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Frozen in time... A Historic Lesson in Early Detection

May 16th, 2017

During their recent travels, Doctor and Anna Razdolsky spent some time in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology where they learned about Otzi, the Ice Man. Otzi is a well-preserved mummy of a 46-year-old man who lived around 3300 BC. That’s 500 years older than King Tut!

Otzi became a global scientific sensation on September 19, 1991 when two hikers from Germany found his body in the Otz Alps, a mountain range between Italy and Austria. The Ice Man had suffered from hypothermia and internal bleeding caused by an arrow in his left shoulder. Archeologists believe he may have been hunting and killed in a skirmish with a rival tribe.

However, what makes Otzi’s discovery so significant is what he teaches us. For the first time in the history of medicine and archaeology, scientists are able to examine a 5,300-year-old mummy using the most advanced diagnostic methods making him the most closely examined patient of all time.

“What makes Otzi so intriguing to us are his dental records,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “Through these findings, scientists were able to discover where Otzi spent his childhood by analyzing his tooth enamel.”

Like the rings of a tree, during the first months of a human life the minerals typical of the landscape where he or she grows up are permanently stored in the teeth. By using 3D computer tomography researchers were also able to reconstruct his oral cavity, providing insight into dental issues of the period, as well as significant findings of how the Ice Man lived.

“A study like this is similar to how we practice early detection today,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “At Forever Smiles we use 3D imaging to look at bone development, tooth structure and soft tissue which helps us assess any issues we may need to address before they become a problem. Otzi sure could have used early detection and treatment,” he added.

Indeed, the Ice Man showed severe tooth enamel wear, had several cavities and gum disease. This supports research claims he had a diet rich in carbohydrates and stoneground flour, which must have contained grit from the milling process, and common in other findings of early man switching from hunter-gatherer to agriculture. It’s likely he didn’t brush his teeth, so any cleaning could only be attributed to these harsh grains. This is not enough to avoid tooth decay and cavities, and compounded with periodontal disease, it is likely Otzi suffered from pain when eating hot or harsh foods.

Also interesting is the link between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. The discovery of Otzi confirms more current research regarding the link between oral systemic health and overall health in patients. An autopsy of the Ice Man revealed that he had arteriosclerosis, osteoporosis, and many other issues common today -- some of which also have a direct relationship with oral and dental health.

Dr. Razdolsky also noted the Iceman has a wide gap between the upper front teeth.

“The Ice Man had diastema, or a space separating his central incisors,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This is a very common issue, even now, for some of our Forever Smiles patients. If he could have come in to see us, we could have fixed that,” he joked.

Oh, how little and yet how much has changed in 5300 years!

2017 Artishock Art Contest

April 19th, 2017

Presenting… the 2017 Artishock Art Contest entries! These visionary works of art from students of Artishock Art Studio are the answer to this years’ theme question, “What makes you Smile”? Our purpose... to promote creative expression and self-awareness. Entrants are encouraged to express their feelings about the things that make them smile with the goal of reflecting on and showcasing the positive and happy things in their lives.

Forever Smiles sponsors this annual competition to provide exposure to the talented kids of Artishock. Students ages five and up submit their drawings and paintings that describe their understanding of the world, what they think, their dreams, environment, family and friends, and things of importance to their lives. In addition to our mission to provide the most efficient and effective orthodontic treatment, Forever Smiles believes it is critical to develop a fun and nurturing environment for our patients - helping them to learn, grow and share ideas that make them a part of their community. This Artishock contest is great because it puts kids and their observations of the world around them front and center.

In our fifth year sponsoring the Artishock contest, Forever Smiles has shared more 100 original works from Artishock students. The Artishock Art Studio provides classes to children and adults, with lessons designed to introduce underlying visual art concepts and elements of art in the environment. Like the Forever Smiles mission, a person’s perception of environment regarding personal development is a key for growth.

“The goal of Artishock is similar to how I approach orthodontics,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “A person’s smile acts as a unique expression of their personality, mood and feelings. I look at the distinct characteristics of each patient and together we discover the beauty that is their Forever Smile.”

Entries are judged by you and we need your vote! The top two pieces with the most votes in each category win art scholarships and supplies. Voting is through May 12 on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ForeverSmilesIL/ or in our reception area. Vote today!

Orthodontics & Systemic Health

March 16th, 2017

In recent studies, medical researchers have drawn a positive correlation between oral systemic health and overall health. But is there any correlation between orthodontic treatment and overall heath?

Curious… we decided to do a little research ourselves so we could share with you our findings. So in honor of World Oral Health Day, March 20 here’s what we’ve learned regarding the relationship between orthodontic treatment and overall health.

In one study, The Impact of Malocclusion/Orthodontic Treatment Need on the Quality of Life - A Systematic Review, researchers analyzed existing evidence between orthodontic treatment and health-related quality of life. While they did conclude there is only a “modest association,” they did suggest that future studies should employ standardized assessment methods so outcomes will be more consistent for further analysis.

In the meantime, there is evidence linking Phase I orthodontic treatment with a palatal expander or Herbst Class II corrector to an improved airway development in children. Additionally, there have been significant findings which indicate some patients which undergo treatment for conditions of the jaw and face related to structure, growth, sleep apnea and joint disorders receive tremendous benefit to their health-related quality of life. However, many of these orthodontic cases are associated with skeletal problems that may not be treated with braces alone.

So, what does all this mean? While crooked or misalignment of teeth alone are not a disease or life-threatening condition, the physical, social and psychological consequences of it and its influence on your quality of life can have an impact on your overall health. A beautiful Forever Smile does make you more confident, which means you smile more and can lead to more positive daily interactions. While additional studies with an emphasis on the impact of orthodontic treatment will help us understand more about the positive impact braces can make on your long-term health, evidence does suggest patients do perceive a positive self-image, a sense of well-being and some overall health benefit.

Love Your Retainer

February 22nd, 2017

You’ve waited for what seems a long time to achieve your Forever Smile and you cannot stop showing it off. So, what now? Let’s keep it in top form with a new retainer or two.

What can you expect from your new retainer? At first your mouth will water a little morethan usual. This is normal, as at first your mouth doesn’t realize your retainer isn’t food. The sensation will go away after a few days. You may also experience a little slurred speech for a while. Talk a little slower and practice reading out loud. This will help you get back to normal more quickly.

You should always wear your retainer as prescribed by Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team. For many of you this can mean 24-hours-a-day to start. The only exception is when you are eating, cleaning them or maybe participating in contact sports. Always bring your protective case for storing your retainer when not wearing it. This will protect its shape. Never, ever wrap your retainer in a napkin or paper towel! We cannot tell you how many patients did it “just once,” and accidentally threw it out in the lunch line. Plus, paper fibers can stick to your appliance making it difficult to clean and harbor yucky bacteria.

You should always be careful when inserting and removing your retainer (and when it is simply in your mouth). Some people like to play with their retainer with their tongue. This is an easy way to break it or bend the wires causing an improper fit. Retainers should feel snug if you are wearing them properly. They don’t change in size, but they can become distorted if you play with them. They can also become misaligned if you are hard on them in placement or removal.

Another reason a retainer can become misaligned is if your teeth shift. This is generally a result of not wearing your retainer as prescribed. You should always wear your retainer as prescribed by Dr. Razdolsky to prevent shifting. Regular follow-up visits with the Forever Smiles team will help with maintenance, fitting and realignment of your retainer if necessary. Remember, the longer you have been out of braces, the less often you will be required to wear your retainer, so in time it does become easier.

Retainers are exposed to the same bacteria and plaque as the rest of your mouth. If notcared for, they can become a haven for germs and develop an unpleasant odor. Much like your teeth, retainers should be cleaned and/or rinsed after every meal to keep them fresh. Clean them as you would your teeth, with a soft brush. Some retainers can be cleaned with a gentle toothpaste, but some cannot. When the time comes, you will be given instructions specific to the proper care of your appliance. However, when in doubt… please ask.

Lastly, don’t forget. Exposure to heat is bad for your appliance. Avoid hot water when cleaning your retainer and never leave it in a hot car or exposed to direct sun. Heat and sunlight can distort your retainer or make the plastic material brittle and more susceptible to breakage.

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