Is there anything I can do to get my braces off earlier?

We know that our patients are eager to see their awesome braces-free smiles as soon as possible.

We’re right there with them.

But there is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to teenagers and orthodontic care — from harmful DIY videos online instructing kids on at-home “treatments” to community boards where patients share the dangerous “tricks” they used to make their treatments go faster. (For the record, adding extra rubber bands will not shorten your treatment and, in fact, could cause problems that might require you to wear your braces longer than you would have had you not “experimented.”)

The average length of orthodontic treatment is 22 months, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, but treatments can range between 12 and 36 months depending on the patient.

The answer to the question we hear all the time — “Is there anything I can do to get these off earlier?” — is “not really, no.”

We understand the disappointment.

Maybe you have a special event coming up, a wedding or a dance, and you were hoping for a reprieve, but bone takes time to heal. In other words, if your braces come off too early then your teeth could go back to how they were.

We do have some news that might make you feel better, though: At Bluffton Orthodontics we closely monitor our patients’ progress so that the second your smile is ready, we’ll know.

Bottom line, though? The best thing you can do to keep things on track is to follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

Oh, and wear your retainer after the braces finally do come off.

If you have any questions about your treatment, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or call our office at 843-815-2521.

Celebrities who proved ‘adult braces’ are cool

In 2013, country musician Faith Hill made headlines when she arrived at the Grammy Awards wearing something that few other celebrities have in public: braces.

The then-45-year-old admitted to reporters that she needed the braces — she chose the clear-bracket variety, by the way — because she had forgotten to wear her retainer as a kid.

“Wear your retainers, kids!” she told a radio station at the time.

Did the braces make her look less lovely? Not one bit. She looked gorgeous.

More than that, the singer-songwriter showed fans that “adult braces” won’t put a crimp in your lifestyle. If a star can walk the red carpet wearing them while the cameras flash from all angles, then there’s no place you can’t go while wearing yours.

Hill isn’t the only celebrity who wore braces as an adult. Tom Cruise had them too.
Back in 2002, the actor, who was 40 at the time, had clear braces put on to give his smile a boost.

And he apparently inspired actress Faye Dunaway to do the same.

Dunaway had braces put on when she was 61 and told reporters “Tom Cruise has them … so I’m in style.”

For Dunaway, the braces helped get her teeth ready for veneers, which further improved her smile.

“American Idol” winner Fantasia Barrino is another celebrity who was photographed wearing adult braces.

Fantasia wore braces for about a year in 2008 to straighten her teeth. After that, she could be seen setting a good example by wearing her retainer from time to time. She didn’t want to undo all that work she put into her smile!

If you’re over the age of 18 and considering braces, you should start with a consultation, which we offer for free at Bluffton Orthodontics.

At the consultation we will assess your needs and talk about options, which include traditional braces, gold braces or the more discreet clear brackets or clear aligners.
To schedule your consultation, call us at 843-815-2521.

5 ways Bluffton Orthodontics stands out when it comes to managing the cost of braces

The cost of treatment varies by patient, but at Bluffton Orthodontics, our goal is to make braces affordable to everyone.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. We do our best to control costs. We will not recommend unnecessary treatments, and we will take the time to discuss options with you. You will know your expenses from the very beginning.
  2. According to a 2014 study by the American Association of Orthodontists, most dental insurances offer some form of orthodontics coverage. We are well-versed in the language of insurance companies and our staff will be there with you every step of the way of your treatment. We will help you work with your insurance company to submit claims and paperwork.
  3. We offer sensible payment plans that are tailored to your financial needs.
  4. We have a lot of experience. We have put on more than 10,000 pairs of braces over the years and have worked with thousands of families, and thousands of different financial situations.
  5. In recognition of our amazing teachers and those who make their service possible, we are proud to offer a discount to full-time Beaufort and Jasper County School District employees, their spouses and their children.

It all starts with a free consultation. To schedule yours, call us at 843-815-2521.

Gold Braces Will Have You Smiling Big

You don’t have to wait until your braces come off for your smile to really shine.

Gold braces can do that for you right now, and there’s only one place in Bluffton where you can get them: Bluffton Orthodontics.

We are very excited to offer Forever Gold Brackets by American Orthodontics as a treatment option for our patients.

Gold braces, which are actually stainless steel, provide the same level of durability and treatment as our traditional metal and clear braces.

The only major difference is in the color.

We really like the Forever Gold braces because the brackets not only have an elegant shape that will complement your smile, they will maintain their original sheen throughout the course of your treatment.

Patients tend to choose gold over traditional metal or clear because gold braces are flattering and fashion-forward. They are a particularly great choice for teens and adults who are concerned about potential changes to their facial appearance.

Consider gold braces if you:

  • Like the way you look in gold tones or jewelry
  • Enjoy doing things a little differently from the rest of your friends
  • Are looking for an understated option for your orthodontic treatment

If you have any questions about Forever Gold Brackets or if you would like to schedule a free consultation with Bluffton Orthodontics, call us at 843-815-2521.

4 Things You Should Always Tell Your Orthodontist

One of our favorite things is knowing that we get to see you.
And that’s not just because of all the progress you’ve made between visits.
We truly treasure the relationships we’ve built over the years with our patients and with their families (in case you couldn’t tell from our collection of photos in our waiting room).
As we work together to create your best smile ever — whether it’s through traditional metal or clear braces, gold brackets or clear aligners — we want you to know that we’re all ears.
Communication is very important to our patients’ success, and we encourage you to always feel free to tell us when:

  1. You have a question: You can ask us anything at any time, of course, but we encourage you to keep a list of questions that might pop up between visits so that when you come in, we can get you the answers.
  2. Something doesn’t feel right: No one knows how your mouth feels better than you. Never hesitate to tell us when you think there might be a problem.
  3. You’re not flossing: Spoiler alert, we already know you’re not flossing, but what we don’t know is why. So let’s talk about it and figure out a hygiene plan that will work for you. Clean teeth are happy teeth.
  4.  You broke your retainer: This is a real bummer, but you need a retainer to keep your teeth straight and your bite aligned. Rather than pretend that you’ve been wearing it regularly, bring your broken retainer in to our office and we’ll take a look at it.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Bluffton Orthodontics, call us at 843-815-2521.

3 Things You Should Know About Possible Early Orthodontic Treatment for 6-9 Year Olds

A lot has changed in the field of orthodontics since you were a teenager.

In fact, braces are so advanced they’re sometimes invisible — or at least, the clear aligners version of them are.

Not only are braces less cumbersome than they used to be, they’re not just for teenagers and adults anymore. It’s not unheard of these days to see kids as young as 8 or 9 wearing them.

Why? The reasons vary by patient, of course, but here are some things to know about pediatric orthodontics — orthodontics for the younger patient — at Bluffton Orthodontics.

  1. Early intervention is important. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that patients begin seeing an orthodontist at age 7. While most patients aren’t given a recommendation of immediate action at that age, early intervention helps identify current and potential problems and gives parents more lead time on future orthodontic decisions. It can also save money in the long-run.
  2. Sometimes we don’t put braces on your child. An appointment with us doesn’t automatically mean “braces.” Younger patients are not usually ready for braces before 10 or 11 years old, but in certain cases there are solutions that can be implemented earlier that can help improve smiles and alignment. Treatments that incorporate expanders at a young age can help shorten the time your child will need to wear braces later on.
  3. Problems aren’t always obvious. “Straight teeth” does not always mean “no braces.” Common orthodontic problems, such as an overbite, are not always obvious to the untrained eye and, if left unfixed, could cause major gum issues or jaw pain in the future.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in the Bluffton, Beaufort and Hilton Head Island area, feel free to stop by Bluffton Orthodontics for a tour of our office and to meet our staff. We also offer free consultations, which can be booked by calling 843-815-2521.

Early Intervention and What Parents Need to Know Before Choosing Any Treatment Plan

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontist visit at age 7, but your child’s regular dentist might advise you to bring your child in to see us even sooner than that.

This might seem excessively young to you, but that’s the point.

Early intervention — or what is called Phase I treatment — can prevent future problems and even reduce or eliminate future orthodontia costs.

With younger patients, orthodontists can guide jaw growth; they can coax adult teeth into the right place; they can prevent gum deterioration; they can improve bites and close gaps; they can make room for new teeth; they can correct bad habits that are affecting tooth or bite alignment; and they can help fix cosmetic issues that can affect your child’s self-esteem.

In short, they can intervene before things get worse.

With that said, most children who see an orthodontist early don’t end up with a recommendation for immediate action.

Instead, your doctor will likely recommend a wait-and-see approach with regular monitoring until your child’s adult teeth are in or they might come up with a future treatment plan that can be implemented at a specific time in the future.

The important — and smart — thing about early intervention is that parents can know about potential problems sooner and plan accordingly.

At Bluffton Orthodontics, every recommendation for early intervention is made carefully and with much consideration.

We work hard to build strong, trusting and long-term relationships with our patient-families. We are in it for the long haul and want what’s best for each individual patient.

If you’d like to book a free consultation with Bluffton Orthodontics or discuss any concerns about early intervention prior to a visit, call 843-815-2521.

Why Do You Have to Go to the Orthodontist So Much? Your Teeth Know the Answer

We do not kid ourselves at Bluffton Orthodontics.

We know our patients love us, but they certainly wouldn’t choose to see us as often as they do.

Actually, maybe a few would … we have a pretty sweet video game room.

But we get it: Visits to the orthodontist every six weeks on top of the discomfort of having to wear braces in the first place might seem like a form of modern torture particularly designed for you, but we promise it’s necessary.

And we’d like to take this opportunity to explain why because the reason is really interesting. OK. “Really interesting” is subjective, but this is science at work and it’s cool.

The point of braces, as you know, is to help guide your teeth into place so that your smile appears even, your teeth are straight and your bite is perfectly aligned.

This means your teeth have to move to get there.

But your teeth are made of tissue and bone. How do we move tissue and bone?

Very carefully.

The brackets and the wires in your braces work together to create a tension that pulls and pushes your teeth until they’re where they need to be.

To facilitate this gradual journey, your body makes and eliminates bone — it adds bone where it’s needed to hold the tooth in place and it removes bone to help the tooth get where it’s going.

And this takes time.

Every six weeks, when we look at your teeth, we are checking to make sure that the right tension and pressure are being applied to each tooth and that the growth and removal of bone is progressing as expected.

We tighten wires as needed and we take scans and impressions to verify that all systems are a-go.

And when it’s time for the braces to come off, we give you a retainer to keep those teeth right where we left them.

We custom-designed the office at Bluffton Orthodontics with fun and relaxation in mind — two words not often associated with an orthodontist visit. We have kid-friendly entertainment, include an arcade and our exam area is streamlined for efficiency. We like seeing you so often, but we know you have other things you need to do.

If you ever have a question about the how or the why of braces, always ask us. The staff at Bluffton Orthodontics are highly knowledgeable and experienced and they love nothing more than helping patients understand what orthodontia is all about. Talk to us at one of your regularly scheduled visits or call us at 843-815-2521.

Why You Shouldn’t Let The Cost Of Braces Scare You Away

When it comes to talking about the possibility of braces, we know your No. 1 concern is always going to be your child’s well-being.

We also know there’s another concern lurking not far behind that one; we’ll call it concern No. 1b: “Oh no. How the heck are we going to afford this?”

Let’s face it, orthodontic work is a major expense and a long-term commitment for your family. Thinking about it can be daunting.

You are not alone. Most parents have been there.

Generally speaking, it can cost between $3,000 and $7,000 per child depending on the treatment plan and the type of orthodontia your family chooses, whether it be metal or clear braces or ClearCorrect, a brand of clear aligner that we use at Bluffton Orthodontics.

And it can take two or three years to complete your child’s treatment plan.

As with any important investment of money and time, you should discuss the options, ask questions and come up with a plan.

The staff at Bluffton Orthodontics can help you with this.

First, we recommend that you call your dental insurance provider so that you have an idea of what, if anything, they will cover when it comes to orthodontist visits. We also advise you to talk to your employer’s human resources director to learn more about pre-tax or tax-deductible medical savings plans, which can go a long way toward reducing expenses.

The next step is to book a consultation with an orthodontist — we don’t charge for this visit.

After an examination, if your child needs long-term orthodontic work, including braces, we will come up with a treatment plan and a cost estimate.

At Bluffton Orthodontics, we understand the challenges parents face when it comes time for their children to get braces and we take pride in working with you to find a payment plan that works for your family’s budget and that helps you make the best decision for your child.

To book a consultation or speak with a staff member about how our payment plans typically work, call us at 843-815-2521.

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.