Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms weekly Meet a Mom series where we feature one local mama, what they’re up to both personally and professionally. But first we’d like to extend a very heartfelt thank you to our Meet a Mom sponsor, Lake Forest mom of three and owner of Gifford Law, a solo Estate Planning Law Firm. Mary, we appreciate your support of local moms in our North Shore communities!
This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely and bright Highland Park mama of 3 girls, Dr. Jessica Cohen of Dr. Jessica Cohen Orthodontics! Dr. Jessica tells us how her career began at the age of seven! And just a few years ago she went from seeing 60 patients a day + a long commute, to gaining the courage to open up her practice. Plus, she gives great product advice on her teeth whitening faves that don’t involve long office visits. Welcome, Dr. Jessica!
Hi Dr. Jessica! Please introduce yourself. Where are you from and what town do you live in now?
Hi there, mamas! My name is Jessica Cohen (A.K.A. The Braces Mom). I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in the world of dentistry. My dad is a general dentist and my mom ran his practices. I was answering his patient call forwarding by the age of seven!
I went to Madison-Wisconsin for my undergraduate degree in business (go badgers!!). I moved to Chicago after graduation to be with my then boyfriend, now turned husband. Next, we continued a 4 year long distance marriage while I attended Case Western Reserve in Ohio for dental school. Thankfully, 4 years later I matched at the only residency I applied to, UIC -at Chicago.
Fast forward to present day, I now live in Highland Park, IL where my husband was born and raised. We choose Highland Park to raise our family because his business needed him there and my job was more flexible. As an added bonus, Highland Park is an awesome, beautiful city!
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I am a proud mom to three girls ages eight, seven and four, and our Cavapoo, Elle, who is two!
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
Teaching, hugging, making memories, having fun!
Do you have any mom tips to make pandemic life a little easier?
It’s all tough! We have worked from home, parented from home, schooled from home. Nightly dance parties and Saturday night glow stick parties seem to do it for us! Red wine helps, too!
What has been the hardest part about this pandemic for you personally?
The hardest part has been balance.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Every year since I was 12 we have gone to St. Thomas and St. John almost every year, and now we have included our children in this tradition. In another lifetime I would be an event planner, studio Lagree instructor or jewelry designer.
Ha! I hear ya – but there’s always room for hobbies! Do you have any local, favorite takeout restaurants?
Norton’s, can’t go wrong with their salads and ribs. And we LOVE the pizza from Alex’s Washington Gardens.
You’re an orthodontist and you have your own practice! Please tell us more about Dr. Jessica Cohen Orthodontics.
Dr. Jessica Cohen Orthodontics was established in November 2019.
I had worked in the city for over a decade prior to opening my practice. In the city I was seeing 60+ patients a day. I wasn’t practicing how I wanted, and knew if I kept practicing orthodontics that way, I wouldn’t keep practicing.
When our daughters got old enough and realized “mommy going to work” meant I would be gone in the city for the entire day, I knew I had to make a change.
I wanted to make a difference in the community that we lived. I didn’t want to work corporate anymore. I wanted to work for me!
Thankfully, I have an amazing supportive husband that encouraged me to open my own practice.
I searched for almost a year to find the best space. When the “for rent” sign went up on the 1775 St. John’s Ave corner, I knew I had found my spot. I did a full build out, asbestos abatement and all.
I know it’s just a saying, but I truly believe that “behind every successful women is a tribe of other successful women who have her back”. The entire community has been so supportive in helping my practice grow. If I could make every smile on the North Shore as big and bright as I could, I would.
Do you offer free consultations? What is the process from start to finish when a child begins their braces journey?
Yes, we offer free consultations. We start with photos, sometimes an x-ray and a scan. We have a special 3d scanner which means no yucky impressions!! We see our patients every 6-8 weeks. Once all treatment is completed we move the child to retention when we monitor growth and development and dental stability. Our goal is to give every patient a smile that is esthetic, functional and stable! Most importantly, we want our patients to have a smile they are proud of.
Do you offer Invisalign®?
We do a ton of Invisalign® and clear aligners. I lecture on this and run a dental school program that focuses on invisalign. We also offer InBrace (braces behind the teeth). Especially now, wearing a mask and working from home, we have more adults than ever!
We also offer free adult consults, including free virtual consults to make things easy for busy parents.
You worked hard to get to this space in your life. What is the most rewarding thing about this endeavor?
Knowing that my husband and children are proud of me.
And, of course, “the after” when a patient’s braces come off! It’s not just about the smile, but the confidence behind the smile.
Who are your influencers and/or mentors that have helped you get to where you are today and/or continue to inspire you?
My mom, my dad, my husband and some of the awesome rock star friends that I made in residency and dental school.
What advice can you give other mamas out there who are looking to start a new business in the current climate?
Be persistent and patient.
What are the 2 most common questions that people reach out to ask you with regards to teeth?
Q: When should my child see an orthodontist?
A: The American Association of Orthodontists recommends by the age of 7. This age is recommended to evaluate how a child’s mouth and teeth are growing. This doesn’t mean every child will get treatment by the age of 7, but it is important to have an evaluation for early detection of orthodontic problems.
Q: How do I get white teeth?
A: I am a huge fan of at home whitening. I personally love KöR Whitening® and Opalescence™ Tooth Whitening Systems. I use Colgate® Optic White® Whitening Mouthwash daily!!
Undergrad college/major: Business
Favorite candy: Any chewy that the dentist would hate lol. Skittles for the win!
Strangest thing in your purse right now: A screwdriver.
Last book you read: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman for my office book club.
Your binge shows: Anything girly, most recently, Ginny and Georgia on Netflix.
What’s next for you?
Big, white smiles for all those interested! More community activities and hopefully in person celebrations soon!
Thanks! How can we connect with you for more information?