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.

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.

Basics and Prevention for TMD

One of the most serious potential issues many orthodontists deal with is a set of conditions called temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMD. TMD issues result from a problem with the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge connecting the bones in your skull to the bones of your jaw.

At Bluffton Orthodontics, we’re here to help you prevent TMD from becoming a problem for yourself or anyone in your family. Here are the risk factors and symptoms for TMD, plus how to prevent it.

TMD Risk Factors

In general, women are at higher risk for TMD than males. The disorder is most common among adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Other risk factors for TMD may include:

  • Arthritis in the jaw area, which can make movement much more difficult
  • Excessive tooth grinding, which will increase stress on the temporomandibular joint
  • General stress, which leads to clenching of the teeth and straining of the facial muscles

TMD Symptoms

Symptoms of TMD can range in length – some will last a short period, while others may be present for months or even years. If symptoms make it uncomfortable or impossible for you to eat normally, or if you have pain or discomfort that’s simply too much to bear, you should speak to your orthodontist right away. Symptoms can occur on both sides of the face, and can include:

  • Aching or tired facial muscles
  • Jaws that are fixed open or shut without you being able to do anything about it
  • Grating or popping sounds when you chew, or anytime you open or close your mouth
  • Pain in the entire mouth area, often brought on by chewing or yawning

TMD Prevention

Reducing the risk factors above is one way to prevent TMD. If you grind your teeth, for instance, ask your orthodontist about a mouth guard to wear at night. If you’re stressed, look for ways to manage this. In addition, many people trying to avoid TMD will limit chewing gum, which puts stress on the jaw.

For more on preventing TMD, or to find out about ceramic braces or any of our other braces services, speak to the experts at Bluffton Orthodontics today.