Taking Care of Teeth: Kristo Orthodontics
Dr. Steve Kristo and his team maintain a hometown focus as the industry changes and the business continues to expand
Kristo Orthodontics has grown by leaps and bounds since 1988, when Dr. Steve Kristo joined the practice his father, Dr. Andrew Kristo, had founded nearly 30 years earlier. Starting from one clinic in Eau Claire, Kristo Orthodontics now operates statewide, with 15 locations in the Chippewa Valley and across Wisconsin.
Wherever Kristo Orthodontics goes, we focus on being a hometown team providing exceptional orthodontic care, Dr. Steve Kristo says.
“We try to mimic what we’ve done in Eau Claire: Treat people nicely, give back to the community when we can, provide a higher level of service,” he says.
As the business has grown in recent years and more experts have joined the Kristo team, Dr. Kristo himself has been able to spend more time doing what attracted him to orthodontics in the first place: “I love straightening teeth,” he says with a grin. “I love being patient-involved and providing personalized care.”
“Any good fortune I have I try to spin back into this community.”
And who those patients are has evolved over time. Orthodontic treatment isn’t just for teens and tweens anymore: The number of adult patients Kristo treats has grown steadily over the years. The increasing popularity of Invisalign – which uses clear plastic trays to move teeth incrementally – has made orthodontics more appealing for adults. Most recently, an additional consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic – face masks that conceal braces – have also made orthodontics more attractive for some adults, Kristo says.
“I don’t think there’s a better value play for someone who wants to improve their overall health, their aesthetics, their smile, confidence, and quality of life,” he says.
Today, more than 40% of Kristo’s patients use Invisalign, including about 90% of adults. Kristo has been treating patients using Invisalign for more than 20 years, and the product’s technology has continued to improve. Kristo says he can do just about anything with Invisalign that he can with traditional wire-and-bracket braces.
And even for those who choose braces, technology has evolved. Gone are the days of unsightly, uncomfortable headgear, and orthodontists are now less likely to remove teeth than to try to create space by expanding patients’ jaws, Kristo says.
All this technology and expertise are in the hands of a clinical staff of about 30 people in the Chippewa Valley. “Our team that I work with is tighter than it’s ever been,” Kristo says.
For years, Kristo has worked alongside Dr. Bob Bronski, and the team expects to add another orthodontist to its Chippewa Valley team as soon as this summer.
Even as the business continues to expand, Kristo is dedicated to his Chippewa Valley roots. “My business and my life have benefited from being an Eau Claire kid, for sure,” Kristo says. “Any good fortune I have I try to spin back into this community.”