank you to all of our patients and families for keeping everyone healthy!
With best wishes for your family’s health and safety,
Dr. Pamela Johnson
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!
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
October 26th, 2020
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.