5 Ways to Determine Whether Your Child Will Need or Currently Needs Braces

In many ways braces are like college in that many parents see them as an eventuality, an investment in their children’s future that is simply part of the growing-up process.

But not every child will need braces.

Some parents do actually get lucky in that department.

How can you tell if you’ll be one of those parents?

It’s easy:

  1. Consult an orthodontist. We figured you had to see this one coming so we’re listing it first. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that a child’s first visit to the orthodontist happen in early elementary school. Kids still have their baby teeth when they’re 7, which makes it a good age to determine whether early intervention can eliminate the need for future orthodontics. For instance, orthodontists can guide the growth of young jaws, end harmful biting habits, coax adult teeth into their proper places and improve appearance, possibly making braces unnecessary. Or they might recommend a wait-and-see approach.
  2. Examine your child’s mouth. Are the teeth crowded up top? Crowded down below? Are there gaps in between them? Does your child have an obvious over- or underbite? Teeth that are crooked or turned in toward each other? Does their breath smell bad even though they’ve just brushed their teeth well? There are many iterations of “problem bites” or “problem teeth” and while visible issues might not always mean braces, they are a good indicator that treatment might be necessary. Another indicator is, as we noted, bad breath. Food could be getting stuck between teeth that are too close together, which means bacteria are having a field day.
  3. Ask your child. Have a sit-down. Is your child having trouble chewing food? Does he experience jaw pain from time to time? Is he not smiling or speaking in front of certain groups of people because of how his teeth look? Having an open conversation about braces with your child is important because it gives them some buy-in on orthodontic decisions, which means a better chance of compliance with future treatments.
  4. Listen to your child. Does she lisp or have other speech impediments that might be caused by out-of-order teeth or a misaligned jaw? Talk with her teachers or a speech pathologist to determine the origin of the issue. It’s possible orthodontics could help improve matters.
  5. Ask your child’s dentist. They should be able to guide you in this area.

The staff at Bluffton Orthodontics is happy to answer any question you might have about braces, timelines or cost. We also offer free consultations, which will help determine what work, if any, your child will need 843-815-2521.

The surprising answer to parents’ first question about braces: ‘What’s the best age to get them?’

When you think about braces-wearers, the image that most likely comes to mind is that of a teenager, someone already in the throes of hormonal awkwardness, like the nerd in “Sixteen Candles” or the nerd in “Never Been Kissed” or the nerd in … hey, why is it always a nerd?

You might find this surprising, but over the years, the age of the average braces-wearer has been skewing younger — like elementary school young.

In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids have their first visit with an orthodontist around the age of 7.

This is the standard for everyone, not just children with crooked or protruding teeth. And a consultation does not mean your child will be on the fast track to braces.

At this age, patients still have their baby teeth, which makes it an ideal time for orthodontists to check for and correct any problems with a child’s growth and jaw development.

Orthodontists will determine whether early intervention can help prevent the need for more difficult and costly treatment later, after all the adult teeth have come in. They can also give you an idea of what treatment might be necessary in the future, giving you some time to plan accordingly.

While the best age for kids to have their braces put on is generally between 10 and 14, certain patients might be candidates for two-phased orthodontic care that could start between the ages of 6 and 9.

Every patient’s needs are different, of course, which is why it’s important to talk with your orthodontist for a specific answer to this question rather than depend wholly on Google or other parents, which are good resources but can only give part of the picture.

At Bluffton Orthodontics we offer patients free consultations with the hope of putting parents’ minds and patient’s fears at ease while assessing a patient’s progress and possible needs. It is the perfect time to ask questions and get to know our staff. Give us a call at 843-815-2521to set up an appointment.

FREE Teeth Whitening with Purchase of Clear Correct® (a $350.00 Value)

You shouldn’t have to choose between straight teeth and bright white smile! That’s why, for a limited time Dr. Garrison is offering free teeth whitening at the end of your treatment when you invest in Clear Correct®, the most advanced clear aligner system made in the USA.

Why Clear Correct®?
Achieving your ideal smile is easy and effortless. Plus, since your clear aligners are removable, you can take them out to brush, floss, and eat your favorite foods. ClearCorrect fits your life and daily routine as perfectly as it fits your teeth, so you don’t need to change a thing.

Call Bluffton Orthodontics at 843-815-2521 to learn more about how you can take advantage of this offer and get on the path to loving your smile even more.

7 Ways Braces Can Improve Your Child’s Life

While getting your child braces is primarily a medical decision — one that helps set them up for a lifetime of better health — there is another important reason to consider braces: They will ultimately improve your child’s self-esteem.

“Self-esteem” can be a squishy concept.

Some see the idea of “low self-esteem” as being nothing more than an excuse for poor behavior or lack of achievement. But the truth is, there is a solid connection between a person’s confidence in themselves and their overall success in life — whether that be defined professionally, financially or academically or whether it concerns relationships or value in any given community.

Throughout our careers, the staff at Bluffton Orthodontics have had a front-row seat to the transformations that happen for kids after they have had braces.

Here are just some of the improvements we’ve noticed in kids whose teeth we have straightened:

  1. They smile more. Smiling is not just an expression of incidental happiness and friendliness, it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. The more you smile, the better you feel and the more people will want to be around you.
  2. They become more vocal. Some kids are naturally shy, but others find that their shyness was largely caused by feeling self-conscious about their teeth. We’ve heard of kids who never spoke up in class before suddenly having the confidence to participate.
  3. They take more pride in their appearance. There’s a philosophy in housekeeping that posits if you make it a point to always have a clean and gleaming kitchen sink, you will find it easier to keep the rest of your home clean. The clean sink subtly prompts you into doing “one more thing” to make the area around it look better and it works outward from there. The same can be said about having straightened teeth. You might find that your child now actually want to have neatly combed hair and ironed clothes.
  4. They are nicer to others. Having braces can be humbling. It can also boost empathy. But mostly, the confidence gained from having straightened teeth and a more ready smile goes a long way in creating and spreading sunshine.
  5. They try new things. We can’t say enough good things about “having confidence.” We’ve seen kids take on new sports, try out for their school plays and, yes, ask that special someone to the school formal.
  6. They make new friends. A smile is the first invitation to friendship.
  7. They become more generous in spirit. An investment in self-esteem pays back compound interest. The better a kid feels about herself, the easier she finds it to praise and thank others, the more effortless it is for her to brighten someone else’s day.

The staff at Bluffton Orthodontics are so proud of our patients and the many positive changes we’ve seen come from wearing braces. We love to share their stories of success. Give us a call at 843-815-2521 to set up a free consultation (we promise we won’t gush too much).

The Braces Are Off! And Now Comes The Hardest (And Easiest) Part … Keeping Your Smile Perfect

There’s a scene in the film “Peggy Sue Got Married,” a time-traveling classic from the 1980s, in which the protagonist, Kathleen Turner, tells her grandfather that she has returned from the future and has a chance to change everything about her life.

What, she asks him, would he do differently if he could relive his life?

“I would’ve taken better care of my teeth,” he tells her.

Maybe that’s not the most philosophical of answers, but it certainly registers with any adult who has ever had dental problems that could have been prevented had they prioritized oral health in their youth.

Along these lines, it’s sometimes very difficult to get kids to understand the impact their current actions might have on their well-being later in life.

This is particularly true of the newly de-braced.

Though we here at Bluffton Orthodontics pride ourselves on making our patients’ office visits as fun and as fast as possible, we know there’s only one visit they truly love: the day the braces come off.

It really is an awesome moment. It’s so cool for us to see their big smiles and happy faces.

We want our patients to celebrate this day, to eat some of (not all of) the foods they couldn’t, to run their tongues across their newly smooth teeth all day long and to Snap away to their hearts’ content.

And we really hate to burst any balloons, but who are we if not the voices of orthodontic reason?

The day after the braces come off is the first day of what we hope will be a lifelong commitment to maintaining all our patients’ hard work to achieve that perfect smile.

Since “lifelong commitment” is an overwhelming thought for young people, we have come up with two very basic behaviors to adopt and three reality checks to help those basics sink in:

Basic No. 1: Your gums and teeth are going to be tender for a while after the braces come off so wait a month to schedule a professional cleaning. Then schedule a professional cleaning for every six months after that. You will do this for the rest of your life.

Reality check: If you’ve ever heard someone be described as having “buzzards’ breath” or as “the guy with four teeth,” you can bet that person did not stick to their cleaning schedule.

Basic No. 2: Wearing your retainer really is important. It’s not just a suggestion. Your retainer will help keep your beautiful teeth in place and your bite in alignment. If you hate wearing it or are having problems with it, please talk to us about that because your retainer will be a part of your life for a long time.

Reality check: Adult braces. If you skip the retainer too often, it will catch up with you and you might have to have braces again later in life or suffer the consequences — such as creating uneven wear and tear on your teeth because of a misaligned bite or being more and more hesitant to smile because you’re self-conscious about your teeth. Why go through any of this again if you don’t have to?

If you have any questions about life after braces or if you’re in the “wishing I took better care of my teeth” camp and want to learn more about realignment options, give Bluffton Orthodontics a call at 843-815-2521.