Our Blog

We were honored to recently be featured in DMG DENTALPROFILES!

October 25th, 2021

We were honored to recently be featured in DMG DENTALPROFILES! You can view it here (page 59) or read below!


Can you share your journey to becoming an orthodontist? 

I started my education here in Downers Grove at Highland Elementary School, Herrick Middle School, and Downers Grove North. Growing up, I never had my thoughts set on being an orthodontist; instead, I thought about doing something that involved healthcare. My parents are both in healthcare, and I had many extended family members involved in that field as well. After high school, I studied molecular biology and Spanish at The University of Illinois, and after graduation, I began working for an oral surgeon. After this experience, I decided to apply to dental school at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), followed by my orthodontic specialty degree from Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. I was drawn to orthodontics in dental school as I felt like it was the “fun” part of dentistry - no numbing, no needles, etc. I enjoyed the cosmetic and artistry part of orthodontics.

What makes Zach Frazier Orthodontics unique?

A few things make us unique. First, our mission is to serve and improve the community, which is why we are so heavily involved in supporting many schools and organizations locally. Internally, we are seriously dedicated to customer service and communication. We believe there is nothing more important to us than making our patients and their families happy, and we are willing to go above and beyond to prove this. Service, communication, and transparency are sometimes overlooked in the medical field, but those are our key priorities. Straight teeth and a healthy bite are the expectation with any orthodontic office, but we strive to make the experience better than anyone else.

As heavily involved in the community as you are, what are some of the organizations you support and why? 

In the six years that we have been in business, we have made over $40,000 in contributions to 36 community groups/schools/organizations. There are so many to name! We have made many contributions to District 58 & District 99 schools and the private schools in Downers Grove. I attended District 58 & 99 schools growing up, and I love giving back to the schools that helped shape my future. We also have provided support for some schools in the towns surrounding Downers Grove. We are a huge sponsor for many Downers Grove area sports clubs, including Roadrunners soccer, Rebels softball, Hitmen baseball, Fury baseball, Longshots baseball, Panthers football, Downers Grove Youth Baseball, and many more. It is an incredible opportunity to support so many kiddos who come into our office and sponsor their teams. Within Downers Grove, we also support many community groups, such as Downers Grove Junior Woman’s Club, Navigate Adolescence, and The Grove Foundation.

Besides bringing beautiful smiles to your patients, what is the most rewarding part about being an orthodontist? 

One of the most rewarding parts is meeting so many great people. Our dental specialty is very social, and seeing families come in over many years is fun. I love seeing old classmates in the office with their kids.

As a native of Downers Grove, what was your experience growing up here? 

I loved growing up in Downers Grove. I grew up watching movies at the Tivoli with my family, getting ice cream at Every Day’s a Sundae, and heading to McCollum for soccer games. There are so many great memories of playing for Downers Grove North soccer at Carsten’s Field. One thing that is awesome about Downers Grove is that many of my friends who share those memories still live here, too, and we are now reliving those memories with our kids. That’s one of the unique things about Downers Grove – people come back here to settle down and raise their kids, and I think that says a lot about the vibe of this town.

CLICK BELOW OR CALL US FOR A COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION

Smile Touch-Up; Minor Fixes, Major Benefits

August 10th, 2021

love your smile again

Many parents we speak to had braces in the past (but didn’t wear a retainer) and lost the straight smile they once had. Many other adults have simply never been happy with their smile. Maybe you’ve never considered orthodontics as an adult because you can’t imagine wearing braces to client meetings or maybe because it’s a big time and financial commitment to undergo years of braces as an adult. 

Whichever boat you fall into, we have good news! Our team doesn’t want any roadblocks in the way of you having a beautiful smile… or having it back again. 

That’s why we’re offering Smile Touch-Up to the adults of our community where Dr. Zach Frazier and our team will address only the elements of your smile that are most important to you. That means shorter treatment times and reduced fees.

People won’t notice you’re wearing them

We 3D print a series of custom clear aligners to straighten your teeth. And, unlike traditional braces that you might have had as a kid, our clear aligners are removable. You take them out briefly when you eat or brush your teeth. Most of the time your aligners will stay in so they can do the work of moving your teeth. The good thing is that they are virtually invisible so people won’t even notice you’re wearing them.    

While we do offer full orthodontic treatment for adults at our practice, we find that many don’t want to make that commitment. Whether it’s financial or time restraints, our Smile Touch-Up is a great option. 

Together we will figure out which elements of your smile are most important to you. We’ll agree on a course of treatment to fix only those areas, and we’ll set an estimated timeline. Because of the limited nature of the adjustments, we are able to improve your smile in a much shorter timeframe than for those looking for full orthodontic treatment. 

You’re not alone

Adults are getting braces and Invisalign clear aligners more than ever before. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) says that adults are getting orthodontic treatment in record numbers, and not all of them for the first time either. Not only that, patients are reporting that after treatment they feel better about themselves and their social lives. Most would recommend seeking out treatment for other adults. Major benefits! 

See an Expert

There are many services out there claiming they can mail you aligners and fix your teeth. We strongly believe that even the smallest changes to your mouth should be done under the in-person care of a trained and certified orthodontist. Dr. Zach Frazier is a board-certified orthodontist with extensive training beyond that of a general dentist.  Our team limits treatment exclusively to braces and Invisalign which means you have your teeth in the hands of an expert.

Make sure you know who it is that is making changes in your mouth. What looks like a small fix could domino into major issues without a trained orthodontist looking at the full picture. 

No Obstacles

At Zach Frazier Orthodontics, we have treated thousands of teens and adults with clear aligners. We know what we’re doing and we’ve treated cases that are both difficult (Full Treatment) and simpler (Smile Touch-Up). Our team strives for clinical excellence in a friendly and welcoming environment. We appreciate that you have a busy schedule and will make sure to have you in and out as quickly as possible - time is important to us! …. It’s one of the reasons why we offer Smile Touch-Up.

Speaking of time, most of our Smile Touch-Up appointments are scheduled at 10-week intervals. And, if you’re away for longer periods of time - we’re talking to you, college students - we can even work with you to ensure your geography doesn’t get in the way of treatment with us. 

Ready to Rejuvenate Your Smile? 

If you’re interested in talking about whether you’re a candidate for a Smile Touch-Up with clear aligners click the button below. We’d be happy to explore this option with you, free of charge.

CLICK BELOW OR CALL US TODAY FOR A COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATION. 

Tips for wearing a mouthguard with braces

February 22nd, 2021

Adolescents are active, so it is no surprise that there are plenty of questions about mouthguards when it comes to orthodontic treatment. In general, a mouthguard is a great investment for protecting the teeth, especially in high-contact sports. They should be considered for many sports and activities, even if braces are not being worn. Here are some common questions and answers:

  • Can you wear a mouthguard if you have braces?

    Yes, you can wear a mouthguard when you have braces. There are special mouth guards that are made specifically to fit over braces.

  • What sports require a mouthguard with braces?

    Many high school sports associations require a mouthguard for football, hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, and wrestling. The ADA also recommends a mouthguard for other contact sports like basketball and martial arts, as well as other limited contact sports such as baseball, softball, and extreme sports.

  • Is it recommended to use a mouthguard while in braces?

    Unless specifically required by your sports association, it can be a personal decision based on your comfort level and ability to breath adequately while performing. The benefit of a mouth guard is it will limit damage to teeth and soft tissues around the mouth when worn properly. Not only will it help protect the teeth, but it will protect the lips and cheeks from injury from any orthodontic appliances.

  • What is the best mouthguard for braces?

    In our office, we have found that the Shock Doctor Braces Mouthguard has worked well for many patients. It has a strap so that it can be used in sports like football. The strap can also be removed so that it can be used in sports like basketball.

    [caption id="attachment_308" align="alignleft" width="300"] Shock Doctor ® Braces mouthguard[/caption]

  • Can you use a boil and bite mouthguard with braces?

    No, you should not use a build and bite mouth guard with your braces. It may wrap around the braces and get stuck in place, or cause damage to the braces. Also, keep in mind that the teeth are continuing to move, so you do not want to have a mouthguard specifically molded to your teeth as they are changing.

  • Can I use a custom made mouthguard while in braces?

    No, you will not likely be able to use a custom mouthguard since your teeth are still moving. The mouthguard will not fit for the duration of the treatment, and it may get stuck on the braces if it is forced in place.

  • Where can I get a mouthguard for braces?

    You can find a mouthguard for braces online or in some sporting goods stores. Some orthodontists may also have them in their office for patients. At Zach Frazier Orthodontics, we have the Shock Doctor Braces Mouthguard available in office for our patients.

  • Can I wear a mouthguard with Invisalign?

    If you are in Invisalign treatment, you should still wear a mouthguard for sports if it is recommended by your association or a sport with significant contact or injury risk (football, basketball, hockey). You can remove your Invisalign and use a general one-size-fits-all mouthguard while playing the sport. You will not be able to use a custom fitting or boil and bite mouthguard as your teeth are still moving. If you are in a non-contact or limited-contact sport, you should continue to wear your Invisalign while you are playing the sport.

  • Can I wear a mouthguard with a palatal expander?

    Yes, you can wear a mouthguard with a palatal expander. It will need to be trimmed and adjusted around the expander to allow it to fit properly.

I hope this is helpful to provide some insight on mouthguard recommendations for braces. As always, if you need more information, please reach out to our office anytime - we are happy to help : )

Tips for Managing TMJ Pain During Orthodontic Treatment: Questions and Answers

February 10th, 2021

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial research, the prevalence of TMJ problems (also known as temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder) is between 5% - 12% of the population. It is more common in females than males, and tends to affect younger people more often.

While orthodontic treatment does not cause TMJ issues, studies also show that it cannot prevent or treat TMJ pain either. Here are some common questions that you may have if you are in orthodontic treatment and are now experiencing some jaw joint pain.

What does TMJ stand for and what is it?

  • TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is located directly in front of your ears, and it is where your lower jaw hinges upon opening and closing.

What are TMJ problems?

  • TMJ problems include clicking/popping joints, painful joints, or restricted jaw movement. TMJ problems may vary in severity from mild pain to severe pain, and the pain may be a temporary pain or a constant pain. TMJ problems may be related to the actual joint (bones and ligaments), or it may be related to the muscles around the joint.

What causes TMJ problems?

  • TMJ problems may be caused by an injury to the face or jaw, grind/clenching of teeth, stress, muscle fatigue or overuse of the jaw joint. Additionally, it is linked to hormonal changes in women that cause laxity of the ligaments in the jaw joint. TMJ problems are most common in teenage girls and young women.

What can I do to improve my TMJ problems or TMJ pain?
Most TMJ problems can be managed by these conservative measures:

  • Maintain a soft diet, and avoid chewy food and chewing gum.
  • Use warm, moist heat on the jaw muscles to increase blood flow and massage the muscles. Alternate the warm moist heat with an ice pack on the joint area which will help reduce inflammation of the joints.
  • Use anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen is the most common, but you should consult your physician with which anti-inflammatory medication is best for you.
  • Avoid clenching your teeth by setting up reminders to keep your teeth apart and jaw muscles relaxed.
  • Monitor your stress and manage it to avoid muscle tension and clenching.

What if my symptoms do not improve with conservative therapy?

  • If your symptoms are not improving, a referral will be made to another doctor who specifically manages TMJ problems. They may recommend more diagnostic imaging (like an MRI) to evaluate the jaw joint to find the cause of the problem. In some cases, a night guard may be recommended to help alleviate some pain.

Can I continue my orthodontic treatment?

  • In some cases, orthodontic treatment may be paused for a period of time, and occasionally it may be discontinued depending on the circumstances. The recommendations are on a case by case basis.

If you have any other questions, please let your orthodontist know. More often than not, a little patience and conservative measures will improve the TMJ pain, so hang in there : )

4909 Forest Ave
Downers Grove, IL 60515
(630) 541-3696