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Get to Know Your Houston & Bellaire Orthodontist: 20 Questions for Dr. Monica Muller

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As a Houston and Bellaire orthodontist at Houston Orthodontic Specialists, Dr. Monica Muller is dedicated to providing outstanding service to our patients while she helps them change their lives by transforming their smiles. After completing her orthodontic residency, Dr. Muller took the extra step of becoming a board-certified orthodontist, allowing her to offer the highest level of care. To enable you to get to know her better and learn more about her life outside of the office, we put together a game of 20 questions. Here are Dr. Muller’s answers:

  1. What’s one of your best childhood memories?

Visiting grandparents in Peru.

  1. Did you ever have orthodontic treatment?

Yes, I had Phase I with headgear when I was 10ish, full braces when I was 14, then braces again as an adult in dental school. I’m now doing some tweaking with Invisalign. 😊

  1.  How would you describe yourself in five words?

Determined, Compassionate, Open Minded, Approachable and Dreamer

  1.  Why did you decide to pursue a career as an orthodontist?

I love science and engineering, and orthodontics somewhat combines them with a touch of esthetics and artistry.

  1.  What are your top three favorite albums?

I don’t have a specific album. I like music that makes me happy.

  1. Is there anything your patients would be surprised to discover about you?

I am a Brown Belt in Karate.

  1. What’s your favorite part of coming in to work at Houston Orthodontic Specialists each day?

I love seeing patients and interacting with them and seeing them grow and evolve as young adults.

  1. What’s the most spectacular view you’ve ever seen?

Being in the glacier in Mont Blanc in the Swiss Alps.

  1. What book are you currently reading?

I Hear You by Michael Sorensen

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Finishing dental school, in my professional life. Raising my kids, in my personal life.

  1. In your spare time, what’s your favorite activity to do with your kids?

We do family yoga and any outdoor activity. We love the beach!

  1. What do you love most about living in the Houston area?

There is always something to do and food to try.

  1. What do you think is the most significant benefit of orthodontic treatment is?

The social benefit is the most important. An esthetic, acceptable smile changes people’s social interactions.

  1. Did you have a nickname as a kid?

Yes, Little Smurf (Pitufa in Spanish).

  1. What’s the best advice you can give orthodontic patients?

Always brush your teeth. We do not want scars on the surface of the teeth after braces.

  1. What actor would play you in a movie of your life?

Drew Barrymore

  1. What was the hardest part of your orthodontic training?

Learning to multitask, seeing multiple patients at a time.

  1. What was the last gift you received?

I love skinny thin watches from Swatch.

  1. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I already have superpowers; I am a working mother.

  1. What’s your favorite movie?

Wonder Woman

If you’re ready to get your dream smile and meet Dr. Muller in person, schedule a complimentary consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!

girl smiling with braces

Want to Speed Up Orthodontic Treatment? Meet Propel®!

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Patients are often curious about whether or not they can speed up orthodontic treatment, At Houston Orthodontic Specialists, the answer is, yes you can! We’re a Houston Propel® VPro5™ provider and the technology can improve the fit of your Invisalign aligners, which in turn leads to fewer appointments and refinements. We pride ourselves on embracing proven, safe advances that help our patients see results sooner and with less discomfort and Propel does just that. Here’s everything you need to know about accelerated orthodontics with this revolutionary treatment option.

What is Propel VPro5?

Propel Orthodontics has a line of devices aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of orthodontic treatment. Dr. Tabakman, Dr. Wadler, Dr. Muller and Dr. Bloome offer Propel VPro5.  

Propel VPro5 is a take-home device for patients using Invisalign. The small, portable accessory consists of an activator and a mouthpiece. To use it, you’ll connect the mouthpiece to the oscillator and hit the on-switch to start the vibrations. Then, you’ll bite down on the mouthpiece (it’s hands-free) while wearing your Invisalign aligners as it slowly ramps up in intensity. You’ll use the device for five minutes a day. It will shut off automatically when you finish a session. When you’re done, detach the mouthpiece, rinse it with water and allow it to dry. If the oscillator gets dirty, simply wipe it with a moist cloth. However, don’t submerge it in water.

The high-frequency vibrations the device creates painlessly enhance aligner seating, which is how well your Invisalign aligners fit against your teeth. Aligner seating is the key to effective Invisalign treatment and it ensures the aligners can deliver the proper forces to shift the teeth exactly how we want. The device can make a big difference in just five minutes of use per day and makes treatment more comfortable and faster, while also leading to fewer appointments and refinements and, overall, better results.

How Does Propel Work?

The VPro5 relies on gentle, high-frequency vibrations to essentially shake your aligners into place. Often times with Invisalign, we also use tooth-colored attachments. The vibrations from the VPro5 offer up a super-charged way of getting the aligners to snap perfectly onto the attachments and fit like a glove over your teeth. By having the aligners sit tight against your pearly whites, you get the perfect amount of force, which, in turn, helps teeth shift into place more quickly. Vibration therapy is also associated with decreased discomfort and patients often report less soreness when they switch to a new set of aligners when using Propel VPro5.

Is Propel Safe?

Yes. Propel VPro5 has been cleared by the FDA as a Class I medical device that is safe for use in orthodontics. Studies have shown it can safely and comfortably help you get amazing results. While most patients are a candidate for Propel, every mouth is unique. We’ll let you know if Propel is right for you once we’ve had a chance to evaluate you at your consultation.  

If you’re ready to hit fast forward on your Invisalign treatment with Propel, book a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists in Bellaire or West Houston today!

 

picture of Dr. Vladimir Tabakman smiling

Get to Know Your Houston Orthodontist Better: 20 Questions for Dr. Vladimir Tabakman

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As a Houston and Bellaire orthodontist, Dr. Vladimir Tabakman is on a mission to offer his patients high-tech, expert orthodontic care that will give them the healthy, beautiful smiles they deserve and the confidence that comes with it. Dr. Tabakman and the team make sure every patient feels like they’re part of the family as soon as they walk through the doors. Well, we decided to play a game of 20 questions with Dr. Tabakman to help you learn more about him and what he’s like when he’s not busy perfecting smiles at Houston Orthodontic Specialists.

  1. What book are you currently reading?

The Miracle Morning and Tribe of Mentors

  1. Did you ever have braces or Invisalign?

Yes, I had braces at age 35.

  1. How would you describe yourself in five words?

Responsible, honest, loyal, generous, and fun!

  1. Why did you decide to become an orthodontist?

As an orthodontist, I can see my patients go through transformations. There is no better feeling than giving others the confidence and the infinite possibilities that the confidence can create. Plus, I wanted to help people look better in selfies! 😉

  1. What’s the most incredible vacation you’ve ever been on?

Snorkeling with my daughter in Mexico

  1. Is there anything your patients would be surprised to learn about you?

I started Bellaire High School as a junior and didn’t speak a word of English.

  1. What’s your favorite part of coming into to work at Houston Orthodontic Specialists every day?

I truly feel that we have an amazing team and amazing patients. I’m blessed to enjoy going to work. If you can even call it work.

  1. What would your perfect Saturday with your family be like?

Spending all day with the four of us on the beach or anything on the water

  1. What sets you apart from other orthodontists?

I have a constant desire to learn and get better.

  1. What achievement are you most proud of?

I believe I have achieved many things professionally, but my family is what I’m the most proud of.

  1. What’s your favorite restaurant in Houston?

I am obsessed with sushi!

  1. What was the first concert you ever went to?

My first concert after moving to America was AC/DC!

  1. What do you think the most important benefit of orthodontic treatment is?

Orthodontic treatment is life-changing and the most rewarding thing as an orthodontist is to see a patient gain self-confidence and start smiling.

  1. What was the last great movie you saw?

The Post

  1. If you could be a fictional character for 24 hours, who would you be?

James Bond

  1. What’s the best piece of advice you can give orthodontic patients?

Be genuine and true to yourself. A positive attitude can overcome any challenges.

  1. What sport do you enjoy playing the most?

Soccer and tennis

  1. What was the most challenging part of your orthodontic training?

Getting into an orthodontic residency is very competitive. The biggest challenge was doing well enough in dental school to be able to be accepted.

  1. What’s your favorite thing about the Houston area?

We live in an awesome city where things are very easily accessible and you can see a professional sporting event during the day and go to a concert in the evening!

  1. What’s on your bucket list?

Going on an African safari with my family.

To get to know Bellaire and Houston orthodontist Dr. Tabakman in person, schedule a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!

 

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What are the Different Types of Braces and How do I Choose the Right Kind?

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Your smile is as unique as you are. In fact, just like fingerprints, no two people have the same set of teeth. That’s why you won’t find a one-size-fits-all approach at Houston Orthodontic Specialists. We create personalized treatment plans and offer a wide variety of options for braces and Invisalign in Houston and Bellaire. We want you to be able to choose the treatment that will bring about the best results while also fitting your lifestyle, so you feel confident and comfortable during the process. So, what are the different types of braces and how do you pick the best one for you? Here’s what’s on the menu at our practice and some key things to consider about each type to help you decide:

  • Conventional Metal Braces – When you think of braces, you probably immediately think of the conventional metal ones. They’ve been around the longest of all of the types of braces and they’re still the most widely used worldwide. Today’s metal braces are nothing like the bulky ones of the past and are a lot more low profile. Made of stainless steel, this type of braces relies on brackets and archwires to move the teeth. Small elastics are also used to secure the wires to the brackets.  

Conventional metal braces might be right for you if you like the idea of showing off your braces and you want to wear colorful elastics to match your personality, the holidays, your school colors or even your mood. Of the different types of metal braces, these are often the most popular with our younger patients.

  • Conventional Clear Braces – Just like metal braces, conventional clear braces rely on brackets and wires to shift the teeth and elastics to hold the wires in place. The key difference is that the brackets are clear and they blend in with your smile, making them less noticeable than their metal counterparts. Years ago, they were considered one of the types of braces for adults because they required more care since they stained and were susceptible to breakage. That’s not the case anymore. The modern clear braces we use at Houston Orthodontic Specialists, resist staining and are very durable, allowing us to treat patients of all ages with them.

Conventional clear braces could be your perfect choice for orthodontic treatment if you want the straightening power of braces but would prefer a less visible treatment option. Some adults and teens feel self-conscious about having stainless steel brackets, which is where opting for clear braces can be beneficial. If you’re interested in an aesthetic option but don’t want to have to keep track of aligners, clear braces may be the ideal alternative. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and stay put throughout your treatment.

  • Self-Ligating Braces – For self-ligating braces we offer metal and clear Damon™ braces and metal and clear Carriere® SLX™ braces. Both the SLX bracket system and the Damon braces system have streamlined brackets with little doors that hold the thin, shape-memory archwires in place. They don’t require tiny elastics or ties, technically known as ligatures, to secure the wires. The teeth are able to move more freely and naturally into place, which can translate to faster results. Since Carriere SLX and Damon braces are tie-less, they don’t need to be tightened and they’re easier to clean because you have one less component that can trap plaque and food debris. Additionally, self-ligating braces create less pressure and friction and the brackets have smoother edges, making treatment more comfortable.

Self-ligating braces, such as Carriere and Damon braces, might be the best teeth-straightening solution for you if you want braces but you’re interested in getting results more quickly and comfortably. The brackets are small and smooth, so many patients are fine with the metal version but for discreet treatment, you may prefer clear self-ligating braces.

  • Lingual Braces – Lingual braces are another of the different types of braces that use brackets and wires to give you your dream smile. However, lingual braces are placed behind your teeth on the tongue side (lingual side), so they’re completely hidden from view. You can’t see them at all when you smile and they’re even less visible than Invisalign. The braces components are customized to your mouth and the braces are smaller than the ones that are bonded to the front of the teeth. Orthodontists have to undergo specialized training in order to offer lingual braces, which is why you can’t find them at every practice. Our Bellaire and Houston orthodontists are trained in lingual braces and we can use them to effectively shift your teeth into place without anyone knowing you’re undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Lingual braces could be your ideal treatment option if you’re image conscious. They are one of the best types of braces for adults or teens who want to keep their treatment under wraps. When considering Invisalign vs. braces, if you lose things easily or think you’d forget to wear aligners for the prescribed amount of time, then add a point in favor of braces. They’re adhered to your teeth and will stay there until we take them off.  

  • Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen – Okay, so technically Invisalign and Invisalign Teen aren’t types of braces at all since they’re hardware-free ways to straighten the teeth. With Invisalign, your orthodontist designs a series of custom, clear, plastic aligners that slip over the teeth. You change the aligners according to our schedule and as you make your way through the series, your teeth move bit by bit into the desired position. Since the aligners are removable and you’ll take them out to eat and brush and floss, there are no food restrictions and oral hygiene is a breeze. Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are comfortable, convenient and, best of all, virtually invisible. As Diamond Invisalign Providers, we’re among the top practices in the country for Invisalign experience and we’re able to treat even complex cases with clear aligners.

You should consider Invisalign if you want an aesthetic treatment option that most people won’t notice you’re wearing. If you worry about giving up certain foods or you don’t love the idea of cleaning around brackets and wires, you could be well suited to clear aligners. Many of our patients who play sports or an instrument choose Invisalign or Invisalign Teen because there’s no hardware to get in the way.

If you’re interested in braces or Invisalign in Houston or Bellaire, book a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today! We’ll take complimentary diagnostic records, perform an exam and chat with you about your goals and lifestyle. Then, we’ll let you know which orthodontic treatment option will bring out the best in your smile.

 

Holiday recipes that are braces friendly!

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We know that when you have braces, eating food can sometimes be a pain. Stuff gets caught in your teeth and you usually end up picking it out. And let’s hope you have your braces care kit ready when that happens! This holiday season we want to give you some braces friendly recipe for you to make to ensure you don’t break any brackets with hard foods. We hope you have a good holiday season and enjoy our delicious recipes by Dr. Tabakman!

Brown Sugar Roasted Carrots
Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Place carrots in a small pan, season with salt and pepper, and add brown sugar to pot. Cook on medium heat until carrots are soft and caramelized. Enjoy!

Delicious Melted Maple Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg

Directions:
Peel and dice the sweet potatoes and bring to a boil in a large pot with a lid. Boil the sweet potatoes until they are tender and you can pierce them with a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Mash them until they are mostly smooth and to your desired texture.
Next, cut the butter into equal-sized pieces and put skillet or pot. Stirring constantly, melt over medium-low heat or until it begins to foam. When the butter starts to brown and smell nutty, immediately pour the butter into a separate bowl.
Stir the maple syrup into the butter. Then, pour the mixture into the mashed sweet potatoes. Also, add the cinnamon and nutmeg to the mashed potatoes, then stir to combine. Taste the sweet potatoes and adjust the syrup, spices, or salt if needed. Enjoy!

Mother and Daughters Laughing on a White Background

Braces friendly recipes to keep you smiling through the holidays!

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We know that eating with braces can sometimes be a pain. You may have to pick things out of your teeth or be conscious of getting food caught. We obviously don’t want you to break off any brackets by eating food too hard. Stick to soft food this holiday to have a happy and healthy smile! Below are a few recipes that are great for patients with braces. Don’t worry – these recipes by Dr. Tabakman are delicious!

People with braces often complain about not being able to eat carrots, since they are so hard to bit off. Try these soft and sweet carrots this holiday.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of baby carrots
  • 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Spread carrots over a baking try, season with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook for about 20 minutes. Take the carrots out of the oven and drizzled with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of honey, and about 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve. Enjoy!

Delicious Melted Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, warmed (milk will also do)

Directions:

In a pot, cover potatoes with 2 inches of salted water. Bring water to a boil. Reduce water to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender or you can pierce them with a fork (about 10-15 minutes). Drain water and keep potatoes in the pot. Over low heat, add butter and stir until melted. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until potatoes are stiff. Gradually add in the heavy cream (or milk), stirring constantly to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy your melted mashed potatoes.

WHO-Poster-Toys-for-Tots

Bellaire Family Orthodontics Toy Drive

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There are thousands of children every year who don’t open a gift around the holidays. Houston Orthodontic Specialists would like to give back to the Houston community for a Toy Drive this holiday season.

We will be holding a Toy Drive from now through December 14th at our office. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a good cause. If you or someone you know would like to donate a toy, please call us at 713-667-6000 or email us at [email protected].

Can’t stop by our office to drop a toy off? Not a problem! Call us to make arrangements for the toy pickup.

We thank you in advance for helping a child smile this holiday season!

WHO-Poster-Toys-for-Tots

Houston Orthodontic Specialists Toy Drive

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bfo-poster

Every year, thousands of children around Houston don’t open a gift during the holiday season. Houston Orthodontic Specialists is partnering with Toys for Tots to bring toys to children in need for the holidays.

Our office is an official Toy Drop Off Location for the Toys for Tots charity from now through December 14th. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to a child in need. If you or someone you know would like to donate a toy, please call us at 281-752-4222. You can also email us at [email protected] to find out more information about the Toy Drive. We are also able to pick up toys from a location if needed.

We thank you so much for your generosity in helping a child smile this holiday season!

Have a fun and safe Memorial Day!

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Memorial Day is this upcoming weekend and it’s a great time to honor our country’s veterans, barbeque and mark the start of the summer season! It’s also a time that many people take weekend vacations. If you have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend and also have braces, don’t forget to pack a braces traveling kit. Below are a few items that our doctors from Bellaire Family Orthodontics in the Houston, TX area recommend that you pack! 

  • A toothbrush – can’t forget to brush your teeth!
  • Non-whitening mild toothpaste
  • Any rubber bands or appliances you may be using
  • A durable folding cup, water bottle or some other container for water
  • Dental floss and floss threaders for your braces
  • A small interproximal dental brush
  • Interdental picks
  • Mouth Wash
  • Dental wax
  • Chap Stick or Lip Balm
  • Advil or Tylenol
  • A small mirror
  • Hand Sanitizer

Please note that if an orthodontic emergency occurs during your travels (i.e. poking wires causing pain), you can also always call our office and let us know. If you are not near Houston, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) can provide you with referrals to great orthodontists. As a precautionary measure before you go, schedule an appointment for an exam with Bellaire Family Orthodontics at 713-667-6000 with any questions you may have during your travels. Be safe!

memorial day

Happy Memorial Day from Houston Orthodontic Specialists!

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Memorial Day is this weekend and it’s a great time to honor our country’s veterans and reflect on their services to our country. It’s also a time that many people barbeque, spend time with family and kick off the start of the summer season! It’s also a popular weekend that many people take vacations! If you have braces and also have travel plans for Memorial Day weekend, then you shouldn’t forget to bring your braces traveling kit along for the ride. Below are a few items that Dr. Tabakman and his team from Houston Orthodontic Specialists in the west Houston area recommend that you pack! 

  • A regular toothbrush or travel toothbrush to ensure those teeth stay clean!
  • Toothpaste
  • Any appliance you may be required to wear
  • Rubber bands (if you have them)
  • Dental floss and floss threaders for your braces
  • An interproximal dental brush
  • Mouth Wash
  • Dental wax
  • Chap Stick or Lip Balm
  • Advil or Tylenol in case you have discomfort
  • A small mirror
  • Hand Sanitizer

 Please note that if an orthodontic emergency occurs during your travels (i.e. poking wires causing discomfort), and you are not near Houston, you can call our office and let our team know. They will provide you with instructions and care. Before you leave, please schedule an appointment with Houston Orthodontic Specialists at 281-752-4222 with any questions you may have for your travels. Be safe and have a fun Memorial Day!