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Memorial Day and Getting Ready for Summer

May 25th, 2022

Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.

During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.

Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer

  • Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
  • Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
  • Visit Dr. Yan Razdolsky Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Our team at Forever Smiles wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.

Which Retainer is Right for You?

May 18th, 2022

Brackets and wires, clear aligners, lingual braces, regular brackets, self-ligating braces, elastics, spacers—you and your orthodontist have had to narrow down a lot of choices to discover the best treatment for your orthodontic needs. Now that the end of treatment is in sight, there’s one more important choice left—your retainer!

Do I Need a Retainer?

No retainer at all is probably the one option that’s off the table from the start. It’s not just your teeth that have changed position; it’s the bone and ligaments holding them that have changed as well.

A retainer prevents your teeth from moving away from their new, ideal location while your bones and ligaments are stabilizing. This process takes months, so keeping your teeth in place as your bone rebuilds and regains density is crucial.

What Are Your Retainer Options?

Three of the most popular retainer options available at our Buffalo Grove office include:

  • Hawley Retainers

This is the traditional retainer, with wires to hold your retainer in place and to keep the teeth properly aligned. The wires are attached to an acrylic plate molded to fit the roof of your mouth or around your bottom teeth. You can customize the acrylic base with colors and patterns for a one-of-a-kind look.

Hawley retainers are adjustable, so minor realignments can take place if necessary. The wire in front of your teeth makes these retainers visible, but, after several months of wearing them all day long, you may end up wearing them only at night.

Hawley retainers are removable, so you need to make sure they are safely in a case when you’re not wearing them. Minor damage can often be repaired, but it’s better to be proactive.

  • Clear Plastic Retainers

These retainers look like clear aligners. They are formed by heating a thin piece of plastic and vacuum-forming it around a model of your teeth to create a custom, comfortable fit.

Clear retainers are almost invisible when worn, and can be removed when you eat or drink—which they should be, because food particles and liquids can be trapped inside them.

When you’re not wearing it, a clear retainer should always be in its case, because it must be replaced if the plastic is warped, cracked, or broken.

  • Fixed Retainers

A fixed retainer is a small single wire bonded to the back of specific teeth, commonly the six bottom front teeth. Because fixed retainers don’t allow the teeth to move at all, they are often recommended for patients who had serious misalignments, extremely crowded teeth, or teeth with large gaps between them.

Many patients like fixed retainers because they keep teeth in perfect alignment, they won’t be seen, they’re comfortably small, and they can’t end up in the cafeteria recycling bin because you forget to replace them after lunch!

Fixed retainers are usually quite durable, but you’ll need to pay attention to your diet, because crunchy and chewy foods can put pressure on the retainer and damage it. These retainers also require special care with brushing and flossing, to make sure the teeth bonded to the wire stay clean and plaque-free.

The Right Retainer

The process of stabilizing your teeth in the jaw takes time. Choosing your retainer will depend in part on how long and how often you need to wear it: fulltime for months or for years, at night after several months of day-and-night wear, or long-term to make sure your orthodontic work lasts.

And there are other variables, as well. Your retainer might need to be removable. It might need to be adjustable. You might need a retainer for just your upper teeth, just your lower teeth, or both. All these factors and more need to be taken into consideration before deciding on your ideal retainer.

Fixed, removable, wire, plastic, colorful, clear—which retainer is right for you? The one that helps you retain the beautiful smile you’ve worked for all these months. Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky to discover the retainer that will protect that smile for years to come.

Vacay Away?

May 17th, 2022

We’re just a phone call away!

Tips for Dealing with Ortho Emergencies

So, you’ve scheduled a vacation. Awesome! We LOVE vacations. Fun, travel, memories, pictures…. orthodontic emergencies. Oh no! What a wet blanket that is for your trip. It should give you a little peace of mind to know that true orthodontic emergencies are extremely rare. Usually, it’s just a minor troublesome issue like a poking wire or broken bracket which can be fixed quickly and easily. But just in case, here's Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smile’s handy guide and tips on dealing with common issues while at home or traveling.
Pack an Emergency Kit – Nothing says fun like an emergency orthodontic kit, we know. But they are smart! Pack orthodontic wax, Chapstick, nail clippers or small pair of wire cutters, tweezers, a pencil with an eraser, Q-tips, and a topical anesthetic like Orabase or Orajel along with our phone number so we can help with any guidance you may need.
Discomfort – It’s normal for you to experience a little discomfort a day or two after new braces placement or an adjustment. But it can make eating a bit uncomfortable. Choose softer foods and rinse with warm water to help with pain. And if you have irritation of the lips or cheeks, apply wax to the area to help. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it between your fingers to soften before applying to the problem area. If you don’t have wax handy? Try sugarless gum as a substitute. And always have Chapstick or another lip balm handy to help soothe dry chapped lips.
Ligatures Come Off – sometimes the tiny rubber bands, or small fine wires we use to fasten the wire to your brackets can become dislodged. In the case of a rubber ligature, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers. In the case of a wire ligature, if it’s just sticking out, use a Q-tip to gently bend it back and away from soft tissue which could become irritated. You can then use wax to help protect the area if necessary. If it’s completely dislodged, however, it’s best to give us a call. Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team can walk you through what the best option is for management of your specific issue.
Protruding Wires – Occasionally, but not too often, the end of a wire can work its way loose and irritate a patient’s mouth. Here’s where that ortho emergency kit really comes in handy! Use the eraser end of a pencil, or Q-tip to gently push the wire flat against the tooth as much as you can and cover it with relief wax. If the wire cannot be moved, it’s best to give us a call for further instructions.
Loose Brackets or Bands – If a band or bracket becomes loose you may not need to worry about it unless it causes issues while eating. If this happens, it is best to call Dr. Yan to determine what next steps are appropriate. It may require temporary treatment until the wires and brackets can be repaired upon your return home.
Lost Aligner – The best way to avoid losing an aligner or retainer is to always carry your case with you. Store your aligners in the case any time you remove them to brush and floss or eat. Napkins are the natural enemy of aligners and retainers. We can’t count how many times a patient has put their appliance down on a napkin while eating lunch, forgot and accidentally threw it away. Ugh!
As always, Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team is here to help ensure that orthodontic mishaps don’t spoil your awesome vacation. If however, we are unable to help you fix the problem over the phone or if you have difficulty reaching our office, we suggest going online and searching for orthodontic practices in your area. Most orthodontists are used to helping traveling orthodontic patients and can help them with discomfort. In fact, Dr. Yan has helped many out-of-town travelers and vacationers himself!

Common Braces Problems

May 11th, 2022

It’s useful to know some of the common problems that can arise when you get braces. Even if you take great care of your braces and teeth, you might not be able to avoid certain issues or side effects that accompany braces. But don’t worry: These are all common problems that can be taken care of by following some simple advice.

If you just had your braces put on, you may notice some general soreness in your mouth. Your teeth are starting to adjust to having to shift, so they may ache, and your jaw might feel tender at first. This will subside once your mouth becomes used to the new appliance in residence.

You may experience soreness on your tongue or mouth, which may be a sign of a canker sore. Canker sores are common when braces rub against your mouth. You can use ointments to relieve pain and numb the area that’s been irritated. Canker sores are commonly caused by broken wires or loose bands on your braces.

Common Issues

  • Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket. You might also apply a little between the braces and the soft tissue of your mouth.
  • Loose bands: These must be secured in place by Dr. Yan Razdolsky. Try to save the band for repair.
  • Protruding or broken wires: Use the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire carefully to a less painful spot. If you are unable to move it, apply orthodontic wax to the tip. If a mouth sore develops, clean your mouth with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
  • Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned by Dr. Yan Razdolsky and possibly replaced.

Avoiding Issues

You should avoid certain foods that could cause major damage to your braces. No matter what you eat, make the effort to cut your food into small pieces that can be chewed easily. This will prevent chunks of it from getting lodged between brackets.

Avoiding hard and chewy foods is also wise. Some foods can break your hardware: for example, popcorn, nuts, apples, gum, taffy, and hard candies. Avoiding any foods that easily got stuck in your teeth when you didn’t have braces is a good rule to follow.

The appliances in your mouth are bound to attract food particles and make it easier for plaque to build up. By making sure you brush and floss carefully every day, you can prevent stains and cavities from developing over time. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend brushing and making sure that food isn’t lodged between your braces after every meal.

Having braces can be very exciting, but it can also be challenging at first. Watching for these common issues during your first few weeks can prevent problems down the road. If you experience a lot of pain from your braces, contact our Buffalo Grove office and we can try to resolve any issues.

Braces can sometimes be a pain, but they’re well worth it once your new smile gets revealed!