How Diabetes Affects Oral Health?

By Blog

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how the body uses or produces insulin, a hormone that enables the body to convert sugar (glucose) into energy. If diabetes isn’t managed, it can lead to serious health complications. Yet, aside from affecting your overall health, did you know diabetes affects your teeth, gums, and general oral health too, particularly if it’s not well controlled? If you’re one of our current or prospective Bellaire or Houston braces or Invisalign® patients, you might be wondering what the implications are for orthodontic treatment with diabetes. 

As a Houston and Bellaire orthodontist, we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know. In this post, we’ll be covering:

  • How diabetes affects oral health
  • The link between diabetes and gum disease
  • What you should know about diabetes with Invisalign or braces 
  • Whether or not you can still get Invisalign or braces with diabetes
  • Tips for maintaining healthy teeth and gums if you have diabetes to ensure your orthodontic treatment is successful. 

How Diabetes Affects Oral Health

When it comes to diabetes and oral health, one of the first questions patients often ask at our office is: Does diabetes affect your teeth? The answer is, yes, it can if it’s not treated.

So, how diabetes affects your oral health? These are a few ways the condition can negatively impact your mouth:

  • You might produce less saliva from diabetes itself or from the medications you need to take to manage it, which can cause dry mouth. Since saliva is essential for remineralizing the teeth and balancing the pH in the mouth, this also puts you at a higher risk for tooth decay, or cavities.
  • You’re more likely to develop gum disease and experience swollen, inflamed or bleeding gums.
  • You’re more susceptible to oral infections, including a fungal infection called thrush.
  • Wounds and sores in the mouth can take longer to heal.
  • In kids with diabetes, the teeth sometimes erupt sooner than they normally would.

The Connection Between Diabetes and Gum Disease

Perhaps the biggest concern as far as diabetes and oral health is its link to gum disease. What is gum disease? Gum disease, technically called periodontal disease, is an infection of the soft tissues that support the teeth and hold them in place. Gum disease is caused by a build-up of harmful bacteria that wasn’t eliminated by brushing and flossing.

In its earliest stages, gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis can be reversed with professional dental care and a diligent oral hygiene routine. Once gingivitis advances into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease, it can only be managed and not reversed. Periodontitis can cause the tooth-supporting gums, tissues and bone to erode, eventually leading to tooth loss. 

Why is this related to diabetes? Well, people diagnosed with diabetes are much more likely to develop periodontal disease. This is because a complication of diabetes is an inability to effectively fight infections and gum disease is just that, a bacterial infection. The risk increases as you age and if blood sugar isn’t controlled properly. Not only can diabetes make you more susceptible to gum disease, but having gum disease, as with any infection, can cause a rise in blood sugar and make controlling your diabetes more difficult, leading to an undesirable cycle. 

What to Know About Getting Braces or Invisalign With Diabetes

Since diabetes does affect your teeth and gums, it can also impact your orthodontic treatment. Teeth move most effectively in a healthy oral environment. Additionally, braces and Invisalign exert force not only on the teeth but also on the gums. So if you’re considering Invisalign or braces with diabetes, it’s crucial that any gum disease has been treated and is under control for a safe, ideal outcome. 

Another thing to consider about orthodontic treatment with diabetes is the fact that you’re prone to dry mouth. Dry mouth with Invisalign and braces can occur at the start of treatment, even without diabetes, as you adjust to having an appliance in your mouth. Patients with diabetes may experience more severe braces or Invisalign dry mouth, which can cause discomfort or lead to cavities, in extreme cases, if not addressed. Of course, there are things you can do to fight dry mouth and boost your oral health with diabetes, which we’ll share shortly. 

Can I Still Get Braces or Invisalign if I Have Diabetes?

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t get orthodontic treatment. As long as your blood sugar levels and gum disease, if you have it, are under control, orthodontic treatment is absolutely a possibility. At Houston Orthodontic Specialists, Dr. Tabakman, Dr. Muller, Dr. Bloome and Dr. Wadler are experts in treating patients of all ages and levels of health. They can coordinate with your dentist or any specialists to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough for orthodontic treatment and that you’ll still achieve excellent results.

While you can get braces with diabetes, for some patients who currently have or have had gum disease, Invisalign might be the better option. Invisalign aligners are removable so you can brush and floss as you normally would to remove bacteria and plaque from around the gumline. This will prevent gum disease from progressing and causing unwanted tooth movements during your treatment. 

Tips for Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy During Orthodontic Treatment With Diabetes

Amazing oral health and diabetes can go hand in hand. Here are some tips for healthy teeth and gums that will allow you to breeze through orthodontic treatment and get the outstanding results you deserve:

  • Control your blood sugar and overall health by eating healthy, exercising regularly and taking any prescribed diabetes medications. 
  • Brush your teeth in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before bed, whether you have braces or Invisalign. 
  • Floss once daily. While you can floss normally during Invisalign treatment, when flossing with braces, an orthodontic flosser or floss threader will make the job easier and more effective. 
  • An antibacterial or antimicrobial mouthwash with fluoride can zap harmful bacteria and strengthen enamel for healthier teeth and gums. Swish the mouthwash in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day for maximum benefits. 
  • Consider adding some oral hygiene extras like a Waterpik, or water flosser, and a proxabrush, also called an interdental brush or proxybrush, to your oral hygiene routine. You can use a Waterpik for braces or Invisalign. It doesn’t take the place of regular flossing and is an additional step, but water flossers are amazing for keeping gums healthy and getting teeth extra clean. 

A proxabrush is another fan favorite among our Bellaire and Houston Invisalign and braces patients. Use it to get rid of the plaque, bacteria, and food particles that can accumulate in the tight spaces around your braces brackets.

  • Quit smoking. Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco with diabetes can worsen gum disease and lead to a number of other oral health concerns that can also affect your orthodontic treatment. 
  • Limit sugary drinks and treats. You’re probably doing this anyway to manage your diabetes, but limiting sugary drinks and treats is even more important when you’re in orthodontic treatment. Your appliance gives plaque more places to hide and the bacteria in plaque feed on sugars and starches. When they do, they release acids that eat away at the tooth enamel, which can cause cavities. As for how to get rid of a sweet tooth if you struggle with that, enjoy sugars and staches in moderation and opt for healthy alternatives when possible. Always brush your teeth after having a treat. 
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water to combat dry mouth and encourage saliva production. As we said, as far as diabetes and oral health, dry mouth is very common. Having diabetes can also make run-of-the-mill braces or Invisalign dry mouth worse. Drinking plenty of water will help. 
  • Another way to beat dry mouth and get your saliva flowing is to chew sugarless gums after meals. Of course, you can chew gum with Invisalign since the aligners are removable. But can you chew gum with braces? Yes, you can chew gum with braces as long as it’s sugar-free because the sugarless varieties are less sticky. Plus, sugarless gum, especially if it contains xylitol, has a number of oral health benefits, including killing bad bacteria and reducing the risk of cavities. It’s also thought that chewing sugar-free gum can help alleviate discomfort when you first get braces put on and after adjustments. 
  • Keep up with visits to your general dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment. Regular check-ups and cleanings are essential for ensuring your teeth and gums are healthy. Your dentist will make sure your diabetes isn’t affecting your oral health. During professional cleanings, they can also remove hardened plaque that you can’t get rid of at home with a regular toothbrush. This will go a long way in eliminating or controlling gum disease and preventing cavities.
  • The brackets and wires from your braces may cause irritation or sores during the first few weeks of braces treatment. This will go away once your mouth toughens up and gets used to your new hardware. However, when undergoing orthodontic treatment with diabetes, it’s a good idea to avoid or minimize irritation because it will take longer to heal and you’re prone to infection. Opting for Invisalign can be a good idea since the aligners are smooth and there are no brackets and wires. 

If you do get braces, use orthodontic relief wax at the first sign of irritation. Break off a small piece of wax, roll it in a ball between your fingers to warm it up and stick it on the parts of your braces that are bothering you. You can also swish with a saltwater rinse (a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water) as needed to promote healing and reduce discomfort. 

Now that you know how diabetes affects your oral health but orthodontic treatment with diabetes is still possible. You can still get your beautiful dream smile. Schedule a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists in West Houston or Bellaire today. Be sure to let us know that you have diabetes and we’ll create a personalized treatment plan and work with your dentist to help you get your best smile in a way that’s healthy and effective. 


The Best Soft Foods for Braces and Invisalign Patients (With Recipes!)

By Blog, Orthodontics

Patients often wonder, do braces hurt? Will Invisalign® aligners cause pain? The answer is, no, you should never feel real Invisalign or braces pain. However, when you first start treatment and sometimes following braces adjustments or after putting in a new set of clear aligners, your teeth and jaws can feel a little sensitive. Eating soft foods for a few days can help. Thankfully, there are a lot of great soft foods for sore teeth that taste good and will give you the nutrients and energy you need without causing discomfort. While we’re focusing on soft foods to eat with braces or Invisalign, our suggestions will also work great if you have actual pain, such as in the case of a toothache or after oral surgery. 

In this post, we’ll be covering:

  • How to handle sensitivity from orthodontic treatment
  • The best soft foods for braces, Invisalign or sore teeth in general 
  • A round up of some delicious soft food recipes for sore teeth

Handling Sensitivity From Orthodontic Treatment

Before we get into the soft foods for braces and Invisalign patients, let’s talk about sensitivity from orthodontic treatment. When you start treatment, have adjustments or wear new aligners, the discomfort you feel will be mild and it will go away on its own in a few days. However, there are things you can do to help manage sensitivity in the meantime, including:

  • Making a salt water rinse (½ teaspoon of salt dissolved into eight ounces of warm water) and swishing it around in your mouth before spitting it out. You can repeat this as often as necessary.
  • Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever according to the manufacturer’s or your doctor’s instructions. You can take whatever you’d use for a headache.
  • Knowing the foods to avoid with braces and steering clear of them. We’ll give you a list of the foods you can’t eat with braces, which includes anything really hard, chewy or sticky. These types of foods can damage your appliance. Additionally, eating really hard food that requires a ton of chewing won’t feel great on sensitive teeth, so even Invisalign wearers may want to avoid these types of foods when they first start treatment.
  • Trying the soft foods for sore teeth listed below. As we mentioned before, sticking with soft foods, as well as cold foods and drinks for the first few days after getting braces or starting Invisalign treatment will be super helpful.

The Best Soft Foods for Braces or Invisalign Patients

Okay, now on to the good stuff. Here are some of the best soft foods for braces or Invisalign patients who are experiencing sensitivity, or anyone with sore teeth:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of wheat
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Pancakes
  • French toast 
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Applesauce
  • Cooked fruit
  • Fruit cups
  • Very ripe fruit like bananas or peaches that have been cut into small pieces
  • 100% fruit juice with no sugar added
  • Soft sandwich bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Egg salad, chicken salad or tuna salad
  • Cooked beans or refried beans
  • Meatloaf
  • Soft-cooked, shredded meat
  • Soft-cooked, ground meat
  • Tofu 
  • Cooked tempeh
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Steamed or cooked vegetables
  • Couscous
  • Soft-cooked rice
  • Quinoa
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Soft cheeses
  • Soup with soft vegetables
  • Avocado 
  • Hummus
  • Soft tortilla shells (steam or microwave them first)
  • Smoothies
  • Protein shakes
  • Milkshakes
  • Ice cream and sorbet
  • Pudding and custard
  • Jell-O

Soft Food Recipes for Sore Teeth

Now that you know the foods you can eat with braces or Invisalign, we thought we’d share some orthodontist-approved soft food recipes for sore teeth:

  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Overnight Oats from Eating With Clarity – These overnight oats are simple to make and you’ll wake up to a nutritious, delicious breakfast that’s easy on your teeth. If you’re allergic to peanuts, try using an alternative like Sunbutter.
  • Cold-Day Chicken Noodle Soup from Taste of Home – Soup is really one of the best foods to eat with braces or Invisalign when you start treatment. With this chicken noodle soup, you’ll get lean protein and vegetables. Plus, it doesn’t get much more comforting.
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Scrambled Eggs – These scrambled eggs take a little more hands-on work than you might be used to but they’re well worth the effort. Gordon Ramsay’s technique leads to the tastiest, softest scrambled eggs, making them ideal for sensitive teeth (or just Sunday breakfast).
  • Banana Spinach Protein Smoothie from Garnish With Lemon – When considering soft food recipes for sore teeth, look for ones that are nutrient dense. This way, you’re still covering all of your nutritional bases even if you’re not chewing as much as you normally do. This green smoothie fits the bill. It has fruit, veggies, protein and calcium, and you won’t taste the spinach!
  • Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta from Two Peas & Their Pod – Butternut squash makes a healthy, creamy and surprisingly decadent sauce. To make this dish even easier to chew, you can swap out the linguine for a smaller pasta like elbow macaroni.

Hopefully our list of soft foods for braces and Invisalign patients, and the accompanying recipes, will help you continue to eat the foods you love even if your mouth is feeling sensitive. After seeing all of the delicious choices, are you ready to learn more about your options for braces or Invisalign in Houston or Bellaire, TX? Schedule a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!


Can You Just Get Braces on Your Bottom Teeth or Top Teeth?

By Blog, Orthodontics

We sometimes get asked at our Bellaire and Houston orthodontic practice about getting braces on the bottom teeth only or just getting braces on the top teeth. In the world of orthodontics, this is what we call single-arch orthodontic treatment. There are the occasional instances where it’s a possibility, which we’ll cover. Yet, there are a number of considerations we take into account to determine if a patient is a candidate for getting braces on their top teeth or bottom teeth alone. 

What is Single Arch Orthodontic Treatment?

Single-arch treatment, sometimes called one-arch treatment, is when we use Invisalign or braces on bottom teeth only or top teeth only but not both simultaneously. Every so often, an orthodontist will put braces on the top teeth first and then address the bottom teeth, or vice versa, but this is a little different than true single-arch orthodontic treatment because, eventually, we’ll be shifting the teeth in both arches into place. 

When Would Top or Bottom Teeth Only Braces be Effective?

Single-arch treatment can work in a limited number of cases. However, to determine whether it’s feasible, your orthodontist has to perform a careful evaluation. It’s important to keep in mind that when you move the teeth, you’re impacting the bite, or the way the bottom and top teeth come together. Some cases where single-arch treatment might work include:

  • If you have crowded bottom teeth, straight top teeth and a large overbite, getting braces on the bottom teeth only may be an option. This is because the crowded bottom teeth would shift forward a bit once they were straightened, which could help reduce the size of the overbite
  • Getting braces on the top teeth only could work in some instances when a patient has spaces between the top teeth, straight bottom teeth and an overbite. While straightening crowded teeth tends to cause them to move forward, closing gaps does the opposite and teeth often shift back. This would mean we could eliminate the spacing between the teeth and lessen the overbite. 
  • If you have an underbite, where the top teeth sit inside of the bottom teeth, and you also have crowding in the upper arch, single-arch treatment might be a consideration. However, it will depend on your bite in the back. 

The Drawbacks of Just Getting Braces on the Top or Bottom Teeth

There are risks to single-arch orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist isn’t just concerned with how straight your teeth are, they also look at your bite, or how your teeth come together. Your bite is a surprisingly complex relationship that involves both teeth and jaws. Ultimately, you want straight teeth and aligned jaws so the upper and lower teeth will meet properly. This allows your jaw to distribute forces evenly so that you can chew and speak properly, prevent uneven wear of the teeth and prevent undue stress on your jaw joints. Single-arch treatment shifts the teeth in only one arch, which can throw off the entire bite.

For example, as we noted before, crowded teeth tend to move forward once straightened while the teeth shift back when we close gaps. If you have an overbite and crowded top teeth, getting braces on the top teeth only will cause your overbite to get bigger throughout your treatment. If you have an underbite and crooked bottom teeth, bottom teeth only braces will worsen your underbite. While in both cases your teeth would look straighter, the way your teeth meet would be off and this would have negative consequences on the function and health of your smile. 

The only way to find out if getting braces on your bottom teeth or top teeth only is a possibility, is to visit a certified specialist in orthodontics for an evaluation. Our expert Bellaire and Houston orthodontists are able to determine the best treatment plan to safely and effectively give you your dream smile. If you only have mild issues and you’re hesitant to sign off on comprehensive treatment, often, instead of single-arch treatment, limited treatment would be your best bet. We offer Smile Express at our practice as an option for patients who want a shorter, less expensive way to touch up their smile while still getting amazing, functional results. Schedule a complimentary in-person or virtual consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today to learn more!

COVID UPDATE – August 2020

By Blog

Dear Patients + Families of Houston Orthodontic Specialists,

We are continuing with extra safety precautions to keep our patients and staff safe and healthy.

Safety for you, your family, and our team is our highest priority.

We will continue to provide all our patients with a questionnaire (which must be completed prior to your appointment to identify patients who have travelled to certain countries, are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been around others who have experienced flu-like symptoms). This will need to be completed prior to every visit.


  • A temperature screening will be done for doctors, staff, patients and accompanying family members. Anyone presented with a fever of 100 F/37.7 C will need to be rescheduled in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Masks are required while in our office for all adults and all kids over the age of 2. If you do not have a mask, we will happily provide one for you!
  • Please wash your hands in our clinical area prior to being seated for your appointment and prior to leaving our clinic after your appointment.
  • We have temporarily closed our beverage area, tech bar, game area, and removed all magazines from our waiting areas.
  • Please brush your teeth prior to your appointment, as brushing stations have been temporarily closed.


  • To provide our highest level of protection, we will be scheduling according to appointment type and risk level of the procedure. For example, routine adjustments, growth check-ups, and Invisalign scans will be seen together. The appointments requiring the use of dental handpieces and air and water use, such as placing or removing braces, require higher measures of protection and will be scheduled accordingly.
  • Some appointment types like retainer checks are done only virtually to minimize risk and exposure for our patients and to limit capacity in-office.
  • We understand that flexibility is important in this unprecedented time, and we are here for you! We offer appointments as late as 6:30 Pm on Wednesdays, and we are open Fridays and Saturdays!


To provide you with the best service, we have added a Concierge Program to guide you through your visits with us. Due to restrictions on the number of guests that we can have in our facilities at one time, our Concierge Team will facilitate your check-ins, procedures, and check-outs. We will anticipate your arrival, check you in for your appointment, and even deliver aligners from the comfort and safety of your car! When it is time for your appointment, we will let you know and guide you to your appropriate treatment area. A greeting space is set up in front of our reception where we can read temperatures to ensure everyone’s safety.

We love siblings and visitors at our practice but during this time we ask that you help us in minimizing the number of people who enter our office for an appointment. We understand this may present a challenge as schools are closed, but we ask unless it’s necessary that only 1 parent/guardian accompanies your child to their appointment and adults come alone.


Our virtual appointments are available to all new and existing patients! New patients can schedule virtual consultations from the comfort of your home. For those in treatment with our practice, we are able to offer virtual visits, allowing you the option of virtual check-ups with our doctors and staff. Our virtual options will allow for the ultimate level of convenience by eliminating trips to the office while assuring that you are receiving the highest level of care that you have grown to expect under the direct supervision of our team. Explore our website to learn more!

We continue to closely monitor local and federal regulations and guidelines to ensure our community is safe. We are excited to be able to service our patients at our state of the art facilities in Bellaire and West Houston, along with virtual consultations and virtual visits.

Continue to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates, or if you have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

With gratitude,
The Doctors and Staff of Houston Orthodontic Specialists


Top Tips to Keep Your Smile in Shape

By Blog

One of the most important things you can do during braces or Invisalign treatment is to keep your teeth healthy. After all, teeth move most efficiently in a healthy oral environment and getting cavities or having other issues could potentially stall your progress. While our offices are open again and we’re seeing patients in person, we also understand that some people may still need to stay home for the time being, which makes caring for your teeth and gums even more important! To help, our Bellaire and West Houston orthodontists are sharing some top tips to keep your smile in shape.

  • Brush Your Teeth Twice Daily or More if You’re in Orthodontic Treatment – Under normal circumstances, you should brush your teeth for a full two minutes in the morning and before bed. If you’re in orthodontic treatment, brush in the morning, after meals and snacks, and before turning in at night. Braces wearers will want to brush their teeth for three minutes each time. With Invisalign, you can stick with two minutes but you’ll want to brush after meals and snacks too since your aligners can trap food and liquid against your teeth, which could cause tooth decay. After having a beverage, you can rinse your mouth out before putting your aligners back in.

Brush using circular motions along the gum line and brush every surface of your teeth, including those back molars. It’s a good idea to give each individual tooth some attention. If you have braces, you can also use a proxy brush to get around your brackets and wires. 

  • Floss Once Daily – If you don’t floss, you’re missing significant tooth surfaces. Flossing gets rid of pieces of food and plaque between your teeth and around your gumline. It’s really key to healthy teeth and gums. Floss once a day. If you have braces, use a floss threader or orthodontic flosser to help make things easier.

We’re sometimes asked if a Waterpik for braces is safe and it is. While using a Waterpik isn’t a substitute for flossing, it can be a great addition to your oral hygiene routine for both braces and Invisalign wearers since it helps get your mouth even more squeaky clean.

  • Visit Your General Dentist Regularly For Cleanings and Exams – When it comes to how to have healthy teeth, this is one of the most important things you can do. Even if you’re in orthodontic treatment, you’ll still need to see your general dentist at least every six month, or as often as they recommend. Professional dental cleanings remove hardened plaque, or calculus, that you can’t get rid of on your own with a toothbrush and floss. This helps promote healthy gums. Additionally, at your exam, your dentist can look for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, wear of the enamel and even oral cancer. By catching issues early on, they can address them while they’re still easier and less invasive to treat.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet Full of Healthy Food for Teeth – A balanced diet full of fresh vegetables and fruit, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains is important for promoting healthy teeth and gums. While sticking with healthy foods that aren’t overly processed will go a long way in keeping your smile in shape, you can also try to include some healthy food for teeth that have smile-friendly benefits. For example, low-fat yogurt has probiotics that encourage good bacteria to flourish in your mouth and the calcium and other nutrients help strengthen teeth.
  • Limit Sugary Drinks and Treats – The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and starches and produce acids that eat away at your tooth enamel, which can ultimately lead to tooth decay. So, try to limit sugary drinks and treats, as well as starchy foods and enjoy them on special occasions. When you do have them, drink or eat them in one sitting, preferably with a meal. This is because it takes about a half hour or so for the pH in your mouth to return to normal and neutralize those plaque acids after eating. So, when you slowly sip on something sugary or leisurely enjoy a treat, you keep restarting the clock with every bite you take. As for sports drinks, they can seem like a good idea but the acidity weakens the enamel and makes it more susceptible to damage.
  • Embrace Fluoride – Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and can reduce your risk of cavities. It’s not just for kids either. Adults can benefit from using a fluoride toothpaste too. You may also want to consider adding a fluoride mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine as well.
  • Visit an Orthodontist – While, of course, getting a fantastic smile is a huge benefit of orthodontic treatment, it also improves your oral health and, in turn, your overall health. As our Bellaire and Houston Invisalign and braces patients can attest, straight teeth are easier to clean, which can help ward off cavities and gum disease. When the teeth or jaws are misaligned, it can also lead to undue stress on your jaw joint, uneven wear of the teeth, difficulty chewing or speaking properly, and other issues.

While the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting an orthodontist for an evaluation by age seven, it’s never too late to improve your smile and see if orthodontic treatment could boost your oral health. At your complimentary consultation, Dr. Tabakman, Dr. Muller, Dr. Wadler or Dr. Bloome will examine you and evaluate your diagnostic records before presenting you with personalized treatment recommendations.

  • Encourage Saliva Flow – Saliva is crucial for healthy teeth and gums. The minerals found in saliva neutralize plaque acids and help promote the remineralization of teeth. Saliva also helps wash away food debris and plaque. To encourage the flow of saliva, try chewing sugar-free gums after meals, drink plenty of water and eat foods that contain a lot of water like fresh fruits and vegetables.     

By using these tips for healthy teeth and gums, you’ll keep your teeth healthy. If you’re ready to visit a Houston or Bellaire orthodontist, schedule an in-person or virtual consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!

How to Support Local Houston Businesses During the Coronavirus

By Blog

While social distancing has been necessary to help manage the spread of COVID-19, it’s been hard on local businesses in Houston and across the country. We think it’s so important to spread positivity and smiles (hey, we are orthodontists!) and help out wherever you can during this time. 

If it’s within your means, purchasing gift cards, ordering takeout or delivery, or shopping for a business’s products online when possible are all great ideas for helping keep small businesses going as things gradually reopen. While, of course, we can’t mention every business and you should check in with your personal favorites, here are a few of our favorite local Houston businesses that we’d encourage you to support.

Food and Beverage

  • Backstreet Café – 1103 S. Shepherd Dr., Houston, TX – In addition to food for curbside pick-up, you can also enjoy cocktail kits.
  • Bistro Provence – 13616 Memorial Dr., Houston, TX – This cozy French bistro in West Houston has an extensive take-out menu and they offer curbside pick-up, as well as wine deals. 
  • Blood Bros BBQ ­ 5425 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX – Blood Bros is offering a pick-up menu of their BBQ favorites. You can call in your order or, for larger orders, use their website.  Bonus: You can get beer or wine to go with your meal.
  • Costa Brava Bistro – 5107 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX – Costa Brava is offering their Spanish and French fare for takeout and delivery. They also have gift cards available.
  • Dolce Vita – 500 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX – This family-owned Houston pizzeria is offering takeout and delivery of their full menu, including cocktails, beer and wine.
  • French Country Wines – 2344 Bartlett St, Houston, TX – French Country Wines is a locally owned wine store. They’re offering wine delivery for free within the 610 Loop and for $12 outside of the Loop. You can pay online.
  • Lemongrass Cafe – 5107 Bellaire Blvd Ste 120, Bellaire, TX – Lemongrass is offering curbside pick-up for their Asian fusion favorites. They also have a minimart with essentials, including milk, butter, toilet paper, fresh produce, dry goods, cleaning supplies, beer, wine, and more that you can order for curbside pick-up as well. Talk about convenience! 
  • Pecan Creek Grille – 1510 Eldridge Pkwy, Ste 100, Houston, TX – Get your breakfast fix from Pecan Creek Grille. They’re offering curbside pickup, as well as delivery on weekends within a five-mile radius. They’ve also put together a new family menu.
  • The ‘401 – 6700 Ferris, Ste 150, Bellaire, TX – This Bellaire neighborhood restaurant is offering curbside to-go orders and free delivery within a five-mile radius.
  • Uptown Sushi – 1131-14 Uptown Park Blvd, Houston, TX – You can order sushi online for takeout and curbside pick-up. They also have delivery through Favor.

 Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ markets are a great way to support local farmers and food businesses. Most of the local markets have social distancing rules in place and some are even offering the option to pick food up.

  • Urban Harvest Farmers’ Market –St. John’s School,  2752 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX – This market is open Saturdays from 8am to 12pm. In addition to the regular market, they offer online ordering and a drive-thru option.
  • Memorial Villages Farmers Market – 10840 Beinhorn Rd, Houston, TX – They’re open Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
  • Eleanora’s Market – 2120 Ella Blvd, Houston, TX – This market is open on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
  • Westchase District Farmers’ Market – 10503 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX – The local market is open on Thursdays from 3pm to 7pm.
  • The Houston Farmers’ Market – 2520 Airline Dr, Houston, TX – Texas’ largest farmers’ market is open daily from 5:30am to 6pm.
  • Braeswood Farmers Market – 5401 S. Braeswood Blvd, Houston, TX –The Braeswood Farmers’ Market is open Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 1pm.


  • Rye 51 – 2800 Kirby Dr, Ste B124 and 642 Yale St, Ste B, Houston, TX – Shop online at this menswear boutique.
  • Tres Chic – 3414 Eastside St, Houston, TX – This mom and daughter-owned fashion boutique offers online shopping.
  • Sobare – 2400 Mid Ln, Ste 140, Houston, TX – Get Sobare’s stylish activewear through their online shop.
  • Reserve Supply Company – 2205 Washington Ave, Houston, TX – Reserve Supply Company is a locally owned boutique with men’s clothing and accessories. Order online and have it shipped or select local pick-up for curbside pick-up.
  • Sloan/Hall ­ – 2620 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX – You can purchase trendy, unique clothing and gifts from the boutique online.
  • Pomp and Circumstance – 2708 Sackett St, Houston, TX – This Houston boutique has a full array of clothing, accessories and gifts available online.
  • Kick Pleat – 2565 Kirby Dr, Houston, TX – Kick Pleat also sells their clothing, shoes and accessories in their online shop.
  • Hello Lucky Life – 1025 Studewood St, Ste 7139, Houston, TX – You’ll find American-made, locally designed apparel for men, women and children at this Houston boutique and they offer online shopping.
  • Beehive – 2519 University Blvd, Houston, TX – Shop for women’s clothing, accessories and shoes online or try Beehive To-Go and get a curated box of clothing and accessories hand-selected and delivered to you.
  • Zadok Jewelers – 1749 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, TX – Zadok is a family-owned jewelry store in Houston that offers watches, rings, gems, gifts and repairs. You can shop by appointment or order online and have items shipped to your home. 
  • Magpies Gifts – 5000 Bellaire Blvd, Bellaire, TX – This Bellaire boutique has online shopping, as well as gift cards available for purchase. You’ll find unique, quality gifts for men, women and children, as well as home goods. If you’re looking for something fun to do at home, try their paint-by-number kits. 
  • Bering’s Hardware – 6102 Westheimer Rd and 3900 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX –Bering’s is still open, however, you can also buy online and pick-up in store, get curbside delivery or have your order shipped to your house.
  • Itsy Bitsy Boutique – 2511 River Oaks, Houston, TX – Shop this Houston boutique’s selection of baby and kids’ clothing, nursery décor and more online. Locals can select pick-up in store for curbside delivery. 
  • Brazos Bookstore – 2421 Bissonnet St, Houston, TX – Support this Houston independent bookstore by ordering books online and having them shipped right to your door.
  • Blue Willow Bookshop – 14532 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX – This West Houston independent bookstore has online shopping for books, gift cards, e-books and audiobooks. You can also call for pick-up or place orders and get recommendations over the phone.

We hope you find this list of small businesses in Houston to support helpful and we also hope everyone is doing well. We’re officially open again to all patients and we can’t wait to see you! We’ll be getting our current patients back in for visits. If you’re a new patient, schedule a visit or book a virtual consultation to kick off your smile journey.

We’re Reopening!

By Blog

Dear Patients + Families of Houston Orthodontic Specialists,

We cannot believe it has been 5 weeks since we have seen you at our office. We are so excited to see all of you back at our practice beginning on May 11th. We have chosen this date to ensure complete preparation considering the logistics and safety of our staff and patients. The health and safety of our patients and staff are of utmost importance to us. We have used this interim time to meet with leading experts at the state and federal level with the goal of emerging out of the COVID crisis ahead of the curve.

For the immediate future, we will “look a bit different” when you see us, as we will be protecting our team and our patients with the latest recommended PPE needed for your next appointment. We have all of the latest sterilization protocols in place to ensure that our facilities and clinics are clean, sterile and ready for your arrival. Our reception areas are being rearranged to allow for the recommended six-foot social distancing during your visit. Appointment scheduling has been adjusted to allow time for enhanced cleaning and sterilization measures. Rest assured, your treatment area will meet the strictest standards for your protection and peace of mind. Further, at the end of every workday, we have contracted a professional cleaning service to provide an added measure of disinfection and sterilization for our entire office.

While Texas has reopened for business, it’s necessary to be cautious and to gradually return to normal. For your safety, implemented precautions will continue at our office.

Safety For You, Your Family, and Our Team is Our Highest Mission

  • We will continue to provide all our patients with a questionnaire (which must be completed prior to your appointment to identify patients who have travelled to certain countries, are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been around others who have experienced flu-like symptoms). COVID 19 QUESTIONNAIRE
  • A temperature screening will be done for doctors, staff, patients and accompanying family members. Anyone presented with a fever of 100 F/37.7 C will need to be rescheduled in accordance with CDC guidelines.
  • Please wash your hands in our clinical area prior to being seated for your appointment and prior to leaving our clinic after your appointment.
  • We have temporarily closed our beverage area, candy wall, tech bar, game area, and removed all magazines from our waiting areas.
  • Please brush your teeth prior to your appointment, as brushing stations have been temporarily closed.
  • To provide our highest level of protection, we will be scheduling according to appointment type and risk level of the procedure. For example, routine adjustments, growth checkups, and Invisalign scans will be seen together. The appointments requiring use of dental handpieces and use of air and water, such as placing or removing braces require higher measures of protection and will be scheduled accordingly. Our team will begin contacting you for appointments next week!
Concierge Team
  • To provide you with the best service, we have added a Concierge Program to guide you through your visits with us. Due to restrictions on the number of guests that we can have in our facilities at one time, our Concierge Team will facilitate your check-ins, procedures, and check-outs.  We will anticipate your arrival, check you in for your appointment, and even deliver aligners from the comfort and safety of your car! When it is time for your appointment, we will let you know and guide you to your appropriate treatment area.  A greeting space is set up in front of our reception where we can read temperatures to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • We love siblings and visitors at our practice but during this time we ask that you help us in minimizing the number of people who enter our office for an appointment. We understand this may present a challenge as schools are closed, but we ask unless it’s necessary that only 1 parent/guardian accompanies your child to their appointment and adults come alone.

Virtual Services Available

In our time away we have been hard at work developing our service offerings. One of those is our new virtual platform. We now have the ability to offer you virtual consultations from the comfort of your home. In addition, for those in treatment with our practice, we are able to offer virtual visits, allowing you the option of virtual check-ups with our doctors and staff. Our virtual options will allow for the ultimate level of convenience by eliminating trips to the office while assuring that you are receiving the highest level of care that you have grown to expect under the direct supervision of our team. Check out our newly updated website to learn more!

We will continue to closely monitor local and federal regulations and guidelines to ensure our community is safe. We are excited to see you all back and continue with your orthodontic journey.  We have taken full advantage of our time away in order to offer you the highest level of protection and will reopen with an even higher level of service and convenience than before. We are excited to let you know that our entire team has completed the Ritz Carlton Service Excellence Seminar. We appreciate your understanding, patience and help during this time in working together for a safe community and office.   We are grateful for your loyalty and we look forward to seeing your smiling faces again!  We love you, miss you and will see you soon.

Continue to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates, or if you have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected].

Thank you,

The Doctors and Staff of Houston Orthodontic Specialists


The Benefits of a Digital Consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists

By Blog

Dr. Tabakman, Dr. Muller, Dr. Bloome and Dr. Wadler are always on the cutting edge of technology to provide you with the best and most convenient treatment. They are also here to keep our patients, team members and community safe. As you may know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the doctors have had to temporarily close the Houston Orthodontic Specialists’ offices. However, we’re still here virtually!

If you’re an existing patient and you have questions or concerns, text our office at (713) 667-6000 or email us at [email protected]. We’re also creating an option, which you can access via our homepage, for a virtual check-in. This way, you can check in with us so we can monitor your progress or help you if you’re having a problem with your braces or Invisalign.

Now, what about new patients who have been thinking about perfecting their smiles? We’ve got you covered too with digital consultations. So, if visiting a Bellaire or Houston orthodontist for Invisalign or braces has been on your to-do list, now is the time to cross it off. Here are the benefits of having a digital consultation with Houston Orthodontic Specialists:

  1. Helps With Social Distancing – There’s nothing we love more than interacting with our patients but for the time being, social distancing is essential for helping to flatten the curve. With a digital consultation, there’s no physical contact and you don’t have to leave your house. You can even stay in your pajamas if you want! We’ll be able to complete a number of steps in the orthodontic process from afar. Then, when things stabilize and our offices reopen, we’ll schedule you for an in-person appointment.
  2. Very Convenient – Completing the process from your couch, kitchen table or wherever you are is about as convenient as it gets. You don’t need to get dressed or get the kids ready and take a trip to our office.
  3. Super Easy – We designed our virtual consultation to be extremely user-friendly and streamlined. It only takes a few minutes. You’ll simply enter some information about yourself and snap a few pics of your smile before hitting “send.” One of our Houston or Bellaire orthodontists will review your information and then we’ll get back to you.
  4. You’ll Receive Important Details – After going over your form and your pictures, our orthodontic specialist will customize the best treatment plan for you or your child. Our treatment coordinator will contact you to talk about our treatment recommendations, how long your treatment will likely last, the cost of braces or Invisalign for your case and our affordable payment options. You’ll feel informed and confident about taking the next steps with us.
  5. Kicks Off Your Smile Journey – Every new patient starts their smile journey with a consultation. By doing it virtually, we can check off several tasks before you come in to have your braces bonded or your Invisalign aligners designed. This will save you time. If you have insurance, you can give us your information and we’ll estimate your coverage and start the paperwork on your behalf.
  6. It’s Complimentary and No Referral is Necessary – While we always appreciate and welcome referrals from dentists, you don’t need one to have a virtual consultation. We can determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary for you or your child and, if it is, what the best treatment option will be. It’s free and there is no obligation. If you do decide you want to move forward with us, we’ll schedule you for an appointment as soon as our offices open again.

We hope you’re hanging in there, staying positive and finding things to smile about! If you’re ready to learn more about braces or Invisalign in Houston or Bellaire, book a digital consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today! In fact, from now until April 3, we’re offering $1,500 of full orthodontic treatment with Invisalign and braces. 


Temporary closure due to COVID-19

By Blog

April 28th – 

Dear patients,

We’re reopening on May 11th! Find out more HERE.

April 20th – 

Dear patients, 

We have missed seeing your smiling faces around our offices. Most importantly we want to keep you and our staff safe. As you may have seen, Governor Abbott held a press conference today, informing us that Texas will gradually reopen for business.  We are in the process of planning re-opening and have been busy over the last 3 weeks consulting with the professional body(ADA), numerous industry experts and other experts in disease management, ensuring that we have the best safety standards in place for our practice and patients.

We want to keep you informed every step of the way, hopefully, we will have more answers next week of how and when we will be servicing you, our patients, in-office to provide you with the safest and best experience.

If you have any questions at all during this time please email our office at [email protected].

We hope you’re all staying safe and healthy and we can’t wait to see you soon!

 Dr. Vladimir Tabakman


March 24th – 

Dear Patients,

The Governor of Texas put out a statewide mandate on Sunday, March 22, 2020, that all medical and dental providers are to remain closed until April 21, 2020, at midnight for any non-essential procedures. Additionally, as of midnight March 24, 2020, a “Stay Home, Work Safe” order has been issued in Harris County which will stay in effect until at least April 3, 2020.

This means that we will have to temporarily suspend curbside Invisalign aligner pickup until further notice. Dr. Tabakman will continue to see patients for emergencies only. We have set up a convenient online portal for any special-cares where one of our highly trained clinical assistants will be able to assist you to make you comfortable and help you in the convenience of your home. Find out more here.

We are currently planning on resuming normal business activity on April 22, 2020, as currently allowed by the law, however, should this change, we will keep you posted.

Should you have any further questions, please feel free to email us at [email protected]

We can’t wait to see all your smiling faces back at our practice!

Thank you,

Dr. Vladimir Tabakman, Dr. Melissa Bloome, Dr. Monica Muller and Dr. David Wadler


March 18th – 

Dear patients and families of Houston Orthodontic Specialists,

Based on recent information that is ever-changing and evolving regarding COVID-19, and based on recommendations from the CDC, American Dental Association and Texas Dental Association, Dr. Muller, Dr. Bloome, Dr. Wadler and I have decided that our practice will be closed starting on March 18, 2020, and will reopen on March 30, 2020. I will be available for special-care appointments at our Bellaire location. We believe it is in the best interest of the community to do our part in helping to keep people safe and healthy and to help “flatten the curve.”

One of our core values at Houston Orthodontic Specialists is excellence: we pride ourselves in excellence regardless of what we do, big or small. Our mission is to deliver the best possible orthodontic care in a state of the art environment. This is not an easy decision as we have struggled with what is the right decision at this time for our employees, patients, doctors, and community. We realize the impact it will have on everyone. Now is the time to truly care for our communities and humanity. I personally am going to use this as an opportunity to show my children the power of resilience, strength, leadership, positive energy, and goodwill toward each other. The coming days will be challenging and different, but that is ok. Together as a supportive community, we will get through this as we have done in other times.

I will continue to stay positive, smile daily and help others when I am able to. More details will come and we will be reaching out to those of you scheduled in the coming weeks. If you need us we are here for you. You can text our office number (713) 667-6000 or use our chat feature on our website to contact us, we will be monitoring that and responding as needed. We will also be working diligently to ensure we are prepared to resume business as usual when the time comes.

I am wishing our community and HOS family health, safety and strength in the days ahead. Stay healthy and practice good judgement. Don’t be fearful, things will be ok.

With love and care,

Dr. Vladimir Tabakman


Everything You Need to Know About Dental Retainers

By Blog, Orthodontics

When you finish your braces or Invisalign, there’s still one more step in your orthodontic treatment: wearing a retainer. It’s the only way to maintain your results for life. We promise when you see how fantastic your new smile looks, it won’t seem like a big deal at all. Today, we’ll be covering why you need a retainer after braces or Invisalign, what the different types of retainers are and how to care for them.

Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer After Braces or Invisalign?

When you’re actually wearing braces or Invisalign and your teeth are shifting into place, this is what’s known as the active phase of your orthodontic treatment. When it’s complete, you enter the retention phase, which is when you wear a retainer. During the active phase, your braces or aligners exert steady, gentle pressure to move your teeth, which stimulates the process of bone remodeling. During bone remodeling, the bone and tissue that support the teeth break down, allowing the teeth to move in the direction we want. When you remove the pressure (i.e., have your braces taken off or stop wearing your aligners), the teeth have a natural tendency to shift back to where they were.

A retainer prevents the teeth from moving by holding them in their new positions until the bone and tissue tighten back up and lock your new smile into place. Additionally, the teeth drift as part of the natural ageing process and a retainer can minimize this shifting. Not wearing a retainer after braces or Invisalign will eventually result in a relapse. So, how long do you have to wear a retainer? Typically you’ll only wear it full-time for a short period before transitioning to just wearing it at night. Eventually, you’ll only have to use it a few nights a week.

The Types of Retainers After Braces or Invisalign

There are two main types of retainers after braces or Invisalign: fixed and removable retainers. Here are the basics of each kind

  • Fixed Retainer – A fixed retainer consists of a thin metal wire that’s bonded to the back of the teeth on the tongue side. It can’t be seen when you smile and it can stay in place for years, or even decades, if properly cared for. Your orthodontist will be able to determine if a fixed retainer, often called a permanent retainer, will be the best choice for your smile needs. Sometimes, we’ll use a fixed retainer on one arch and a removable retainer on the other arch.
  • Removable Retainer – There are two types of removable retainers:

 o Hawley Retainer – A Hawley retainer is probably what comes to mind when you hear the word “retainer.” It has a piece of acrylic that rests against the roof or bottom of your mouth, depending on which arch it’s used on, and an attached wire that goes around your teeth. While it is visible, it’s less noticeable than metal braces. A Hawley retainer can be adjusted if we need to make minor corrections. However, an increasing number of patients are opting for clear retainers instead so we don’t use Hawley retainer as much as we used to.

o Essix Retainer, Also Known as a Clear Retainer– An Essix retainer is a clear retainer made from smooth, BPA-free plastic. It’s very similar to an Invisalign aligner. In fact, the company that makes Invisalign also makes Vivera clear retainers, a brand of Essix retainer. Clear retainers, or Essix retainers, slip over the teeth, are comfortable and are nearly invisible. They’re the most popular option with our Bellaire and Houston orthodontics patients.

How to Care for Your Orthodontic Retainer

Here are some tips for caring for your retainer after braces or Invisalign:

  • Brush and floss around your fixed retainer. The wire can accumulate food and plaque just like braces can, so oral hygiene is important. You’ll also want to keep up with your regular dental appointments so your dentist can ensure the area is clean and cavity-free.
  • Always keep your removable retainer in its retainer case when you’re not wearing it. Never place it on a napkin or in a tissue because it can get thrown away. You’ll even want to store it in its retainer case when you take it out to brush and floss because pets love retainers. The last thing you want is your dog damaging it.
  • Remove your retainer before eating and drinking anything aside from plain water. If you have an Essix retainer, like a Vivera clear retainer, it’s especially important to take it out even if you’re just taking a sip of a drink. The liquid and sugars can get stuck between your teeth and your retainer, which will increase your risk of tooth decay.
  • As for how to clean your retainer, gently brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and some non-abrasive toothpaste whenever you brush your teeth. This will get rid of plaque and any food debris. For a deeper clean, you can also occasionally use a retainer cleaner and let it soak. This will prevent it from smelling and will get rid of any build up.
  • Don’t store clear retainers in hot vehicles or drink hot drinks with them in your mouth. The heat can warp the retainer, which will affect the fit and could potentially result in your teeth shifting.
  • If you lose a retainer, call our office right away to have it replaced. Not wearing your retainer after braces or Invisalign, even for a few nights, will result in your teeth shifting. It’s important to get a new one so we can maintain your smile.
  • Bring your retainer with you to appointments so we can make sure it’s still in good shape and it fits correctly.

Now that you know all of the details about wearing a retainer after braces or Invisalign, we hope you’ll take excellent care of your appliance to keep your smile in tip-top shape. At our practice, we have a Retainer Club Membership program to ensure you always have a retainer and can keep your new smile looking its best. Call our office for more details!

If you haven’t had orthodontic treatment yet and you’d like to meet with a Bellaire or Houston orthodontist, schedule a free consultation at Houston Orthodontic Specialists today!