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Orthodontist helps students brush up on dental health

JOHNSBURG – Dr. Michael Thompson of Conlon & Thompson Orthodontics in McHenry advised students not to take their teeth for granted Wednesday at St. John the Baptist Catholic School in Johnsburg.

"It's as simple as brushing your teeth. If you do that, you'll live a happier, healthier lifestyle," Thompson said.

Thompson gave talks to kids by age group. For younger kids his props included an oversized toothbrush and yarn for floss.

A PowerPoint presentation included "yucky" pictures of tooth decay. "This is what happens when you don't brush your teeth," Thompson warned.

Often, Thompson's warnings hit home.

"Parents come in and say their kids are brushing their teeth like a maniac," Thompson said. "What had been a daily battle, the kids start taking responsibility for their dental health."

This is the sixth year Conlon & Thompson has visited area schools. "We like to get out to the community to talk to kids about brushing their teeth and how to take care of them," Thompson said.

"It's well received by parents and students."

Dr. Michael Conlon has been in practice in McHenry since 1978. Thompson joined the practice in 2006.

Conlon & Thompson participates in a candy buy-back program around Halloween. "For every pound of candy donated we give $1 to the PTA," Thompson said. "We donate the candy to the troops." Thompson said the practice teamed with JA Frate to ship the candy, which totaled about a ton last year.

Conlon's son, Sean, is an Army ranger who has served in Afghanistan.

Each February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health.

Although this year's month-long observance is winding down, "It's never a bad time for dental health," Thompson said.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. While your child’s teeth may appear to be straight, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.

According to the association, a check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine. Or, the orthodontist may identify a developing problem but recommend monitoring the child’s growth and development, and then, if indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time for the child. In other cases, the orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment.

Early treatment may prevent or intercept more serious problems from developing and
may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. In some cases, the
orthodontist will be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and
jaws have finished growing.

For more information, visit www.mylifemysmile.org.

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Conlon & Thompson Orthodontics

What: An orthodontics practice with specialists Drs. Michael Conlon and Michael Thompson.

Where: 4104 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry

Information: Call 815-344-2840 or visit www.conlonthompsonorthodontics.com

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