Oral Health

football mouthguards as pop art!

September 5th, 2016

Looks like art!

For over 25 years, Dr. Koufos and staff have volunteered to make custom fitted mouthguards for the Munster football team!  "This is a great effort for everyone, including the coaches, to make sure that the oral safety is a top priority for the Mustang team," Dr. Koufos said.

Each teammate will have a plaster mouth impression made at the football field. Next, we use our in-office dental lab at Orthodontic Specialists' where these red plastic molds are vacuumed sealed and trimmed to make red mouth guards for each team player.  Safety is of the upmost importance for not only football but any contact sport played by  young men and women alike.

Patients in our office will use our state of the art iTero impression technology. This is the most advanced way to make digital impressions without all the messy goop! http://www.orthospcs.com/itero-digital-impression-system

For more information on custom mouthguards, please call your general dentist or certified orthodontists, Drs. Koufos & Albright at Orthodontic Specialists' in Munster and St. John Indiana offices or call us at 219-924-1440 for a free consultation!

Besides Straight Teeth, What are the Benefits of Braces?

October 12th, 2012

Everyone wants a naturally aligned and beautiful smile, and it is no secret that orthodontic braces can help deliver one. However, there are greater benefits to wearing braces than just having straight teeth. You’ll gain many oral health benefits in addition to the cosmetic ones.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease
Crooked or crowded teeth may overlap each other and create tight spaces in between. These can make it very difficult to brush and floss effectively, allowing bacteria and plaque to build up, and eventually leading to tooth decay and gum disease. With orthodontic treatment, your teeth will become properly aligned and spaced, which allows for more effective brushing.

Difficulties with Speech
Your teeth play an essential role in speech. When they are out of line or lean too far forward or backward, this can affect your speaking patterns, and possibly cause embarrassment and frustration. Braces can readjust the positioning of the teeth to allow for clearer, more professional speech.

Bone Erosion
Bone and gum tissues begin to erode when there are no teeth to support. This is also true for poorly aligned teeth that leave gaps and spaces or place too much pressure on the jawbone due to a bad bite. With braces, the bones and tissues are less likely to erode and can continue to support the teeth in their new alignment.

Digestion
Your teeth play an important role in digestion. Before food ever enters your stomach, it has been partially digested by the teeth. If teeth are severely out of line, however, they may not play their role in breaking down food as effectively as they should. With braces, your teeth will be straightened into optimal alignment for eating and chewing.

How much do you know about your toothbrush?

September 28th, 2012

Taking care of your smile is nothing new! People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years. In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):
• Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color
• The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India
• On average, children smile about 400 times per day
• Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months
• The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in 1955 and Colgate in 1873

When Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

August 24th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments vary from dental treatment, in that they primarily address malocclusions, jaw spacing and tooth alignment, rather than the actual health of the teeth. That is why it is often more difficult for parents to determine when a child needs orthodontic treatment rather than dental treatment. So how can you know it is time to take your child to the orthodontist?
Bad Bite - As the adult teeth begin to replace primary teeth, bite occlusions can develop. These often become visible to parents between middle childhood and the pre-teen years, although an orthodontist can identify a bad bite with early evaluation.
Visible Tooth Crowding - If your child's newly emerging teeth are already crowded, you should make an appointment with our office to discuss braces.
Tooth Grinding (Bruxism) - Children who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. Oral appliances are available to correct nighttime tooth grinding.
Difficulty Chewing, Biting, or Speaking - If your child is displaying difficulty speaking or eating, or if he or she often experiences cheek biting, schedule an orthodontic consultation.
Asymmetry - If your child's face is asymmetrical, or if his or her teeth do not meet together in a natural way, orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
Evaluation and Preventive Care
Even if your child has no visible tooth or jaw alignment problems, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit the orthodontist for an initial examination no later than age seven. The reason for early evaluation is because orthodontists are capable of finding subtle problems with the jaw and teeth growth and spacing before they become more pronounced and also more difficult to treat.

By bringing your child in for an evaluation, you may be able to treat orthodontic conditions with shorter and more simplified treatments that are also more affordable than treatment during the teenage and adult years.

What are the Early Signs of Orthodontic Problems?

August 10th, 2012


Visibly crooked teeth are not the only reason to take your child into the orthodontist. There are some subtle things to look for as well, which may indicate the onset of more serious orthodontic issues. Many orthodontic issues are much easier to address if treated and corrected during a child's development.

Waiting until facial development is complete or until the permanent teeth have come in can make correction of many orthodontic issues more challenging. Both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic care at any age, but addressing issues early is almost always the ideal choice.

If you're wondering if you or your child might have need for orthodontic care, there are some things you can be on the lookout for. Here are some of the most common warning signs of orthodontic issues:

• Difficulty when chewing or biting
• Chronic mouth-breathing
• Sucking the thumb, the fingers, or any other oral sucking habits that continue after the age of six
• Overbite - when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth by more than 5mm
• Top front teeth that cover more than 25% of the bottom teeth while biting
• Underbite - when the top front teeth go behind the bottom row of teeth when biting
• Crowded, crooked, overlapped, misshapen, misplaced teeth or extra teeth of any size
• Crossbite - when one or more teeth tilt toward the cheek or toward the tongue causing excessive stress on the jawbone
• The center of the top and bottom teeth don't line up
• Uneven teeth-wearing
• Baby teeth coming out too early for the child's age
• Pain in jaws
• Clicking in the jaw joints
• The jaw shifts off-center while chewing or biting
• A jaw that protrudes, or recedes, too much
• Difficulty speaking or enunciating clearly
• Chronic biting of the inner cheek or roof of the mouth
• Asymmetrical facial structure
• Grinding or clenching of the teeth

If you notice that either you or your child has one or more of these conditions, they could be signs that there is a risk of orthodontic or health problems. The sooner these problems are addressed, the wider and brighter you will be able to smile going forward!

Top ten tips for keeping your BRACES sparklin’ clean!

July 13th, 2012




Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:
1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.

2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.
3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.
4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.
6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.
7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.

8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.
9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.
10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!

We hope this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!

Stay Cool with a Braces-Friendly Summer Treat!

June 25th, 2012

Summer is here! Kids and adults alike will now be spending more time outside being active and enjoying the hotter temperatures. What’s better on a hot summer day than a delicious treat that will cool you down after doing something active in the summer sun? Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have just the thing, Watermelon Sorbet! You can find the complete recipe below:

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon lime juice
• 2 to 3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind
Directions
In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this “syrup” at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately.

Happy Summer!

Orthodontic Emergency? We can help!

June 18th, 2012

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the 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 with our office.
You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you get in to see us…

The following solutions may help you relieve your discomfort:

Poking Wire: Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort.
Loose Bracket or Band: If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, wrap the bracket with a tissue.
Loose Wire: Using a tweezers, try to place your wire back into place. If doing this and using wax does not help, as a last resort use a small fingernail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.
Loose Appliance: If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.
Headgear Does Not Fit: Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, headgear becomes more comfortable the more it's worn, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.
General Soreness: When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take aspirin or whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.
Remember, after alleviating your discomfort, it is still very important that you call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem.

Making Your Life Better with Orthodontics

June 11th, 2012


The number one goal of orthodontic treatment is to give you or your child a good bite, meaning straight teeth that work well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. It can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and may well improve your self-esteem. As a part of your comprehensive dental health care plan, orthodontic treatment can help you retain your teeth—and your smile—for a lifetime.
Let your smile express yourself! Nothing can show the world how happy you are quite like a beautiful smile. In fact, it’s one of the first things others notice about you, too. With orthodontics, you can be proud to flash your smile, because you’ll know that your smile truly represents your positive attitude.
Make your mouth healthy! Straight teeth aren’t just pretty, they’re healthy as well. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to clean, reducing the amount of plaque buildup and risk for gingivitis. The cleaner you keep your teeth, the longer they’ll last!
Feel free to live your life! Orthodontics is easier today than ever before, with treatment options that fit your lifestyle and schedule. We can personalize your treatment to suit all of your needs!

June marks National Dairy Month!

June 7th, 2012

In honor of June Dairy Month, our team would like to thank all of our hard working families in the Dairy Industry.

In fact, dairy is important to your overall health! A 2008 study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease).

Results of the study show that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease. Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth.

Questions about which foods you should steer clear of and which you should enjoy during orthodontic treatment? Give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 6th, 2012

Visiting your dentist during your orthodontic treatment will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy while you have braces, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. The fact is, every hour of every day in the U.S., someone dies of oral cancer, which is the sixth-most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our patients about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene while you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Your dentist is specifically trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health during your next adjustment appointment. Take care of your teeth!

What do rubber bands do?

March 22nd, 2012


Rubber bands, or elastics, can be an integral aspect of orthodontic care, so if Drs. Michael Koufos and David Albright have prescribed elastics as a part of your treatment, it’s important to follow the directions fully. Elastics help to align your bite or cause teeth to move in different directions and straighten more quickly. We will instruct you how to hook one end to an upper bracket and the other end to a lower bracket so the rubber band goes vertically or diagonally from one bracket to another. The tension of the rubber band produces pressure on the bracket, which causes the teeth to move and straighten. This tension is also sufficient to correct an overbite or an under bite in the jaw.

If rubber bands are a part of your treatment plan, there are a few things to keep in mind. With rubber bands, you won’t be able to open your mouth fully, so they will have to be removed when you eat and reapplied after meal time. Many times, rubber bands are only needed at night, so you won’t need to worry about eating with them. Also, if you try to open your mouth too wide, your rubber bands might snap – so be careful!

Failure to wear your elastics full time or as instructed can lengthen your treatment time and may make it more difficult to achieve an optimal result. But don’t worry; your time in elastics will be well worth it when you see your beautiful, new smile.

Valentine's Day and your teeth, from Drs. Koufos and Albright

February 14th, 2012


Valentine’s Day is here, and there is a lot of candy making the rounds this week. It’s once again time to remind all of our patients to be extra careful when choosing those candies and treats!

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth, as well as braces! Did you know sour candies can be acidic to your teeth, and actually wear down the enamel that protects them? This can cause tooth decay and cavities! Sour and fruity candy, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which is known to ruin enamel.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends softer treats, such as soft chocolate or peanut butter cups, or melt-in-your-mouth foods. Those who indulge should make sure they brush and floss between teeth, around brackets and at the gum line. If damage occurs, please call us as soon as possible.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Orthodontic Specialists!

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, from Orthodontic Specialists

February 9th, 2012

Each February for the past 62 years, the American Dental Association (ADA) has sponsored National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

For kids wearing braces, brushing and flossing can become more difficult, requiring extra time and vigilance to remove food particles that accumulate on and between the teeth and in braces. New options for braces such as Invisalign Teen, which is removable, make it easier for kids to maintain good oral health during orthodontic treatment.

If the health of your teeth is ignored during treatment with braces, the results can be significantly compromised. Drs. Michael Koufos and David Albright are available and happy to explain why effective brushing and flossing is one of the most critical actions needed from patients during orthodontic treatment. Have you visited us lately? Give us a call and schedule an appointment!

Ask Orthodontic Specialists: What's the deal with mouthwash?

February 2nd, 2012

While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:

Fluoride – fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Antiseptic – an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.
Combination – a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.
Prescription – for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.

There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:
• Scope
• Listerine
• Act
• Crest
• Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
• Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
• Breath Rx
• Orajel
• Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
• Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)

If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask us at your next appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!

– Orthodontic Specialists

Patient Question: “How do I prevent tooth decay during my treatment?”

January 26th, 2012

Great question!

If you are brushing and flossing daily during your orthodontic treatment with Drs. Michael Koufos and David Albright, we think that’s great! But, don’t forget that it’s also important for you to visit your general dentist every 3-to-6 months in addition to brushing your teeth and flossing (and visiting Orthodontic Specialists, of course). Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health, especially during orthodontic treatment.

Tooth decay, which is caused by sugars left in your mouth, can turn into an acid, which in turn can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay because adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines, combined with regular dental visits, help keep tooth decay away.

If you have any questions, please be sure to keep ask Drs. Koufos and Albright or our team during your next adjustment appointment, or ask us on Facebook!

Make 2012 the year to improve your oral health

January 4th, 2012

Many folks consider the beginning of a new year a time to not only reflect on the year that was, but also to set personal goals for the upcoming year. How are you planning to improve your health and happiness in 2012? Drs. Michael Koufos and David Albright and our team recommend that you make a New Year’s resolution to benefit your oral health!

It is important that New Year’s resolutions are reasonable and attainable, and that they improve your overall quality of life—for example, did you know that flossing every day is the very best way to prevent periodontal, or gum, disease? Using a straw when drinking sugary beverages can also help prevent cavities. There are many small steps that you can take to prevent cavities, oral infections and bad breath.

Be sure to give us a call if you need a few suggestions on ways to improve your oral health—we want to hear from you! After all, we know your oral health is about more than just a beautiful smile.

Happy New Year!

—Your friends at Orthodontic Specialists

Beware of those holiday goodies!

December 20th, 2011

At Orthodontic Specialists, we know maintaining a healthy diet over the holiday season can prove a difficult task. After all, who can resist the tasty treats of Christmas? With grandma and everybody else offering you candy, chocolate logs or Christmas pudding, you just can’t say “I’ll pass” each time. But trouble lurks: every time you chow down on that chocolate or candy, the bacteria in your mouth have a feast on the sugar—at your expense. The sugar turns into acid, and the acid eats away at the enamel on your teeth and between your braces. Then, you start getting cavities.

Instead, try fudgy cocoa bites, marvelous molasses cookies, wonderful waffles or other braces-friendly recipes, courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontics, or AAO, and “The Braces Cookbook” by Pamela Waterman.

If you must indulge in chocolaty goodness this Christmas or holiday season, remember to brush your teeth after eating sugary treats. Hope this helps! Give us a call if you have any questions!

Happy Holidays!

Your new pal, fluoride

September 15th, 2011

There are so many ways you protect your teeth throughout your orthodontic treatment at Orthodontic Specialists. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and protect your mouth and appliances from being damaged. But did you know there is another, often forgotten about, way to keep your teeth clean and healthy during your treatment? Fluoride – a mineral that helps prevent cavities and tooth decay – can help keep your teeth strong! Fluoride comes in two varieties: topical and systemic. Topical fluoride is applied directly to the tooth. Topical fluoride includes toothpastes and mouth rinses. Systemic fluorides are swallowed in the form of a dietary supplement.

Fluoride used in the dentist or orthodontist's office is often times a stronger concentration than in toothpaste or mouthwash, but is available at some drug stores or a pharmacy (ask your doctor how to purchase professional strength fluoride). A fluoride treatment typically takes just a few minutes. After the treatment patients may be asked not to rinse, eat or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six or 12 months. Your doctor may also prescribe a fluoride product such as mouthwashes, gels or antibacterial rinses for at-home treatment.

When choosing your own fluoride product, be sure to check for the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Products marked with the ADA seal of approval have been carefully examined and have met the criteria of the ADA for safety and effectiveness. Take care of your teeth, and smile bright!

Stay Cool with a Braces-Friendly Summer Treat!

June 23rd, 2011

Summer is here! Kids and adults alike will now be spending more time outside being active and enjoying the hotter temperatures. And what’s better on a hot summer day than a delicious treat that will cool you down after doing something active in the summer sun? Luckily, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have just the thing, Watermelon Sorbet! You can find the complete recipe below:

Watermelon Sorbet

Ingredients
• ¾ cup water
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon lime juice
• 2 to 3 cups watermelon, diced, no seeds or rind
Directions
In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and lime juice on medium high for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Chill this “syrup” at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, place the watermelon chunks in a food processor or blender and liquefy them. Add the chilled syrup to the watermelon puree and blend. Freeze sorbet in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately.

Happy Summer!

-Drs. Koufos & Albright and team

Smile! June is National Smile Month!

June 16th, 2011

According to the American Dental Association, a person's smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature, which is why it's important for our team at Orthodontic Specialists to support National Smile Month this June.

Here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your oral health so that you may celebrate National Smile Month for many, many years to come:

* Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Here's a helpful video showing you how to brush with your braces on.
* Floss every day to clean between your teeth.
* Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks during your orthodontic treatment with Drs. Koufos & Albright.
* Visit your dentist regularly (usually every six months apart).

If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call.

We're the leading Invisalign provider in NWI We're the leading Invisalign provider in NWI We're the leading Invisalign provider in NWI
sesame communicationsWebsite Powered by Sesame 24-7™ Back to Top