orthodontist St. John

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 long does orthodontic treatment take?

August 17th, 2012

Orthodontic treatments are used to correct malocclusion, a condition more commonly known as a bad bite. The length of treatment time varies depending on the severity of the bite problem.

What is a "bad bite"?
A bad bite occurs when spacing or alignment problems are present. This often includes teeth that are protruding, crowded, or crooked. Sometimes teeth appear straight, but have an uneven bite because the upper and lower jaws do not align properly. Teeth that are irregularly spaced - either too far apart or too close together - can also cause bite problems.

Frequent causes of bite problems:

  • Heredity
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Premature tooth loss
  • Accidents

Benefits of orthodontic treatment:

Appearance -
Correcting a bad bite often creates a more attractive smile, which frequently raises the patient's self esteem.

Preventing Decay -
It also results in a healthier mouth. It is much more difficult to thoroughly clean teeth that are crooked, protruding, overlapped, or crowed. This may allow plaque to build up, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment corrects these conditions, so cleaning can be more efficient.

Avoiding Alignment Issues -
An uneven bite can interfere with the motions of chewing and speaking. This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, which may require pricey cosmetic restorative treatments, such as crowns or veneers, to correct. It can also lead to problems with the jaws. Orthodontic treatment lessens the likelihood of those issues, as well.

Types of orthodontic treatment:

- Braces: Metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the front of teeth. Wires and elastics are attached to the brackets to straighten teeth.

- Invisalign®: Advanced 3D computer images of the patients' mouth are used to create clear, custom aligners that slowly move teeth. They are nearly invisible and are more comfortable than traditional braces. They are also removable, which makes it possible to continue with normal brushing and flossing.

- Retainers: A retainer is a removable piece worn inside the mouth that uses pressure to force teeth to move into proper alignment. They are used after braces are removed.

Length of orthodontic treatment:
Treatment typically ranges from 12 to 36 months. Factors include the age, cooperation level, and growth occurrence of the patient. The complexity of the case also impacts the treatment time.

What are your 4th of July plans?

June 30th, 2011

This coming Monday, July 4th, is Independence Day and the United States of America will be turning 235 years old! It’s a day to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and also a time for every American to pay homage to our soldiers, past and present, who have placed themselves in harm’s way so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom.

Drs. Koufos & Albright and team will be celebrating this Monday and we would like to know, what are your plans for the 4th of July? Will you be out in the sun? Have you stocked up on fireworks? Are you going to grill up your favorite summer foods? Are you staying in town or heading somewhere else? If you have a 4th of July tradition, we would love to hear about it.

Whatever you plan to do, we hope you have a fun and safe holiday! Feel free to upload your 4th of July photos to our Facebook page and let us know how your Independence Day turned out this year.

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.

The 12th Annual Postcard Contest

June 10th, 2011

Whether you are going on vacation or just sticking around town, send us a postcard or picture with our doctors and you could win an Ipod touch, Wii Entertainment System or a Waterproof Camera!

This year's categories are:

Mystery Destination - we pick a destination and if you send us a postcard from there you win! (one winner will be randomly choosen if more than one postcard is sent from the destination)

Take Our Doctors with You - take a picture with our doctors and send us a picture (one winner will be randomly chosen)

Farthest Traveled - send us a postcard that is the farthest place from Munster, IN (one winner will be randomly chosen )

**all postcards and pictures must be received by Sept. 3rd!!

For more details or questions, call us at any of our 3 locations!

Have fun! We look forward to seeing where you have been!

Is Invisalign® really customized for each patient?

June 3rd, 2011

Yes, it is, and that’s part of what makes it work. To find out if you are the right candidate for Invisalign treatment, the first thing we do is to 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.

Next we use special software to map out the exact path your teeth will take from the beginning of your treatment to the end. Based on the results, a set of custom aligners are created just for your teeth. Throughout the course of treatment, you will be required to wear these clear, removable aligners one at a time; each one moving your teeth closer and closer to their final, perfectly aligned position. The best thing about it all? Nobody around you will even know you are wearing braces!

Drs. Koufos & Albright are certified Invisalign providers in Munster, Schererville, and St. John. If you have questions about Invisalign, or would like to find out if you are a candidate for Invisalign treatment, please give us a call.

Dr. Koufos, Dr. Albright and team, wishing you a relaxing and memorable Memorial Day weekend

May 26th, 2011

Memorial Day weekend is a time when Americans everywhere stop and remember all those men and women who bravely gave their lives for our country.

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of summer 2011, and for many folks in our community, getting out of town for three days after being cooped up in the office or in the classroom means sweet, sweet relief. At Orthodontic Specialists, we also know Memorial Day weekend is ripe for travel. After all, it’s a season of vacations, adventures and great memories. Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, hitting the great open roads or hanging out in your backyard this weekend, we want to know about it!

Have a nice and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

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