337 Buckwalter Place Blvd., Bluffton, SC smile@blufftonorthodontics.com

Book a FREE Consultation


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.

How old is “too old” to get braces?

More adults than ever before are seeking orthodontic treatment, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. In fact, one in four orthodontic patients in the United States is over the age of 18.

Why is this?

The reasons vary, of course, and can be deeply personal.

Some adult patients didn’t have braces as kids and are at a point in their lives where they want the confidence that having a straightened smile can bring, both socially and professionally.

Others had braces when they were younger but saw a regression in treatment once the braces came off and as the years progressed.

Still others are exploring the option of braces to help relieve other medical problems, such as jaw pain or the inability to keep certain areas of the mouth clean and free from harmful bacteria.

So how old is too old?

There is no absolute age that is “too old’ to get braces — some people get them well into their 60s!

The first step to determining whether braces — or other orthodontic treatments, such as clear aligners — are an option for you is to have a free consultation at Bluffton Orthodontics.

To schedule your first visit, call us at 843-815-2521.

5 misconceptions about adult braces and why you shouldn’t let them hold you back

There are a lot of reasons braces can be necessary past the teenage years, but only one reason to avoid them: unfounded fear.

If you are a candidate for braces — whether for the first time ever or because your teeth have shifted over time — and you’re still on the fence about them, allow us to clear up a few of the misconceptions that might be holding you back.

  1. “I’m the only one who needs braces at this age …”: We promise you, you’re not. Adult braces are far more common than you might think. In fact, about one orthodontic patient in four is an adult, according to the American Association of Orthodontics. Also, two words: Faith Hill. The country musician impressed many a fan in 2013 when she attended the Grammys wearing braces — and not just as an ironic accessory.
  2. Going to the orthodontist is akin to going to a pediatrician: At Bluffton Orthodontics, we have a long list of patients who are far past their teenage years, and our state-of-the-art office includes space for those who aren’t squeezing in appointments between soccer and piano lessons.
  3. Having braces as an adult will make me unattractive: Not even close. Orthodontic treatments have come a long way; even traditional metal braces are more inconspicuous than they once were. Depending on your treatment needs, there are a number of options to minimize any facial changes. At Bluffton Orthodontics we offer clear braces, ClearCorrect clear aligners and ForeverGold gold braces, all of which have become go-to choices for adults in recent years.
  4. It’s not worth the effort. Braces will not only straighten your smile, they can improve your overall health. Your orthodontist might recommend braces to help alleviate headaches by aligning your bite or to promote better oral hygiene by making it much easier to brush and floss formerly crooked teeth. Braces can also help you speak more clearly and improve your ability to chew and digest food.
  5. They won’t make that big of a difference in the end: One of the biggest changes patients notice after getting their braces taken off is how much self-confidence they now have. It’s amazing how having a ready and open smile can change so much in your life. Ask any adult who had been holding herself or himself back personally or professionally because they were self-conscious about having crooked teeth whether they noticed a difference when the braces come off and you will likely hear a unanimous chorus of “Absolutely!”

If you have any questions about getting braces as an adult or if you would like to schedule a free consultation with Bluffton Orthodontics, call us at 843-970-9316.

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.