When It Come to Chewing Gum, Be Choosy!

May 29th, 2024

Why do you chew gum? Perhaps because it’s a habit that comes with some healthy benefits. Chewing a stick or two reduces the urge to snack between meals. It’s a substitute for behaviors like nail biting that you’d like to change. It might even give you fresher breath after those tuna sandwiches in the cafeteria.

And, as it happens, chewing sugarless gum actually offers a few dental benefits as well! The act of chewing increases saliva production. Saliva washes away food particles, neutralizes acids in the mouth that can damage enamel, and even bathes the teeth in essential minerals that help strengthen weakened enamel. We’re talking about sugar-free gum here, of course, because regular gum will just bathe your teeth in sugar—no one’s idea of a dental benefit!

So why not open that pack and enjoy? Because, despite the many positive reasons you can think of for chewing gum, sometimes gum can have a negative impact on your braces.

  • A Sticky Situation

Keeping your braces clean can be a bit of a challenge. That’s why you have special toothbrushes, flosses, and interproximal brushes to get rid of food particles that stick around after you eat. And, while any food can get caught in your braces, sugared gum, because it is so sticky, can stick to appliances much more easily and much more thoroughly than even sugar-free gum. You might be able to remove gum residue with regular brushing and flossing, but, worst case scenario, you might be looking at gum firmly stuck in the brackets or between the brackets and wires.

  • Gumming Up the Works

Chewing gum can also affect your treatment time if the action of chewing causes your arch wire to bend. When your wire isn’t providing the proper shape or the right amount of tension, your teeth won’t get to where they need to be as quickly and efficiently. No piece of gum is worth discovering at your next appointment that you haven’t made any progress for weeks due to a damaged wire. And since chewing gum can also lead to loose brackets and bands, you might wonder if this sticky habit is ever worth the trouble it can cause.

  • Something to Chew Over

Before you decide, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky! Chewing sugarless gum increases saliva production, which can help wash away food particles from your mouth and your braces. As an added benefit, the action of chewing for a few minutes after an appointment has been shown to reduce the discomfort of an adjustment. Because today’s braces are stronger and more durable, and sugarless gum much less likely to stick to them, we can let you know if chewing gum might be acceptable or even desirable depending on your specific treatment plan and your appliance.

Talk to us at your next appointment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office about gum chewing, and we’ll give you the very best recommendations for keeping your teeth healthy, your braces clean, your appliance intact, and your treatment plan on track. Even if gum needs to be off the menu for a while, what you’ll get in return—the best and fastest path to your beautiful smile—will be well worth it!

The Clear Benefits of Invisalign®

May 28th, 2024

Straighter teeth is something many people desire. A nice smile is one of the most attractive things about a person. However, wearing a mouth full of braces for two, three, or more years can be a major pain, both literally and figuratively.

Luckily, there is another option. Invisalign is an alternative to traditional braces. Learn more about the benefits Invisalign offers and why you should consider this exciting method of straightening teeth.

  • When you have straight teeth, your mouth is healthier in general and there is less chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Invisalign makes it possible for more people to straighten their teeth.
  • Invisalign is essentially invisible. You can straighten your teeth without unsightly metal in your mouth.
  • The average cost is similar to that of traditional braces, which makes it affordable for many families.
  • With Invisalign, the aligner trays are smooth and comfortable to wear. Traditional metal braces can be uncomfortable and cause irritation to the mouth.
  • Invisalign is removable, so you do not have to wear the system during special occasions, or when you’re eating. With normal metal braces, you are stuck with them for the entire straightening process.
  • Brushing and flossing are simple. Since the system is removable, you can brush and floss just like normal.

As you can see, Invisalign is an exciting option we provide at Forever Smiles for those who want straighter teeth. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky and find out if it would work for your particular situation. Get started today, and before you know it you will be enjoying your straighter teeth.

For more information about Invisalign, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office today!

There’s an App for That!

May 27th, 2024

Modern orthodontic technology has led to major changes in the world of braces. Brackets are smaller and come in both metal and ceramic materials. Wires are more efficient and more comfortable. Elastic bands come in a variety of vivid colors, or you can choose brackets which work without bands. You can even decide on clear aligners, with no brackets or wires at all.

And since modern software technology has given us a program for just about everything, it’s no surprise that you can install apps to help make your modern orthodontic treatment more convenient and more enjoyable. What can an orthodontic app do for you?

  • Keep Track of Your Appointments

There are many apps out there that are designed to help you keep your treatment on track with appointment reminders. This sounds pretty basic, but when you have school, work, sports, and activities filling your days, it doesn’t hurt to get a timely reminder that our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office will be expecting you in the near future. And, since missed appointments delay your progress, you are making sure you achieve your beautiful, healthy smile in the shortest amount of time.

  • Mapping Out Your Routine

You know how important it is to keep track of the hours you wear your aligners. Apps can help remove the guesswork with a timer to make sure you’ve got the hours you need to progress to the next phase of treatment. Apps can also remind you when you’re ready for a new aligner, and let you track your progress in one convenient place with selfies after each aligner transition. After all, it’s really exciting to see just how far you’ve come.

If you wear traditional braces, there are apps with very helpful reminders for you, too. For example, forgetting to wear your elastics can really delay your progress. An app can let you know when it’s time to wear your rubber bands and keep track of your hours. It can also remind you to replace your bands regularly, because elastics become less elastic through the day. And take advantage of the countdown feature some apps offer to see just when you can expect to be done with your treatment when you keep on top of your routine.

  • Brushing and Flossing? Apply Yourself!

A big part of making your smile look its best after your orthodontic treatment is making sure you take care of your smile during your treatment. This means keeping up with daily brushing and flossing, and using proper technique. Two minutes brushing, twice each day, and flossing at least once a day are the basic recommendations for preventing cavities and gum disease. (During orthodontic treatment, you might need to increase your brushing and flossing—ask us how often is best for your needs.)

And to help you make sure you get a solid two minutes of brushing twice a day? Try an app that plays two minutes of your favorite music with a perfectly timed brushing playlist. Apps can also send you brushing and flossing reminders, let you know when it’s time to change your toothbrush (every three months, please!), and give you tips on better brushing and flossing techniques.

  • Have Fun with Your Appearance

Not sure just how you’ll look in braces? Get a preview with an app that uses one of your selfies to model different types and styles of braces, brackets, bands, and aligners. Metal brackets? Ceramic? Elastic bands in your favorite colors? No bands at all? Hardly visible aligners? Find the look that works for you!

  • When Problems Happen

Some apps will even guide you through common orthodontic problems, such as applying wax to an irritating bracket or relieving discomfort. Always remember, though, an app is not an orthodontist. If you have a serious problem or concern, call us immediately.

  • Orthodontist Approved

If you’ve checked out the orthodontic apps available for your operating system, you know that there are a lot of options out there. If you’re looking for an app providing information about your treatment, tips for dealing with your braces, or a convenient way to track your progress or even be part of a community, you want the best information, tips, and conveniences possible—and hopefully all in one place.

To help you find the best orthodontic app for you, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky! We might know just the app for your specific needs. Whether you choose aligners or brackets and wires, consider all the wireless options that can make your life easier, your dental care more complete, and—just maybe—your orthodontic experience a little more fun.

What's the best dental floss?

May 8th, 2024

Dental floss is similar to a lot of products that depend mainly on the consumer’s preference. Fact is, floss comes in a wide variety of flavors, coatings, and other variations, but all types of floss essentially do the same thing. After all, that is what is most important: that the dental floss you buy is functional—cleaning the areas in between your teeth. If you want to know what the best dental floss is, the answer is the kind that enables you to successfully and regularly clean those areas. So to help you find the right type of floss for you, here are some options.

Flavored Dental Floss

Many people that floss prefer a flavored dental floss because it freshens their breath even more than unscented floss. The latter can also take on the smells associated with bacteria in your mouth. And we all know how bad that can be. So, if flavored dental floss is what you prefer, and it allows you to floss your teeth regularly, then it is automatically best for your mouth.


There are also products on the market called flossers, which usually consist of a plastic instrument with strung floss and a pick on the opposite end. This option can be both effective at cleaning the areas in between your teeth and scraping off plaque. These flossers also come flavored in mint and various other varieties.

Gentle Dental Floss

Some people find that typical dental floss is too harsh on their gums. For that reason some companies make floss with soft coatings that are less abrasive on the gums. For the most part these types of floss are just as effective as regular floss, and for those people that require a more sensitive approach to flossing, especially when just starting out, this is the best option.

Of the aforementioned options, it is difficult to name an absolute best type of floss. However, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team say that the type of floss that works best for you, giving you the greatest chance of succeeding at regular flossing, is the best. For more information on floss, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office.

May Marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

May 1st, 2024

The merry month of May also happens to be National Fitness and Sports Month, so take advantage of the warmer days to get outside and exercise! Bringing a friend, family member, or coworker with you when you go for a brisk walk during a lunch break can provide an opportunity to socialize as well as health benefits. If you need a little more motivation, here are some good reasons to stay active and fit.

Exercise provides:

  • Improved stamina and energy as well as toned muscles and bone strength and density
  • Improved circulation and breathing for a healthier heart and lungs
  • Reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer
  • For older adults, regular exercise may help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls as well as improved cognitive abilities

Children and Teens

Children and teenagers spend long hours at their desks in school, on the computer, watching television, and involved in other sedentary activities that result in obesity and poor health later in life. Getting them engaged in school or community sports teams can help them form good life-long exercise habits. One important note: If they are participating in contact sports, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles recommend your kids wear an approved mouthguard to protect those valuable teeth from injury! Ask us for a proper fitting of your safety appliance during your next visit!

A gym membership is nice but not necessary to stay fit; try these easy ways to work some exercise into your daily routine.

At Home

  • Take a friend along for company on a walk through your neighborhood.
  • Pursue gardening or other yard work, including mowing or raking.
  • Take your kids on a bike ride or have them push a baby stroller around the block.

Couch potatoes take note: simply moving from the sofa to the floor for some sit-ups, leg-lifts, or push-ups while you’re watching television can help you get in better shape in no time.

At Work

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take exercise breaks for walks around the building or parking lot.
  • Walk or ride a bike to work.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

For more information on exercise techniques, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

April 24th, 2024

Orthodontists and dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a broad medical specialty that deals with the teeth, gum, nerves, and jaw, while orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that focuses on correcting bites, occlusion, and the straightness of teeth. One important difference is that all orthodontists like Dr. Yan Razdolsky are dentists, but not all dentists are licensed orthodontists.

How are they similar?

The main similarity between a dentist and orthodontist is that they both focus on oral care. An orthodontist can work in a dental office and provide the same care as a dentist. So in this respect, they are quite similar. They are both considered doctors, and deal with the teeth and gums.

How are they different?

There are more differences than similarities. An orthodontist requires additional schooling as a dental specialty; the situation is similar to a doctor who obtains additional schooling to become a surgeon. Another difference is that orthodontists specialize in helping patients with the alignment of their teeth, improving their bite, or fitting them for corrective braces and devices. If a patient has an overbite, a dentist will refer him or her to an orthodontist.

Dentists typically encourage good oral hygiene and provide services related to:

  • Tooth decay
  • Root canals
  • Gum disease
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Veneers
  • Teeth whitening

Orthodontists are dentists that specialize in the alignment of teeth, and provide services related to:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite

What an orthodontist can help with

Orthodontists help with crooked teeth, but they assist patients with other issues as well. These include overbites and underbites, crossbites, spaces between teeth, overcrowding of teeth, and the treatment of temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Additional problems with the jaw also need to be treated by an orthodontist.

While a dentist may be trained to provide orthodontic care in addition to extractions, TMJ treatments, and fillings, trusting your smile to an orthodontist can better balance the different procedures you require.

To learn more about the difference between dentists and orthodontists, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give our team at Forever Smiles a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office.

Plaque Attack? Let’s Fight Back!

April 17th, 2024

Plaque is a sticky subject! It sticks to the enamel of our teeth above and below the gum line, and it collects around braces. Plaque is one of the major causes of tooth decay and gum disease, and our teeth are under daily attack by this filmy menace.

What are the facts about plaque, and how can we fight back? Read on for some effective strategies!

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film that builds up on our teeth, largely made up of millions of different types of oral bacteria. Plaque is a colorless biofilm at first, but as it collects, it takes on a white or yellow tint. If you haven’t brushed for a few days, that fuzziness you feel on your teeth is plaque build-up. Unless it’s removed, plaque hardens within a matter of days to become tartar.

  • Tip: You can remove plaque with careful brushing and flossing, but it takes a dental professional to remove tartar. Be proactive!

Why Does Plaque Cause Cavities?

Bacteria in plaque use our food as their food, especially sugars and carbs. They can then transform these nutrients into acids, which attack our tooth enamel, weakening it and leaving it vulnerable to further erosion and eventual decay.

  • Tip: Cavities aren’t the only damage caused by accumulated plaque. Plaque also collects along and below the gum line. If tartar forms here, it irritates delicate gum tissue, leading to gingivitis and more serious gum disease. Make sure you don’t forget your gums when you brush and floss.

When Does Plaque Build Up?

The short answer? Plaque is always forming, because oral bacteria are a natural part of our biology. (In fact, there are even oral bacterial which are beneficial.) Plaque starts building up within minutes after eating, and during the night as we sleep.

That’s why we recommend brushing for two minutes at least twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. When you wear braces or aligners, brushing more often is a good idea. Food collecting around braces or inside aligners is a feast for plaque! Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky for suggestions for your best brushing schedule.

  • Tip: Just because plaque is unavoidable, that doesn’t mean we need to give the bacteria in plaque any additional encouragement. Every time you have a meal or a snack that’s heavy in carbs and sugars, you are providing more fuel for acid production. Cutting down on foods like sugary desserts and sodas is not only nutrition-healthy, it’s tooth-healthy!

Where Does Plaque Collect?

Plaque builds up all over tooth surfaces, at the gum line, and even below the gum line. It’s especially easy to miss in hard-to-reach places like the irregular surfaces of molars, between the teeth, behind our front teeth, and near the gum line. Plaque also collects around your braces, and requires special care to make sure your teeth don’t suffer cavities or the white spots caused by demineralization.

  • Tip: One of the ways plaque avoids detection is its invisibility. Fortunately, if you’re having trouble brushing away all your plaque, there are plaque-disclosing toothpastes and chewable tablets available in the dental aisle which reveal the plaque hiding between, behind, or around your teeth by tinting it with a can’t-miss color. Just brush the color away, and you’ve brushed the plaque away as well.

How Do We Clean Away Plaque?

Use the Right Tools

Floss at least once a day. There are different materials, sizes, and coatings for floss, so you can find one that’s comfortable for you. Floss reaches those spots in between teeth and around the gum line that brushes miss.

Choose a soft toothbrush (soft bristles are better for your enamel) and change it every three to four months, or as soon as the bristles show wear. Make sure the head is the right size—too big, and it’s not only uncomfortable, but you won’t be able to reach all the surfaces you need to.

  • Tips: There are special dental flosses created just for your braces. You can also use interproximal brushes water flosser to clean around wires and brackets. If you have trouble removing plaque around your teeth and braces with a manual toothbrush, consider an electric model. Several studies have shown a reduction in plaque with the use of an electric brush.

Use the Right Toothpaste

There are many toothpastes specifically formulated to fight plaque and tartar. And fluoride toothpastes not only fight cavities, they can strengthen your enamel.

  • Tip: Studies have shown that toothpastes with baking soda, in particular, are effective in reducing plaque. Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky for a recommendation the next time you’re at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office.

Use the Right Technique

What not to do?  A forceful, horizontal sawing motion is awkward, hard on your enamel, and misses plaque and debris between the teeth. Technique is important—not for style points, but for cleaner teeth!

Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, especially at the gum line, to gently remove plaque from teeth and gums. Use short strokes or a circular motion to clean as much of the surface and between the teeth as possible. Brush the inside of your front teeth with careful vertical strokes—remember, that’s one place where plaque is easy to overlook. The same holds true for the tops of your molars, so thoroughly clean those uneven surfaces.

If you wear braces, be sure to clean thoroughly around brackets and wires, where plaque can accumulate quickly.

  • Tip: If you wear clear aligners, don’t forget to give them a gentle brushing as well! Plaque can stick to aligners, causing discoloration and odors, so follow our cleaning instructions carefully.

Who Can Help You Fight Plaque?

Even when you do your best at home, plaque can still be a sticky problem. That’s why we advise regular professional cleanings, which not only remove any plaque that’s hiding away, but also eliminate any built-up tartar around your braces. And, of course, there you can learn all about how to keep your teeth their cleanest.

True, you’re fighting plaque every day, but you have all the tools you need to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy. You’re winning the battle with plaque every time you eat a nutritious meal, and every time you brush and floss. With that kind of strategy, plaque doesn’t stand a chance. And your bright smile and healthy teeth and gums? That’s a victory worth celebrating!

Tips for Using Invisalign®

April 10th, 2024

More than one patient has come into our office and asked, “What can I do to help my teeth when wearing Invisalign?”

While everyone’s teeth and dental needs are different, there are certain things everyone can do to make wearing their Invisalign aligners a more rewarding experience. Always follow the list of instructions and tips from Dr. Yan Razdolsky, and add the following advice to your daily routine.

Always ask us about teeth whitening. Our team at Forever Smiles knows how important it is for you to keep your teeth white and stain-free from the foods and drinks you consume daily. If you have attachments to your teeth, they will not whiten properly. Ask our office about teeth whitening when wearing your aligners; it might be best to wait until your treatment is complete.

Continue flossing every day. You should be flossing in any case. But it can be easy to assume that Invisalign will protect your teeth from bacteria. This is not true. Bacteria can get behind the aligners and affect the health of your teeth and gums, so keep up with your flossing schedule.

Follow the 48-hour rule when wearing your aligners. When you insert every new set of aligners, you should leave them in as much as possible during the first 48 hours. Your teeth will move more during this timeframe, and the aligners do the most good during this time.

You may experience slight discomfort while wearing your Invisalign aligners. You can take a pain reliever to help with the discomfort, but if you experience too much pain, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to schedule an appointment!

Keep that candy at bay during your treatment!

April 3rd, 2024

Now that you have braces, it is more important than ever to maintain good oral hygiene during your treatment, as Dr. Yan Razdolsky will tell you. While we trust you will continue brushing and flossing on a regular basis throughout your treatment at Forever Smiles, you also have to mindful of what you eat. While all those sweet, sour, and sticky candies may taste great, these treats can actually damage your teeth and braces!

Sour candies  can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, resulting in tooth decay and cavities. If you do indulge in eating these candies at some point during your treatment, be sure to wash your mouth out with water, drink milk or eat a few slices of cheese. These foods will help neutralize the acid in your mouth.

Besides cavities and tooth decay, many people do not realize that good oral health and hygiene are important to your overall health, too; researchers have discovered the connection between periodontal disease and other major health concerns, such as heart disease. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine just as you did before your braces. This includes visiting your dentist here in Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove every six months, brushing and flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash, as well as visiting Dr. Yan Razdolsky for your regular adjustment appointments.

For more questions about foods you should avoid while wearing braces, or if you have any general questions about your treatment, we encourage you to give us a call, ask us at your next adjustment appointment or ask us on Facebook!

Courting Disaster

March 27th, 2024

When we think of sports and dental damage, we naturally think of hockey and football. But when it comes to the actual number of dental injuries suffered each year, vying for top seed is the game of basketball.

How is this possible? After all, football and hockey are categorized as “collision sports”! But along with the helmets, shin guards, and padding, these teams quite often require mouthguards—and this makes all the difference. Studies have shown that an increase in the number of players wearing mouthguards means a decrease in the number of oral traumas.

And while basketball isn’t considered a collision sport, it is a contact sport. Basketball is a combination of running, jumping, hard surfaces, and solid bodies. And elbows. We can’t forget elbows. So a broken or even a knocked out tooth isn’t, unfortunately, all that unusual when bodies in motion meet hard surfaces—or other players. But there are other dental dangers as well. Besides tooth injuries, oral injuries can involve:

  • The ligaments and bone structures holding teeth in place
  • Bones in the upper and lower jaw
  • Delicate gum, tongue, and mouth tissue.

You need a solid defensive strategy to reduce the severity of oral injuries or to prevent them from happening altogether, especially when you wear braces. The best play in your playbook? Wearing a mouthguard!

Choosing the right guard is key. There are three common options, and you can choose the model which works best for you:

  • Stock guards, which are ready-made guards in pre-formed shapes and sizes. You can buy them over the counter in drug stores and sporting goods stores. Because these guards aren’t shaped to fit your teeth and mouth specifically, they can be less protective (and harder to speak around).
  • “Boil-and-bite” guards can also be purchased, and can provide a closer fit. After warming the guard in hot water as directed, you place it in your mouth and bite down firmly to mold it to your teeth.
  • Dr. Yan Razdolsky can make you a mouthguard that is designed and crafted specifically for your use. Because this guard is custom-fitted, it provides better protection for your teeth and mouth. Patients often find custom guards much more comfortable and more durable as well.

Mouthguards are most effective when you wear them on the court and care for them off the court. This means avoiding a few flagrant fouls.

  • Dirty play

All those moist nooks and crannies inside your mouthguard are a perfect environment for bacteria, mold, and plaque buildup. You should clean your mouthguard carefully every time you wear it, and let it air dry before popping it back in the case. Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky for advice on getting your guard and its case their cleanest.

  • Failure to sub out in a timely fashion

Mouthguards don’t work if they’re damaged. If you notice any warping, breakage, or jagged or sharp edges, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for a replacement. If a guard doesn’t fit you properly, it doesn’t protect you, and sharp edges can irritate or injure delicate mouth tissue.

  • Unnecessary roughness

Your mouthguard protects you, so don’t forget to protect it! Keep your guard in its case when you’re not wearing it to save it from dirt, damage, and disappearance.

If you know your basketball, you know your guard game can make all the difference. Even though a mouthguard might not be mandatory on your team, that doesn’t mean it’s not essential. Remember that basketball is a contact sport, and protect your teeth, your mouth, and your braces with a mouthguard whenever you play.

The Invisalign® Treatment Process

March 20th, 2024

Invisalign is gaining traction as a sought-after solution for orthodontic problems. Unlike traditional braces, which require the placement of brackets on teeth and the connection of unsightly wires, Invisalign works nearly invisibly (as its name suggests). Particularly for those who do not wish to draw attention to their orthodontic work, Invisalign provides an attractive solution.

Consultation with a Treatment Provider

Our practice has received specialized training to work with Invisalign. During your consultation appointment, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will assess your smile needs. In some cases, the type of problem may not lend itself to correction through Invisalign, and we may offer an alternative solution.

Creation of a Custom Treatment Plan

Invisalign works using a series of customized clear trays that fit almost perfectly over the teeth. To create these trays, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will take X-rays and impressions of your teeth. These are submitted to a specialized laboratory that makes a 3D image of your smile. This is used to create a specialized treatment plan that provides an estimate of how long treatment will take.

Arrival of Custom Trays

Once your customized trays have arrived, the treatment begins. For Invisalign to work properly, you must wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours per day, removing them only to eat, drink, and brush your teeth. The trays gently draw your teeth into proper alignment, correcting your orthodontic problems as you go about your everyday life.

In general, you will replace your aligners with a new set every two weeks. This is to encourage your teeth to continue moving throughout the treatment process. You’ll need to check in with our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office every six weeks or so to ensure treatment progresses smoothly.

Beautiful Smile: Complete!

Once you complete your individualized treatment plan, you’ll have the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Like with traditional braces, Dr. Yan Razdolsky may recommend that you wear a retainer to ensure that your teeth remain in their new positions.

Are you visiting the dentist during your orthodontic treatment?

March 13th, 2024

If you’re brushing your teeth twice a day during your orthodontic treatment, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team think that’s wonderful! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every six months, or as recommended, in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing. (And visiting Forever Smiles for regular adjustments, of course.)

Dental checkups are crucial for maintaining good oral health. Your general dentist can check for problems that might not be seen or felt, detect cavities and early signs of tooth decay, as well as catch and treat oral health problems early. During an oral exam, your dentist can also check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing.

If you have not been to the dentist in the last six months, let us know during your next adjustment visit and we will provide a few great references in the Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove area!

Why Am I Getting Cavities?

March 6th, 2024

Now that you’re in orthodontic treatment, you’re probably spending more time taking care of your teeth than ever before. So, why did your dentist find a cavity at your last checkup? Let’s look at some of the potential culprits.

  • Brushing More Doesn’t Always Mean Brushing Well

Even for adults with decades of experience, proper brushing technique is often overlooked. Brushing’s not as effective without covering all the tooth surfaces (inside, outside, and molar tops), holding the brush at a 45-degree angle, gently brushing the teeth with small strokes, brushing for at least two minutes, and flossing between the teeth at least once a day.

If you wear braces, you must also take care to reach all the spots between and around your wires and brackets. Which leads us to . . .

  • Are You Using the Right Tools?

Even with perfect brushing form, your braces will be a challenge for a regular toothbrush and floss. The right tools make any job easier, and that includes cleaning your teeth while you’re wearing braces.

Specially designed brushes with bristles designed to work with your brackets, floss made to fit behind wires, tiny cone-shaped interproximal brushes that fit between your teeth and around your brackets—all these tools are made specifically to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and your braces.

  • Crunchy, Hard, and Sugary Aren’t the Only Problem Foods

You know sugary foods should be limited because sugars are the favorite food of cavity-causing bacteria. And hard and crunchy foods are off limits altogether because they can damage your braces. But what about treats which look soft and harmless? Well, looks can be deceiving!

Starches in soft, carb-rich foods like potato chips and white bread quickly break down into sugars. What’s more, they tend to stick around brackets and in between the teeth, giving those cavity-creating bacteria plenty of nourishment.

This isn’t to say that you must eliminate all sugars and carbs from your diet. But when you wear braces, be especially mindful about brushing or at least rinsing thoroughly whenever you have a snack.

  • Biology

Some people are biologically more prone to cavities, even with attentive brushing and flossing, so you shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t have a perfect checkup every time. Instead, be proactive. Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky for brushing and cleaning advice the next time you visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office—and then follow it!

It’s not just spending more time taking care of your teeth—it’s using your valuable time the best way possible. It’s always time well-spent brushing properly, eating mindfully, and working with your orthodontist and your dentist to create a beautiful, healthy, cavity-free smile.

Braces: Not just for kids anymore

February 29th, 2024

Despite the common assumption that braces are for kids, more and more adults are choosing to pursue orthodontics to correct their smiles. Just hearing the word “braces” and picturing a mouth full of metal can cause many grownups to hesitate about getting treatment for a straighter smile.

We’re here to give you the information you need to evaluate your treatment options and make the right choice for yourself. Whatever your personal history, wearing braces as an adult is an excellent way to create the straight, confident smile you’ve always desired.

What are my options?

Recent advances in orthodontic medicine have created numerous options for adults who need braces.

These are best for individuals who have severely crooked teeth or a significant bite problem, or who require other major orthodontic changes. The greatest drawback to wearing metal braces as an adult is the visible appearance of metal and wires.

Clear ceramic braces offer a solution to that, though they cost more. They’re are a good alternative for correcting highly crooked teeth or bite issues. Smoking or drinking red wine, soda, and other dark beverages may stain the adhesive that binds the brackets to your teeth, so you have to commit to being mindful and taking good care of them.

Another popular option for adults who need braces is a clear-aligner treatment, such as with Invisalign®. This system works in a different way from traditional braces by using a series of clear, retainer-like aligners.

In general, the Invisalign process lasts anywhere from three to 18 months. Keep in mind, however, that Invisalign is not as effective as traditional braces in treating bite problems or severe overcrowding.

The prospect of getting braces as an adult can be intimidating, but you should not let your fears prevent you from obtaining the smile of your dreams. A consultation at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office with Dr. Yan Razdolsky will address your concerns and provide more information about the best course of treatment!

Top Things to do BEFORE You Get Braces

February 21st, 2024

So you’re about to get braces. Congratulations! You are taking a very smart step to improve the health of your teeth as well as get that killer smile in shape. But, as with anything that is good for you, there are a few things you will have to avoid while you “do your time.”

Some foods don’t do so great with braces. The foods listed below should be avoided while you are wearing your braces because they can pop the brackets and bend the wires. In other words, these foods can really ruin your day, and send you back to Forever Smiles to get your braces repaired.

So before you hit the chair, hit the grocery and candy store – one last time – for:

  • Beef jerky
  • Raw carrots
  • Taffy
  • Pizza crust
  • Bagels and other crusty bread
  • Popcorn
  • Hard candy
  • Nuts and seeds

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff will give you more information about eating with braces. Some foods, such as apples, are okay as long as you cut them in pieces first. Others, like pudding and pasta, are fine just as they are. But then there is “the list”: the foods that are a big no-no and should be avoided. It won’t be forever, so hang in there.

Your braces time will pass before you know it and you can resume more normal eating. But before the braces go on, enjoy these tasty treats. Go ahead and indulge!

Does Your Valentine Wear Braces?

February 15th, 2024

The Valentine shopping list is traditional and simple: Flowers. Candy. But if your Valentine is in braces this year, suddenly your choices become more complicated. No need to worry! Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team have some sweet suggestions that are both braces-friendly and Valentine-approved.

First, let’s look at some options where Cupid’s arrow has missed the mark.

  • Caramels—these sticky treats are difficult to clean from orthodontic work, and sticky, chewy foods can even cause damage to wires and brackets.
  • Chocolate covered nuts—hard foods such as nuts can break or bend wires and brackets.
  • Assorted chocolates—a confectionary minefield! There are bound to be some caramels and nuts in there somewhere, hiding beneath an innocent coat of chocolate, just waiting to ruin your Valentine’s evening.
  • Other candies such as taffy, licorice, hard candy? No, no, and no. Remember, anything sticky, chewy, or hard is on the “Loves Me Not” list.

So, which chocolate treats won’t break hearts or braces?

  • Soft truffles—if it’s not Valentine’s Day without a be-ribboned box of chocolates, choose soft truffles to fill it.
  • Chocolate mousse—the perfect end to a romantic dinner.
  • Chocolate covered strawberries—it’s a special occasion treat that won’t mistreat braces.
  • Rich chocolate cake—always a delightful indulgence, and even better if it’s in the shape of a heart.

If your Valentine is not a chocolate fan, there are other sweet treats that are delicious alternatives.

  • Cheesecake can be topped with (pitted!) cherries to celebrate in holiday-appropriate color.
  • Soft heart-shaped cookies will be even more romantic with decorative icing—add your initials for a personal touch.
  • Select an array of frozen yogurt, ice cream, or gelato in different shades of pink.
  • Macarons also come in a variety of pink and red shades—but make sure this confection is on your Valentine’s braces-friendly list!

Of course, you can celebrate the day without sugary tributes. A single flower, watching your favorite movie together or, best of all, a heartfelt card or letter are all wonderful ways to show you care. But if it’s just not the same holiday without a sweet treat, try some of our suggestions. Your Valentine will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

What’s the advantage of Invisalign®?

February 7th, 2024

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team know it is natural for you to feel some concern when you need to wear any type of dental device to correct a problem with your teeth. Both braces and Invisalign can produce good results in giving you the smile you’ve always wanted. Both methods can straighten your teeth and alleviate such issues as crowding, spacing, cross bite, overbite, and underbite. Both methods of treatment have a similar cost.

You can take a cross-country road trip in a ten-year-old economy car or you can make the trip in a brand-new luxury sedan. Both will get you to your destination, but you will be far more comfortable traveling in the luxury sedan. Similarly, your journey to a great smile is much more comfortable and convenient with Invisalign as opposed to braces.


Some of the discomfort you may experience with braces is greatly reduced with Invisalign. Because Invisalign is custom-fit to your mouth and made of plastic, you will feel less pain, irritation, and soreness. Unlike braces, there are no food restrictions; you can eat anything that is on your diet.

Brushing and flossing

Of course you will want to brush and floss your teeth to prevent plaque buildup, tooth discoloration, and dental decay. If you wear braces, these simple tasks can become quite a challenge. Invisalign aligners are very easy to remove and replace, so you can brush or floss like normal without having to work your way around any metallic framework covering your teeth.


You do not have to be embarrassed to show your teeth when you are using the Invisalign system. Since the aligners are practically invisible, no one will even notice you are wearing them! Whether you are a teenager or an older adult, you can live your life normally.

If you want to learn more about Invisalign, or are wondering what your treatment options are at Forever Smiles, feel free to give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Braces-Friendly Snack Ideas

January 31st, 2024

Wearing braces limits some of the snacks you can eat. However, you still have plenty of choices for fun and healthy foods that will not harm your braces. You can even enjoy a few crunchy treats as long as you choose them carefully.

Sweet Treats

Puddings provide a sweet and safe snack while you are wearing braces. You can even select flavored puddings such as caramel to satisfy the urge for items you should not eat. They can be purchased already made or whipped up at home. You can even select low-sugar varieties that still taste good. Ice cream and yogurt are also choices; just avoid products with nuts.

Healthy Snacks

Fruits are excellent for a healthy snack. You just need to avoid biting into hard fruits such as whole apples. You can avoid the problem with fruit cocktails packed in water. Cocktails still have the nutritional benefits and flavor, but contain softer pieces. Avoid fruits packed in heavy syrup, though; these tend to have too much sugar.

Crunchy or Salty Snacks

Not all crunchy foods are bad; you just need to limit the crunch. Walnuts are a softer nut that can normally be eaten safely. Small cheese crackers satisfy the need for crunchy and salty. You can also allow pieces to dissolve slightly in your mouth before chewing, to reduce any risk.

Soft granola bars are also an option. Check the granola ingredients to ensure there are no large nut pieces, and brush your teeth afterwards. Otherwise pieces can become stuck in your dental work.

If you have any questions about safe snacks, do not hesitate to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff.

Should I Get Braces?

January 25th, 2024

If you’re thinking about investing in braces, there are a few things you should take into consideration. It’s normal for adult teeth to come in crooked, which is why braces are a common solution for teens and adults who desire a beautiful smile.

Your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment if crooked teeth begin to affect your or your child’s oral health. But many factors go into whether braces would be right for you or your child, or not.

Modern orthodontic treatments offer numerous options for the typical issues people face, such as crooked teeth or jaw alignment problems. Malocclusion, otherwise known as having a bad bite, is common in patients with crooked teeth.

Braces can be worn for a short period of time to correct uneven jaw alignment, which may be the cause of an underbite or overbite in patients. A retainer is worn afterward to keep the newly straightened teeth in place.

Now that one in five braces wearers is an adult, grownups have a variety of braces options. Braces are typically left on for at least one year to straighten teeth effectively. Options can include regular metal braces, clear braces, or Invisalign® aligners.

If you’re an adult and would prefer a discreet treatment, clear braces or Invisalign retainers are your best options. Dr. Yan Razdolsky will be able to provide you with a recommended best route of treatment depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and what your budget is. Before getting braces, it’s worth learning about all the methods of treatment available at Forever Smiles.

Be sure to contact your insurance company before your appointment to see if orthodontic treatments are covered; otherwise, you may want to plan to pay for out-of-pocket costs. If you have questions regarding the types of treatment we provide for our patients, call our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for more information.


Invisalign® vs. Traditional Braces

January 17th, 2024

A great smile can go a long way. Scientific research suggests that people who smile are perceived as more attractive and confident than those who don’t flash their pearly whites. When it comes time to invest in orthodontics to improve your beautiful smile, choosing the best option can be daunting. Comparing Invisalign to traditional braces is a great way to determine what orthodontics make most sense for your unique smile.

How is Invisalign different?

Unlike traditional braces, in which brackets are affixed onto each tooth and connected by wires Invisalign corrects orthodontic problems using a set of clear trays. These trays are specially formed to fit your teeth, allowing you to wear them 24/7.


One of the primary advantages of Invisalign is that the clear trays are nearly invisible. Particularly for adults self-conscious about appearing professional with traditional braces, Invisalign can correct orthodontic issues without capturing the notice of others. Their nearly invisible appearance is one of the topmost reasons that orthodontic patients choose Invisalign.

Complexity of the Orthodontic Problem

Invisalign works well for people who have relatively minor problems, such as crooked teeth or small gaps between teeth. For more complex problems, particularly issues with bite or vertical problems (i.e., one tooth being significantly higher than another), traditional braces may be better at pulling teeth into alignment.

Eating and Drinking

Invisalign trays are removable, meaning that you cannot eat or drink while wearing them. Unlike traditional braces, however, you are not limited in the foods you may eat. Chewy, sticky, or hard foods may be eaten, provided that you brush your teeth before reinserting the Invisalign trays.

In the end, only you can weigh the pros and cons of Invisalign versus traditional braces. Consult with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to understand how these orthodontic interventions may work for your unique situation.

Caring for Your Smile after Invisalign® Treatment

January 10th, 2024

You have done a lot of work to get the perfect smile. You wore your Invisalign aligner trays and cared for your teeth, and now your treatment is done. You still need to take care of your teeth to keep your beautiful smile. Keeps these things in mind when you think about your oral care routine.


Many patients do require a retainer after Invisalign treatment. This will be based on your unique situation. If a retainer is recommended by Dr. Yan Razdolsky, use it as directed. Retainers prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original position. You should also avoid hard, crunchy foods for the first couple of weeks as your teeth adjust. For younger patients, retainers are normally used until the wisdom teeth come in or are extracted.

Brushing and Flossing

Brushing and flossing must be part of your daily oral care. Flossing helps remove the plaque, which becomes tartar or calculus. This build up can lead to gingivitis and gum disease. Your gums may be more sensitive for a week or two after your orthodontic work is completed. A warm salt water rinse may relieve discomfort.

Your teeth may be slightly sensitive for a short time. They have been protected by your Invisalign aligner trays and now are fully exposed. You might want to try a sensitive toothpaste to get through the transition. Just ask; we will be glad to recommend the best type for your needs. If your teeth are stained, a professional whitening treatment can be considered.

Regular Dental Checkups

You still need to have regular dental exams. Professional cleanings and X-rays make sure that both your teeth and gums stay healthy so you can keep your teeth for life. If cavities or other problems are found, they can be taken care of quickly.

If you have any questions about how to care for your teeth after your Invisalign program, please ask our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team. We want you to keep your healthy smile and enjoy the results of your Invisalign treatment.

Tooth Protection and Winter Sports

January 3rd, 2024

Just because it’s cold out there doesn’t mean you’ll give up keeping fit and active! Winter is the season for some of our favorite team sporting activities, and when you’re donning your protective gear, don’t forget to protect your teeth as well.

  • Basketball

This sport actually tallies one of the highest counts of dental injuries. Running, jumping, and diving for the ball on an unforgiving court can lead to tooth and jaw injuries.  And for every ten men on the floor, it seems like there at least 50 flailing elbows in the paint.

  • Hockey

Notorious for the toll it takes on teeth, hockey is a game of sticks, ice, and whizzing pucks. And when your sport’s penalties include the terms hooking, slashing, and tripping, the more protection, the better.

  • Skiing

When you are flying down the slopes, combining powdery snow and speed, mouth protection is a good idea. This also applies to snowboarding and other snow sports.

  • Wrestling

Grappling and pinning in close quarters can lead to unintended injuries after accidental contact with the mat or your opponent.

Different uniforms, different equipment, and different playing fields, but all these sports have one thing in common—the easiest way to protect your teeth while playing them is with a mouth guard.

Mouthguards generally come in three forms:

  • Over the counter, ready-made appliances. These are available in drugstores and sporting goods stores, but might not be a comfortable fit as they are pre-formed sizes.
  • The “boil-and-bite” option is a mouthguard form placed in hot water. You then bite down to shape it to your mouth and teeth.
  • Custom mouthguards can be fabricated just for you through our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. These appliances are designed to fit your individual mouth and teeth, so provide a better fit and better protection. They are also usually more durable and more comfortable. If you wear braces, you definitely need a custom mouthguard to prevent an injury to your mouth or braces caused by an ill-fitting appliance.

Whether you play on a team or pursue individual athletic activities, keeping safe as you keep fit is your first priority. We would be happy to discuss your mouthguard options for any sport, any time of year.

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

December 27th, 2023

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 in the Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove area 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 Forever Smiles

  • 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. Yan Razdolsky, have a great new year!.

Stars Who Had Braces

December 20th, 2023

Not everyone is born with a million-dollar smile, not even some celebrities. The following stars have all had their moments as a “brace face,” either as a child, teenager, or adult. You might be surprised to learn about stars who had braces (including Gwen Stefani, who got braces just because she could!).

Take a look at some famous faces who sported braces!

Emma Watson: Emma admits to going through a rather awkward stage that included “terrible skin,” fluctuating weight, and braces. But look at the swan that emerged!

Tom Cruise: Who would have thought that one of the world’s most famous smiles could use an overhaul? Well, Mr. Cruise pulled it off … and most people didn’t even know. He wore “invisible” braces that had ceramic brackets for a few months just after his 40th birthday. And the results were pretty WOW!

Dakota Fanning: This lovely young actress had some troublesome teeth when she was younger. However, braces and dental work gave her that stunning star-quality smile we see now. Props to her, though, for staying real. She sported her headgear during an appearance on The Tonight Show and didn’t bat an eye.

Gwyneth Paltrow: The stunning Ms. Paltrow, who, in 2013 was named the Most Beautiful Woman by People Magazine, wore braces in high school. And she probably carried it off with the poise and grace for which she is so famous today.

Niall Horan: This member of One Direction, the boy band that’s currently tearing it up (and breaking some hearts along the way) wore his braces for several months. He got them removed in April 2013.

Other notable celebs who have had braces include Faye Dunaway, who got hers at the age of 61! Ryan Seacrest, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Drew Barrymore also belonged to the metal mouth club at one time or another.

What is comes down to is this: It isn’t whether you wear braces that are fully hidden, ceramic brackets, or have the traditional metal train tracks running across your teeth. Nope, it’s all about how you work it!

What are the benefits of Invisalign®?

December 13th, 2023

A popular option for straightening teeth at Forever Smiles, Invisalign can be a great method for improving your smile, and can help patients with crowded teeth, crossbites, overbites, underbites, and more.

Invisalign, which is different from traditional braces, works by applying a series of clear, retainer-like aligners in order to eventually move your teeth into their ideal positions. Patients typically swap aligners approximately every couple of weeks.

At Forever Smiles, we have lots of experience using this technology to give our patients the beautiful and healthy smile they’ve always wanted. During your initial visit at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, the first thing we do is take an impression of your teeth as they are now and digitize it. Using special software, we look at the current positioning of your teeth and compare it to the way your teeth should look.

Not only are the aligners invisible, they are also removable, so you can eat and drink what you want, and brushing and flossing are easier. Invisalign’s aligners are also comfortable, with no metal to cause mouth abrasions during your treatment. And, no metal and wires usually means you spend less time at our office getting adjustments. With Invisalign, you can view your own virtual treatment plan when you start, so you can see how your straight teeth will look when your treatment is complete!

Depending on the severity of the problem, Invisalign treatment may take 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. Both teens and adults are now great candidates for Invisalign, so we invite you to contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to set up an initial consultation and learn more on how Invisalign can give you the smile you’ve always wanted!

Celebrate the Season with Braces-Friendly Treats

December 6th, 2023

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the holidays around the corner, and visions of sugarplums and other tasty desserts dancing in everyone’s head.

Except, this year you have braces. This means some of your favorites might be on the naughty list. What to avoid? The same kinds of foods that you avoid now: anything hard, crunchy, sticky, or chewy. This means some of the traditional holiday favorites will have to be postponed for a while:

  • Pecan Pies

A festive tradition! But, nuts in a sticky sugar filling? Time to create a new dessert tradition that will be less of a problem for wires and brackets.

  • Gum Drops, Caramels, & Toffees

These super-sticky, chewy treats are definitely hazardous for your braces. Find a soft candy alternative instead.

  • Candy Canes & Hard Candies

Hard, sticky, and crunchy? Let’s save these candies for decorating the gingerbread house this year.

So what can you eat?

Luckily, there are plenty of dessert options that are nice to wires and brackets! Let’s look at some festive treats that also easy on your braces.

  • Cupcakes & Cakes

Soft, moist cupcakes and cakes should be no problem. Fruitcake, with its sticky dried fruits and nuts, should be avoided—which is a perfect excuse if you’re not a fan!

  • Pudding

Puddings are a smooth easy-to-eat treat, so enjoy! But know your puddings. Some traditional holiday puddings are more cakelike and contain the same chewy ingredients as fruitcakes, so the same advice applies—if it contains dried fruits and nuts, this is not the dessert for you.

  • Soft Candies

The same soft chocolates that you could eat for Halloween are good now, too! If it’s just not the holidays without peppermint, smooth peppermint patties are the way to go.

  • Pies & Other Favorites

Pecan pies are a firm no, but velvety desserts like pumpkin pie, cream pies, and cheesecake should be fine. And be sure you pick only the soft cookies in the holiday cookie exchange!

When you visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky about these and other holiday treats to make sure they are safe for you and your braces. And one more word before we all dig in—too much sugar in your diet creates the perfect conditions for cavity-causing bacteria. But there’s no need to give up all your holiday treats.

Just as you would brush after any dessert without braces, be sure to brush now that you have them. Be especially careful to remove any sugary residue from around your brackets, between your teeth, and near your gum line. And it’s always best to eat sweet treats as part of a meal, to reduce the effect of sugars and acids on your teeth.

Oh, and about those sugarplums? These candies originally contained no soft, tender plums at all. They were actually tiny treats created by coating a seed or nut center with a hard sugar shell. But you don’t need to worry about missing out on Victorian treats—with all of your delicious and braces-safe dessert choices, you’ll be enjoying a very sweet holiday season!

Rubber Band Horoscopes: What your color says about you

November 29th, 2023

One exciting part about wearing braces from Forever Smiles is getting to choose the colors of your rubber bands. Orthodontists place elastic bands, or ligatures, over each bracket to secure the archwire in place. These rubber bands may be individual or connected, depending on your mouth’s needs. From Dr. Yan Razdolsky, you have the option of choosing the color of your elastics, which are changed about once every month at every visit. Our offices keep a color wheel handy to help you choose which ones suit you best!

Children and teens often enjoy picking different colors each month to express their creativity and coordinate their braces with outfits. Decorating your mouth with your favorite colors is fun for kids and takes some of the stress out of wearing braces. Adults who wish for subtlety have color options that blend in with the metal brackets and archwire. Common choices for adults include silver, clear, and gray tones.

Common Color Combinations for Rubber Bands

With individual ligatures for each bracket, you may choose different color combinations for special events. You can have alternating colors or place an entire rainbow over your teeth. Here are a few options to consider:

  • School spirit colors
  • Favorite sports team colors
  • Patriotic colors
  • Holiday themes

Some patients choose only one color to match their mood, personality, or favorite outfits. The palette of choices allows you to make bold statements with your braces or go for subtler tones that blend in with the metal structures. Keep in mind that bright colors make your teeth look whiter, while lighter shades, such as yellow and white, may cause your teeth to appear less bright.

What Your Rubber Band Color Says About You

  • Red tones indicate that you are ready for action and take charge of your life with aggressive, forward-thinking steps.
  • Blue tones are calm and relaxing. You are conservative and exhibit integrity when dealing with situations.
  • Green tones represent growth and balance. You are level-headed and look for opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually.
  • Purple tones attract creative energies. You like to have fun and use your imagination in every aspect of your life.
  • Orange tones indicate that you are optimistic and thrive in social situations where communication is open.
  • Pink is a romantic color that represents a caring personality. You also enjoy having fun with silly games and endless laughter.

Thanksgiving in North America

November 22nd, 2023

Thanksgiving marks the start to the holidays; a season filled with feasting, indulging, and spending time with family and friends are always special. Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for giving thanks, and while this may seem like such a natural celebration, the United States is only one of a handful of countries to officially celebrate with a holiday.

Unlike many holidays, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, and it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. In Canada, it is celebrated on the second Monday of October, which is, oddly enough, much closer to a time when harvests were likely gathered. In addition to the different dates, the origins of the celebration also share different roots.

Thanksgiving in the United States

Giving thanks for a bountiful harvest are not new, but the modern day holiday in the US can be traced to a celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts in 1621. This feast of thanksgiving was inspired by a good harvest, and the tradition was simply continued on. At first, the colony at Plymouth didn't have enough food to feed everyone present, but the Native Americans helped by providing seeds and teaching them how to fish, and they soon began to be able to hold a feast worthy of the name. The tradition spread, and by the 1660s, most of New England was hosting a Thanksgiving feast in honor of the harvest.

Canadian Thanksgiving

An explorer of early Canada named Martin Frobisher is accredited for the first Canadian Thanksgiving. He survived the arduous journey from England through harsh weather conditions and rough terrain, and after his last voyage from Europe to present-day Nunavut, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for his survival and good fortune. As time passed and more settlers arrived, a feast was added to what quickly became a yearly tradition. Another explorer, Samuel de Champlain, is linked to the first actual Thanksgiving celebration in honor of a successful harvest; settlers who arrived with him in New France celebrated the harvest with a bountiful feast.

A Modern Thanksgiving

Today, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with the best of Americana. From feasts and football games to getting ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season, Thanksgiving means roasted turkey, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. No matter how you celebrate this momentous day, pause for a moment to give thanks for your friends, family, and all the bounties you’ve received. Happy Thanksgiving from Forever Smiles!

Proper Diet while Undergoing Orthodontics

November 15th, 2023

Many people undergo orthodontic treatment during childhood, adolescence, and even into adulthood. Wearing orthodontic appliances like braces is sure to produce a beautiful smile. Though orthodontic treatments at Forever Smiles are designed to accommodate your lifestyle, chances are you will need to make some dietary modifications to prevent damage to your braces and prolong orthodontic treatment.

The First Few Days with Braces

The first few days wearing braces may be the most restrictive. During this time, the adhesive is still curing, which means you will need to consume only soft foods. This probably will not be a problem, however, as your teeth may be tender or sensitive while adjusting to the appliances.

Orthodontic Dietary Restrictions

You can eat most foods normally the way you did without braces. However, some foods can damage orthodontic appliances or cause them to come loose. Examples of foods you will need to avoid include:

  • Chewy foods like taffy, chewing gum, beef jerky, and bagels
  • Hard foods like peanuts, ice chips, and hard candy
  • Crunchy foods like chips, apples, and carrots

How to Continue to Eat the Foods You Love Most

Keep in mind that you may still be able to enjoy some of the foods you love by making certain modifications to the way you eat them. For example, steaming or roasting carrots makes them softer and easier to consume with braces. Similarly, you can remove corn from the cob, or cut up produce like apples and pears to avoid biting into them. Other tips include grinding nuts into your yogurt or dipping hard cookies into milk to soften them. If you must eat hard candies, simply suck on them instead of biting into them.

If you have any question whether a food is safe to eat during your treatment with Forever Smiles, we encourage you to err on the side of caution. Of course, you can always contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office with any questions you have about your diet and the foods that should be avoided during treatment. By following our dietary instructions and protecting your orthodontic appliances from damage, you will be back to chewing gum in no time.

Myths of Orthodontics

November 8th, 2023

The stereotypical braces wearer – in middle school, with a mouth full of metal brackets – has led to numerous myths about orthodontics that discourage many people from getting the dental care they need. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff would like to put some of these myths to rest.

Myth 1: Orthodontic treatment is for kids. Although teenagers often visit the orthodontist to get braces, adults represent a growing proportion of orthodontic patients. Whether you’re eight or 80, a consultation with an orthodontist can identify problems with your teeth, jaws, or bite that can be corrected by orthodontic interventions.

Myth 2: Traditional, metal braces are my only option. Advances in orthodontic technology have rendered improved braces and other orthodontic appliances that are much less noticeable than the braces of yesteryear. Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky about Invisalign® braces and other options that make sense for your situation.

Myth 3: Orthodontic treatment is only helpful for crooked teeth. Sure, a crooked smile is a common reason that patients seek orthodontic care. However, orthodontic interventions help with a range of dental health problems. From missing teeth to overbite to jaw misalignment, your orthodontist can help with many problems associated with the teeth, gums, and jaws.

Myth 4: Orthodontic treatment is too expensive. As with any medical procedure, orthodontics can be pricey. However, our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team works with patients to find payment plans, insurance coverage, or other payment options that reduce the financial burden.

How NOT to Forget Your Retainer

November 1st, 2023

The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize "I forgot to wear my retainer!"

If this only happened once, don't panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant teeth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.

Here are some tips from Dr. Yan Razdolsky to help you remember your retainer:

1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing the retainer, whether you should wear it all day or at night, or just a few times a week. Writing things out like this helps set the schedule in your memory.

2. Clean the retainer when you take it out each time. If you don’t you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly and may be tempted not to wear it.

3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.

4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put the retainer in. If you have email with a calendar you can set up daily reminders, too.

5. Always put the retainer in its case when you take it out to eat or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.

6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.

7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider if nagging if they remind you to wear your retainer.

8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly used. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!

Remember, you can always call our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We'll work with you to protect your smile!

A Fun Halloween with Braces

October 26th, 2023

Having teeth encased in braces can be discouraging during Halloween. If you or your child has braces, there are certain candies to avoid this holiday season—and in general—while you have braces. Candy can be tempting, especially for children.

But don’t worry; other sweet treat options can readily take their place. Take a look at the American Association of Orthodontists’ tips on how to keep your braces safe.

Treats to avoid because they can cause damage to your braces include:

  • Hard candies
  • Chewy candies
  • Nuts
  • Caramel
  • Licorice
  • Jelly beans
  • Taffy
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard pretzels
  • Popcorn

These goodies should be avoided because they have the potential to bend or break your braces. Broken brackets and loose wires can waste time and money.

Switch out hard, chewy, and sticky candies for these options in the mean time:

  • Soft chocolate
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Gelatin treats
  • Ice cream
  • Smoothies
  • Root beer floats
  • Apple cider

Encouraging your child to stay with alternative, braces-friendly treats may prevent her from trying to eat candies that could break or damage braces. Halloween can still be fun, especially if your youngster (or you) don’t have to visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office get braces fixed.

Make sure to remind your child to avoid harmful candies, and encourage him to exchange treats with friends to make it more fun. Only passing out candies that children can eat safely, such as soft chocolates, can make them feel included.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team hope you enjoy your Halloween season, regardless of whether you are wearing braces.

Will my child benefit from early orthodontic treatment?

October 18th, 2023

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontic treatment for children should start at around age seven. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs early on to see if orthodontic treatment is recommended for your son or daughter.

Below, we answer common questions parents may have about the benefits of early childhood orthodontics.

What does early orthodontic treatment mean?

Early orthodontic treatment usually begins when a child is eight or nine years old. Typically known as Phase One, the goal here is to correct bite problems such as an underbite, as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern. This phase also helps make room in the mouth for teeth to grow properly, with the aim of preventing teeth crowding and extractions later on.

Does your child need early orthodontic treatment?

The characteristics and behavior below can help determine whether your little one needs early treatment.

  • Early loss of baby teeth (before age five)
  • Late loss of baby teeth (after age five or six)
  • The child’s teeth do not meet properly or at all
  • The child is a mouth breather
  • Front teeth are crowded (you won’t see this until the child is about seven or eight)
  • Protruding teeth, typically in the front
  • Biting or chewing difficulties
  • A speech impediment
  • The jaw shifts when the child opens or closes the mouth
  • The child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb

What are the benefits of seeking orthodontic treatment early?

Jaw bones do not harden until children reach their late teens. Because children’s bones are still pliable, corrective procedures such as braces are easier and often faster than they would be for adults.

Early treatment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office can enable your child to avoid lengthy procedures, extraction, and surgery in adulthood. Talk with Dr. Yan Razdolsky today to see if your child should receive early orthodontic treatment.

Cosmetic Braces Options

October 11th, 2023

If you’re like most adults, you aren't enthused about the idea of having to get traditional metal braces. The look, feel, and cost keep many people from getting the smile they want.

However, many options are available at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office if you’re looking for a cost-effective and more discreet way to straighten your teeth.

Choosing the right kind of cosmetic braces depends on the severity of your situation. Some cosmetic braces, such as clear aligners, are best suited for mild to moderate spacing or crowding of the teeth, and minimal bite alignment issues. But there are options for people who need more intense treatment.

Below is a list of some of the most popular options available today.

Invisalign® involves multiple clear aligner trays that you wear in a predetermined order to achieve the desired treatment result. Most people won’t even know you’re wearing them, and they offer solid results. Clear aligners might not be suitable for all cases; they are mainly for those with mild to moderate spacing or crowding of the teeth and minimal bite alignment issues.

Ceramic braces are similar to traditional braces, but less visible due to translucent ceramic brackets and/or wires. They are not quite as discreet as clear aligners such as Invisalign, but they are more subtle than traditional braces and can be used for most cases.

Lingual braces are attached to the back of your teeth instead of the front. They are highly discreet but effective at moving teeth and correcting bite issues. Their cost is higher due to the materials involved, and the additional time and effort required to place them accurately.

Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but no elastics (ligatures) are required on the bracket because they have built-in clips to hold the wire against your teeth. People will perceive you’re wearing them, but they don’t need as many adjustments from Dr. Yan Razdolsky, so you’ll require fewer appointments and undergo a shorter treatment time.

It’s only natural to have questions before you embark on a course of braces treatment. Speak with Dr. Yan Razdolsky or any of our staff members at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office about your goals, budget, and timeframe, and we’ll help you find the right fit!

Year-End Insurance Reminder

October 4th, 2023

Now that October is upon us, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles wanted to send you a friendly reminder to schedule your orthodontic appointment prior to the end of the year to take full advantage of any flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits that you may have.

The end of the year is always a busy time so make your appointment now so you don’t lose your available benefits! Give us a call today!

Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen®

September 27th, 2023

There are so many adults and teens in our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office who would love to have their teeth straightened but that are unwilling to go through the long and unsightly process of traditional metal braces. Well, that's where Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® come to the rescue; the most advanced clear aligner systems in the world!

There are several reasons why, if you're considering getting braces, you should consider Invisalign too. Here are some of them:

  • You can eat whatever food you'd like, without worrying about it getting caught in wires or breaking brackets.
  • Most people won't even know you're wearing them!
  • If you need to, you can remove your aligners at any time.
  • The removable aligners let you brush and floss as you normally would, making for better overall oral health.
  • Since they are made of a smooth BPA-free plastic, Invisalign aligners are simply more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. No metal means no more roughed up gums or irritated tongue!
  • You'll need to visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office less often — only once every six weeks or so.
  • With Invisalign Teen, you’ll receive up to six replacements for lost or broken aligners.

Before you get started with treatment, you’ll have a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to see if Invisalign or Invisalign Teen is right for you. If your case is a good fit, then you’ll have X-rays, pictures, and impressions of your teeth taken. That information will be used to make the 3D models of your teeth that let Dr. Yan Razdolsky see how they will move throughout the entire treatment and approximately how long it will take.

After that, you’ll receive your aligners based on the treatment plan we recommend. You’ll get a new set of aligners every two weeks. Then all you need to do is wear your aligners 22 hours a day and you’ll be on your way to a straighter healthier smile. Don’t hesitate to a member of our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team for more information about Invisalign!

Is Invisalign® Right For You?

September 20th, 2023

When patients ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky about who benefits from Invisalign clear aligners, the simple answer is this: almost everyone. Unlike conventional braces, they are removable, which makes eating and cleaning your teeth much easier.

They are molded to fit each patient’s mouth and are practically invisible. Because aligners apply less force in straightening teeth than metal braces, the risk of harm to your teeth is reduced.

Benefits to adults

Traditional braces are associated with children and teenagers. Many adults want to have their teeth straightened but hesitate to wear metal braces. They also worry about having to change their diet and not be able to eat the foods they normally enjoy.

If you are an adult who’s considering braces, our team at Forever Smiles will tell you Invisalign aligners is a great option for discreet teeth straightening. Your teeth will be straightened with virtually invisible braces.

The aligners are easily removable when you eat, so you can enjoy any food you normally would consume. You simply clean your teeth normally after eating and you won’t have to worry about getting food stuck in your braces.

If there is a special occasion during which you do not want to have any braces in your mouth at all, you can remove the aligners for up to four hours without causing any damage.

Benefits to teenagers

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team know that teenagers are often involved in sports and other after-school activities, and generally lead pretty busy lives. If your teen plays a musical instrument, you may be concerned that having metal in his or her mouth will interfere with ability to play. Invisalign aligners avoid the damage that can happen with traditional metal braces.

For sports that require players to wear mouthguards, the expense of specially constructed mouthguards to fit over braces is also eliminated. The aligners can be removed during sports activities and teens can easily wear a mouthguard. Teenagers who play musical instruments simply remove the aligners while practicing or playing in the band or orchestra.

Teenagers routinely have trouble flossing teeth between the wires and brackets of traditional braces, but Invisalign allows for easy dental cleaning. Since Invisalign aligners are removable, brushing and flossing are simpler and more likely to be performed.

For more information about Invisalign or Invisalign Teen® treatment, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Caring for Your Invisalign® Aligners

September 13th, 2023

You’ve selected the Invisalign system because of the many benefits Invisalign offers: comfort, convenience, appearance, and even potentially shorter treatment time! And to add to the good news, caring for your Invisalign aligners is easy and uncomplicated. Follow these simple tips to keep your aligners in the best possible shape as you move through the stages of your treatment.

Stay Clean

  • Always brush and floss your teeth before using your aligners so that bacteria and food particles will not have a chance to collect around your teeth while you wear them.
  • When you brush your teeth, be sure to brush your aligners with a separate soft toothbrush and lukewarm water as well.
  • Rinse your aligners whenever you remove them during the day.
  • Soak your aligners as recommended. Use the Invisalign Cleaning System or ask our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team for other suggestions to keep your aligners free from odor and bacteria.

Stay Clear

One of the reasons you chose Invisalign is for an almost invisible appearance. Why take a chance on discoloration or scratches that will make the appliance more noticeable? Here are some common mistakes that can affect the color of your aligners:

  • If your aligner has white spots, that might mean plaque build-up. Always rinse your aligner after you remove it and clean it thoroughly night and morning.
  • Brushing with anything other than a soft brush and brushing too hard can cause scratches in the material which might be noticeable. A gentle touch will work to clean and protect your aligners.
  • Eating with Invisalign aligners can cause staining. More important, it can cause the retention of food particles in the appliance, which can lead to dental problems. Finally, aligners are not meant for chewing—they might be damaged or lose their ideal shape even with soft foods. If you are going to be eating or drinking, take your aligners out, give them a rinse, and brush before you replace them. Or stick with water! Water will have no ill effects on teeth or aligners.
  • Only soak aligners in an appropriate solution. Harsh chemicals, colored mouthwashes, and even some toothpastes can dim or discolor the clear plastic.

Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about the best products to use and the best methods for taking care of your aligners. After all, making the process of improving your smile as easy and effective as possible is yet another benefit of choosing Invisalign!

Tips for Caring for Your Braces at School

September 6th, 2023

School can present a few issues when it comes to caring for your braces and mouth, since you won't have the luxury of the time and tools you have at your disposal while you're at home. But if you head to school prepared, you shouldn't have any trouble keeping your braces and mouth in great shape. Below is a list of helpful tips to care for your braces throughout the entire school year.

  • Bring a kit that includes all of your oral health care items. This is a seriously smart thing to do and probably the most important of all the tips. Pack things like a toothbrush, floss, wax, retainer case (if needed), a mirror, a small cup for rinsing, a small bottle of water (if you don't already have some water with you), and some OTC pain medicine or a natural pain remedy. Keep the kit in your locker or backpack. Having all these items on hand will save you a lot of trouble and discomfort, and also ensure you don't have anything unsightly stuck in your braces or teeth!
  • Take advantage of breaks and lunchtime. After eating lunch is a great time to pop into the restroom and give your braces and teeth a once over to make sure you don't have any food debris caught in them and to tend to any sore spots. If you've just had your braces adjusted, you may have soreness on your gums or cheeks. This is where the wax you packed will come in handy.
  • Eat the right food for your braces. Avoid all the foods that wreak havoc on your braces like gum, candy, popcorn, hard chips, apples which aren't cut into wedges, nuts, beef jerky, ice, etc. You know the foods we're talking about; you've heard it enough already. Steering clear of these foods will help you prevent any possible mishaps with your braces, like breaking a bracket or wire, which is the last thing you want happening at school.

If you follow these tips and also keep up on your oral health routine at home, you'll be maximizing the effectiveness of your braces and making them as comfortable as possible. Do you have questions about caring for your braces during the school day? Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky or anyone in our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office and we'll gladly help you out!

Labor Day: Our favorite holiday to rest!

August 30th, 2023

Labor Day, celebrated on the first Monday each September here in the United States, is a holiday devoted to the American working community. The purpose of the holiday is honoring the country's workers and their contributions to the strength of our country as a whole.

How Labor Day Started

There is actually some debate as to the origins of Labor Day. It is uncertain whether Peter McGuire, a cofounder for the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew Maguire, who was the secretary of Central Labor Union of New York, had the great idea. However, the Central Labor Union's plans were what launched the first Labor Day in America.

The First Labor Day

The very first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th, 1882. The Central Labor Union then held annual celebrations on September 5th for what they called a working man's holiday. By the year 1885, the Labor Day celebration had spread to many different industrial areas, and after that it began spreading to all industries in the United States.

Labor Day Today

Labor Day today is a huge United States holiday during which we honor the country's workers with a day of rest and relaxation or a day of picnics and parades. This holiday is truly one to honor the many people who work hard to contribute to the economic well-being of our great country!

Our team at Forever Smiles hopes all of our patients celebrate Labor Day, and every holiday, safely and happily. Whether you stay in the Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove area, or travel out of town, have fun, and don't forget to brush!

Your First Orthodontist Visit

August 23rd, 2023

If you’ve never been to an orthodontist before, you might be wary of what to expect during your first visit. Your dentist may have recommended an orthodontic appliance if it could improve the state of your oral health. More often, you may suspect that you or your child should have orthodontic work done if the time is right financially.

Understanding the various options your orthodontist can perform will be helpful to know before your appointment.

Your initial appointment usually lasts at least an hour. It’s common that diagnostic work will need to be done. This might include getting X-rays so Dr. Yan Razdolsky can better understand the overall structure of your mouth. A quick mold of the mouth may also be taken if braces are a possibility.

Your first appointment is intended to find out how we can efficiently give you a great smile! Here’s a list of common questions you might ask during your first visit:

  • Is now the right time for treatment, or should it wait?
  • What is the estimated length of time for the treatment?
  • How much should I expect to pay? What are the payment options?
  • What can I do to prevent or minimize pain?
  • Is it likely that I will wear extra appliances in addition to braces to correct my overbite, underbite, or other problems?
  • Are there specific foods I will need to avoid?
  • Will braces prevent me from playing my favorite sport or musical instrument?
  • How can I keep my teeth clean with braces?
  • How often will I be expected to come in for checkups and other appointments?

Don’t be afraid to ask these and other questions before you or your child commits to getting braces. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team are happy to answer any of them before or after your visit.

Once you’ve had your initial consultation, our team will be here throughout the entire process if any problems arise. We look forward to seeing you at your first appointment in our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Looking—and Feeling—Your Best in Braces

August 16th, 2023

It’s normal to be a little self-conscious when you first get your braces. Even though you really want to straighten any crooked teeth, or correct a bad bite, you might still be a bit hesitant about sharing your new orthodontic work with the world. What are some ways to get over those under-confident feelings?

  • Keep It Clean

Make sure you brush after every meal to reduce the chance of food particles and plaque sticking to your enamel and brackets. Brushing and flossing is particularly important now, not only to prevent cavities, but because nobody wants to see food stuck in your braces—especially you! If you absolutely can’t brush, rinse with water right after eating.

And carry a small bag filled with all the essentials for gleaming braces: a travel toothbrush, floss, a small tube of toothpaste, an interproximal brush, and a handy mirror to make sure you’re good to go. When you know your teeth and braces are their cleanest, you can’t help but feel more confident.

  • Express Yourself

Braces are no longer the one-style-fits-all appliances of the past. Traditional metal braces at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office are more compact, and now come in different colors and shapes. Metal brackets are typical, but ceramic brackets are an option for an almost unnoticeable look. And don’t forget to accessorize!

You can choose from a rainbow of band colors to make a fashion statement that’s uniquely you. Show your spirit with school colors, celebrate the holidays with festive tones, or choose shades that do wonders for your coloring. Whether you go for bold contrast, mono-chromatic subtlety, or “just because I’m in the mood” quirky combinations, let your braces showcase your style. And remember—you can change that style with every adjustment!

  • Smile with Confidence

Nothing looks better on you than a confident smile. If you’re a little unsure, practice! Some mirror or selfie time will get you used to seeing yourself in braces. Break them in with friends and family before you go public. Remember that any difficulties with talking or eating should only last a little while.

Above all, you’re still your unique and valued self. You can wear braces and be a good friend, a student, an athlete, a lovestruck Juliet on the theater balcony, a star at your after-school job. Don’t let wearing braces hold you back from the activities you love.  Act like your old self, and you’ll soon feel like your old self!

It’s normal to feel a little self-conscious when you first get your braces. But when you care for yourself and your braces, good things happen! If you’re having difficulty adjusting, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky. We want to help make sure your journey to a beautiful, healthy smile is as rewarding and as positive as it can be.

Does my child need two-phase treatment?

August 9th, 2023

You might be surprised to see one of your second grader’s friends with a dental appliance. Isn’t orthodontic work just for teenagers? And, if not, should your seven-year-old be sporting braces right now? The answer to both of those questions is “Not necessarily.” Two-phase treatment is a process designed to correct issues that arise during different times in your child’s life.

First Phase Treatment

We recommend that every child have an orthodontic evaluation around the age of seven to determine if there is a problem that would benefit from early treatment. First phase orthodontics is not the same as orthodontics for older patients. The focus here is on the developing bone and muscle structures which form your child’s bite and provide space for the permanent teeth when they arrive.

There are some clear-cut orthodontic goals that are much easier to attain when children’s bones are still growing.

  • Reducing Crowding

If your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth will have little room to fit in when they arrive. We may recommend gently enlarging the upper dental arch with the use of a palatal expander. This device will provide room for the adult teeth, and could potentially shorten second phase treatment time. Sometimes the extractions necessary to create more room for permanent teeth in later years can be avoided, as well as the possibility of an impacted tooth—one which doesn’t erupt because it is blocked by other teeth.

  • Dealing with Jaw and Bite Concerns

Bones and muscles do not always develop properly, leading to problems with jaw and facial structure. Your younger child still has growing bones, so this is a great time to gently re-form the jaw into a healthy shape. Problems caused by crossbites, underbites, open bites, and other malocclusions can be reduced with early treatment.  

  • Protecting Teeth

If your child has protruding front teeth, these teeth are more likely to be damaged in falls, at play, or while participating in sports. We can gently reposition them.

Second Phase Treatment

Second phase treatment is designed for your older child. After a resting period, when the permanent teeth finish erupting, we should see your child to evaluate any further orthodontic needs. This is the time to finish the process of straightening the teeth and making sure that each tooth fits together properly for a comfortable and healthy bite. This phase usually makes use of braces or aligners, and can take approximately 12-24 months.

Two-phase treatment is not necessary for every child. But there are some unique reasons that early orthodontics might be recommended for your child, even if it’s clear that more orthodontic work will be needed later. Make an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, and let’s evaluate your child’s orthodontic needs, whether now or in the future, for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

Heading Back to School? Save Some Room in Your Backpack!

August 2nd, 2023

If you’re heading back to classes in the next few weeks, you’re probably getting your gear together now. So let’s talk about some of the items you can pack to make orthodontic care easier during school hours.

  • Dental-Healthy Food

Watching what foods you eat is especially important now. If you’re carrying your lunch or snacks in your pack, you want to be sure that they’re approved for braces and aligners.

If you wear braces, avoid foods which are sticky, chewy, or crunchy. They can stick to your teeth (making it easier for cavities to develop) or cause damage to your brackets and wires (making repairs necessary). Your orthodontist will give you a list of braces-friendly foods.

If you have clear aligners, even though you’ll remove them to eat, that sticky rule still applies. You don’t want food trapped in your aligners if you can’t brush right after eating, because that food is also food for the oral bacteria which cause cavities.

Bringing a water bottle with you is a great idea if it’s hard to brush after eating. Rinsing with water is a good way to get rid of loose food particles, and staying hydrated helps maintain normal saliva production—which also helps wash away food debris.

  • Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss

It’s best to clean your teeth after every snack and meal if at all possible. A travel-sized brush, toothpaste, and dental floss or picks designed for braces will help you get rid of any unwanted dental leftovers. And a small mirror can help you discover any lingering food particles.

It’s especially important now to practice careful hygiene, so be sure to wash your hands before and after cleaning your teeth or appliances.

  • Your Aligner or Retainer Case

Whenever you take off your retainer or aligners to eat, you should always have your case handy. Cases make sure your appliances stay off germy desk and table surfaces—or worse, floors—and protect them from breakage. A case is also a good way to make sure your retainer doesn’t accidentally end up in a trash bin after lunch.

Again, before and after you handle your braces, aligners, or retainer, be sure to wash your hands carefully.

  • Dental Wax & Extra Bands

Sometimes a wire comes loose or a bracket irritates the inside of your cheeks or mouth. In this case, dental wax is a great way to protect yourself from irritation and injury. And if a band is lost or breaks, it’s always good to have a spare (or two) handy. As always, handwashing rules apply!

  • Your Mouth Guard

If your afterschool activities involve contact sports, a mouthguard is always a good idea, and especially when you wear braces. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can create a custom guard which will protect your teeth, your delicate mouth tissue, and your braces from many impact injuries.

  • Your Orthodontist’s Phone Number

One important item that takes up almost no space in your backpack, locker, or phone is the phone number for our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. If your braces are damaged, or if your aligner or retainer is lost or broken, we will let you know what to do until you can safely visit the office in person.

Talk to our team about how to care for your braces or aligners while you’re at school, and talk to your school about how you can manage your dental care safely during school hours.

Adults and Braces

July 26th, 2023

Braces aren’t just for kids. Many grownups are taking advantage of orthodontic treatment and having their teeth straightened at a later age.

Sometimes, patients include adults who already had braces in the past, but their teeth shifted over time once they stopped wearing their retainers. In other cases, adults who have never had braces are tired of having crooked teeth and ready to invest in a beautiful smile.

Whatever the case may be, if you’re looking to straighten your teeth with braces, Dr. Yan Razdolsky would love to help you with this process. Having a dazzling smile can increase your confidence in all areas of your life!

Depending on what you’re willing to spend and how quickly you would like to complete the process, you have various options for getting braces. We all know what traditional metal braces look like. This is a less-expensive route for individuals who have severely crooked or displaced teeth. However, many adults avoid option because the braces are noticeable or distracting in a professional atmosphere.

For people concerned about aesthetics, clear ceramic braces may be a preferable option. This type can still fix extremely crooked teeth or jaw alignment issues. It may be slightly more expensive than traditional metal braces. Patients who choose this treatment route need to be careful not to stain the clear adhesives by drinking too much coffee, red wine, soda, or other beverages that can discolor teeth.

Another great option for adults who don’t want to have visible braces is a clear aligner treatment known as Invisalign®. This popular option differs from traditional braces by featuring a series of clear aligners that are each custom-made for your teeth.

The entire process can take anywhere from three to 18 months to straighten your teeth completely. This may not be the best choice for patients who have an overcrowded mouth or extreme bite issues. Invisalign is often the most expensive option, but it’s great if you’re concerned about your appearance while your teeth are being straightened.

If you’ve been thinking about straightening your teeth with the help of braces, don’t hesitate to contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to set up a consultation. From there, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can figure out the best course of treatment, depending on your budget and overall needs.

Adult braces can be a great way to boost your confidence and finally give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Treatment Options for TMD

July 26th, 2023

Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to a diverse range of disorders that relate to muscular function in the jaw and face — the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). That could mean difficulty opening your mouth, pain in the jaw or face, or any sort of problem with the jaw joint.

TMD can be difficult to diagnose because of the varied causes. Whatever the case, an accurate diagnosis from Dr. Yan Razdolsky helps make treatment as successful as possible.

Most often, jaw problems will resolve themselves within several weeks or months. Surgeries like arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery should be a last resort. More conservative and reversible treatments should come first and are in fact the most critical step in the treatment of TMD.

Less invasive treatments like acupuncture and splints can be helpful, but that will depend on your particular case. It’s worth your while to speak with Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to learn about solutions that could work for you.

A combination of treatments will most often produce the greatest relief for TMJ patients. It’s a good idea to avoid activities that overuse the jaws, such as chewing gum or clenching your jaws.

You can be proactive in finding relief for TMD by trying the following remedies at home:

  • Eat soft food: When you eat soft and/or blended food, your jaw gets an opportunity to rest. Avoid chewy and crunchy food, and food that requires you to open your mouth wide, like apples or corn on the cob.
  • Apply moist heat: A hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel can help reduce symptoms.
  • Apply ice: Applying an ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel for no longer than 15 minutes may also reduce pain and promote healing.
  • Do jaw exercises: A physical therapist can help identify the exercises that will work for you. Jaw exercises have been shown to be an effective treatment method that can be performed at home.
  • Relaxation: Actively try to relax the muscles of the face and lips, and let your teeth come apart. Many find meditation, yoga, and slow, deep breathing to be helpful for reducing stress and tension.
  • Avoid wide yawns: Keep your fist under your jaw when you feel a yawn coming on, to keep your jaw from opening too widely.

In-Ovation® Benefits

July 19th, 2023

In-Ovation braces are much smaller than traditional braces, are less noticeable on your teeth, and use the method of self-ligation. This type of braces doesn’t require the use of the elastic bands to keep the wires in the correct place, which makes your orthodontic experience more convenient and comfortable.

There are two types of In-Ovation braces: In-Ovation R and In-Ovation C, both of which supply the same benefits of less pain than traditional braces, shorter treatment time, and a beautiful smile!

In-Ovation R Braces

This impressive orthodontic treatment is specifically aimed to provide you with a better hygienic and aesthetically favorable treatment procedure while moving your misaligned and crooked teeth into a better more attractive position.

In addition, the distinctive method of In-Ovation R braces provides less discomfort because there is nearly no pressure applied to your teeth. Another benefit of In-Ovation R braces is you do not require as many visits with Dr. Yan Razdolsky during your treatment process.

Other benefits include:

  • Quicker treatment time: About four months shorter than the traditional braces
  • More comfortable
  • Fewer visits to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office
  • Enhanced facial aesthetics
  • Shorter orthodontic appointments with no uncomfortable adjustments
  • No elastic bands or metal allows for easy care of your dental health and a reduction in the risk of developing cavities

With traditional metal braces, elastic bands are used to keep the wires in place. In-Ovation R braces use a free-sliding technology that gently moves your teeth while implementing minimal to no pressure. The procedure can also make the entire progress quicker and completed without all the discomfort and inconvenience.

In-Ovation C

In-Ovation C braces offer all same the benefits of In-Ovation R, with one small difference: this type of braces is clear in color. Rhodium (a silvery-white metallic element) covers the clips making the In-Ovation C braces appear less visible. In-Ovation C braces offer a more inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth, and give you that beautiful smile you always wanted.

Sugar and Your Orthodontic Treatment

July 19th, 2023

One word no one likes to hear is “cavity!”

For those patients of ours wearing braces, hearing that word is especially problematic, considering that delaying any dental work may result in delaying treatment time.

We often blame candy as the culprit behind tooth decay, but other foods and drinks that kids consume can be just as harmful to their teeth, and can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Keeping your teeth or your child’s teeth from decay during treatment starts with a proper diet, and today, our team at Forever Smiles will explain the negative effects that candy and other treats, including peanut butter, raisins, fruit juice, and chewy fruit snacks, have on your child’s teeth as he or she undergoes orthodontic treatment. Keep in mind that half of your child’s sugar intake may be coming from beverages that he or she drinks. A major offender is soda, but be mindful of fruit juices as well.

While sugar is known to sit in your child’s teeth and in between and under brackets and wires after consumption, it is important to know sugar is not the only cavity-causing culprit. Carbohydrates, starches, acids, and any food that is chewy or sticks break down into sugars, and can promote tooth decay.

So, what are the alternatives?

Candy such as dark chocolate, sugar-free gum, or anything that contains xylitol, a sugar substitute, is not as harmful for your teeth as hard, chewy, or sticky sweets. Sugar-free gum or gum that contains xylitol are known to reduce levels of bacteria on teeth.

And if you’re still looking for something to snack on, we recommend cutting up easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables. You would also be surprised how much eating a banana or sipping on a glass of water helps you curb snack cravings.

If you’re one of those folks who just can’t stay away from sweets, we encourage you to brush your teeth immediately afterward and swish water in your mouth.

Whatever you eat, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team want you to remember to brush often, floss regularly, and visit your general dentist as your treatment progresses. If you have any questions about sugary foods or drinks, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!

Orthodontic Treatment—The Sequel

July 12th, 2023

Some experiences are great, and we look forward to enjoying them again and again. Others have wonderful outcomes, but you feel no need for a sequel. If you’re wondering whether you need to revisit orthodontic treatment, you’re probably in this second group.

After all, you put in your time as a teenager. All those days in bands and braces, all the adjustments, all that cleaning with little tiny tools in little tiny places. That was a lot of work, and you reaped the rewards of your conscientious orthodontic habits with beautifully aligned teeth and a healthy, comfortable bite.

But now you’ve started to notice that your teeth aren’t quite as beautifully aligned, or your bite’s not quite as comfortable. So, what’s happened? Let’s look at some possibilities, and whether a return to the orthodontist’s office is in order.

  • You’ve Lost a Tooth

If you’ve lost a tooth because of injury or decay, that gap is an open invitation for surrounding teeth to move in to fill the void. Whenever you lose a tooth, consider an implant. Implants function, look, and maintain healthy spacing just like natural teeth.

One thing implants can’t do? Move like our own teeth will during orthodontic treatment. Your natural teeth can move because they are held in place within the bone by flexible periodontal ligaments. Implants, on the other hand, are anchored directly to the bone for stability.

If you’re considering new or further orthodontic work and want to replace a lost tooth with an implant, it’s a good idea to talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky to discover the best timing and scheduling for your procedures.

  • You’ve Gained a Tooth

Problems with your alignment can also arise if you add a tooth or teeth. If you’re in your late teens or early twenties, wisdom teeth could be in your near future. And a new tooth can throw off the spacing and alignment of your existing teeth.

Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about your options if your wisdom teeth are about to make an appearance, and if it looks like your tooth and bite alignment might be affected.

  • You’re Getting Older

Our teeth naturally tend to shift as we age. Teeth move forward, causing crowded or crooked front teeth—especially on the lower jaw. There’s even a medical term for this phenomenon: mesial drift. While we don’t know exactly why this drifting occurs, we can treat it.

Adults make up a large—and growing—segment of orthodontic patients. If your teeth have lost their ideal alignment over time, a visit to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office is a great way to bring your youthful smile back. And you’ll probably find your treatment much shorter and more comfortable than it was decades earlier!

  • You Haven’t Been Wearing Your Retainer

Remember that word “conscientious” in the second paragraph? You need to wear your retainer conscientiously, for as often and for as long as recommended by Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

If you’ve been ignoring a damaged retainer, or you keep forgetting to look for your lost retainer, or you have a perfect, undamaged retainer sitting unworn on your dresser, your teeth can start to shift out of their hard-won alignment within a short time.

Does this mean it’s back to months of bands and adjustments and appointments? Maybe not! See us as soon as you notice any changes in your teeth or bite. When caught early, shifting teeth can be treated much more easily.

What can we do to help you regain your best smile? A lot!

  • Treatment Planning

When you need to accommodate implants, wisdom teeth, or other dental work which could affect your tooth alignment, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can work with your dentist to make sure your alignment isn’t disturbed in the process. They can also map out a treatment schedule which coordinates your other procedures with any orthodontic treatment.

  • Retainer Evaluation/Adjustment

Your retainer is probably a passive retainer, meaning it keeps your teeth in place instead of moving them. If you notice your alignment shifting, or if your retainer is uncomfortable when you try to put it on after a lapse in nightly wear, ask us about a replacement.

  • Active Retainers

An active retainer helps move teeth into alignment rather than simply keeping them in place. A new active retainer might be just what you need to correct a slight shift.

  • Aligners or Braces

If you have some serious shifting going on, we might recommend a second round of treatment with clear aligners or braces. But there’s good news here, as well! Treatment to correct an orthodontic relapse usually takes less time than it did originally, and treatment options are more comfortable and less noticeable than ever before.

Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about an orthodontic sequel if you have any concerns about changes in your bite or alignment. You might need only a simple retainer adjustment or a short time in clear aligners or traditional braces to make your smile its best and healthiest once again. And this time, remember to wear your retainer to make sure there’s no need for Orthodontics—Part III!

When should my child be seen for an orthodontic evaluation?

July 12th, 2023

Thanks for asking! It really depends on the dental age of the patient rather than their chronological age. Usually a good time to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist is after the front permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth or if there appears to be extreme crowding of the teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children between the ages of seven and nine should be evaluated by an orthodontist. There are times when an early developmental treatment is indicated to correct situations before they become major problems. In these circumstances the patient will most likely benefit from a second phase of orthodontics when all of their permanent teeth have erupted.

Most full orthodontic treatment begins between ages nine and 14, and lasts from one to three years, with two years being the average. It’s important, however, that children be screened at an early age for Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff to assess if your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment and when treatment should begin.

We hope this helps, and invite you to give us a call if you have any questions about your child’s treatment at Forever Smiles.

When Your Permanent Retainer—Isn’t

July 5th, 2023

Even though it’s called a “permanent retainer,” your fixed retainer isn’t necessarily meant to last a lifetime. But with care, it should last just as long as you need it, keeping your teeth perfectly aligned after your orthodontic treatment is complete. Why is this retainer the one to choose for challenging alignments?

A fixed retainer is often used for teeth which were very crowded or had large gaps before treatment, especially along the bottom teeth, which tend to shift more. With a permanent retainer, a custom fitted wire is attached with a bonding adhesive to the back of each of the selected teeth. This design makes sure that the teeth can’t shift out of place while your bones and ligaments strengthen around them.

Occasionally, though, your permanent retainer isn’t quite as permanent as it should be. If you think your fixed retainer is becoming “unfixed,” what clues should you look for?

  • Broken wire

A clearly broken wire can be obvious, or you might discover it when you notice pain or irritation caused by the end of a wire poking around your tongue or mouth.

  • Loose bond

The orthodontic adhesive used to bond the wire to each tooth can come loose as the result of an accident, an unfortunately chewy treat, or simply with the passage of time.

  • Shifting teeth

You might not notice anything wrong with your retainer, but what you do notice is that your once-straight teeth have started shifting back to their old positions. If you see any movement in your teeth, your retainer might need repair.

What should you do?

  • Give our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove orthodontic office a call! It’s important to act promptly to prevent further retainer damage, oral discomfort, and tooth misalignment.
  • Rinse with warm water if your mouth is irritated.
  • If a wire is poking you, call us for advice on gently pushing it back into place.
  • Orthodontic wax can protect your teeth and tissue from detached wires.
  • If you have a clear retainer, wear it until you can come in. If you don’t have one, and you can’t see us immediately, ask if an over the counter moldable retainer is a good idea to help keep your teeth aligned in the meantime.

One benefit of a fixed retainer is that it’s almost invisible because it’s behind your teeth. But this hidden location can also make it difficult to notice potential problems. Fortunately, there are some proactive steps you can take to help your permanent retainer—and your bite—stay healthy:

  • Avoid foods which are sticky, hard, or chewy. If a food can damage traditional braces, it can damage your retainer.
  • Wear protective gear like mouthguards and helmets when you’re active—they protect more than just your retainer!
  • Ask your dentist to examine your retainer adhesive’s staying power whenever you have a checkup.

If you notice a detached wire or loose adhesive or see your teeth shifting, give Dr. Yan Razdolsky a call. It’s important to act promptly to fix a fixed retainer, because your teeth and bite alignment are in jeopardy when you delay. And always bring your retainer (or retainer pieces) with you in case we can repair it.

Permanent retainers don’t necessarily last forever. But whether your fixed retainer is going to be with you long-term, or whether you’re going to transition to a removable retainer in the future, let’s make sure your permanent retainer is just as “permanent” as it needs to be!

Tell us about your summer!

July 5th, 2023

The dog days of summer are upon us, and what better time for Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team to ask our patients about their summer!

Whether you visited our nation’s capital, went on a camping trip, or just stayed in Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove and relaxed, we want to know how you’re all spending your summer! Please feel free to share your summer plans and experiences with us below or on our Facebook page as summer rolls on!

Shark Teeth

June 28th, 2023

It seems like sharks are everywhere these days—on land, sea, and air(waves). A halftime show meme gone viral. A week of summer TV devoted to our favorite apex predators. And who doesn’t have “Baby Shark” playing in their heads all day once they’ve heard it? But are we jumping the shark to discuss this topic in an orthodontic blog?

Not at all! Because today, we’re going to talk about shark teeth—just not the ones you might be expecting.

One of the expected sights when a shark opens its mouth are those rows and rows of shiny shark teeth. Sharks can grow from two to 15 rows of teeth at any one time (and some sharks have even more). This means sharp new teeth are always ready to replace any shark tooth which is lost, broken, or worn out.

An unexpected sight? When children point to their new adult tooth or teeth coming in—right behind their still-firmly rooted baby teeth! This double set of teeth is called “shark teeth,” and, while it certainly might come as a surprise, it’s not all that uncommon. But why do children develop shark teeth at all?

After all, baby, or primary, teeth have small roots, and are designed to come out easily when the adult teeth start arriving. When a permanent tooth starts to erupt, it pushes against the root of the baby tooth above it. This pressure gradually dissolves the root of the primary tooth, and with nothing to anchor it, it’s now loose, wiggly, and ready to fall out. That’s why baby teeth often look like they have no roots at all when they eventually wiggle free.

Sometimes, though, the roots of a primary tooth don’t break down, which means baby teeth stay right where they are. It also means that the permanent teeth have to erupt somewhere else—usually behind those stubborn little baby teeth.

Shark teeth can first appear around the ages of five to seven when the permanent front teeth start arriving, or several years later, when the adult molars begin to come in. Any extra teeth in one small jaw naturally raise concerns about tooth misalignment, especially when those extra teeth are molars. If double molars are causing crowding, it’s a good time for your child to have an orthodontic examination at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to make sure the permanent teeth are properly positioned.

Unlike sharks, we don’t have an endless supply of replacement teeth, so it’s understandable to worry when you see anything unexpected. If you want to know more about shark teeth, or if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to call Dr. Yan Razdolsky for expert advice.

Happy Fourth of July

June 28th, 2023

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Ouch! Are You Biting Your Cheeks More Often?

June 22nd, 2023

You’re biting into something delicious, and, Ouch! You bite into something you didn’t mean to—the inside of your tender cheek.

Painful moments like this happen every now and again. But if you find that more frequent cheek biting means that you’re extra-cautious when eating or speaking, if you wake up with sore cheeks in the morning, or if you catch yourself gnawing on your cheeks during the day, it’s time to see Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

Causes of Cheek Biting

Many of us experience the occasional cheek chomp when we’re eating or talking. No fun! Besides the pain, a bite can cause broken skin, inflammation, a canker sore, or a cyst. Luckily, the discomfort from these accidental bites generally resolves after a few days.  

Sometimes, though, biting becomes a more frequent annoyance. Regular bites can be caused by several conditions. One of the most common?

  • Orthodontic Misalignment

If you notice that you seem to be biting your cheek a lot when eating or speaking, it could be an orthodontic problem. When your teeth or jaws don’t align properly, if your mouth is small in proportion to your teeth, or if your teeth have shifted over time, your cheeks can feel the consequences! Dr. Yan Razdolsky can help you discover if a misaligned bite is the source of your biting problems.

But it’s not just orthodontic problems which can cause painful cheek bites. Other causes can include:

  • Bruxism

Bruxism is a medical term for tooth grinding. If you clench or grind your teeth as you sleep, it’s hard on your teeth and on your jaws. And for some people, that nightly gnashing causes cheek biting as well.

  • Wisdom Teeth

Most of us don’t have the room to welcome four new—and large—teeth. As the wisdom teeth come in, they can cause bites, especially if they erupt leaning outward toward your cheeks. They can also push your other teeth out of place.

Treatment Options

Why visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove orthodontic office? A one-time bite can be extremely uncomfortable, and might lead to inflammation or a sore spot inside your mouth. Usually, these reactions fade in a short while.

But what about continuous biting? Regular biting injuries can lead to bigger problems. Tissue can get thicker or erode. Scar tissue can build up inside the mouth. Ulcers and other sores can become larger and more painful.

If you’ve been biting your cheeks more often, your orthodontist can diagnose the cause and offer you treatment options depending on the reason for this frequent biting:

  • Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can improve tooth and bite alignment—and can eliminate those painful cheek bites if misalignment is what’s causing them. Today’s orthodontics offers more options than ever before, for both adults and kids.

  • Traditional braces are more effective—and more subtle—than ever, with brackets which are smaller or come in clear and ceramic styles.
  • Clear aligners are a convenient, almost invisible way to treat misalignment with a series of trays which gradually improve alignment with each new set.
  • Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth, so there are no visible brackets and wires.
  • Functional appliances can improve and correct bite issues which braces or aligners alone can’t treat as effectively.

Whatever the reason for painful cheek biting, you deserve to eat and speak and enjoy your day without constant “Ouch!” moments affecting your comfort and health. If these moments are happening all too often, visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for the answers to your biting problems.

When You Need Immediate Care, We are Here for You

June 22nd, 2023

At Forever Smiles, we know orthodontic emergencies are neither convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team are more than willing to see you after hours or over the weekend. As a general rule, you should call our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. If you have an orthodontic emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call and follow the emergency prompts to contact one of our doctors.

AAO Chicago 2023: The World’s Greatest Celebration of Orthodontics

June 15th, 2023

In April, the American Association of Orthodontists Annual Meeting hosted approximately 15,000 orthodontists, specialists, and our own hometown orthodontic team, boasting it as the world's largest celebration doctors who are committed to straightening your teeth (and creating beautiful Forever Smiles). Once every ten years it takes place in our own backyard - Chicago! But what makes this event like none other is that Chicago represents the largest and most actively engaged community of orthodontists and ortho teams in the field.

At this year’s conference, our favorite Forever Smiles team joined the annual session’s Innovation & Tech Talk path to discuss and learn more about the latest advances in orthodontics including valuable insights and developments in 3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), and customized appliances. Yes, AI has been utilized in the orthodontic field for some time now. For more than 15 years Dr. Yan has been using SureSmile Technology. This system uses AI algorithms to analyze patient data, including 3D scans of the teeth and jaws to generate a customized virtual treatment plan. The AI technology portion of this system helps in the automation and optimization of treatment planning, allowing Dr. Yan to achieve precise and efficient tooth movement. This treatment plan is then systematically used by robotic systems to craft customized archwires, improving the overall accuracy and efficiency by which we ensure your beautiful Forever Smile. For patients, this means we can more accurately predict your finished results and reduce treatment time by as much as 34 percent!

Another major innovation in discussion, or of particular interest to Dr. Yan was a presentation on Dental Autotransplantation as treatment for children with missing teeth. The program reviewed the current options for treatment along with case reports that illustrate successful treatment outcomes.

“This was a particularly interesting presentation as it influences the delivery of care for patients who suffer from social insecurities without a complete smile,” said Dr. Yan. “Autotransplantation is an alternative treatment option to metal implants, specifically in children. This novel method of endodontic therapy involves transplanting a partial root development for a missing tooth, followed by teeth alignment once the tooth has grown into place. It’s fascinating!”

According to one study in children younger than 13, autotransplants had lower annual failure rates when compared to implants and conventional prostheses. You see, implants require long periods of space maintenance and then placement of an implant later. Whereas autotransplantation allows for continuous skeletal growth and preservation of the tissues that support the teeth. So in theory, autotransplantation can result in significant savings in time and cost in younger, still developing patients. Plus, this treatment option still allows for orthodontic treatment of the remaining teeth.

Fascinating indeed! With educational sessions, keynote addresses and amazing technologies shared by exhibitors and peers, AAO 2023 Chicago was more than just another day at the office. It’s another way our Forever Smiles family strives to connect, grow, and learn to better help our patients.

Terheyden, H., Wüsthoff, F. Occlusal rehabilitation in patients with congenitally missing teeth—dental implants, conventional prosthetics, tooth autotransplants, and preservation of deciduous teeth—a systematic review. Int J Implant Dent 1, 30 (2015).

Nimcenko T, Omerca G, Varinauskas V, Bramanti E, Signorino F, Cicciù M. Tooth auto-transplantation as an alternative treatment option: A literature review. Dent Res J 2013;10:1-6.

Five “Don’ts” When You Wear Aligners

June 15th, 2023

Choosing clear aligners was a great decision on your part! Straight teeth and a healthy bite? Subtle, almost invisible aligners? 3D technology custom-designed just for you? All the positives we’ve come to expect from your choice of orthodontic treatment.

So, don’t sabotage your good work! Here are five negative habits that will prevent you from getting the most out of your aligners:

  1. Don’t forget to keep them clean

One of the reasons you chose clear aligners is because they are nearly invisible. But careless cleaning habits can leave them discolored, scratched, or cloudy. Soaking in colored mouthwash can stain aligners. Using abrasive cleaning products or brushing with a heavy hand can cause scratches. And failing to keep aligners clean can lead to a buildup of cloudy plaque. Talk to us! We know all the best products and practices to keep your aligners their most sanitary—and most invisible.

  1. Don’t eat with your aligners in place

Aligners are simply not meant to be used while you eat. Chewing puts too much stress and pressure on them, and can lead to aligner damage and even breakage. Because you will be wearing your aligners for most of the day, planning ahead for your meals is key. One bonus: it’s a great way to eliminate unconscious snacking.

  1. Don’t let foods or drinks stain your aligners

It’s great that you take your aligners out to eat, but do you remember to brush before you replace them? Foods like spaghetti sauce and blueberries that stick to your enamel can stain your aligners. And it’s always best to remove your aligners before drinking a beverage. If a drink can stain your teeth, it can stain your aligners. Red wines, dark juices, colas, and, of course, coffee and tea can cause discoloration. Another thing to consider? Food particles in the trays can not only stain your aligners (and your enamel), but keep your teeth in contact with the acids and sugars that lead to cavities.

  1. Don’t run hot

Aligners are formed using heat, so it makes sense that heat can de-form them as well. Drinking hot beverages with your aligners in place can change their shape—and even subtle changes will affect your progress. Since warped aligners might have to be replaced, save the piping hot beverages for those times you’re not wearing aligners. It’s best not to clean them with very hot water as well.

  1. Don’t forget to wear them

Aligners need to be worn approximately 20-22 hours each day. If you’re not putting in the required time, you’re delaying your progress. If you’re having trouble with scheduling meals or activities, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky when you visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. We have suggestions.

But let’s not just dwell on the negatives. We like to focus on the positive, too, so here’s the one item on your “Do List” that will absolutely make your aligner experience the best it can be:

Do follow our recommendations!

Clean your aligners with the proper tools and products—and clean your teeth and aligners after every meal and snack. Remember that water is the only guaranteed problem-free beverage. Don’t expose aligners to heat or eat with them in place, because they can be warped or damaged. And be sure to wear them as long as you need to each day—this will keep your treatment on track and on schedule.

Enjoying a future filled with beautiful, healthy smiles? That’s not just a positive—it’s a happily-ever-after!

Looking Back at the Old Days of Braces

June 15th, 2023

Braces can be painful, but if you are a teen who loves being social, the worst part about them can be their look. They show up in your photos, and you will not be able to take braces-free photos for several months, or even years. The time will pass, though, and your teeth will be the better for it. In the meantime, consider the other people who have survived braces.

Plenty of People Get Braces

There are many reasons for getting braces:

  • Correct an overbite or underbite
  • Straighten teeth
  • Fix poorly-spaced teeth

With so many possible ways to get braces, it’s no surprise that they are so common.

Find Out Who Had Braces

The long lists of celebrities who had braces as teenagers or even adults can give you the comfort of knowing you are in good company. Even better, these lists provide visible proof that there is life on the other side of braces. Actors and actresses on the Cosby Show, Scrubs, and Ugly Betty, as well as tennis star Martina Hingis and Miss America 1975, Shirley Cothran, had braces. Ask your parents. If they didn’t have braces, there is a good chance that some of their siblings did.

Benefits of Braces

Wearing braces can make your life a lot better in the future. Your teeth will be more attractive, and your smile will shine through in photos of you. Straight teeth are not just about looks, though. They can prevent a variety of health problems, such as caries, gum disease, speech impairments, and trouble chewing. Be patient, and the benefits of braces will come.

What Did You Do on Your Summer Vacation?

June 7th, 2023

The best part of summer vacation is time. Time to hang with friends, time to travel, time to get a summer job, time to catch your breath after a busy school year. And if Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team have recommended braces, summer is also a great time to start orthodontic treatment!

  • Time for Office Visits

It can be easier to get an appointment in the summer because many patients and their families are on vacation. And, because your earliest visits are generally the longest, you won’t have to disrupt your school schedule as much or work around after-school activities.

  • Time to Get Used to Your Appliance

There can be some discomfort in the first few days after you get your braces, so you might find it’s more convenient and comfortable to be at home. You’ll have time to get used to choosing and eating braces-friendly foods, to practice speaking clearly with new braces or aligners, to appreciate your new look. And your friends will have time to get used to your braces, too!

  • Time to Establish New Dental Routines

Over the years, you’ve gotten used to brushing at least twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least one a day. Now it’s time to add some new moves. Brackets and wires can trap food particles and lead to a greater risk of cavities, so you’ll need some new tools to keep your braces their cleanest.

There are toothbrushes that have heads designed especially for cleaning around brackets. Floss threaders get floss in between wire and brackets, or use a floss specifically designed for braces. Little cone-shaped brushes called interproximal brushes fit around your braces and under your wires to remove hard-to-reach food particles and plaque.

Getting your cleaning routine down during the summer will help you take care of any clinging food particles quickly during your lunch hour or before after-school activities. And, you’ll know exactly what dental supplies you’ll need in your locker.

  • Time to Make Adjustments to Your Extra-Curricular Activities

Braces or aligners will provide you with a future filled with beautiful smiles, but they might require some present-day adjustments in your normal activities.

If you play a sport, especially where contact is possible, a custom mouthguard is the best way to protect your teeth, your jaw, and your braces in case of collision or a fall. Let us know what sports you play as soon as you get your braces.

If you play a reed or wind instrument, you might have to adjust the way you use your lips and teeth to produce your sound. Learning to use dental wax to cover brackets and protect your lips and mouth is well worth it. If you take lessons, talk to your instructor about the best way to adapt to your braces if you think your tone has been affected.

If you are in speech or drama, it could take a while to be comfortable with your articulation. Talk to us if you find you are having problems with your regular pronunciation for some great suggestions on getting back to normal as quickly as possible.

Summer certainly offers some advantages in giving you the time you need to get comfortable with your braces or aligners. But, there’s really no bad time to begin your orthodontic treatment. Spring, summer, fall, or winter, we’re here to help make sure your treatment experience at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office is a positive one. After all, working toward a lifetime of beautiful smiles is always in season.

Digital X-rays

May 31st, 2023

Modern orthodontic technology has changed the way you wear braces. Brackets are smaller and come in a variety of shapes and colors. Wires are more efficient. Clear aligners can eliminate the need for brackets and wires altogether. And your high-tech advantages don’t stop there—today’s digital X-rays make creating your treatment plan even more convenient and efficient.

Why Are X-rays Necessary?

Beautifully aligned teeth and a healthy bite are the visible result of your orthodontic work, but there’s a lot going on above and below the surface that needs to be discovered and taken into account before your treatment even begins. X-rays help Dr. Yan Razdolsky evaluate:

  • The size, shape, and position of your teeth, including impacted teeth and wisdom teeth
  • The size, position, and health of your roots throughout treatment
  • The size and shape of your jaw bones, and how they affect your teeth alignment and bite
  • Your progress during different phases of treatment
  • The most effective type of retainer for protecting your beautiful smile after treatment.

How Do X-rays Work?

Traditional X-rays, or radiographs, make use of film just like traditional cameras. When you have an intraoral X-ray, for example, the film is sealed in a moisture- and light-proof packet, and placed inside the mouth to capture images of specific teeth and the bone around them.

The X-ray machine is aligned precisely with the film and an exposure is taken. The image at this point is latent, and won’t show on the film, because, just like photo film, traditional radiographs need to be chemically processed before they produce a visible image.

Digital technology, on the other hand, uses an electronic sensor instead of film. For an intraoral digital X-ray, a small sensor is positioned in the mouth just like a film. When the X-ray is taken, a digital image capture device produces an image which is formed by a matrix of pixels instead of a photo-like film exposure. This format allows the image to be sent directly to a computer for immediate display without requiring processing.

Even though these methods seem very similar, digital X-rays offer some significant advantages over traditional films. Let’s look at how they compare, more or less.

  • More Diagnostic Advantages

A traditional X-ray is a fixed image. It cannot be modified or enhanced. Here the digital X-ray offers a clear advantage in evaluating your teeth and the bone structure surrounding them.

Just as you can enlarge certain types of images on your computer without blurring or losing detail, a digital X-ray uses computer software to magnify images while keeping their details sharp. They can also be enhanced through brightness and contrast applications to make details stand out even more.

There is even digital subtraction radiography software available that can be used to compare recent images to older ones, removing (“subtracting”) all the similarities in the two images to display only the changes in the two—even small changes—that have taken place over time.

  • Less Exposure to Radiation

Modern technology means traditional X-rays expose patients to less radiation than ever before, but digital X-rays have significant advantages here as well. Radiation exposure can be reduced by an additional 10%, 20%, or more with a digital radiograph.

And while all types of dental X-rays expose you to very little radiation, it’s always best to reduce exposure whenever possible.

  • More Convenient for Sharing and Transmitting

If you need to share your X-rays with another dentist or physician, digital technology allows you to simply have them e-mailed to another office or multiple offices. You no longer need to worry about preserving physical copies, either.

  • Less Waste

Unlike traditional X-rays, digital X-rays don’t need to be processed, so you save time in the office. And while the processing time is not significant (usually several minutes), if you need to repeat some X-rays for a clearer picture, or require different images for several teeth, this time can add up.

Digital X-rays are also more eco-friendly.  The fact that they don’t need to be developed means that the chemicals used to process traditional films are no longer necessary—which also means that there is no need to dispose of chemical waste products afterward.

Our goal is to provide you with the safest, most efficient, and most effective treatment possible. Digital X-rays are an important tool for orthodontists, helping us to provide you with the best treatment plan possible. If you have any questions about digital X-ray technology, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. We’re happy to explain the science—and the benefits—behind this high-tech diagnostic tool.

Water Flossers and Braces

May 31st, 2023

You devote a lot of energy to your orthodontic treatment. Appointments, rubber bands, adjustments, cleaning (so much cleaning)—and why? Because you know that your attractive, healthy smile will be well worth the effort.

But if you find that keeping your teeth and braces clean requires more time and energy than it should, and you’re still not getting the results you’d like, a water flosser might be just the tool you need to help make your cleaning routine easier and more effective.

Plaque and tartar can be a real problem when you wear braces. Cleaning around braces and wires can be a challenge, and it can be difficult to get floss between your teeth and close to your gums, even with special threaders or floss designed to slip behind your wires.

But ignoring bacteria and plaque build-up can lead to cavities, weakened or discolored enamel, and gum problems. Fortunately, a water flosser can help wash away food particles, bacteria, and plaque even in tight, hard-to-reach spaces, while providing gentle cleaning along sensitive gums.

Water flossers use a pulsing stream of water to remove food particles and plaque between and around teeth. You can adjust the water pressure to apply just the right amount of cleaning power, and then direct the flow to your gum line, between your teeth, around your brackets, or anywhere else you need. Some models even offer tapered heads with brushes designed specifically for cleaning braces.

You might consider investing in a water flosser if you have:

  • Mobility issues. If you have joint or mobility issues, a water flosser will let you clean those hard-to-reach areas more easily.
  • Lingual braces. Because lingual braces are on the inside of the teeth, they can be more difficult to clean effectively with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Problems removing plaque. If you find that you are brushing and flossing regularly, but still have plaque build-up around your braces, give water flossing a try.

A beautiful smile is well worth all the time and effort you are devoting to it. If you think a water flosser might save you a bit of that time and effort, and provide better cleaning power, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky  about your options during your next visit to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. We’ll let you know if traditional flossing, a water flosser, or a combination of the two will give you your cleanest, healthiest smile.

Thanks to Invisalign®, you can have a perfect smile without metal wires or brackets!

May 24th, 2023

When it comes to straightening your smile, our team at Forever Smiles knows that having a mouth full of metal braces may not be your idea of fun. Luckily for you, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can offer a cosmetic alternative: Invisalign!

Using a series of clear, comfortable, and completely customized aligners, you can get the smile you’ve always wanted without traditional braces.

Since Invisalign aligners are discreet, they’re hardly noticeable when you speak and smile, and because they’re removable, you can eat and drink whatever you want. Just remember to brush and floss before putting your aligners back in! Treatment with Invisalign is just as effective as with metal braces, and the results are just as amazing!

If you want to know more about Invisalign, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office to schedule an appointment.

Orthodontics and Oral Piercings

May 24th, 2023

Traditional braces and oral piercings—does the inevitable meeting of metals pose any risks? Let’s look at some of the potential problems with oral piercings, and you and Dr. Yan Razdolsky can decide if you should take a break from jewelry while you’re in treatment.

  • Tooth Damage

Enamel is the strongest substance in our bodies, but when up against constant contact with metal? It’s not a fair fight.

Tongue piercings, especially, cause problems for your teeth. Whenever you speak or eat—even while you’re sleeping!—your tongue is making contact with your teeth. This continual tapping of metal on enamel can chip and crack teeth and damage fillings. A serious fracture could mean a root canal.

You’re getting braces to create a more attractive, healthy smile, so keeping your teeth intact is a priority.

  • Gum Problems

Your gums are affected by orthodontic treatment. As the teeth move, the gums, ligaments, and bone around them adapt and even reshape over time. You might notice when you first get your braces, or when you go in for an adjustment, that you have a few days of swollen, sensitive gums afterward. You might also find that you are at greater risk of gingivitis, because it can be harder to keep plaque away from your gumline until you perfect your brushing and flossing skills.

Oral piercings bring their own gingival dangers. Jewelry in the tongue or lip can rub against gum tissue, especially around your lower front teeth. As the gum tissue continues to be irritated and inflamed, it pulls away from the teeth. This process is called gum recession.

Receding gums expose the tops of your roots to cavity-causing bacteria. They make you more sensitive to hot or cold foods. Pockets between gums and teeth can harbor infections that threaten the tooth itself.

Caring for your gums during braces is important for your dental health. Since people with oral piercings have a much higher rate of gum recession that those without, why add one more risk factor to your oral health?

  • Metal vs Metal

Lip and tongue piercings can make contact with traditional brackets and wires, especially if you have a habit of playing with them. And let’s not forget lingual braces! Lingual braces are almost invisible because their brackets and wires are custom fitted to the back of your teeth. Whenever you speak or eat, you’ll be taking the chance that a tongue piercing will damage these custom-made appliances.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky can tell you if your piercings are in any danger of interfering with your braces, but even if you’re planning on aligners, there are additional reasons to consider retiring your oral jewelry. Dental associations and medical associations discourage oral piercings because they can damage teeth and gums. And there’s more. Oral piercings can lead to swelling, bleeding, allergic reactions, infection, and nerve damage.

The reason you’re considering braces is because you want a healthy, attractive smile. Don’t let a tiny piece of jewelry make your life and your treatment more difficult! Do some research and talk to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team about your oral piercings, and come up with a solution that’s best for your health and best for your smile.

Braces-Friendly School Lunches

May 17th, 2023

If your pre-teen or teenager is home for the summer, it’s easy to provide braces-friendly lunch options. The school lunchroom, though, presents another challenge altogether. What menu selections are most compatible with braces? And what can you put in that lunch box or brown bag to provide a tempting, healthy lunch during school hours? Let’s look at some options!

From the Cafeteria

Encourage your student to stick with soft foods that don’t require biting into. Some good choices include:

  • Soup, either creamy or with soft vegetables
  • Salads without crunchy vegetables or croutons
  • Soft, shredded chicken or beef
  • Egg or tuna salad
  • Tofu
  • Pasta
  • Meatloaf
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Soft casseroles
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft breads or tortillas

Bringing a Lunch?

There are many great options for packing a lunch bag! Just remember to keep foods at the proper temperature, with insulated containers for hot foods and two cold sources, such as two frozen gel packs, for cold foods.

  • Sandwiches with soft filling (no chunky peanut butter!) on soft bread. Thinly sliced, easy to chew cold cuts will work, but cold cuts like salami are too chewy. Cut the crusts off if necessary. Cutting sandwich wedges into smaller portions will also make them easier to eat.
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Hummus and soft pita wedges
  • String cheese and soft crackers
  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Soft fruits such as berries or bananas
  • Jell-O or other gelatin dessert cups
  • Pudding cups

When to Say “No, Thank You”

If you have to bite into it, if it’s chewy, or if it’s crunchy, it’s best to choose something else! Here are some common culprits when it comes to broken brackets and wires:

  • Caramel
  • Hard candy
  • Popcorn
  • Whole carrots
  • Whole apples
  • Hard rolls
  • Pizza
  • Corn on the cob

And remember to send your child to school with a brush and floss to clean teeth and braces after lunch. Dental hygiene is very important now, because brackets and wires can both trap food particles and make brushing them away more difficult. This can lead to increased plaque, cavities, and staining around the area of the braces. If it’s impossible to brush, be sure to remind your student to rinse thoroughly with water after eating.

Lunch hour should be a time to relax, get together with friends, and recharge for the rest of the school day. Talk to us about the most (and least) braces-friendly foods and recipes. By learning what foods to avoid and adjusting some old favorites, your school-age child can continue to enjoy healthy, tasty lunches. Most important, visiting Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for an emergency repair will not be on anyone’s list of afterschool activities!

Your Five-Step Guide to Preventing Tooth Decay While Wearing Braces

May 17th, 2023

If you’re wearing braces, then you know they are working hard to straighten your teeth. However, those hard-working braces are also preventing you from easily cleaning your teeth. It is essential that you put some extra attention into preventing tooth decay while wearing your braces. When your braces are finally removed by Dr. Yan Razdolsky, you want a beautiful, white smile, not decayed or stained teeth. Here, we’ve listed the five best ways to ensure you have the smile you’ve always dreamed of once your braces are gone.

Use a Special Toothbrush

A regular toothbrush just doesn’t cut it when you are wearing braces. You also need to use an interdental toothbrush so that you can effectively clean behind the braces. This type of brush has bristles that are shaped like a Christmas tree that can remove food residue in the braces and on the teeth. We also recommend using a WaterPik, with its highly pressurized pulsating water, to help get all of those hard-to-reach places.

Brush after Every Meal

Since braces block food from naturally escaping your teeth after eating, it’s important that you take the time to brush and floss after every meal. The less time food has to sit on your teeth, the less likely it is to cause decay. This may seem like an inconvenience, but trust us, when you get your braces off, you will be very glad you brushed after every meal.

Don't Forget the Mouth Rinse

Even after properly brushing and flossing, there are probably some food particles in your braces. A fluoride mouth rinse is the best way to ensure that every bit of food is removed after meals. If you do not have a mouth rinse available, we suggest using water — it’s better than nothing.

Avoid Sweets

Prevention is definitely the best medicine when it comes to avoiding tooth decay. If you can nix decay-causing sugary foods from the outset, we promise you’ll spend less time trying to treat problems in the future.

Get Regular Checkups

Visit your dentist regularly while you are wearing braces. Our office recommends a thorough cleaning every three to six months. Let our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office know if you have questions about your oral health while in braces - our entire team at Forever Smiles is here to make sure your teeth are as beautifully straight as they are healthy!

2023 Orthodontic Update & Seminar

May 16th, 2023

Learning & Working Together for Patient’s Forever Smiles

Research shows that when dental professionals work together, staying up-to-date with the latest knowledge and techniques, it can improve a patient’s treatment results. It's essential for them to keep learning and honing their skills. That's why, as part of this commitment to our patients, Dr. Yan Razdolsky, Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk and the Forever Smiles team host the Annual Orthodontic Update & Seminar.

For more than 20 years, and most recently just this past April, Dr. Yan has organized this event which features distinguished speakers and leading experts in the field. These discussions provide area dentists, hygienists, and their teams the opportunity to come together, share and learn about the very latest in treatment options for optimal Forever Smiles.

This year’s presentation covered the latest orthodontic treatments and technologies and featured three amazing speakers including our very own Dr. Yan and Dr. Liz, alongside Dr. James Murphy of OMHNA Oral and Maxillofacial Head & Neck Associates of Chicago.

Dr. Murphy’s informative discussion centered around surgical orthodontics, which is a powerful tool for correcting significant malocclusions or misaligned bites and dentofacial deformities. He explained how an interdisciplinary approach and close collaboration between the orthodontist and surgeon leads to the most optimal result for patients. Echoing the importance of an interdisciplinary team approach, Dr. Liz talked about how using 3D technology, clinical observation and radiographic clues can lead to earlier diagnosis of impacted teeth improving patient treatment outcomes through airway-centered orthodontics. And finally, Dr. Yan demonstrated various methods to correct gummy smiles, midlines, supra-erupted teeth, and Class III dental malocclusions, utilizing the latest technologies like Suresmile and Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy (SFOT). Through these cutting-edge technologies and techniques, he, Dr. Liz, and the Forever Smiles team can make treatments more efficient and effective for patients.

Overall, the seminar was a fantastic opportunity for dental professionals to stay updated on the latest techniques and technologies in orthodontic treatment. And for our patients, we think it's good to know that our orthodontists are always teaching, learning, sharing, and improving their skills to give us the best treatment options and results!

Misconceptions About Orthodontics

May 10th, 2023

While everyone understands that a dentist takes care of teeth, not everyone is aware of what an orthodontist does. This confusion sometimes leads to misunderstandings about what Forever Smiles does for our patients and how exactly Dr. Yan Razdolsky can help them. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the myths and misconceptions about orthodontists.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about the orthodontist is that they’re just like your family dentist. The truth is, they’re actually very different. While it’s true that both orthodontists and dentists care about helping you enjoy a lifetime of good dental and oral health, orthodontists go about achieving this goal in different ways. For instance, if you need to have a cavity filled, you probably won’t make an appointment to see an orthodontist. Dentists are the health professionals to see if you’re concerned about a cavity or need a filling. A dentist can also treat gum disease, tooth decay, toothaches, and other common oral health problems.

People see an orthodontist for very particular services. Most of the patients we see on a daily basis are here because they have braces, or they need to be fitted with braces or another form of tooth-straightening device. In other words, they consult an orthodontist when they are concerned about the alignment of their teeth. As a child grows up, his or her teeth may come in crooked. This can happen for a number of reasons, so it’s important for an orthodontist to take a look at a child’s teeth at about seven years of age. At that age, it’s possible to detect any problems that have not become too advanced to treat easily. Your family dentist may also refer your child to an orthodontist once the adult teeth have fully grown in.

Another common misconception about orthodontists is that they only treat children. It’s true that when you visit an orthodontic clinic you’re apt to see a lot of young kids, but you’ll also see teenagers, college students, and adults. Because crooked teeth can be caused by a number of different factors, it’s entirely possible for someone to require orthodontic treatment at any age.

If you want to know more about the practice of orthodontics or what your orthodontist can do for you, then simply ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky. It’s best to get answers to your specific questions directly from the person who will be treating you. While you’re sure to find Internet resources helpful, there really is no substitute for the personal attention you’ll get during your appointment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office.

Foods can Wreak Havoc on Your Enamel

May 10th, 2023

It’s possible to develop tooth decay even when you take great care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep your teeth healthy, depending on your diet. Cavities, discoloration, and decay are still possible when certain foods feature in your daily intake. Keep an eye out for foods that will damage your enamel and cause the very issues you’ve been trying to avoid.

What causes enamel damage?

Tooth enamel is the hard outer layer of your teeth that is made of various minerals. Tooth decay results when the acids in your food react with the minerals in your enamel. Strongly pigmented foods may also cause unsightly discoloration on the surface of your teeth. Avoid wreaking havoc on your beautiful smile by identifying the foods that can harm your enamel.


Acidic food is your teeth’s worst nightmare! This is the greatest cause of enamel damage, even if you brush and floss regularly. To avoid damaging your teeth, make sure you can determine whether a food is acidic or not.

The pH levels are a way to determine acidity on a one-to-seven scale. This defines the relative acidity or alkalinity of a food or substance. Foods with high pH levels are not as likely to harm your enamel.

It’s wise to avoid or minimize foods that are high in acids. Highly acidic food can include fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Moderately acid foods may surprise you; they include tomatoes, maple syrup, pickles, and honey.

Not surprisingly, eggs and dairy products such as milk and cheese contain the least amount of acid. Red wine and coffee can also discolor your enamel if they’re drunk in excessive amounts.

What can I do to prevent enamel damage?

There are plenty of ways to avoid discoloration and decay of your enamel. The best thing to do is limit the amount of high-acid foods, including sugary juices and soda, in your diet.

Another way is to brush and floss regularly, an hour after each meal. If you can’t make time to brush, an easy solution is to swish your mouth with water or mouthwash to rinse away any leftover acidic particles.

Damaged tooth enamel may be common, but is avoidable when you know which foods to stay away from and the steps to take after you do eat highly acidic foods. Take our advice and you’ll be sure to slow down any future discoloration and decay that happens in your mouth.

For more advice on protecting your enamel, give our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove a call to learn more!

Spring Cleaning

May 3rd, 2023

Just like that, it’s almost summertime. As the spring season ends, perhaps these lighter, brighter days are inspiring you to do a bit of last-minute spring cleaning. Or perhaps they’re not. No judgment here!

What Dr. Yan Razdolsky can recommend wholeheartedly is finishing the season with a clean, sparkling smile. And we have some bright ideas for you!

Refresh Your Cleaning Technique

Tooth brushing can become so automatic that we don’t think about the basics anymore. And suddenly, we’ve finished brushing in half the time we used to, and, hey, how long has that floss been sitting on the counter, anyway?

Now that you’re in orthodontic treatment, it’s more important than ever to keep your teeth their cleanest:

  • Plaque acids can strip minerals from your teeth. If you don’t clean around your brackets thoroughly, plaque buildup can leave discolored spots on your enamel.
  • If a cavity develops, treatment could require removing part of your braces. This means extra appointments and a delay in your orthodontic schedule.

So, let’s review the brushing basics for a clean and healthy smile.

  • Spend two minutes brushing, at least twice each day. Dr. Yan Razdolsky might suggest brushing after every meal to make sure food doesn’t stick to your teeth and braces.
  • Make sure you reach all the surfaces of your teeth, inside, outside, and on top of your molars.
  • Use short, gentle brush strokes, covering a tooth or two at a time.
  • Angle your brush to clean along the gum line. Plaque around the gums leads to irritation and inflammation, and is a common cause of gum disease.
  • Use vertical strokes to clean the inside of your front teeth.
  • Floss at least once each day, or as recommended by your orthodontist.

Special Jobs Require Special Tools

Since we’re tidying up, let’s talk about some helpful cleaning tools. The right tools make removing plaque a lot easier.

  • Toothbrushes

There are toothbrushes designed especially for braces, with angled heads, longer handles, and different bristle arrangements. Whether you try a new design, or stick with your old favorite, replace your brush whenever necessary.

After three to four months of brushing, your toothbrush bristles start to break down. Frayed and matted bristles can’t clean as effectively as a toothbrush in top shape. Electric toothbrush heads can wear down more quickly because they often have shorter bristles. Each change of season is a good time to remind yourself to change brushes.

Extra tip: Buy a brush with soft bristles. Even medium bristles can cause enamel abrasion.

  • Floss Upgrades

If you wear braces, check out the floss options made just for you. Floss threaders help you thread floss under wires. Or try floss which comes in pre-cut strands with a stiff tip to thread the floss through wires more easily. You might find that an orthodontic flosser, a small piece of floss attached to a thin plastic handle, is the easiest way to clean between your teeth. Experiment until you find your most convenient and effective floss.

  • Interproximal Brushes

These tiny cone-shaped brushes fit snugly and comfortably between the spaces of your teeth to remove plaque.

  • Water Flossers

Water flossers are high-tech tools that use a pulsing stream of water to clean between and around the teeth. They’re particularly helpful if you have traditional or lingual braces.

Your Dr. Yan Razdolsky can suggest the best tools for the cleanest teeth. And speaking of your dental team . . .

Some Cleaning Jobs Require Professional Help

Wearing braces doesn’t mean you should skip cleanings—in fact, it’s more important than ever to make sure that all the plaque that has built up around brackets and wires is removed. Your hygienist knows how to work with your braces for an effective and braces-friendly cleaning.

Spring’s coming to an end, but taking care of your dental health is always in season! A clean smile isn’t just a more confident smile, it’s a healthier one. Talk to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team for more tips to create your best and brightest smile at any time of year.

Summer is Almost Here: Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 3rd, 2023

Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Forever Smiles.

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Invisalign® Q&A

April 26th, 2023

It’s estimated that up to four million people at any one time are wearing braces in the United States and Canada. But Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles know that braces have come a long way from the early days of orthodontics, so much so that these days, options are available that are not visible to onlookers. The most popular of these “invisible” braces is Invisalign. Here’s a list of FAQs regarding Invisalign:

Are they really invisible?

Yes, the clear liners are virtually invisible, so they enable patients to feel good about themselves and their appearance, while getting the orthodontic treatment they need.

Are there wires, rubber bands, and brackets with Invisalign?

Nope. Invisalign is truly an alternative to conventional braces. The treatment consists of clear liners that can easily be removed and cleaned throughout the day. There are no wires, so there’s less poking and mouth irritation compared to braces. There’s also no wire tightening at adjustment appointments, so patients don’t have to worry about a sore mouth in the days that follow in-office visits.

I’ve heard that if I get braces, I won’t be able to eat certain foods like popcorn and hard candy. Is this true with Invisalign too?

No. With Invisalign, there are no food restrictions. You simply remove your aligners when you’re eating, and replace them after you’ve finished and brushed any leftover food particles away.

Does Invisalign cost more than braces?

While overall cost varies on a patient-by-patient basis and is based largely on the level of treatment, Invisalign costs about the same as traditional braces, which makes this treatment option a truly affordable alternative.

How does brushing compare with conventional braces?

Brushing your teeth while wearing conventional braces takes some getting used to. Patients have to brush around the metal brackets and floss with a specialty tool to get into the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth. By contrast, Invisalign can be removed at any time to permit regular brushing and flossing.

Every patient is different and Invisalign might not be the best course of orthodontic treatment for everyone, but it's an option that's gaining more and more popularity, and it's an orthodontic alternative that doesn't sacrifice comfort and convenience for results. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

What’s so great about self-ligating braces? Five things you need to know

April 26th, 2023

Parents of a certain age will no doubt remember the teen comedies of the 1980s. These movies typically included a character so wired up with orthodontic apparatus (elaborate metal braces, rubber bands, a mountain of headgear) that he or she looked like some sort of electrical machinery. In recent years, the technological advancements in braces have not only made this character a thing of the past, but if your child needs braces to fix crooked teeth, you no longer need to worry about him or her being called “brace face” with a “tin grin.”

Traditional braces use a system of archwires, brackets, and rubber bands to straighten and realign crooked teeth. Self-ligating braces that Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles provide, by contrast, use specialized clips to hold the archwires in place instead of rubber bands. But what makes self-ligating braces so good?

  1. Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean because there are no rubber bands. Rubber bands collect food particles, and this can lead to an increase in plaque and decay. Have you ever tried to brush for two minutes with a mouth full of rubber bands? It’s tricky. Self-ligating braces improve oral health.
  2. Self-ligating braces are smaller and less noticeable than conventional braces. Most kids are self-conscious about how they look (flashback to those 1980s comedies), so braces that are subtle and less conspicuous are a huge draw.
  3. Self-ligating braces are more comfortable than traditional braces. Less pressure and friction are placed on the tooth. These types of braces also need fewer alterations and adjustments, so chances are you will save money by making fewer appointments with our office.
  4. Self-ligating braces move crooked teeth into place more quickly than conventional braces. In other words, you’re going to wear self-ligating braces for a shorter amount of time than traditional braces.
  5. Orthodontic work can be expensive. Self-ligating braces, however, cost about the same amount of money as traditional braces.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team are proud to offer self-ligating braces as an alternative to traditional metal braces. Ask our team if they are right for you by giving us a call at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Avoid Brushing After Every Single Meal!

April 25th, 2023

Here is some surprising yet worthwhile advice you might be hearing for the first time: Brushing after a meal can be incredibly bad for your teeth if you do it after eating certain foods.

Enamel is an extremely hard mineral on the exterior of each of your teeth. It’s actually the hardest substance in the human body: It’s even stronger than your bones! Its only weakness is that acids in the food we eat can easily destroy enamel.

Healthy teeth thrive in an environment that has the proper pH balance. That ensures your mouth doesn’t start the process of demineralization. That’s what happens when alkaline turns into acid, which attacks and softens the enamel on the surface of your teeth. Pores and fissures form, and that’s when the harmful bacteria go to work.

Our mouth’s pH level fluctuates depending on what we eat throughout the day. Examples of the most common highly acidic foods include citrus fruits, soda, and sugary foods. Highly acidic foods tip the balance of pH in your mouth from a healthy alkaline to a dangerous acid.

Can brushing your teeth immediately after a meal lead to even more damage? The answer is yes!

Eating highly acidic foods causes your teeth to be more susceptible. If you brush your teeth when they have been weakened by acids, even more destruction can happen to your enamel. Your toothbrush’s bristles will actually wear away some of your enamel. So it’s healthier to wait at least an hour after eating or snacking to brush.

Good preventive measures to take instead of brushing after you eat include:

  • Rinsing or drinking water
  • Chewing sugarless gum
  • Consuming dairy or non-acidic foods to conclude your meal

These practices help produce saliva, which in turn restores a healthy pH level in your mouth and coats the teeth with minerals they need.

Once you’ve allowed time for your mouth to be restored to a healthy pH level, you may brush your teeth as you normally would. Keep in mind that acidic foods can weaken the enamel on your teeth and take the right measures to prevent spiking pH levels.

Most important, don’t forget to wait to brush at least one hour after you eat!

Still have questions? Call our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

How do teeth move with braces?

April 25th, 2023

Although teeth seem to be solidly fixed in their sockets (at least they don’t wobble when we chew!), all teeth can easily be moved if Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff attach brackets and wires to them called braces. In the past, all braces were made of stainless steel, but today’s advanced dental technology gives people the option of wearing transparent, acrylic mouth trays called Invisalign®, or relying on traditional metal braces for correcting malocclusions.

Brackets, Slots, and Arch Wires – Oh My!

When light pressure is consistently exerted on teeth, they will gradually move in the direction of the force. For example, affixing brackets to front teeth and threading a flexible, metal wire through tiny slots on the front of the brackets allows the orthodontist to tighten this arch wire enough to initiate desired movement of teeth. Generally, orthodontic patients visit Forever Smiles once a month to have this wire tightened to keep teeth moving in the desired direction.

Tissues surrounding the teeth that experience pressure from arch wires will slowly (and, for the most part, painlessly) stretch, and allow the socket to enlarge so the tooth and its root become looser temporarily. This allows the root to move without causing bleeding or pain. Once Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff are satisfied with the repositioning of teeth, we will remove the braces and let bone material fill in the socket so that teeth are solidified into their new (and straighter) positions.

Clear Braces vs. Traditional Braces

Both types of orthodontic corrective devices move teeth in the same manner: by applying a continual force against teeth. Clear aligners, like Invisalign, are mouth trays made of hard acrylic material that people wear for at least 23 hours a day. Unlike metal braces, Invisalign can be removed for eating and brushing purposes and the aligners are nearly invisible because of their transparency.

Invisalign aligners are usually reserved for people with gaps between their teeth or whose teeth are only slightly crooked. Traditional metal braces are often necessary when severe malocclusion exists and requires more pressure than Invisalign offers.

Mouthguard Protection

April 25th, 2023

Let’s talk about mouthguards.

We could talk about how important wearing a mouthguard is when you lead an active life. If you play sports, ride bikes, skateboard, or participate in many other kinds of exercise, mouthguards protect your teeth, mouth tissue, and jaws from accidents. 

Or we could talk about how wearing a mouthguard while you’re wearing braces has extra benefits. Besides its normal protection, your guard helps protect your brackets and wires from damaging contact, and your delicate mouth tissue from impact with your braces.

But we’re not going to talk about any of these important topics today. Instead of looking at how your mouthguard protects you, today we’re going to look at how you can protect your mouthguard.

If you want your guard to last longer, work better, and stay (and smell!) cleaner, some basic tips make all the difference.

  • Keep your guard clean.

This can’t be stressed enough. Without a good cleaning routine, your guard can become discolored, develop an unpleasant odor, and even cause illness. Not very appealing, right? Happily, keeping your mouthguard clean isn’t difficult.

When you wear your guard, the same plaque that is present in your mouth makes itself at home in your appliance. And when your guard is in its case, that dark, moist environment makes it a perfect breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

As soon as you take your mouthguard out, rinse it off. Brush with a soft toothbrush to remove all the plaque, saliva, or food debris that might be lingering in your appliance. (If you are on the playing field, in the park, or at some other inconvenient location, rinse it and brush as soon as you can.) Toothpaste can help get your guard its cleanest, but can be too abrasive for some appliances.

Once you’ve cleaned it, let your guard air dry in a clean spot for about 30 minutes. Air drying helps prevent bacterial growth. After your guard has dried, return it to its case.

Once a week, you might need to give your mouthguard a good soak in a mouthwash or other dental cleaning solution.

Since cleaning instructions can be different depending on which type of mouthguard you have, be sure to follow our instructions if you have a custom guard, or clean as directed by the manufacturer if you have a store guard.

  • Keep it safe.

When your mouthguard isn’t in your mouth, it should be in its case. Floating loose in your locker or tumbling around in your gym bag puts your guard at risk for breakage and bacteria.

And don’t forget to clean your case thoroughly every few days and air dry it as well. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, mold, and other unwelcome guests can collect in your case, too.

  • Keep it only as long as it’s in good condition.

You can purchase mouthguards from sporting or drug stores, or Dr. Yan Razdolsky can make you a mouthguard designed to fit your teeth and braces perfectly. These appliances are made to be strong and durable, but they’re not indestructible. Over time they can wear down or become damaged, especially if you treat them carelessly.

Bacteria can lurk in dents and cracks, and you can cut your mouth on rough, sharp, or broken edges. But if your mouthguard isn’t fitting properly, don’t resort to self-help! Trying to repair, reshape, or trim your appliance yourself is not a good idea, because it might affect its fit and protective ability.

Any sign that your guard isn’t fitting properly or shows signs of wear and tear could mean it’s time for a replacement. You can replace a store model, or see Dr. Yan Razdolsky about replacing or repairing your custom guard. A mouthguard that doesn’t fit, doesn’t keep you safe.

Take care of your guard, and it will take care of you. The reward for the small amount of time and effort you put into caring for your mouthguard is braces that will last through your treatment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office and a smile that will last you for a lifetime. Those are benefits we can talk about all day!

How are In-Ovation® self-ligating braces different?

April 24th, 2023

In-Ovation self-ligating braces are becoming a favorite for those who are faced with having to get braces. There are many differences that are making them increasingly popular among dental patients.

What sets In-Ovation apart from the rest?

There are many reasons why patients are choosing In-Ovation when deciding which braces will work best for them. One of the main reasons is that there is a significantly shorter amount of time that you have to wear them. There are also fewer appointments at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, since there are no rubber bands to be replaced.

Since there are no rubber bands, In-Ovation makes brushing and flossing much easier. The brackets are low-profile, making them more comfortable and more aesthetic as well.

Different Styles of In-Ovation

In-Ovation R braces are small, metallic like clips that replace the common metal braces and the elastic bands. This type of braces makes it harder for plaque to build up, so it is easier to keep your teeth clean. Your teeth move quickly and painlessly with the free-sliding treatment technique.

In-Ovation C braces offer all same the benefits of the In-Ovation R, with one small difference: this type of bracket is clear. Rhodium (a silvery-white metallic element) covers the clips making the In-Ovation C braces appear less visible. In-Ovation C braces offer a more inconspicuous way to straighten your teeth, and give you that beautiful smile you always wanted

Rest assured that if you choose In-Ovation self-ligating braces, you will not regret it. You will be able to enjoy looking good and feeling great about your smile during and after your treatment.

Snowball Effect

April 5th, 2023

Winter and its snowball fights are behind us, true, but there might be another kind of snowball heading your way. When you neglect the small steps involved in your everyday orthodontic routines, little problems can start to snowball into bigger ones, affecting your dental health and delaying your orthodontic progress.

Here are three areas where letting the small steps in your routine slide can have consequences:

Dental Hygiene

It can be harder to get your teeth their cleanest while you’re wearing braces. After all, there are wires to get behind and brackets to brush around, and you still need to get that floss in between your teeth. But neglecting your dental hygiene can have big consequences:

  • Demineralization

The bacteria in plaque create acids that strip the minerals from tooth enamel. This process is called demineralization. Wherever plaque is allowed to build up, you’ll start to see white spots in the enamel. This discoloration is a sign that minerals are missing, and is often found around brackets, where it’s harder to brush. White spots can be treated cosmetically, but better to avoid them as much as possible, because eventually they can become . . .

  • Cavities

As demineralization continues, the enamel becomes weaker and weaker, until a hole forms in the tooth—a cavity. Besides damaging your tooth, a cavity can put you behind your orthodontic schedule if you need parts of your braces removed for treatment.

  • Gum Disease

When plaque builds up around the gums, gum tissue becomes inflamed and irritated—this is gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. Symptoms often include puffy gums, redness, bleeding, and bad breath. Mild gum disease becomes more serious over time, so treat gingivitis early—or, even better, prevent gum disease with careful brushing and flossing.

Looking After Your Appliances

  • Follow Care Instructions

Orthodontic appliances need love, too! Any instructions you get for their care are for a good reason. Brackets can become loose when you bite down on chewy foods. Wires can break when you eat hard candy. Aligners can warp if you leave them on a hot dashboard. If you follow instructions carefully, you won’t need to postpone your progress while you wait for repairs.

  • Use Your Protective Case

If you wear aligners, or a removable appliance, or a retainer, don’t forget to protect these items when you’re not wearing them. This means placing them in their cases, not wrapped in a napkin on your lunch tray, or in the bottom of your gym bag, or anywhere your dog can reach them!

  • Be Proactive If Accidents Happen

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and loose brackets, broken wires, lost ligatures, and cracked or warped aligners can interrupt orthodontic progress and cause you pain and discomfort. Give our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove orthodontic office a call to see if minor damage to an appliance can be handled at home, or whether you should be seen before your next regular appointment for repairs.

Following Your Orthodontic Plan

There’s more to following your orthodontic schedule than arriving on time for appointments. Depending on your treatment, you might be responsible for keeping track of the time you spend wearing:

  • Elastics

Elastic bands can be used to help align your upper and lower jaws. If you don’t wear your bands as directed, you won’t make progress as quickly as you could. And remember to replace your elastics as often as recommended, because after hours of s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g they lose their effectiveness.

  • Aligners

Most aligners are worn for around 22 hours each day. If you don’t follow your orthodontist’s instructions and wear your aligners for the recommend hours each day, your teeth won’t be in the proper alignment when your next set of trays is ready to begin work.

  • Retainers

If you have a retainer and don’t wear it, your teeth will start to shift position. Skip wearing your retainer long enough, and you might need a return to your braces or aligners to repair any new misalignment.

Don’t ignore what seem like little dental and orthodontic responsibilities. Keep up with daily cleaning and brushing, take care of your appliances, and follow your orthodontic plan, and you’ll finish your treatment with a beautiful and healthy smile—right on schedule.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 5th, 2023

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Forever Smiles for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Why Adults Are Choosing Invisalign®

March 29th, 2023

These days, it’s become more common to see adults at our office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners . . . that is, if you can see them! Whether they are seeking to overcome the stigma that “braces are just for kids,” or simply want straighter teeth without a mouth full of metal, Invisalign is an effective and easy solution.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older who request braces increased by 58 percent: from 680,000 to 1.1 million a year. Many adults enjoy how discreet the aligners are and that the user doesn’t need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes the way you would with traditional braces. Also, each treatment is unique to the patient.

With an Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:

  • The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign because your treatment is modeled by a computer. Traditional braces depend more on an estimate and aren’t as exact.
  • You’ll make fewer trips to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, since you’re able to change your trays on your own every few weeks or whatever is prescribed.
  • Without brackets to place over your teeth, there’s less risk to the health of your tooth enamel.
  • Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them!

If you’re interested in Invisalign as a treatment option, please let Dr. Yan Razdolsky know. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!

Ugh, Not Braces!

March 29th, 2023

Getting your child excited about braces is a lot like: A) convincing a grumpy toddler that it’s time to take a nap? B) convincing a teenager to stop texting during dinner? C) convincing your husband to eat his peas? The answer, obviously, is all of the above.

And that’s why you may need a few thoughtful ways to get your child on board with braces.

  1. Throw a pre-braces party. It can’t be just any party, however, but a Willy Wonka celebration of candy, chips, gum, and all the sticky and sweet foods your child won’t be able to indulge in during the time he or she is wearing braces. Promise a post-braces celebration, too, and watch as your child’s eyes widen at the thought of an all-you-can-eat junk food buffet.
  2. Encouraging phrases like “braces aren’t eternal, but your straight smile will be” can go a long way.
  3. If your daughter is worried about getting picked on because of braces, then name-drop some A-list celebrities who have worn them. The list includes Cameron Diaz, Kelly Clarkson, Dakota Fanning, and Gwen Stefani.
  4. Emphasize that braces today aren’t the same as they were in the Stone Age. From clear ceramic braces to different-colored braces, more options are available. Braces can be cool accessories to express a personal style.
  5. To get your child to embrace braces, you need to sing the praises of beautiful teeth, even if that means pointing out how crooked your teeth are because you never got braces.

The Best Brush of the Day

March 22nd, 2023

Imagine that you’re only going to brush your teeth once tomorrow. Don’t worry, we know you would never skimp on your dental hygiene like that, but let’s just pretend for a moment. When would be the best time to brush? When you wake up? During the day? Or perhaps before you go to bed?

Actually, whenever you choose to brush, you’ll receive important overall dental benefits as well as specific benefits tied to the time of day. Let’s explore your daily schedule to see why.

Brushing in the Morning

Brushing when you first jump out of bed produces several positive results.

  • Cleaning plaque from your teeth

Plaque is a sticky film made up of oral bacteria, food particles, and saliva. As you sleep, these oral bacteria multiply and produce acids which attack the minerals in your enamel, leaving weak spots which, over time, can become cavities. Brushing removes these bacteria and acids from your enamel before they cause serious harm.

Moreover, plaque hardens if it’s left undisturbed, turning into tartar in a relatively short time. And once plaque becomes tartar, it must be removed by a dental professional. Brushing first thing in the morning removes this plaque buildup and helps prevent tartar from forming.

  • Fresh breath

That bacterial growth we mentioned? It’s also responsible for morning breath. If nothing else, brushing when you wake up means greeting a fresh day with fresh breath, and that’s reason enough to pick up your brush in the morning.

Brushing During the Day

Brushing after meals and snacks also has a lot to recommend it.

  • “Leftovers” lead to cavities

Foods, especially foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates, are converted by oral bacteria into acids which weaken enamel and lead to cavities. When food particles remain in the mouth after a meal, bacteria have more time and more fuel to manufacture these acids.

  • Acidic foods also affect your teeth

If you have eaten something acidic, such as citrus fruits, sodas, or pickled anything, the acids from these foods can temporarily weaken the mineral strength of your enamel. But brushing immediately after eating or drinking acidic foods can damage weakened enamel. Better to rinse well with water and brush after half an hour or so.

  • When you wear braces

One of the first things you discover when you get your braces is that you might need to brush more often. In fact, it’s best to brush after every meal and even every snack while you’re in braces.

Why? First, because no one wants to smile with food particles sticking to brackets and wires. Even more important, though, the filmy plaque which sticks to your enamel can be harder to remove with those brackets and wires in the way. Since plaque causes weakened enamel and cavities, brushing thoroughly is more important than ever when you wear braces.

  • When you wear aligners

Wearing clear aligners means you don’t need to worry about food trapped in brackets or cleaning around wires. After all, you take them out when you eat. But this doesn’t mean you are home free. Brushing after every meal is also a good idea when you wear aligners.

Our teeth have an organic way to help wash away food particles, acids, and bacteria between brushings—saliva! Your aligners, while covering your teeth, decrease their exposure to saliva. It’s really important, then, to make sure you brush after eating. Otherwise, food particles and acids which remain on your teeth after eating are trapped in your aligners, increasing the risk of enamel erosion and decay.

Whether you wear braces or aligners, you’re especially at risk for food particles sticking around your teeth and in your orthodontic appliances. Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about when to brush your teeth after eating and how to keep your braces or aligners clean throughout the day.

Brushing at Night

Growing up, you probably received regular reminders to brush before bedtime—for several really good reasons:

  • Saliva production slows while you sleep

During the day, saliva helps to wash away food particles and neutralize acidity in our mouths. It also contains proteins and minerals which help keep tooth enamel strong. But as we sleep, saliva production slows dramatically, and our bodies can’t remove bacteria and acids as effectively.

  • Food particles fuel bacterial growth

If you haven’t brushed since morning, you’ve accumulated a whole day’s worth of food particles from meals and snacks. Remember, oral bacteria use the sugars and carbs we eat as fuel to produce the acids which attack our tooth enamel throughout the night.

  • Brushing helps prevent both of these problems

Brushing your teeth before bed not only cleans away the accumulated food particles of the day, but also eliminates the plaque and bacteria which would have a much easier time sticking to your teeth without that daytime saliva flow to wash them away.

So, When’s the Best Time to Brush?

In the morning, during the day, at night—there are solid advantages to brushing any time of day. The question isn’t so much when to brush as how often you should brush.

While many dental professionals consider brushing before bedtime as the most important brush of the day, brushing at least two full minutes, at least twice during a 24 hour period, is a necessity for basic dental hygiene, along with flossing at least once a day.

When you’ve been eating sugary snacks, when you’re showing signs of gingivitis or getting more than your share of cavities, when you want to reduce the chance of plaque and tartar buildup, or when you simply want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to maintain your overall dental health, brushing after meals is also highly recommended.

And when you wear braces or aligners, frequent brushing (and flossing) is the very best way to make sure your teeth stay clean and cavity-free.

Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about your brushing habits at your next appointment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. No need to use your imagination to plan your best brushing schedule. We have all the answers you need to help you brush your way to your best—and healthiest—smile!

Common Malocclusions

March 22nd, 2023

When we think orthodontics, we commonly think teeth. Naturally! Straight teeth and a beaming smile are everyone’s orthodontic goal. But orthodontics is a field which specializes in more than misaligned teeth. While your beautifully aligned teeth are the visible outcome of your orthodontic work, a properly aligned bite is the foundation for your healthy smile.

A malocclusion occurs when the teeth and jaws aren’t properly aligned—they don’t fit together the way they should when the mouth is closed. A malocclusion, or bad bite, affects many people to some degree, but not always in exactly the same way. Some of the different types of malocclusion include:

  • Crossbite

A crossbite occurs when upper teeth fit inside lower teeth. An anterior crossbite refers to the front teeth, with one or more upper front teeth, or incisors, fitting behind lower front teeth. A posterior crossbite affects the back teeth, with upper teeth fitting inside the lower teeth on one or both sides of the jaw.

  • Crowding

When the jaw is small and/or the teeth are large, lack of space can result in crowded, twisted, or crooked teeth.

  • Open bite

An anterior open bite means that the front teeth don’t close when biting down, leaving an open space between the upper and lower teeth. A posterior open bite occurs when the back teeth don’t make contact when the front teeth close.

  • Overbite

Our upper front teeth naturally overlap the lower ones a small bit when the teeth are closed. An overbite occurs when the upper teeth significantly overlap the lower teeth.

  • Overjet

When the upper front teeth protrude too far forward over the bottom teeth, it’s called an overjet, or, sometimes, buck teeth. Where an overbite causes a vertical overlap, an overjet takes into account the horizontal relationship of the teeth.

  • Spacing

A jaw that is large, teeth that are small, missing teeth—these conditions can lead to gaps between the teeth.

  • Underbite

An underbite results when the lower teeth and jaw extend further forward than the upper teeth and jaw, causing the bottom teeth to overlap the top teeth.

If you have a malocclusion, what comes next? This depends.

Some malocclusions are so minor that no treatment is necessary. Some are the result of misaligned teeth. Some occur because the upper and lower jaws are growing at different rates. Some are a combination of teeth and jaw misalignments. Some are caused by genetics, while others are caused by injuries or habits like prolonged thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

Because malocclusions are so varied, your treatment plan will be designed for your specific needs. Braces, aligners, appliances like the Herbst® appliance or the palatal expander, surgery for severe malocclusions—there is a larger variety of treatment options than ever before to help you achieve a healthy bite.

When teeth and jaws don’t fit together as they should, the consequences can be damaged teeth and enamel, problems with the temporomandibular joint, headaches and facial pain, and difficulty chewing, eating, and speaking.

The good news is that early intervention for children can help correct teeth and jaw problems before they become more serious, leading to easier orthodontic care in the teen years, and helping to avoid the possibility of surgery or extractions. This is why Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend an orthodontic assessment at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for children around the age of seven.

If you’re an adult with concerns about your teeth or bite, there’s good news for you, too. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can devise a treatment plan to improve your bite and your smile no matter what your age.

Of course, despite our title, there’s really no such thing as a “common malocclusion” when we’re talking about your dental health. Each person—and each smile—is unique. Dr. Yan Razdolsky will diagnose your malocclusion and create a personalized plan carefully tailored to your exact needs, for an uncommonly attractive, confident, and healthy smile.

The Importance of Making (and Keeping) Your Timely Forever Smiles Appointments

March 16th, 2023

Your Forever Smiles Orthodontists

We all get busy and sometimes it is hard to fit in just one more thing into an already hectic schedule. And so it happens… we may make our follow up ortho appointment only to reschedule it later. Or worse, we cancel it altogether leaving our treatment to take a back seat to other, ‘more important’ things. Just how crucial is that ortho appointment anyway? As it turns out, we have 10 reasons why making, and keeping your Forever Smiles orthodontic follow up appointments are paramount to the success of your treatment.

  1. Track treatment progress: By scheduling routine visits, Dr. Yan and Dr. Liz can keep tabs on your progress and adjust or replace your wires, braces, aligners or other appliances as needed. This keeps your treatment on track and progressing as anticipated. By postponing your appointment, you are delaying the treatment.
  2. Examine your teeth and bite: It is imperative your Forever Smiles orthodontists examine how your teeth move and how the bite is coming together to ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned.
  3. Check the condition of the braces or aligners: Examining the condition of the braces or aligners ensures they are functioning properly and whether any pieces or parts need to be replaced before they become problematic.
  4. Measure the progress of the treatment: In addition to observation, sometimes our Forever Smiles team may take measurements to compare them to previous visits to track the progress of your treatment.
  5. Take X-rays or scans: Some appointments are set aside for routine X-rays or scans to be taken to check the position of the teeth and roots and ensure they are moving correctly and to detect any potential issues that may arise. Missing these appointments could delay your progress.
  6. Review your oral hygiene: Our Forever Smiles team continuously assesses your oral hygiene so they may provide guidance to help maintain good oral health during treatment.
  7. Prevent issues: Your regular visits help us prevent any problems that could possibly develop while you're undergoing treatment.
  8. Address issues of pain or discomfort: Aligners or braces can be a pain sometimes. Making and keeping your regular ortho appointments allows Dr. Yan and Dr. Liz to help resolving any problems you might be having.
  9. Ask questions: Your appointment is your chance to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have about your treatment.
  10. Maintain a healthy, attractive Forever Smile: Orthodontic treatment can help improve the appearance of your smile and increase your confidence. Regular appointments can help ensure that your smile remains healthy and attractive.

As you can see, there are plenty of worthwhile reasons to make and keep your regular orthodontic appointments. It all comes down to the success of your treatment and a beautiful Forever Smile as the reward. Let’s not forget, following the completion of orthodontic treatment, periodic checkups can help prevent relapse and ensure that your Forever Smile stays put. When that time comes, we may just have another whole list of reasons why you should come back to see us.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

March 15th, 2023

The dental procedures that focus on the correction of alignment and bite are known as orthodontic care. With the aid of braces, aligners, retainers, brackets, and similar appliances, orthodontic treatment can correct oral disorders such as protruding teeth, crowding, difficulty biting or chewing, and speech issues. Seeking orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles can drastically improve your oral appearance, comfort, and health, while also encouraging proper oral hygiene and enhanced self-esteem. Both growing children and adults with oral alignment issues can benefit greatly from completing customized orthodontic treatment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

Due to the uniqueness of each mouth and the severity of each malocclusion disorder, there is no one set timeframe for orthodontic treatment. The length of your treatment is determined by many factors, including the severity of your alignment issue, your age, the health of your teeth, and the specific orthodontic procedure you need to undergo. Nevertheless, typical treatment usually takes between 12 and 36 months.

Avoiding alignment issues

While some alignment issues are brought on by unavoidable matters such as accidents, genetics, and physical disorders, some issues arise out of certain actions you should not be doing. Finger sucking and improper oral hygiene are the two most common self-inflicted reasons for alignment issues. Constant finger sucking can alter the pattern in which your teeth grow, which in turn may cause bite issues. Improper oral hygiene such as infrequent dental visits and improper brushing and flossing can lead to decay and loss of teeth, which will interfere with the bite in your mouth.

To avoid advanced alignment issues, it is important to establish a relationship with a quality dentist when you’re young and seek orthodontic treatment at the first sign of alignment problems to encourage healthy and straight teeth for a lifetime.

For more information about orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

March 15th, 2023

Millions of people, around Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove and beyond, wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so they can show their spirit for the holiday and avoid getting pinched. While it may be easy for you to throw on a green shirt, sport a St. Patrick’s Day button, or wear a pair of emerald-hued shoes, if you’re an avid St. Patty’s Day enthusiast you may want to try something different this year. Dr. Yan Razdolsky thought of a few ideas that will help you take your holiday spirit to the next level:

Visit Chicago’s Green River

If you happen to be near the Windy City during St. Patrick’s Day or you’re thinking of planning a trip, don’t miss out on going downtown to watch the large-scale celebration that kicks off when the city dyes the river bright green. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago has been celebrating the holiday with this tradition for more than 50 years, with tens of thousands of people gathering annually to witness the mysterious dying process and the stunning result.

Don Green Face Paint

Just like an avid sports fan on game day, you can use green face paints to showcase your enthusiasm for this holiday. Avoid breakouts or allergic reactions by only using paints that are specifically meant to be applied to the skin. A little bit of face paint can cover a large area, so feel free to get creative and decorate the whole family on St. Patrick’s Day.

Eat Green All Day

Not a fan of green eggs and ham? With the increasing popularity of green smoothies, there’s no better time to get in on this health craze. To create a green smoothie without the aid of food coloring, you can simply blend a generous amount of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale, with the ingredients that you would typically use to make a smoothie, like fruit, ice, milk, or juice. Keep the trend going throughout the day by using those same vegetables to create a green soup, egg salad, or a batch of bright green pastries. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins without changing the taste of most of these foods.

If your old holiday routine has gotten stale, leave your green T-shirt in the drawer and try one or all of these tips. Don’t be surprised if you have so much fun that you decide to start a new, annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition! Have a happy St. Paddy’s day from Forever Smiles!

The Importance of Orthodontic Treatment at a Young Age

March 8th, 2023

When you think of orthodontic treatment, you may automatically assume that it only relates to older children and teens with alignment and spacing issues. But this isn’t the case: Orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles offers many benefits when applied at a young age.

By considering orthodontic treatment at a younger age, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff are able to identify your child’s alignment issues early on, and are able to intervene in order to provide treatment as the teeth begin to develop. It is important to start dental care early, not only for proper dental health and the cosmetic benefits, but to improve a child’s overall health as well.

The Benefits of Straighter Teeth

Besides the cosmetic benefits, there are multiple advantages to starting orthodontic treatment at a young age:

  • It can reduce the extent of orthodontic treatment needed later.
  • With early treatment, the pediatric dentist helps guide the teeth into their right position to prevent the removal of teeth and improve an overbite, underbite, or crossbite.
  • Straighter teeth are easier to clean and better for preventing tooth decay.
  • As a benefit to you, the parent, your child’s orthodontic expenses will be much lower with early treatment.
  • Lastly, much early treatment is covered by dental insurance.

Stages of Orthodontic Treatment

Multiple stages are included in early orthodontic treatment, with three stages in all:

The first stage is early treatment that starts around age two or three, and continues until the child is around six years old. This stage deals with preventive measures, such as avoiding bad habits that lead to crooked teeth and creating a plan for the future based on how the teeth are growing in.

During stage two, when the child is six to 12 years old, the first permanent teeth erupt and the dentist looks at possible early treatment for misalignment or bite issues.

Finally, stage three occurs during adolescence to correct any further problems with permanent teeth.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff are able to see how the teeth first erupt and know right away whether or not your child will need to have braces later on. Early treatment means fewer procedures, cleaner teeth, and less expense.

Are you ready for orthodontic treatment?

March 1st, 2023

If you’ve been hiding your smile because you have crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth, it’s time to consider orthodontic treatment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky. Preparing for treatment is an important part of getting the smile you want.

Basic exams

The first step of preparation is the examination. An oral exam and X-rays taken at our office are necessary to identify potential problems and ensure the right steps are taken to prepare for orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky will first examine your teeth and take X-rays to determine if it is necessary to extract any teeth or additional work is necessary before braces are possible. You will be prepared for the next step of treatment after your exam is complete and potential problems are identified.

Model for bite

The next step in preparing for orthodontic is taking a plaster model of the mouth. With the model, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will be able to determine how the jaw is aligned so that appropriate adjustments can be made to the mouth and jaw with braces.

Depending on the situation, the model may be used to help evaluate your jaw and make decisions about appropriate treatment for your specific needs. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can create a model of your mouth with the bite indentation that is taken during preparation.

Extracting teeth

If it is determined that a tooth extraction is necessary, then the final step of preparing for orthodontic treatment is the removal of teeth. Only Dr. Yan Razdolsky can determine if it is necessary to remove any teeth before moving forward with the procedure to put on braces.

When your teeth are crooked, have a gap, or otherwise make you unhappy, orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles may be an appropriate solution. Although it may take time to prepare for the actual procedure, making the decision to seek treatment can provide the opportunity to show the world a beautiful smile.

For more information about orthodontic treatment and its benefits, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office!

Hey, Metal Mouth, Hey, Train Tracks! Six Funny Comebacks for People Who Wear Braces

March 1st, 2023

Brace-ism: believe it or not, it’s a concept. The Urban Dictionary defines brace-ism as “acting mean to people who have braces on their teeth.” Phrases like metal mouth, brace face, and train tracks are common jokes uttered by gap-toothed fools who like to make fun of people with braces.

While ignoring these comments and taking the high road is the best thing to do, there’s nothing wrong with having a few clever retorts and quick-witted comebacks up your sleeve.

  1. The next time someone calls you train tracks, break into an obnoxious train imitation, with lots of toot-toot and chuga-chuga-chuga. Finish off your crazy locomotive impersonation with some sort of deafening train horn. That’ll keep the bullies at bay.
  2. “It’s better to be a brace face than a space case.”
  3. Counter with a ridiculously childish joke that makes the schoolyard tormentor feel even smaller than he already is. “Oh. Yeah. Why did the deer need braces? Because he had buck teeth. Hahaha.” Top it off with an exaggerated eye roll.
  4. “Yeah, my brother tells that joke. He’s six. You guys should hang out.” That’ll stop the haters dead in their tracks. Or would that be train tracks?
  5. Here’s one from the sarcasm grab bag. “Well, I’m just glad there’s a way to fix what’s wrong with my face.”
  6. “I can’t wait to discuss this formative moment at our ten-year class reunion, when my teeth are razor-straight and you’re wearing adult braces.”


What Are Adjustments?

February 22nd, 2023

If you’ve just gotten braces at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office, you’ve probably also learned a whole new vocabulary. Malocclusion, brackets, archwires, ligatures, elastics—you’ve got the definitions down. But now you’re scheduled for an “adjustment.” What exactly does that mean?

Why Do I Need an Adjustment?

After all, you’ve just gotten braces! But the fact is, moving your teeth to their ideal location is a process that involves many steps. The brackets and wires you have today are only a starting point. Wires, and rubber bands if you need them, put gentle pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into a better position. Every time we see you, we check the progress you’ve made and adjust your braces to move the teeth into even better alignment. It’s a careful process to make sure your teeth and jaws fit together perfectly for straight teeth and a healthy bite.

What Will Happen at an Adjustment?

Because your braces are made specifically for you, there is no one answer for everyone or even every appointment. Usually, your ligatures (the colorful bands around your brackets) will be removed, and often the orthodontic wire that is attached to your brackets will be removed as well. We’ll check to make sure you are brushing and flossing properly around your wires and brackets, and check on the condition of your braces.

Your wire might be adjusted, or bent, or tightened, or replaced all together. In the beginning, the wire will probably be more flexible. Later in your treatment, you might get a thicker, firmer wire to move your teeth more effectively, or we might bend a wire to move specific teeth.

If you need rubber bands to make sure your bite is in alignment, we’ll show you how to attach and take care of those. We’ll also look for other adjustments that might need to be made to your brackets. If you have any concerns about brackets, wires, or any other part of your braces, let Dr. Yan Razdolsky know! And once we’re done adjusting your braces, this is your chance to change the color of your ligatures for a new look.

Will It Hurt?

You might suffer some discomfort in the hours after an adjustment, so treat yourself gently! Stick to soft foods for a few days, and treat yourself to something cold and soothing like ice cream, yogurt, or a smoothie. Brush gently if your teeth are sensitive. Usually, over-the-counter pain relievers will take care of any soreness. You can even take a pain reliever 30 minutes to an hour before the adjustment if you are expecting some discomfort. We have more great ideas on how to reduce any tenderness you might feel—let us know if we can suggest some.

Within a day or two, you should be back to normal. If you ever suffer serious discomfort, or if the soreness lasts more than a few days, give us a call.

Remember, each adjustment brings you closer to your goal—straight teeth and a healthy bite. And that’s the definition of a beautiful smile!

Eating and In-Ovation®

February 22nd, 2023

You want a beautiful smile that you feel proud of, but you’re not eager to give up your favorite foods for a few years during treatment with braces. If that describes you, In-Ovation self-ligating braces may be worth considering. Since treatment times with In-Ovation are significantly shorter than with traditional braces, you can get back to eating all your favorite foods much faster.

One of the challenging parts about getting braces is not being able to fit in. Traditional metal braces stand out in a crowd, but In-Ovation braces are smaller and have a lower profile, making them much more discreet. While you'll have to give up some foods, especially anything hard or crunchy, it won't be forever.

A Generally Healthy Diet

When life gets hectic, it’s easy to forget about your diet. That’s a mistake you don’t want to make while you’re getting your teeth straightened. Even though you’re working on obtaining a beautiful smile with In-Ovation, you need to eat a healthy diet so that your oral and overall health stay good. For example, consume plenty of calcium, such as from low-fat dairy products, to support strong bones and healthy teeth.

Timing Your Eating

Just like it is when you don’t have braces, it’s important to think about the times that you eat and drink when you have In-Ovation braces. When carbohydrates sit on your teeth for too long, bacteria in your mouth ferment them and produce acid that can wear away at your teeth and eventually cause tooth decay.

The following tips can help you avoid this problem:

  • Don’t eat hard candy or lollipops, since the sugar will be on your teeth for long periods of time.
  • Rinse your mouth out with water after you eat anything.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal.
  • Don’t drink sugary sodas, since the sugar will get all over your teeth.

Getting straighter teeth with In-Ovation is exciting, but you do have to take extra caution when eating, and make sure you take good care of your general oral health while you're at it. At least with In-Ovation's efficient self-ligating technology, you'll be back to eating popcorn and chewing gum in no time!

Lord of the Smiles

February 20th, 2023

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and his amazing wife, Anna, recently went on a long-awaited trip to one of their most anticipated destinations, the land of the Kiwi. Kiwi, so you know, are the curious little, flightless birds endemic to the beautiful island country in the southwestern Pacific, New Zealand. You see, in Dr. Razdolsky’s early days studying orthodontics, the then dean of the orthodontic department of University of Illinois Dental School, Dr. John Cleal was from New Zealand. Not only did Dr. Cleal teach his students of his professional and orthodontic expertise, he shared with them his love of the Kiwis’ beautiful land and nature, adventurous trail trips, and his sailing journey from New Zealand to Vancouver.

It was during this awe-inspiring trip that Dr. Yan and Anna could finally see in person the reality of all the wonderful things Dr. Cleal told his students. Not only is this island nation home to 4.5 million people (just shy of half of the greater metro area of Chicago), it is famous for its beautiful landscapes, amazing wines and is known to those who appreciate the greatest fantasy fiction ever written as “Middle Earth.” Yes, New Zealand with its diverse and spectacular scenery is the backdrop for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Dr. Yan and Anna immersed themselves in all the beauty that New Zealand offered. From breathtaking mountaintop views to exhilarating footbridges for viewing waterfalls and rushing waters, there was indeed much to take in. But this picture of Dr. Yan at Hobbiton in Matamata was truly a highlight, as it represents the only movie set that is still intact.

Just a short two-hour drive from Hobbiton is Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and one of its most popular. Home to the largest Polynesian population in the world, Auckland boasts more than 50 volcanoes scattered within 1,000 square kilometers. While most are considered dormant, they still have underlying magma which scientists estimate have a .1% chance of erupting in any given year. Auckland is also earned the moniker “City of Sails” due to its two major harbors and the world’s highest boat ownership per capita, with more than 135,000 vessels registered in the city. Amazingly, only in Auckland can you walk between a major ocean and sea in less than four hours and see one of the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest man-made towers soaring a massive 328 meters (1,075 ft) high and nearly rivalling our own Aon Center and 875 North here in Chicago.

In all, it was an amazing trip and one that Dr. Yan and Anna will always treasure. Not only for how beautiful and adventurous it was, but how it brought Dr. Yan “full circle” in a magical quest that started so many years ago.

Importance of Oral Hygiene with Braces

February 15th, 2023





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Proper oral hygiene techniques are always worthwhile, but they are especially crucial when you’re wearing orthodontic appliances such as braces. When you don’t maintain an effective oral hygiene routine, you can be more susceptible to gum disease as well as tooth decay, cavities, decalcification, discoloration, and/or staining of the teeth.

Braces themselves don’t cause these issues, but since they create spaces that are difficult to clean, they provide extra sources of food (dental plaque and food debris) for the bacteria that do. Bacteria create a biofilm on the surface of a tooth that can spread if not addressed. That bacteria food can only be removed by a mechanical action: brushing and flossing your teeth!

Here’s a list of smart hygiene steps to follow for the duration of your braces treatment:

Proper tooth brushing technique: Make sure to brush your teeth thoroughly (for a total of about two minutes), but not too hard. Point the head of the toothbrush at the gum line and brush just hard enough so that you feel slight pressure against the gums. Use a soft, small-headed toothbrush or an electric toothbrush if you’d like. Try your best always to clean on and around every tooth, bracket, and wire in your mouth!

Flossing: Braces can make flossing a chore, but it’s an essential adjunct to proper tooth brushing. Make sure to floss between all your teeth and brackets. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can provide you with braces floss threaders and interproximal toothbrushes (small brushes used to clean areas under wires and between brackets) to make the task easier. You might also consider purchasing an oral irrigator that uses a stream of water to blast food particles and debris from between teeth and gums.

Rinse with water: This may sound slight, but it’s a good idea, especially if you aren’t able to brush. Rinsing your mouth with water throughout the day helps to dislodge the decay-causing food particles that become lodged in braces.

Hygiene away from home: It’s a good idea to have a kit with a toothbrush, floss, floss threaders, mirror, and small water cup on hand at school or work. That way, you’ll be sure to have all the tools you need to keep your mouth clean.

Regular professional cleanings: As always, it’s best to visit your dentist regularly to verify everything in your mouth is in order and your oral hygiene routine is effective. Twice a year is sufficient, unless the dentist recommends more frequent visits.

It's vital to keep your teeth and gums clean during your braces treatment, and that requires your care and attention. If feel like you need help with any of the techniques above, a member of our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team can demonstrate them for you!

Fantastic Elastics

February 15th, 2023

If you already wear traditional braces, you know all about these helpful little rubber rings. But if you are new to the world of braces, you might like to know just what kind of elastics are available and what they can do for you.

  • Ligatures: Alignment Assistance

When you get your braces, the brackets you’ve chosen will be bonded to your teeth. Once they are attached securely, an arch wire will be threaded through the brackets to provide consistent gentle pressure, moving your teeth into their best positions. But what holds that wire in place? This is where those tiny, colorful bands, called ligatures, come in. Fit snugly around the wire and the bracket, they keep the wire where it needs to be to move your teeth to a better alignment.

There are also ligatures call “c-chain ligatures,” or “power chains.” These tiny ligature bands are connected to each other, and fit across the brackets in one long strip. This design lets them not only hold your wires in place, but help move your teeth closer together at the same time. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the spacing of your teeth, and might be worn weeks or months as needed.

One thing to remember is that while ligatures are essential, they are not permanent! Every time you have your wires tightened or replaced, you can make this an opportunity to express your personality through your choice of bands. There is a wide variety of color choices available, so take advantage of it!

Show your school spirit by displaying your high school’s colors. Go orange and black for Halloween. Match your ligature tones to your go-to clothing colors. Or, go monochromatic. Match grey or silver bands to your brackets, or choose white or clear bands if you have ceramic brackets. (One word of caution—light colored ligatures can pick up stains from dark foods and drinks. On the other hand, they won’t be around that long!)

  • Rubber Bands: Building Better Bites

While ligatures are the colorful attention-getters in the elastics world, there are other bands that do very important work. When you have a malocclusion, or bad bite, your upper and lower jaws don’t fit together perfectly. We use rubber bands to align your bite correctly and carefully move it into the proper position. This is accomplished by attaching bands to tiny hooks on specially chosen brackets on the upper and lower teeth. The bands usually connect an upper bracket to a lower one, and are specifically placed to correct your unique bite problem.

If you need this type of elastic, you will play a very important part in making your orthodontic treatment work. You will probably need to wear your bands 24 hours a day, removing them only for brushing and flossing. (Talk to us about how to work with your bands when you are eating, playing an instrument, or wearing a mouthguard.) And they need to be replaced several times a day, which is where you come in.

Even if the bands look perfect, after hours of work, they lose the tightness needed to keep moving your teeth to their best position. Bands that are too loose won’t be as effective. On the other hand, doubling the bands is a bad idea because that might apply too much force. Bands come in a variety of sizes and strengths, and yours have been chosen for this specific phase of your treatment. Keep calm, keep to a schedule, and keep a supply of bands on hand in case one breaks, and everything will work out.

If this sounds like a lot of confusing information, don’t worry! Dr. Yan Razdolsky will supply you with the right bands for your treatment, clear instructions on where and how to place them, and practice time for putting them in. You’ll probably need a mirror at first, but you’ll become an expert in no time.

If you ever have questions we can help you with, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office immediately. We are here to guide you through the process and help you with any problems you might have. Wearing your bands consistently and correctly will help you achieve your beautiful smile in the shortest time possible. And that’s an accomplishment that is truly fantastic!

Valentine Candy: Is It 4 U?

February 8th, 2023

It’s Valentine’s Day. Love and friendship are in the air, and candy is on the gift list. Are there tasty Valentine treats that are safe to eat even with your braces? We have some sweet news for you!

Safe Valentine candy, like the rest of your braces-friendly diet, won’t stick to your braces (potentially causing cavities) or damage them (potentially causing emergency visits to the orthodontist). In other words, foods that aren’t sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy.

So, which candy treats are on the “Loves Me Not” list?

  • Chewy Candies

Love heart-shaped gummies? Or spicy cinnamon jellies? Or Valentine-pink taffy? These sweet confections might be delicious, but, no matter how delicious, all that sugar sticking to your brackets and wires is not healthy for your teeth and it’s especially hard to brush off. And the chewy nature of these treats can break wires and pull brackets loose from your enamel.

  • Hard Valentine Candies

Do U luv these? R they UR favorites? Whether or not they come in the shape of colorful hearts with clever stamped messages, as crunchy nuts surrounded by chocolate, or as gleaming red hearts on a lollipop stick, hard candies R not 4 U when you wear braces. Biting down on hard foods can damage wires and loosen brackets.

  • Boxes of Assorted Chocolates

The beauty of a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates is its variety. The problem with a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates is its variety. Any pieces with nuts, toffee, or caramel should be left in their little paper cups. Sticky, chewy, and crunchy foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to damaging your braces. If your candy doesn’t come with descriptions, break open the piece before you indulge to see just what you’re biting into.

Is this list a bit depressing? Take heart! There are several Valentine’s options that are safe for your braces.

  • Soft Chocolates

Any kind of soft chocolate should leave your braces intact—and if you choose dark chocolate, you’ll be enjoying less sugar and more minerals and antioxidants.

  • Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Candies

These treats are also soft enough to be harmless to your brackets and wires. And if they’re molded into hearts? Bonus!

  • Boxes of Assorted Candies

The problem with a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates is its variety. The beauty of a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates is its variety. Nestled among all the sticky, chewy, and crunchy chocolates are the safer soft cream centers. Choose the braces-friendly options and share the rest.

Whether you’re buying a candy gift for someone in braces, or you’re the lucky giftee, choose candies that will make Valentine’s Day memorable for all the right reasons! Don’t be afraid to think out of the (heart-shaped) box—pink milkshakes or smoothies, sweetly decorated cupcakes, and creamy pastel ice creams and frozen yogurts are soft, smooth, and safe holiday treats.

Of course, after indulging in any Valentine treat, be sure to clean your teeth and braces carefully. Cavities are never fun, and especially not when you’re in braces. Brush and floss after eating, and make sure your brackets and wires are clear of any sticky, sugary souvenirs. If you do have a problem with damaged wires or brackets, be sure to call our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office right away to keep your treatment plan on track. Valentine’s Day comes once a year, but your beautiful, healthy smile? You want it to last 4ever!

The Origins of Valentine's Day

February 8th, 2023

When we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of cards, flowers, and chocolates. We think of girlfriends celebrating being single together and couples celebrating their relationship. We think of all things pink and red taking over every pharmacy and grocery store imaginable. But what Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team would like to think of is when and how this joyous, love-filled day began.

Several martyrs’ stories are associated with the origins of Valentine’s Day. One of the most widely known suggests that Valentine was a Roman priest who went against the law at a time when marriage had been banned for young men. He continued to perform marriage ceremonies for young lovers in secret and when he was discovered, he was sentenced to death.

Another tale claims that Valentine was killed for helping Christians escape from Roman prisons. Yet another says that Valentine himself sent the first valentine when he fell in love with a girl and sent her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Other claims suggest that it all began when Geoffrey Chaucer, an Englishman often referred to as the father of English literature, wrote a poem that was the first to connect St. Valentine to romance. From there, it evolved into a day when lovers would express their feelings for each other. Cue the flowers, sweets, and cards!

Regardless of where the holiday came from, these stories all have one thing in common: They celebrate the love we are capable of as human beings. And though that’s largely in a romantic spirit these days, it doesn’t have to be. You could celebrate love for a sister, a friend, a parent, even a pet.

We hope all our patients know how much we love them! Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day from the team at Forever Smiles!

When should I floss during the day?

January 25th, 2023

A vital step in your oral health routine is flossing. We hope our patients at Forever Smiles maintain good oral hygiene, including daily flossing between each visit to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. A toothbrush is not always enough to get to the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. When food remains between your teeth, bacteria starts to grow and will break down your enamel. This is where flossing comes in!

Should you floss before or after brushing?

Whatever your personal preference, you may floss before or after you brush your teeth. When you floss first, you can brush away any leftover dislodged food debris from your teeth. On the other hand, when you brush first, you will loosen the plaque between your teeth, which makes flossing more effective.

The essential aspect is that you floss thoroughly by using a fresh strand of floss and make sure to get between every tooth. Even if your teeth look and feel clean, don’t skip flossing or plaque will begin to build up on your teeth.

When is the best time to floss?

Although you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend flossing your teeth thoroughly once a day. Many people prefer to floss before bed, so that plaque doesn’t sit between their teeth all night.

What kind of floss should I use?

You may choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine. If you have permanent oral appliances or restorations, be sure to follow the flossing instructions provided to you.

Do you need help flossing?

If you’re having trouble flossing or have questions about which floss is best for your teeth, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office and we can provide you with support. Be sure to keep up with your daily flossing routine, and we will see you at your next appointment!

The In-Ovation® Treatment Process

January 25th, 2023

The advancement of orthodontic procedures has a come a long way. Today, there is always a way to meet each individual's personal smile needs in a relaxing, stress-free, and pain-free way. In-Ovation technology is no different. With its free-sliding system, many patients report positive experiences. Let's take a look at how the In-Ovation treatment process takes place.

What You'll Experience When You Choose In-Ovation

In-Ovation helps your teeth shift gently over time without added pressure. The process has been designed for you to spend less time in our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office at long appointments having braces checkups, while still achieving a beautiful smile.

Our patients share that there are many advantages to selecting In-Ovation braces. Your visit with us will be shorter, and the overall time from when you begin the treatment process to finishing with a new smile is much shorter than traditional braces. Patients also tell us that far less irritation occurs when selecting these braces.

In-Ovation braces are referred to as self-ligating braces. We find that the free-slide technology that makes them unique also results with improved facial proportion and appearance. Another noteworthy characteristic is the small size of these braces. This means that patients can perform efficient teeth cleaning, leading to less plaque buildup.

Many of our patients are surprised to hear that braces are not simply for children. We assure our patients that there is no better time than now to achieve your best dental health. Because the In-Ovation system requires far less time and maintenance from start to finish, they are very ideal for busy adults. At your visit, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will discuss which In-Ovation style best reflects your needs depending on how much overall movement will be necessary to achieve long-term results.

Trying to decide if the In-Ovation dental procedure is right for you? Our highly trained team invites you to call us for an appointment. We look forward to seeing you at a visit soon.

Will my orthodontic treatment be covered under insurance?

January 19th, 2023

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk are staunch advocates for the importance of one’s orthodontic health to their overall wellbeing. For this reason, a Forever Smile takes on added meaning beyond beauty and aesthetics as it affects the quality of one’s life so profoundly. For this reason alone, we believe that insurance should never get in the way of patient’s Forever Smile. So, this is an excellent question!

Many people have insurance and even dental insurance through their employment. Health insurance alone does not cover dental unless you were in an accident that necessitated emergency dental surgery, for example. Moreover, when it comes to dental insurance plans, orthodontic treatment again may not be covered without a full-coverage plan. For that, separate or extended orthodontic insurance coverage would be required. That’s why it is crucial when shopping for dental insurance plans to compare all the features and benefits to ensure what’s included is right for you and your family, including orthodontic coverage. For this, it is best to ask your HR professional or insurance agent what orthodontic included dental plan will work best for you.

So, what should you look for in a policy with orthodontic coverage? These types of insurance coverages usually allow for discounts and some cost assistance for treatments such as exams, imaging, braces, and retainers, to name a few. Of course, these costs will vary depending on each patient’s unique orthodontic treatment needs and selected insurance policy. Because of this, it can be challenging to find an insurance plan that provides just the right orthodontic treatment without first getting an evaluation from Dr. Yan or Dr. Liz. So while some plans do help cover cost, different orthodontic treatment requirements may impact what insurance coverage is best for your family’s situation. Scheduling a consultation and reviewing your case with our financial coordinator will help determine what coverages you should look for. From there, you can explore the different policy types to find the one that meets your family’s orthodontic needs.

Something worth noting is that insurance policies with orthodontic coverages included may have a mandatory waiting period before benefits can be used. Moreover, once they do you may likely need to meet a minimum deductible before insurance coverage kicks in. This is super important when determining treatment schedule and budget. What’s more, most our Forever Smiles patients with orthodontic coverage are also given a lifetime limit for orthodontic treatment that can only be utilized once and does not renew. Depending on the plan premium, lifetime maximums can range and most plans only cover a percentage of the orthodontic cost, up to that lifetime limit.

Another thing to consider is using FSA or HSA savings as an easy and convenient way to pay for orthodontic treatment. With these types of accounts, you can use allocated pre-tax funds to help cover the cost of braces, so you get exactly what you need when it comes to orthodontic treatment and the added bonus of tax-free savings.

Here at Forever Smiles we never let insurance get in the way of a healthier, more beautiful smile. Your smile is yours forever and we want to ensure you receive the best orthodontic treatment when you need it. Our team can help you better understand whether your insurance covers any portion of your orthodontic treatment. What’s more our office staff is always available to help you with insurance claims and paperwork.

Dental X-rays: The Inside Story

January 18th, 2023

We’re all friends here, so if you sometimes feel a bit nervous before your orthodontic appointments, no judging! Ask us about any worries you might have. We are happy to explain procedures, equipment, and your orthodontic options so you know exactly what is going on during treatment. And if X-rays are a concern, we can put your mind at ease here as well.

What Exactly Are X-rays?

Sometimes patients feel reluctant about the process of imaging because X-rays are a kind of radiation. But the fact is, radiation is all around us. We are exposed to radiation naturally from our soil and water, sun and air, as well as from modern inventions such as cell phones, Wi-Fi, and air travel.

Why is radiation so common? Because matter throughout the universe constantly gives off energy, and the energy that is emitted is called radiation. This radiation takes two forms—as particles (which we don’t need to consider!) and as traveling rays. This second type is known as electromagnetic radiation, created by photons traveling in regular waves at the speed of light.

We are exposed to electromagnetic radiation every day, because, whether we can see them or not, these different wavelengths and frequencies create various forms of light. Radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible, and ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays are all part of the electromagnetic light spectrum.

Different types of radiation on this spectrum have different wavelengths and different frequencies, and produce different amounts of energy. Longer wavelengths mean lower frequencies and less energy. Because X-rays have shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies than, for example, radio waves and visible light, they have more energy.

How Do Dental X-rays Work?

An X-ray machine produces a very narrow beam of X-ray photons. This beam passes through the body and captures images of our teeth and jaws on special film or digital sensors inside the mouth (intraoral X-rays), or on film or sensors located outside the mouth (extraoral X-rays). These X-ray images are also known as radiographs.

Why are X-rays able to take pictures inside our bodies? Remember that higher energy we talked about earlier? This energy enables X-rays to pass through the softer, less dense parts of our bodies, which are seen as gray background in a radiograph. But some substances in our bodies absorb X-rays, such as the calcium found in our bones and teeth. This is why they show up as sharp white images in radiographs. 

There are many different types of dental X-rays used in orthodontics, including:

  • Occlusal X-rays, which show the entire arch of teeth in the upper or lower jaw.
  • Panoramic X-rays, which use a special machine to rotate around the head to create a complete two-dimensional picture of teeth and jaws.
  • Cephalometric X-rays, which show the patient’s entire profile, and the position and development of the teeth and jaws.
  • Cone Beam Computed Tomography, an external device which uses digital images to create a three-dimensional picture of the teeth and jaws.

Why Do We Need X-rays?

You might have noticed that these X-rays, unlike, for example, typical bitewing X-rays, don’t take images of individual teeth. That is because orthodontists deal with the teeth in relationship to each other and to the structures around them.

Beautifully aligned teeth and a healthy bite are the visible result of your orthodontic work, but there’s a lot going on above and below the surface that needs to be discovered and taken into account before your treatment even begins. X-rays help us evaluate:

  • The size, shape, and position of your teeth, including impacted teeth and wisdom teeth
  • The size, position, and health of your roots throughout treatment
  • The size and shape of your jaw bones, and how they affect your teeth alignment and bite
  • Your progress during different phases of treatment

How Do Orthodontists Make Sure Your X-rays Are As Safe As They Can Be?

First of all, the amount of radiation you are exposed to with a dental X-ray is very small. In fact, a typical panoramic X-ray provides roughly the same amount of radiation we are exposed to through our natural surroundings in just one day. Even so, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team are committed to making sure patients are exposed to as little radiation as possible.

Radiologists, the physicians who specialize in imaging procedures and diagnoses, recommend that all dentists and doctors follow the safety principal known as ALARA: “As Low As Reasonably Achievable.” This means using the lowest X-ray exposure necessary to achieve precise diagnostic results for all dental and medical patients.

The guidelines recommended for X-rays and other imaging have been designed to make sure all patients have the safest experience possible whenever they visit the dentist or the doctor. We ensure that imaging is safe and effective in a number of ways:

  • We take X-rays only when they are necessary.
  • We provide protective gear, such as apron shields and thyroid collars, whenever needed.
  • We make use of modern X-ray equipment, for both traditional X-rays and digital X-rays, which exposes patients to a lower amount of radiation than ever before.
  • When treating children, we set exposure times based on each child’s size and age.

And now that we’ve talked about some things you might like to know,

Please Let Us Know If . . .

  • You are changing orthodontists and have had previous orthodontic X-rays taken. Ask to have your older X-rays sent to our office so we have a complete record of your orthodontic history. (With digital X-ray technology, this transfer can be accomplished with e-mail!)
  • You’re pregnant, or think you might be pregnant. Even though radiation exposure is very low with dental radiographs, unless there is a dental emergency, dentists and doctors recommend against X-rays for pregnant patients.

X-rays play an important part in helping us make sure your orthodontic treatment provides you with a lifetime of beautiful and healthy smiles. If you have any concerns, contact our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. When it comes to making sure you’re comfortable with all of our procedures, including any X-rays that might be necessary, we’re happy to give you all the inside information!

Hot Day? Three Drinks to Leave Home When You’re Packing the Cooler

January 11th, 2023

Whew! It’s a hot one! And whenever the temperature soars, you need to stay hydrated, especially when you’re outside or exercising. But all cold drinks aren’t equal when it comes to healthy hydration. Which beverages shouldn’t have a prime spot in your cooler when you’re wearing braces or aligners?

  • Soft Drinks

You’re probably not surprised to find soft drinks at the top of the list. After all, sugar is a) a big part of what makes soda so popular, and b) not a healthy choice for your teeth.

Sugar is a favorite food source for the oral bacteria that make up plaque. These bacteria convert sugar into acids, and these acids attack the surface of your tooth enamel. Over time, the minerals which keep enamel strong begin to erode, and weakened, eroded enamel is a lot more susceptible to cavities.

So, what about sugar-free drinks? Does this make soft drinks a better choice? Unfortunately, you can take the sugar out of many sodas, but you can’t take the acids out. Most soft drinks are very acidic, even without sugar, and will cause enamel erosion just like the acids created by bacteria will.

  • Fruit Drinks

Fruit juice provides us with vitamins, which is great, but it’s also full of natural sugars and acids. And blended fruit drinks and fruit punches often contain added sugars and added citric acids. Best to choose 100% fruit content and check the labels before you buy. (And you can always get refreshing fruit flavor by adding a slice of fruit to a glass of water.)

  • Sports Drinks

You might be surprised to see these on the list—after all, they promise healthy hydration while you’re working out. And hydration is healthy—but sugars and acids aren’t. Even when the label tells you there’s no added sugar, that same label will often reveal high amounts of citric acid. In fact, some sports drinks are more acidic than sodas.

We’ll make an exception, though, for thirsty people who participate in sports or activities that require a lot of physical exercise and produce a lot of sweat. When we sweat, we lose electrolytes, those ionized minerals which help regulate many vital bodily functions. Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about which sports drinks are best for you if you need to replenish your electrolytes when working out.

So, what’s your best hydration choice on a hot day? Water! It not only hydrates you, it cleans your teeth, it helps you produce saliva, and it often contains tooth-strengthening fluoride. But if you only have sports drinks in the cooler, or if you just want to enjoy a soft drink or a bottle of juice from time to time, no need to go thirsty. We have some ways to make sure your teeth are safer, even with this tricky trio:

  • Rinse with water after you drink a sugary or acidic drink. And remember to brush when you get home.
  • Be choosy. Check labels for added sugars and acids.
  • Don’t sip your drinks all day long. Saliva actually helps neutralize acids in the mouth, but sipping acidic beverages throughout the day doesn’t give saliva a chance to work.
  • Use a straw to avoid washing your enamel in sugars and acids.

While sugar and acids are never good for your teeth, it’s especially important to reduce your exposure while you’re in braces or aligners.

  • Increased sugar means increased plaque and bacteria, which can collect around your brackets. When plaque isn’t cleaned away, bacterial acids cause mineral erosion, which shows up as white spots on your enamel. You don’t want to see a collection of white spots when those brackets come off!
  • Filling a cavity might require the (temporary) removal of part of your braces.
  • There’s a reason Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend that you only drink water with your aligners on. If you wear them while you drink sugary and acidic beverages, the liquid collects in your aligner tray, literally bathing your teeth in sugar and acid—and speeding up the process of erosion and decay.

You need to keep hydrated when it’s hot. When you’re packing your cooler, choose drinks that are healthy for your entire body, including your teeth and gums. Ask our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team for the best choices in cold drinks to make sure you’re getting the hydration you need—without the sugar and acids you don’t!

Make this the Year You Stop Smoking

January 4th, 2023

It’s a new year, and it couldn’t come fast enough for many of us! Let’s do our part to make this a better year in every way—and you can start by making this the year you quit smoking once and for all.

You know that smoking is very damaging to your body. Smokers are more likely to suffer from lung disease, heart attacks, and strokes. You’re at greater risk for cancer, high blood pressure, blood clots, and blood vessel disorders. With far-reaching consequences like this, it’s no surprise that your oral health suffers when you smoke as well.

How does smoking affect your teeth and mouth?

  • Appearance

While this is possibly the least harmful side effect of smoking, it’s a very visible one. Tar and nicotine start staining teeth right away. After months and years of smoking, your teeth can take on an unappealing dark yellow, orange, or brown color. Tobacco staining might require professional whitening treatments because it penetrates the enamel over time.

  • Plaque and Tartar

Bacterial plaque and tartar cause cavities and gum disease, and smokers suffer from plaque and tartar buildup more than non-smokers. Tartar, hardened plaque which can only be removed by a dental professional, is especially hard on delicate gum tissue.

  • Bad Breath

The chemicals in cigarettes linger on the surfaces of your mouth causing an unpleasant odor, but that’s not the only source of smoker’s breath. Smoking also dries out the mouth, and, without the normal flow of saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria, bad breath results. Another common cause of bad breath? Gum disease—which is also found more frequently among smokers.

  • Gum Disease

Smoking has been linked to greater numbers of harmful oral bacteria in the mouth and a greater risk of gingivitis (early gum disease). Periodontitis, or severe gum disease, is much more common among smokers, and can lead to bone and tooth loss. Unsurprisingly, tooth loss is also more common among smokers.  

  • Implant Failure

Tooth implants look and function like our original teeth, and are one of the best solutions for tooth loss. While implant failure isn’t common, it does occur significantly more often among smokers. Studies suggest that there are multiple factors at work, which may include a smoker’s bone quality and density, gum tissue affected by constricted blood vessels, and compromised healing.

  • Healing Ability

Smoking has been linked to weakened immune systems, so it’s harder to fight off an infection and to heal after injury. Because smoking affects the immune system’s response to inflammation and infection, smokers suffering from gum disease don’t respond as well to treatment. Smokers experience a higher rate of root infections, and smoking also slows the healing process after oral surgeries or trauma.

  • Dry Socket

Smoking following a tooth extraction can cause a painful condition called “dry socket.” After extraction, a clot forms to protect the tooth socket. Just as this clot can be dislodged by sucking through a straw or spitting, it can also be dislodged by the force of inhaling and exhaling while smoking.

  • Oral Cancer

Research has shown again and again that smoking is the single most serious risk factor for oral cancer. Studies have also shown that you reduce your risk of oral cancer significantly when you quit smoking.

  • Consequences for Orthodontic Treatment

Finally, if this is the year that you’re investing the time and effort needed to create an attractive, healthy smile with orthodontic treatment, don’t sabotage yourself by smoking!

Cosmetically, smoking doesn’t just discolor your tooth enamel—tar and nicotine discolor your aligners and braces as well. If one of the reasons you chose clear aligners or ceramic brackets is for their invisible appearance, the last thing you want is yellow aligners and brackets.

More important, smoking, it’s been suggested, can interfere with your orthodontic progress. When blood vessels are constricted, your gums, periodontal ligaments, and bones can’t function at their healthy best, moving your teeth where they need to be steadily and efficiently. This means that your treatment could take longer. And if your smoking has caused gum disease, you might have to put any orthodontic treatment on hold completely until it’s under control.

Quitting smoking is a major accomplishment that will improve your life on every level. It’s always a good idea to talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky for strategies to help you achieve your wellness goals for the new year. Make this the year you stop smoking, and the year your health improves in countless ways because you did.

Things You Probably Didn’t Know About New Year's Eve

December 28th, 2022

It’s no secret that New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team love it too. It’s a fresh start, another year of surviving the crazy world we live in, a time to refocus on the things we want for ourselves, a celebration with those we love … the list goes on.

Dozens of countries welcome the New Year with over-the-top parties and celebrations. Because it’s a public holiday, many offices, businesses, and schools close for the day. As you think about your plans for this holiday, here are some fun facts about New Year’s that might surprise you!

Can you guess what the most common New Year’s resolutions are? You may already have one or two of these on your own personal list. The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to quit smoking, get a new job, lose weight, increase personal savings, and return to school. Just remember that coming up with a concrete plan to reach your goals is the surest way to achieve your resolutions!

About one million people brave the cold to watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square in person. Yes, that’s one million! This event is one of the most iconic celebrations in the world. People travel from all over just to experience it, but you can watch from the warmth and comfort of your living room.

If you’re not a fan of cabbage, collard greens, black-eyed peas, or ham hocks, you might want to revise your tastes. All these foods are all regarded as lucky fare on New Year’s Day. Unless you’re allergic, of course!

For many people in Mexico and Latin America, eating 12 grapes at midnight is a tradition that brings good luck in the 12 coming months. Most people even make a wish per grape!

Whether you’re celebrating in Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove or traveling elsewhere to observe the holiday, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy the company of your friends and family. Don’t forget to send warm wishes to your loved ones, and snag a midnight kiss with that special someone if you can!

What is orthognathic surgery?

December 21st, 2022

Orthognathic surgery is surgery to correct a wide variety of abnormalities of our patients' jaw and teeth. The surgery is often done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. While the patient’s appearance may be significantly improved as a result, the primary purpose of the surgery is to correct functional problems including but not limited to:

  • Unbalanced facial appearance
  • Protruding jaw
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth don’t overlap properly
  • Excessive wearing down of the teeth
  • Difficulty with chewing or biting
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Sleeping problems such as sleep apnea
  • TMJ pain (jaw joint pain)
  • Restoring facial injuries

Knowing when to start the orthodontic treatment in preparation for orthognathic surgery can also be tricky if our team at Forever Smiles is treating a teenager. It is important to know when to get started. If orthodontic treatment is initiated too soon and the teenager is still growing, the patient will either need to hold in braces until his or her growth is complete and they are ready for surgery or the braces will have to be removed and then placed again when growth is complete. Neither of these options is attractive since it requires longer time in treatment, which is something all our patients want to avoid. Our team at Forever Smiles strives to get all patients finished with treatment as quickly as possible because it is healthier for the teeth and gums and gives them a beautiful smile to enjoy for a lifetime.

If you are considering orthognathic surgery or you have been told that you need jaw surgery, give us a call to schedule your initial consultation today. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles will explain our treatment plan in a way you will understand and we will keep you informed every step of the way.

Nothing Says Happy Holidays Quite Like a Forever Smile!

December 15th, 2022

Look around at all the holiday shoppers or at festive seasonal events and you can see that people smile for a variety of reasons. After all, there are so many types of smiles and different circumstances that impact how and why we smile, each representing a multitude of responses and emotions ranging from the obvious to more complex. During the holidays for example, your smile can convey a variety of emotions beyond merriment and good cheer, but also surprise, embarrassment and even naughtiness!

Indeed, throughout the holiday season, warm feelings (and the Forever Smiles that go with them) tend to be more prevalent. That’s why Dr. Yan Razdolsky and Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk work so hard to help patients achieve the smile of their dreams. After all, their smile can be a signal of strength that not only supports their well-being but offers positive encouragement to everyone else around them - especially at the Holidays.

“Everyone knows that smiling is a natural reaction to being happy and content, but as it turns out smiling even if you're not feeling it can trick your brain into believing that you are happy,” said Dr. Yan. “Simply faking a smile makes our brain release serotonin and dopamine, your body's natural feel-good chemicals,” he added.

Serotonin is a hormone commonly referred to as the "happy chemical." It plays a crucial role in some of your most essential bodily processes by transporting signals along and between nerve cells – helping regulate mood, aid in digestion and even offering blood clotting benefits. In fact, a simple release of serotonin is linked to lower stress levels and increased feelings of joy and wellbeing.

Dopamine similarly transports signals between nerve cells and has a significant impact on both your body and brain. It helps control appetite, supports blood circulation and energy management which is vital for speech and movement. Dopamine is also a part of your reward and reinforcement system, playing a fundamental role in the pleasure you experience.

“With these chemicals in mind, if you are feeling a little less than cheerful during the holidays, sometimes simply ‘faking it’ can boost merriment,” said Dr. Yan.

While it may not shorten lines or ease traffic woes, it can give you the boost you need to remain composed, carry on, and carry off that ugly holiday sweater party with more positivity and focus. If you don’t do it for you, do it for someone else. Nothing says good will quite like a smile, and joyful expressions are infectious.

Studies indicate that to better connect and understand what others are feeling, humans instinctively copy each other's facial expressions. This mirroring or sensorimotor simulation allows us to feel and process the emotions of others in addition to interpreting social and contextual cues. So, when you smile at someone it makes them want to return the favor. Now there are two of you enjoying the positive effects of a Forever Smile for the Holidays.

Play Sports? Use Mouthguards.

December 14th, 2022

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend always wearing a protective mouthguard to participate in most physical sports. We especially encourage this if you have braces that can potentially cut your mouth or cause damage to your teeth. You have various choices to consider when you’re looking for a protective mouthguard.

One option is a full facial guard, which is often used for contact sports, such as football or hockey. This type offers full protection of the face from external impact. You should also consider an additional mouthguard to protect yourself from cuts inside your mouth, and avoid possible damage to your braces.

Boil-and-bites are another version of mouthguard that can be used for more physical sports. This type is used just the way its name implies: You warm the mouthguard in water to soften the material, then bite down gently once it’s at the correct temperature to form it into the shape of your mouth. These are fine to use temporarily, but they don’t always provide the best protection if they don’t fit properly.

Another option is to have Dr. Yan Razdolsky make a custom mouthguard for you. The mouthguard will be designed with built-in layers to protect both your teeth and braces when it’s worn. Having Dr. Yan Razdolsky create a custom-fitted mouthguard will ensure optimal protection and a comfortable fit whenever you participate in physical activities.

Protecting your teeth and braces is essential when you compete in sports. Accidents happen, and having a preventive mouthguard can potentially save you from oral pain and damaged braces. Our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office is happy to assist you in creating a custom-made mouthguard for any sports activities you want to pursue.

If you’ve experienced a mouth injury that has caused damage to your braces, please contact us immediately so we can fix the problem right away. Remember, prevention is key when it comes to your oral health!

‘Tis the Season—for Healthy Dental Choices!

December 7th, 2022

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you’re dashing through the snow to an emergency orthodontic appointment, you’re not feeling very jolly. And post-holiday, no one wants to start off their New Year’s Resolutions with “Get Cavities Filled.” How to survive the sweetest of seasons with braces and enamel intact?

Candies and sweets would normally be on the naughty list, but we’re not Scrooges! Indulging in a treat or two is part of the holiday fun, and we have some advice for how to enjoy them guilt-free. But first, some treats are definitely more naughty than nice. Which are the ones that are better as decorations than desserts?

  • Candy Canes

If you’ve ever suffered a broken bracket or a chipped tooth after an innocently biting down on a much-harder-than-expected piece of candy, you know that caution is in order. That’s why we tend to savor candy canes, letting them dissolve slowly in the mouth. Of course, the drawback to this strategy is that now we’re slowly bathing our teeth in sugar, encouraging the growth of plaque and cavity-causing bacteria.

Candy canes, peppermints, and other hard candies are potentially bad for your teeth and braces when you crunch away, and definitely bad for your teeth if you let them dissolve slowly.

  • Gumdrops

Glistening, colorful gumdrops. Roofing your gingerbread house, trimming a gumdrop tree, or simply sitting in a bowl, they are one of the sweetest ways to decorate for the holidays.  And when we say “sweet,” we mean that literally. Most gumdrops are basically made of corn syrup and sugar—and then rolled in more sugar.

But their sugar content isn’t the only problem. This is sugar in an extra-gummy form that sticks between our teeth and along our gums, and gets caught around brackets and wires.

  • Toffees, Caramels, Taffy

They might come in lovely ribboned boxes, but these extremely sticky foods are not a gift to your teeth.

Not only do chewy candies stick to enamel, they stick to fillings, crowns (especially temporary crowns), and orthodontic wires and brackets. No one wants an unexpected trip to the dentist or orthodontist because dental work has been damaged or dislodged!

  • Gingerbread Houses

Nothing says the holidays like a gingerbread house—chewy, sticky gingerbread covered with hard sugar icing, gumdrops, and peppermints. Great for your décor; not so great for your dental health. Eat one gingerbread man if you’re in a spicy mood and leave your architectural masterpiece intact.

Well, this list wasn’t very jolly. So as a little holiday gift for you, here are some suggestions to help you enjoy your desserts in the healthiest way possible.

  • Be choosy.

Just like you search for the perfect presents for your family and friends, take the time to choose the perfect holiday treats for yourself. If you are wear braces, or are worried about cavities, or are just generally concerned with your oral health, stay away from sticky, hard, and excessively sugary desserts.

What can you accept from your holiday hosts with a grateful (and relieved) smile? The occasional soft chocolate should be nothing to stress about—and if you make it dark chocolate, you’ll actually get nutritional bonuses like magnesium and antioxidants. Soft cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies should be braces-friendly—yes, they are made with lots of sugar, but it is the holidays after all. Just be sure to follow our next suggestions to make that slice of cheesecake guilt-free.

  • Eat sweets with a meal.

Saliva does more than keep our mouths from getting dry. It also helps prevent cavities by washing away food particles and neutralizing the acids from food and bacteria which damage enamel.

Eat dessert with a meal, and you benefit from increased mealtime saliva production. When you snack throughout the day, this acid-neutralizing ability is greatly reduced.

  • Rinse after eating.

Rinsing your mouth with water after a meal or a snack, especially a sugary one, also helps wash away the sugars and carbs which oral bacteria convert into cavity-causing acids.

  • Brush immediately. (Maybe.)

If you wear braces, you want to make sure there are no food particles stuck around your brackets and wires. If you wear aligners, you want to get rid of food particles on and around your teeth before you replace your aligners after eating.

But if you’ve eaten acidic foods like citrus or colas, the acids in the food can weaken your enamel just enough to cause some potential enamel damage if you scour your teeth immediately after eating. We often recommend waiting about 30 minutes to brush to give your enamel a chance to recover.

Since every mouth is different, especially when you wear braces, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky for the best times and methods for holiday brushing.

You don’t want to ho-ho-hope that we can fit you in at our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for a bracket repair. Make your holiday dessert list and check it twice, and make sure you’re brushing and flossing more often if you’re indulging in seasonal treats—give yourself these two gifts, and you’ll be ringing in the New Year with a beautiful, healthy smile. Sweet!

Tooth Extraction and Braces

November 30th, 2022

Perhaps you’ve heard from parents or older relatives what braces used to be like years ago—obvious, uncomfortable, hard to clean, and with inevitable tooth extractions to start off the whole lengthy process.

Today, brackets are much smaller and wires are more pliable. You can even choose ceramic brackets or clear aligners for an almost invisible effect. New tools make cleaning your braces easier than ever. And new braces technology means that treatment is often shorter. But what about extractions? Are they still inevitable?

For orthodontists like Dr. Yan Razdolsky, the objective is saving teeth. And modern practices and technology have made this goal more attainable than ever before. There are several ways that modern treatment procedures can help avoid extractions.

  • Early Intervention

We recommend that children visit our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Because a child’s jaw is still forming at this age, early intervention can lead to orthodontic treatment that expands the jaw in order to make room for permanent teeth, or starts correcting bite problems before they become more serious.

  • High-Tech Planning

Today’s technology allows us to map out the progression of your treatment before we begin. Scanners, X-rays, and computer programs help us to design a treatment plan which will accurately predict how best to move your teeth and correct your bite, taking into account the size and development of your teeth and jaw.

  • Surgical Options

By the time you reach your late teen years, the jaw bones have stopped growing and it’s no longer possible to expand them without surgery. Oral surgery can treat serious jaw problems that impact your teeth and bite, usually as part of a combined treatment plan designed by your orthodontist and your oral surgeon.

Because we always work to keep teeth intact—using these methods and others—you can be sure that, if we recommend extraction, it is absolutely necessary. What could make an extraction necessary?

  • Severe overcrowding. Sometimes, there’s just not enough room in the jaw for all of your teeth.
  • A tooth or teeth that prevent us from correcting a problem with your bite.
  • Wisdom teeth. Usually, orthodontic work takes place before a patient’s wisdom teeth start to erupt. If yours do make an appearance before or during treatment, we can adapt our treatment plan accordingly.
  • An extra tooth. It’s rare, but an extra, or supernumerary, tooth sometimes develops, and your jaw is not designed to accommodate extras!

It’s important that you talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about every step of your treatment, including extractions. We want you to understand the treatment plan which will give you your best outcome. If we recommend extraction, it is because this decision is the best way to achieve a healthy bite and alignment, creating your beautiful smile—and protecting it—for a lifetime.

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 23rd, 2022

At Forever Smiles we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Dr. Yan Razdolsky wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

Generations of Smiles

November 22nd, 2022


This is Part three of a three-part series: Generations of Smiles is a historic telling of the origins of orthodontics, all the way to today. Part one of the series taught us about the Birth of Modern Orthodontics and part two shared with us An Orthodontic Renaissance - both of which you can read more about in the September and October issues of Bracket Chatter.

According to the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics there are currently four generations of orthodontists in the workforce. Thankfully Forever Smiles boasts two of the finest Buffalo Grove has to offer. When we left off in our last issue of Bracket Chatter’s Generation of Smiles, the Baby Boomer Orthodontic Specialists began to explore the importance of individualized treatment options which made way for the revolutionary, aesthetic and technologic orthodontic accomplishments of today’s Generation X followed by the Millennials.

Many of those in Generation X (1961-1981) grew up in dual income families who were said to be the first generation not to be as financially successful as their parents. Theirs was a cohort who displayed individualism and skepticism, but with a drive for results and a desire for getting a job done well. As a reflection of this, gold was more universally abandoned in the 1960s in favor of stainless steel bringing the cost of orthodontics down considerably. And by the 1970s, major breakthroughs such as development of a dental adhesive used to bond miniature brackets to teeth eliminated the need of bands around the teeth, thus beginning the era of aesthetic orthodontics. Along with these developments, elastics gained in popularity and self-litigating or ligature-less brackets reappeared allowing for greater control of force and movement in treatment. Also introduced in this generation is titanium alloys offering greater stiffness, strength, and range.

The 1980’s brought to orthodontics the first aesthetic ceramic brackets made from single crystal sapphire and polycrystalline zirconia. Although in the coming decades these products are replaced and refined, their appearance in the field of orthodontics opened the door for those who once bristled at the stigma of wearing braces. This decade also found the arrival of many innovative techniques to the U.S. from across the globe and introduces us to our first notable and favorite orthodontist!
In 1987, Dr. Yan Razdolsky earned his graduate degree in orthodontics and went to work with a prominent orthodontist on the west side of Chicago. In just six short months, he says he learned more than he had in two years of residency.
“It takes years to learn some of the techniques and procedures that I learned in practical application and working with real patients,” said Dr. Yan. “It wasn’t until years later that I realized just how valuable that experience was and how it influenced who I am as an orthodontist today.”

While many of the techniques which Dr. Yan learned were innovative back then, many are far more mainstream today. For that reason alone, they inspired him to develop his own techniques for which he has held five patents.
Notable orthodontic achievements of Generation X:

  • By the 1970 orthodontic appliances evolved into the traditional systems most of us recognize today as comprised of wires and brackets.
  • 1975 Lingual Braces (brackets placed on the back of the teeth) were introduced.
  • Debut of bonded miniature brackets, marking the arrival of esthetic orthodontics.
  • CAD/CAM technology first introduced to dentistry in 1985
  • 1987 First clear, tooth-colored ceramic brackets introduced using translucent polycrystalline alumina or TPA. Initially a product developed by NASA and Ceradyne, Inc., a global leader in manufacture of advanced ceramics for aerospace, defense, electronics, and industrial use.
  • As an aside, the 2016 AAO membership data shows that 41.9% of practicing orthodontists are Gen-Xers.

The Millennials or Generation Y (1982-2001) grew up a generation that is optimistic, tech savvy, confident, team-oriented, and achievement focused. They are smart, flexible and command respect. According to AAO’s 2016 membership data, 11.8% of practicing orthodontists are Millennials.
At the start of this generation to its close at the century mark, we can proudly reflect on the innovations and achievements of the era which brought us electricity, the automobile, aviation, electronics, civil rights, space exploration, and the computer age. Some might suggest that mankind accrued more knowledge in the 20th century than in all prior ones combined. It can then be argued that orthodontic developments during this time reflect those feats. Like computers and tech, the field of orthodontics strived to make things better, smaller, more aesthetic, yet functional and with accurately calculated results. These modern-day orthodontic marvels are more effective, efficient, and discreet than ever with self-ligating systems teeth can be straightened without elastic bands, while clear ceramic braces and aligners such as Invisalign are barely noticeable. The introduction of Temporary Anchorage Devices or TADs afford our Forever Smiles team the ability to better control movement using a less invasive and secure anchor. This, along with 3-D planning software means they can create a customized treatment program unique to each patient based on their unique facial and dental features. What’s more they can even give patients a sneak preview of what their smile will look like at the end of treatment.

A model example of her generation, Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk brings to Forever Smiles thousands of hours of hands-on experience, helping hundreds of patients achieve cleaner, straighter smiles. Her residency at the Georgia School of Orthodontics is a testament to her craft as it offered her the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art clinical setting with the latest orthodontic appliances and cutting-edge diagnostic technology representing generations of research and technology.
“Successful orthodontic treatment requires a thorough understanding of biology and physics,” said Dr. Liz. “The science behind today’s orthodontic correction and alignment isn’t just a simple straightening of teeth, but a complex orchestration of diagnosis, prevention, mechanics, technology, and art. All the things we have learned to this point have culminated to help us bring patients their beautiful Forever Smile. What a time to be in orthodontics,” she added.

Notable orthodontic achievements of the Millennial Generation:

  • Introduction of continuous fiber composites and CP-titanium products
  • Improved sliding mechanics with ceramic-bracket inserts and self-ligating brackets
  • Invisalign introduced to the market in 1999
  • Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs) introduced in 2005

Getting a Retainer? Make It Personal!

November 16th, 2022

If Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend a Hawley retainer to complete your orthodontic treatment, you’re getting a classic. This retainer, invented by Dr. Charles Hawley, has been in use since the early decades of the twentieth century.

But this isn’t your great grandmother’s pink plastic retainer! The look of today’s Hawley retainer has really evolved from its early days as the “Hawley bite plate”—and pink is now a choice instead of an inevitability. In fact, you can choose from any number of colors, patterns, and designs to create a retainer that is uniquely you.

Each Hawley retainer is customized to fit your mouth and teeth perfectly. Wire clasps and a labial bow wire are securely attached to an acrylic base based on a model made from your teeth and mouth.

Your retainer is designed for function—the bow wire makes sure your teeth stay in the perfect position while your bones and ligaments get strong enough to hold them in place. The acrylic base, of course, is also functional—but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it!

Retainer bases can be formed in different ways.  One type of retainer model uses pre-formed acrylic discs for the base, and these are available in many pre-formed colors and patterns. Another type of retainer builds the base by alternating several applications of liquid and powder acrylics, layer after layer. This process allows the retainer technician to create one-of-a-kind designs.

What are some of the ways to make your retainer uniquely yours?

  • Color—whether deep tones, pastels, electrics, neon, or metallic, you can find an appealing shade in the color chart. Or, if you want your retainer to keep a low profile, choose a clear or a color-coordinated pink tone.
  • Glow in the Dark—if you don’t want your retainer to keep a low profile, this might be just the look for you!
  • Glitter—accessorize your sparkling smile with a sparkling retainer.
  • Patterns—stripes, polka dots, geometric shapes—even animal patterns are possible.
  • Color Combinations—why choose one color when you can have a marbled swirl of your favorites? Or a tie-dye look? Or team colors?
  • Acrylic Designs—a colorful design that captures your personality is available with some creative acrylic artistry. Rainbows and flags, hearts and flowers, ladybugs, and spider webs are just some of the options on hand.
  • Picture Perfect—for that special hobby, pet, team, or other personal favorite, decals or pictures can be applied under a layer of clear acrylic.

Hawley retainers are made to last, so choose your design with years of use in mind. Talk to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove team about the custom looks which are available to celebrate your unique personality. After all, there’s nothing more personal than your smile!

At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

November 9th, 2022

You may have noticed that kids seem to be getting braces and other orthodontic care a lot earlier these days. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when braces were mainly seen on teenagers, but that is beginning to change. If you’re wondering when to bring your child to our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office for an orthodontic evaluation, the answer actually has several parts.

The Telltale Signs

If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see Dr. Yan Razdolsky, regardless of age.

The Dental Age

Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”

The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is part of Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff’s job to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.

The Official Recommended Age

The American Association of Orthodontists officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of seven and nine. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted quite effectively by an orthodontist.

This allows for a proactive response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some younger children are now getting orthodontic devices earlier in life. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues emerging, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.

Why is flossing so important when I have braces?

November 2nd, 2022

You've made an investment on spending money on getting braces, so why not keep your teeth in good health while undergoing orthodontic treatment?  Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles will tell you it is just as important to develop a regular hygiene routine while you're wearing braces as you did before proceeding with treatment.

Flossing is essential to the health of your teeth and gums when you're wearing braces. Because braces may hold food, sugars and liquids upon eating, it is very important to keep on top of your brushing and flossing, as well as visiting our office for regular adjustments.

While we know it's tough enough to get kids to floss daily without braces, that battle becomes even tougher when braces are involved. Remember that by not flossing, you will become more prone to cavities and gum disease during your treatment.

When flossing, remember to gently massage your gums in between the teeth. You will find that flossing with braces takes extra time, as you will have to weave the floss through each bracket. When flossing, there should be no signs of blood. If you see blood, you are not flossing enough or properly.

Using an electric toothbrush is also a good idea to massage your gums before or after flossing as electric toothbrushes can help remove any harmful bacteria that are lingering in your mouth. And don't forget to add a mouthwash to your routine to break up any bacteria that has formed. A good mouthwash will help keep your teeth and gums in good shape during your treatment.

If you have any questions about flossing or your orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles please don't hesitate to give us a call or during your next adjustment appointment!

Generations of Smiles

October 17th, 2022


In part two of our timeline review of generations of smiles, we pick up with two eras in which research and study have a profound effect on modern-day orthodontics. While masterful feats in orthodontic engineering come to us in the generations of our own Forever Smiles orthodontists, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk, the Silent and Boomer generations truly set the standard for orthodontic treatment of our Forever Smiles patients.

“As the child of a dentist, I have seen firsthand how doctors of my father’s generation looked to science to better develop treatments for their patients,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics. “Even as a young boy I remember seeing the gratitude my father’s patients had for how he could change their lives by improving their oral health, restoring their ability to eat or chew, or simply by just making them feel better when so many other things were weighing them down.”

The Silent Generation (1925-1942), a faction reared with strict childhood discipline which expelled “seen but not heard” famously received their name for being considered conformists. However, unlike this Silent Generation, much made waves in the field of orthodontics with the introduction of “A New X-ray Technique and Its Application to Orthodontia” published in the inaugural issue of Angle Orthodontist in 1931 by B. Holley Broadbent.

In this historic text, Broadbent expounded the virtue of Cephalometric Roentgenography (exterior taken radiographs depicting side view of the head, including face teeth, jaw, and surrounding structures) using a cephalometer to properly position the head. This new technology benefited orthodontics through cephalometric tracing and evaluation and resulted in a boon in research on craniofacial form and development. Although today’s 3D imaging scanners are vastly improved over their early cephalometric ancestors, much of the orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning utilized by Dr. Yan and Dr. Liz would not be possible had it not been for these early advancements.

Notable orthodontic advancements of The Silent Generation:

  • First Removable appliance introduced
  • Introduced Cephalometer Roentgenography to the field
  • 1938 twin-arch appliance introduced

“The introduction of cephalometric analysis to orthodontics was a game changer,” said Dr. Yan. “Finally, we could understand the skeletal relationships of teeth to the human skull and formulate treatment! The development of this technology of the time is astonishing and has had such a profound impact on nearly everything and every tool we use in orthodontics today,” he added.

Most of us are familiar with how the Boomer Generation (1943-1960) was named for the spike in birth rates after World War II where around 3.4 million babies were born in 1946 alone. But like this great impetus, 1940-1950 saw the greatest growth in research activity including outstanding contributions to craniometry, dentofacial complex using x-ray. This growth set the standard for all future research in child developmental growth having a lasting and positive effect on the field of Orthodontics. In the latter part of this generation’s development, socioeconomic factors allowed for substantial growth of the profession as orthodontic care became more widely recognized and first introduced as a treatment benefit in some health care plans. This alone set the stage for massive growth in the orthodontic profession for the next generation.

Notable orthodontic achievement of The Boomer Generation:

  • No major breakthroughs in appliance development
  • Extensive craniometry and dentofacial research/theories
  • Specialists begin to explore the importance of individualized treatment

“My father’s generation understood the value of scientific research to the development of treatment,” said Dr. Yan. “It invigorates me and is something that I hope I passed down to all my children who have also followed me into the dental profession. And now with Liz here at Forever Smiles, she and I are eager to explore and study the next wave of orthodontic advancements for our patients.”

Join us next month as we move through the greatest modern-day achievements in orthodontics brought to us by generations X and Y and introduces us to our favorite orthodontists of these eras, Dr. Yan and Dr. Liz.

What's on your fall reading list?

October 5th, 2022

How better to spend the fall months than inside by the fireplace with a warm cup of cider and a book in hand? Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles encourage you to warm up your mind this fall season with a few great books. Sure it may be easy to put off reading when balancing a hectic schedule, but reading is vital to brain development. Besides, reading is always a blast!

This week, we thought we’d ask what you or your child are reading this fall. Do you have any suggestions for must-read books this year? Out of ideas for great fall reads? Ask us for suggestions, and we would be happy to provide a few. You may also ask a local librarian here in Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove for some ideas.

Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your fall picks or your all-time favorites below or on our Facebook page!

Ceramic Braces

September 28th, 2022

Congratulations! You have made the decision to get orthodontic treatment with our Forever Smiles Team at our Buffalo Grove office. Now it’s time to choose among your various appliance options. Traditional metal brackets and wires, lingual braces, a series of aligners—they all have positives to recommend them. And for some people, ceramic braces are the clear favorite.

Ceramic braces work like regular metal braces. Brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth, and rubber bands surrounding the brackets hold the arch wire that gradually moves the teeth into alignment.

Ceramic braces, however, use brackets made of clear or tooth-colored ceramic or porcelain which blend beautifully with the color of your tooth. The elastic ligatures, or rubber bands, can be chosen to match the brackets or your enamel. There are self-ligating ceramic brackets which don’t use bands at all. Technology is even working on ways to make the arch wire less visible! The end result is braces that are almost undetectable.

If you want a less obvious appliance for professional or personal reasons, talk to us about ceramic braces. As always, there are other factors to consider before you decide, which we will be happy to discuss with you.

  • Ceramic brackets are very strong, but they are still more brittle than the metal model. If you play a contact sport, these might not be for you. (But whatever braces you choose, please wear a mouthguard when playing sports.)
  • Ceramic braces might not be ideal depending on the amount of alignment and bite correction that is needed. They might also take a bit more time to bring your teeth into alignment. We will be able to tell you if ceramic braces will work for you and if they might require a longer period to move your teeth to their perfect position.
  • Brackets can sometimes be somewhat larger (though this isn’t always the case), and, because they can be abrasive, are often recommended for upper teeth only. This way, the lower teeth will not impact, or be impacted by, contact with the upper teeth.
  • Oral hygiene can trickier with ceramic braces. Although today’s brackets aren’t as prone to staining, you still need to be careful to brush away the plaque that can accumulate around the brackets. And the bands are susceptible to staining by the usual suspects—coffee, tea, colas, blueberries, or any strongly colored food or beverage.
  • Costs will differ depending on the treatment method you choose. Talk to us about cost comparisons with other orthodontic treatments.

Ceramic braces, because they are so much less visible, are a popular orthodontic option, especially for older teenagers and adults. If you are interested, talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about this effective way to straighten your teeth—discreetly. Ceramic might be the clear solution for creating your lasting, beautiful smile.

Generations of Smiles

September 20th, 2022

The Birth of Modern-Day Orthodontics

From Hippocrates and Aristotle who first recorded tooth irregularities to modern day first- and second-generation orthodontists like Dr. Yan Razdolsky and Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk who work to preserve patient smiles, the study of dental orthopedics and development of treatment options has come full circle to create a better aligned and healthier Forever Smile. In this first of a three-part series, we will explore just how orthodontics has evolved through the generations to impact how our dynamic father / daughter duo work side by side today.

“It is fascinating to learn just how quickly the study of Orthodontics has emerged,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics. “In what is truly a very short time in history, something so incredibly important to the health and well-being of human life has come forward all because a handful of dentists wanted to standardize the teaching and practice of the specialty.”

The Lost Generation (1883-1900) so called due to the disillusioned, directionless, and cynical spirit of many post WWI survivors, can remarkably be the generation credited with discovery of modern-day Orthodontics. Reportedly penned by Gertrude Stein, this “Lost Generation” introduced us to Edward Angle, the father of modern orthodontics who brought us the first school of Orthodontics in the world.

Founded in 1899 to educate four dental professionals of the time, The Angle School of Orthodontia included course study in histology, anatomy, biology, and physiology over a period of 3 to 6 weeks. The four graduates in turn taught seven more students with each graduating class expanding on the Angle legacy. Today, we can trace the origins of American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the largest professional member organization in the field, and American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), the certifying agency for doctors specializing in the field all to Edward Angle. Dr. Yan is an ABO Certified orthodontist, and he and Dr. Liz are active members of the AAO which has grown to include more than 12,000 specialist members in the US, Canada and abroad!

Notable orthodontic innovations of The Lost Generation:

  • First use of intermaxillary elastics
  • First School of Orthodontics
  • Birth of American Association of Orthodontists and American Board of Orthodontics

“Being a board-certified orthodontist means that I not only straighten teeth, but I work to correct problems with a patients bite,” said Dr. Yan. “There is so much to patient orthodontic treatment that impacts breathing, speech, sleep and more. I love what I do knowing that it helps so many people with issues they otherwise may not know they have,” he added.

It is a very laborious and involved process to become ABO certified and only 25% of orthodontists are ABO certified according to Dr. Yan. In addition to an extensive interview process by an esteemed panel, applicants must provide detailed case reports for a broad range of patient issues to affirm their expert knowledge in treatments, clinical skills, and orthodontic judgment. Additionally, they are held to a much higher standard of care through continued certification, education, and professional collaboration.

The Greatest Generation, also called the GI Generation (1901-1924), was so coined by Tom Brokaw in tribute to the hard working, resilient and gritty Americans who lived through the Great Depression and fought in WWII. For this generation, orthodontics was still in its infancy. For working-class parents of this generation, fixed braces demanding extensive medical treatment and made from expensive materials such as gold wire were simply too expensive for the general population.

Notable orthodontic developments of The Greatest Generation:

  • Manufacture of Standardized Appliances
  • Removable Lingual Arch
  • Craniometric Measurements & Classification of dental development
  • 1920 Introduced Stainless Steel to make orthodontics more affordable

One orthodontic historic note was the rise of a prominent American Orthodontist, Calvin S. Case. Case had several divisive professional views from orthodontic pioneer Edward Angle, but none more so than that of extraction vs. non-extraction. Case argued in favor of tooth extraction in some orthodontic cases to account for the aesthetic appearance of the whole face. Angle was stanch in treatment to include retaining a full complement of teeth. The debate split the orthodontic community for several decades and even with today’s research and study remains unresolved. Dr. Yan has published articles and delivered numerous case studies on extraction vs. non-extraction. He asserts that each patient’s treatment must be addressed on a case-by-case basis as the science behind a healthy smile truly demands it.

“The approach to patient orthodontic treatment is a very complex issue. We have countless research articles which often contradict each other in their findings because every case is so unique,” said Dr. Yan. “I myself have conducted several case studies throughout my career and have learned that only through treatment of the patients unique underlying issues can we hope to ensure them a true Forever Smile.”

Indeed. Our early American generations of dentists brought to us an opportunity to fulfill our desire for learning about how orthodontics effects our human condition. In our next issue of Bracket Chatter, we will discover just how that thirst for knowledge became the driving force behind the amazing technological advances available to us today to help patients achieve a beautiful, healthy smile.

Can I use mouthwash instead of flossing?

September 14th, 2022

While mouthwash goes a long way in improving your oral care, it is not a substitute for flossing. Mouthwashes and flossing provide different benefits that you should understand.

Mouthwash Benefits

Mouthwash comes in two categories. Some are considered cosmetic. This type of rinse provides temporary relief from bad breath and has a pleasant taste. These do not actually kill any bacteria.

Therapeutic mouthwashes provide the healthier benefits. These may contain different ingredients including fluoride or antimicrobial agents. This type is used to remove plaque buildup and reduce the potential for calculus formation. Therapeutic rinses can also help prevent cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. In addition, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can prescribe special rinses to assist patients after periodontal surgery or other procedures.

Flossing Benefits

Flossing is what removes the plaque formation before it can harden and become calculus. While a rinse reduces buildup, only flossing will fully remove plaque, especially between teeth. The bristles on a toothbrush do not get between teeth completely. If plaque is not removed, it hardens into tartar or calculus. When this builds below the gum line, gum disease can start.

Types of Floss

Floss is available in a thin string form or a tape. It can be waxed or unwaxed. If you find flossing difficult, you might want to try a different type of floss. You can buy bulk floss in containers or purchase the disposable type with a plastic handle attached. This style can be easier for many individuals to use. Interdental picks are available for bridgework or other situations where regular floss cannot be used.

If you have questions regarding the best mouthwash or floss, or need tips for easier flossing, please ask our Forever Smiles team for advice. We will be glad to give you solutions to help keep your mouth clean and healthy.

What was your favorite part of summer?

September 7th, 2022

It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?

Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Celebrate Labor Day by Getting Away

August 31st, 2022

Labor Day honors the contributions that workers have made to this country, and for many Americans, the holiday is a great time to relax at home with family and friends. But there are quite a few people who celebrate the holiday by getting out of town, with an estimated 33 million people traveling more than 50 miles over Labor Day weekend each year. If you’re dreaming of a great Labor Day escape but you’re not quite sure where to go, here are a few ideas from our team at Forever Smiles to give you some travel inspiration.

Explore a National Park

On a national holiday like Labor Day, it’s only fitting to experience the beauty of America’s landscapes by heading to the nearest national park. If you’re confined to an office most days of the year, national parks can provide a relaxing and scenic escape, whether you’re by yourself, traveling with a group of friends, or bringing the whole family along. Depending on how close you live to the nearest park, you can stay for an afternoon or for longer than a week. With 58 parks located in 27 states, there are plenty of beautiful areas to choose from.

Chow Down in a BBQ Haven

Barbecuing is a popular Labor Day activity, but instead of sweating over your own grill or oven, try visiting one of the country’s BBQ capitals. U.S. News and World Report names Memphis as the top BBQ destination, with more than 80 BBQ restaurants in the city, most notably Corky’s BBQ and Central BBQ. Kansas City is also known for the sweet taste of its sauces, while central Texas is said to have perfected the technique of smoking tender and flavorful brisket.

Relax on the Beach

Many people think of Labor Day as the unofficial start of fall, which brings cooler temperatures, more rain, and for many people, an end to lazy days at the beach. End your beach days with a bang by taking a trip to one of the coasts or to a lakeside beach. For an added dose of festivity, find a city or town that celebrates the occasion with a fireworks display over the water.

Whether you’re looking to turn your getaway into a full week affair or you simply want to experience a quick escape, make the most of your holiday by changing your surrounding scenery. Happy Labor Day from the orthodontic practice of Dr. Yan Razdolsky!

Keeping It Clean—Better for Your Retainer, Better for Your Oral Health!

August 24th, 2022

Now that you’ve graduated from your braces or aligners, you might think you’re finished with orthodontic cleaning tips. Not quite yet! Your retainer needs love, too—not just because it can look or smell “less than appealing” without your help, but because it’s good for your dental health.

Removable Retainers

If you have a Hawley retainer or a clear retainer, cleaning it whenever you remove it is a great idea. Unappetizing white patches mean plaque or mineral deposits from your saliva have dried and hardened on your retainer’s surface. And if you notice an unpleasant taste or odor, it probably means that germs and bacteria have made themselves at home and are growing in and on your appliance.

You don’t want old plaque or new bacteria in your mouth! Here are some ways to keep your retainer clean and fresh:

  • After wearing it, you can clean your retainer with a toothbrush, but don’t brush too vigorously. You might scratch it. Use a soft or even extra-soft brush to clean out all the nooks and crannies, and then rinse.
  • Use cleaning products which have been recommended by Dr. Yan Razdolsky if your retainer needs a deeper clean. Denture cleaners, retainer cleaners, and even toothpastes can be too abrasive or cause discoloration, so use the products made for your specific retainer.
  • Let your retainer dry before storing it in a dry place after cleaning. Shutting a damp retainer into a closed case provides bacteria with the damp, dark environment they thrive in. (PS—clean your case regularly, too!)
  • One of the benefits of a clear retainer is that it’s almost invisible. And you can help keep it that way by removing it whenever you eat or drink. Your retainer can become stained from colored foods or liquids.

Fixed Retainers

A permanent retainer is a small piece of wire that is custom-fit and bonded to the inside of selected teeth to keep them from shifting. Because food particles and plaque can accumulate around a fixed retainer, brushing after meals and at least twice a day is recommended. Bacteria and plaque cause bad breath, cavities, and tartar buildup, and removing tartar might require removing your retainer.

While a fixed retainer can be tricky to clean, there are techniques and products that make cleaning easier and more effective:

  • An orthodontic toothbrush with a smaller head might reach behind your teeth more comfortably.
  • Don’t forget to floss! Using a floss threader will help you get that wriggly floss behind the retainer and between your teeth.
  • Try a water flosser. These handy devices direct a stream of water right into hard-to-reach places for more thorough cleaning.

If you’re having trouble keeping your retainer clean, our Forever Smiles orthodontic team can teach you all you need to know about tools and techniques to keep your retainer—and your teeth and gums—healthy. An attractive smile is a great thing. A healthy, attractive smile is even better!

Another Orthodontist in the Family!

August 19th, 2022

Dr. Yan Razdolsky, Anna, and the entire Forever Smiles family are excited to announce that Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk, DMD, PhD will be joining our office, having just graduated from her orthodontic residency program in Atlanta, Georgia!

With this specialist designation, Elizabeth is adding to her already impressive list of credentials. In addition to being a qualified dentist, Dr. Liz received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago in tissue regeneration and wound healing. She has a record of published research that stretches back more than a decade, with four publications in the past three years alone! She even received the prestigious Recognition of Excellence in Research from the Emory School of Medicine and the Georgia School of Orthodontics. In addition to her remarkable publication record, Dr. Liz brings thousands of hours of hands-on experience, helping hundreds of patients achieve cleaner, straighter smiles. Her residency at the Georgia School of Orthodontics offered her the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art clinical setting with the latest orthodontic appliances and cutting-edge diagnostic technology.

So, what can you expect when you walk into Forever Smiles for an appointment with Dr. Liz? You should expect to receive advanced orthodontic care, delivered with a smile by an exceptional orthodontist. She and Dr. Yan will collaborate, developing individualized plans to help all our patients, from children to adults, achieve their Forever Smiles. She will also bring her knowledge of the latest innovations and technologies to ensure that Forever Smiles remains ahead of the curve in improving the oral health of our patients. We couldn’t be happier to have Dr. Liz join our team.

In her (limited) spare time, Dr. Liz enjoys adventurous travel, playing tennis, and cooking new foods. She and her husband recently moved to the north suburbs of Chicago and are excited to be back in the area.

Orthodontic Emergency Care

August 17th, 2022

Although major orthodontic emergencies are relatively rare, when they do happen it is important to seek immediate attention. By comparison, a minor orthodontic issue is something you can usually take care of yourself, or wait until your next scheduled appointment for care. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and a minor issue.

Orthodontic Emergencies

Acute, Direct Injury to the Mouth, Jaw, or Teeth

Whether undergoing orthodontic care or not, if you injure your mouth, jaw, or teeth, you should see a doctor or dentist immediately. You may need an X-ray to determine the extent of your injury. If the injury affects the orthodontic appliances, they will need adjustment or possibly replacement, depending upon the extent of the injury.

Infected Teeth

It is possible for teeth to become infected following orthodontic treatment. This may or may not be related to your orthodontic appliances. If you experience pain or swelling around a tooth that gets progressively worse, seek professional care as soon as possible.

Minor Orthodontic Issues

While true orthodontic emergencies are rare, minor issues are much more common. Here are some examples of minor orthodontic issues that can be remedied on your own and/or fixed at your next office visit:

  • Poking wire
  • Loose bracket
  • Loose elastic band
  • Loose wire
  • Loose appliance
  • Headgear does not fit
  • Lost or broken elastic band
  • General soreness

Any of the above issues can happen as a result of normal usage, shifting, and wear of your braces. Eating unusually hard or sticky foods can cause or exacerbate these problems. Vigorous brushing of the teeth can also be a factor. None of these issues are emergencies unless they are accompanied by acute or prolonged pain or discomfort.

As for on-the-spot remedies, covering a loose bracket or wire with wax can be a quick fix to alleviate discomfort until your next orthodontist visit. Poking or protruding wires can be moved with a cotton swab or tweezers, or clipped down with nail clippers. Be sure to sterilize the tweezers or clippers in alcohol first. Cover any clipped wire ends with a small ball of wax.

Some soreness or small abrasions in the mouth are normal, especially with recent orthodontic work. Rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution comprised of eight ounces or warm water and one teaspoon of salt.

When in doubt, be sure to contact our Buffalo Grove office with any questions, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky at Forever Smiles.

How does wisdom tooth removal affect orthodontic care?

August 10th, 2022

The purpose of braces and other forms of orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles is to correct malocclusion, also known as crooked or crowded teeth, or “bad bites.” Past orthodontic practice dictated that wisdom teeth be removed, especially in cases of crowding.

The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, and are officially known as the third molars. The teeth typically erupt, or break the surface of the skin, in young people between the ages of 13 and 20.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth are impacted. That means they cannot break through the gum tissue. This typically happens when the mouth or jaw is too small to accommodate the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected, and some dentists and orthodontists may want to remove them as prophylaxis to prevent possible future infection.

Justification for removing wisdom teeth

Dr. Yan Razdolsky will tell you that in some cases, wisdom teeth attempt to come in the wrong way, either tilting in the jaw, or sideways. If the mouth is too small to accommodate these additional teeth, they inevitably become impacted. Swelling or infection of the gum flap above an impacted wisdom tooth may cause pain. The greatest danger is pericoronitis, a potentially dangerous infection that can occur in the gum area around an impacted wisdom tooth, or around a wisdom tooth that has erupted.

Orthodontists base their decision to remove wisdom teeth on each patient's individual circumstances. To learn more about the impact wisdom teeth have on orthodontic treatment, or to schedule a visit with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Buffalo Grove office!

It's time to go back to school!

August 3rd, 2022

Now that many of the schools in Buffalo Grove are back in session, Dr. Yan Razdolsky would like to remind all of our patients about the importance of scheduling appointments in advance. With school, clubs, sports, and family duties to consider, we know that it can be challenging to find time to visit Forever Smiles this fall. In order to accommodate all of our patients’ busy schedules, it is important that you plan ahead for your appointments so that we are able to provide you with a convenient appointment time.

As always, please remember to give us advanced notice if you’re unable to make your regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your fall appointment.

We’ll see you soon and hope summer is winding down nicely for you and your family!

Eating with Braces: Braces-friendly snack recipe

July 27th, 2022

At Forever Smiles, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff know that eating with braces can be tricky. You want to avoid damaging the bands, brackets, and wires, since any damage can delay the progress of your treatment. After adjustments, your mouth may also feel sore, which will make eating more of a chore than a pleasure.

The good news is you do not have to avoid all of your favorite foods; there are ways you can still enjoy them. Try some of these ideas and recipes for great snacks that are friendly to your braces.

Fruits and Vegetables

You still need to eat fruits and vegetable for the healthy nutrients. The trick is to cut harder items into small pieces that you can chew easily with your back teeth. Canned fruits are also a great choice, but select fruits packed in water to avoid the heavy, sugary syrups. It’s a good idea to avoid excess sugar with braces, since sugar build-up around your braces can lead to plaque formation.

Single-serving packages are available to make your snack portable and convenient. Enjoy vegetables with a small amount of a healthy dip. Hummus or yogurt can be used for flavor without adding unnecessary fat or calories.

Banana and Honey Smoothie

Smoothies are a healthy treat, and you can create these drinks with your favorite ingredients. You can use a variety of yogurt types for your smoothie: regular, low or non-fat, and Greek are all great choices.  Here’s one of our favorite smoothie recipes:

  • 6 ounces of your choice of yogurt
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 6 ounces milk

Chop the banana into smaller pieces and put all your ingredients into a blender. Blend on low until everything is mixed and then blend on high for about 20 seconds to make your smoothie fluffy.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can substitute just about any small or cut-up fruit for the banana. Try blackberries, raspberries, or peaches for variety. Try to avoid fruits with small seeds; strawberries can leave bits stuck in your braces. You can even make a smoothie with peanut butter and jelly!

Please ask our team if you have any concerns regarding the foods you can safely eat while wearing braces.

What is early intervention?

July 20th, 2022

Many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles recommend children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment, provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.

If your child is showing these signs, it may be time to think about early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12 to 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking his or her thumb
  • Speech impediment
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Crowded front teeth
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all

Early intervention will greatly reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted. An evaluation at our Buffalo Grove office will determine if your child’s dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly or if interceptive treatment is needed. Many times, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule a consultation for your child to visit with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call! We will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.

Have clear aligners improved for better treatment?

July 18th, 2022

For many patients seeking treatment for tooth alignment, there is the preferred option of clear aligners. In fact, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team place or swap these orthodontic appliances on patients every day. And while he counsels that this treatment is not for everyone, he does suggest they can be a safe and effective way for some patients to achieve a straighter smile. But have they improved enough since their introduction to the market to provide better treatment? Let’s explore!

In a study published June 2020 in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Orthopedics, a study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign or clear aligners concluded, “There was a marked improvement in the overall accuracy; however, the strengths and weaknesses of tooth movement with Invisalign remained relatively the same.” (Haouili et al., 2020)

So, what does this mean? According to Dr. Yan, it means that successful and accurate treatment with clear aligners is predicated on the types of tooth movement required on a case-by-case basis. In other words, clear aligners are not for everyone. But the question here is have clear aligners improved or evolved to provide better treatment? The short answer is yes. The longer answer? Yes, but of course there’s more!

First invented in 1997, clear aligners are a moderately-priced, shorter-treatment term option for patients seeking minimal orthodontic alignment. Again, according to the research paper cited above, clear aligners afford patients who do not require a large amount of tooth movement a decent amount of improvement by moving them from 41% of alignment to an average of 50% overall tooth alignment. While this number may not seem like a lot, it can imply a noticeable difference in a smile’s overall appearance and for some patients that is all they are looking for.

So, how did clear aligners come to make such a difference in the field of orthodontics?

Alongside the introduction to clear aligners, 2001 brought the first 3D oral scanner for digital impressions. These ingenious devices not only replaced the traditional goop impressions, Dr. Yan says this type of intra-oral mapping offers “a more accurate visualization of the patient’s orthodontic need allowing for more precision in the development of the overarching treatment plan.” (See what he did there?)

Dr Yan also said clear aligners, more specifically Invisalign materials have drastically improved through technology and continue to evolve decreasing the length of necessary treatment time for some patients.

“Today, aligners employ SmartForce attachments and SmartTrack materials to control tooth movement and move teeth more precisely and comfortably for shorter treatment times,” said Dr. Yan “Kinda like a Jedi mind trick on your teeth, using ‘the invisible force’ to move teeth to the preferred alignment. For example, we can achieve 100% correction in less severe cases, but in complicated ones average correction is around 50%,” he added.

So all this said, while clear aligners may have improved, they may still not be the right choice for some patients.

“We have learned Invisalign is not as effective in instances where a patient’s teeth are severely rotated - more than 20 degrees, or off tilt - angled more than 45 degrees,” said Dr. Yan. “They are also not as effective with patients who have larger gaps between teeth, have deep overbite, open bite, or in cases where extraction of teeth may be required. In these cases, we will likely explore and ultimately prescribe another form of treatment.”

All-in-all, orthodontics is an evolving science. As technology changes, so too do the tools that allow for more accurate tooth movement, improved bite, quicker treatment, and better overall outcome. That’s why Dr. Yan and the Forever Smiles team continue to share articles like this with patients, so they may learn the latest in orthodontic treatment options including this exciting and ever-changing one.

Haouili, N., Kravitz, N. D., Vaid, N. R., Ferguson, D. J., & Makki, L. (2020). Has Invisalign improved? A prospective follow-up study on the efficacy of tooth movement with Invisalign. American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, 158(3), 420–425.

Electric Toothbrushes vs. Regular Toothbrushes

July 13th, 2022

Convertible or sedan? Downtown or suburbs? Electric or manual toothbrush? As life decisions go, it’s certainly not choosing your next car, or deciding where you want to live. But, even when you are selecting a toothbrush, it helps to make a list of the pros and cons of the contenders before you make that final selection.

  • Efficiency

The most important factor in choosing a toothbrush is finding out which model works best to eliminate bacteria and plaque. And studies have shown that, used properly, both electric and manual toothbrushes do a great job of removing plaque. Some electric models can reach the backs of teeth and the gumline more easily, some manual head designs work better for your individual mouth and teeth, so your particular needs should dictate which style of toothbrush you use. Talk to us about the best methods to brush with your preferred toothbrush, and we’ll let you know if one type of toothbrush or the other might work better for you.

  • Health Considerations

Brushing too energetically can actually harm teeth and gums, causing sensitivity and damage to the enamel and gum tissue. An electric toothbrush should provide a continuous brushing motion without needing any pressure from the brusher. This might be the model for you if you have a too-vigorous approach to brushing, or sensitive teeth and gums.

An electric toothbrush can also be more efficient for older and younger brushers, those with limited mobility, and those with health conditions or injuries that make brushing with a regular toothbrush more difficult.

  • Cost

An electric toothbrush is not a one-time investment. You should change the removable head as often as you change your manual toothbrush (every three to four months, please). But this cost is offset if an electric toothbrush is more efficient in removing your plaque, easier to use, or even if you just prefer it to manual brushing. If you find that you brush better and more often with an electric toothbrush, the added expense is well worth it.

Whichever brush you decide on, the most important part of the brush is the person holding it! A regular appointment with your toothbrush for two minutes of thorough brushing in the morning and two in the evening, daily flossing, and regular visits to our office for checkups and cleanings will keep your teeth healthy and strong no matter which toothbrush you choose.

Questions about your toothbrush choices? Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Buffalo Grove office.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

July 6th, 2022

You’re going to the game! And no matter which sport you follow, there’s so much to enjoy—the best athletes, exciting play, hometown pride—and those delicious concession stands! But if you’re wearing braces, your team spirit might be flagging. Here are a few ideas to help keep your food choices out of foul territory.

You know that you should avoid the foods that can damage braces or stick around your wires and brackets. This means any snacks that are sticky, chewy, hard, or crunchy are benched. So most of the traditional game foods—peanuts, popcorn, nachos, licorice—are just not safe for traditional metal or ceramic braces. Let’s save those for next season.

So what is on the program? You still have many great choices.

  • Ice Cream. A favorite that’s easy on your braces (no nuts or caramel, please). If you want a healthier option, try frozen yogurt or a smoothie.
  • Hearty Snacks. Pretzels and pizza can be too thick and chewy. Go for the mac and cheese, chili, or deli meats on soft bread. And remember, small bites! Check with us to see if hamburgers and hot dogs are safe for your braces.
  • Soft Candies and Cookies. Licorice, caramels, and crunchy cookies are out, but soft chocolate bars and moist, tender cookies are still on the menu.
  • Sodas and sports drinks can create a sugary and/or acidic environment which can damage enamel over time. If you do indulge, try to rinse with water ASAP.

Stadium and arena menus contain a lot of starches and sugars, which stick to braces and fuel cavity-causing bacteria. So it’s best to go easy on the snacks. But you don’t have to give up a half-time treat entirely—just enjoy in moderation and be sure to brush thoroughly when you get home.

If you wear clear aligners, your choices are simpler. You can remove your aligners, eat normally, and clean your teeth thoroughly before replacing them. But one flag on this play—remember that you’re supposed to wear your aligners for a set number of hours each day. You don’t want to be putting your treatment behind schedule if the game goes into triple overtime. Keep your eye on the clock, and you should be fine.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our Buffalo Grove team are always happy to recommend the best food options for your individual orthodontic treatment, and we can help you select a roster of safe and healthy choices. You might miss out on a few of your favorite sports snacks right now, but let’s remember the true fan’s motto: There’s always next year! Taking care of your braces and teeth means faster treatment and healthier teeth. Your All-Star smile will be worth it!

Fun Facts for the Fourth

June 29th, 2022

The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with friends and family members for BBQ, games, fireworks, and other celebrations in honor of our country’s independence. While your fellow revelers eat hot dogs and wave flags, you can impress them by sharing these fascinating facts and historical tidbits about some of our country’s traditions and symbols from the team at Forever Smiles.

The Statue of Liberty

With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of our country. However, as recognizable as certain parts of the statue are, not many people know that broken shackles, which represent oppression and tyranny, are lying at Lady Liberty’s feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs in at a whopping 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch up for more than 125 years, which must make for some impressive arm muscles.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Since 1916, people have been flocking to Coney Island on the Fourth of July to witness what some people call the “superbowl of competitive eating.” Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to devour as many hot dogs as they can in just ten minutes, with the current record holder swallowing a whopping 68 hot dogs! If you’d like to witness this bizarre and frenzied eating competition but you won’t be anywhere near Coney Island on the fourth, don’t worry. ESPN has been broadcasting this popular event for several years, so you can watch from the comfort of your couch while you eat a reasonably portioned meal.

The History Behind Fireworks

Viewing the nighttime fireworks display is exciting way to finish off the fourth. Many people know that these brilliant displays probably originated with the Chinese. However, many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting the sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for the today’s modern fireworks.

Whether you’re planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty, watching fireworks in Buffalo Grove, or even participating in a hot dog eating contest, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

Best Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

June 22nd, 2022

Nobody likes bad breath, and although it can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have it, it is always better to practice good oral health than risk having a smelly mouth. There are many ways to reduce or eliminate bad breath, some are definitely more effective and longer lasting than others. Check out ways to do so below.

Floss Regularly

As difficult as it can be to remember to floss regularly, when it comes to bad breath, flossing is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to freshen your mouth. See, flossing reduces the plaque and bacteria found in areas of your mouth that a toothbrush simply can't reach, and in turn, it rids your mouth of the smell associated with that bacteria. While flossing may not eliminate bad breath on its own, if you do it along with other health oral hygiene habits like brushing, then you may just develop a fresher smelling mouth.

Use Mouthwash

Using some sort of mouthwash can really freshen up your breath, especially if you find it still smells after brushing and flossing. There is a wide variety of mouthwash products on the market, however, you can also create your own by simply using baking soda mixed with water.

Always Brush after You Sleep

Whether after taking a nap, or having a full night of sleep, you will want to brush your teeth in order to reduce bad breath. The truth is, bacteria accumulates in your mouth while you are sleeping (even during a short nap) and that is ultimately the source of bad breath. So next time you wake from a good slumber, give your mouth some brushing and you will find it makes a big difference in the freshness of your breath.

There are many ways to freshen your breath beyond just using gum or mints, the above mentioned are just a few for you to try. Test them out and you will likely find your bad breath problem is solved, or at least considerably reduced. Of course, you can always ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky at your next visit to our Buffalo Grove office.

The Not-So-Spotty Truth About Tooth Decalcification

June 15th, 2022

Getting your braces off is a very momentous occasion that deserves to be celebrated! Revealing a beautiful smile following the end of your treatment is a reward not only for you, but for Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team too. Months of hard work and dedication will all be worth it! While it is exciting to count down the days until you get your braces off, it is also important to remember that your teeth require extra special care throughout the treatment process. Lack of proper oral hygiene can lead to obvious concerns such as bad breath or cavities, but it can also cause more severe issues such as tooth decalcification.

Tooth decalcification is a process in which your teeth lose vital minerals, primarily calcium and phosphorus, that help them stay strong and healthy. The stripping away of these minerals wears down the enamel on your teeth, forming white spots that are often permanent. Decalcification is very common among people who have braces due to the added difficulty of cleaning around the wires and brackets.  Tooth decalcification occurs when plaque is built up under braces for prolonged periods of time. This plaque, coupled with the consumption of sugary or acidic food and drink, expedites the decalcification process.

Not to fret, Dr. Yan says these spots are preventable with a thorough oral hygiene routine. Especially with braces, brushing twice a day and flossing regularly is crucial to keeping your teeth clean and protected. Additionally, moderating the food and drink you consume is the key to keeping your pearly whites healthy and happy. While lemonade, candy, soda, and other junk foods are yummy, too much of them can create a problem later on. So, brushing additionally after consuming these sugary treats is also very important.

Dr. Yan reminds patients that their dentist is also trained to keep an eye out for potential plaque buildup among those with braces. That’s why your regular dental checkups are so important. So be sure to schedule and keep regular dental check-ups to help ensure you steer clear of decalcification.

In the case that you get your braces off and find these pesky white spots on your teeth, all hope is not lost! There are some options available to help minimize the appearance of this decalcification. But before you try any home remedies you’ve learned about on TikTok or Instagram, you should always consult your dentist to find the best way to treat these spots. Since the loss of minerals is the cause of the discoloration, the best way to minimize the color difference is to reintroduce these minerals. While only your dentist will know what the right course of treatment is for you, staying hydrated keeps your mouth salivated. Dr Yan says saliva naturally triggers the remineralization process by providing necessary calcium, phosphate and fluoride to enamel and dentin. So that’s a good place to start and definitely a win, win!

And remember, at the end of the day, the best way to treat decalcification is to prevent it from the outset. Brush two minutes, two times a day and floss like your Forever Smile depends on it. It kinda does.

June is National Smile Month: Show off your smile!

June 1st, 2022

The community health awareness group Oral Health America has reported that 82 percent of adults are unaware of the role that infectious bacteria can play in tooth decay or cavities, and almost three out of five children aged 12 to 19 have tooth decay. Since June is National Smile Month, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles thought we’d remind our patients about the importance of good oral hygiene visits between office visits.

To keep your family’s smiles healthy and beautiful for years to come, be sure to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Dr. Yan Razdolsky for scheduled appointments

If you want to know more about healthy home care habits, feel free to ask our team at your next appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

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!

Wishing all our moms a happy Mother’s Day!

May 4th, 2022

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." - Robert Browning

We would like to take this moment to thank all the great moms out there for being so great during their child’s visits to Forever Smiles. Whether it’s driving their kids to regularly scheduled appointments or for “being there” while their child is treatment, the moms who come to our office are all stellar individuals, so Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our entire staff would like you to know that we appreciate you all!

Happy Mother’s Day and enjoy your special day!

The Importance of Wearing Your Retainer after Orthodontic Treatment

April 27th, 2022

It's the big day and your braces are finally coming off! Does that mean you are completely done? Not so fast! After you complete your treatment here at Forever Smiles, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team will recommend you wear a retainer, which must be worn routinely after treatment in order to hold your teeth in their proper, new position while your gums, ligaments and bones adapt. Most patients are required to wear their retainer every night at first, with many also being directed to wear them during the day. It's important to know there are different kinds of retainers, and today we thought we would explain the differences between them.

Hawley Retainers

The Hawley retainer is one of the most common types of retainers. It is a removable retainer made of a combination of a metal wire that typically surrounds the six anterior teeth and is designed to keep your teeth in place. This retainer is made from impressions of your teeth so that it fits snugly and comfortably in the roof of your mouth, while the wire and acrylic framing keeps your teeth in an ideal position. The acrylic can also be personalized with a large number of colors or patterns.

Essix (Clear) Retainers

The Essix retainer is a transparent removable retainer that fits over the entire arch of your teeth. This clear or transparent retainer fits over the entire arch of teeth and is produced from a mold. Similar to Invisalign’s clear aligner trays, Essix retainers have no metal or wires. They can also be used to produce minor tooth movements and can be helpful in prevention of tooth wear due to tooth grinding at night.

Bonded Retainers

Bonded lingual retainers are cemented directly to the inside surface of your lower canines. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles encourage our patients with bonded lingual retainers to be careful with their bite as the bonding material may break due to incorrect biting and cause your teeth to shift. As with removable retainers, it is important to keep your bonded retainers clean. When brushing, make sure to carefully clean the inside of your lower teeth, as well as the wire itself.

The retention phase of treatment begins when the patient’s braces are removed. Retainers are worn full time, typically for the first nine months, except while eating. Retainers should also be removed before brushing your teeth.

If you have any questions about the retainers we offer or to learn more about post-orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us at our convenient Buffalo Grove office and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!

Earth Day

April 20th, 2022

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team at Forever Smiles wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from the team at Forever Smiles.

The benefits of TONGUE SCRAPING?!?

April 17th, 2022

You have been a good patient and cared for your teeth and braces just like Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles Team have instructed. But did you know there’s still more you can do to help protect your braces, teeth and gums from harmful bacteria that cause plaque and lead to a whole host of other problems?

Brushing away debris and bacteria from tooth surfaces and flossing between teeth is paramount to good oral hygiene, but these things can also build up on your tongue over time. This may lead to bad breath and have a negative impact on your overall oral health. But there is a solution… the tongue scraper!
Tongue scrapers have been in use for centuries. Once an oral tool used primarily by the well-to-do, Eastern civilizations have utilized tongue scrapers made from materials such as wood to various precious metals, even gold! Despite Western civilizations placing less importance on tongue scraping, in more recent decades, we have begun to have a better understanding of the importance of the practice, and of course have turned more commonly to ones made of plastic.

“Tongue scraping has many benefits for your oral health,” said board-certified orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “In addition to the removal of bacteria that cause bad breath and dental decay, tongue scraping can improve your tongue’s appearance and overall taste sensation.”

That’s right, although studies are limited, it is suggested that using a tongue scraper twice daily can improve your ability to distinguish between sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. The theory is that using a scraper helps patients who have a “coated tongue” or a buildup of bacteria and/or dead cells trapped on the tongue’s surface. This can be a result of medication, dry mouth, inconsistent brushing, illness, certain foods, or habits like smoking. The good news, evidence indicates that plaque-forming streptococcal counts decrease significantly simply by cleaning the tongue.

And scraping can improve your tongues appearance as well? Yes, it can! Buildup of excess mucus can turn your tongue a white or colored hue. Daily scraping can help remove this coating, restoring the tongue to a natural healthy pink.

Tongue scraping can also help reduce bad breath. While this in no way replaces brushing your teeth for an overall clean, one 2004 study found that scraping was more effective than brushing at removing odor-causing bacteria, even over brushing the tongue with a traditional soft bristle brush. Although tongue coating was removed by both methods, the scraper performed as much as 30 percent better in reducing production of volatile sulfur compounds.

Although you now know improved tongue hygiene can help with bad breath, make your tongue look better, and help prevent dental issues, Dr. Yan warns when you wear braces there’s no substitute for practicing proper overall oral hygiene.

“When you wear braces, food easily gets lodged in brackets, wires and o-rings which can not only lead to bad breath, but a lot of other dental issues as well,” Dr. Yan said. “That’s why flossing, brushing, and rinsing with water is a great step one, which can naturally be followed by a little 30-second tongue scraping for good measure. With this added routine, you can boost your overall dental health and help your Forever Smiles orthodontic treatment go smoothly.”

Dangers of DIY Orthodontics on the Internet

April 13th, 2022

All over the Internet you'll find videos and articles showing how you can close the gap between teeth or space them out. There is a plethora of DIY orthodontic techniques out there — you can even mail order your own impressions to get clear aligners, without even seeing a dentist or orthodontist. Following the instructions laid out in these videos and articles (by people who have zero training in orthodontics) is about the worst decision you can make for your overall oral health.

Performing DIY or at-home orthodontia can lead to or cause:

  • Loss of teeth
  • Infection
  • Cavities or infections that are missed or undiagnosed
  • Gum damage

Dr. Christina Carter, president of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists, says that DIY orthodontics can have terrible consequences. She spoke to TODAY about closing gaps between teeth using rubber bands or elastics:

"The teeth are connected to the gums and the blood supply and there is a risk of infection, of tearing the gums which might not heal properly, and a risk of damaging the attachment between the tooth and gums so the tooth no longer gets the support it needs." She also noted, "A simple rubber band can actually slide up the tooth and cut all the attachments to it and you can actually lose a tooth."

One of the worst parts about DIY orthodontics is that you never consult with a trained orthodontist, so you're really operating on a dangerous lack of information. It's best not to risk damage to your teeth or infection. Let Dr. Yan Razdolsky know what you want to accomplish with your teeth and we will help you find the safest and most cost-effective way to achieve it.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky want you to be informed and practical about your oral health. Should you have any questions about orthodontic treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our convenient Buffalo Grove office.

This April, Let’s Celebrate National Facial Protection Month!

April 6th, 2022

Poor April. While other months celebrate romance, or giving thanks, or costumes and candy, April has—April Fool’s Day and a tax deadline. We might be forgiven for thinking these two dates seem more like warnings than celebrations.

So here’s a new topic for the April calendar: National Facial Protection Month! Take the opportunity this month to review your safety practices while you’re enjoying your favorite activities.

  • Mouthguards

If you have a mouthguard for sports or athletic activities, wear it! In any activity or sport where humans come into contact with solid objects (including other humans) tooth injury is possible. A mouthguard will help protect you from dental injuries caused by falls, physical contact, or other accidents that might happen in your active life. And it’s not just your teeth—mouthguards protect your lips, tongue, and jaw as well.

You can buy mouthguards in stock sizes or shape-to-fit models, or you can have a guard made especially for you at our Buffalo Grove office. Custom mouthguards fit perfectly and are designed to make breathing and speaking easy and comfortable. If you wear braces, a custom mouthguard can be designed to protect your smile and your appliance. Just talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky for suggestions!

After all the time and work you’ve put into your orthodontic care, don’t let a sports injury set you back. What else should you consider for your facial protection?

  • Helmets

If there’s a helmet available for your sport, use it! Helmets are especially important for protecting athletes from brain injury and concussion, and they help protect the face and jaw as well.

  • Face Guards

If you’ve experienced a puck speeding toward you, or a defensive tackle hurtling your way, or a fast ball coming in at 90 miles an hour, you know the importance of wearing a face guard. These guards can help protect your eyes, face, teeth, and jaws. Many sports now recommend using face guards—it’s worth checking to see if your sport is one of them.

  • Eye Protection

And let’s not forget eye protection. Whether it’s safety glasses or a visor, protecting your eyes and the bones around them is extremely important. You can even get sports goggles or protective sports glasses with prescription lenses to keep you safe and seeing clearly.

So here are a few suggestions for your calendar this month:

  • If you haven’t gotten a mouthguard yet, now’s the time. Tooth and mouth injuries occur in sports beyond hockey and football. If you play basketball, ski, skateboard, ride a bike—in fact, almost any sport where you can fall or make contact with a person or object—a mouthguard is a must.
  • If you need to replace an ill-fitting or damaged helmet and face guard, do it before your next game. And do replace a bike helmet if you’ve been in a crash—most likely it won’t be as protective, even if damage isn’t visible.
  • Talk to your eye doctor about protective eyewear if off-the-rack products don’t work for you.
  • If you are a parent or caregiver, make sure your child athlete has the proper facial protection—and uses it.
  • If you are a coach, make sure your athletes have the right protective gear—and wear it.
  • It’s also a great time to commit to using your protective gear every single time you’re active.

But, wait—these reminders are helpful and important, but weren’t we promised something to celebrate this April? Good catch! The great news is, using facial protection for sports and athletic activities gives you rewards you can celebrate all year: fewer injuries, fewer visits to the emergency room, and a beautiful, healthy, intact smile. Suit up!

How can I protect my child's teeth during sports?

March 30th, 2022

Sports are great for children for a variety of reasons. Children can develop their motor skills, learn how to solve conflicts and work together, and develop their work ethics. As a parent, you may recognize the benefits of sports, but also naturally worry about your child’s health and safety. Your job goes beyond providing a water bottle and making sure your child follows the rules of the game.

Although you may not think of your child’s teeth first when you think about sports, accidents can happen that affect your children’s teeth. A stray hockey stick, an errant basketball, or a misguided dive after a volleyball are examples of ways a child could lose a tooth. In fact, studies show that young athletes lose more than three million teeth each year.

Becoming a Better Athlete to Protect Teeth

Becoming a better athlete involves refining skills, learning the rules of the game, and being a good sport. These components are not just about winning. They are also about safety. Young athletes who are better ball-handlers and who are careful to avoid fouls and penalties are less likely to have harmful contact with the ball, teammates, or opponents. Children who are better roller-bladers are less likely to take a face plant into the blacktop, and more likely to save their teeth. Being a good sport and avoiding unnecessary contact is one way to protect teeth.

Proper Protective Equipment for Teeth

If your child is in a sport that poses a high threat to teeth, it is essential for your child to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards fit your child’s mouth and consist of soft plastic. Dr. Yan Razdolsky can custom fit a mouthguard if generic ones are uncomfortable. While children may resist wearing a mouthguard initially, your persistence in insisting that they wear it should be enough to convince them. A helmet or face mask provides additional protection.

While prevention is best, rapid treatment can improve the situation if your child does happen to lose a tooth during sports. Rapid implantation can work in about ten percent of cases. To learn about ways to save a lost tooth, contact our Buffalo Grove office.

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

March 23rd, 2022

The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. One of the first things people notice about others is their smiles so take the first step towards getting the smile you’ve always wanted and make your initial consultation at Forever Smiles

A good bite not only makes it easier to eat and speak, but will enhance your dental and overall health as well. Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean reducing the risk of gingivitis and periodontal disease. 

Let your smile express yourself! Give us a call at our convenient Buffalo Grove office to schedule your consultation today!


St. Patrick's Day

March 16th, 2022

On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.

St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.

Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:

  • Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
  • Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
  • The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
  • Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.

No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Yan Razdolsky - have a great St. Paddy’s day!

Fossil Fascination

March 15th, 2022

Dental anthropology is a distinct subfield of bioarcheology and physical anthropology. It studies development, eruption, number, size, morphology, modification, wear, and pathology of teeth. It helps scientists answer questions about our ancestral evolution, as well as the diversity of humans and animals through analyzing variations in the form and dimensions of teeth, as well as micro- and molecular analysis of dental components.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics is, himself, an avid dental anthropology hobbyist and enthusiast. In fact, it is this deep-rooted characteristic that many who visit our office know has manifested in quite the collection of fossils! Not only does Dr. Yan use fossils as a teaching tool with patients, his fascination is also one he shares with each of his children, and even now with his grandson, Caleb.

Indeed, through the study of animal fossils we have learned that, unlike humans, many animals do not suffer the same dental afflictions we humans do. Most other vertebrae species rarely have crooked teeth, impacted wisdom teeth, gum disease, or even cavities. What we have learned is that through human evolution our biological, dietary, and cultural changes have shifted us toward a major modern health challenge.

Science tells us that the size of the human mouth has long been shrinking. Some say this is because the development of stone tools approximately 3.3 million years ago, which roughly represents the timeframe the shrinkage has occurred. You see, stone tools allowed humans to shift to a more carnivorous diet with the ability to cut meat into bite-sized pieces, thereby reducing the amount of chewing required for sustenance. Less chewing meant reduced need for larger, more powerful jaws. The development of agriculture further accelerated this evolution.

Some of you may recall, Dr. Yan shared with us in a previous Bracket Chatter the story of Otzi, the Ice Man. Otzi is a well-preserved mummy of a 46-year-old man who lived around 3300 BC. With his discovery, scientists for the first time could examine a 5,300-year-old mummy using the most advanced diagnostic methods. Much like the rings of a tree, the minerals typical of the landscape where a human experiences the first months of a human life are permanently stored in the teeth. By using 3D computer tomography researchers were able to reconstruct his oral cavity, providing insight into dental issues of the period, as well as uncovering significant findings of how the Ice Man lived.

So it’s no wonder the study of fossils, both human and animal, are so fascinating to Dr. Yan. Through the study of anthropology and evolutionary biology, he can help patients and his grandson understand how evolution, diet, and proper oral care can impact an ever-changing perspective of their Forever Smiles.

Permanent or Removable Retainers: Which is right for you?

March 9th, 2022

When the time comes for Dr. Yan Razdolsky to remove your braces, it is very exciting. Unfortunately, it can be somewhat confusing, too, because you are faced with choosing between two kinds of retainers. Should you go with permanent, removable, or a combination of the two? It is always wise to follow Forever Smiles recommendations, but knowing more about the two types of retainer beforehand can be helpful.

Removable Retainers

Removable retainers offer the advantage of easy use: you will generally put a removable retainer in at night and take it out in the morning. Regardless of your retainer schedule, you'll be able to enjoy some time with no retainer. However, a removable retainer can easily be forgotten at times, and this means you won't be taking full advantage of teeth retention.

Another potential advantage of a removable retainer is that you can take it out and brush and floss your teeth with ease, which is more of a challenge with a permanent retainer. Although removable retainers can be very effective, they don't tend to be as effective as permanent retainers, especially if they are not used as directed.

Permanent Retainers

Permanent retainers are the clear choice for patients who want to “get it and forget it.” Once your permanent retainer is placed in your mouth, you won’t need to worry about daily retainer schedules, since it is permanently affixed to your teeth.

Because teeth begin to shift naturally as we age, a permanent retainer typically offers better long-term results for teeth straightening than a removable one. You can't forget to put it in — it's already there! Temporary retainers get lost or are forgotten on trips, and often fail to get used as often as they should be.

One drawback to permanent retainers is flossing. Some patients find it more difficult to floss with a permanent retainer, but we can show you effective ways to floss fairly quickly with your permanent retainer.

Some orthodontists may recommend a combination of the two; for example, a removable retainer for the top teeth and a permanent one for the lower ones because the lower teeth are smaller and tend to shift more.

Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that wearing your retainer as directed is extremely important. As long as you follow our orthodontist’s advice, you will get the best results from your retainer, regardless of its type. If you’re still not sure whether the choice you’ve made is truly right for you, get in touch with us at our Buffalo Grove location right away!

What is dentofacial orthopedics?

March 2nd, 2022

You may have noticed that we specialize in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. And while most people we talk to have heard of orthodontics, many are confused by the dentofacial orthopedics part of the title. Today, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team thought we would explain the difference.

While orthodontics entails the management of tooth movement, dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and facial development, which occurs for the most part during childhood, and is a reason why kids are often the best candidates for receiving dentofacial orthopedic therapy. Dr. Yan Razdolsky will examine and monitor your child’s growth to determine when starting treatment will be most effective. If your child begins orthodontic treatment before his or her adult teeth have erupted, it is known as Phase-One treatment. During this phase, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will use treatments designed to correct your child’s jaw growth and make sure that the jaw bone is properly aligned before beginning the next phase of treatment, which usually involves placing braces to straighten your child's teeth.

Dentofacial orthopedics is also used to treat adult patients at Forever Smiles, however, this process may involve surgery. With our younger patients, we know the jaw bones are still forming, making it easier for our team at Forever Smiles to control bone growth and tooth movement. Adults, however, are a different story; their bones are no longer growing, and their jaw bones have hardened, so it is more difficult to adjust the bite and move teeth into proper alignment. Dr. Yan Razdolsky may recommend surgery to adjust the jaw bone and establish the proper bite alignment before beginning treatment.

Because our team at Forever Smiles is skilled in both areas, we are able to diagnose any misalignments in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure, and can devise a treatment plan that integrates both orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic treatments.

We hope that helps! To learn more about dentofacial orthopedics, and to find out if this type of treatment is right for you, please contact our Buffalo Grove office and schedule an initial consultation for you or your child. It’s never too late to get a great smile, and we can’t wait to help you or your child get started.

How much do braces cost?

February 23rd, 2022

This is one of the most common questions that is asked at Forever Smiles and, unfortunately, it does not have a simple answer. Just as every patient we see is unique, so is their treatment plan. Some patients have very simple problems which require less appliances and time, while other cases are much more complicated and may require multiple appliances and phases.

The treatment fee usually reflects the amount of orthodontic work required to complete the treatment plan. The only way to find out how much braces will cost is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky. During your consultation, we will perform a complete oral examination, listen to your concerns, and explain how we will address your needs.

Our findings will include the cost of orthodontics and how long the treatment will take to complete. Give us a call today at our convenient location in Buffalo Grove for a consultation and discover how quickly we can make you smile!

Wax Facts

February 16th, 2022

In the long run, wearing braces is so worth it. Whether you’re working toward straight teeth, an improved bite, or both, you’ll end up with a beautiful smile! But sometimes, in the short run, they can be really annoying. Braces can irritate your lips, tongue, and cheeks while you are getting used to them or after an adjustment. Or a problem wire can poke the inside of your mouth and you can’t see us immediately for a repair. At times like these, Dr. Yan Razdolsky will recommend orthodontic wax to make your life more comfortable.

  • What is Orthodontic Wax?

Orthodontic wax is made from non-toxic products like beeswax, carnauba wax, and paraffin wax. Some products might contain extras like vitamin E, aloe, or flavorings. The soft wax covers the bracket or wire that is bothering you with a smooth surface that won’t irritate sensitive mouth tissue and will give sore areas a chance to heal.

  • What if I Swallow a Piece?

All dental wax is made of non-toxic ingredients. If you accidentally swallow a bit, no need to worry.

  • Is It Hard to Apply?

It’s not hard, but it takes a bit of practice. First, locate the wire or bracket that is causing the problem. You might know where it is right away, or be able to discover it by discovering which sharp bracket or wire is across from the sore spot in your mouth.

Always wash your hands first. Brush and floss, so you will have a clean surface to apply the wax. The drier the surface, the better the wax will stick, so let the area air dry or use something clean such as sterile gauze to dry around the bracket.  

The wax is actually quite easy to work with. Break off a small piece of wax (no bigger than the size of a popcorn kernel or a pea), roll it in your fingers to soften it, and press the wax firmly but carefully over the problem bracket or wire until it sticks. Rub until the wax is smooth. Don’t worry, we will be happy to show you just how it’s done.

  • Can I Eat with Wax in Place?

If you find that you can eat without much irritation, it’s better to eat without wax over your braces. Remove the wax before eating and brush carefully to remove any food particles from your braces before applying new wax. If you do snack while using wax, be sure to change it after you eat. Wax, after all, sticks easily to your braces—and food particles stick to wax! Not a good look, and not good for your teeth.

  • Brushing and Flossing

Take off any wax before you brush and floss. Your toothbrush will thank you!

You probably have lots of other questions. Can you sleep with wax on your braces? Will it help you be more comfortable at trumpet practice? That’s why we’re here! If you have any questions at all about orthodontic wax and how to use it, call our Buffalo Grove office. We want to make sure that the months you spend wearing braces are as comfortable as possible on your way to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. It’s so worth it!

Help! My Dog Ate My Retainer!

February 15th, 2022

According to Buffalo Grove Orthodontist, Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles there are only two safe places for your retainer - your mouth or the case. Any other place can leave you at risk for loss or damage. Just ask anyone who’s ever had their doggo eat their retainer. No way, you say? Oh yeah, it happens!

Take the story of one patient who only removed their retainers for a quick Snapchat. There they were posting to their story when their new pup Sparky darted out of nowhere and made off with his new prized chew toy. Good luck getting that back in working condition! (Eeeew, puppy slobber.)

Or how about another patient who left her retainer on her bathroom vanity. Her sweet tabby, Mittens bounded up and swatted them into the trash. (Thankfully, Mom found them before they were put out for garbage pickup.)

Not surprisingly, this happens more than you might think. The thought is that pets are drawn to the material retainers are made from. For cats and kittens, there’s just something about swatting things around that seems like fun to them. And think about it… you put the retainer in your mouth. For puppies, the smell of saliva may make them think your retainer is food.

Replacing lost or damaged retainers carries a cost. So, in addition to keeping your retainers safely away from Sparky’s lethal jaws and Mitten’s crafty paws, here’s a few more tips you can follow to keep them safe and working effectively.

Never wrap retainers in a napkin or paper towel! It’s inevitable. At some point someone other than you is going to think it’s discarded waste, scoop it up and toss it in the trash. Yes, it’s happened to a patient in a restaurant. The server snatched it up while clearing the table and the patient wasn’t looking.

Another tip is to never carry retainers in your pocket unless they are in their case. All too easily, they can become bent or broken simply from sitting or wearing your seatbelt.

Don’t leave your retainer sitting out on your vanity or sink. There are a lot of items used around that surface like hair dryers, or styling irons that produce enough heat they can warp them. Not to mention the bacteria they are exposed to. What’s more, your retainer can dry out when exposed sitting out on the counter making them more prone to cracking.

What if your retainers get yucky? You should avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol-based mouthwashes to clean them. Dr. Yan says water and toothpaste will do the trick just fine. Or if you really want clean, try a very mild vinegar soak. But the best way to keep your retainer fresh is by brushing your teeth before you use it. Using your retainer with dirty teeth will only make the retainer dirty and spread bacteria. Make it a practice to brush your teeth, then the retainer to keep it clean and fresh. But be sure to not use hot water when rinsing or it could warp.

It’s not hard. Just remember when your retainer is not in use, simply keep it in the case Dr. Yan and the team gives you. Don’t put all your hard work, patience, and beautiful Forever Smile at risk.

The Start of Valentine’s Day

February 9th, 2022

Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day, has been said to originate with a Catholic priest named Valentine several thousand year ago. Valentine defied the emperor at the time by secretly marrying men and their brides after the emperor had made it illegal to marry. Emperor Claudius II did this because he wanted as many single young men to fight in his war as he could get.

Valentine disobeyed the emperor’s edict by continuing to marry couples until he was sentenced to death. Before his execution, he sent a letter to a secret love and signed it “From your Valentine.” Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team have come up with some suggestions on how you can celebrate this Valentine’s Day, whether you have a valentine of your own or not.

Valentine's Day Ideas

  • Enjoy a tasty treat. There are plenty of options when it comes to cooking and/or baking on Valentine’s Day. Make your significant other his or her favorite meal or sweet treat, or make your own favorite dish to enjoy on this day. Oh, and be sure to make enough for leftovers!
  • Make a personalized card. Instead of buying a card from the grocery store, take the time to make your own for a loved one. People love handwritten notes, especially when it’s from someone special. If you’re single this Valentine’s Day, make a card for fellow single friend to brighten the day and remind the person that he or she is also loved.
  • Watch a movie. We all know there are plenty of romance movies out there. Put on your favorite romantic comedy, or pick up your significant other’s favorite movie to watch together. Even better, if you’re single, pick up your own favorite movies to watch to pass the time this Valentine’s Day.
  • Do nothing! We all know Valentine’s Day can sometimes get a lot of hype. If you’re worried about not making a reservation in time, don’t feel like planning an extravagant night out, or simply not in the holiday mood this year, spend your day sitting back and relaxing.

Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love and spend quality hours with the people you care about the most. Whether you’re in a relationship or single, take some time today to appreciate those you love in your life.

We wish you a happy Valentine’s Day celebration and look forward to seeing you at our Buffalo Grove office during your next appointment.

Talking Over Your Underbite

February 2nd, 2022

You’ve been told that you have a malocclusion called an “underbite.” Let’s look at just what this diagnosis means, and what it means for you.

Just what is an “underbite”?

A malocclusion is another way of saying that you have a problem with your bite, which is the way your jaws and teeth fit together when you bite down. In a typical bite, the front top teeth project slightly beyond, and slightly overlap, the bottom teeth.

An underbite, on the other hand, results when the lower teeth and jaw extend further forward than the upper teeth and jaw, causing the bottom teeth to overlap the top teeth.

What causes an underbite?

Underbites tend to be genetic, and run in families, so, most often, an underbite is something you’re born with. The size of your jaws, the shape of your teeth, or both will affect your bite.

A smaller number of underbites develop because of injuries or early oral habits, such as prolonged and vigorous thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.

How do we treat an underbite?

Your treatment will depend on the type and severity of your underbite, and your age when treatment occurs.

  • Braces and Aligners

If your underbite is a slight one, caused, for example, by crowded or overly large teeth, braces or clear aligners can help move the teeth into proper alignment.

  • Functional Appliances

If the underbite is caused by a problem with upper and lower jaw development, devices called functional appliances can be used to help guide the growth of the jawbones while a child’s bones are still growing and forming.

If you’re a young patient, two appliances commonly used to help correct an underbite are palatal expanders, which gradually widen the upper jaw if it’s too narrow, and reverse pull headgear, which fits both inside the mouth and outside on the face, and provides a steady, gentle pull to encourage the forward growth of the upper jaw.

  • Surgical treatment

In some severe cases, surgical treatment can correct an underbite by reshaping the jawbone itself and positioning it further back to align properly with the upper jaw.

Why treat your underbite?

A serious underbite can cause damaged teeth and enamel, painful problems with the temporomandibular joint, headaches and facial pain, sleep apnea, difficulty chewing, eating, and speaking, and can affect confidence and self-esteem.

By following your treatment plan, you’ll not only prevent these consequences, but you’ll achieve major benefits—a healthy, comfortable bite, and an attractive, confident smile. Want to know more? Talk it over with Dr. Yan Razdolsky at our Buffalo Grove office for all the information you’ll need!

Who benefits from Invisalign®?

January 19th, 2022

One problem with trying to answer the question as to who benefits from Invisalign is that the simple answer is “almost everyone.” The see-through, almost invisible aligners for straightening teeth are specifically molded to fit each individual’s mouth. Unlike conventional braces, they can be removed when eating and when cleaning the teeth. Because they use less force in straightening teeth than metal braces, the risk of harm to teeth is lessened.

Benefits to adults

Traditional braces are associated with children and teenagers. Many adults want to have their teeth straightened but cannot decide which is worse: having crooked teeth or wearing metal braces. They also worry about having to change their diet by not being able to eat the foods they normally enjoy.

If you are an adult considering braces, our team at Forever Smiles will tell you Invisalign aligners will give you the best of all worlds. Your teeth will be straightened with virtually invisible braces. You can remove your aligners when you eat so you can enjoy any food you normally would consume. You do not have to worry about embarrassing yourself by getting food stuck in your braces. You simply clean your teeth normally after eating and replace your aligners. If there is a special occasion during which you do not want to have any braces at all, you can remove the aligners for a few hours without causing any damage.

Benefits to teenagers

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team know that teenagers are often involved in contact sports or gymnastics. Others find that having metal in their mouth interferes with their ability to play a musical instrument. Traditional metal braces contain wires and brackets that can cause damage to the mouth and gums; this is not a risk with Invisalign aligners.

For sports that require players to wear mouthguards, the expense of specially constructed mouthguards to fit over braces is avoided. The aligners can be removed during sports activity, and a normal mouthguard is worn. Teenagers who play musical instruments simply remove the aligners when practicing or playing in the band or orchestra.

Teenagers often feel they are too busy to spend time and trouble flossing teeth between the wires and brackets of traditional braces. Since the Invisalign aligners are removable, brushing and flossing are simpler and more likely to be performed.

For more information about Invisalign or Invisalign Teen, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call at our convenient Buffalo Grove office!

When is the right time to meet the Tooth Fairy?

January 14th, 2022

As a child’s permanent teeth erupt, their deciduous or primary teeth begin to fall out. For most children that is around age 5 or 6, although they can appear sooner or later depending on and correlating with when the baby teeth first came in.  As these “adult” teeth emerge however, the applied pressure along with biological stimuli cause the child’s baby tooth roots to dissolve, allowing them to loosen and ultimately come out naturally. But what if your child’s tooth comes out due to trauma, or maybe one larger erupting tooth forces out two baby teeth at the same time? What if extraction becomes necessary due to decay? How does this impact the timing and health of incoming permanent teeth?

“Baby teeth act like place holders and guides for the eruption of permanent teeth to come,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics of Buffalo Grove. “Losing them too early can disrupt their natural function. This can result in misalignment or shift of the incoming tooth or result in blocked out or impacted teeth which do not erupt naturally or properly on their own. This can further cause malocclusion and bite issues which may progressively require extensive orthodontic treatment and even surgery down the road,” he added.

According to Dr. Yan, as losing a primary tooth early could result in these types of dental complications, parents should establish a game plan with their pediatric dentist should that happen with their child. First and foremost, if the tooth comes out due to trauma, treat the emergency. From there, schedule a consult with Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team.

“At Forever Smiles, we generally begin early evaluation for treatment around the age of 7. But our team is always happy to see a child sooner should their pediatric dentist recommend it or if there is cause for concern. Although treatment may not be necessary, interceptive treatment such as a space maintainer may help children forgo more extensive and expensive treatments down the road.”

Space maintainers are exactly what the name implies. These fantastic, passive treatment devices hold the place left behind by a prematurely lost tooth. This prevents the surrounding teeth from shifting and allows the permanent tooth to erupt safely and naturally into the right position. This can go a long way in helping a child’s teeth and dentition develop more naturally as intended.

“Parents should know, not every prematurely lost tooth is cause for concern. It all depends on the dental maturity of the child and location of the lost tooth,” says Dr. Yan. “While early interceptive orthodontics allows us to treat problems and avoid more serious, invasive, and expensive issues in the future, they may not always be necessary. It is always best to evaluate just so that we may know for sure.”

In the end, for a child who has lost a baby tooth it is a time for gap-toothed grins and visits from the Tooth Fairy. With early evaluation however, Dr. Yan can help parents ensure those grins grow to be beautiful Forever Smiles."

Let It Snow!

January 5th, 2022

The weather out there might be frightful for most of us, but not for you! You’ve been waiting all year for a fresh coat of powder and all the outdoor sporting activities winter brings. But before you grab those ski poles, strap into that snowboard, lace up those skates, or dust off that sled, be sure to remember one more essential piece of gear—your mouthguard!

Mouthguards aren’t just for contact sports. While all that lovely new snow looks like powder, it doesn’t feel like it when you land hard. If there’s a chance of a fall or an impact in any sport, there’s a chance you can suffer dental injuries.

Falls or collisions can result in chipped, broken, or dislodged teeth. Your mouthguard will help protect your smile from these accidents, and also works to protect you from biting your tongue and mouth in case of impact. It can even reduce the chance of jaw injuries.

Luckily, finding a mouthguard that works for you is even easier than finding the perfect board or the best wax for your skis. You have several options to choose from:

  • Ready-made appliances. These are available in drugstores and sporting goods stores, but come in pre-formed sizes, so they might not provide the best fit.
  • The “boil-and-bite” model. This mouthguard form is placed in hot water. You then bite down while it is pliable to shape it to your mouth and teeth.
  • Custom mouthguards. These guards can be fabricated just for you. They are molded to fit your individual mouth and teeth, so provide a better fit and better protection. They are also usually more durable and more comfortable. If you wear braces, a custom mouthguard can be your best option for preventing an injury to your mouth and your braces. Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky if you are interested in a guard fitted specifically for you.

When you visit our Buffalo Grove office, let’s discuss all the best ways to keep your teeth and mouth protected before you set out for winter sports. And then when you’re ready to go? Let it snow!

Sparkle with Braces this Holiday

December 15th, 2021

For some, holiday occasions are one of the most-anticipated events of the season, and what’s not to love? There’s delicious food, holiday lights, gift exchanges and so much to prepare for - from dressing up in sparkly jewelry, to polishing up those dance shoes. Everyone wants to look their best this season, but if you wear braces you might be concerned your orthodontics will steal the attention away from your celebratory smile. If you are worried about your braces being the standout feature when it’s time to deck the halls, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team have a few suggestions which may help ease your concerns and have you joyfully ringing in the holidays.

When it comes to bands, picking the right color can be essential to your holiday look. When planning for fun, spirited events, consider bands which reflect the season or your personality leading into the big affair. Red and green, or even red and white like a candy cane can be a fun and seasonal kick to boost your mood. For more formal occasions, perhaps select a neutral color for bands so they don’t jump out or clash with your anticipated attire. That’s right, if you’re concerned that the color of your bands will clash with your outfit, you can always schedule a visit to Forever Smiles before the big event and pick colors to complement your outfit and your mood! Another suggestion before heading out for holiday merriment is leave enough time for a mini photo-shoot to practice your celebratory smile. This will help boost your confidence when posing for holiday pictures with others.

Dr. Yan warns braces wearers should always be conscious of what foods are off limits when they’re out celebrating and want to make a good impression. Avoid crunchy, hard, chewy, and sugary foods that can damage the brackets if you have metal or ceramic braces. Nothing is worse leading up to and through a big day than pain or discomfort. Also remember, whether you have traditional braces or wear clear aligners which you remove before eating, it’s good practice to limit your sugary food intake as these bacteria favorites contribute to acid and plaque formation which do not take time off for the holidays. Other foods worth avoiding include hard sticky foods like candy canes, toffee, and peanut brittle. Braces wearers should also be cautious of meat on the bone and large chunks of raw veggies. Lastly look out for hard cookies, nuts, and foods with nuts in them, as they can bend or break wires which will certainly ruin a fun evening.

When you do taste the flavors of the season, Dr. Yan says it is important to remember your oral hygiene. Nothing is worse than a holiday greeting with food stuck in your teeth or braces! Tuck a compact mirror in your pocket or purse to check your braces for food particles once you finish eating or snacking. Even better, visit the restroom and use a travel toothbrush to gently brush your teeth as necessary to remove any accumulated plaque. In addition to a travel toothbrush and orthodontic wax, consider toting a mini bottle of mouthwash with you to kill bacteria and keep your breath minty fresh.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the season, remember the main reason why you have braces in the first place – a straighter, beautiful, more healthy Forever Smile. Beyond the physical benefits of straighter teeth, braces wearers are making a conscious choice to do something beneficial for their long-term health. There is nothing that says positive self-image more than looking ahead to care for oneself, so that alone should help ease your image concerns and boost confidence. Our advice – smile big and sparkle! In years to come, you won’t look back on photos from special occasions and regret having undergone orthodontic treatment. So, relax and celebrate… ‘tis the season of giving after all!

Braces Repairs—Should You Try This at Home?

December 8th, 2021

No matter how careful you are, accidents can happen. Perhaps it’s a slice of apple that was a little bit larger than it should have been. Or you were chewing on your pencil while you were trying to work out an algebra problem. Or you tried a piece of candy that your friend really, truly thought didn’t have a caramel center.

No matter the cause, when something‘s wrong with your braces, you know it. And you want to fix it as soon as possible. What can you do to make yourself more comfortable? And which repairs are best left to orthodontic professionals?

First things first. If you have been injured, and suffered a trauma to your mouth or jaw that has damaged your braces, we want to make sure that you get any medical attention you might need before we worry about your appliance. Call Dr. Yan Razdolsky, and your doctor, immediately if you have suffered a medical or dental injury.

Even if your braces are the only injured party, you might need a special appointment if the damage is something that shouldn’t wait and can delay your orthodontic progress. Broken wires, brackets that have fallen off, and loose orthodontic bands, for example, need to be replaced in our office.

But what about minor problems? First, call us to see if it’s something that really is minor, and whether you can do some home repairs to keep you going until your next regular visit.

  • Wayward Wires

One of the most common—and most annoying—problems is a broken or out-of-place wire. If a wire end is poking you, dental wax can be applied to the loose end to protect your cheeks and gums. If that doesn’t work, we can let you know how to apply gentle pressure to move the wire away from delicate tissue. Don’t try to cut a broken wire or remove it without talking to us—small pieces can be swallowed accidentally. We’ll give you suggestions for how to handle a broken or loose wire and protect your mouth until you can see us.

  • Breakaway Brackets

If your bracket becomes loose, this is another good reason to give us a call. Brackets are specifically placed to let your archwire guide your teeth where they need to be. Without a firmly bonded bracket, the wire isn’t doing you much good! If a loose bracket is irritating your cheeks or gums, you can try a bit of dental wax to stick it in place and cover hard edges until we can re-bond it. If the bracket comes off all together, bring it with you to your next appointment.

  • Balky Bands

Spacers are little rubber bands we put between your teeth if we need to create some room between your molars before you get your braces. They have a tendency to fall out after several days. We’ll let you know if their work is done, and you’re ready to start your orthodontic treatment. If you lose one of your ligatures, those colorful bands around your brackets, give us a call and we’ll let you know if replacement can wait.

We’re happy to help you with any braces problems, large or small. It’s best to check with us for even small fixes to make sure you avoid injury. Larger repairs can be handled in our Buffalo Grove office—and we can give you tips on how to prevent future ones. Accidents happen, but they don’t need to delay your progress toward a beautiful, healthy smile.


November 24th, 2021

At Forever Smiles, we love to celebrate the holidays with vigor! Dr. Yan Razdolsky would love to share some unique ways of celebrating Thanksgiving from beyond the Buffalo Grove area to the national level!

When Americans sit down to dinner on the last Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the day on which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, they do so thinking that the first Thanksgiving feast was held at Plymouth in 1621. According to National Geographic, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez Coronado and his men celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving in Texas in 1541, giving Texas the distinction of being the first place where Thanksgiving was celebrated.

Different Types of Celebrations

Native Americans had rituals around which they celebrated in hopes of ensuring a bountiful harvest. The Cherokees had a Green Corn Dance that they did for this very purpose. The Pilgrims (not to be confused with the Puritans,) rejected any type of public religious display. They held a three-day long non-religious Thanksgiving feast. Although they said grace, the focus of their celebration was on feasting, drinking alcohol (they did have beer,) and playing games.

The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation celebrated a different day of Thanksgiving in 1623. Plagued by a crop-destroying drought, the settlers prayed for relief. They even fasted. A few days later, they got the rain they so desperately needed. Soon thereafter, they received another blessing when Captain Miles Standish came with staples they couldn't otherwise get. He also told them that a Dutch supply ship was en route. In gratitude for the abundance of good fortune, the Plymouth settlers celebrated a day of prayer and Thanksgiving on June 30, 1623.

The Story of Squanto

No discussion of Thanksgiving is complete without a discussion of Squanto, or Tisquantum, as he was known among his people, the Patuxet Indians. It is believed that he was born sometime around 1580. As he returned to his village after a long journey, he and several other Native Americans were kidnapped by Jamestown colonist, Thomas Hunt. Hunt put them on a ship heading to Spain where they were to be sold into slavery.

As fate would have it, some local friars rescued him and many of the other kidnapped natives. Squanto was educated by the friars. Eventually, after asking for freedom so he could return to North America, he ended up in London where he spent time working as a ship builder. By 1619, he was finally able to get passage on a ship headed to New England with other Pilgrims.

Upon arriving at Plymouth Rock, he learned that his entire tribe was wiped out by diseases that accompanied earlier settlers from Europe. In gratitude for passage on their ship, he helped them set up a settlement on the very land where his people once lived. They called the settlement Plymouth. Since they knew nothing about how to survive, let alone how to find food, Squanto taught them everything, from how to plant corn and other crops, how to fertilize them, how and where to get fish and eels and much more.

After a devastating winter during which many settlers died, thanks to Squanto's teaching, they had an abundant harvest. After that harvest, they honored him with a feast. It is this feast of 1621 which was celebrated between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians that is widely considered the first Thanksgiving celebration.

About the Meal of the Plymouth Settlers

Surviving journals of Edward Winslow that are housed at Plymouth Plantation indicate that the first Thanksgiving feast was nothing like what Americans eat today. The meal consisted of venison, various types of wild fowl (including wild turkey,) and Indian corn. There were no cranberries, stuffing, pumpkin pie, potatoes, or any of the other “traditional” foods that appear on modern menus.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the holiday. It is still a day of feasting, and for some, a day of prayer and thanksgiving. For others, it is a celebration of gathering, especially for families. Still others may celebrate in entirely different ways, including watching college football bowl games, or by playing family games.

If you ever wonder why you're so tired after the Thanksgiving meal, it's because turkey contains an amino acid, tryptophan, and it sets off chemicals whose chain reaction combine to make people sleepy.

Braces & Pregnancy

November 17th, 2021

What to expect with your Forever Smile

So, you’re expecting a baby? Congratulations! While there are likely a million things on your mind you should probably table orthodontic treatment as one of them. That’s right. If you’ve ever heard us say it’s never a bad time to get straighter teeth or consider braces, when you’re pregnant is pretty much one of the only times you’ll hear us say, “don’t do it.”

You see, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team utilize ultra-low dose, iCat Cone Beam 3D x-ray imaging for evaluation and treatment planning. Although radiation exposure risk from iCat is at or near zero, he and the team must ensure the patients safety and understanding of relative risk is first and foremost. That’s why Dr. Razdolsky recommends expecting moms to hold off on treatment until after baby is born.

For expecting Moms already in braces, however, Dr. Razdolsky says now is a perfectly safe time to undergo orthodontic treatment. (Just be sure to tell him at your next appointment you are pregnant.) Although routine orthodontic processes and procedures are perfectly safe during pregnancy, some protocols may require greater care and observation during treatment. For example, pregnant moms may be surprised to learn how their new condition impacts their dentition. Hormones during pregnancy can affect teeth in many ways. This can include inflammation in the gums, loosening teeth and swelling. Don’t worry, your teeth aren’t at risk of falling out! They will anchor in once baby is born, but it is important for Dr. Razdolsky to know you are pregnant as it may impact the progression and timeline of your orthodontic treatment. Because of this, it may also be necessary to schedule your orthodontic appointments more frequently, so the Forever Smiles team can more closely monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to keep you on track.

Dr. Razdolsky and the team cannot stress enough the importance of good oral hygiene, especially if you are pregnant and suffering from morning sickness. If braces are exposed to powerful stomach acids from vomiting it can not only destroy the metals over time it can erode your teeth causing a host of issues down the road. That’s why it is important to rinse and brush your teeth after each bout of morning sickness in addition to your routine orthodontic regimen and care.

Not coincidentally, caring for developing baby and your braces during pregnancy both include a healthy diet. But all that’s good for baby is not always good for your braces! Evidence shows a diet as high as 70 to 100 grams per day in protein increases the production of breast milk, but some meats can be tough to chew and not safe for those with braces. Moms-to-be with braces should avoid meats like beef jerky or tough steak. Instead, look to braces-friendly protein options such as eggs, chicken breast, fish (especially salmon), cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. Dr. Razdolsky advises expectant moms to consult with their obstetrician regarding specific dietary choices. For example, while some fish offer a great protein source, they can also contain mercury which could impact baby’s developing brain and nervous system when you’re pregnant.

In addition to eating a healthy, balanced diet for baby, Dr. Razdolsky and the team advise moms-to-be to watch out for crunchy, tough, chewy, and brittle foods which can bend wires or dislodge brackets. Some expectant moms might also be tempted to chew on ice to soothe swollen gums during pregnancy. Don’t! There’s nothing worse than the discomfort caused by a protruding wire or floating bracket--except maybe experiencing it while you’re also pregnant!

So, that said… are braces more painful while you pregnant? Maybe. No one can say for sure, but some expectant moms may experience a little more discomfort than others. Likely this is due to increased nerve sensitivity and doesn’t happen to everyone. That’s why Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team are here with you every step of the way. We love welcoming a new baby to the family, it gives us all more reason to smile!

3D Imaging and Your Oral Health

November 10th, 2021

3D imaging, also known as CBCT (Cone Beam Computerized Tomography), can be an invaluable tool for Dr. Yan Razdolsky to help you to maintain or restore your oral health. Advances in the industry have allowed for more precise and detailed imaging than ever before.

CBCT machines work by rotating around a patient to capture both 3D and 2D images of the head and jaw all at the same time. This is then digitally reconstructed on the computer to allow for quicker and more accurate diagnosis. There are several benefits of 3D imaging over traditional imaging like X-rays and CT scans, for both doctor and patient.

The benefits of 3D imaging for the patient:

  • Radiation exposure is reduced as compared to traditional X-rays or CT scans. A 3D scan will expose patients to less radiation than a full set of oral X-rays and up to 95% less radiation than a CT scan.
  • 3D imaging allows the patient to view the results of the scan alongside the doctor, right on the computer. This way the patient can better understand what's going on if there is an issue.
  • The procedure is extremely quick and easy to perform. It usually only takes about ten to twenty seconds for the entire 3D image to be taken.
  • Cost savings are huge for patients when compared to traditional CT scans performed at a hospital.

The benefits of 3D imaging for the doctor:

  • One of the biggest benefits for doctors is the amount of information gained from one scan. Doctors receive much more in-depth and actionable information as compared to 2D X-ray imaging alone. This makes for better treatment planning and diagnosis.
  • The images are digital so they can be viewed on any computer or tablet instead of having just one physical printed image.
  • Clearer images are captured with this technology, which allows the doctor to more accurately diagnose any disorder such as impacted teeth, pathologies which are difficult to see, TMJ, or any other issue relating to the bone and structures of the tooth below the gum line.
  • 3D imaging allows for better communication between doctor and patient. The doctor can more easily show the patient what's going on and explain the course of treatment they suggest.

When called for, 3D imaging can be a very helpful diagnostic tool for both doctor and patient alike. This is why our Buffalo Grove office is equipped with state-of-the-art imaging technologies so we can provide our patients with the most accurate and comfortable experience possible.

The Mighty Little TADs

November 2nd, 2021

As most of you know the science behind successful orthodontic treatment requires a thorough understanding of biology and physics. For example, Newton’s Third Law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” aptly describes the literal force necessary for tooth movement, realignment, and bite correction. Therefore, it becomes evident how Orthodontics uses physics, including the understanding of torque, pressure, pulling, pushing and the appropriate counteracting forces to straighten teeth.

According to Newton, forces always come in pairs -- equal and opposite. But what about those unusual cases where a simple back or forth isn’t going to simply correct an orthodontic problem? Sometimes equal and opposite means that in order to move a tooth the desired way, you must work up, down, in and even outside the mouth. In the past, treatment usually involved the use of headgear to be worn for 12 or more hours--not the preferred method of treatment for the patient to be sure. Fortunately, orthodontics has advanced in the form of a miniature titanium screw, known as temporary anchorage devices (TADs).

At Forever Smiles, we have successfully implemented these mini biocompatible dynamos via implant into the jawbone to serve as realignment anchors for several years now. As the name implies, these mini-implants are used temporarily, and removed after treatment once the teeth are aligned in the proper position. In some cases, Dr. Razdolsky can even employ TADs as an alternative to headgear altogether, allowing for greater results in a less invasive way. Overall, TADs deliver a more predictable result, may significantly reduce treatment time, may help avoid the removal of teeth, and prevent certain surgical procedures.

But are TADs all they are purported to be? Current studies published in 2020 and 2021 evaluated the effectiveness of orthodontic intrusion using TADs verses other orthodontic techniques. To note, intrusion of teeth involves moving them further into the bone in cases involving an open bite or gummy smiles, for example. The published results concluded that “the stability of molar intrusion using TADs can be considered relatively similar to that reported to surgical approaches.”(González Espinosa D;de Oliveira Moreira PE;da Sousa AS;Flores-Mir C;Normando D;)
In a real-world case study, let’s look at gummy smiles treated by Dr. Razdolsky with TADs. You have probably encountered a few people with gummy smiles by now. Normally, upon smiling the upper lip should cover the upper central teeth by 1 mm. However, scientific studies have demonstrated that patients with a gummy smile have excessive gingival display of 3 or more millimeters, and no lip over tooth coverage. While many treatment options are available, let’s explore the use of TADs.

Our first patient in this case review presented at Forever Smiles with 5mm of Gingival excess when smiling (Study 1). Cephalometric measurements exhibited Upper central incisor is below Upper lip 9mm whereas normal is 2mm in repose. So, we needed 7 mm intrusion to achieve normal measurements. Cephalometrics also shown Vertical Skeletal Excess but patient has rejected LeFort posterior impaction surgical option. It is worth mentioning that the U lip droops down 1mm with every decade.

Through the use of TADs, Dr. Razdolsky and the team were able to apply the proper force to intrude the incisors and vertically align the patient’s teeth for a straighter smile and visibly improved, less gummy aesthetic.

In our second case (Study 2), we can see our patient exhibited supra-erupted upper right second molar due to missing lower second molar. It needed intrusion to give restorative GP room for lower restoration. TAD supported Intrusion spring was used to accomplish that goal.

While these two case studies are truly noteworthy, what makes TADs even more impressive is when they are employed in more complex cases. Just take a look at the study diagram #3 below and see how Dr. Razdolsky uses TADs along with a lingual arch to shift the second maxillary molars and completely realign this patient’s anterior open bite. All this from a tiny, but very mighty little screw.

Halloween Fun with Braces

October 27th, 2021

Halloween is a favorite holiday among children due to the festive games, imaginative costumes, and candy. Modern celebrations stem from a combination of traditions from Pagan and Christian traditions throughout the centuries. The original holiday was called Samhain and derived from the ancient Druids of Ireland. In their belief system, November 1st marked the beginning of winter, and Pagans began their Samhain celebrations at sunset on October 31st.

Modern Celebrations of Halloween

Children and adults love dressing up for Halloween, and this tradition comes from the ancient belief in spirits. From sunset on October 31st until sunrise on November 1st, the souls of the dead entered the physical world. Some spirits were benevolent and wanted only to cross over to the afterlife while others harbored malicious intents of revenge and trickery. Pagans wore masks and disguised themselves so that the malevolent souls would mistake them as fellow spirits.

Families left food and ale outside of their doors to appease the spirits. With the rise of Christianity in Europe, the church encouraged its members to offer food and money to beggars. In exchange, the beggars would agree to pray for the family's deceased loved ones. Eventually these traditions led to the development of today's customs where children dressed up and received candy from their neighbors while circling the community.

Teeth-Friendly Treats

With all of the excitement and free candy on Halloween, it is easy to get carried away on a sugar high. Parents warn their children not to eat too many pieces in one night to avoid tummy aches and cavities. Our team at Forever Smiles especially wants to remind children with braces to be extra cautious about the treats they eat because some varieties can get stuck in between the brackets and damage the devices. Sticky candy, such as caramels, fruit chews, and gum should be avoided when wearing braces. Children can trade with their friends and siblings to get only safe candies. The following list offers some alternative treats that children with braces can safely enjoy.

  • Solid chocolate, including milk, white, or dark
  • Nougat-filled candy bars, such as Three Musketeers
  • Candy-coated chocolates like M&Ms
  • Powdery candy, such as Sweet Tarts or Pixie Stix
  • Mint-flavored candy
  • Malted milk balls
  • Cookies
  • Peanut butter crackers or cookies

When in doubt, children should ask their parents or Dr. Yan Razdolsky if a specific candy is safe. Halloween is a fun holiday for children, and having braces does not have to take away any of the excitement from tasty treats.

The Damon® Smile Treatment Process

October 20th, 2021

Damon Smile braces have quickly become one of the most popular orthodontic treatments at our Buffalo Grove office. Offering a more comfortable and hygienic treatment, many patients now prefer this over all other available braces. Unlike traditional braces, Damon Smile does not have wires or brackets. It works with self-ligating braces that actually remove the need for the rubber bands and metal wires that come along with more traditional styles of braces.

What makes Damon Smile different?

The number one reason many patients prefer Damon Smile is because there is the option of getting them in clear! This reduces the problem of being self-conscience and gives the patient a more aesthetically pleasing smile while going through years of treatment. Also, patients who wear Damon Smile versus the traditional braces will have less pain since there are no bands that have to be tightened every month. There is often no need to extract teeth to make extra room in the patient’s mouth.

Oral hygiene can be a real problem for many teens wearing traditional metal braces. However, with the reduction of moisture and no metal brackets to trap food in, your teeth are able to stay cleaner easier.

What is the estimated treatment time?

Since Damon offers a more advanced technology that straightens teeth faster with less pain the treatment time can be drastically reduced. This is another reason Damon is preferred over other types of treatment. The treatment time will vary from patient to patient depending on what your individual goals are, so you need to make an appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to get an estimate of what will benefit you the most.

Overall Success

Overall, patients are very happy with Damon Smile. With less irritation, less treatment time, as well as better-looking aesthetics, patients love all of the bonuses that come along with this style of treatment. Call our Buffalo Grove office and set up an appointment today with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to find out if this popular option will work for you.

Orthodontic Health Month

October 14th, 2021

October is National Orthodontic Health Month and at Forever Smiles, we want to let you know about some critical, but little-known facts about the importance of your oral health. For example, did you know that nearly one in four orthodontic patients are adults? That’s right! And it’s a good thing too. As we get older caring for our teeth is more important than ever as overall systemic health often starts with our mouth. Why? Let’s dig deeper.

According to the CDC, Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., followed by cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, accidents, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. Moreover, “With the exception of accidents, each of these causes can be linked to proteins, enzymes, and bacteria in the oral cavity in some way.” (The Oral-Systemic Link: Monsters in Your Mouth, 2015). You see, our mouths contain bacteria that can form into a harmful film that sticks to teeth called plaque. When this calcifies it hardens into tartar. These two damaging substances on your teeth over time inflame the gums allowing more bacteria to gain access beneath the gumline to the tooth roots, jawbone and even rest of the body. With this advanced gum disease, the potential for the other problems defined above becomes even greater.
So how do orthodontics help? To maintain optimal health, we all know a proactive at-home oral care regimen is key. Additionally, visiting your regular dentist for cleanings and checkups can significantly decrease risk of issues by catching them early on or hopefully negating them altogether. But it is worthwhile to note, that straighter teeth are simply easier to clean and care for. Plaque and tartar often form where crooked or misaligned teeth overlap. What’s more, complex orthodontic issues such as an uneven bite can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel leading to further problems with bacteria, decay and possibly even lead to tooth loss. That said, patients with orthodontic issues such as malocclusion are at a higher risk for development of these compounding issues and orthodontic screening and treatment by a certified orthodontic specialist like Dr. Yan Razdolsky is the right answer.

Orthodontics is key in the role it plays in helping patients maintain optimal tooth and jaw function to not only avoid disease but allow for proper long-term nutrition in the form of foods which require biting, chewing, and crunching to aid in digestion. Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team have been espousing for years the importance of oral systemic health. We take very seriously our role in helping patients and their families understand the correlation and its implications for a longer, healthier life. After all, proper nutrition starts with optimal tooth and jaw function.

So, let’s talk numbers. Did you know that according to the CDC, in 2010 the United States spent about $108.9 billion on coronary disease? Just behind that was oral health conditions at $102 billion, the second highest total healthcare spend over all others. While these healthcare costs are astounding, it is something that you personally can begin to address with respect to your own long-term outlook, as well as that of your family. Something as simple as utilizing a Health Savings Account (HSA) and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) sometimes offered by an employer can allow you to set aside money for qualifying health care expenses for yourself, your spouse, and eligible dependents. This can include orthodontic care! And with open enrollment, from November 1, 2021, through January 15, 2022, there’s no better time to review your policy to allow for you and your family’s future needs. Simply check with your insurance agent or provider to see if there’s a more suitable option for your needs.

But that shouldn’t stop you today -- especially if you think you may have an issue that needs attention. At Forever Smiles we offer flexible payment arrangements, accept cash, personal checks, and credit cards, as well as payments from private dental insurance carriers. We also offer an interest-free finance program for more extensive treatment plans. So ultimately, there’s no better time and more reason than ever to seek orthodontic consultation and treatment from Dr. Razdolsky and Forever Smiles. You owe it to your future self to do it today!

The Oral-Systemic Link: Monsters in Your Mouth. (2015). Inside Dentistry.

Halloween Guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontists

October 6th, 2021

Fall can be a really enjoyable time of the year for you and your family. The kids are back in school, the leaves are changing, and Halloween approaches. This holiday is a lot of fun for kids, but Forever Smiles wants to remind you it can also be risky, especially for your child’s braces. If you have kids with braces, take a look at the following tips from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) on how to keep your kids and their teeth safe this Halloween season.

Important Safety Tips

Trick-or-treating is a favorite Halloween activity for kids everywhere. While it is a great holiday tradition for children, it comes with some potential risks. To keep your kids safe while trick-or-treating, try following these simple guidelines:

  • If you have young children, make sure they are accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • You or your kids should always carry flashlights.
  • For costumes, try to include a light-colored or reflective element that can be easily seen by oncoming traffic.
  • Avoid costumes that include a mask, especially for younger children. These can pose a safety hazard for both the wearers and the people around them.
  • Tell your kids not to eat any of their candy until they arrive home. Be sure to inspect all treats carefully before letting them dig in.

Following these guidelines can help you keep your kids safe on Halloween.

Halloween Treats to Avoid if Your Child Has Braces

If your kids have braces, you’ll want them to steer clear of certain treats on Halloween. Many candies can cause damage to braces, so it’s wise to avoid them while you’re celebrating this fun holiday. Here is a list of treats to stay away from:

  • Hard candies
  • Chewy candies
  • Nuts
  • Caramel
  • Licorice
  • Jelly beans
  • Taffy
  • Bubblegum
  • Hard pretzels
  • Popcorn

Some of these treats may seem harmless, but all of them have the potential to bend or break your child’s braces. So it’s best to avoid eating them altogether.

Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats

If your children have braces, they may feel like they can’t enjoy any treats on Halloween. However, there are plenty of braces-safe treat options for them to choose from, including the following:


  • Soft chocolate
  • Peanut butter cups
  • Gelatin treats
  • Ice cream
  • Smoothies
  • Root beer floats
  • Apple cider

These are just a few braces-friendly alternatives to traditional Halloween candy. Helping your kids have a fun and safe Halloween—while at the same time protecting their braces—can be easy if you follow these simple tips and guidelines. Help your kids enjoy the holiday without having to visit Dr. Yan Razdolsky for repair work on damaged braces!

Just What Is Plaque?

September 22nd, 2021

From the time you were small, you’ve been warned about the dangers of plaque. Why? Because:

  • It’s an unpleasant film that sticks to your teeth
  • It causes cavities
  • It causes gum disease
  • It can cause extra problems when you wear braces

And really, do we need to know much more than this to motivate us to brush? But if you’re in a curious mood, you might be wondering just how this soft, fuzzy film accomplishes all that damage. Let’s take a closer look at the sticky problem of plaque.

How does plaque form?

We live with hundreds of species of oral bacteria, most of which are harmless, and some of which are actually beneficial. But when our oral ecosystem gets out of balance, problems can occur. For example, without regular and thorough brushing and flossing, we start to build up plaque.

Plaque starts forming within hours of your last brushing. And even though plaque fits the very definition of “seems to appear overnight,” this biofilm is actually a complex microbial community with several different stages of development.

  • It starts with saliva.

Saliva is vital to our oral health, because it keeps us hydrated, washes away food particles, neutralizes acids in the mouth, and provides minerals which keep our enamel strong. Saliva also contains proteins, which help form a healthy, protective film on the tooth surface. This film is called a pellicle.

  • Bacteria attach to the pellicle.

There are species of oral bacteria that are able to attach themselves to the pellicle film within hours of its formation. As they become more firmly attached, they begin to grow and divide to form colonies, and are known as the early colonizers of the plaque biofilm.

  • A complex biofilm forms.

If you’ve skipped brushing for a few days (please don’t!), you’ll notice a fuzzy, sometimes discolored film on your enamel—that’s a thriving plaque community, and it only takes a matter of days to go from invisible to unpleasant.

If you’re not removing plaque regularly, it can harden further and become tartar. And once you have tartar buildup, you’ll need the care of a dental professional to remove it.

  • What happens if we ignore plaque and tartar?

We get cavities and gum disease.

How does plaque cause cavities?

  • The bacteria in plaque, like all organisms, need nutrients.

Our normal oral environment and the food in our everyday diets provide the nutrients plaque needs. And, as we mentioned above, certain types of oral bacteria convert these nutrients into acids. Foods such as carbohydrates, starches, and sugars are most easily converted into acids, which is why we recommend that you enjoy them in moderation.

  • The biofilm promotes acid production.

Within the plaque film, anaerobic bacteria (bacteria which don’t use oxygen) convert sugars and starches into acids. As the plaque film becomes denser, it blocks acid-neutralizing saliva and oxygen from reaching these bacteria close to the tooth’s surface, creating an ideal environment for the bacteria to produce their acid waste products.

  • Acids attack enamel.

The sticky nature of plaque keeps these acids in contact with tooth enamel, where, over time, acids dissolve minerals in enamel, weakening the mineral structure of the tooth.

How does plaque cause gum disease?

  • Bacteria cause inflammation and gingivitis.

The bacteria in plaque irritate the delicate tissue of the gums, which causes an inflammation response which can leave your gums swollen, red, bleeding, or tender. This early form of gum disease is gingivitis. Fortunately, good dental care and careful brushing and flossing can usually prevent and even eliminate gingivitis.

  • Plaque and tartar can lead to periodontitis.

When plaque and tartar build up around and below the gumline, the gums pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets where bacteria collect, leading to infection as well as inflammation. Infections and constant inflammation not only harm gum tissue, they can destroy the bone supporting the teeth. This serious gum condition is periodontitis, and should be treated immediately to avoid further infection and even tooth loss.

How does plaque affect orthodontic patients?

  • Plaque collects around your braces.

Braces provide plenty of spots for plaque to hide from your brush. If you aren’t extremely diligent with your brushing and flossing, plaque collects near brackets, wires, and bands—all those spots that a brush and floss find difficult to reach.

  • Plaque promotes demineralization

The demineralization process we mentioned above can cause white spots on teeth (decalcification), where minerals have dissolved. Sometimes these spots can be treated, and sometimes they are permanent. They can become quite sensitive, and may lead to cavities.

Careful brushing and flossing around your braces will help eliminate the plaque that can cause demineralization near brackets. Ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky about the tools and the brushing and flossing techniques which will give you the best results.

How do we fight plaque?

From the time you were small, you’ve learned how to fight plaque:

  • Brush at least twice a day for two minutes, and be sure to brush all of your tooth surfaces and around the gumline.
  • Floss to remove plaque from between the teeth and near the gumline.
  • See your dentist as recommended for a thorough professional cleaning.

Be proactive. If you have any questions, talk to us at our Buffalo Grove office about the best way to keep plaque at bay. We can show you the most effective ways to brush and floss, recommend anti-plaque toothpastes and rinses, even suggest plaque-revealing tablets if you’re missing some trouble spots.

We’ve only brushed up on some plaque basics, because there is a lot more to discover about this complex biofilm. Happily, even with all there is to learn about plaque’s growth and development, it’s reassuring to know that getting rid of it is quite simple—with just a soft-bristled brush, some dental floss, and a few minutes of your time each day, you’re on the way to a healthy, happy, plaque-free smile.

We’re ‘All-In’ for Safe & Clean - Treatment, Learning and Work Spaces.

September 15th, 2021

As patients head back to 5-day, in-person learning (or full time in the office) we are reminded that to help protect ourselves and each other, we are all in this together. In the past we have shared with you the infection control procedures we have adopted from the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is with these recommendations we truly believe we can best help protect our community and each other. If there’s something to be learned from this pandemic the takeaway is this; let’s all adopt easy measures to benefit not only ourselves, but our families and community as a whole. Here’s what we’re doing. We encourage you to review these actions and see how they parallel with what Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recommends we can do to help keep us all safe and healthy.

What we do:  Observe meticulous hand disinfection protocols and always wear surgical masks in the clinic. For team members who are in direct contact with patients, this includes KN95 surgical masks, facial shields, goggles, cap, gown, and gloves.

What you can do: Wash your hands often, and when you can’t, use hand sanitizer, often. Wear your mask where required and appropriate – especially if you are in a crowded, public indoor area and cannot socially distance.

What we do:  For treatment procedures that generate aerosols, a disposable gown is added to the above mentioned personal protective gear. After the procedure, all our protective gear is changed.

What you can do: Always wear a mask when you are in an indoor public setting, using public transportation, attending public gathering or travelling. These high traffic areas where people congregate have the greatest potential to spread aerosols.

What we do:  All team member work uniforms are now washed/dried here in the office to ensure maximum sterilization. In addition, we have purchased an additional autoclave to double our sterilization capacity and revamped our entire OSHA manual procedures to comply with the latest Covid-19 guidelines.

What you can do: If you are in high-traffic, public areas for a prolonged period, change your mask. Keep a good supply of masks on hand and always have a spare on hand in case you need it. And be sure to wash reusable masks after each use to ensure they are fresh and ready for when you need them.

What we do:  We have partitioned our open bay clinic with plastic to trap aerosols and each compartment is disinfected both on surfaces and through “fogging” the air using hospital grade Hypochlorous Acid or HOCl. Comprised of electrolyzed salt, water and vinegar, this disinfectant kills 99.9% germs, is non-toxic and 100% safe.

What you can do: Respect social distancing. Help protect others by catching coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues. Be sure also to dispose of those tissues in the trash and not leave them laying around. Students should also remember to check for and take all belongings when leaving the classroom. Clearing desktops allows for proper cleaning/disinfecting between classes.

What we do:  All rooms are ventilated with an added iWave-R ionizing air, as well as Novareus non-chemical ultra-low energy plasma technology air purifiers placed throughout the office.

What you can do: Many office buildings, classrooms, and public venues all around the country are moving to implement similar purification systems. For your part, be sure to clear areas of belongings and trash to allow for proper disinfection protocols. You should also avoid sharing personal items with others which could transmit germs.

What we can ALL do: Most importantly, if you are sick… stay home! And if your quarantined, practice the same safety measures at home to protect family members and those with whom they come in contact from getting sick as well. Yes, we are all in this together, and we really should look to how individually and collectively we play a part in looking out for each other, the ones we love and our community.

The Benefits of Damon™ Smile Braces

September 8th, 2021

You have several options for orthodontic treatments that effectively straighten teeth. Damon™ Smile braces are a good option for patients who desire a method that is quick, convenient, and discreet.

Many patients want to avoid traditional braces that can cause pressure and uncomfortable pain. Traditional braces have wires and brackets that extend throughout the mouth, which gradually move teeth into their proper position with some pressure. They also use ties that connect wires to the teeth.

Damon Smile technology is different because it helps to guide teeth gently into place by reducing the amount of force. When you can wear braces in comfort, the process becomes much less intimidating.

The Benefits of Damon Smile Braces

  1. Faster results. Damon braces don’t contain metal or plastic ties, so there’s no need to tighten the wire on them. Damon Smile also has a unique system that allows for self-ligating. This system has a specialized clip with a “door” in place of the elastics in traditional braces.
  2. Fewer appointments. Lightweight, shape-memory wires allow teeth the freedom to move faster, without the need for as many adjustments.
  3. Comfort. Damon Smile realigns teeth and enhances facial appearance without extracting any teeth or using rapid palatal expanders. The slide mechanism facilitates more comfortable repositioning of your teeth.
  4. Better oral health. Damon braces are easier to clean because they don’t have ties attached where food particles commonly get stuck.
  5. Helps with facial balance. These braces can help achieve a wider smile, improves facial profiles, and help to decrease dark triangles that appear in the corners of the mouth.

If you’re considering a braces treatment for yourself or your child, ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky about the Damon Smile system and how this orthodontic method can achieve the results you’re looking for. There are an array benefits to appreciate when you compare the Damon method to traditional braces.

Feel free to contact our Buffalo Grove office if you have questions regarding orthodontic treatment for a more beautiful smile.

Damon® Smile vs. Traditional Braces

August 25th, 2021

Orthodontics researchers continue to innovate and develop the best ways to improve patients’ smiles. The latest generation of orthodontics includes Damon Smile, an advanced form of braces that improve upon the metal brackets of earlier generations. Talking to Dr. Yan Razdolsky can help you decide if Damon Smile braces are appropriate for your orthodontic needs.

What are Damon Smile braces?

Traditional braces require a series of brackets to be bonded to each tooth. Then, a thin metal wire connects the brackets. These wires are immovable and are firmly connected to the brackets. With Damon Smile, a special “invisible” bracket is placed on the teeth. Unlike with traditional braces, wires pass through these brackets but can slide within the bracket. This reduces friction and may result in a more comfortable process than traditional braces.

Aesthetic Considerations

Both teens and adults often hate the look of traditional braces, with their clunky metal brackets and wires. Additionally, rubber bands may need to be worn to hold brackets closed. With Damon Smile braces, none of these concerns apply. The brackets are clear and no rubber bands are needed, meaning that few people will notice your orthodontics unless they look closely.

Differences in Cost

Traditional braces tend to be the most cost effective orthodontic option available. Because of their specialized equipment, Damon Smile braces do cost more than traditional alternatives. It’s worth checking with your insurance company to determine whether both types of orthodontics are covered.

Length of Treatment

Another benefit of Damon Smile braces is a decreased length of treatment. Compared to traditional braces, individuals who opt for Damon Smile braces typically experience significantly lower treatment time. Particularly for those with complex orthodontic problems, shaving even a few months off of treatment may be worth it.

Less Irritation of Gums

Some people report that they experience sores or gum pain after implementation of traditional braces. Damon Smile braces are specially formed to be smooth and less invasive. This may result in diminished pain and a lower rate of gum problems. The differences are particularly noticeable in the first weeks of treatment.

To find out if Damon Smile braces can meet your smile needs, contact our Buffalo Grove office and schedule an appointment!

7 Benefits for booking your next appointment BEFORE you leave out office.

August 18th, 2021

Visiting Dr. Razdolsky and your Forever Smiles team about every four to twelve weeks is an important part of your orthodontic treatment. That’s why we work hard to make sure that your appointments are as convenient and productive as possible. But if you ever needed a reason to plan ahead for your next orthodontic appointment, here are seven team-approved benefits to help you understand just why we think it’s a really good idea.

  1. Pre-booking simplifies your orthodontic treatment by keeping you on track. Scheduling your appointment on the same day of the week and even the same time of day each time builds a healthy schedule and makes remembering your appointment so much easier. Scheduling later can make getting the same day, or even time of day more difficult.
  2. Just like airports sometimes have a layover, so too could your orthodontic treatment. Much like an air traffic controller, Dr. Razdolsky programs your wires to take your teeth to the destination required for this period of time. If you come much later, your teeth are not going anywhere. Booking your appointments on a regular schedule keep your orthodontic progress and teeth on track to their next destination. For someone who’s on the long road to a beautiful smile, there’s nothing better for staying on track than a well scheduled itinerary.
  3. Dr. Razdolsky books some appointments out as early as 6-10 weeks in advance and those appointment slots fill up fast! To ensure you get the time that works best for school and your parent’s work schedule, book before you leave. This helps ensure optimal selection from the available dates and times. Calling the week before your required treatment affords much less flexibility since most patients have already booked their time with Dr. Razdolsky. Booking your appointment in advance means you not only get the time which works for you, but that you receive your orthodontic treatment when you need it.
  4. Due to updated COVID guidelines, we allocate patient schedules and Dr. Razdolsky’s time differently. Many of our newer policies and procedures are designed to maximize patient safety by minimizing wait times and potential exposure risk. That’s why our policy requires at least 48 hours advanced notice of appointment cancellation otherwise a fee is applied. This policy ensures every patient gets the time they need, and treatment is not delayed.
  5. Balancing the appointment nature, for example banding, bonding and longer appointments with orthodontic emergencies requires concerted effort. Your appointment with us is important to us for that very reason. Being respectful of each patient’s unique orthodontic needs means that we run a very tight ship to ensure you get the time and treatment you deserve. Booking your appointment ahead ensures we make the most of your time with us.
  6. What if something comes up? Hey, we understand that sometimes “life happens”! Just give us a call at least 48 hours in advance and we can reschedule you for the next available appointment. It may take a little time, because as we mentioned we run a pretty tight schedule, but we’ll definitely get you in.
  7. But what about appointments with your regular dentist? Yes, you should still make and keep appointments with regular dentist for cleanings and checkups every six months. That way we are sure we’re all working together to keep your Forever Smile healthy and strong. That benefit alone earns a hearty thumbs up from our team!

Emergency Care for Orthodontics

August 11th, 2021

It’s vital to understand the difference between an orthodontic emergency and minor orthodontic issues. Minor issues can be handled the next day, or at your next scheduled appointment. When a real orthodontic emergency occurs, however, you will need to see a doctor immediately.

Emergencies can include injuries to your teeth, jaw, mouth, or face. Whether you have braces or oral appliances in your mouth at the time or not, it’s crucial to fix the problem before it gets worse. If you have an injury that affects an orthodontic appliance, that may need to be replaced or adjusted, depending on the extent of the injury.

You can watch for and address some common minor issues on your own, or wait to have them fixed at your next appointment with Dr. Yan Razdolsky:

  • Poking wire
  • Loose bracket
  • Loose elastic band
  • Loose wire
  • Loose appliance
  • Headgear does not fit
  • Lost or broken elastic band
  • General soreness

These minor issues may arise if you eat hard or sticky foods that damage your braces or other orthodontic appliances. Make sure to be extra careful, and avoid brushing your teeth too aggressively to avoid causing damage.

These problems should not be treated as emergencies unless they begin to cause prolonged pain and discomfort. If you notice this happening, contact our Buffalo Grove office and we can provide a solution.

Some at-home remedies you can try can include covering loose brackets or wires with wax. Wax can prevent canker sores from forming by covering sharp metal pieces that poke into your gums. If you have wires that have poked out into your gums, you can use tweezers to push the wires gently away from the direction of the sore area. Always make sure you use alcohol to sterilize anything you intend to put into your mouth.

When you get braces initially, you may notice some soreness of the jaw or small abrasions from your mouth getting accustomed to foreign materials. You should not worry too much about this temporary pain.

A warm salt-water solution can be used to alleviate any swelling or discomfort you’re experiencing. Many drug stores have ointment for canker sores that will numb the area if they continue to bother you. If you notice that your pain or swelling doesn’t get better, schedule an appointment with a medical professional as soon as you can.

When in doubt, contact our Buffalo Grove office if you are unsure or still have questions about an orthodontic problem you’re facing. If the situation becomes an emergency, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with our team, so we can help provide you with a solution.

Orthodontic emergencies should be taken care of promptly whenever they arise.

3D Digital Imaging… It’s Seriously Cool.

August 2nd, 2021

Dr. Razdolsky has always been an avid science and technology buff. And why not? Technology not only continues to improve the ways in which we live, at Forever Smiles it impacts how we can best serve patients through orthodontic treatment. Once such example is 3D Cone Beam technology. Since the introduction of 3D x-rays in orthodontics, Dr. Razdolsky and the team can see in greater detail structures of the mouth, jaw and developing teeth with clear and realistic imagery. This allows them to identify and predict potential dental and orthodontic conditions before they become problematic. This means treatment is proactive rather than reactive. That’s pretty cool.

But let’s look deeper. Unlike 2D x-rays which are taken as single images from varying locations throughout the mouth, 3D imaging is considerably more convenient to a patient’s in-office visit as the images are captured in a single sweep of the iCat machine. During the scan, a module called a gantry rotates around the head, producing a buzzer sound while simultaneously capturing and combining a series of flat images from radiation beams which are stacked, combined, and digitally output to a computer to produce a 3D virtual impression of your teeth and jaw. From there, Dr. Razdolsky can develop 3D CAD-CAM models where he can rotate, shift and even digitally realign your teeth and bone structure to determine just how your teeth will look once you have successfully completed treatment. Now that’s really cool!

Wait…what? Did we say radiation? Is 3D safe?

Yes, 3D cone beam technology has been used in dentistry and orthodontics for several years now and is very safe. While 3D images do make use of many flat x-ray captures, which means more radiation is used to create the final image, the Forever Smiles team uses low-level radiation which can reduce a patient’s exposure by as much as 80 percent! This means patients are exposed to only slightly more than they would otherwise be with 2D x-rays. This means better visual representation and fewer less-reliable individual images like with 2D. But here’s a little fact, did you know people every day are exposed to similar rays with as much radiation simply by going through airport security? That’s why, Dr. Razdolsky and other medical providers work to limit patient exposure by ensuring the appropriate radiation dosage for the patient’s age and stage of development.

Yes, 3D technology truly does benefit the team as they can capture images showing greater anatomical depth and spatial relationships within the framework of your jaw and gum tissue for a more reliable diagnostic, overall treatment plan and ultimately your beautiful Forever Smile. Better visuals mean quicker appliance fabrication, more precise control over outcome and in the end saves time and money during treatment. What’s more, radiographs show the position and development of teeth that have not yet erupted. This allows for earlier intervention and possibly less invasive treatment outcomes for patients down the road. To us, that’s seriously cool!

Are braces ruining your photos?

July 28th, 2021

While it’s normal to feel self-conscious, there is no reason to avoid photos just because you wear braces. Many people wear braces and you do not need to be embarrassed about them. There are also ways you can enjoy your photos without hiding your smile.

Make it Fun

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff offer rubber bands for braces in a wide range of colors. Choose your favorite color and wear it with pride. You can mix and match your colors too. For Valentine’s Day, try alternating red and pink bands. For the Fourth of July, use red, white, and blue!

Bands are also available in neon colors and glow-in-the-dark designs. Your imagination is the only thing holding you back. You might want to avoid using dark green bands, though. It makes it look as though you have broccoli stuck in your teeth. Gross!

Make them Disappear

If your braces still really bother you in photos, technology can quickly solve the problem. A photo-editing program, or even a simple paint program, can easily erase your braces. Zoom in on your teeth, pick your natural tooth color with the dropper, and paint your braces away.

If you have a significant amount of metal in your braces, try to avoid close-ups with flash. The flash can reflect off the metal. The important thing to remember is how good your teeth will look and feel once your orthodontic work is complete. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff can also show you options for braces that are not as visible as the traditional style.

Braces and Band? Play On!

July 21st, 2021

You’re in the band and you’re getting braces. Now what? If you are a member of the string or percussion sections, you can go back to rehearsal. You’re good to go. When your talents have seated you in the reed or brass sections, though, a little adjustment might be necessary to keep your instrument and your braces working in harmony.

If you play a wind instrument, you know the term embouchure—the way you position and use your lips, tongue, facial muscles, and teeth to produce the sound you want. Depending on the instrument you play, you might be completely unaffected when you get your braces, or you might need to develop a more comfortable embouchure to accommodate them.

Wires and Woodwinds?

If you play a wind instrument such as the flute or piccolo, you might find that your normal lip positioning or blowing angle is affected by your braces, but usually the adjustment time is fairly short. Reed instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon are considered some of the easiest to adjust to when you have braces, but even though the single and double reed mouthpieces don’t require as much pressure as brass instruments, there can still be an adjustment period. One thing you should look out for is more condensation in your mouthpiece or instrument—be sure to keep your instrument clean to keep your sound pure.

Brackets and Brass?

Brass instruments require mouthpiece pressure. This leaves your lips pressed between the mouthpiece and your braces. For this reason, many brass players have a more challenging adjustment when wearing braces. Smaller mouthpieces (trumpet, French horn) usually require more pressure than larger ones (tuba, trombone). It’s important to learn how to use technique to avoid cuts, irritation, and other injuries caused by the pressure of your braces against your lips. Learning to play with less pressure on the lips and more air control and breath support will help you to recover your tone and range of notes while protecting your lips and mouth.

How Can We Help?

Let Dr. Yan Razdolsky know if you play, or plan to play, a wind instrument. We might be able to offer some suggestions. For regular metal and ceramic braces, some musicians find extra wax is helpful in preventing lip and cheek injuries. There are brace guards available that can be applied over the braces to protect your lips and mouth if wax doesn’t do the trick.

There are also alternatives to regular bracket-and-wire braces, depending on your orthodontic needs, cost factors, and length of treatment. Invisalign® devices fit smoothly over your teeth and can even be removed when it is time to practice or play, as long as you get the necessary hours of wear in per day. In some cases, lingual braces, where the brackets and wires are placed behind the teeth, might be the best choice for you.

Finally, don’t forget to talk to your music instructor. Don’t be dismayed if you find the quality of your playing has been affected. Your teacher might have valuable suggestions for adjusting your embouchure, playing with less pressure on the lips, and developing better air and breath support. You might need to shorten your practice time at first, and there might be another period of adjustment after your braces come off.

Above all, take care of yourself! If something is poking your lip or cheek, call our Buffalo Grove office immediately before it causes injury. It might be difficult at first, but finding an embouchure that works for your comfort and technique is worth it. And remember, these temporary fine-tunings will lead to a wonderful coda: skilled musicianship and a beautiful, healthy smile. Bravo!


Brace Yourself…Straight, healthy teeth ARE affordable!

July 15th, 2021

If you’re considering getting braces, or your dentist has recommended them for you, it is likely you have looked into what to expect in terms of cost. Depending on treatment it can seem pricey, but in truth the cost for braces now could save you thousands in potential dental work later on. Patients with crowding or misaligned teeth can typically encounter cavities and possibly even gum disease at some point. These procedures could add up and by the time you have paid for them, you could have been enjoying a beautiful Forever Smile instead. In fact, when you actually crunch the numbers, orthodontic treatment can be quite affordable with a few cost-saving moves here and there. Take coffee to go from home instead of the trendy coffee shop. Rather than family entertainment out, try a game night at home. It’s a win-win!

So now that you have a little savings, let’s talk braces. It is important to keep in mind the type of braces you choose can be the biggest factor in cost. Just remember, those “smile by mail” style braces may by cheaper than full mouth comprehensive orthodontics, but isn’t your smile worth getting the right treatment? Seeing braces advertised for under $1,000 may indicate they are for aesthetic-specific tooth misalignment. This may not be accurate to your specific situation and need. Moving forward with this type of treatment could have dangerous repercussions down the road. Sadly, we see it every day.

However, it is worth noting that conventional metal braces are actually affordable. They are typically less expensive than clear aligners although some more advanced treatments do increase the overall cost. We also have other options including lingual braces (virtually unnoticeable, as they are hidden on the underside of your teeth), and even clear brackets for a more discreet look. At your initial Forever Smiles screening, Dr. Razdolsky will evaluate your unique orthodontic situation through a thorough oral examination with x-rays and develop a customized treatment plan exactly right for you. From there, our in-office team can then help you find a payment strategy that works for your expected program.

That’s right! At Forever Smiles, we don’t let finances get in the way of your treatment. We not only formulate the necessary course of orthodontic care, but we can also work with you and your budget to make having a beautiful smile easy and affordable. For your convenience, we offer flexible payment arrangements, accept cash, personal checks, and credit cards, as well as payments from private dental insurance carriers. We also offer an interest-free finance program for more extensive treatment plans. And don’t forget the health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) you may have can let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis to help pay for orthodontic treatment not otherwise covered by a health insurance policy. Of course, you will need to talk with your HSA or FSA provider for specific details and questions.

So, good news! Getting braces is not only the right thing to do for a healthy beautiful smile, but it can also be affordable. Schedule an appointment for your complimentary consultation today and let’s get started on a orthodontic plan and payment option that’s just right for you and your Forever Smile.

Five Great Reasons to Visit Our Practice this Summer

July 7th, 2021

We’ve heard all the reasons why folks put off scheduling an orthodontic consultation: not quite ready to begin treatment, vacations, busy schedules, financial concerns, etc.

Here are five reasons why you shouldn’t delay another day to make an appointment for yourself or your child with Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

1. Growth – there is a window of opportunity during growth when an orthopedic appliance can change the direction of jaw growth and dramatically improve your child’s case. Once this time has passed, the correction becomes harder and may involve extraction of teeth or even worse, a surgical procedure to properly align the jaws.

2. Scheduling – Summertime is the perfect time to begin orthodontic treatment, because your child doesn’t have to miss school, especially for those longer appointments needed at the start of treatment.

3. Early Diagnosis – Many times, early interceptive treatment at Forever Smiles can dramatically improve the alignment of your child’s teeth and jaws. If baby teeth need to be extracted in order to allow the permanent teeth to erupt, timing is everything. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation as early as age seven.

4. Financial Concerns – We offer several flexible payment plans which can be extended over your or your child’s treatment time.

5. A Lifetime of Smiles – Why wait when you can enjoy the many benefits of a beautiful and functional smile now. The sooner you get started the sooner you will be showing everyone your world-class smile.

Give us a call at our convenient Buffalo Grove office to book your initial consulation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

What’s so great about self-ligating braces?

June 23rd, 2021

Self-ligating braces have actually been around since the 1930’s, but recent improvements in technology have made them more popular than ever before. What makes them different? Let’s compare with traditional braces.


Traditional braces make use of bands around the brackets to hold the adjusting wire in place. “Self-ligating” means “self-binding” or “self-tying.” These braces also use brackets, but with a very different design. Self-ligating brackets have mechanisms such as “doors” or clips, which hold the wire to the bracket without the need for rubber bands or metal ligatures.


All braces types will straighten your teeth. Some orthodontic conditions, such as moderate crowding of the teeth, appear to respond more quickly to self-ligating braces. Talk to Dr. Yan Razdolsky about the difference in treatment time that you might expect with different types of braces.


Some users find self-ligating braces more comfortable because they reduce friction and pressure on the teeth.

Oral Hygiene

Self-ligating brackets are easier to clean than brackets with bands. Bands hold on to food particles and can be difficult to clean completely, leaving bacteria and plaque on the teeth even after brushing.


What most people notice first about braces are the colored bands or metal ligatures holding the wires in place. Without these ligatures, brackets are smaller and less noticeable. There are even clear brackets available for an almost invisible look. It you don’t want your braces to make a colorful statement, these might be the choice for you!

If you are interested in self-ligating braces as an option in your orthodontic care, give us a call at our Buffalo Grove office! We will be happy to explain the technology in greater detail, and to provide you with the best and most complete information you’ll need to make your choice of braces the right choice for you.

Super Cool Kids Club

June 16th, 2021

Most every kid naturally strives to find a way to fit in. It is a natural stage of development in social behavior that is an important part of shaping who they become. Parents should not discourage children from the pressure of fitting in. Instead, we should look to ways to support a child’s navigation and discovery of themselves and their role in their day-to-day interactions. Learning decision making and coping skills are a fundamental part of this developmental process, so cultivating these traits early is vital to your child’s ability to adapt to social environs in a positive and healthy way. At Forever Smiles, our Super Cool Kid’s Club program can do just that!

Developed for early orthodontic evaluation and observation of your child’s teeth for problematic issues that require monitoring, planning or perhaps early preventive treatment, the Super Cool Kid’s Club is designed for kids starting as early as age seven. Additionally, the program provides kids an opportunity to learn and become an active partner in their own health and wellbeing. Studies suggest physical and especially oral health play a leading role in a child’s developing mental health and a positive self-image. Further, experts agree that learning, understanding and ultimately being able to actively participate in one’s oral health treatment instills confidence and mindfulness in the relationship between oral health and a positive self-image. Win-win!

Dr. Yan Razdolsky, Buffalo Grove Orthodontist for Children and Adults reminds parents of the importance of having their child evaluated as early as age 7. “While most kids learn and begin to take better care of their teeth by the time their permanent teeth erupt, this is not always the case,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Early observation with our Forever Smiles team helps patients understand what to do and look for in caring for their teeth. This often helps reduce pain and expense from unnecessary treatments that can otherwise be avoided through proper care and maintenance.”

Indeed. Through the Super Cool Kid’s Club, Dr. Razdolsky and the team will look for any concerning issues with your child’s bite, relationship between their upper and lower jaws, and how the teeth are spaced along the jaws. They will take X-rays and look for possible signs of habits or issues which need to be addressed or otherwise could develop into bigger problems down the road.

“The beauty of having the Super Cool Kid’s Club is that we discuss findings and possible treatment plans, if necessary, with the parents and the child,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This makes the child an advocate in their own oral health and treatment. It’s amazing how many kids return to us as adults and share with us how much it meant to be a part, and in their eyes, in charge of their own treatment,” he added.
As a member of the Super Cool Kid’s Club, kids are seen twice a year for evaluation and their record updated with any changes. Upon completion of the appointment, club members get to spin the Kid’s Club wheel to win a prize and also get registered for a monthly grand prize drawing. Kids can also earn extra grand prize entries for losing a tooth, referring a friend, or even hosting a Forever Smiles teaching event at their school! So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get your kids signed up, super-psyched and in-charge for a healthier and happier them with the Forever Smiles Super Cool Kid’s Club.

How a High-Tech Office Helps Your Orthodontic Treatment

June 9th, 2021

Our office strives to bring you the latest and greatest in orthodontic techniques and technologies. Being on the cutting edge of the industry is important—it ensures you, as our patient, are getting the best orthodontic treatment you possibly can while keeping costs down!

The goal of a high-tech office is three fold: to have effective treatment, to have efficient treatment, and to make the whole process easy, painless, and cost-effective for you.

Here are some of the technologies being implemented by Dr. Yan Razdolsky to do just that:

3D oral scanners: If you've ever experienced getting impressions the traditional way, it isn't very fun! Having a gag reflex is common and it takes several minutes on both the top and bottom of the mouth to get a successful impression.

With 3D oral scanners, we create a perfect digital scan of your teeth without radiation. We then use the results of the scan to create accurate braces, retainers, and other appliances for your unique teeth and mouth.

Digital Imaging: New digital imaging provides us with accurate, panoramic, and cephalometric views of your teeth and their supporting structures. This lets us plan and implement treatment with the utmost precision.

Not only does this kind of imaging expose patients to far less radiation than traditional X-rays but it also gives us immediate access to the images, whereas X-rays had to be developed. This expedites treatment time and means fewer trips to our Buffalo Grove office for you.

New, high-tech braces options: There are so many more choices when it comes to braces these days! Advances in the industry like Invisalign®, self-ligating braces, and lingual braces, allow patients to not only get highly accurate and precise treatment, but do so discreetly without anyone else even knowing.

Digital scanning and imaging takes the guesswork out of braces. Instead of the orthodontist estimating tooth movement and treatment progression, these days it's all computer modeled with exacting detail. The result? Your braces do exactly what they're intended to do in less time with a picture-perfect outcome.

These are just some of the advances in the orthodontic industry. Needless to say, they all make the entire process that much easier and effective for you. If you have any questions or are interested in treatment, please don't hesitate to contact our Buffalo Grove office!

Closing the Gap

June 2nd, 2021

Did you know a gap between teeth is called a diastema? What’s more, they are common among many orthodontic patients and can be found between any teeth in the mouth. Diastemas can also be found in both children and adults and there are a variety of reasons why they may develop. Dr. Razdolsky sees new patients everyday with some form of diastema which can have several causes. The most recognized diastema, however, is between the two upper front teeth where it can cause a visible gap. The good news is it does have a straightforward treatment.

“Patients can develop diastema due to any number of factors - from bad habits such as thumb sucking, mismatched teeth and jaw size or malocclusion, or even involuntary issues such as incorrect swallowing reflexes otherwise known as tongue thrust,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Early observation of patients as young as seven can help us to determine if diastema is present and its root cause, so we can develop a treatment protocol to coincide with orthodontics to close the gap.”

As mentioned, a common diagnosed diastema is caused by an oversized labial frenum - a piece of tissue that extends from the inside of the upper and lower lip to the gum between the upper and lower front teeth. Besides just causing a gap, this extended tissue left untreated can also cause a host of other oral health issues such as receding gums, mouth breathing and even snoring.

“Because diastema affects the entire mouth health and structure, a thorough examination in preparation of treatment is required to determine if there is any sign of gum disease,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “If so, periodontal treatment may be needed concurrently with orthodontic treatment to restore gum health before any orthodontic treatment can begin. If your diastema is due to an oversized labial frenum, your treatment may also include a frenectomy to help the gap close,” he added.

A frenectomy is a simple procedure performed by an oral surgeon, many times requiring laser treatment preferably. It just takes a few minutes, and kind of like a pizza burn, only causes minimal pain and perhaps a little discomfort for the few days following. Upon completion of these multi-disciplinary therapies, Dr. Razdolsky can perform orthodontic treatment for proper alignment to close the gap and get you on the road to your beautiful Forever Smile.

Memorial Day: Parades, remembrance, and the unofficial start of summer!

May 26th, 2021

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at Forever Smiles wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Buffalo Grove area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Yan Razdolsky!

Choosing the Right Binky for Baby

May 17th, 2021

As an orthodontist practice, the question that often comes up with new parents is, “Which pacifier is better”? Honestly, the answer is pretty simple. Only your baby knows for sure, as it really is whichever one soothes them best. So once your baby’s breastfeeding or bottling habits are firmly established you may choose to calm your infant with a pacifier, but which one do you choose?

The baby pacifier market was valued at nearly $400 million in 2019. While some infants only suckle during feedings, others may benefit from sucking at times of fussiness or irritability. Research and experts agree the benefits of pacifier use include analgesic effects and shorter hospital stays for pre-term infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) also recommend their use in comforting infants one month and older at the onset of sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). So, we know that pacifiers work and that some infants benefit from them, but why are there so many to choose from?

There are three main types of pacifier nipple. The rounded or crown nipple is designed to function most like a bottle for bottle fed babies. A symmetrical pacifier is shaped most naturally like mom and mimics breast feeding. Lastly is the orthodontic pacifier with a flat tip. This pacifier is designed to support the shape of your baby’s developing palate and jaw. When sucking on an orthodontic pacifier, the nipple flattens to the palette to provide the most natural sucking action, reducing pressure on the gums and developing teeth. Studies suggest these pacifiers can reduce open bite and overbite issues typically seen with other pacifiers.

“Whichever you choose, be sure to avoid novelty pacifiers or anything with excess weight,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “These pacifiers place undue burden on baby’s developing palate and teeth. Further, the novelty ones may not be properly regulated, suitably sized, age appropriate or can even have parts that can break off.”

According to Dr. Razdolsky, equally as important in choosing the right pacifier to soothe your infant, is knowing when to work toward weening baby off the pacifier. “While choosing the right pacifier may seem important, it is what we do from there that really helps determine, or in some instances defines their orthodontic health as they develop,” said Dr. Razdolsky.

Both the AAP and AAFP recommend limiting or stopping pacifier use at 6 months. After 9 months children can develop an emotional attachment to their binky, so have a goal of having your child off the pacifier at no later than one year. As a parent of four grown children, Dr. Razdolsky understands that sometimes a pacifier is needed. However, the longer it takes to wean your child off the pacifier, the more difficult it can become and the more harmful it may be to their overall growth and development of their mouth, palate, and teeth. While it is said that an orthodontic pacifier may cause less open bite or overbite problems than traditional ones, Dr. Razdolsky says the best way to mitigate orthodontic development issues is by limiting pacifier time and taking the pacifier away after the first year.

Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® Make You Smile

May 12th, 2021

Many adults and teens in our Buffalo Grove office would love to have their teeth straightened but are unwilling to go through the long and often embarrassing process of wearing traditional metal braces. Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen® clear aligners offer the perfect solution: They’re the most advanced clear aligner systems in the world!

If you’re considering getting braces, there are several reasons why you might want to consider Invisalign clear aligners. Here are some of them:

  • You can eat whatever food you like, without worrying about it catching in wires or breaking brackets.
  • People won’t likely be able to tell you’re wearing them!
  • The aligners can be removed at any time.
  • You can brush and floss as you normally would, which helps to maintain better overall oral health.
  • Invisalign aligners are made of a smooth BPA-free plastic and are more comfortable to wear than traditional braces. You’ll need to visit our Buffalo Grove office less often: only once every six weeks or so.
  • With Invisalign Teen, you’ll receive up to six replacements for lost or broken aligners.

Before starting treatment, you’ll have a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to see if Invisalign or Invisalign Teen treatment is right for you. After that, you’ll have X-rays, pictures, and impressions taken of your teeth.

That information will be used to make the 3D models of your teeth that let Dr. Yan Razdolsky see how they will move throughout the entire treatment and approximately how long it will take.

You’ll receive your aligners based on the treatment plan we recommend. You’ll get a new set of aligners every two weeks. All you need to do is wear your aligners 22 hours a day and you’ll be on your way to a straighter smile in no time!

Ask a member of our Buffalo Grove team for more information about Invisalign clear aligners today!

The Myth Behind Wisdom Teeth

May 3rd, 2021

As an orthodontist fascinated by the evolution and development of faces, jaws and teeth of both humans and animals, Dr. Razdolsky loves to share with patients the evolution of wisdom teeth.

“Just like the rest of your teeth, your wisdom teeth form inside the jawbone only to emerge much later than all your other teeth,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics in Buffalo Grove. “In fact, second molars begin development around age three, while development of your wisdom teeth or third molars, can vary wildly - some starting as early as age five, and for others as late as age 15,” he added.

This means they can erupt from the gums anywhere between the ages of 17 to 24, if not even older! So why do wisdom teeth erupt so late, and we do we even have them?

According to Dr. Razdolsky, compared to modern humans our prehistoric ancestors had toothier mouths, larger molars, and thicker enamel. This has most largely been attributed to dietary changes. For example, early human diets consisted of course, hard-to-chew foods like roots, nuts, leaves and meats that required immense jaw strength and larger elongated jaws. With evolution and the shift to cooked foods, farming and a reliance on a softer food palette, our brains have become larger and jaws began shrinking over the course of millions of years to today where humans typically end up with smaller jaws with barely room for 32 teeth, including four wisdom teeth, by the time we are fully adult.


“This evolution has changed us so much that studies indicate that worldwide it is estimated that wisdom teeth become impacted in approximately 24 percent of people and about 22 percent of people do not even have them at all,” said Dr. Razdolsky.

For those that do have wisdom teeth that are impacted or not able to develop normally, extraction surgery may be necessary. For most, this procedure is best performed before you are 21 years of age, or before the roots grow deep enough to touch the nerve. Extraction too though can carry risk including damage to nearby teeth, surrounding jawbone, nerves, sinuses or possibly even infection. So while impacted wisdom teeth may need to come out, treatment for wisdom tooth problems is something that should be carefully weighed and evaluated before pursuing.

Luckily, Dr. Razdolsky and your Forever Smiles team make early observation a priority for safe and effective orthodontic treatment. By evaluating patients as early as age seven, they monitor development of teeth, as well as jaw growth to watch out for potential issues before they become a problem for patients.

“Interceptive treatment can increase a child chances of avoiding surgery, future extraction of permanent healthy teeth and even help correct oral habits that can cause a bad bite,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “In addition, we follow the patient history and development to keep a watchful eye on things like the wisdom teeth and can help anticipate the best treatment option unique for each patient.”

Even better, research shows that your wisdom teeth will not cause your other teeth to shift or become crooked. So while your wisdom teeth do not have any effect on your alignment or bite, it is in fact your jaw and position of other teeth that may cause your wisdom teeth to become impacted.

For comparison, let’s look at our closest cousin the ape. Apes rarely have impacted wisdom teeth. Studies suggest this is due to their diet. Same for humans who eat non-industrialized diets. Like our ancestors, our jaws still expect biomechanical stimulation from hard crunchy foods to fully develop. This stimulation increases jaw strength and length allowing ample room for our teeth to fully erupt. So if your still growing, start eating crunchier, chewier foods like raw vegetables and raw foods. While Dr. Razdolsky says there is no scientific evidence it will make any difference, it definitely won’t hurt.

“Some dental scientists suggest that increasing the crunchy hard foods on your plate could help with issues like misaligned teeth and underdeveloped jaws. So, what do you really have to lose”? asked Dr. Razdolsky. “Besides any benefit it could provide to jaw development, foods like those are simply good for your overall systemic health as well. So maybe it’s a win, win,” he added.

Why Damon® Smile?

April 28th, 2021

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our dedicated team at Forever Smiles are pleased to offer Damon Smile for our patients. Damon braces allow your teeth to move more comfortably and easily than do traditional braces. Thanks to these innovative new braces, achieving your perfect smile will be faster and easier than you ever thought possible.

You're probably saying, “Okay, how are Damon braces an advantage over regular braces?”

Time Saving

Damon's innovative technology of self-ligating braces saves you time in orthodontic treatment at Forever Smiles. Damon Smile allows for fewer trips to our office, and faster movement of your teeth than do traditional braces. The light forces applied by Damon braces are “biologically compatible,” meaning that they work with your body for gentler and quicker tooth movement. Finally, Damon braces diminish the amount of food and moisture that can become trapped along the brackets, allowing for more efficient teeth cleaning.


Damon Smile braces have a unique slide mechanism that allows Dr. Yan Razdolsky to use lighter forces to move your teeth to their correct positions. That makes your treatment at Forever Smiles not only shorter, but also far more comfortable. Because of its unique sliding door, the Damon Smile bracket allows us to use high-tech, light-force wires to achieve tooth movement. That means less pressure on your teeth for more comfortable treatment.

To learn more about Damon Smile, or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, please give us a call.

Every Day is Earth Day

April 21st, 2021

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Forever Smiles wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.

Retainers for Life, Straight Teeth Forever

April 15th, 2021

The Journey to your Forever Smile

You’ve worked hard for your beautiful Forever Smile and the day has finally come. You are getting your braces off! But instead of looking at this as the long-awaited end to the expedition through braces… what’s that? A retainer! There’s more?

As a Forever Smiles patient you have likely heard us talk about retainers throughout our treatment and why they are so important after treatment. Think of it like settling in after a long trip. Your teeth aren’t the only things we move when you’re wearing braces. Your teeth are held in place by elastic ligaments that hold the root in the socket. During orthodontic treatment, the force of moving your teeth over time means new ligaments and sometimes bone are formed. These new connective tissues and bone need time to stabilize. Enter the retainer.

There are two types of retainers – fixed and removable. Fixed retainers are made of a very thin, but durable piece of wire that fits along the lingual (backside) surface of the teeth. Spanning across several teeth, the wire is affixed on each side with bond and in that way is most like braces. Also like braces, fixed retainers require greater care to keep clean.

Removable retainers are easy to wear, make it easier to clean your teeth, and are typically most preferred by patients and orthodontists alike. Similar in look to Invisalign, removable retainers are awesome because you can remove them to eat and brush your teeth. However, just like clear aligners they only work if you wear them. In the way that every patient has different requirements in orthodontic treatment, Dr. Razdolsky will prescribe the course of retainer therapy that best suits you. Just be sure to stick to it to ensure the long-term effects of your orthodontic treatment.

Most patients begin by wearing removable retainers more often, then gradually wean off them over time up to the age of 26 – the age where the typical biological response to force and movement decreases, and the long-awaited trip is over. Your teeth have settled in.

Because these types of retainers are removable, and the duration you will need them long, you will need to be careful with them. Removable retainers are easier to lose or become damaged, in which case there is a charge for replacement.

Remember, braces are only the first step in your journey towards a beautiful Forever Smile. Maintaining your new smile is every bit as important as creating it, so understanding the importance of retainers to the long-term success of treatment is a critical final step in what has been a “wander-fully” long trip.

Play it Safe this Spring

April 7th, 2021

It's springtime and it's again time to remind our patients at Forever Smiles to protect their faces and pearly whites while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.

If you are planning on participating in spring sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.

Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of our patients who play high school sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team at Forever Smiles can fit you for a new guard.

To learn more about mouthguards or for general questions about your treatment at our Buffalo Grove office, please give us a call!

A Case Study In The Importance Of Interdisciplinary Treatment

April 6th, 2021

Recently, Dr. Yan Razdolsky, along with colleagues Drs. Sergio Rubenstein, Barry P. Levin, Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk and Toshiyuki Fujiki, RDT were published as part of their case study in two industry publications helping further stress the importance of interdisciplinary treatment.

The articles, first circulated in the January 2021 online issue of Compendium as a case study titled, “The Importance of Interdisciplinary Treatment in an Esthetically Challenging Case.” The second, published in Inside Dental Technology titled “Interdisciplinary Treatment in an esthetically challenging case” which additionally details fabricating a screw-retained PFM for an anterior implant following the complex orthodontic treatment and interdisciplinary course of treatment.

In both articles, our multidisciplinary dream team shares with readers their clinical case involving a 7-year-old patient with a congenitally missing maxillary left central incisor. Despite having undergone orthodontic treatment, the patient’s smile was unacceptable and in a compromised state for a long-term restorative/prosthetic outcome. Further, the poor course of treatment previously administered resulted in not only considerable expense, but loss of valuable treatment time during a key development period. These issues further led to psychological-social concerns as the patient became shy, introverted and was uncomfortable smiling.

Fortunately, through a referral to our interdisciplinary dream team, and a thorough anatomical evaluation of the adjacent teeth, hard and soft tissue it was finally discovered the missing tooth was associated with a deficient alveolar ridge. Bone grafting would be required and implant position for the replacement tooth taken into consideration in addition to orthodontic space closure. Additionally, flaring of the anterior teeth became a concern as the buccal bone was extremely thin after the previous eight years of failed orthodontic treatment. Using a cephalometric radiograph, the dream team developed and implemented retraction of the upper and lower incisors, occlusal considerations for long-term function of an implant and crown, and a second round of orthodontic treatment.

Upon completion, occlusion and esthetic tooth alignment were evaluated to assess the space allocation on the missing tooth. A radiograph was taken to ensure that the future implant would have adequate mesial-distal space and not be in close proximity to adjacent roots, and a final cephalometric radiograph was taken to evaluate the patient’s profile and proclination of the anterior teeth.

As we learn from these collaborative writings, framing an implant-supported restoration with healthy hard and soft tissue for long-term stability is critical. With a thick, resilient periodontal biotype, a restorative/prosthetic solution is often achievable. When the tissue has experienced recession and/or the surrounding biotype of the tooth/teeth is friable, a more collaborative, and in many instances a surgical, approach may be indicated.

In this case however, the tissue matured and in the final stages of the restoration process, so the laboratory technician could accurately fabricate a final crown unique to the clinical situation using a castable screw-retained prosthetic with 65% gold ceramic alloy and porcelain crown for better long-term management and hygiene.

As this case demonstrates, complex diagnoses require an interdisciplinary team. While treatment may stretch over a long period of time, and not necessarily require every dental specialist be involved throughout every step of the process, it is essential that the treatment team follow the patient’s progress together. As in this case, failure to achieve an ideal outcome with the first phase of orthodontic treatment demanded mid-treatment revision. By following this framework clinicians can help ensure that a successful outcome is achieved, and the patient is happy with the results.


To read these articles in their entirety, please visit Compendium’s website at and Inside Dental Technology at

When Does an Underbite Need Surgery?

March 24th, 2021

When does an underbite need surgery? The short answer is: when Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our team recommend surgery as the best way to give you a healthy, functional bite. But let’s take a longer look, and see just why your doctors might come to that conclusion.

  • First, what exactly is an underbite?

In a perfect bite, the upper and lower jaws align, well, perfectly. Upper teeth overlap lower teeth very slightly, upper and lower teeth meet comfortably, and jawbones and joints function smoothly. When the alignment is off, it causes a malocclusion, or “bad bite.”

When we talk about an underbite, or Class 3 malocclusion, it means that the lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw. This protrusion causes the bottom teeth and jaw to overlap the upper teeth and jaw.

  • What causes an underbite?

Sometimes an underbite is caused by childhood behaviors while the teeth and jaw are developing, including tongue thrusting or prolonged thumb-sucking and pacifier use. (Working to stop these behaviors before they affect tooth and jaw formation is one of the many good reasons children should have regular visits with their dentists and pediatricians.)

Most underbites are genetic, however, and tend to run in families. It’s estimated that from five to ten percent of the population has some form of underbite. The lower jawbone (mandible) might be overdeveloped, the upper jawbone (maxilla) might be underdeveloped, both bones could be affected, or, sometimes, tooth size and placement might cause an underbite. These irregularities in jaw shape and size and/or tooth crowding are not something that can be prevented, and require professional treatment.

  • Why? What’s the problem with an underbite?

Even a minor underbite can cause difficulties with biting and chewing. A more severe underbite can lead to speech problems, decay and loss of enamel where the teeth overlap, mouth breathing and sleep apnea, persistent jaw and temporomandibular joint pain, and self-confidence issues.

  • Can’t my dentist treat my underbite?

Most probably not. A very mild underbite can be camouflaged cosmetically with veneers, but this does not address the cause of the underbite, and will not work for moderate or severe underbites.

  • Can my orthodontist treat my underbite?

Dr. Yan Razdolsky will create an underbite treatment plan after a detailed study of each patient’s individual dental and skeletal structure. Treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the underbite, its severity, and even the patient’s age.

Early intervention is especially important for children who show signs of an underbite. That’s why we recommend that children visit our Buffalo Grove office by the age of seven.

If an underbite is caused by tooth misalignment or crowding, braces can reposition the lower teeth. Sometimes extractions are necessary to make room for proper alignment.

If the cause is due to jaw structure, children’s bones are still forming, so treatment can actually help correct bone development. Palatal expanders, headgear, and other appliances are various methods of encouraging and guiding bone development.

But braces and appliances aren’t effective for every patient with an underbite, and especially in patients (usually those in their late teens and older) when the jawbones are already fully formed. In this case, we might suggest coordinating treatment with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

  • What does an oral and maxillofacial surgeon do?

An oral surgeon has the training, experience, and skill to help correct an underbite by surgically reshaping and repositioning the jawbone. This corrective jaw surgery is called orthognathic surgery.

  • What will happen during orthognathic surgery?

Your treatment will be tailored to your specific needs. Two of the common surgical procedures for treating an underbite involve repositioning the upper jaw to lengthen it and/or reshaping the lower jaw to shorten it.

Bone is sometimes removed or added, small bone plates or screws are sometimes used to stabilize the bone after surgery—your surgeon will let you know exactly which procedures will give you a healthy, functional bite. The surgery itself is most often performed under general anesthesia and requires a brief stay in the hospital.

  • How will my orthodontist and oral surgeon coordinate my treatment?

Correcting a Class 3 malocclusion can take time. Your oral surgeon will work together with Dr. Yan Razdolsky to analyze the interrelationship of teeth, bones, and joints to determine dental and skeletal problems, and will develop the best treatment plan possible to create a healthy alignment.

  • So, when does an underbite need surgery?

Sometimes, a minor underbite can be corrected with braces and appliances alone. A serious underbite, however, will often require the specialized skills of both Dr. Yan Razdolsky and an oral surgeon.

And, while it’s not the primary purpose of surgery, corrective jaw surgery and orthodontics can also make you happier with your appearance and boost your self-confidence. Achieving a lifetime of beautiful, comfortable, and healthy smiles—that’s the answer to your question.

From Tooth Fairy to Forever Smiles

March 16th, 2021

As folklore would have it, the Tooth Fairy is a magical being with the important job of helping children cope with the confusion and shock of losing their baby teeth. For some, the idea of the Tooth Fairy conjures up images of a Tinker Bell like character, while for others something more like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Either way you envision the magical being, both sport wings and a wand and sneak into your child’s room to capture a tooth and leave behind a coin as payment. Awesome, right?!?

As your child matures however, they will eventually come to the realization that the Tooth Fairy cannot possibly exist. Try as you might, if they come to this conclusion on their own do not persist for the sake of their innocence, simply take this important opportunity to talk with them about traditions and the significance of folklore in pop culture. You can also take this opportunity to first introduce your child to Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team.

Now if your child is still young, learning there is no Tooth Fairy can be quite traumatic. Take your cues from them as to whether they still want to believe. If you child is age 7 though, this is the perfect time to schedule their first appointment with the Forever Smiles team.

“I recommend parents bring their child in as early as age 7 so that we can evaluate their jaw growth and see how their adult teeth are developing under the surface,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This stage in their development is ideal as we can assess their mixed dentition and diagnose any orthodontic problems in the earliest stages.”

A motto of Forever Smiles is “Prevention is better than cure.” That said, if you suspect something is off and your child is younger than age 7, you should not wait to get a recommendation from your dentist to get an orthodontic screening. Just the same, even if your child is over 8 it does not mean it’s too late.

“An early orthodontic evaluation will help us determine if, and when it is best for your child to begin treatment. Because every child is different and can have differing issues, growth and development often plays a key role in treatment as we can use predictable stages of natural growth to our treatment advantage,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “For some children, early intervention can often ward off problems, reducing treatment time and overall expense.”

So whether the Tooth Fairy has come calling or hung up her wand, we look forward to seeing your child in our office. It’s never too early (or too late) to get them on the path to their beautiful forever smile!

How to Care for Your Invisalign® Aligners

March 10th, 2021

Is it possible to straighten the teeth without braces? Yes, it is. Welcome to the world of Invisalign aligners. Invisalign aligners are made from a clear, thermoplastic material that is custom made to fit your teeth. Unlike conventional braces, Invisalign aligners are removable. More importantly, the clear thermoplastic material makes the aligners invisible, which is ideal if the thought of metal braces and elastics make you self-conscious. For the best results, proper handling and care of your Invisalign aligners is important. Follow these steps to take care of your aligners:

1. Do not eat or drink hot beverages while wearing aligners. It's a good idea to get in the practice of removing the aligners before eating and drinking. Because the aligners are made of plastic resin, heat can distort and damage them. Also, eating while wearing the aligners will cause sugar and other food particles to stay on your teeth, which contributes to plaque and tooth decay.

2. Clean the aligner trays regularly. Invisalign aligners are exposed to the same bacteria and plaque that your mouth is, so you need to clean them as regularly as you clean your teeth. However, avoid cleaning the aligners with harsh chemicals. We recommend using a cleaning kit or some other type of specific solution. When it comes to cleaning Invisalign aligners, carefully follow the instructions given by Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

3. Store aligners in a cool, dry, safe place. When you’re not wearing the aligners, store them in the case provided by our office. If you don’t use the case, they can easily be lost. Keeping them out of reach of small children and pets is also a good idea. The last thing you want is for Fido to think your Invisalign aligners are chew toys.

4. Don’t chew gum while wearing aligners. There’s one thing that conventional braces and Invisalign aligners have in common: chewing gum damages both of them.

5. Don’t soak aligners in mouthwash. Many popular mouthwashes contain a color pigment. It’s possible that soaking Invisalign aligners in mouthwash will tint or stain them.

For more tips and tricks for a successful Invisalign experience, contact our Buffalo Grove office!

The Slop-Py Side Of Orthodontics

March 4th, 2021

Dr. and Anna Razdolsky are happy to share that their daughter, Dr. Elizabeth recently co-authored a continuing education article on a novel way to calculate the necessary force required for different archwires during orthodontic treatment. Published in Orthotown, the written course titled, “Slop-py Work – Calculating theoretical torque loss utilizing rectangular and square-shaped archwires” shares the team’s research and formula.

“Overall, because appliances such as braces have rectangular slots, they can utilize rectangular archwires to control torque expression. However, a higher degree of dimensional precision of brackets and archwires is required to take both torque expression and the wire/slot play into account,” the authors write. “Torque must be adjusted in a controlled manner, so the resulting force does not prevent any biological tooth movements; therefore, for desirable physiologic forces to be applied, it’s necessary to take into account a certain degree of slop between the wire and bracket interface. However, few effective formulas exist that provide information to assist with clinical decisions,” they continue.

Fixed orthodontic appliances are designed to apply force to teeth in three planes of space. The first order is lingual and rotational movements; second order is gingival and root tip; and third is the rotation along a mesial–distal axis, or torque. It is in this third order where fixed orthodontic appliances accommodate a rectangular archwire that controls third-order movements.

If rectangular wires are too snug to brackets the force may hinder biological tooth movement, therefore some play or “slop” between the wire/bracket interface is necessary allowing a reduced expression of torque to create a more physiological application of force during tooth movement.

“To select the ideal archwire for a given bracket system, it is beneficial to understand the relative degrees of slop between different archwire dimensions within a given bracket system. Although this can be calculated mathematically, it is important to note that calculated theoretical slop does not take into account archwire stiffness due to its material and geometrical properties and variation within the manufacturing process,” the authors write.

It is because this slop between varying archwire options is of critical clinical significance, the authors developed the continuing education study to inform readers of the simple formula to mathematically calculate it.

To read more on Elizabeth and her team’s continuing education course read Orthotown’s December 2020 issue at

No Wooden Teeth, Please! Why Oral Health is So Important

February 24th, 2021

Your teeth are precious. Once your permanent teeth come in, they need to last you a lifetime. Extensive tooth decay can lead to dental caries and the need for fillings, crowns, bridges, and dentures.

While these fixes can go a long way toward maintaining your quality of life, they cannot compare to your natural teeth. Getting braces is no excuse to let up on your thorough oral health routine: You need to take good care of your teeth before, during, and after braces to benefit completely from the gains you get from newly straightened teeth.

Why You Should Maintain Good Oral Health for Life

Begin a complete oral health regimen as early as possible in life, and maintain this routine throughout your life. Keeping your (or your child’s baby) teeth clean establishes a routine. It preserves healthy baby teeth whose function is to save space for the permanent teeth when they are ready to come in. Care of your permanent teeth helps preserve the enamel and prevent decay.

Take Special Care with Braces

It is important to pay attention to oral health when you have braces. If you do not take special care of your teeth during the months or years that you have braces, you risk irreversible damage to your teeth. Care is more difficult with braces because food can easily get stuck. In addition to brushing twice daily and flossing each day, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and our staff suggest avoiding sticky foods.

Team Dark Chocolate

February 10th, 2021

Valentine’s Day is the holiday to celebrate all the treasured relationships in your life. It’s a time to honor love in all shapes and forms with cards, social gatherings, and sometimes even binge eating of sweets.

It's hard to look the other way when grocery stores and pharmacies are invaded with goodies connected to the Valentine’s Day theme, and especially if you’re on the receiving end of some of these sweets. We get it. In fact, we’re all for it!

However, we also support a cavity-free smile. So in the interest of your dental and general health, and because we think it’s genuinely tasty, Dr. Yan Razdolsky recommends an alternative to the Valentine treats you may be accustomed to: dark chocolate. 

Yes, Healthy Chocolate Exists

Studies have shown that dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, an ingredient found in the cocoa beans used to make chocolate. Flavonoids can help protect the body against toxins, reduce blood pressure, and improve blood flow to the heart and brain.

By opting for dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate, you get to reap these benefits! Pretty sweet, right? Just make sure to stick to high-quality dark chocolates that have undergone minimal processing.

Dark Chocolate, AKA Protector of Teeth

Not only does dark chocolate provide some nice benefits for your overall health, it also helps protect your teeth against cavities! According to the Texas A&M Health Science Center, dark chocolate contains high amounts of tannins, another ingredient present in cocoa beans.

Tannins can actually help prevent cavities by interfering with the bacteria that causes them. Think of them as scarecrows for bacteria. They don’t always prevail, but isn’t it nice to have them there?

Smooth Never Sticky

Unlike many popular candies, dark chocolate is less likely to stick in the crevices of your teeth. Chewy, gooey sweets are more likely to hang around in your mouth for longer periods of time, which means they raise the odds of your harboring cavity-creating bacteria.

While some dark chocolates have additives like caramel or marshmallow, it’s best to opt for the plain varieties, which are just as delicious. If you’re feeling festive, though, a dark chocolate with caramel is still better than a milk chocolate with caramel, so that’s the way to go!

While dark chocolate has some pretty sweet benefits, the most important thing to remember (whether you go the dark chocolate route or not), is that moderation is key. That being said, we hope you have fun satisfying your sweet tooth and shopping for treats for your friends and loved ones. Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Forever Smiles!

Tips to Avoid Common Problems Associated with Braces

February 3rd, 2021

While braces play an important part in helping to create a healthy mouth and teeth, you might experience a few side effects while wearing them that are common and can be easily treated.

Even with the best of care, braces can cause soreness to your mouth. As your teeth begin to move, it is natural for your teeth to feel aches and your jaw to develop soreness.

If there are broken wires or loose bands on your braces, a sore tongue, mouth, or canker sore will occur. Canker sores are a common occurrence when braces rub inside the mouth. There are ointments available to reduce the pain and irritation associated with mouth sores. We urge those who experience a sore mouth or any of the following problems to call our office to schedule an appointment.

  • Loose brackets: Apply a small amount of orthodontic wax to the bracket temporarily. 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 your orthodontist. Try to save the band for repair.
  • Protruding or broken wires: The eraser end of a pencil can be used to move 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, rinse with warm salt water or antiseptic rinse.
  • Loose spacers: These will need to be repositioned and sometimes replaced.

Foods to Avoid

Some foods can also help or hurt you while you’re wearing braces. Remember to cut your food into small pieces that can be easily chewed. You will want to avoid hard and chewy foods that can break your hardware. Foods such as corn on the cob, nuts, carrots, apples, ice, and bubble gum should be avoided.

Braces, rubber bands, springs, and other mouth appliances associated with braces will normally attract food particles and plaque. Without the proper care, this could cause staining of your teeth.

Our staff at Forever Smiles recommends brushing after every meal or snack and carefully removing any food that might be lodged in the braces. A fluoride mouthwash might be helpful as well as flossing. At your next appointment, Dr. Yan Razdolsky can advise you how to floss with a brush specially designed for braces!

In-Ovation® Vs. Traditional Braces

January 27th, 2021

At our office, we say it's never too late to improve the beauty of your smile. We suggest to patients of all ages that braces can lead the way to a healthier, happier smile. Orthodontic technology has made many advancements over the past decade. Today, we compare In-Ovation braces to traditional braces to help you decide which is best for your smile needs.

Choosing In-Ovation or Traditional Braces

There are many significant differences between these two styles of braces that often make one more attractive than the other to patients. Overall, the In-Ovation treatment process is far shorter from start to finish than the traditional braces approach.

The In-Ovation treatment process has been gaining vast popularity among patients because it offers superior comfort over traditional braces. Unlike the traditional approach that can be painful and cause continued friction and irritation, In-Ovation braces operate on what is called a self-ligating system. This free-sliding system straightens teeth with gentle, low pressure.

Traditional braces exert their teeth-aligning effects with pressure. They are cemented to teeth, connected by rubber bands, and require much more of a time commitment than newer technology. For some, traditional braces are a more affordable approach and time is not a concern. It's also important to understand that a balanced diet is more important than ever when choosing any type of braces, but especially with traditional braces because of their size. Sugary foods can cause plaque to buildup on the tooth and should be kept minimal.

In-Ovation braces have been reported to shift teeth in a way that causes less irritation. Patients opt for this style because of its overall lower need for maintenance. You will spend far less time visiting our Buffalo Grove if you choose In-Ovation braces over traditional braces.

With fewer components and no elastic bands, there is less of a chance of food debris being left behind with In-Ovation braces. They are easier to clean and when a balanced diet is followed, and much less of a plaque buildup. In-Ovation even offers clear brackets for improved aesthetics.

Still have questions about which braces system is right for you or your child? We encourage you to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky at your next appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Cheers to Your Health in 2021!

December 18th, 2020


No matter what you call it, a smile, smirk, or grin there is no doubt about it, the feel-good facial expression of happiness and contentment truly offers some real-world health benefits. And there is no better time than the 2021 New Year to start off fresh with a healthy new outlook. Since the pandemic, we have all become a great deal more aware of our health. But can smiling really help? Absolutely!

“Social cues are more important now than ever,” said Dr. Razdolsky of Forever Smiles Orthodontics for Children and Adults in Buffalo Grove. “A beaming smile behind a mask lights up the eyes and communicates to others that everything is A-okay. It helps others to feel safe, secure, and happy. It is also important to smile often in online video communication as it too sends a message of encouragement and positivity to others that is contagious,” he added.

For example, have you ever been in a less than happy state and run into someone who’s smiling only to find yourself in a better mood? Maybe even with a smile all your own? It’s no secret smiling is contagious, and not only is it a great gift to give yourself and others, it has other great health benefits worth sharing as well! A smile doesn’t just offer a great mood boost, it also helps our body release dopamine, serotonin, cortisol and endorphins. These can reduce blood pressure, increase endurance, reduce pain, lessen stress, and even strengthen our immune system. Further, studies indicate people who smile more are more likeable, courteous, and competent.

“Research suggests children smile an astonishing 400 times per day. If you account for an average eight hours of sleep each night, that works out to a smile every 2.5 minutes,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “However, if you contrast that to an average adult who only smiles 20 times a day (40 to 50 if they are truly happy), then you can see why we could all use a little more cheer.”

Indeed, not only is there the chemical release to boost your health, smiling actually helps you stay positive. If you don’t believe it, just try this... smile and then try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. Even when a smile is forced or fake it sends the brain a message that life is good. Now imagine sharing that smile (a genuine one of course) with the rest of the world.

So, what’s new in 2021? Practice smiling every day and see your happiness and wellbeing increase with the New Year. And what’s even better than that, is giving someone else a smile or two? It’s the healthy resolution that’s easy to keep.


Veneers vs. Orthodontics – It’s no Contest!

December 1st, 2020

In a world where time seems to move so quickly, it is no wonder that the idea of Instant Orthodontics might be appealing. After all, for many people straight teeth are the primary factor for when determining what is an attractive smile. And who doesn’t want a beautiful smile, now!?! While in most cases a slight imperfection in one’s smile is rarely a cause to run out and get braces, neither are veneers the guaranteed go-to answer for a straighter more beautiful Forever Smile. So, what is the score in the Veneers vs. Orthodontics matchup?

Any dental professional who practices a non-invasive or systemic approach to healthcare would have at least some reservations in recommending veneers for a straighter smile. The instant smile afforded through the application of veneers is superficial at its surface, and in some cases very invasive indeed. Tooth preparation in the manner of removing at least some or part of the healthy enamel needed to protect the teeth must be done to accommodate veneers. There are some no-prep or very minimal prep veneers, but make no mistake, there is still some prep that defaces the structure of your existing teeth. This prep can expose teeth to any number of other unforetold issues sometime later in the patient’s life. That translates to a lot of uncertainty and raises the question of when or if this option is ever really worth the risk?

So, what should you consider when exploring whether orthodontics or veneers are right for you?

Let’s talk position. Are your teeth out of alignment, or is your bite a little off? Some dentists might recommend veneers, but then a consultation with a board-certified orthodontist like Dr. Razdolsky could really be your first and best choice. Whether you see it or not, sometimes even the smallest imperfection can be a sign of movement just below the gum’s surface, which if left untreated may develop into a worsening issue down the road. Let’s take it a step further, do you experience headaches, jaw pain, troubles with chewing or biting, or maybe even sleeping? These can be symptoms of a greater underlying problem and even more reason to call on Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team to evaluate your smile. Perhaps you think the shape of your teeth are all wrong. They are too long, too short, too far apart. Yep, that too is your clue to meet with Dr. Razdolsky and the team. Issues such as these could also be signs of improper development or once again a bigger issue looming under the gum’s surface that may require correction through orthodontic treatment. No matter how you look at it, Dr. Razdolsky and the team are here to help you evaluate and ultimately come up with a plan for correcting these issues that’s just right for you!

Perhaps you are considering veneers because you are concerned about what you will look like with braces. Let’s look on the bright side, if the issue is minor, your stint in braces may be over before you know it! But, if it is a matter of aesthetics, or being self-conscious, there are still a number of treatment options available. Clear or tooth-colored brackets are a great option for patients who want a more subtle look, but the same effectiveness of traditional braces. For some patients there’s lingual braces where brackets and wires are mounted on the tongue-side of your teeth. But keep in mind, in the case of lingual, careful considerations must be made on a per patient and case basis. Lastly, there’s clear aligners, which in some cases may be an ideal solution but just take longer to achieve the desired result.

Indeed, with orthodontic treatment, there are so many different options to get the beautiful Forever Smile you’ve always wanted. So if your choice is to go veneers simply because you don’t like the idea of braces, consider these points before you take a leap into something that’s uncertain to get the results you truly deserve. Because when it comes to you and your Forever smile, it’s no contest!

Now’s the time to realize your Best Smile

November 4th, 2020

With all that is going on in the world we are hearing it from patients more and more, “Now is the best time to get braces”! Why? Well for some patients, they feel working and going to school from home is allowing them a greater opportunity to become adjusted. Indeed, we all have a little more flexibility without the rigors of running to and from class, busy meeting schedules and all the extracurricular activities bustling for attention in our daily lives. This affords us the extra time it takes to better care for our braces, brush and floss properly between meals and even have appointments with our favorite orthodontist, Dr. Razdolsky!

“Can you believe we have had a few new patients come in saying it’s the perfect time because of the mask?!?,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We have patients come in all the time saying the stigma of braces is hard for them. So, wearing a mask has given some that little boost they need to overcome their apprehension and nervousness about what others will think when they see them wearing braces for the first time,” he added.

At Forever Smiles we think working to achieve your Forever Smile is a beautiful thing and if a mask is the catalyst that gets someone started on that path, we’re all in!

Dr. Razdolsky said he’s even had some new patients who have become more aware of little imperfections in their smile since they’ve been quarantined. Online meetings and classes have certainly put most of us, and our smiles, front and center with everyone we talk to everyday. So for many, the lure of making their smile something they’ve always wanted or dreamed of starts now. That’s why Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team always say it’s never too early, or too late to set off on the path to your best smile. By getting started with evaluation today, Dr. Razdolsky can help you strategize and develop a customized plan for treatment that’s just right for you.

“Whether you experience discomfort such as tooth pain, headaches, earaches, or pain in the jawline, which can be signs or symptoms of malalignment, or you just want that beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, now may just be the best time for you to get braces,” said Dr. Razdolsky.

Regardless of your motivation, you always want to be healthy and putting your best smile forward. One evaluation from Dr. Razdolsky can help determine whether braces are right in your unique situation. Remember, getting braces now can make all the difference in putting your best smile forward. Let’s get started!

Dental Distancing

September 17th, 2020

With all that we have learned and are learning about COVID-19, health and wellness, it is important to practice proper hygiene protocols to protect yourself and the ones you love from getting sick. Not everyone who is sick shows signs or symptoms right away, so to protect yourself and family members. Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Buffalo Grove’s Forever Smiles Orthodontics for Children and Adults has a few dental distancing tips to help keep your family healthy.

Wash your hands before brushing or flossing

Dr. Razdolsky reminds patients they should never touch their mouth, brush their teeth or floss before thoroughly washing their hands. His recommendation is to follow the CDC rule of 20 seconds with soap and water. And, if someone in your household is sick, he suggests adding a hand sanitizer made with 60% alcohol for added safety. Don’t forget to wash again after brushing and flossing to help prevent the spread of your germs to others.

Social distance your toothbrush

Whether you think you are sick or have been exposed to others of whom you are not sure, isolating your toothbrush is an easy way to protect family members.

“It is best to avoid side by side storage of your family’s toothbrushes to help protect others in your household,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Social distance your toothbrush instead. Store it upright in a holder or cup, and place in a separate area away from others.”

Don’t contaminate the toothpaste

Dr. Razdolsky also reminds us to look beyond the toothbrush when protecting others. If your family shares a tube of toothpaste for example, be sure you don’t allow the tip to come in contact with your toothbrush.

“While we talk of social distancing and cleaning your toothbrush, touching the toothpaste tube to the bristles can unintentionally contaminate and share harmful germs,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This is especially important if someone in your household is actually sick. In that case your family can take extra precautions to prevent contamination by applying the toothpaste to a clean cotton swab and then on the brush,” he added.

Clean your tools

“Many people do not realize that flu viruses can survive on toothbrushes and other surfaces for up to three days after first exposure,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “That is why we suggest patients clean brush handles, orthodontic instruments and wipe down counter areas after they brush. This is an easy way to help protect themselves and other family members from spreading germs, by simply using a household disinfectant, 70% alcohol or diluted bleach solution,” he added.

Do a toothbrush check when you’ve been sick

Although Dr. Razdolsky shared with us that flu viruses can survive on toothbrushes some time, you are not likely at risk of getting sick again if you use the same toothbrush. Especially since they are your own germs. But you should be sure to keep your dental distance from others in your family to keep them safe. Now with that said… evaluating replacing your toothbrush (or the head if you use an electric one) when you’ve been sick is still a good practice.

The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months (sooner if the bristles look worn out). Although you will not make yourself sick again, you can use this time as an opportunity to do a toothbrush check and replace your brush if it looks like it might be time.

Hydrate and brush to get and stay healthy

When you are sick, you need plenty of fluids and nothing beats water. Medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers can make you dehydrated. Water prevents dry mouth which can put you at higher risk for cavities. So, drink plenty of water and use sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges to keep you mouth from getting dry.

“One of the best feelings when I am sick is simply brushing my teeth,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “A clean mouth and fresh breath give me a sense of wellbeing and I actually start to feel better. It is always important to take care of your Forever Smile, especially when you are sick.”

Oral Systemic Health & COVID-19

August 25th, 2020

With all that has been and is being learned about SARS-Cov2 during the pandemic, there is a marked shift in what we think and do in taking charge of our health. Dr. Razdolsky has always advocated for the study and support of oral health to overall systemic health, and with the latest interest in how nutrition impacts related underlying health condition risk to COVID-19 case severity, could there be a correlation to oral health as well? Recent research suggests, yes. There could be a link between gum disease and COVID-19.

While not everyone with gum disease has heart disease or vice versa, historically there does seem to be a correlation. Although research is not clear whether gum disease is a direct risk factor for heart disease, it has been suggested there is link between the two. Some believe pathogens can cause cascading damage to other tissues and organs, or even the bacteria in the gums may itself enter the blood supply where it can further cause inflammation and damage. In fact, one study published earlier this month suggests a link between gum disease and respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients! With such tragic consequences, it is theories like these that have compelled researchers to further study how diet, oral health and systemic health can provide insight not only into COVID-19, but other diseases as well. Imagine what we can learn about not only this virus, but how we as human beings may react to future unknown threats.

“We already know that good oral hygiene along with eating a diet of nutrient rich foods promotes healthy teeth and gums, as well as provides our bodies with the right fuel to stay healthy and strong,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “It has become increasingly apparent how important it is for us to look at these same factors in relationship to how they keep us healthy and fight disease for life.”

It is estimated that obesity attributed to bad nutrition affects about 35% of U.S. adults, with a disproportionate number of those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale. This becomes increasingly evident as cases of the COVID-19 virus are recorded in population groups with these related demographics and underlying health conditions. Studies have indicated Americans are among the least healthy population in the developed world. According to the 2019 Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index published February 2019, the United States ranked 35th out of 169 economies in factors that contribute to overall health. Most can agree we choose processed food over farm-fresh, and packaged or prepared food over cooking it ourselves. It is almost assured a shift to healthier, more balanced meals with fresh ingredients, vegetables and fruit would benefit our society by helping to lower obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes which has become an ever-growing trend.

Sadly, many of us have picked up more than one bad habit during COVID-19. Stress eating, a change to comfort foods rather than nutritious balanced meal planning, increased junk food consumption or even boredom eating. We are all a little guilty, right? Working toward healthier eating has always been a challenge, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking scientifically and introspectively at our at-risk populations with high levels of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Smart snacking is a great way to keep your oral health on track, so you should choose wisely. Forgo the sweet sugary snacks, especially hard or sticky candy if you wear braces.” said Dr. Razdolsky.

Dr. Razdolsky suggests that instead of junk snacking we should opt for nutritious choices like fresh vegetables, yogurt, and if you have a sweet tooth, some fresh fruit. This benefits not only your oral health but is a much better option for your overall health.

“Let me also remind everyone it is important to brush after snacking to protect your smile,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This protects your teeth and gums from plaque which can lead to gum disease impacting your long-term oral health. If you can’t brush at minimum rinse your mouth and between your teeth to remove food particles until you can get to brush,” he added.

Maybe in this post-COVID society, our wellness habits will change for the better. Perhaps we will finally begin to recognize how we must educate ourselves and our children to address the necessary changes that positively impact the health and well-being of our society in the long run. All of these things are tied together. A smile, is not just a smile and our health is not something we should take for granted. COVID-19 was not something any of us expected, but we must learn and adapt. You know… just in case.

Safeguarding Your Family & Your Smile

July 16th, 2020

First and foremost, if we’re open it is because we feel it’s safe for you to come in. So here are five important things to keep in mind as we approach the upcoming school year.

  1. Your oral health is representative of your overall systemic health. Now isn’t a time for compromise as it impacts your long-term health. Dr. Razdolsky routinely places appliances such as springs, coils and memory wires that apply continuous force to the teeth and jaws. For this reason, it is important for us to physically monitor your progress regularly to make necessary adjustments.

What’s more, leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems. To help avoid tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wearing of tooth enamel and difficulty chewing, it is important to keep up with regularly scheduled appointments.

  1. Your Forever Smiles team is taking more precautions than ever to ensure your safety and that of our fellow team members.

In addition to wearing the proper PPE, practicing physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting more than ever before, we are also asking screening and triage questions, as well as checking temperatures.

  1. Forever Smiles’ #1 priority is our patients’ health. If we are open, it is because we feel it’s safe for you to come in.

Our mission is to keep everyone safe, patients and team members, while continuing to provide quality orthodontic care. If we are open, rest assured that we have infection control precautions and changes in place that are designed for your protection and that of our team members.

  1. Dentists and orthodontic specialists like Dr. Razdolsky have always been leaders in infection control and preventing the spread of diseases.

As oral health professionals, we must stay at the forefront in safely practicing with blood borne pathogens and respiratory pathogens. We are taking all the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and implementing them in our offices.

  1. As oral health professionals, your Forever Smiles team always stays on top of the latest safety protocols.

Through our participation in continuing education programs we educate ourselves on the latest safety and infection control protocols to ensure they align with the CDC and any other state and local guidelines. After all, our number one priority is to deliver orthodontic care in a safe environment for all our patients and their families.

Be vigilant, be safe

July 1st, 2020

With the scare that is Covid-19, people all over the world are looking for ways to protect themselves and their families from undue harm. From here forward, most if not all of us will likely question the safety of where our products come from and the services that we receive. No one person, no business is immune to the reverberating effects of what this Pandemic has created in the public trust.

With this forage into the unknown we are left with opportunity -- the prospect for development of new technologies and advancements to the betterment of the health and well-being of our society. There are also opportunities on which others will capitalize for only their own gain. However you view this uncertainty, the outcome is that some whether uninformed or out of fear, may make choices which do not serve their best interests.

We have often shared with you the importance of only seeking treatment with a qualified and licensed orthodontist. The correlation of clinical and histologic observation of tooth movement to the adjustment and tweaking of patient treatment protocols is simply something that cannot be established through clear aligners options offered online or by mail. It is something that can only be ensured through the ongoing treatment and observational care of a licensed orthodontist. Furthermore, there are more assurances than ever that you can continue to receive safe, effective in-office orthodontic treatment.

In January, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) announced that nine members of the U. S. House of Representatives authored a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to express their concerns regarding a certain “smile by mail” enterprise. Their intent, to ensure the group was not misleading consumers or putting them in harm’s way.

What’s the concern? In a July 2, 2019 statement the AAO said this in regard to direct-to-consumer orthodontics. “…orthodontic aligners are meant to move teeth, which if not done correctly can lead to potentially irreversible and expensive damage such as tooth and gum loss, changed bites, and other issues – some of which may not arise immediately.”

So if someone you know is looking into orthodontics and considering treatment by mail as a safe option to guard against Covid-19... tell them no way! As we’ve been saying, the health and well-being of our patients, family and friends is always our first priority. We are at the forefront. Through the introduction of technologies, new policies and continuing education we are always looking for new opportunities to bring you only the safest and best in care for a beautiful Forever Smile!

Well, Hello Again!

June 17th, 2020

Boy have we missed our patients, missed each other and missed what we were wired to do. It is so nice to be back in a full swing again and feeling great!

Like all of you, we look back on the last few months and are like…. WOW! Who would have thought something like this would come out of left field and have such a tremendous impact on our communities, families and way of life. Overnight our routines changed, and we began to question everything we’ve ever done and how we’ve done it -- running a business, going to work, school, being with friends and even straightening our teeth.

Like most people in our industry, your Forever Smiles family had to hunker down and weather the storm all the while knowing that the health of our patients comes first and their treatment and progress must take a back seat. It was hard. But instead of what some called “downtime,” we chose to use our time proactively, to get prepared. We organized our office, cleaned, finished up some long overdue projects, cleaned, attended webinars, collaborated with our peers to establish guidelines for reopening, then cleaned again. All this preparedness really put into perspective the importance we have always and will always place in the safety and well-being of our patients. Indeed, when our City and State leaders gave us the green light to reopen, we were prepared and ready.

We have always been proud that we go above and beyond when it comes to the treatment and care of our patients, and because it’s important, we would like to re-visit just a few of the protocols we have implemented.

  • New hygiene protocols including hand disinfecting, additional PPE, as well as internal cleaning and sterilization of team uniforms.
  • Added autoclave to double sterilization efforts for tools and instruments used.
  • Partitioning our open-bay clinic with plastic walls as a protective barrier, as well as ventilating all rooms with an iWave-R Ionizing Air Purifier and Novareus Plasma Technology air purifiers throughout the office.
  • In addition to cleaning and sterilization of rooms after each patient visit, we are fogging the office twice daily with HOCl, a hospital-grade disinfectant comprised of electrolyzed salt, water and vinegar that kills 99.9% germs, yet is non-toxic and 100% safe.
  • Implementation of new office procedures including check in, restrictions on the number of office occupants, as well as screening to limit patient’s exposure to Covid-19.

For a comprehensive breakdown of all the notable procedures and policies we put into practice here at Forever Smiles, please visit our website at In addition, Dr. Razdolsky created several short videos showcasing some remarkable advancements borne out of Covid-19, such as the Novel suction attachment we are using which helps vacuum aerosols during treatment to protect our environment and keep patients safe. You can find these videos posted to our YouTube channel at

While we will continue to look to our governing bodies including the federal government, public health agencies, dental and orthodontic associations for guidance, we plan to strictly adhere to our own current protocols and procedures for the foreseeable future. The truth is, what seems “the New Normal” today will invariably not be what it will be next month, which will in turn be different in the next 6 months, or even next year. No one really knows what to expect with Covid-19, or any health-related issue going forward. We all see things differently now. But whatever the future brings, rest assured we will always do everything we can to still provide the best care and patient experience in a safe, healthy environment.

On a personal note, your family here at Forever Smiles would like to thank all of you for your understanding and patience over recent months and with all of the changes we’ve implemented moving forward. With all of us doing our part, the path into our future can be considerate of what serves everyone in our community best. We welcome your input and invite you to be a part of the solution. Without all of you, there wouldn’t be a Forever Smiles, and it is because of you we will be forever grateful. Let’s all be well and have a fantastic summer!

Office Visit Procedure Update

May 22nd, 2020

Hygiene Protocol Update

May 20th, 2020

A letter from Dr. Razdolsky

May 18th, 2020

Virtual Career Day

April 28th, 2020

With Covid-19 having impacted us all so much, it is with great effort that our teachers work to apply a sense of balance to the lives of students. Such was the case when Diane Willock, Career Exploration Program Manager at Stevenson High School hosted a Virtual Career Exploration featuring our own Dr. Razdolsky and daughter Elizabeth.
In this educational online forum presented through Zoom, Dr. Razdolsky introduced students to the wide scope of orthodontic services, including the tools, instruments and emerging technologies used in treatment, as well as general career advice and resources for students interested in a career in orthodontics. The teleprogram also included a Q&A where Dr. Elizabeth talked with students about her PhD research and how students can make their academic applications stronger.
“Our goal was to overview for students the art, science and educational requirements behind this fascinating and challenging field,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We have offered similar programs to students previously, but none have ever felt quite so profound as was one offered given our current circumstances.”
With all of Illinois under quarantine, the delivery format of programs such as this have certainly presented a whole new perspective. As Governor Pritzker has issued a ‘Shelter in Place’ order the office has suspended all but emergency cases.
“Our number one priority is for everyone to stay safe as we face the COVID-19 pandemic together,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “But we believe it is still important to remind our students, patients and families that their treatment and oral health are still vital to their overall health even in times like these.”
It is the mission of Forever Smiles to Inspire, Innovate, Create, Restore, and to make a difference in the communities they serve. For Dr. Razdolsky and Elizabeth, helping teachers and students through online education is a natural course of action in times like these.
Career Exploration Program Manager, Whitlock agrees. “I wanted to take a moment to send you a big THANK YOU for participating in our remote career exploration experiences last week! I was very pleased with how smooth everything went and how much great information was shared with our students,” said Whitlock. “This truly was such an invaluable resource that you provided for them. It has been a challenging time for all of us and I felt like these sessions helped create some normalcy in our high school student’s lives.” She added.

Dream Team Treatment for a Healthy Forever Smile

April 14th, 2020

In a recent case study published by, The Journal of Implant & Advanced Clinical Dentistry (JIACD), Dr. Razdolsky, his daughter Elizabeth R. Michalczyk along with their colleagues, Sergio Rubinstein, DDS and Barry P. Levin, DMD show us that a collaborative approach to treatment of an esthetic challenging case, which includes oral surgery, orthodontics and prosthodontics is often the only way to provide the most efficient standard of care. This in-depth study involved a seven-year-old patient with a congenitally missing (missing since birth) upper left central incisor. Although the patient had received orthodontic treatment for 6 years with another orthodontist, his parents were unhappy with the results and the long-term impact of his smile on his welfare was in serious jeopardy. You see, the patient’s previous course of treatment resulted in loss of time and proper treatment during critical stages of growth and development. Making matters more challenging, other disciplines had been excluded from the onset of treatment planning and care, leaving the patient in a distressed situation and further amplifying the patient’s unsatisfactory progress.

In search for a better outcome, an interdisciplinary dream team was created. With the guide of Prosthodontist, Dr. Rubenstein, the patient’s parents were presented with the new treatment plan. The goal? To reposition the patient’s teeth in their proper location, allowing for the missing central incisor to be replaced with an implant and implant supported crown. Consequently, leading to the initially expected esthetic, as well as a healthy and long-lasting result. You see, a single missing tooth is a common occurrence which has a not only an impact on the esthetics, but on the long-term health of the compromised bone, gum tissue, as well as potential for implant and final prosthesis. Time here, was of the essence.
With an interdisciplinary approach, our collaborative team evaluated the patient’s bite and esthetics in the case and determined that to treat the problem area in this patient, an implant crown on the upper left central incisor and direct bonding on the upper right central incisor were the best course of treatment.
To start, orthodontic treatment will position the teeth in the most esthetic, functionally optimal position, revealing not only a noticeably straighter smile, but also creating the necessary spatial distance between adjacent teeth to accommodate the future implant. Framing an implant-supported restoration with healthy hard and soft tissue for long-term stability is critical. Therefore, team collaboration throughout treatment necessary to ensure implant success.
In cases where teeth are congenitally missing as with our patient, there is typically an inadequate ridge, or surface area thickness to receive an implant without additional staging. Adequate bone thickness must be achieved to sustain the implant and achieve a healthy, esthetic success. Therefore, adequate tissue dimensions must also be created through surgical augmentation and provisional restorative therapy.

Here, three-dimensional CBCT scans are of paramount importance to our team for communicating and planning the proper implant location, proximity to adjacent teeth and evaluating the foundation to receive the implant. Any concerns must be addressed throughout treatment to avoid any potential miscommunication with the final implant position and design for the final restoration.
A person’s smile is more than a first impression or a way to communicate, it is a personal trademark that often determines an individual’s confidence and it plays an integral role in psychological­ social wellbeing and emotional health. This case study demonstrates how an example of poor planning and execution, can be converted by a new esthetic-prosthetic management to create a best-case-possible healthy result and optimal smile. With challenging cases such as these, an inter­disciplinary approach from the onset of treatment can provide patients with the best, and often most efficient standard of care.

A Lesson in the Art of a Smile

March 19th, 2020

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and Forever Smiles team just love hosting educational field trips, especially when it’s the talented artists from their favorite Art Studio Artishock!

At this year’s field trip our budding artists saw firsthand how art and dental science come together to help Dr. Razdolsky and his team create beautiful Forever Smiles! The kids even watched how Dr. Razdolsky uses the technology of Suresmile to bend archwires for greater precision in treatment. The team educated the kids with a little chemistry lesson as they made their own “Smile Like A Pro” lip balm, Anna educated the children on the importance of oral health with a reading of her book, “The Smiling Brightleys,” and every child got their very own copy to take home and share with their family and friends.

“This field trip is something we look forward to every year,” said Anna Razdolsky. “We are so grateful to all the parents who also attend, and to CEO/Teacher Talia Prilutsky. Events like this expose so many kids to orthodontics early, allowing them to feel comfortable and be better prepared if and when they have their first orthodontic appointment,” she added.

Yes, Dr. Razdolsky, Anna and the team really love educating kids and teaching them the fundamentals of good oral care and how it leads to a lifetime of beautiful Forever Smiles!

Slip of the Tongue

February 28th, 2020

The proverb states, “The tongue can be your biggest enemy.” That is to say, you said something you did not mean. But literally speaking, the tongue does cause us a lot of problems. That’s what Dr. Razdolsky and Elizabeth were reminded of at the American Association of Orthodontics Midwinter meeting on treatment of open bite cases held in Austin, Texas earlier this month.

The tongue is a very powerful muscle – one that’s strong enough to push teeth out of their natural position. So, together with hundreds of other orthodontists from all over the world Yan and Elizabeth learned to identify the etiological factors for anterior open bites through analyzing different tongue positions at rest. The program titled, All About Open Bites, further focused on the diagnosis and treatment options for today’s orthodontist.

“The tongue applies nearly four pounds of pressure every time we swallow. This pressure, when accompanied by a bad swallowing habit can be disastrous to tooth alignment,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “To make matters worse, the average person swallows nearly 2,000 times per day! This makes tongue thrust a big factor in the treatment and re-treatment of open bite or malocclusion,” he added.

Tongue thrust is described as the habit of pushing the tongue forward between the upper and lower teeth when swallowing, rather than the proper position against the gum and above the upper front teeth. Over time, tongue thrusting can lead to an open bite where only the back teeth will come together during a bite – the front teeth don’t actually touch. A lateral open bite is when teeth do not meet on the sides. It is the anterior open bite, however, that is considered one of the malocclusions most difficult to correct.

So, what is the treatment for tongue thrust? Treatment can include therapeutic exercises to re-train the tongue, kind of like physical therapy. In some cases, Dr. Razdolsky may also prescribe a dental appliance to aid in correction.

“Other various oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, finger biting, lip biting or sucking, bruxism and even mouth breathing can further produce destructive effects on the dentoalveolar structures,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “All these habits will affect muscle and skeletal growth and can lead to permanent orthodontic issues in adulthood if they are not detected and treated before the completion of facial growth and development.”

Not to worry though… through conferences like the one discussed here, Dr. Razdolsky, Elizabeth and the entire Forever Smiles team stay up to date on the latest treatment options so when your braces do come off, your teeth will stay in alignment.


January 28th, 2020

We’re all about having fun and keeping it real, but when it comes to taking care of your teeth, we at Forever Smiles don’t mess around. Dr. Razdolsky, Anna and the team travel all over the area (and the world) advocating for the importance of healthy smiles. And to help you keep yours, we’re going to share with you six, super-easy oral care tips for braces.

  1. Always brush gently at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and around the top and bottom of the braces. Move the toothbrush in a small circular motion across all surfaces of the teeth to remove bacteria, as well as any trapped food particles.

  1. Brush at least three times a day - after breakfast, when you get home from school or in the afternoon and again after dinner.
  2. Replace your toothbrush or brush head every 3-4 months - sooner if it shows signs of wear or if you get sick.
  3. Make a point to inspect your braces to see they are clean and shiny. Make note that bracket edges should be clearly visible, not fuzzy or dull looking. This can indicate poor brushing and you should have another go at it.

  1. Floss at least once per day to remove bacteria and any food that has accumulated. You can also take advantage of tools like floss threaders, water flossers and interdental brushes to help you reach the backs and interproximal areas of your teeth and tighter spaces around or between teeth, brackets and wires.

  1. .. always, always use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush with soft, rounded bristles, and remember to add antimicrobial and fluoride rinses to your shopping list. They can really aid in helping keep your mouth clean and breath minty-fresh for loads more Forever Smiles.

When it comes to clean... do you MANUAL OR Electric?

January 21st, 2020

We often hear from patients how oral hygiene can be challenging because the brackets, archwires, and appliances are an obstruction to brushing. In fact, one question we hear quite often from patients and their parents is which is better: a manual or electric toothbrush?

The team here at Forever Smiles wants to see every patient achieve success with their orthodontic treatment, and many of our patients clean their teeth perfectly well with a manual toothbrush. However, we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest some patients just do better with a little extra help. Let’s check out the facts.

Fact. Electric toothbrushes are cool. But more importantly some studies by the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics (AJO-DO) find there is significantly greater plaque removal with an electric brush over manual brushing. Perhaps the secret is in that electric toothbrushes seem to make it easier to manage brushing with automated timers and settings to control intensity. As with regular toothbrushes, electric toothbrushes work on metal, ceramic and lingual braces, but they do seem to have a definite advantage over manual brushes if they have a timer setting. Studies do suggest that manual toothbrush users tend to brush for shorter than the recommended 2 minutes because they simply lose track of time. This alone is a solid reason to invest in an egg timer if you use a manual brush.

Taking this a step further, in a study on the Efficacy of 3 toothbrush treatments on plaque removal in orthodontic patients assessed with digital plaque imaging: A randomized controlled trial researchers explored the use of two different electrically operated toothbrush heads - one a specialty oscillating-rotating orthodontic brush head (A) and one a regular electric head (B) along with a manual toothbrush (C). They concluded an electric toothbrush with either brush head A or B demonstrated significantly greater plaque removal over the manual toothbrush, and the orthodontic brush head (A) was in fact superior to the regular electric head.


“Removing plaque around brackets and archwires is challenging for patients which makes the results of this study particularly interesting,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “When you compare the regular electric toothbrush head to that of an orthodontic one you can see the ortho one is smaller and uniquely contoured to work around the fixed appliances and better reach the tooth surface. To put it simply, orthodontic brackets and wires create nooks and crevices that are hard to reach, and these brushes are often able to get to all of them,” he added.

What’s more, electric toothbrushes are designed to propel fluids between teeth, wires and around brackets, providing the most efficient and effective cleaning possible,” said Dr Razdolsky. “Most electric toothbrush models produce thousands of movements per minute. This is impossible to achieve with any manual toothbrush.”

Indeed, just take one look on the toothpaste aisle and you are affronted with a huge variety of toothbrushes, both manual and electric to choose from. Don’t even get us started on the different heads! But with this growth, researchers are studying more and different types of electric, sonic and manual toothbrush options on orthodontic patients to help us understand what may or may not work best - sometimes with mixed results.

That’s why Dr. Razdolsky reminds us that regardless of whether you invest in an electric toothbrush or stick with a traditional manual one, you can achieve good oral health and brushing habits if you follow the few simple tips we’ve included along in this issue of Bracket Chatter.

So, what do we know? Daily brushing and flossing help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath— whether it is done with a manual toothbrush or an electric one. There are quite a few ways using an electric toothbrush can help you get a little extra out of your oral hygiene routine, even though in many ways, brushing your teeth with an electric toothbrush is very similar to brushing with a manual one. Most importantly, we’ve learned that while maintaining good oral hygiene when you have braces may seem a little more difficult to achieve, looking to find the right toothbrush to help is not impossible. Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team are here to help. Just ask us at your next appointment.

Just Your Average Day Doing Superhero Stuff

December 19th, 2019

Oh, what an exciting and fun filled way to take a break from the cold weather than to visit sunny Orlando, Florida. Dr. Razdolsky and Anna along with their daughter, Elizabeth did just that when they attended the Southern Association of Orthodontists (SAO) and Southwestern Society of Orthodontists (SWSO) joint annual conference, November 14 through 16. At this feature-packed conference our travelling superhero smile makers experienced a weekend full of education, inspiration and just a little bit of fun.

Presentations offered through the three-day conference included educational program tracks ranging from evidence-based orthodontics to practice management. In all, there were more than 37 programs offered throughout the conference. Indeed, it takes a superhero speed to see all that!

“I was particularly interested in the 3D facial analysis and surgical program,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “The idea of building a three-dimensional frame of reference for the face even when the face is asymmetric is fascinating. This is huge in the optimal planning sequence for orthognathic surgery.”

Another exciting program presented by our superhero colleague, research scientist and professor from the University of Michigan, Dr. James McNamara showcased a new appliance which we are adding to our own Forever Smiles super lineup, the Carriere Motion Appliance. This patient-friendly appliance is used at the beginning of treatment, prior to braces or aligners, and delivers rapid Anterior-Posterior correction to help reduce overall treatment times by several months!

“We are excited to bring the motion corrector to Forever Smiles,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Dr. McNamara has just completed extensive research on its efficacy, and Elizabeth and I were excited to see its premier at the SAO conference.”

Patients may remember from our previous newsletters that Elizabeth, a DMD, PhD, is doing her orthodontic residency at the Georgia School of Orthodontics, research at Emory University and is looking to join the Forever Smiles team in a few years.

So, let’s offer up cheer for our orthodontic superheroes looking to make our world stronger, better and brighter one smile at a time.

The Pain of Missing Out

November 22nd, 2019

Recently we posted on our Facebook page that 2.26 million school days are missed yearly due to a dental-related illness and that got us thinking… Besides the obvious issue of being out of school, what are the repercussions of dental and orthodontic health on school and work? What we discovered surprised us.

Did you know that one in seven children aged 6 to 12 suffered from toothache pain within the last six months? This correlates roughly to an astounding 51 million hours of missed hours of school because of dental issues! This pain is not only distracting for students on the days they miss, but one study found that children on average experience 17.7 days of pain before they are even seen by the dentist or taken in for an emergency visit. That is certainly a recipe for poor school performance.

Let’s take that a step further and consider that parents have to miss work to support these appointments, or in fact have dental emergencies themselves. One study puts us at an astonishing 350.8 million work hours or school hours lost annually for dental care in the United States, of which 92.4 million were for unplanned emergency, 159.8 million for routine or orthodontic and 68.6 for dental cosmetic. The conclusion? Dental problems not only result in loss of work or school, but also can adversely affect performance and productivity at work and in school.

So, what can you do? As an adult, proper hygiene, scheduling and keeping your regular dental checkups is crucial. As a parent you are encouraged to do the same, as well as provide the same guidance for the children in your family. It is paramount that families practice and support each other in the effort to take charge of their dental health.

At Forever Smiles we always educate patients and families on how orthodontics improves one’s overall health, but just how exactly? In simplest terms, straight teeth are easier to floss, brush and clean properly. This helps lower you risk for cavities, gum disease and other dental health issues. Plus, straight teeth are less prone to damage such as chipping or breaking, resulting in fewer dental emergencies in the long run. Equally important to note, orthodontic treatment corrects bite problems and jaw strain that can relieve pain and resolve issues like grinding of the teeth, some breathing irregularities and even digestive problems that can be caused by improper chewing. These types of issues are equally distracting and problematic in allowing for focus in studies and work.

It is important to note, that Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team is here to guide you through your orthodontic treatments. The directions and guidance they provide to help care for your braces are specifically intended to limit the instances of orthodontic emergencies, but they can arise. If you experience swollen or infected gums, severe or unmanageable pain in the mouth or face, or worse, trauma to the mouth, teeth or face, contact our office immediately. Other, somewhat minor orthodontic emergencies such as loose brackets and bent wires should also be addressed right away to ensure your treatment stays on track. And always remember, as your braces move your teeth you may experience some discomfort and soreness. This is normal, and in fact indicates your braces are doing their job. Most discomfort should be fairly mild and fade within a few days. For help in managing the discomfort, try a warm saltwater rinse or over-the-counter pain reliever. If the pain is unmanageable or worsens, please call our office right away. Dr. Razdoslky and the team will be able to provide additional options for making treatment more comfortable.

So, while there may be some school days or work schedules that must be missed for regularly scheduled checkups and orthodontic appointments, the payoff in the long run is a healthier smile with fewer surprises that can derail your future success. That is something to Forever Smile about!


Beware the “Smile Peddlers”

October 15th, 2019

If your mouth is healthy, your teeth are snuggled safely within your gums, with the space between your gum tissue and the tooth only one to three millimeters in depth. But as bacteria in your mouth continually form, a sticky film of plaque on your teeth, particularly around the gum line, this plaque begins to harden into tartar -- only removable by a dentist or hygienist during a professional cleaning. Left unchecked however, this tartar can lead to gum disease.

Such was the case of a 29-year-old male patient who just completed treatment through Smile By Mail. Results weren’t too bad and in fact, his smile looked okay. However, the patient came to Dr. Razdolsky wanting a lower fixed retainer as one tooth would rotate back as soon as the aligner was taken off.

After a full comprehensive exam, Dr. Razdolsky discovered 6-9mm periodontal pockets. You see, inflammation and swelling due to plaque and tartar buildup can result in pocket formation between the gums and the teeth.

“As your gums pull away from your teeth, this inflamed tissue is now the perfect place for more plaque and tartar to hide,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This deepens the pocket further and over time threatens the bone around your teeth putting your whole mouth at risk.”

Sadly, according to Dr. Razdolsky’s patient he only had an intraoral picture scan done through Smile By Mail without any x-rays or examination by a doctor. Thank goodness he sought out Forever Smiles! His story serves as a very serious warning to others -- if only you treat one thing without full benefit of a licensed medical provider, you can risk losing your teeth in the future!

Making matters worse, these Smile by Mail providers are taking to the streets and offering patients a smile by mobile truck or bus. Even on their own website there’s no assurances these services are supported by ongoing medical supervision of a licensed dentist or orthodontist, further endangering patients through this potentially neglectful treatment. But hey, they do offer to send you home with teeth whitening strips!

What a scary concept this Smile By Mail is to the future of orthodontics. It pains us to see it happen. When it comes to your health and well-being, you should always seek the advice of a licensed medical provider.

Visiting Portugal - Travelling Orthodontist

October 1st, 2019

On a recent trip to Portugal, the Razdolsky’s discovered the beauty of the culture and the people. Just bordering Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal is founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and several other cooperative and developmental agencies including the European Union.

Hailed as enjoying its highest economic growth in nearly 20 years, the country enjoys millions of international and domestic tourists to is beautiful beaches and historic landmarks, some which date as far back as 1500s! Fascinated in not only partaking of the beautiful vistas and seeing first-hand the country’s emerging growth, Anna notes as she visits the sites and interacts with locals how many of them are wearing braces.

Surprisingly, a study released July 24 by OralMed Medicina Dentaria suggests that half of the Portuguese population have never heard of Orthodontics or have an incorrect perception of what this clinical area entails. In fact, one in 10 respondents confuses “dental braces” with “removable prothesis” or a denture like brace to replace missing teeth.

“It is astonishing that half the population does not know what orthodontics is,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Even shocking is that those that do, do not have enough understanding of what it is about and the benefits it affords.”

The emergence of orthodontics as a specialty is only beginning to take hold in Portugal and at the cornerstone of its development is communicating and education through more effective visual and verbal means to the patient.

“This is such an exciting time for the people here,” said. Dr. Razdolsky. “I am like a kid in a candy store talking with people about the importance of orthodontics and the value it brings to the patient and their overall health.”

Despite this misunderstanding however, orthodontics and braces do not carry a negative stigma in the country. In fact, as part of its addition to the European Union, Portuguese citizens can often receive subsidized orthodontic care up to the age of 18 when referred by their dentist. Perhaps that’s why there are so many people now sporting braces in Portugal.

FRUIT JUICE... Not as ‘healthy’ as you may think.

September 17th, 2019

We all want what’s best for our children, and their health is of particular concern and focus. Often, we see articles and news reports that advocate eating certain foods over others or warning us to watch out for hidden sugars in snacks. Recently another warning has been issued, this time directed at the hidden dental health risks for infants and children triggered by fruit juice. If your infant is at the stage where they are developing teeth, they are old enough to have tooth decay. That’s right. For toddlers and even infants, the biggest threat to dental health is tooth decay and it’s often exacerbated by surgery fruit juice and fruit juice drinks.

In a 2017 study published by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), fruit juice and juice drink sales have declined. Likely this is due to competing beverage options, as well as increasing public awareness of healthier options like consumption of whole foods and fruits, rather than sugary substitutes. However, the study does suggest that children and adolescents continue to be the highest consumers of juice and juice drinks. In fact, their data suggests that children 2 to 18 consume nearly half of their daily fruit intake as juice which lacks dietary fiber. Taking that a step further, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no fruit juice for children under one year as it affords no nutritional benefit.

So why is fruit juice bad? Most parents simply do not monitor their child’s dietary intake to ensure proper consumption and often turn to fruit juice and juice drinks as a go-to solution to pacify a thirsty child thinking it is better than soda. In fact, most fruit juice drinks can have as much sugar as a soda.

So, what is the proper guideline? The AAP recommends that human milk or prepared infant formula be the only nutrient fed to infants until about 6 months of age. They also suggest to completely avoid the introduction of juice for an infant before the age of 1 unless otherwise medically indicated. If then, the recommendation is to only give the juice in a cup, not a bottle to help protect the infant from baby bottle tooth decay.

Just about everything young children drink, from milk or formula to apple juice contains sugar. Most often, when a child drinks from a cup, the sugar in these drinks moves quickly through the mouth, past the teeth and causes little harm. However, when a child consumes these beverages by sucking them from a bottle, the sugars linger in the mouth and quickly form into harmful bacteria. Over time, these bacteria develop into acid which eats away at tooth enamel. This can be particularly damaging to newly emerging baby teeth.

If you must put baby down at night or for a nap with a bottle, the recommendation is plain water. To help protect teeth, parents can should also wipe baby’s teeth and gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth after having milk. When a child’s first tooth comes in, they should gently brush with a child-size toothbrush and non-fluoride toothpaste and schedule their first pediatric dentist or at least by age 1.

The AAP also suggests that fruit juice and fruit drinks are over consumed in toddlers and young children aged 1 to 6 because it is assumed these drinks are nutritious, they are convenient and they “taste good.” In most instances however, children should be encouraged to consume better options. The introduction of proper dental hygiene habits, and regular dental checkups are crucial to good oral health and parents should schedule their child’s first visit to the orthodontist by age 7.

What about older kids, age 7 to 18? Juice consumption presents fewer nutritional issues for older children because they typically consume less of these beverages. Nevertheless, intake of juice should be limited to 8 ounces a day, or half of the recommended daily fruit servings. Kids should be reminded to brush their teeth twice daily (especially if they have braces) and always, encouraged to drink lots of water.

Using 3D Cone beam To Discover New Pathologies

September 3rd, 2019


In our Harmony in Orthodontics article at right, Dr. Razdolsky talked of how 3D cone beam improves diagnostic and treatment in orthodontics, but did you know this type of dental imaging can also save lives? That’s right… 3D CBCT imaging when combined with computer aided diagnostics or (CAD) systems-based technologies can not only help dental radiologists see and diagnose various oral pathogens from dental caries (tooth decay) to cancer, they can also help prevent a stroke or hip fracture. Through expanding the scope of panoramic exams, 3D CBCT becomes a relevant screening method for osteoporosis, other cancers and even Carotid artery calcification!

Dr. Razdolsky uses CBCT in orthodontics for evaluation of bone structure and tooth orientation, as well as surgical planning for impacted teeth and even diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). But it is in locating new regions of interest (ROI), or spotting suspicious signs and classifying the findings, especially when we widen the image scope to include the head and neck, we can see even greater benefit. It is then that we can allow for detection of more pathologies in one image, thereby increasing the advantage for dentists and patients.

“It’s true that we can see more than ever before, especially someone who is trained to look for such findings,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “For example, maxillary sinusitis is often caused by a dental pathology when effected roots are too close to the maxillary sinus. An experienced dentist or orthodontist will look for this and can adjust treatment or call in other specialists as needed.”

In one case, Dr. Razdolsky discovered a patient with multiple compound odontomas, or tumors. Although composed of normal dental tissue, these developmental anomalies grow in an irregular way and other than causing orthodontic pathologies, have also been linked to Gardner’s syndrome. Testing to rule out this syndrome is highly recommended as these patients can develop colorectal polyps and have an increased risk of developing colon cancer.

Another medical condition which can be evident to the trained eye is osteoporosis, a medical condition characterized by the loss of bone mineral density which increases bone fragility. This is particularly interesting as the tests to diagnose osteoporosis require special equipment and that can limit the availability of tests for the majority of patients. Since it has been proven that measuring bone mineral density in the area of the mandible can also provide accurate results in detection, panoramic dental x-rays are a much more reasonable options for screening.

“While measuring bone mineral density may not be easy for dental radiologists, the automation of CAD systems does help a lot,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This puts dentists in a unique position to help older patients through screening and sharing that information back to the primary care physician for follow up.”

Dr. Razdolsky said the same CAD systems can be programmed to look for carotid artery calcification screening which can be spotted in dental panoramic x-ray images.

“Carotid artery calcification is a symptomless disease with potentially devastating consequences,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “A simple modification to an otherwise routine scan could save a life and just another example of how oral health can be tied to overall systemic health. As physicians, we are all in this together.”

Harmony in Orthodontics

August 20th, 2019

Doctor and Anna Razdolsky attended the College Council – ABO Board Joint Meeting in Nashville, July 12 through the 15. The four-day symposium afforded board-certified orthodontists like Dr. Razdolsky the opportunity to hear lectures on a number of fascinating topics.

Titled, Harmony in Orthodontics the event focused on the art of creating an esthetic combination of facial structures similar to the way musical harmony involves an esthetic blend of tones. Nashville seemed the ideal venue to discuss harmony as the city is surrounded by music. In all, this was a fully packed program with a lot to offer the analytical mind of Dr. Razdolsky.

In one presentation Dr. Razdolsky and guests were reminded how 3D imaging produces the most accurate representation possible to a patient’s anatomy and the anatomical pathway in how to best treat that unique patient through the use of “markers.”

“Cone beam imaging significantly improves the diagnostic value and treatment of orthodontic patients,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “These technologies have vastly improved our ability to develop treatment options, monitor changes over time and better predict outcomes. We have detailed images with anatomical landmarks which provide the most accurate representation possible of not only where the patient is in development, but what and how we need to provide treatment to get them where they should be,” he added.

In another program, Dr. Razdolsky said the lecturer discussed with attendees how patient scheduling and managing wire sequencing can help accelerate treatment. He said the sharing and discussion of these types of techniques and the accessibility of interaction with world-class lecturers along with fellowship with other orthodontists make events like this onto somewhat of an international study club. It is this association, with the finest orthodontists in the world that ensures that together they are all upping their game.

“Often parents do not understand something as simple as why we schedule patients earlier, later and often at different intervals than perhaps their siblings or their children’s friends,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We have learned through the sharing of case studies like this that depending on patient and course of treatment, sometimes something such as switching out the wires used in orthodontic treatment through a different prescribed way can help cause movement more rapidly and aid in better or faster outcome.“

Indeed, programs like this can not only improve results, but can significantly elevate comfort for the patient. These seminars do truly afford our Forever Smiles patients benefits from a consortium of world-renown and board-certified experts in the business of creating beautiful smiles.

July 16th, 2019

The Birth of Modern Healthcare
A Historical Look at the Interdisciplinary Approach to Patient Treatment

Always in search of an educational adventure, Anna and Dr. Razdolsky took a recent trip and toured Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minnesota. They were fascinated as they discovered and learned the history of Dr. William Worrall Mayo and his sons, William and Charles. Similar in many ways to Dr. Razdolsky’s own philosophy of a wholistic approach to patient treatment, the Mayo family founded the St. Mary’s Hospital with sisters of the Franciscan Church, circa 1889. The plan? The sisters would build the hospital, if the Mayo brothers would staff it. The result, the Mayos helped shape modern medicine by establishing an institution where collaborative teams of specialists and professional colleagues worked together to place the needs of the patient first. Their mission, like Dr. Razdolsky’s, “To inspire hope, and contribute to health and well-being by providing the best care to every patient through integrated clinical practice, education and research.”

Impressive! With 60 locations and more than 1,000 health care providers and 56,000 employees, the now Mayo Clinic Health System is a finely-tuned network of professionals who work together with the sole endeavor to put the patient’s health first. Through research studies and collaborative programs, the Mayo Clinic is forging new and innovative paths to medical treatment, finding cures and caring for patients. What makes this even more interesting is that the Mayo network allows them to pull in the right specialist at the right time to help with diagnosis and proper treatment.

“I have been using this collaborative approach to orthodontic treatment for years,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Through my network of highly-qualified professional peers, researchers, educators and device manufacturers, we have treated thousands of challenging cases that many thought were untreatable. It is surprising to me that it has taken this long for a vision like the Mayo brothers to become more mainstream in clinical application.”

You may have read in previous Bracket Chatters how Dr. Razdolsky has been organizing and presenting his annual orthodontic update and seminar for more than nine years. This continuing education program has afforded attendees the opportunity to learn about the multi-disciplinary approach to treat complex oral cases that on the surface may simply appear to be crooked teeth. While these issues may present themselves as simple, a deeper look by a specialist team can often discover a root problem which if left untreated will develop into much larger and more troublesome issues for the patient over time.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to work with some of the finest doctors to help treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea, temporomandibular joint disorder and more,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “These issues which are already bad on their own, can worsen into chronic pain, eating disorders, breathing problems, circulatory concerns and even heart problems.”

Indeed, it would seem the big driving factor in the integrated approach to dental health is the greater understanding of its impact on overall systemic health.

“For years, people, patients and even some doctors simply did not make the connection,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “With large research facilities and universities helping to define the correlation by studying the effects of genetics, environment, chemistry, food intake, and even bacteria on one’s health, science is pinpointing personalized medicine. This treatment of one issue as a form of preventive care for issues yet to come is fascinating.”

This evolution in care is increasingly evident as Mayo is now setting its sights to interdisciplinary dental service specialties, including dental sleep medicine, maxillofacial prosthetics, oncology, pain/TMD, dentofacial orthopedics, orthodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics. Similar to the Mayo brothers wholistic approach to medicine, this interdisciplinary methodology could mean even greater advancements in research and study with the backing and support of Mayo.

“It’s interesting to learn that this highly-respected medical institution is migrating into the dental field,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “While it is exciting to be on the precipice of greater understanding, it is something which I have been looking to for years. I am hopeful that this will continue to further unite our medical community and create greater opportunity for advancement in treatment for all of us.”

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WOO HOO - It’s National Ice Cream Month!

Warmer weather is here and so is July! Or as we like to call it here at Forever Smiles – National Ice Cream Month. And we’re celebrating with you!

Patients who get braces or expanders during July are in for an extra special treat. We’re giving them Dipping Dots! We understand new braces and appliances can cause discomfort, but we’ve found ice cream is a deliciously-great way to ward off pain.

Keep in mind… while it is normal for braces to cause some minor tooth sensitivity, they should not result in extreme or ongoing discomfort. If your teeth continue to feel particularly sensitive while wearing braces over time, it is more likely to be caused by over brushing, abrasive toothpaste, teeth whitening products, acidic foods, or even grinding of teeth. Let your Forever Smiles family know how you’re doing. We’re here to help!

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Continued Education for a Lifetime of Forever Smiles

June 3rd, 2019

Dr. Razdolsky’s 2019 Annual Orthodontic Update and Seminar held on May 8 at Maggiano’s Little Italy was another huge success! With a packed house of dental professionals in attendance, Dr. Razdolsky and colleagues presented an outstanding program and learning opportunity which afforded area specialists and hygienists the chance to earn continuing education credits in their field.

Making another return visit to the program were this years’ featured speakers noted area Prosthodontist, Dr. Sergio Rubinstein and Oral Surgeon, Dr. Peter Chemello. An excellent panel, these two amazing speakers helped attendees to learn the proper diagnosis and treatment for difficult cases and the more recent surgical techniques for treating sleep apnea. And of course, Dr. Razdolsky enlighted attendees with the most recent update in proper diagnosis and treatment for specific and unique Orthodontics cases which greatly impact the lives of children.

“I feel strongly about sharing the most current research and findings in orthodontics because it helps dentists and hygienists understand the importance for early treatment,” Dr. Razdolsky said. “While often orthodontic developments are published in journals, general dentists and hygienists may not see the latest research and advancements. This seminar puts that information center stage so we can better help patients for a lifetime of healthy Forever Smiles.”

The Travelling Orthodontist - 100 Years of History & Smiles

May 21st, 2019

Recently Dr. Razdolsky and Anna took an incredible and educational trip to Tokyo, Japan. The height of blooming season for Japan’s national flower, there are more than 200 varieties of cherry blossom which both Anna and Dr. Razdolsky took in along with all the local flavors, culture and heritage.

As a world leader in chemistry, robotics, sushi and skyscraper technology among other things, the Japanese have also been long celebrated as cherry blossom aficionados. As early as the eighth century, the Japanese people have cultivated and admired the delicate pink cherry blossoms known as sakura while indulging in picnics and poetry sessions beneath the blooms.

While the Razdolsky’s took in the history and beauty of Tokyo with its incredible mountain scenery and delicious cuisine with authentic sushi offered everywhere you turn, they also strived to discover more about the city’s ties to their own personal history. You see, one of their own orthodontic adhesive manufacturers has its origins in Tokyo. In fact, this is where three young Japanese chemists laid the foundation in 1921 for what is one of the world’s largest and most successful suppliers of dental products today, GC Corporation.

GC develops high-quality, products, such as the adhesives Dr. Razdolsky uses to chemically bond the brackets to your teeth in orthodontics. The reason this particular company is so important to Forever Smiles, and you, is that the product affords easy cleanup after bracket removal. This means little to no staining and a lot less scraping is required once you have your braces removed! The secret is in the addition of a continuous fluoride release which protects enamel with gel conditioners. This prevents demineralization or build-up of white-spot formations that damage enamel like other bonding agents. It’s important to note however, that if a patient’s hygiene is not up to par the decalcifications are still possible even with this cement.

“It is exciting to know the products we have been using for years are developed from such extensive research and over so long a time,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This manufacturer has been producing products like this one for almost 100 years!”

That’s right, GC is steeped in research and tradition, and has been setting benchmarks in dentistry by focusing not only on developing quality products and the latest scientific knowledge but also in respecting and honoring their humble beginnings.

As a dental product manufacturer of global standing, GC constantly seeks to produce original products that are not only patient friendly, but environmentally friendly as well. Their story began in the heart of a little neighborhood of central Japan, where now stands the GC Prostho Museum Research Centre. Initially the home to their first factory and research facility, GC converted the building to a museum which showcases the history of dentistry and reimagined the architecture as inspired by cidori, an old Japanese toy made of wooden sticks.

More than six thousand pieces of cypress wood make up the elegant three-dimensional lattice work which is both beautiful and functional. At nine meters high, the lumber is sculpted into shape without requiring the use of bolts, glue or nails for the joints. Hence the building, which emphasizes a handmade, local approach, looks like thousands of small cidori toys connected in a giant grid.

“It is almost like looking at the intricate design of orthodontics in its functionality and scientific engineering,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Seeing how it works from the inside and shapes the outside, as well as balances the light and airiness reminds me of how a patient’s smile is often transformed from the inside out.”

It’s a Leaf Expansion Revolution!

April 17th, 2019

Last month we shared with you the necessity for some patients to receive treatment with palatal expansion for proper spatial development of the palate and in some instances to allow for successful orthodontic treatment. The importance of expansion to correct for maxillary constriction or crossbite is not only important to allow ample spacing for incoming teeth, studies find that this constriction can also be a factor in airway restriction in children resulting in decreased nasal airways and impaired respiratory function.

Further studies show that treatment of palatal developmental problems become more complex with age. Therefore, younger patients are more responsive to early orthodontic intervention with expansion as less pressure is required to achieve the desired result. However, in the past, orthodontic treatment with a palatal expander relied heavily upon the patient and at a great cost.

A Rapid Palatal Expander (RPE) is a device bonded into place using the patient’s teeth as anchors. It can markedly increase the width of the upper jaw allowing upper and lower teeth to fit together. For some patients, this additional room may prevent the need for extraction as more space is created for the permanent teeth to come in. The device is connected by a screw in the middle which joins the two sides. Over time, and at doctor prescribed intervals, the patient or their parent uses a “key” to turn the screw - expanding the palate and therefore creating the necessary space for proper dentition. As the jaw expands, new bone fills in between the two halves of the palate in a process called distraction osteogenesis.

Following the prescribed treatment is critical to success with palatal expansion,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles. “The learning curve is often too great, and the burden placed upon the patient and parent is often too much.”

RPE treatment often requires several appointments and expansion can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Treatment includes impressions, followed by the seating of the appliance and follow up visits for progress checks. Compound that schedule with extra visits due to the inability of patients or parents to perform proper home treatment… then patients can expect more visits. Indeed, that can be a challenge to treatment!

However, Dr. Razdolsky has discovered a great treatment alternative for Forever Smiles patients in the self-activating, leaf-spring expander.

“Once in a while, an invention appears which fundamentally changes the whole game. Leaf is a game changer,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Once we started using it, we quickly realized the benefit both to treatment and the patients.”

The Leaf Self Expander is a product of Leone Orthodontics of Florence, Italy, a company with which Dr. Razdolsky has held a close professional relationship with the head engineer Gabrielle Scommegna since the late ’90s. The design of the Leaf Self Expander is similar to that of a conventional rapid palatal expander, but instead of a midline jackscrew it uses double nickel titanium leaf-shaped springs (see Fig. 1). When placed, the springs are compressed with an applied force so that as the spring recovers or returns to its original curve-like shape during deactivation which results in a strategically calibrated expansion of the upper arch (see Fig. 2-5). What’s better is that according to the manufacturer, the Leaf Self Expander requires no effort on behalf of the patient and perhaps only minor clinical observation throughout treatment to confirm results are on track!

Pre-loaded to the patient’s unique needs each spring’s super-elastic and flexible properties release predetermined, controlled, and continuous forces throughout treatment as they decompress. Therefore, expansion therapy with this self-activated device relies solely on a pre-defined course of treatment.

“We see a number of patients every day. With the Leaf Expander we can cut down on unnecessary appointments and save our patients extra trips and aggravation,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This also results in improved clinical efficiency. With the Leaf Expander, we only have to see a patient every 6-8 weeks. It just makes the whole experience so much better.”

“We like to think our patients love us, but maybe now they can love us even more,” he added. “Fewer appointments and less time in the chair is a win, win for everyone.”

“Plus, parents do not have to activate the RPE expander on a daily basis and no further action on part of the patient or the doctor is necessary once the appliance is activated,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “That is revolutionary.”

March 15th, 2019

Make Room for Forever Smiles!

While all our patients know Dr. Razdolsky is the best Orthodontist for Children and Adults, but what many of you may not realize is that Dr. Razdolsky also works very closely and collaboratively with other interdisciplinary specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of dentofacial

orthopedic abnormalities. Sounds pretty complicated, and it is! But dentofacial abnormalities are not always so easy to spot and, in some instances, patients and their families do not even see or recognize there is a problem.

While there are many orthodontic appliances available to correct problems like crooked or misaligned teeth, sometimes these appliances need a more solid foundation in order to be truly effective. The palatal area at the roof of the mouth, for example, must be also be considered. The palate, jaw and the available space required to properly align teeth is often an issue which must be addressed long before a patient can even have braces. This is why Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team advocate early diagnosis and treatment because, in the case of dentofacial orthopedics, pre-adolescent treatment is more often the least invasive and offers the greatest opportunity for successful orthodontic treatment when the time comes.

We have shared with you the negative consequences of a small upper palate; however, growing evidence suggests that maxillary constriction left untreated can also be a factor in airway restriction starting in childhood and continuing through adulthood. It is even suggested that the effects of a maxillary or palatal expansion through treatment with a rapid palatal expander (RPE) can help increase nasal airway and improve overall respiratory function including air intake, better sleep, and even long-term health.

“We place great emphasis on early detection and prevention,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “I have been in practice for 32 years and would estimate we have treated more than 40,000 RPE cases to date.”

In its earliest development, the palatal area at the roof of the mouth of a pre-adolescent is still adaptable with hardening into bone only beginning and continuing throughout the teens. Therefore, the roof palate of younger patients is much more responsive to the orthopedic treatment with an appliance and less pressure is needed to achieve the desired result. When less pressure is used, we reduce the risk of negative consequences.

For example, use of an expander while a patient still has some baby, or primary teeth along with permanent teeth, allows the use of the baby teeth to serve as anchors for the expansion appliance. You see, expansion appliances use the strength of the roots and surrounding bone of the teeth to which they are attached. It is those teeth and supporting bone that carries the lateral pressure of the expansion as the palate opens. When baby teeth are used to support the expander, the newly-erupting adult teeth do not bear any of the expansion pressure and instead receive benefit from the additional space.

In most cases, the reason for expansion is because of a crowded upper roof palate resulting in crooked or protruding teeth, jaw misalignment or crossbite. New and permanent teeth that come into the mouth with adequate bone and soft tissue support benefit from the ideal scenario for long-term stability and more sound periodontal health. For patients with a crowded, developing mouth, the plan is to create space for the teeth to come in straight without the risk of future gum-related issues or tooth damage. In treated patients, an expansion appliance is placed into the roof of the mouth as high as possible without negatively affecting palatal tissues. As a result, patients sometimes experience temporary difficulties with speech and swallowing, similar to that caused by a retainer. This inconvenience usually passes quickly as patients grow accustomed to the device.

“This is an exciting time,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “My colleagues and I are discovering many new treatment options for what in the past had been deemed too challenging or even hopeless cases. We have attended several conferences and poured over hundreds of clinical studies. The interdisciplinary approach to oral treatment and study means so much more is being explored.”

“In fact, I have some very significant findings I am to present to my colleagues at a seminar in May regarding this very topic,” Dr. Razdolsky added. “I look forward to sharing it with my patients as well, so keep an eye out for that!”

The result of all this collaborative effort said Dr. Razdolsky, is a more successful treatment and better long-term results for a lifetime of beautiful Forever Smiles.

Decades of Forever Smiles

March 7th, 2019

Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team are honored and proud to be celebrating their 30th anniversary at the Buffalo Grove location. That’s 360 months and more than ten thousand days creating beautiful Forever Smiles for patients both past and present.

“Working with patients of all ages over the past 30 years has been an amazing experience,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Through the years, we have not only gotten to know our patients, they have become a part of our own family. We’ve been able to help hundreds of children achieve beautiful Forever smiles, and then subsequently their own children come to us as well,” he continued.

Plenty has changed at Forever Smiles over the past thirty years, including hairstyles, clothing fads, interior finishes, furnishings, and even the technology. But what the team at Forever Smiles is most proud of is their on-going commitment to stay up to date with the latest in Orthodontic advancements. Indeed, there have been big changes in technology which has vastly improved the field of orthodontics. Dr. Razdolsky regularly shares with us how orthodontics is continually evolving, and how he propels his practice to keep pace.

“We now use 3D digital x-rays and photography to reduce radiation, as well as digital impressions and virtual planning tools in developing treatment options for better patient care,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Even more exciting is how orthodontics has increased use of peer-reviewed, evidence-based techniques to help improve planning decisions. Technology has really helped the professional orthodontic community to come together in making these ever-important connections.”

For instance, Forever Smiles recently joined the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. This is a great organization which Dr. Razdolsky thinks will be pivotal to research and new opportunities for treatment in the field. It also provides Forever Smiles a tremendous platform to share ideas with other talented dental professionals which in-turn benefits patients with better diagnosis and treatment outcomes.

Yes, the office has experienced cosmetic and technological changes over the past 30 years, but what has not changed? The Forever Smiles commitment to providing patients the best level of care in a professional and inviting environment.

During their years at the Buffalo Grove location, Dr. and Anna Razdolsky have raised their four wonderful children and recently celebrated the birth of their second grandchild.

“While the Forever Smiles family has grown over that time, so has our own,” says Anna. “We are so lucky to have our Forever Smiles family and team to share our lives with. It makes the journey so much more fun and fulfilling.”

And while reminiscing about the past is great, what the future holds is very exciting. The Forever Smiles team looks forward to building strong relationships with our current and future patients while creating Forever Smiles that will last a lifetime!

AAO Winter Conference

February 21st, 2019

Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, have become a significant health issue in the United States with an estimated 22 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea. Nearly 80 percent of those cases are diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) caused by a blockage of the airway. It is found that orthodontists are uniquely suited to treat sleep apnea, as the same examination for orthodontic therapy can be used to screen for potential sleep apnea patients. Moreover, the oral devices for managing OSA are often repurposed orthodontic appliances. Therefore, further study of how orthodontic therapy for children and adolescents can, for many patients, help cure sleep apnea is of pressing importance.

This years’ American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) 2019 Winter Conference was a leadership forum for this increasingly important topic. Titled, Sleep Apnea and Orthodontics: Consensus and Guidance, the conference held January 25-27, in Marco Island, Florida included more than 20 lectures covering a wide range of perspectives. Discussion and lectures offered an intensive examination of obstructive sleep apnea presented by dental and noted medical specialists and experts in the field.

In fact, the relevant ties of sleep apnea to the field of orthodontics is so significant the AAO has established a task force for consensus review. Attendees at the conference were the first to get an early look at the committee’s report and were able to engage in in-depth discussions to further share first-hand experiences with other professional peers.

“This conference is significant as sleep apnea is a major contributor to health-related problems and safety issues that have great social and economic consequences,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “As orthodontists, we see younger patients and are in a better position to diagnose and treat early OSA in a less-invasive manner and for better long-term results.”

Dr. Razdolsky went on to say, “We have seen a significant number of patients who exhibit early indicators that can point to OSA later in life. As studies and research on the issue become more prevalent, we can learn to not only help reduce the number of those afflicted, we can also use orthodontics to address issues in adults using the same techniques. Just another added benefit to more adults having braces,” he added.

Thankfully the conference wasn’t all lectures halls. Dr. Razdolsky did make time to enjoy some of the activities available around Marco Island.


The Mighty Little TADs

January 28th, 2019


The science behind successful orthodontic treatment requires a thorough understanding of biology and physics. For example, Newton’s Third Law. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction,” describes the literal force necessary for tooth movement, realignment and bite correction. Therefore, Orthodontics uses physics, including the understanding of torque, pressure, pulling, pushing and the appropriate counteraction to straighten teeth.

According to Newton, forces always come in pairs -- equal and opposite. But what about those unusual cases where a simple back or forth isn’t going to correct an orthodontic problem? Sometimes equal and opposite means that in order to move a tooth the desired way, you must work up, down, in and even outside the mouth. For some patients, this means successful treatment may require headgear be worn for up to 12 hours or more per day. Ugh!

But for others, there can be great news in the form of a little titanium screw called a temporary anchorage device or TADs. These mini biocompatible screws are implanted into the jawbone to serve as anchors to aid in realignment. As the name implies, these mini implants are used temporarily then later removed after treatment. In some cases, Dr. Razdolsky can employ TADs as an alternative to headgear allowing for greater results in a less invasive way. TADs devices deliver more predictable results, can reduce treatment time, help avoid the removal of teeth, circumvent surgery and can even help patients avoid headgear altogether.

Take for example the case of a gummy smile. Truly there is not a set definition of what makes a smile gummy, but you’ll likely know one when you see it. Often patients who are considered gummy have an excessive gingival display of about 3mm or more. It is interesting that the condition is more common in women than men. Additionally, there can be a number of causes, and therefore treatments available – including in some instances TADs.

Take, for instance, the patient in example one (left) has extended maxillary central incisors. Through the use of TADs, Dr. Razdolsky and the team were able to apply the proper force to vertically align the patient’s teeth for a straighter smile. Similarly, the patient in example two (right) had both bicuspids lifted into alignment for a nice even aesthetic.

But what makes TADs even more impressive is when they are employed in more complex cases. Just take a look at the study diagrams below and see how Dr. Razdolsky uses TADs along with a lingual arch to shift the second maxillary molars and completely realign this patient’s anterior open bite. Pretty cool when you think about it. All this from a tiny, but very mighty little screw. The force is strong with this one.

TADs A Cause for Celebration

December 17th, 2018

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and his daughter, Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky-Michalczyk celebrated her birthday in style at an education conference in November. No kidding! There’s nothing that says party like sitting in a lecture. However, the program did feature orthodontic mini implants and temporary anchorage devices or TADs which are affixed to the patient’s bone to enable simpler, more effective treatment. In some instances, these advanced orthodontic devices can even replace headgear altogether. This is news worthy of celebrating for many patients, and a significant advancement in helping to treat a patient who otherwise might require surgery.

“Treating complicated orthodontic cases in uncomplicated ways, both non-surgically and even conserving teeth by avoiding extractions is a goal for us at Forever Smiles, said Dr. Razdolsky.

“We would always prefer to offer patients the least invasive treatments whenever possible,” he added.

At the two-day conference Dr. Razdolsky and Elizabeth participated in a hands-on workshop and open panel discussion where they learned the latest techniques for mastering effective TADs placement, mechanics and how to address more complex orthodontic cases using TADs.

And, although they did spend Elizabeth’s birthday at the conference there was still time for celebration. All the family gathered together in the evening, and yes… there was cake!

The Forever Smiles Holiday Movie Event

December 17th, 2018

Wow! So many thanks to our amazing patients, friends and families who joined us in our Forever Smiles annual holiday movie tradition. This event is one that the team looks forward to all year and has garnered quite a turnout with patients, family and friends. Past movie events have even been featured in the Chicago Tribune! Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team had such a wonderful time at this year’s private movie event held Saturday, November 17 at the Buffalo Groves Theaters. This year we witnessed the magic of Fantastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindlewald. We won’t spoil the ending, but surely this was one of our most magical movie events ever! We had so many guests in attendance we couldn’t even count.

“This is our way of saying thank you to our amazing patients and friends,” said Anna Razdolsky. “The holidays are a time of giving and sharing, and we want to remind our patients their smile is the most important gift of all!”

The Forever Smiles bright orange sweatshirt give-away this year nearly outshone the smiles on our faces (almost). There was lots of laughter and good times all around, along with mouth-watering popcorn, treats, and most importantly, lots of Forever Smiles!

As always, the Forever Smiles team really enjoys celebrating the Holidays with their patients and friends. See you next year!

We're Really Into Research

November 30th, 2018

Forever Smiles is proud to announce that we are part of the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network. This consortium of participating practices and dental organizations is committed to advancing knowledge of dental practice through research-based studies to improve clinical decision making. This new partnership will allow our office to offer our patients the latest technological advances in treatment materials and techniques, as well as participate in upcoming clinical trials to improve patient care nation-wide.

What makes this so important for you, our patient? Through affiliation with other dental health care providers and academic centers, Forever Smiles can research new opportunities for treatment and share expertise within our community. There's strength in numbers. This highly-successful network amasses topics and ongoing discussions regarding issues that directly impact patient treatment in daily practice by improving outcomes, satisfaction, and efficacy of treatment. Through his leadership and involvement in this network, Dr. Razdolsky will help develop and share clinical research advances and engage in discussion with other PBRN members about scientific approaches.

Dr. Razdolsky has a passion for education, and at Forever Smiles we welcome any questions related to the science behind dental and orthodontic treatment.


Probiotics in Orthodontics

November 15th, 2018

It has long been understood that fixed brackets, bands, and wires used in orthodontic treatment are convenient areas for the retention of food. In fact, one of the most troubling side effects of orthodontic treatment are white spot lesions left behind after treatment has ended. Since oral hygiene becomes more difficult while undergoing treatment, appliances become a perfect ecosystem for the growth of microorganisms which can cause tooth decay and white spot lesions.

Although fluoride varnishes, toothpastes, and sealants are used to mitigate the damage caused by these microorganisms, it is often found that their effectiveness can only be observed when they are regularly used. This disadvantage led researchers to explore probiotics as an alternative.

“Probiotics have been associated with gut health for a while now,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “And while most clinical interest has focused on the prevention or treatment of gastrointestinal infections and diseases, an increasing number of suggested health effects of probiotic bacteria have been reported in the last decade. These include enhancement of the adaptive immune response, treatment or prevention of urogenital and respiratory tract infections, and prevention or alleviation of allergies. And, now that research suggests probiotics may play a significant role in our oral health, the implications of this are very interesting.”

Bacterial therapy or replacement treatment is an alternative way of fighting infections by using harmless bacteria instead of pathogenic microorganisms such as antibiotics. In fact, the benefits of probiotics in the prevention of tooth decay, halitosis, and periodontal disease have been accepted, and more health practitioners are using probiotic treatment for these issues due to the spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Because of this and other perceived health benefits, probiotics can be found in an increasing number of dairy foods including milk, cheese and even ice cream! Research even indicates that probiotics added to a regular daily diet may benefit orthodontic patients as well.

Although the mouth is colonized by 200 to 300 bacterial species, the two main microorganisms that cause tooth decay are Streptococcus mutans (S mutans), responsible for initial tooth decay, and Lactobacillus, which plays a role in those white spot lesions we talked about earlier. Recent studies even suggest the use of probiotic products in orthodontic patients may reduce salivary S mutans and Lactobacillus levels in patients. And while the studies demonstrating the effect of probiotic products and probiotic delivery methods are limited, the good news is researchers did find a decrease in salivary microbial colonizations in orthodontic patients who consumed probiotics daily.

For example, in one study researchers explored daily ingestion of probiotics and the application of a topical probiotic toothpaste and their impact on salivary microbial colonizations in orthodontic patients. While the group who used the probiotic toothpaste did see some reduction in harmful bacterial growth, the group who consumed kefir, a bacterial fermented milk, appeared to experience greater decrease in salivary microbial colonizations.

While the outcome of this study is promising, more studies are needed to compare the relevant probiotic systems and to evaluate the effect of different probiotic products in the fight against tooth decay in orthodontic patients. In the meantime, consumption of daily probiotics with your doctor’s approval may just help protect your smile and minimize your chances for white spot lesions.

“We now understand that at least some probiotic bacteria used in various products may colonize the oral cavity during the time they are in use and therefore are important to understand,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “The extent to how probiotics influence damaging microorganisms is difficult to predict, so this research is important as it may provide new means of preventing or treating oral diseases.”

Traveling Orthodontist

October 15th, 2018

In most countries, the cost of braces will depend on the position of your teeth and the going rate in the area. Exceptions are made if you have a challenging case, jaw or health-related issues, or are seeking treatment from a specialist who provides cosmetic orthodontics.

But did you know that, in some countries, braces are set at a fixed cost or even covered by universal healthcare? Sometimes, this changes the entire course of treatment. For example, some practitioners select appliance and materials that are based solely on keeping patients in treatment longer! Can you believe?

Thankfully, Dr. Razdolsky and his wife Anna didn't meet such orthodontists on their most recent trip to Spain. However, they did take the time to visit several colleagues overseas to learn about the good standards of practice from international leaders in their field. Just another example of how Dr. Razdolsky explores ways to improve patient care at Forever Smiles.

H2O So Good

October 2nd, 2018

Excessive consumption of sweets can have significant impact on your overall health. But for your oral health, one of the worst things you can do is consume lots of sugar. Why? Bacteria and sugar mix to create toxic acid which gets trapped in leftover food debris or dental appliances in the mouth. This acid can wear away the enamel of your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Even the chemical substances found in diet or sugar-free soft drinks alone can harm your teeth over time.

While brushing your teeth after consuming sugary foods or drinks can help, it’s equally as easy to prevent cavities and tooth decay if you just avoid soda, energy or sports drinks and switch to water. Just how much sugar can you avoid in one 16-ounce drink? Let’s look at the numbers...


Coca-Cola          52g Sugar (13tsp)

Sprite                  41g Sugar (10.25tsp)

Fanta                   59g Sugar (14.75tsp)


Red Bull              49g Sugar (2.25tsp)

Gatorade           36g Sugar (9tsp)

Powerade         29g Sugar (7.25tsp)

If you really want to make the best decision for your overall health, drink lots of water! Plus, tap water is infused with fluoride which helps strengthen your tooth enamel while you stay hydrated. So, next time you’re reaching for that soft drink, think about how much sugar is in it and consider having some healthy H2O instead.

Understanding How Long You’ll Wear Braces

September 18th, 2018

So, your family dentist just referred you to Dr. Razdolsky for braces. Now what? How long will it take for braces to straighten your teeth? From gaps to overbites, to teeth or jaw alignment there are many factors that can affect the duration a patient will need to wear braces. Read on to learn what you can expect.

The short answer? It depends.

There are many factors that determine the amount of time a person must wear braces including age, type of treatment and individual needs or issues that should be addressed. The latter factors have the greatest impact on duration, as a patient’s issues could be as simple as minor adjustment, or as major as jaw realignment.

While the time it takes for braces to do their thing varies greatly by patient, after an initial evaluation and consultation, Dr. Razdolsky can help you better understand the amount of time that may be required for your unique case. So, when your dentist says it’s time to begin treatment, Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team will schedule your initial exam and you can have a better idea of what to expect.

Now that you know the short answer, let’s discuss the details…

At your initial appointment, Dr. Razdolsky will do a thorough oral and facial new patient examination to assess overall oral health and your unique orthodontic needs. Depending on this assessment a CBCT scan, facial photographs, digital impressions and/or x-rays may also be taken. Review and recommendation for your patient treatment program is provided upon a second appointment. This ensures Dr. Razdolsky and his team have had ample opportunity to evaluate all the data collected. It is at this treatment conference Dr. Razdolsky will review your orthodontic records, and show you examples of braces, clear aligners or any appliances that may be involved in your prescribed course of treatment. Also at that appointment, Dr. Razdolsky can answer questions specific to your case, as well as talk about the anticipated duration of your treatment.

On average, how long do braces take to work?

The average orthodontic treatment falls somewhere between 16-18 months, but can sometimes take as long as 24 months, or even more. Be wary of promises from anyone who says you can have a straight smile in only six months. While some patients may think they only need to close a gap, treatment in less than six months is fairly rare. What some patients may not see or know is whether their bite is appropriately aligned, the airway is properly open or is the palate formed correctly. These are the hidden maladies that can impact long term oral and systemic health. Only a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Razdolsky has the experience necessary to ensure you have the best results.

In cases of adult braces, the average length of treatment can be a bit longer than for children. Again, the actual time depends on the patient’s specific needs but since adult teeth have stopped growing and are set, they require more pressure to move. This means many adult patients can look to have braces anywhere from 18 months to about three years.

I hear some kids have to wear braces even longer!

Could be. In some cases, a younger patient may have a major alignment problem, such as a tooth coming in in the wrong place. In that case it could require tooth extraction and waiting for others to come in. Depending on the wait for remaining adult teeth, this process could take considerably longer. The Forever Smiles team can advise you of what to expect in your case.

Can I shorten the time for braces treatment?

Maybe. A patient who carefully follows treatment instructions can increase the likelihood they get their braces off sooner. This can be something as simple as maintaining proper oral hygiene or, in the case of aligners or removable appliances such as bands, wearing them for the full prescribed treatment time every day.

Patients should also practice proper eating habits while wearing braces. This includes avoiding sticky or hard food like gum, corn, popcorn, hard pretzels or chips and most candy, as this can improve the treatment time. Broken or missing brackets can stretch out the time required for treatment.

Finally, not everyone realizes how much more challenging it is to brush your teeth with braces, but doing it properly is very important. The good news is there are techniques for proper brushing that can also help to ensure your treatment plan stays on track. Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team have some information which can help you understand the best way to take care of your braces at home and at school or work.

It is important to note, regardless of how long your treatment is scheduled to last, the time a patient is required to wear braces does not include the post-treatment retainer that’s necessary to ensure your Forever Smile lasts a lifetime.

Dispelling the Myths of Ortho

August 16th, 2018

At Forever Smiles, we love what we do- from helping our patients gain confidence through the smile they’ve always wanted, to treating them for issues like sleep disorders and difficulties in breathing. Improving the quality of our patient’s lives is ingrained in all that we do, as is our purpose to “inspire, innovate, create, restore.” What’s more, we like learning and even teaching others about the benefits of good oral health and he role of orthodontics to long-lasting overall health. That’s why we think back to school is the perfect time for Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team to set the record straight on six common misconceptions about orthodontic treatment and braces.

#1. Isn’t anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist?

While some general dentists or online companies offer braces or aligners, only an orthodontist like Dr. Razdolsky who the additional years of advanced training can call themselves an orthodontic specialist. It’s not worth the risk of permanent damage to your face and smile to allow anyone who isn’t an orthodontist to attempt to move your teeth. At Forever Smiles, you’re getting a team of specialists with the skills and experience necessary to ensure your best smile.

#2. Why does it seem that braces are so expensive?

Braces from Forever Smiles means you are getting a unique and fully-customized treatment plan designed to safely straighten your teeth and closely monitor your progress to ensure that your bite is the best that it can be. As a result, the cost can vary from patient to patient and should reflect the complexity of your unique case. From simple cases which only take months to treat, to very difficult ones which may take a couple of years, the benefits of having our team provide your orthodontic care will be well worth it. From our free initial consultation to flexible payment plans, we work with each patient individually to help them achieve a beautiful Forever Smile.

#3. Online companies promise straight teeth with little or no office visit. Does this work?

Heck, no! No visit means no monitoring. How can you be sure treatment is effective if you are not checking in? The reality is that the health of your gums, teeth and jaws cannot be monitored during treatment if you don’t come in regularly. Even the most carefully planned treatments need to be closely monitored to ensure that your treatment stays on course. Dr. Razdolsky and the team check each and every patient to ensure treatment is on schedule. And should a problem arise, they can develop a mid-course treatment correction as needed.

#4. On the internet I read I can have straighter teeth with clear aligners in just 20 months. Is this true?

Orthodontic treatment requires careful, controlled movements of the teeth to ensure they are moving into proper position. What’s more the type of appliance, whether brackets and wires or clear aligners also makes a difference in treatment. From simple cases which may only take a few months, to the more complex which may take longer, Dr. Razdolsky has the expertise to deliver great results in the least amount of time required for your unique case. What’s more, he stays up on the latest developments in the industry so he’s able to develop treatment using all matter of appliances to ensure the best possible care of your Forever Smile. It’s not worth the risk to have someone who is not a qualified orthodontist offer you treatment because of the possible irreversible damage that could occur.

#5. My teeth don’t look so bad. I don’t need braces.

There’s so much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye. Improved appearance is the most obvious result, but when teeth and jaws are aligned the function of biting, chewing and speaking are also better. So, a beautiful Forever Smile is not just the visible sign of good oral health, it sets the stage for overall well-being. Orthodontic treatment from Dr. Razdolsky actually plays a larger role in a patient’s healthcare than most people realize.

#6. I read before that orthodontic evaluation should be as early as the age of seven. It must be too late for me.

That’s not true! You are never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. We see patients young and old and believe age should never be a factor when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful Forever Smile. It is important to note however, that adult cases may be a bit more complicated and it may sometimes take a little more time and patience. That’s why it is critical that adult patients only seek treatment from a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Razdolsky. Through his extensive training, expertise and experience he can develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s unique situation or needs, and ultimately deliver the best overall result.

Taking a Bite Out of Crime

July 10th, 2018

The science behind the various fields and specialties of dentistry are captivating. Take for example the role forensic dentistry in mainstream television and books with shows such as Bones and CSI Las Vegas, or even the gripping tales of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.

Although Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, to some, the way Doyle vastly contributed to the field of forensics is unquestionable. One of the biggest impacts being the “exchange principle” wherein two things come into contact with one another and one leaves a trace--the ramifications of which is enormous as evidence can last for years, decades and even centuries.

While forensic dentistry, or odontology is a growing area of forensic medicine, it has in fact been part of forensic science for more than 100 years. Its primary function is as the branch of forensic medicine which deals with the proper handling and examination of dental evidence and proper evaluation and presentation of dental findings in the interest of justice.

Let’s observe the case of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy. During an exhaustive man hunt after his escape from jailors in January 1978, Bundy committed his final and most heinous crime. He was recaptured and eventually went on trial for his crimes and the only piece of evidence was a bite mark he left on one of the victims. Having taken casts of his teeth, investigators were able to show that Bundy’s teeth were unevenly aligned and several of them were chipped. Bite marks, like fingerprints are unique and it was through the casts of his teeth, and photographs of the bite marks on the victim, that a forensic odontologist was able to present key evidence instrumental in Bundy’s conviction.

Missing teeth, fractures or malformed teeth, as well as position and angle of the incisors all display unique characteristics which act like the distinct lines of a fingerprint. Whether a visual impression taken from the victim, or physical one found at the crime scene, the science of forensic odontology can be combined with known historical factors when teeth or bite marks are present.

John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln April 14, 1865 and escaped to Virginia where he was surrounded by the US Calvary and shot dead on the spot. For years however, rumors spread that he escaped and was still alive. To disprove naysayers, his body was disinterred in 1893 and reexamined. Booth’s body was positively identified by the family dentist by the peculiar formation of his jaw noted on dental records.

It can be said then that the role of dentistry in revealing evidence which may otherwise go unidentified can be paramount to justice when forensic techniques are employed. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “There is nothing like first-hand evidence.” Indeed, Mr. Holmes. Indeed.

Beware the perils of Smile Shopping

June 15th, 2018

More and more, you see marketing and advertising for clear aligners with television commercials for straighter smiles by direct mail. And now, some makers are even opening storefronts in shopping centers with promises of an easier, more convenient way to a more beautiful smile. Like shopping for jeans, these purveyors suggest that a new smile is as simple as a trip to the mall. And while technological advancements in treatment with plastics and attachments have made them somewhat more viable in select cases, most industry professionals agree that for superior results, a qualified orthodontic specialist using the right tools and technologies are best.

What these offers fail to make clear is that these types of aligners are not effective in cases where acute tooth movement is needed. In these situations, traditional braces are not only more suitable, but most often the required course of treatment – especially for patients with molar/bite issues and where rotation or vertical movement of canines or premolars is necessary. Additionally, only an orthodontist has the specialized education beyond regular dental school that allows for the proper diagnosis and treatment in the alignment of jaws, facial irregularities and developmental anomalies in the airway that can lead to other health issues. These diagnoses are part and parcel of orthodontic treatment and may be overlooked completely if patients simply look to the quick-fix of online or shopping center teeth aligners. Sadly, in some instances direct-to-consumer companies do not involve an evaluation or supervising treatment by an orthodontic professional.

When determining a course of treatment for patients, Dr. Razdolsky stresses the importance of how addressing each patient as a unique case is paramount to success and a true Forever Smile. A thorough oral and facial examination, photographs, dental molds and/or x-rays, and possibly even CBCT scans are necessary to the assessment and proper recommendation for a patient treatment program. Dr. Razdolsky’s specialized training and first-hand experience with new and emerging technologies allows him to evaluate the collected data and develop the right course of treatment for the patients’ needs, rather than form-fitting a patient to a one-size-fits-all approach. Dr. Razdolsky said he has even had patients come in and seek re-treatment because the aligners prescribed by their dentist were not effective. More often this is a case of improper evaluation, planning or the wrong tool being prescribed for treatment.

“We see our patients as partners throughout the course of treatment,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Success is critically dependent on our continued evaluation and their active role in proper daily maintenance and care of their braces, retainers or appliances. Although we always strive to provide for the happiness and wellbeing of all our patients, sometimes their preferred course treatment alone is not best.”

With traditional braces, you wear them all the time which allows for a more consistent, controlled and successful treatment. Treatment with clear aligners can often take much longer because changes are much more subtle and the trays are removable. This means patients have a tendency to wear them less, or forget to wear them at all at times, and therefore treatment gets drawn out. Without proper and ongoing observation by a qualified professional, these treatments become ineffective and can sometimes prolong issues.

“There are many factors in determining the best course of treatment,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We work with the patient and the family to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ by the least obstructive and most efficient means available to us. Whether traditional brackets and wires or clear aligners, as an Orthodontist I look at all the latest options, tools and technologies accessible to get us where we need to go. That’s the difference between Orthodontics and online or in-store aligners – there’s usually no one, clear answer or quick fix to a beautiful Forever Smile.”

2018 Artishock Contest

May 17th, 2018

Dr. Yan Razdolsky, Anna and the entire Forever Smiles team are proud to present… the 2018 Artishock Art Contest entries! Showcased in our waiting area, these works of art are the students of Artishock Art Studio’s depiction of this years’ theme, “Smile around the world.” The goal of this awesome contest is to encourage students to reflect on the happy things in life and through the use of creative expression and self-awareness, create an entry that expresses their feelings about the things that make them smile.

Forever Smiles sponsors this annual competition to provide exposure to the talented kids of Artishock. Students ages seven and up submitted 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. Like the Artishock philosophy, this contest fosters a lively discourse stimulating children’s natural wonder and curiosity in the more formal foundations of color, shape, line, texture, space and composition.

Similarly, 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, as well as introduces them to concepts and elements of art in the environment.

Honored to host this contest for six years, Forever Smiles has awarded several scholarships and art supplies prizes to winning students. In addition to showcasing the more than 125 original works from Artishock students, we also sponsor the annual Artishock Art Show where these prizes are awarded.

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 going on now in our reception area and on our Facebook page at Vote today!

National Facial Protection Month: Are you saving face?

April 16th, 2018

You’ve heard it all before. Your family here at Forever Smiles has told you - time and again. Wear your mouth guard! And in honor of April as National Facial Protection Month, we’ re going to say it again.

Sponsored annually by the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the Academy for Sports Dentistry and the American Dental Association (yes, that’s a lot of people who really care about your face), National Facial Protection Month is that time of year when we remind parents, coaches and athletes to gear up before they game on.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team has always advocated the importance of playing it safe by wearing a mouthguard at every practice and every game. So, to help you remember when the right time is to wear a mouthguard, we have put together these little graphics, so you can you play smart when you strive to bring home the prize!

Did you know that 27 percent of parents surveyed said their child has sustained an injury during an organized sport that resulted in a trip to the emergency room? That’s right! Nearly 67 percent of parents surveyed by the American Association of Orthodontists said their child does not wear a mouth guard, yet 70 percent said their biggest fear is their child will get hurt when playing organized sports. That’s why Forever Smiles thinks it’s so important!

In fact, according to the December 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association, single traumatic injury to the teeth may never heal completely. What’s more it can create a lifetime of expensive and long-term problems for the affected individual.

If you play baseball, soccer, basketball or football you probably already know those sports account for a lot of mouth injuries, but in fact it’s about 80 percent of all sports-related emergency room visits for children between the ages of 5 and 14.

So, what do you do? Wear your mouth guard of course! But, you should also keep your mouth guard clean by rinsing it before and after each use. You should also store in a perforated container to let your mouth guard dry out. And always avoid chewing on the mouth guard. Doing that breaks it down making it much less effective at protecting your teeth and gums. Oh, and if you have removable retainers, never ever wear them with your mouth guard. Doing that can not only cause damage to your teeth and gums but can bend wires making them less effective at doing their job. Lastly, replace your mouth guard when it shows signs of wear.

Not all mouth guards are the same either. So when you are ready, set, go to play a sport... ask us what’s right for you. Doing all these things will ensure your mouth guard is providing you the best protection for you, your face and your beautiful Forever Smile!

2018 Artishock Orth Field Trip

April 3rd, 2018

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team once again made welcome 23 Artishock Art Studio students for their annual field trip to our orthodontic office in Buffalo Grove. As part of this years’ education program, Dr. Razdolsky and the team showed the children aged 6 to 12, the science behind maintaining beautiful healthy teeth and protecting them from foods that can stain or hurt their enamel. Students also learned how Dr. Razdolsky develops treatment plans for patients and took part in using digital imagery to help Dr. Razdolsky show everyone how we create beautiful forever smiles.

“The Artishock visit is a favorite community and oral heath outreach program for our Forever Smiles team,” said Anna Razdolsky. “The children tour our office to learn all about proper oral health and the fascinating world of Orthodontics.”

Each year, Artishock students also receive a fun art project they illustrate for exhibition in the Forever Smiles offices. This years’ assignment, Smiles Around the World.

Another Doctor in the Family

March 19th, 2018

 Meet Dr. Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk

Some resounding congratulations to Dr. an Razdolsky and Anna as their daughter, Elizabeth defended her thesis in February at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry. Funded by the National Institute of Heath, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), her dissertation defense for PhD in Oral Sciences focused on Regulation of Angiogenesis in Healing Wounds. A culmination of her collaborative work under mentor Luisa A. DiPietro, DDS, professor of Periodontics, Director of the Center for Wound Healing and Tissue Regeneration, and an Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UIC, Elizabeth’s studies afforded her an opportunity for interdisciplinary partnership between numerous clinical and academic departments for the study of injury, wound healing and regeneration of tissues to better understand and help develop therapeutic strategies.

“As wounds heal, certain factors ensure a balanced resolution to the repair process by controlling the number of blood vessels formed as well as connective tissue remodeling,” said Elizabeth Razdolsky Michalczyk in her thesis. “One such factor is Pigment Epithelium-Derived Factor (PEDF), and this study aims to explore the mechanisms by which PEDF influences wound vasculature and scar formation.”

In Elizabeth’s NIDCR Individual Predoctoral Dental Scientist Fellowship she states that although the hemostatic, inflammatory, and to some extent the proliferative phases of wound healing have been well studied, the regulation of the remodeling phase has received less attention. She believes that understanding PEDF’s function in healing wounds will help shed light on therapeutic options to decrease scarring and promote regeneration. Moreover, these and further studies will spur advances in regenerative medicine and more effective therapies against the effects of fibrosis and tumorigenesis in healing wounds.

Similar in the way Dr. Razdolsky is always looking to improve the treatment and outcomes for his patients, Elizabeth’s passion for helping to discover new therapies in wound regeneration is her contribution to the quality of care for future patients. We are so very proud of her. Way to go Elizabeth!

The Dangers of DIY Orthodontics

March 7th, 2018

The American Association of Orthodontists has issued a warning urging consumers to beware of Internet videos and websites which urge them to try and straighten their own teeth. We encourage you to share with others, that moving teeth is a medical procedure which requires direct supervision by a licensed orthodontic specialist like Dr. Razdolsky.

“Everyone should be wary of any suggestion to move their teeth with rubber bands, dental floss, or any other objects ordered off the internet,” said Anna Razdolsky. “Moving teeth without a thorough examination of the overall health of the teeth and gums could have grave results.”

As we learned from Dr. Razdolsky’s most recent conference and the discussion on impacted canines, more often we do not see the underlying issues below the gum line that may be the root cause to misalignment of the teeth. What’s more, without comprehensive evaluation by an AAO Orthodontist we cannot know what impacts the movement of teeth may have on surrounding teeth, the bite and even the roof of the mouth. Realignment of the teeth can impact jaw structure, facial shape and more importantly the airways. Improper treatment could result in expensive and lifelong dental problems with breathing and overall health due to tooth decay, gum disease and in severe cases, permanent tooth loss.

Did you know… all orthodontists are dentists, but only six percent of dentists are orthodontists? Orthodontists receive two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school and are specialists in straightening teeth and aligning the bite. In addition, Dr. Razdolsky’s continuing study and education allow him to stay up on the latest treatments which will improve the quality of your oral health for a lifetime. He understands that each patient is unique and requires a special treatment plan specific to their needs in effort to achieve the best long-term result.

Everyone wants a great smile and we want you (and everyone you know) to be confident in showcasing yours. If you see something, say something. Warn your friends of the perils of do-it-yourself braces and teeth aligners. Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team are here to ensure you, and they... not only look good, but have a healthy smile that will last forever!

Lessons Learned - An AAO Winter Conference Wrap Up

February 21st, 2018

Dr. Yan Razdolsky attended the 2018 AAO/AAPD Joint Winter Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona last week. The three-day conference focused on early orthodontic treatment and how dental professionals can work together to produce excellent results. There were many topics for discussion including evidence-based treatments to assist in the diagnosis and management of dental trauma in both orthodontic and pediatric perspectives. But what was of great interest to Dr. Razdolsky at the conference was the discussion on Incipient Impaction and whether there is a foolproof preventative strategy.

Incipient Impaction, or early observation of impaction of the adult canines, is a frequently encountered problem affecting as many as 3 percent of the population. It is also one that often requires a treatment approach involving various dental professionals - the pediatric dentist or family dentist, orthodontist and sometimes a dental surgeon. However, surgical exposure of the impacted tooth and the complex orthodontic mechanisms that are required to then align the tooth into the arch can sometimes lead to damage to the tooth structures. So, it is worthwhile to explore early diagnosis and interceptive treatment for patients who have impacted canines. At the conference, speakers discussed the various ways to identify and treat patients with impacted canines starting with early detection.

“The importance of early treatment, as early as the age of 7, is crucial for the diagnosis of orthodontic issues such as impacted canines,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “An appropriate diagnosis and treatment can help prevent the impacted canines from complications like displacement of the surrounding teeth.”

Sometimes treatment is as simple as extraction of the deciduous canines, or “baby” canines as early as age 8 or 9. If there is enough space for the incoming canine to erupt or come out, then the orthodontist can help guide the permeant canine into place.

“The point here is that through early collaborative diagnosis and timely treatment by a patient’s dental team, we can sometimes see these teeth erupt more naturally,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “This may mean less-invasive surgical treatments and we simply help guide them to their correct position in the arch of the mouth.”

By delaying diagnosis and treatment however, or in more severe cases, the impacted canine can cause complications that include displacement of the surrounding teeth, recurring infections, pain, damage to the neighboring teeth, or even a combination of these.

“This program really provided a very practical overview of the clinical and radiological clues dentists and orthodontists can look for,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “By using an evidence-based approach to find treatment options we can avoid costly or invasive procedures that can have a negative long-term impact on the patient.”

Dr. Razdolsky believes this particular conference, as a whole, offered valuable insights to dental professionals not only on treatment options for impacted teeth, but how to identify and treat some of the most severe orthodontic cases including trauma.

“Programs like this help me better serve my patients,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Through continuing education and then sharing of the information with my professional peers, we are able to collaborate better and produce more beautiful Forever Smiles for our patients.”

Bracket Chatter: Smile More in 2018

January 30th, 2018

People make a lot of resolutions only to fall off the wagon just a few short weeks into the New Year. But here is a 2018 resolution that’s super easy to keep, and five great reasons to do it too. Resolve to smile!
1. Studies prove that smiling improves your mood by releasing endorphins and serotonin that automatically lift your spirits. Even if you smile through tough times or moments of sadness, activating these neural messages can relieve stress and improve disposition.
2. A smile makes a great first impression by making you appear more confident, competent, courteous and even, likeable. When you smile at someone, the sensory reward center of their brain is activated, so they feel rewarded by your smile and have a more favorable first impression of you.
3. A smile is contagious. Studies show that when you smile at someone, their brain is hard-wired to return the smile, so you both get a shot of those feel-good endorphins.
4. To some, a smile shows that you’re healthy, take good care of yourself and can help you be perceived as more attractive. According to a 2016 study by the American Academy for Cosmetic Dentistry, a smile is the secret to attractiveness at any age. In fact, 96 percent of people surveyed by the AACD thought that a smile made people more attractive.
5. The more you smile, the more positive you become. So, even if you’re feeling a little blue… fake it, the rewards of a smile are still the same. Your brain tracks your smiles, so the more you do it the more you rewire your brain to think more positively.

So remember, a smile has benefits which impact your personal life, health and even those around you. Share a smile today and resolve to be a better and happier you in 2018!

Did you as little as 30 minutes after drinking soda the acids begin wearing at your tooth enamel? Imagine that trapped in your braces!
Limit sugary drinks • drink more water
(And, if you drink soda, be sure to brush right away.) Your Forever Smile will thank you.

Bracket Chatter: Habits That Can Hurt

January 16th, 2018

The perils of tongue thrust to successful orthodontic treatment and a beautiful Forever Smile.

We see many challenging orthodontic cases at Forever Smiles, but no case is more disheartening than meeting a new patient whose previous orthodontic treatment did not result in long-term success.

One such factor in the treatment and re-treatment of open bite or malocclusion has at its cause, tongue thrust. Tongue thrust naturally occurs from early infancy to about six months of age, but has been found to exist as a habit in children as old as 5 to 8. It is described as pushing the tongue forward between the upper and lower teeth when swallowing, rather than the proper position against the gum above the upper front teeth. Over time, this tongue thrust can cause an open bite. Left untreated, this can even cause relapse in a once-successful ortho patient and require re-treatment. Other variations of tongue thrust occur when the tongue pushes on one or even both sides of the mouth pushing teeth outward.

“The tongue is a powerful muscle, applying nearly four pounds of pressure every time we swallow. This pressure, when accompanied by a bad swallowing habit is enough to push teeth out of their natural position,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “Even worse, imagine this happening nearly 2,000 times per day!”

Factors that can contribute to tongue thrusting include prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use, upper airway obstructions such as allergies or nasal congestion which cause the tongue to lie low in the mouth and lead to mouth breathing, and even hereditary factors such as facial structure, large tonsils and macroglossia, or enlarged tongue. What’s more, these habits left untreated can continue through the teens and into adulthood causing relapse in orthodontic treatment.

“There are many telltale signs of tongue thrust that we look for when first diagnosing a patient for orthodontic treatment,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “However, the most important factor in diagnosis and treatment of any patient is getting to know them and helping them to become a part of their own smile treatment.”

So, what do we do? Treatment for tongue thrust can include therapeutic exercises which re-educate the tongue muscles, kind of like physical therapy for the tongue. In some cases, patients may be also prescribed a dental appliance to aid in correction. Either way, Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team are here to work with you. Through treatment, when your braces do come off, your teeth will stay in alignment.

Bracket Chatter: Holiday Movie Wrap Up

December 27th, 2017

So many thanks to our wonderful Forever Smiles patients who joined us in Leaguing Up on Saturday, November 18 for the Justice League movie at Buffalo Grove Theaters. More than 500 guests joined us for our annual, holiday movie celebration. A lot of smiles all around, and a few extras to spare with the adorable selfie smiles on a stick which the Forever Smiles team had a blast posing with!

Guests, friends and family of the red-carpet, premiere movie experience also received Forever Smiles sweatshirts, popcorn and (spoiler alert) awesome movie treats!

“This annual event is something we really look forward to,” said Anna Razdolsky. “The months and weeks leading up to it hold a lot of excitement for the team as we anxiously wait to see what the next big movie coming out of Hollywood for the Holidays will be.”

“It’s nice that there are always great movies this time of year that create enthusiasm and smiles for our patients and friends. It really boosts the spirit of the season,” she added.

The Forever Smiles team really enjoyed celebrating the Holidays with all who came. See you next year!

Bracket Chatter: Consortium of Specialists

December 19th, 2017

Dr. Razdolsky’s Annual Orthodontic Update Seminar

Dentistry is a field of specialists. You have the Dentist who makes sure your teeth and gums are healthy.  Dental Hygienists who specialize in cleaning your teeth and gums, Oral Surgeons who specialize in extractions and surgeries, Endodontists who focus on root canals, Pediatric Dentists who specialize in children’s dental needs, and Periodontist who deal with gum disease. Then you have Orthodontists, like Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles in Buffalo Grove who focus on straightening your teeth and bite. Simply put, it takes an entire team to care for your teeth and gums from childhood through adulthood. A team who must work collaboratively to ensure your absolute best overall oral health.

Orthodontics itself is a science. As with any science, information and studies emerge which shed new light on approaches and technology which can better serve patients’ needs. Due to these changes, the necessity of continuing education is critical and the sharing of that information across disciplines are particularly imperative for Dr. Razdolsky.

In answer to that calling, each year Dr. Razdolsky hosts a continuing education seminar for area dental practitioners. He had counted among his speakers, noted specialists from a variety of dental specialties around the world who share case studies and patient experiences to help improve the quality of treatment for all patients in our area and around the country. Programs like this are critical to improving patient outcomes, as through this collaborative approach, Dr. Razdolsky and other area dental health professionals can resolve some of the most challenging dental cases, offer the highest quality care and help patients achieve a healthy, beautiful Forever Smile.

This year’s program, held on October 11 hosted nearly 150 area dental professionals and featured Dr. Victoria Ursitti and Dr. Konstantin Gromov. Dr. Ursitti, an area Pediatric Dentist is committed to providing educational programs and volunteers services to underserved children of our community. An area Periodontist, Dr. Gromov holds degrees in both Periodontics and Fixed Prosthodontics, and like Dr. Razdolsky, he believes in an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to a beautiful, healthy smile. Together with Dr. Razdolsky, the speakers discussed the latest trends in dentistry, orthodontics and the difficult decisions in treatment planning.

Like all sciences, Orthodontics changes as research developments bring new information to light. This is one reason Dr. Razdolsky loves what he does so much. The ever-evolving nature of Orthodontics is fascinating. There is always more to learn and teach, which is why it is so important for all practicing dental health professionals to continue their education and stay abreast of the latest developments. In addition to theory, there are techniques, tools, and technologies all of which change. This means that old treatments can be obsolete within just a few short years as newer ideas and technologies emerge. Therefore, by hosting seminars and sharing of this valuable information, Dr. Razdolsky can help other professionals put into practice cutting edge new treatments. We cannot wait to see what Dr. Razdolsky’s program will teach us next year.

Bracket Chatter: The Right Time For Orthodontic Evaluation

October 18th, 2017


While some orthodontists and parents may have differing opinions as to the right time for orthodontic treatment, when it comes to adjusting imbalances in bone structure of the face and jaw, many agree early intervention is key. With dentofacial orthopedics, the signs of issues are often seen as early as seven years of age and can include misalignment of bite, cross bite, crowding of the teeth, nose and respiratory ailments, impacted canines and cleft lip or palate. That’s why studies suggest preliminary treatment to enlarge the dental arch and palate with rapid palatal expansion is beneficial for both anatomical and dental development. Here are five key reasons to help you better understand the benefits for application of early expansion.

  1. Anatomy studies are clear. The palatal area at the roof of the mouth is still adaptable with hardening into bone beginning for most in pre-adolescence through the teens. However, the roof palate of younger patients is much more responsive to the orthopedic treatment with an expander and less pressure is needed to achieve the desired result. When less pressure is used, we reduce the risk for negative consequences. As a patient grows there is greater risk of tipping the teeth out of alignment, creating a less stable orthodontic shift rather than orthopedic expansion.
  2. Use of an expander while a patient still has some baby, or primary teeth along with permanent teeth, allows the use of the baby teeth to serve as anchors for the expansion appliance. This is important in helping to eliminate the negative effects that can be caused by the necessary force being applied to permanent teeth, therefore protecting them. Expansion appliances use the strength of the roots and surrounding bone of the teeth to which they are attached. It is those teeth and supporting bone that carry the lateral pressure of the expansion as the palate opens. When primary teeth are used to support the expander, the newly-erupting adult teeth do not bear any of the expansion pressure and instead receive benefit from the additional space. Expander devices are specifically created to affix exclusively to each patient’s baby teeth, and have the added benefit of distributing the work over several teeth on each side. Studies report the use of a banded hyrax appliance attached to primary molars and canines or a Haas expansion appliance attached to the second primary molars and primary canines are both successful and stable.
  3. In most cases the reason for expansion is because of a crowded upper roof palate resulting in crooked or protruding teeth, jaw misalignment or crossbite. In treated patients, an expansion appliance is placed into the roof of the mouth as high as possible without negatively affecting palatal tissues. As a result, patients sometimes experience temporary difficulties with speech and swallowing, similar to that caused by a retainer. This inconvenience usually passes quickly as patients grow accustomed to the device.
  4. New and permanent teeth that come into mouth with adequate bone and soft tissue support benefit from the ideal scenario for long-term stability and more sound periodontal health. For patients with a crowded, developing mouth, the plan is to create space for the teeth to come in straight without the risk of future gum-related issues or tooth damage.
  5. The effects of a small upper palate goes well beyond adolescence. Growing evidence suggests that maxillary constriction left untreated can be a factor in airway restriction starting in children and continuing through adulthood. The effects of a rapid maxillary expander can help increase nasal airway and improve overall respiratory function. As further airway evaluation becomes part of early dental exams, the benefit of early expansion can include improved air intake and even better sleep.

Did someone say field trip?

September 26th, 2017

October is National Orthodontics Health Month. At Forever Smiles, we love taking this time to educate school-aged children and groups aged 7 to 13 about the fascinating field of Orthodontics. That’s why we offer fun and educational field trips to our office to help teach our young community about orthodontics while simultaneously helping local schools, clubs and organizations in making a positive impact in our area.

As part of a scheduled field trip participants get a “behind the scenes” tour of our offices, meet our friendly dental and orthodontic professionals and discover how we align teeth using science and modern technology. In this fun and interactive program, we discuss our techniques and explain the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. In addition, we serve delicious and smile-friendly snacks and participants even receive goodie bags with toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss and an age-appropriate gift.

If you know a group or organization who would benefit from an educational field trip, please reach out to Anna at Perhaps together, we can inspire a future Orthodontist!







Obstructive Sleep Apnea

September 12th, 2017

Last month we published an article on Peak Performance & Breathing. As part of a continuing dialog on the impact and importance of Orthodontics on breathing, we present this discussion on Obstructive Sleep Apnea. At Forever Smiles we encourage patients to learn more about oral systemic health and how we improve their wellbeing and standard of care through orthodontics.

Do you or someone you know suffer from daytime sleepiness, have difficulty concentrating in school or sometimes feel cranky? You might think it’s time for a Snickers (which are terrible on braces btw), but maybe not. Sleep disorders impact as many as 30 percent of teens and pre-adolescents and it is estimated that as many as 10 percent can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep keeping air from getting to the lungs. It can happen a few times per hour, or as many as several hundred times per night! Imagine, these pauses in breathing waking you up every time, disturbing your sleep. While you may be thinking you’re sleeping a lot, in fact, this disturbed sleep amounts to only a few hours of fit sleep per night.

Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team see a lot of patients with airway problems. They study facial growth, development and airway passages, so they are eminently qualified to help screen patients for OSA issues and strongly recommend early orthodontic screenings as early as age 7. The causes of OSA are varied, and can range from a soft tissue obstruction to palatal development or even jaw alignment. It has even been discovered that as many as 50 percent of OSA cases involve the bony structure that surrounds the airway. Through upper arch expansion and by advancing the mandible, or jaw bone, an orthodontist can sometimes address the underlying cause of OSA. The earlier the treatment plan, the better the potential outcome for the patient.

“Using the latest digital imaging technology and orthodontic tools we can identify, treat and potentially prevent sleep-related breathing disorders in children,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “We may even be able to reverse the condition in adolescents and adults.”

Getting 8.5 to 11 hours of quality sleep, depending on age, is essential to healthy growth, development and function. Not getting enough sleep can impact focus, cause sluggishness and irritability. Sleep deprivation can also affect overall health, weight and even your complexion. Although there are a lot of studies and literature on sleep related issues, it is often surprising how little of it is directed to the child or teen. These patients know first-hand what the symptoms may feel like and are often the first at recognizing their own issues. So, if you find that you or someone you know is suffering from symptoms mentioned here on a regular basis, and a Snickers just doesn’t seem to satisfy… talk to Dr. Razdolsky or a Forever Smiles member. A good night’s sleep is a beautiful thing.

Peak Performance & Breathing

August 21st, 2017

For some, back to school means back to sports. For student athletes returning to the court or field this fall, it also means training, and sports conditioning.

But did you know there is an increased correlation between breathing through your nose and enhanced sports performance? What’s more, breathing through your nose as opposed to your mouth has many benefits which are well documented.

Those who breathe through their mouth are more prone to using their upper chest and shoulders rather than their diaphragm. This can yield a shallower intake of air and result in a lower distribution of oxygen to the blood, reduced energy and even decreased stamina or endurance. Furthermore, mouth breathing as a norm in day-to-day activities can lead to other health issues, moodiness and even affect concentration.

Nasal breathing is not only important for improved sports performance, but also overall general health and preventing potential illness. When we breathe through the nose, we warm and humidify the air intake ensuring once it reaches the lungs it is at body temperature. Moreover, germs, bacteria and microbes are filtered out which can help in preventing potential illness.

So, what’s the correlation between mouth breathing and orthodontics?

“While proper breathing techniques are something that can be learned, there are instances where poor airway development in adolescence can hinder efforts,” said Buffalo Grove Orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “Craniofacial development or malformation, malocclusion and jaw deformation can lead to airway obstruction and development of other health issues as well.”

There is considerable evidence to support good facial and jaw development to nasal breathing. Studies show a correlation between mouth breathing and development of a narrow jaw, distended nasal cavity, misaligned cheekbones and even crooked teeth. These developmental problems can be treated more effectively if diagnosed early by your Forever Smiles team.

What sport or activity are you training for? Share your story on our Facebook page at

You worked hard for your beautiful Forever Smile, then this happens…

July 18th, 2017

Your wisdom teeth have come in. Don’t panic.

Wisdom teeth, or third molars are located on each side of the jaw in the very back and the last teeth to erupt – typically emerging between the ages of 17 and 25. In some cases they may come in painlessly, with little or no impact on the surrounding teeth. In fact, some people are fortunate enough to have plenty of room in their mouths for additional teeth. However, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxiofacial Surgeons, nine out of 10 patients will likely experience issues with at least one wisdom tooth.

So how do you protect your Forever Smile? If your orthodontic work is complete prior to your wisdom teeth coming in, Dr. Razdolsky will do a thorough examination prior to removal of your braces to check on the progress of your wisdom teeth and determine whether there is sufficient space for them to emerge successfully. Continued follow-up visits with the Forever Smiles team will also ensure we are able to track your progress.

Additionally, as you continue to visit your regular dentist for check-us, you will likely know exactly when your wisdom teeth come in and whether they are impacted (meaning they

haven’t broken the gums yet). During your regular check-up, your dentist will take x-rays to track wisdom tooth development. You can also help by telling Dr. Razdolsky and your dentist if you are having trouble or experience pain when opening your jaw, pain when you bite or chew, have swollen gums in the back of your mouth or side of your jaw. Simply being aware of when your wisdom teeth are coming in will help safeguard your smile investment.

Of course, the best determination for treatment of wisdom teeth will need to be made after a thorough evaluation by your personal dental care team. Given the probability that wisdom teeth can be problematic may require extraction to protect the smile you’ve worked so long for. If wisdom tooth extraction is the recommended course of treatment, earlier is better. Wisdom tooth removal before the roots have become firmly anchored can make the procedure easier and the recovery more comfortable.

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Back to School Survival Kit

The commercials and ads have already started and we are closing in on that time of year. Back to School shopping! At Forever Smiles we think no back to school shopping season is complete without the right supplies. Not paper, binders and pencils, but your back to school survival kit!

Your braces care survival kit is an emergency preparedness care pack to help you manage most dental issues that may arise. You can keep it in your backpack, purse or locker to make sure you’re always ready to care for your smile. What do you pack in a braces survival kit? Let’s shop supplies… Here are some of our favorite suggestions for your survival kit.

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Reaching out in support of forever family

June 28th, 2017

Once a member of the Forever Smiles family, you are always a part of us. This is not only true for patients, but for team members as well. We follow our forever family’s lives beyond their time with us -- sharing in their joys, experiences and even reach out in support when they are in need.

For those of you who do not know him, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Kapil Vij. Dr. Vij was a part of our Forever Smiles Grayslake family from 2007 to 2010. Dr. Vij was diagnosed earlier this year with myelofibrosis, a rare form of blood cancer. His bone marrow is unable to produce red blood cells, so he requires a blood transfusion every two to three weeks. With his condition deteriorating very quickly his only chance of beating this disease is to have a stem cell transplant. His siblings tested in hopes of being a match and giving him a second chance at life, but neither were close enough to be his donor.

“Dr. Vij is a wonderful doctor, and has an incredible rapport with patients,” said Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “As part of our team, he was a vigilant partner in assuring our patients were treated with the upmost care and compassion. This is why it is so important that he finds a donor to help save his life. He is a big part of our family,” he added.

Today, Dr. Vij practices pediatric dentistry in Mount Prospect. He lives with his amazing wife Neeru, their two beautiful children and a third on the way. Although he is no longer with Forever Smiles, we have continued to follow his career and more recently have learned of this plea to help save his life.

“We understand this has become quite urgent as his hemoglobin is dropping pretty fast despite blood transfusions,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “The entire dental community is reaching out to increase awareness of his plight, and we too want to do our part.”

According to Be The Match Registry posts, Dr. Vij is of South Asian (Indian) descent, and the pool of people from that ethnicity are underrepresented in the national bone marrow registry, making the need for others to join the registry vital.

The process of bone marrow donation has changed in recent years and in some cases only requires a partial blood donation from which stem cells can be collected. While this may sound scary, it’s very safe and truly a gift of life.

Qualified potential donors, ages 18-44, can learn more and register for the national marrow donor program online by visiting For anyone over the age of 45 and still wants to be a donor, we should let them know they can register with DKMS at Kits will be sent to their home, where they can swab and mail back. There are also several upcoming Be The Match registration drives in the Chicago area. Visit for more information.

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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 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.

New Smile Habits for the New Year

January 17th, 2017

The New Year is a great time to start things fresh. To resolve new lifestyle changes that improve areas of our lives where we may have fallen slack. Some stick, some don’t. The following are a five easy lifestyle hacks that we think should consider to help you on your way to a healthier and more beautiful Forever Smile!

1. Eat more fruits & veggies

Did you know strawberries, oranges and pineapple are great for whitening teeth? And they are delicious, healthy and braces safe too! What’s not? Surgary foods, tea and sodas. These foods stain and can damage tooth enamel, so enjoy them sparingly in the New Year for a healthier brighter smile and always brush up right after.

2. Brush & floss

If you have not been a big brusher in the past, resolve to be better! Not only will your friends appreciate it, so will Dr. Razdolsky! Orthodontic appliances are a good place for bacteria to hide which can result in plaque build-up which can cause stains and other dental issues. Good oral hygiene helps is important in protecting your teeth, gums and ensuring the overall success of your orthodontic treatment.

3. Stick to the plan

Maintain your orthodontic adjustments on schedule. Treatments are spaced in six—to eight-week appointments in order to have the greatest impact on tooth re-alignment. So for us to stick to the plan and reach the goal of your most beautiful Forever Smile on time, keep your scheduled appointments.

4. Wear your elastic bands as prescribed

You have invested a lot of time into your new braces and are well on your way to improving your smile. But remember, changing the elastics a few times each day means that you maintain a reasonably even, low and light force that helps your teeth move according to your prescribed treatment plan.

5. Drink lots of water

Did you know that as many as 75% of Americans may suffer from Chronic Dehydration? And, if your body is dehydrated, your mouth is too. This is a haven for bad bacteria. In addition to drinking plenty of water throughout the day, you should drink even more if you play after-school sports or participate in other extracurricular activities. Plus, when you’re properly hydrated, the lips, cheeks and gums are not as easily irritated by your braces! That’s even more reason to smile.

Are invisible aligners the “clear” choice for straighter teeth?

November 16th, 2016

Next time someone asks you about traditional braces versus clear aligners, know the facts. At Forever Smiles we get first-time and adult patients who are self-conscious getting braces. The common question they have is whether they can have clear aligners to straighten their teeth. However, when it comes to orthodontics, not all options are equal.

For example, traditional braces are often required for patients with molar/bite issues, to rotate canines or premolars or move teeth vertically. Clear aligners are not effective in cases where dramatic tooth movement is needed. Moreover in cases where smaller teeth need to be adjusted, clear aligners may not be suitable as there is not enough surface area for the tray to properly grip the tooth as necessary for proper treatment.

Treatment with clear aligners can sometimes take longer. One, because the realignment can be more subtle, and two, because the trays are removable, it’s easy to ”forget” to wear them. (Or worse, to lose them.) This can drastically draw out the schedule for successful treatment. With traditional braces you wear them all the time. This allows for a more consistent, controlled and successful treatment program for some patients.

If it is a matter of aesthetics, or being self-conscious, there are a number of treatment options that are available - again, this depends on the individual patients needs. Clear or tooth-colored brackets are a great option for patients who want a more subtle look, but the same effectiveness of traditional braces. Lingual braces (brackets and wires are mounted on the tongue-side of your teeth) are also an option for some patients, but careful considerations are still made on a patient and case basis.

When determining a course of treatment for all our patients, we like to think of it as a team approach. Dr. Razdolsky follows a strict new patient procedure that includes a thorough oral and facial patient examination to determine their overall oral health. Depending on the patient a CBCT scan, facial photographs, dental molds and/or x-rays may also be taken. Assessment and recommendation for a patient treatment program is provided upon a second appointment ensuring Dr. Razdolsky and his team have had ample opportunity to evaluate all the collected data. Together at that appointment, we encourage an open discussion in formulating a plan that will provide the most successful outcome for the patient.

Although we strive to always provide for happiness and well being of all our patients, sometimes a preferred course treatment is not in the patient’s best interest. However, as part of your smile team we will always work to find the right path to your Forever Smile.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Private Screening

October 4th, 2016

We hope you will plan to join Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles Team on Saturday, November 19 for a private screening of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them"!

Bracket Chatter - September 2016

September 20th, 2016

Tips, Tricks & Reminders

Those of you learning to incorporate new routines and responsibilities into your daily life can find braces challenging at first. And those of you that have had braces for a while may think these tips and tricks are old news. Either way, we think everyone should find a formula that works for them and these tips, tricks and reminders can really help you on your path to a beautiful Forever Smile.

#1. Careful HOW you eat

There is a whole list of things you shouldn’t eat when you have braces. But did you know sometimes it’s just how you eat? Take your time and chew slowly. Lots of bent wires and popped brackets can be avoided if you do.

#2. Brush up after lunch

Besides just brushing in the morning and at night, you really should brush up after lunch. This helps keep food from being trapped in your braces and between teeth, which over time causes tooth decay. Lots of kids don’t brush after lunch... either there’s no time, or they just forget. A good tip... brush when you get home from school and before doing your homework. In between brushings, flosser sticks are great for dislodging trapped food which can make your braces look yuck.

#3. Be mindful when having sweets

Sweets and sugars can get stuck on teeth and over time cause yellowing or worse, toothdecay. Get in the practice of brushing up after sweets. Bonus... it will help freshen your breath which can be really great for your social life.

#4. Wear your bands

If you have hooks, wear your rubber bands all the time (except for when eating or brushing your teeth). Bands may hurt sometimes, but wearing them can stop the hooks from digging into or getting caught on your cheeks, as well as help your treatment move along as quickly as possible.

#5. Wear a mouthguard when playing sports

When you wear braces on the field, court or ice, you want to be sure to keep your teeth and gums protected from painful, unintentional contact. And at the same time you just want to play and be comfortable.

Much like the differences between generic boil-and-bite mouthguards and custom mouth guards, not all braces mouthguards are the same. Ask Dr. Razdolsky about mouthguards designed specifically for athletes with braces. He can advise best how to protect your beautiful Forever Smile.

#6. Have Fun!

Picking fun colors is a great way to express your personality and have fun.

Multi-colored bands can be matched up to lots of wardrobe choices, or you can even show your school spirit. Bright colors can be cheerful and radiant, while darker colors, such as dark purple and navy blue can make your teeth look whiter. But remember, color doesn’t really matter if you keep your braces clean.

#7. Keep your appointment and be on time!

Every month we pick a patient for our “On-Time” winner. To enter, just come on time,  have the front desk sign your appointment card and  drop it in the box. This month’s winner is Karen P. Congratulations!

What really cool tip have you learned since you started wearing braces? Share it with us at or on and maybe you’ll make out next list of Tips, Tricks and Reminders!

Dr. Yan Razdolsky Expands Expertise on 3D Cone Beam Technology at National Conference

July 21st, 2016

In order to better serve his patients, Dr. Yan Razdolsky is committed to continued education, seminars and conferences at the forefront of technology and techniques in orthodontia.

In this endeavor, Dr. and Mrs. Razdolsky recently attended a Visualization Systems and 3D Cone Beam Technologies conference in San Francisco. This conference afforded the Razdolsky’s the opportunity to learn, engage and participate in hands-on training with the latest in Cone Beam 3D Technology and medical imaging software.

At the forefront in simulation of data for analysis are visualization systems such as 3D Cone Beam, which are being adopted by many of the world’s leading medical institutions and dental service providers to study cranio-maxillofacial anatomy. Research studies on the use of 3D Cone Beam are also featured in numerous industry journals and praised by the medical community for their innovative approach to patient diagnosis and treatment. Through these systems and companion software applications, doctors can develop and implement comprehensive treatment plans for patients using digitally aided diagnostics.

“Visualization systems offer a diagnostic and treatment solution for orthodontists by rendering a patient’s CBCT scans into 2D and 3D models with more detail and precision for diagnosis of orthodontic issues,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Doctors can analyze, generate measurements and develop treatments quickly and more accurately.”

Through impression-free, 3D Cephalometric X-rays and Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), orthodontists capture a complete scanned image of the side of the face including the nasal and sinus passages. This type of imaging is more comfortable for the patient as it means that no plates or film are inserted inside the mouth. It can also reveal hidden anatomy and anatomic variations that cannot be seen on traditional 2D images. Failure to recognize these key anatomic features can lead to less than optimal diagnosis and overall results from treatment.

As an added benefit of visualization systems, orthodontists can isolate areas, simulate movements and even determine the minimum area and total volume of a patient's airway making this is a fantastic tool in treating sleep apnea and other maxillofacial respiratory issues.

“Visualization systems are also very helpful in patient consultation because doctors can develop custom annotations, capture videos and create digital models from patient scans for a clearer explanation of treatments,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “I really enjoy this type of technology as it is very cutting edge in orthodontics, helps me to better connect with the patient and it is also really cool.”

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Forever Smiles Supports Local Schools and Healthy Lifestyles

June 15th, 2016

Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles family loves kids and it doesn’t get any better than supporting healthy lifestyles and the local community. In fact, our commitment to promoting and supporting school programs that enrich the lives andD103-02 health of our kids is what our mission is all about!

Saturday, May 21 the Forever Smiles team gathered at Lincolnshire-Prairie View School to support the 2016 Run for D103. The 5k Run/Walk and community-school district event is a fundraiser to finance outdoor recreational needs in District 103. Over the past four years, they have funded approximately $100,000 to district schools for playgrounds, recreational fields, programs and equipment that serve to promote healthy activities for children.

Last years’ event drew more than 800 participants and annual Run for D103 events are instrumental in offering opportunities for the students to engage in fitness activities during gym, recess, after-school activities, and other sporting events. That’s healthy and fun!

In addition to sponsorship of the event, Forever Smiles team members participated in the run/walk, as well as hosted a tent and awarded prize drawings of Anna Razdolsky’s new book “The Smile Team” to participants.

“At Forever Smiles, we stress the importance of early detection of oral health issues and education for a child’s wellbeing,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “That’s why we support school programs that provide children the resources and education that promote healthy lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.”

“Anna’s book is the perfect way to help spread the word to kids and their families about the benefits of good oral health and how it helps maintain a beautiful smile,” Dr. Razdolsky added.

Similar events and programs are a common occurrence for Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles Team. Throughout the year, the team can be found participating, hosting and supporting local and area events in effort to foster programs that can benefit a healthier way of living and growing. Events like the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Walk/Run for Awareness in May, and the Art Studio Artishock art contest earlier this month are great opportunities to reach out to the community in this endeavor.

“We are always looking for a way to reach out to our community and share in healthy activities,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “Clearly those who participate in run/walk events already understand the benefits of doing healthy things. Our participation just reminds them of one of the most important things they can and should do.”

Oral health is one of the most under-appreciated aspects of overall health and is really more important than just brushing your teeth. According to Mayo Clinic, in addition to oral infections such as gum disease and tooth decay, oral health can be linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even premature birth and low birth weight in pregnant women.

“We strive to make a difference in the communities we serve,” said Dr. Razdolsky. Education and awareness about good oral health is not just our business, we’ve made it our mission.”

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Meeting review: 2016 AAO Annual Session

May 26th, 2016

As many of his colleagues, patients and friends know, Dr. Yan Razdolsky is a big proponent of continued education and study for the advancement of orthodontic treatment. He hosts, attends and lectures at programs and conferences throughout the year in order to share techniques and innovative ideas to help better serve his patients and others all over the world.

As part of this continued effort, Dr. and Mrs. Razdolsky attended 2016 Annual Session of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Packed with lectures, educational programs, world-renown speakers, and yes… a little fun, the conference held April 30 through May 3, offered attendees the opportunity to mix it up and learn in “The City Beautiful” known worldwide for its theme parks and entertainment.

This years’ theme, Bringing Us Together drew in some of the most influential in the field. It spoke to uniting both practitioner and orthodontic team through programs, features, exhibits and technologies geared toward letting them see, touch and experience the newest products and developments in orthodontics.

AAO Conference programs featured scientific lectures and oral research presentations on early treatment, new developments in sleep apnea, orthodontic considerations, as well as Class II and Class III orthodontic treatments. In addition to orthodontic programs, attendees participated in numerous workshops and educational programs geared toward new patient treatments, as well as technological advances in the field.

“At the tradeshow there were exhibitors who brought in experts to share their knowledge,” said Anna Razdolsky. “There were people showcasing digital imaging, bracket appliances and more. It was very exciting.”

“Even professional surfer Bethany Hamilton was there. She has teamed up with a leading bracket manufacturer to develop braces emojis! Our patients will love them,” she added.

Of course, with this much work there’s time to relax, have fun and network with other dental professionals at events hosted at some of Orlando’s most notable attractions. In addition to a host of activities, booths and exhibits at the Orange County Convention Center, awesome events at the AAO included an opening ceremonies at Sea World, the AAO Gala at Universal Studios Florida, a 5K Fun Run/Walk and the Excellence in Orthodontics Awards Ceremony featuring guest speaker, 2012 Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney.

A whirlwind of activity, this annual event is a favorite of Dr. Razdolsky’s in what it means for his patients.

“There is such a wealth of knowledge and expertise at the AAO Annual Session,” said Dr. Razdolsky. “The quality of the programs and expertise of the presenters provides such great opportunity for growth in orthodontia. I am honored to be a part of this profession and appreciate that I am able to bring this information and experience back here to share with our patients.”

Download your own Bethany Hamilton inspired emoji keyboard for free directly from Apple iTunes or Google Play

Click here to see more pictures of Forever Smiles at the 2016 AAO Annual Session and follow us on Facebook to see all the other things we’re up to.

AAO Orlando-01 [FeaturePic]

Dr. Razdolsky Applauds Operation Smile Event’s Success

April 7th, 2016

Even while on Spring Break, Dr. Yan Razdolsky and two of his children who are in dental school can’t escape the importance of healthy smiles.

Dr. Razdolsky, his wife Anna, and their children Elizabeth and Ricky recently traveled to Park City, Utah. While there, Operation Smile held its annual Park City Celebrity Ski & Smile Challenge.

This star-packed event included Taylor Kinney and his fiancé Lady Gaga, Julianne Hough, Evan Ross, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Julie Bowen and Kate Walsh, among others. It was the celebs against Olympic skiers on the slopes at Utah Olympic Park in several dual ski races to support Operation Smile.

Operation Smile is a nonprofit organization that provides surgical correction of cleft lip and cleft palate to children in middle- to low-income countries. Founded in 1982 by Dr. Bill Magee Jr., a plastic surgeon, and his wife Kathy, a nurse and clinical social worker, this international medical charity has developed a network of thousands of credentialed medical volunteers from more than 80 countries. They have performed more than 220,000 free surgical procedures for children and young adults from more than 60 countries who were born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.

In addition to providing surgeries, Operation Smile also donates medical equipment and supplies, and provides year-round medical treatments through its worldwide centers.

Operation Smile’s mission is an important one to Dr. Razdolsky. Each year in the United States, 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Throughout his career, Dr. Razdolsky has provided orthodontic treatment to hundreds of children who required it after surgical correction of cleft lip and/or palate.

“These surgeries and subsequent orthodontic treatment mean the world to affected children and their families,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “Kids don’t want to be treated differently because of the way they look. It is rewarding to watch their self-esteem improve as we improve their smiles.”

Dr. Razdolsky and Anna were elated to learn that the Park City Celebrity Ski & Smile Challenge helped raise awareness and funds to continue the organization’s mission.

As you may recall, Anna is doing her part to raise awareness about the importance of oral health by publishing her first children’s book earlier this year. She also is working on a second book.

We invite you to learn more about Operation Smile by visiting the organization’s website. If you would like to get a copy of Anna’s book, “The Smile Team,” click here. A portion of proceeds from the book sales will benefit organizations that promote beautiful and healthy smiles for

Forever Smiles Sponsors International Women’s Day Event

March 30th, 2016

 Women around the world contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement, but there still is much progress to be made when it comes to equality.

Gender parity was the campaign theme for International Women’s Day March 8, and we here at Forever Smiles were proud to sponsor a Chicago event in honor of the holiday.

The Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International hosted Women in Leadership on March 10, in celebration of International Women’s Day. The event featured a reception, dinner and speaker presentations moderated by Aleksandra Efimova, who co-chairs the Moscow Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and also is the founder of Russian Pointe, a dance apparel company.

Speakers included four women who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields, locally and even internationally in some cases:

  • Elena Mossina, partner-in-charge at Sikich, an international tax services company
  • Mridu Sekhar, Ph.D, founder of Sidvim, Inc., Chicago Center for Advanced Dentistry
  • Natalia Sklyarova-Yurchenko, All Around Gold Medalist at the 1983 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, and owner and founder of C.I.T.Y. Club Gymnastics Academy
  • Natalya Pavchinskaya, IT director at Abbott Laboratories, Cybersecurity Portfolio Management (born in Odessa, Ukraine).

Anna with International women days speakers2016

“It was our honor to sponsor and support Aleksandra's very important event,” says Anna Razdolsky, operations manager at Forever Smiles. “We enjoyed meeting very inspiring, motivated speakers and interesting guests.”

Anna felt a level of kinship with many of the speakers, as most of them were born and raised in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to the United States as young adults, just as Anna did when she left her native Ukraine in the 1980s.

“Many of these women came to America right after high school, and what they have achieved since then is amazing,” she says.

Not all of the speakers were strangers to Anna. Natalia Pavchinskaya once was a Forever Smiles patient, and her three sons are part of our patient family today.

About International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133, according to the International Women’s Day website.

This year’s celebration focused on “Pledging for Parity.” Men and women can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly, according to the organization’s website, “whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity,” the website states.

Forever Smiles Debuts Book for National Children’s Dental Health Month

March 14th, 2016

The Smile Team book cover

Anna Razdolsky recently fulfilled a dream she has nurtured for years: she published her first book.

Because the book, called “The Smile Team,” is about oral health and improving self-esteem in children and adults, it’s only fitting that it be released in February, which is National Children’s Dental Health Month.

The book is about a young girl who wants to perform with her mom during a surprise party she’s throwing for her older brother. Mom doesn’t want to do the performance because she doesn’t like her smile and doesn’t like to do anything that draws attention to it.

After a trip to the dentist, Mom has a choice to make: Will she take a fast approach to a more beautiful smile, or will she opt for a solution that will take a little longer, but will keep her teeth and gums healthy for years to come?

“The Smile Team” shows how teamwork is the best solution for solving a variety of problems. It also promotes the idea that sometimes the best results take thought, research and a team approach.

This book goes beyond Mom’s quest for a pretty smile and explores how children at a young age can learn organizational and leadership skills, too.

Anna wrote the book for a couple of reasons. She has a genuine love and appreciation for books because they weren’t always easily accessible to her. As a child growing up in Donetsk, Ukraine (former Soviet Union), not all books could be purchased effortlessly. Instead, you had to collect 100 kilos of scrap paper and turn it in for recycling. Then you would be given a coupon that was used to get a book. As children, she and several of her friends would pool their scrap paper so they could get a book to share.

Her other reason for writing the book is because during her 30 years of working with children and raising four children of her own, she has witnessed first-hand the effects of good and bad oral health on self-esteem and self-confidence. She wanted to convey that connection through a story that children and adults might relate to.

The mom in “The Smile Team” doesn’t initially realize how her personal insecurities affect her children.

Members of the Forever Smiles team routinely teach children about the importance of caring for their teeth when they’re in our office for appointments or fieldtrips, or while we’re speaking to students at schools. Sometimes it’s more difficult to teach those lessons to adults.

“My hope is that as parents read my book to their children, they’ll learn more about the benefits of keeping their smiles healthy,” Anna says.

The book’s inspiration came from dozens of conversations Anna has had with adult patients, parents and friends through the years.

“When I see a mom in her thirties or forties and she says she needs implants or veneers, my immediate response is to explain that she needs a plan first,” Anna says. “All these years of working alongside Dr. Razdolsky and seeing the variety of cases we have treated inspired me to write this book.”

Although “The Smile Team” is Anna’s first book, it won’t be her last. She has founded Forever Smiles Publishing to help children and their parents understand the value of oral care and orthodontic treatment through storytelling.

We’re excited to make “The Smile Team” available to students we speak with at local schools, libraries, clubs and children’s groups that visit our office during fieldtrips. The book will be available online this spring at

Folic Acid Fights Gingivitis

January 15th, 2016

The country recently celebrated National Folic Acid Awareness Week, which is observed the second week of January annually.21872038211_6067a1d6cd_z

What the heck does folic acid have to do with orthodontics? A lot. Read on!

Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment are more likely to get gingivitis if they don’t practice good oral hygiene. Navigating around brackets and arch wires can take some getting used to, and your gums will become red, swollen and tender if you don’t brush and floss well.

Luckily for you, we provide each of our patients with all the tools needed to maintain good oral hygiene throughout treatment. We give patients oral care kits that include items such as soft picks, proxy brushes and dental floss threaders.

In addition to using these helpful tools, incorporating folic acid into your diet can help prevent gingivitis, the first stage of periodontal disease, because folic acid fights gingivitis. But first, you should clear it with your family physician before taking this or any supplement.

The health of your teeth and gums depends heavily on good nutrition. The right diet can prevent gum disease from developing, and some nutritional supplements can stop it in its tracks. That’s where folic acid comes in.

“Double blind studies have shown that folic acid can significantly reduce gum inflammation,” according to the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. This supplement is particularly important for pregnant women, as well as those who take contraceptive pills.

Other studies have identified Co Q10, folic acid and zinc as beneficial to fighting gum disease when applied topically. Folic acid can reduce gum inflammation and help them become more resilient to dental plaque and anaerobic bacteria, two of the primary culprits responsible for tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. Folic acid helps to reduce gum bleeding, which is one of the most common signs of gum disease.

Obviously, it takes more than folic acid to keep gingivitis at bay. Generally speaking, the same diet that promotes healthy gums also promotes whole-body health, according to the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. Focus on nutrient-rich and fresh, natural foods, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, fish, beans and seeds.

Limit the amount of sugar, refined carbohydrates, salt and alcohol. Look for foods that are high in bioflavonoids, such as blue-black fruits, onions, citrus pith and hawthorn berries, because these compounds help maintain healthy collagen structure. A high-fiber diet also may protect against gum disease by promoting saliva production, which washes away harmful bacteria.

Feel free to ask us if you would like more information on how to keep your gums and teeth healthy by eating a healthy diet. We want to help you do all you can to keep your smile beautiful!


Considerations for Adults Who Want Braces

December 22nd, 2015

We’ve always said you’re never too old to achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always dreamed of, and thousands of adults have taken that to heart by becoming our orthodontic patients through the years.5355717000_a380852a0a_b

With the holiday season upon us, and New Year’s resolutions right around the corner, we realize that smile improvements might be on your wish lists this month, and among your goals for 2016.

When you have a consultation with Dr. Yan Razdolsky, there are some considerations he must account for that often are unique to adult patients when he develops a treatment plan.

Dental Work

Adults often have crowns, fillings and have undergone root canals at some point, and this sort of dental work must be taken into consideration when developing a treatment plan, Dr. Razdolsky says.  Sometimes dental work can make achieving the desired result more challenging.


Orthodontic treatment in children typically takes their growing dentofacial features into consideration. Growth is complete in adult patients, so fixing severe overbite, underbite and crossbite may require surgery in addition to orthodontic treatment.

Periodontal Disease

According to recent findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of Americans ages 30 and older have periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal (gum) disease, the American Academy of Periodontology reports.

Periodontal disease destroys gum tissue and bone, and orthodontic treatment can make the problem worse. In cases where a patient has gum disease, we work jointly with their family dentist or periodontist to coordinate treatment once the disease is under control and properly managed.

Adult orthodontic treatment by the numbers

A Wall Street Journal article noted recently that more than 1.2 million adults in the U.S. received orthodontic treatment in 2012, the most recent numbers available from the American Association of Orthodontists. That is a 39 percent increase since 1996. By comparison, about 4.65 million orthodontic procedures were performed for patients age 17 and younger in 2012, up 32 percent in the same period.

Why bother with orthodontic treatment?

Dental treatment and care is better than it’s ever been. Dentists offer more conservative treatments, which preserve more natural tooth structure.

Studies are mixed about whether orthodontic treatment improves oral health, but we know this: Adults who go through Invisalign or other treatment are proud of their smiles once treatment is complete, and that likely entices them to practice good oral hygiene. That promotes healthier teeth and gums.

“There was a time when it was almost expected to end up wearing dentures in your old age,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “That’s no longer the case. These days, people can reasonably expect to keep most or all of their natural teeth for a lifetime with proper dental care.”

So if they’re going to last you forever, don’t you want your teeth to look their best? Feel free to call our office today if you’re an adult who’s been considering orthodontic treatment. We can perform a comprehensive examination and offer treatment recommendations.

Evaluation by Age 7

December 9th, 2015

Just as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a pediatric dentist no later than their first birthday in an effort to prevent dental problems, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends every child 6886395944_0b80b79494_zsee an orthodontist at age 7 to prevent orthodontic difficulties.

Evaluation at age 7 doesn’t always mean treatment is needed at this stage. But in cases where it is recommended, interceptive treatment increases a child’s chances of avoiding surgeries, extraction of permanent healthy teeth in the future, and preventing or correcting habits that cause a bad bite.

For patients who do not require treatment, Dr. Razdolsky places them in our complimentary growth and development program. These patients visit us about every six months so we can monitor the eruption of their permanent teeth.

When the time is right for the child, Dr. Razdolsky will recommend treatment. Every child is different and everyone develops differently, so every child’s ideal time to begin treatment is different.

Please tell your friends and family members about the importance of evaluation by age 7.

You’re Invited to the Final Installment of The Hunger Games

November 10th, 2015

Are you getting as excited as we are to gather for our annual holiday movie date?

This year, we get to march together into the AMC Showplace Vernon Hills 8 to witness the fight for Peeta’s soul, and to see President Snow pay for what he’s done. That’s right – it’s time for our annual patient appreciation event and the final installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2.

You, your siblings and your friends are invited to join us Nov. 21 at the theater. Be sure to get there early, because the first 500 people will receive a free Forever Smiles hoodie. The doors will open at 10:30 a.m., and the movie starts at 11:30 a.m.

Why are we doing this?

“We appreciate our patients and their families,” Dr. Yan Razdolsky says. “We are getting to that time of year when there are lots of holiday parties and family gatherings, and this is our way of having one huge party for our patients to show them how much they mean to us.”

This will be the third year Forever Smiles has held this party, and each year a record number of people attend. Many patients tell us that they look forward to this event.

We’ve always seen a Hunger Games movie in the past, but now that the franchise is about to end, don’t fret. We’re sure we will find another awesome movie to treat you to next year.

If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, there is still time to do so by calling (847) 215-7554, or emailing Jay Part 2

The theatre is located at 555 Lakeview Parkway in Vernon Hills.

Happy Holidays, from Forever Smiles!

Congratulations, Olympians! Forever Smiles Gymnasts Headed to Rio de Janeiro

October 1st, 2015

We are incredibly excited to announce that rhythmic gymnasts Monica and Jenny Rokhman, former patients of Forever Smiles and relatives of Dr. Yan Razdolsky, are going to the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro!

These 18-year-olds graduated from high school earlier this year and competed in September in front of more than 10,000 spectators at the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Team USA was one of 10 countries to secure a spot.

In addition to the Rokhmans, members of Team USA are: Kiana Eide, Alisa Kano, Natalie McGiffert and Kristen Shaldybin.

This is only the second time in history that an American rhythmic gymnastics team has made it into the Olympics. The last time the U.S. competed in group rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympics was at the Atlanta Games in 1996, which is the year the event debuted as an Olympic sport. There, the team earned an automatic host country spot and finished dead last. The fact that Team USA earned its spot in the 2016 games gives everyone hope they will finish better in the 2016 Games.

The team has been on a winning streak this year. It competed at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July and won Team USA’s first Pan Ams gold in group rhythmic competition, winning the six clubs/two hoops final. The group also earned silver in the all-around and five ribbons finals.

Here’s another Forever Smiles connection to the talented Team USA: Their coach, Natalia Klimour, owner of North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Centeris good friends with Anna Razdolsky. The Razdolsky family’s youngest daughter, Marjey, attended this gym for about eight years. Natalia’s son also is a member of our Buffalo Grove orthodontics family, as he is a patient.

“We send heartfelt congratulations to these two talented athletes and their teammates,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “I know they will represent their community and our country well in 2016.”

We hope you’ll join us is wishing Team USA the best of luck as they continue to train for their appearance on the world stage next year. Go USA!

Jennifer and Monika Rokhman


5 Ways to Ensure Orthodontic Treatment Goes Smoothly & Quickly

September 11th, 2015

It’s back to school season, and although they may love school, we know it won’t be long before students start looking forward to the day they get out for their first holiday break.

We see similar anticipation here in our office when it comes to braces. If you were to ask Dr. Yan Razdolsky the most frequently asked question when patients begin treatment, he would say it’s this: “When do I get my braces off?”

Treatment length varies according to your specific teeth alignment and bite issues. As you anticipate the day your braces come off and your improved smile is revealed in all its glory, here are five things you can do regardless of your treatment needs that will help ensure treatment goes as smoothly and wraps up as quickly as possible.

1. Floss your teeth.

Besides removing bits of food that get lodged between teeth and appliances, flossing reduces gum inflammation. Additionally, it removes bacteria that live beneath the gums and interfere with the bone reformation process.

“If those toxins are in the midst of the bony system, they disrupt the bone remodeling process,” says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Razdolsky.

Successful orthodontic movement hinges on the bone remodeling process.

2. Brush your teeth.

Brushing after meals stimulates blood flow to carry away the byproducts of developing cells and to bring in new nutrients. This promotes overall oral health.

3. Maintain orthodontic adjustments at regular intervals.

In modern orthodontics, we try to use the lightest force we possibly can because the body responds better to lighter forces. People often think the greater the force applied in treatment, the faster the move. It’s just the opposite, Dr. Razdolsky says. You can’t deliver a small enough force to ensure the fastest movement. We use light nickel titanium arch wires for long-acting, low grade force that helps the bones and the ligaments remodel better as your teeth are shifted into proper alignment.

We schedule adjustments in six- to eight-week intervals so we can have the greatest amount of force and time to exert the most positive influence. Want your braces off on time? Keep your appointments.

4. Wear your elastic bands as prescribed.

If you consider the arch wires to be a track and the braces to be a train car, the elastics add extra force so we can move teeth along the track in a way that can improve the bite. Changing elastics a few times each day means that you maintain a reasonably even, low and light force so your teeth can move the way we want.

5. Drink water.

People often become dehydrated whether they realize it or not. If your body is dehydrated, your mouth is dehydrated. This promotes the overgrowth of bad bacteria, and that takes us back to our first tip about flossing regularly.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and realize you’ll need to drink even more if you play after-school sports or participate in other extracurricular activities.

When you’re properly hydrated, the lips and cheeks are properly lubricated by your saliva so they’re not irritated by your braces.

We hope you have found these tips helpful. We raise our glass (of water) to your speedy, successful orthodontic treatment!13856880774_bf79f57ecc_z

Braces Could be the Bullying Antidote for Your Child

August 17th, 2015

dreamstime_m_7941752Kids are heading back to school soon, and that means those babies are leaving their parents’ protective nests for several hours each day.

For parents who have fears of their children being bullied, take comfort in this: orthodontic treatment might remove the target from your child’s back at school.

Teeth are the most targeted physical feature to increase a child’s chance of being bullied, according to a study published in December in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. A child’s strength and weight ranked second and third, respectively.

According to the study, the top four dental-oriented facial features targeted by bullies are:

  • Gaps between the teeth (diastema)
  • Missing teeth (this could be congenitally, or due to decay or trauma)
  • Tooth shape or color
  • Prominent upper front teeth

Almost half of the nearly 900 students who were part of the study reported being bullied. Half of the children who were targeted by bullies said they knew their teeth were the cause of the bullying. The study found no significant gender difference on this point, according to an American Association of Orthodontists press release.

“We often talk about how your smile is the first physical feature many people notice, so it stands to reason that a child’s teeth could make him or her an easy target for bullies,” says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “Luckily, this is a physical feature that can be improved.”

While researchers used Jordanian children for this study, a panel of orthodontists in the U.S. concurred with the findings. They believe the findings would be similar among American children, according to the AAO.

“We’ve all had young patients who have told us they get picked on because of their teeth,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “It is incredibly rewarding to treat these children and watch their confidence increase as we gradually correct the parts of their smiles that have made them self-conscious. To see a bolder personality, a child more willing to smile broadly, that is an honor.”

We recommend that children be evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. Frequently no treatment is necessary at this time, and we will place your child in our monitoring program. We will schedule periodic check-ups to continue monitoring your child’s growth and identify when and if it is appropriate to begin treatment.

The purpose of this initial evaluation is to assess you child’s bite, and to determine if serious issues exist that would benefit from interceptive treatment. Sometimes addressing issues such as underbite and overjet early means we can correct the problem before your child reaches adolescence, which tends to be the age when bullying begins.

Please call our office to schedule a complimentary evaluation if your child hasn’t had an initial orthodontic evaluation, or is being bullied because of his or her teeth.

Prevent Summer Slide by Reading Books

July 14th, 2015

“Summer slide” may give you visions of flumes in water parks or slides at playgrounds, but it has a serious meaning, too. This is the term used to describe the loss of learning during the summer when children don’t read.3784767665_48e2a8082d_z

We’re serious about doing our part to help prevent summer slide. We started a Summer Reading Program this year, and we hope you’ll encourage your children to participate.

Doing so is easy: have them visit our bookshelf at their next appointment so they can choose a book to read. If your child loves the book, keep it. Otherwise, bring it back and select another.

We’re so interested in helping your children maintain their reading skills through the summer, we’re willing to reward them for their efforts. We will award three tokens for every book read. Our patients can collect tokens all summer long and cash them in for fun gifts, such as movie passes, dippin’ dots and other great items.

“Our hope is that by the end of the summer, we will have awarded lots of tokens and our bookshelf will be empty because all of our patients found books that they enjoyed so much, they wanted to keep,” says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky.

Why is reading through the summer so important? Here are some interesting facts from the National Summer Learning Association and Scholastic:

  • All students experience learning losses when they don’t take part in educational activities during the summer. Research shows students tend to score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
  • Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement while school is out for the summer.
  • More than half of the achievement gap between low income and high income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities.
  • The more children read, the better their fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

The best predictor of whether children experience summer slide or summer gain is whether they read during the summer, according to the Scholastic website, “and the best predictor of whether a child reads is whether or not he or she owns books.”

We look forward to seeing your children in our office this summer, and encouraging them to grab a book to keep for their own personal library.

Author Garrison Keillor once said: “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” We’re excited to get many, many of these gifts into kids’ hands this summer!


We Bring the Fun to Orthodontic Treatment

June 11th, 2015

What do dippin’ dots, freshly baked cookies and free books have in common? You can get them all at our office this summer!

Read on to see how we connect the dots (see what we did there?):

If you’ve been a patient of ours for a while, you’ve smelled the scent of chocolate chip cookies wafting through the office at least a time or two. We offer these ooey, gooey treats to patients at their appointments because they are a soft, braces-safe food you can eat even if your mouth feels a bit tender from having your braces bonded to your teeth or your arch wires adjusted.

Now we’ve added dippin’ dots to our offerings for the same reason. Not only are these little frozen, flavored ice cream beads a cool treat in hot weather, the coldness probably will feel soothing to your teeth if you’ve just had your braces put on. Dippin’ dots also are a great summertime reward when you complete your treatment and those braces or other appliances come off.

Speaking of summertime, it’s almost here, and we’re sure you’re excited. We’re excited too, because we recently announced our Summer Reading Program. Reading is important, and we want to make sure you continue to read this summer. We’ve filled a bookshelf in our office with books, and we want you to choose a book and read it. If you love the book, keep it. Otherwise, bring it back and select another. We will give you three tokens for every book you read. You can collect tokens all summer long and cash them in for fun gifts, such as movie passes.

Why do we incorporate these fun elements into your orthodontic visits?

“Orthodontic treatment is necessary for our patients, but it also should be fun,” says Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “We’ve seen through the years that patients who look forward to coming to our office for their recheck appointments tend to follow their orthodontic instructions, and their treatment goes faster.”

The day you first get your braces is an exciting day, but we know the next milestone you look forward to is the day those braces come off and a beautiful smile is revealed. Incorporating tasty treats and fun contests and programs you can participate in as you progress through treatment are tools designed to make you feel like you’re part of our office family, and to keep you motivated about your treatment.

“An ideal orthodontic result is what our patients seek, but our patients also remember the little things we do along the way,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “They seem to truly appreciate those little things, and we’re happy to provide them.”

If you’re looking for a Buffalo Grove orthodontics provider for yourself or your children and you want to ensure the treatment experience is fun as well as effective, please call our office for a consultation. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Orthodontic Treatment for OSA Helps You Breathe Easy

May 8th, 2015

When it comes to identifying the causes of sleep apnea, medical professionals and scientists have pointed an accusatory finger at lots of things through the years.

Many of those risk factors – smoking, excessive weight, use of alcohol and sedatives – can be controlled. But what about improper jaw growth and facial development during childhood, which has been identified as the root cause of obstructive sleep apnea?

“That can be controlled, too,” says Buffalo Grove orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky. “We’re using orthodontic treatment to guide dento-skeletal development in a way that allows for proper airway function.”

The treatment of dental problems may eventually cure a child of a sleep disorder, according to the Sleep & Behavior Medicine Institute in Chicago. Treating sleep disorders at an early age may also prevent the onset of some dental problems.

Symptoms of sleep disorders that frequently are associated with dental problems include:

  • Mouth breathing while sleeping
  • Episodes where breathing stops, or the person gasps for air
  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding
  • Multiple awakenings during the night
  • Night terrors or bad dreams
  • Sleep walking, talking or screaming
  • Bed-wetting more than once a week
  • Nocturnal asthma
  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Headaches
  • Excessive daytime weariness, fatigue, sleepiness or daydreaming
  • Hyperactivity and learning problems

Children who exhibit these symptoms should be evaluated and treated before or after orthodontic treatment, according information provided by the Sleep & Behavior Medicine Institute. The institute routinely works with Dr. Razdolsky to treat sleep problems in children, adolescents and adults.

We have focused a great deal of attention 7741513770_95a3c1d9cb_kthis year on sleep apnea. In January, we wrote about how orthodontics can be used to treat sleep apnea. In April, Dr. Razdolsky spoke on this topic at his annual seminar for area dentists, dental hygienists and dental assistants.

“We need to keep educating dental professionals on our ability to diagnose and treat sleep apnea,” he says. “Patients tend to see their family dentist and orthodontist more frequently than their family doctor, so we are on the front line when it comes to being positioned to identify obstructive sleep apnea. This is important because OSA can cause many other health complications.”

Those complications include childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, and behavior disorders such as attention deficit disorder and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

An article published in Frontiers in Neurology in 2013 concluded that pediatric OSA in children who are not obese can becaused by an oral-facial growth disorder.

Improper dento-skeletal development can be a contributing factorto improper airway function and improper overall individual development, according to a March 2015 Dental Economics article. Having a deep overbite that forces the lower jaw into a retruded position also can affect a child’s airway. A narrow upper jaw can lead to less space for the tongue and less airway space. However, widening the upper palate with a palatal expander can reduce nasal obstruction, raise tongue posture and enlarge the pharyngeal airway.

A study found that this treatment could increase the nasal passage by more than 11 percent on average, which resulted in increased nasal permeability and helped establish a predominant nasal breathing pattern, as opposed to mouth breathing, according to an article published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

An improper airway affects the way a child grows because the muscles adapt to obstructions in an effort to clear the airway. Those muscle adaptations impact dento-skeletal development.

Identifying OSA and treating it through orthodontic methods in childhood has the potential to eliminate the problem. But it’s important to diagnose and treat the growing child. By age 9, the upper jaw width is practically complete, but jaws continue to grow in females until about age 15, and in males until about age 20. It’s also important to diagnose the airways using 3D imaging, and to have a sleep study performed at a qualified medical (not dental) sleep center. A multi-disciplinary approach to care leads to the best results.

We continue to educate the public on the importance of having children evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7 because research continues to identify conditions that, if they exist at this early age, are highly treatable.

Mail-Order Braces are No Substitute for Face-to-Face Treatment

April 7th, 2015

That beautiful smile earned through years of orthodontic treatment isn’t what it used to be since you lost those retainers, but companies have emerged that offer to help inexpensively return your smile to aligned perfection.

What’s the catch? You may never see an orthodontist in person, and you’ll be expected to handle much of the diagnostic work like taking impressions of your teeth yourself.

Two major players have emerged in this mail-order orthodontic treatment model. Both say they are targeting adult patients who underwent conventional orthodontic treatment in childhood and have experienced relapse. However, one company claims to take patients as young as age 15.

Technology has advanced orthodontic treatment over the years, but has this latest advancement gone too far?

“It definitely raises concerns for me as an orthodontist,” says Dr. Yan Razdolsky, a Buffalo Grove Invisalign provider. “These mail-order systems resemble Invisalign treatment, without the same level of face-to-face interaction with your orthodontist.”

Orthodontics is not a commodity, not a product on a shelf, Dr. Razdolsky says. It is an exact science based on solid knowledge of biology of tooth movement, growth and development. Unsupervised tooth movement can lead to tooth loss

and jaw problems.

While the hype from coverage in the New York Times and Today Show has focused on the mail-order aspect of this treatment, that’s not an entirely accurate picture. Reading through the Dental Provider section of one company’s website reveals what we already know to be true: there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Some of the plans outlined involve “one or two visits” between the patient and an orthodontist, and advanced cases deemed not appropriate for this treatment method can be referred to orthodontists who are “endorsed local providers.”

That company seeks orthodontists interested in becoming endorsed local providers, but Dr. Razdolsky sees potential drawbacks for orthodontists who are involved in this type of treatment, including possible liability. Lack of ethics is even more of a concern, he says.8704200665_e2a9169e91_o

From what we’ve read in our research of this mail-order treatment model, the key diagnostic tool that appears to be missing from treatment is digital X-rays.

“We do not start a single patient in our office without 3D X-rays,” Dr. Razdolsky says.

Dr. Razdolsky has mentioned in previous blog posts how valuable our office’s i-CAT 3-D cone beam digital imaging system has been in treatment.

“I’ve even compared orthodontic treatment prior to the i-CAT to practicing blind,” he says. “The 3-D images provide such clarity and quality that I’ve identified countless long-term health risks in patients that not only weren’t visible with the naked eye, they wouldn’t have appeared in traditional X-ray images, either.”

Those health risks have included degenerative joint disease, bone cysts, and undiagnosed damage caused by periodontal disease, among other conditions. All of these conditions would have created negative consequences for orthodontic treatment if they hadn’t been diagnosed and addressed prior to treatment. The potential for these conditions going unnoticed via this mail-order braces treatment is a real concern.

One mail-order company’s founder stated in a Nashville Business Journal article that due to recent trends in “telehealth” and “teledentistry,” he thought his new company could borrow from those practices.

Is this company latching on to one element of advanced technology, while dismissing another, infinitely more important, piece of diagnostic technology by not incorporating X-rays into treatment planning? Critics of these mail-order orthodontic systems warn against trusting your orthodontic treatment to a voice over the phone and not an orthodontist who sees your teeth every four to six weeks to visibly confirm that treatment is going according to plan.

Excellent treatment methods are available for patients who want to minimize their time in braces and in an orthodontist’s treatment chair, Dr. Razdolsky says.

Systems such as Invisalign typically give you three sets of aligners at each appointment, each of which is worn for two weeks. That enables you to schedule appointments every six weeks, and total treatment time averages nine to 15 months.

SureSmile boasts treatment times that are 30 percent faster with far greater precision than traditional braces and require fewer office visits.

If you’re considering orthodontic treatment and you want to achieve ideal results, please call our office today to schedule a consultation. We believe there is no substitute for face-to-face treatment.

Suresmile® Offers High-Tech Treatment in Record Time

March 10th, 2015

Patients and orthodontists sometimes have different goals when it comes to orthodontic treatment.

While they both share the same desire of improved smiles, patients often are most concerned with how quickly those improvements will come. Dr. Yan Razdolsky and the staff here at Forever Smiles tend to be most concerned with using the best technology to achieve the most desirable results.

Luckily for both parties involved, everyone’s goals can be achieved with one product: Suresmile®.

Suresmile® is a type of technology that involves 3D imaging and robotically bent arch wires. The technology eliminates the need for taking goopy, messy impressions of your teeth. Instead, we take a digital scan of your teeth and determine an optimal treatment plan using 3D virtual simulations, says Dr. Razdolsky, a Buffalo Grove suresmile® provider. Then, rather than bending the arch wires by hand to achieve desired tooth movements – which involves a bit of guesswork – we have customized wires created just for you that are bent by a robot. This enables us to create precise tooth movement in record time.8117142757_63b72f10a8_z

Other benefits include fewer office visits and less discomfort.

“The part that patients seem to like most is when we tell them they can complete their treatment about 40 percent faster than with conventional braces,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “The part I like is that we do this without compromising treatment quality.”

Out of more than 20,000 orthodontists in the U.S. and Canada, there are only about 350 who have integrated suresmile® into their practices so far. We can use this technology with traditional brackets, or with a lingual orthodontic system. Lingual brackets are those that are placed on the tongue-side of your teeth and aren’t noticeable to others.

Other suresmile® Benefits:

Another benefit to using the suresmile® treatment system may not mean much to patients, but it makes a huge difference for orthodontists. It involves show how teeth roots move in bone.

Suresmile® is the first tool that makes it possible for Dr. Razdolsky to plan orthodontic care using information gathered about root position within your supporting bone structure.

“Having a clear picture of how the teeth roots move in the bone is at the heart of orthodontic treatment,” Dr. Razdolsky says. “This has changed the way I diagnose patients for the better.”

Buffalo Grove Orthodontist Hosts Artishock Students, Exhibit

February 24th, 2015

What makes you smile, Crocodile?

That’s the question we asked students from Art Studio “Artishock” earlier this month when they came to our office for a fieldtrip.

This was the third year the group made this educational fieldtrip to our office in Buffalo Grove. Orthodontist Dr. Yan Razdolsky explained the artistry involved in orthodontic treatment.

Students also learned abou