Braces

Direct-to-Consumer Braces vs. Professional Orthodontist

March 8th, 2019

If you’ve ever considered using braces to straighten your teeth, you’re most likely familiar with direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment options, such as SmileDirectClub. These companies have exploded in popularity recently—boasting their affordability and less fuss involved. However, not all aspects of direct-to-consumer treatment are good. There are strong, unwavering benefits to completing orthodontic treatment with a certified and experienced orthodontist vs. getting the quick fix of straight-to-order aligners. Here are some things you should consider before clicking “purchase” on a smile kit.

Expert Care in Vernon Hills & Chicago

The field of orthodontics is a professional medical field. To be certified as an orthodontist, doctors must go through rigorous academic study and training to become licensed as a professional in the industry. Your skilled orthodontists in Vernon Hills and Chicago are members of the American Association of Orthodontics, which is a professional association of doctors who have dedicated great time, energy, and effort into transforming smiles. When you’re orthodontic treatment is supervised by a professional orthodontist like Dr. Jacobson, Dr. Tsou, or Dr. Kim, you can be certain that your care is of the highest quality and your results will be equally exceptional.

How Does Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Treatment Work?

Many companies such as SmileDirectClub offer an easy, online way to get a new smile. You simply submit an impression and photo of your teeth using the company’s kit, and the company sends you a custom set of aligners every month or so. After completing all sets of aligners to straighten teeth, your smile will be aligned! This may sound too-good-to-be-true. And that’s because, in many cases, it is.
In actuality, there is more to creating a straight, stunning smile than simply moving the teeth. Orthodontic treatment does more than straighten the visible part of your smile. Effective orthodontic treatment takes into consideration your bite, jaw alignment, facial structure, and smile/mouth as a whole—targeting all of these areas to provide you with a smile that is properly aligned and will maximize your oral and dental health as well. If orthodontic treatment is not done correctly, this can actually cause irreversible and costly damage such as misaligned bite, tooth or gum loss, and other issues.
Many direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatments cannot properly assess all features of your oral and dental health and therefore, only work to correct visible issues like crookedness, gaps, or crowded teeth.

Questions to Ask about Direct-to-Consumer Orthodontic Treatment

To help make your decision easier, here are a few questions that are important to ask yourself when considering direct-to-consumer orthodontic treatment, such as SmileDirectClub aligners.

  • Will X-rays be taken of your teeth and jaws?
  • Will a clinical examination of your bite, facial profile, jaw alignment, and overall smile be taken to determine the best method for straightening your teeth?
  • What type of treatment is offered by the direct-to-consumer company?
  • How can you know that the type of treatment offered is the best method for your individual needs and smile goals?
  • Are your teeth and gums healthy enough for orthodontic treatment, and has this been determined by your licensed dentist?
  • Will you require any in-person office visits to a licensed dentist or orthodontist during your treatment?
  • Is there a professional dentist or orthodontist involved in the creation and customization of your treatment?
    • Are you provided with or able to research his or her name, practice, education, credentials, etc.?
  • If there is a problem with your orthodontic treatment, who will be taking care of it, and who will be held responsible for it?
  • Are you asked to sign any forms that release the company from liability should an injury or other issue occur?
  • Who will handle any issues such as injury or an emergency, and how will those issues be handled?

Based on these questions, in the end, it should become clear that trusting direct-to-consumer teeth straightening option is not the best choice. Your smile is important after all. Why risk irreversible damage and take shortcuts designed for the masses, not your unique mouth and smile when you could have amazing orthodontic treatment from an orthodontist with skill, experience, and a passion for helping people get the smile they desire?

Contact Your Vernon Hills & Chicago Orthodontists

If you’re looking to improve your confidence by transforming your smile, it is always best to start by scheduling a consultation with one of our Vernon Hills and Chicago orthodontists. At Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics, we will take accurate images of your teeth and jaw, assess your bite, alignment, and facial structure, and discuss your smile goals with you. Together, we will determine the best possible course of action for your orthodontic treatment. If you’d like to know more or have any questions regarding orthodontic treatment, we welcome you to contact us in our Vernon Hills or Chicago office today. We can’t wait to help you get started!

Braces vs. Invisalign – Which is Right for You?

February 2nd, 2019

Can you believe 2019 is coming? That means another year full of activities, social events, and adventure in general. So, whether it’s for yourself or for your child, it may be time to invest in a plan to straighten your teeth. But should you pick braces or opt for Invisalign? At Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics in Chicago and Vernon Hills, we offer both Invisalign and traditional braces as great options to straighten teeth. By considering your individual teeth, goals, and preferences, we can help you choose which option is right for you.

Your Orthodontic Options

Braces

Traditional braces, the most popular orthodontic option for teeth straightening, are made of a system of brackets and wires. Brackets are attached to either the front or back of the teeth using cement and wires and elastic bands are connected to those brackets in order to apply constant pressure to help straighten teeth. Your orthodontist will schedule appointments to replace the bands and adjust the wires every 6 - 10 weeks.

Invisalign

Invisalign is the process of using a series of clear aligners to increasingly straighten your smile. Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is both wire and bracket-free. Initially, your orthodontist sends impressions of your teeth to create aligners. Once the Invisalign aligners are made they must be worn sequentially, contingent upon your orthodontist’s approval at regular check-up appointments. Appointments with your orthodontist should be scheduled every 8 - 12 weeks to monitor progress and receive the next aligner when ready.

Comparing Pros and Cons

Lifestyle

Invisalign

The most significant difference between traditional braces and Invisalign is the fact that Invisalign is the “almost invisible” orthodontic option. Since Invisalign uses clear aligners, the treatment is less noticeable than its braces counterpart. Invisalign aligners are also removable, which means there are no restrictions on what you can eat while using this orthodontic option. Additionally, this means there are no limitations to your oral hygiene routine. Overall, because Invisalign is removable, there is a minimal effect on your lifestyle but an effect on your teeth.
Although, some patients who tend to snack all day rather than eat regular meals find having to constantly take out aligners to eat inconveniently. Those patients prefer traditional braces since they can snack with them on (they just have to eat softer foods).

Traditional Braces

Unlike Invisalign, traditional braces are not removable. This means there are certain limits in place to ensure the safety and efficiency of your orthodontic equipment. While using traditional braces, avoid eating foods that are either too sticky or too crunchy. You will also need to be especially vigilant with your oral hygiene, working to brush and floss between braces.
Naturally, traditional braces are the more noticeable option for your orthodontic needs. Keep in mind though, while they aren’t clear like Invisalign, traditional braces have come a long way aesthetically. The brackets are now smaller, come in less noticeable colors, and can even be placed on the back of the teeth to minimize how visible they are.

Financial

The cost of both traditional braces and Invisalign depends on several factors, for example, the severity of the orthodontic problem, your dental insurance, and any work to restore braces or Invisalign aligners that are damaged/lost throughout the process. Typically, the cost of traditional braces ranges from $2,500 - $7,000, while Invisalign costs from $3,000 - $8,000. Book a consultation with Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics at our Chicago or Vernon Hills office to discuss the specific pricing you can expect for either traditional braces or the Invisalign system.

Call Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics Today!

Start the New Year out with a step toward straighter teeth and a confident smile. Whether you decide to get braces or Invisalign, Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics of Chicago and Vernon Hills will help you move toward your smile goals. Your eligibility to receive either Invisalign or traditional braces depends on your unique orthodontic needs, so schedule a consultation now to discuss with an orthodontist if braces or Invisalign may be right for you. We can’t wait to see your smile!

Oral Hygiene in The Summer for Kids

August 2nd, 2018

They say one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and this applies to oral hygiene as well. As warmer temperatures arrive, we know kids and families are enjoying longer days, travel plans, less routine, and plenty of ice cream! While we encourage all of these indulgences, let’s discuss ways to maintain a good oral hygiene routine so that guilty pleasures don’t lead to cavities, which can affect your orthodontic treatment.

Set a Bedtime

Possibly the best part of summer, staying up extra late and sleeping in a little longer can do the most damage on proper dental hygiene routines. During the school year, kids establish habits of brushing and flossing before bedtime and upon waking, but when those routines disappear, so will those good habits. This is why your orthodontic and oral care experts at Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics encourage parents to set a flexible bedtime during the summer so kids continue to care for their teeth. Beyond supporting healthy and strong teeth, a flexible routine in the summer will lead to a smoother transition when school schedules come back into full swing!

Camps, Classes, & Sports

Another way to create a sense of routine in the summer can come from signing your child up for camps that encourage them to explore new interests and hobbies. These activities do not need to take up an entire day or full week, but some structure will provide a sense of normalcy that kids rely upon and thrive on. Of course, setting a healthy balance between activities and free time is important to ensuring kids still enjoy their summer break.

Commitment

Discussing oral hygiene habits during the summer may seem out of the blue, but years of experience teach us that summer break can lead to the breakage of healthy oral hygiene habits. Talking about the subject can help keep it from escaping your kids’ minds. So, on your next camping trip or family getaway, take advantage of the opportunity to teach your child about their lifelong commitment to dental health by packing toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss, and committing to routines while on the go. This will protect the health of your child’s teeth and therefore also help their smile results post orthodontic treatment.

Contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics Today!

Keeping a good oral hygiene routine is vital. This is true throughout your life, and through the process becomes more difficult during orthodontic treatment, it still remains important. So this summer, don’t let your kids forget about maintaining the health of the teeth beneath their braces. Help them keep up with great oral hygiene and contact our Chicago or Vernon Hills office for tips and tricks to making oral hygiene with orthodontic treatment easier!

Braces & Your Oral Hygiene Routine

June 4th, 2018

Braces can make maintaining thorough oral hygiene difficult. However, there are some best practices and special tools you can use to make your oral hygiene routine easy and efficient!

Brushing Basics

Let's start with the basic brushing tools. Our orthodontists recommend choosing either a soft-bristle brush or a bi-level brush (a toothbrush that has shorter bristles in the middle and longer bristles at the edges). Used carefully, an electric toothbrush can also work. But be sure that the electric brush you select is set to a moderate power level whenever you use it, and be mindful of the vibrations. You don’t want the back of your brush to hit your brackets or braces.

Best Practices

Our team of skilled orthodontists advises that you brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day (preferably after meals) for at least two minutes each time. Remember to brush all teeth surfaces: outside, inside, and the chewing surfaces as well. And be especially careful to clean the areas between wires and teeth, as well as between brackets and gums — that's where food particles can easily become trapped, causing decay.

Technique

Beginning at the outside surfaces, place the tips of toothbrush bristles flat against teeth then use small circular motions to gently polish them clean. For areas between braces and gums, tilt the brush toward the gum line (down for the bottom teeth, up for the top) while keeping up the circular motions. Next, move on to the chewing surfaces of upper and lower teeth, utilizing a firm back-and-forth motion. Finally, finish by carefully brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth the same way you did the outside surfaces.

Special Oral Hygiene Tools

There are several tools that can make your oral hygiene routine simpler. A couple popular options include the interdental toothbrush (or proxabrush) and the Waterpik®. An interdental toothbrush has a small tuft of bristles that stick up like a pipe cleaner. It can be used to clean tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets. Meanwhile the Waterpik® shoots a small stream of pressurized water at your teeth, which can help dislodge bits of food that become trapped in nooks and crannies.

Healthy Smiles to Last A Lifetime

Every day that you keep your teeth and gums healthy is an investment in your future. Great oral hygiene enables you to get the best results from your orthodontic treatment, setting you on a path to a brighter smile. For more information about brushing and flossing, inquiries regarding braces, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics at our Chicago or Vernon Hills location today! We’d love to hear from you!

 

Seven Myths about Orthodontic Treatment

April 13th, 2018

Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics is committed to bringing you the latest in orthodontic treatment, technologies, and information. We utilize our blog as a means to help our patients understand vital orthodontic treatment, oral, and dental topics. This month, we would like to highlight a great piece from the American Association of Orthodontists that debunks and explains seven myths about orthodontic treatment. Read the piece in full on our blog below, or view it here on the AAO website:

American Association of Orthodontists – Orthodontic Treatment Article

Myth #1 Anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist

False. While some general dentists or online companies offer braces or aligners, only an orthodontist who has taken the additional years of advanced training at an accredited residency can call themselves an orthodontic specialist or be a member of the AAO. It’s not worth the risk of permanent damage to your face and smile to allow anyone who isn’t an orthodontist to attempt to move your teeth. By selecting an AAO orthodontist, you are choosing a specialist who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Look for the AAO logo at your orthodontist’s office, or locate an AAO orthodontist using ‘Find an Orthodontist’ at aaoinfo.org/truth.

Myth #2 Orthodontists are so expensive

AAO orthodontists are unique health care providers who carefully customize their patients' treatment plans and as a result, their fees directly reflect the complexity of each case. From simple cases which only take months to treat, to very difficult ones which may take a couple of years, the benefits of having an expert provide your orthodontic care will be well worth it. Most AAO orthodontists offer free consultations and flexible payment plans, and are willing to work with their patients in order to help them achieve a beautiful smile. Trust your smile to an AAO orthdontic specialist who will safely straighten your teeth and closely monitor your progress to ensure that your bite is the best that it can be.

Myth #3 Office visits are not necessary to get straight teeth

No Visits = No Monitoring = No Good The reality is that the health of your gums, teeth and jaws cannot be monitored during treatment if you are never seen by a qualified orthodontist. Even the most carefully planned treatments need to be closely monitored to ensure that your treatment stays on course. These visits must be completed by a trained orthodontist should a problem arise or a mid-course treatment correction be needed. The good news is that today’s technology has allowed patients to extend intervals between appointments to as long as 8 to 10 weeks.

Myth #4 Orthodontic treatment takes several years

Orthodontic treatment requires careful, controlled movements of the teeth to ensure they are moving into proper positions. From simple cases (which may only take a few months to treat) to the most complex cases (which could take longer), your AAO orthodontist has the training, experience, and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest amount of time. It’s not worth the risk to have someone who attempts to do orthodontics as a side business because of the possible irreversible damage that could occur.

Myth #5 Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic

There’s much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye. An improved appearance is the most obvious result. But when teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means function (biting, chewing, speaking) is improved, too – a dual treatment benefit!

That beautiful smile is the outward sign of good oral health, and sets the stage for the patient’s overall well-being. Orthodontists play a larger role in healthcare than is generally realized.

Myth #6 Orthodontists only offer metal braces

Orthodontists spend years studying and training in how teeth move. It makes them expertly qualified to use all the tools available to provide the best care possible for their patients. That includes metal braces, as well as a full range of other appliances (devices designed to move teeth) that can be fixed or removable, with clear options available. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product or service offered by individual companies, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their fingertips. An AAO orthodontist has the expertise to provide the best appliance (at the right time) to achieve the best result in the most timely manner.

Myth #7 Orthodontic treatment is just for kids

False. Patients of all ages, young and old, can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile. In 2014, close to 1.5 million adults were treated by AAO orthodontists! Because adults may have more complicated cases from prior dental work or gum disease, it is imperative that their treatment be provided by an AAO orthodontist who has the training, expertise and experiences to deliver the best results.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists - only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.

When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.