Orthodontic myths

Orthodontic myths

May 20, 2020

At Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics, our mission is to help patients of all ages achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. We’re proud to offer a variety of orthodontic treatment options ranging from metal braces to Invisalign to help our patients achieve their dream smiles, but at our practice, we believe that patient education is just as important as the treatments we provide in our office. Unfortunately, there are many orthodontic myths that can leave people confused about orthodontic treatment – so today, we’d like to dispel some of those myths!

Myths About Orthodontic Treatment

There’s a lot of misinformation out there in the world, and orthodontic treatment is no different. Here are some of the most common myths that people believe about orthodontic treatment, along with an explanation of the truth:

  • Braces Are Only for Kids: The majority of orthodontic patients are teenagers, along with some children receiving early orthodontic treatment. But that doesn’t mean adults can’t also improve their smiles. More than a quarter of our patients are adults, and with new treatment alternatives like Invisalign, it’s never been easier to get adult orthodontic treatment.
  • Braces Are Painful: Many people fear that treatment with braces is excruciating, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. While many patients experience some soreness or discomfort when first getting their braces, this is very mild and fades within a few days. Generally speaking, braces aren’t painful.
  • My Dentist Can Give Me Braces: While some dentists offer braces treatment, this doesn’t make them a certified orthodontics. Orthodontics requires years of additional schooling and practice on top of dental school to master, so the only way to ensure a healthy smile is to visit a trained, board-certified orthodontist.
  • I Can’t Afford Braces: While braces can be expensive, there are many options for making them affordable. We accept a wide range of insurance policies and also offer flexible financing options to help make braces achievable on any budget.

Contact Your Chicago, IL Orthodontist

We hope this helps to clear up some of the myths surrounding braces and orthodontic treatment, as education is the first step to a healthy smile. And if you’re ready to take the next step towards a healthy new smile of your own, we’d love to help! Contact us today to learn more about how we can revitalize your smile through orthodontic treatment. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Stress & oral habits

November 20, 2019

The effects of stress on our body are multifaceted. Stress not only affects your body, it impacts your oral health as well. One specific way is by clenching or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism or bruxing. When we grind or clench, we damage our teeth and dental/orthodontic work by:

Stress & Oral Habits

  • Wearing down the tooth’s surface
  • Increasing likelihood of cavities
  • Damaging or scraping away the enamel
  • Increasing sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Damaging crowns and fillings
  • Loosening teeth
  • Becoming prone to tooth loss
  • Causing Jaw pain and headache

It is common to clench or grind your teeth without your knowledge, as it often occurs during sleep. If you suspect nocturnal bruxing, your orthodontists at Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics in Vernon Hills and Chicago, IL are here to help you find relief.

Why Do We Clench & Grind Our Teeth?

Stress is the main reason for clenching and/or grinding our teeth, whether it happens nocturnally or during the day. Here are other common factors that can lead to bruxing:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Overuse of caffeine
  • Side effects of certain prescription medications
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs

Solutions & Treatments

As most bruxism is stress-related, the simplest way to reduce teeth-clenching and grinding, is by managing stress in positive ways. Relaxation techniques may help, but a custom occlusal guard may be the best long-term option. An occlusal guard is a custom-made mouthguard (similar to an athletic mouthguard) that is worn during at night. The occlusal guard keeps teeth from touching one another during sleep and also maintains proper jaw alignment during sleep to help reduce jaw pain.

Contact Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics Today!

If you experience any of the above symptoms related to clenching and grinding your teeth, please contact our Vernon Hills or Chicago, IL office to let us know. We don’t want anything bad to happen to your teeth or orthodontics that may affect treatment time and results, so full disclosure of any dental concerns or problems is always best!

Foods you can eat with braces

June 10, 2019

Many people who have braces or are considering getting braces have heard of the “forbidden foods” list that they will have to adhere to while undergoing orthodontic treatment. Here at Jacobson & Tsou Orthodontics in Vernon Hills and Chicago, IL we have some recommendations when it comes to foods you should avoid while undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, while eating restrictions can be a little daunting, don’t worry—there are still many yummy options that you can partake in and we’re here to offer some suggestions!

Breakfast Ideas

  • Smoothie – A smoothie is always a great start to your day. These drinks are jam-packed with vitamins and minerals, depending on what you add to your concoction. Be sure to add both veggies and fruits to this drink and not overdo the sugar content!
  • Eggs – These protein filled wonders can be prepared in a myriad of ways: scrambled, boiled, poached, sunny side up, you name it! They are agreeable foods for those with braces and can be enjoyed with or without veggies.
  • Pancakes – This soft bread is a treat for any breakfast meal. We recommend not eating these on a daily basis as they are often paired with syrup or fruit compotes that can be high in sugar, but rest assured that they can be enjoyed without doing damage to your braces!
  • Muffins (without nuts) – This is another soft bread that can be enjoyed by someone with braces. Easy to prepare in bulk, you can take these on the go if you’re pressed for time in the mornings.
  • Yogurt with Fruit – Yogurt is filled with Vitamin C and adding fruit will only sweeten the deal, both in health and taste. Be sure to only use soft fruit when creating your yogurt dish. Avoid hard fruits such as apples, as those can damage your braces!

Lunch Ideas

  • Quesadillas with rice and beans – Tortillas are considered a soft bread that are approved for people with braces. Add a soft cheese with a side of soft rice (grain) and soft beans (legume) and you’ve got yourself a filling, wholesome, and delicious meal. Top your quesadillas with sour cream, avocado, and salsa, too!
  • Mac & Cheese – This soft noodle and soft cheese plate is savory, easy to make, and even easier to eat.
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs – A soft noodle meal topped with a soft meat will practically fall apart in your mouth and will not burden your orthodontic treatment.
  • Peanut Butter (not crunchy) & Jelly Sandwich – This is an oldie but a goodie. Likely, you have these ingredients sitting in your pantry right now. This is a practical and time saving meal that also won’t irritate your teeth, gum line, or braces.
  • Lunch Meat Wrap – This is a new take on an old classic. Instead of simply making a lunch meat sandwich, make a lunch meat wrap! The same ingredients neatly nestled into a large flour tortilla make for a great twist on mom’s traditional school lunch.

Dinner Ideas

  • Soft Meats – Examples of this include: meatloaf, chicken, tuna, or salmon. These meats are so soft you can cut them with a fork with no problem. This should signal that it is all right for you to consume and will not cause you to pop a wire or unfasten a bracket.
  • Sides – Pair any of the soft meats above with mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, wild rice, or soup and call it a day! Sit back and enjoy this healthy and dental braces friendly meal.

Snack Ideas

  • Cottage Cheese and Soft Peaches – Great source of Vitamin C that will not interfere with your braces.
  • Soft Fruits – Examples include melons, bananas, grapes, and applesauce (sort of a fruit) to name a few.

Dessert Ideas

Desserts must be included in this list as many people have a sweet tooth, however, please be attentive to your family orthodontist or dentist’s order and don’t intake too much sugar—this is bad for your teeth and your overall health. Sweets that are approved for those who wear braces are:

  • Pudding
  • Soft cookies
  • Soft chocolates (no nuts or caramel)
  • Jell-O
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Cake (soft bread, no nuts)

Contact Our Vernon Hills or Chicago, IL Office!

You see; there are plenty of delicious foods you can have at all times of day even while wearing braces. Though if you’re still unsure if braces are right for you, know that we also offer Invisalign as another form of orthodontic treatment, which involves using removable aligners vs. the placed metal wires and brackets of braces.

If you have any lingering questions about what we suggest you can or cannot eat, please contact our Vernon Hills or Chicago, IL office directly. And if you’re ready to learn more about our treatments and procedures and get started with braces, schedule an appointment today. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Braces vs. Invisalign – Which is Right for You?

February 2, 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


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 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



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.


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!

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