An orthodontist focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of facial and dental issues. As a dental specialist, an orthodontist has received an additional two to three years of training above dental school and has experience with straightening teeth and correcting jaw alignment problems to improve the function of your smile. Orthodontists understand growth and development and can help determine the best time to start treatment with you or your child. Read more about what to look for in an orthodontist.
Our patients usually come in for an exam when either they, their dentist or a parent notice abnormalities with their bite position. Facial or dental irregularities affect the health of your teeth and cause discomfort in the face and jaw. Orthodontic treatment can alleviate many of the issues you’re facing and produce a smile that looks more appealing. How do you know when you need braces? This exam will help answer that question.
Orthodontic treatment can begin at any time, but we recommend that all patients, regardless of whether they are experiencing dental problems, come in for a free exam by age seven. Once a child reaches seven years of age, an orthodontist has a better chance of identifying alignments issues and any problems with jaw growth. If abnormalities are present, you can receive treatment before they progress and age seven is when the American Association of Orthodontists recommend a child be seen initially.
Anyone can receive orthodontic treatment no matter how old they are. About 20% of our patients are adults, and we have treated patients from as early as 6 to as old as 80.
Braces are oral appliances that an orthodontist uses to move your teeth into a healthier position gradually. These days, braces come in many forms, including traditional silver braces, ceramic braces, gold braces and Invisalign as well as fun braces (WildSmiles) and color braces for kids — all of which are offered at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists. In addition, we are the only official exclusive provider of Clemson Tiger and USC Gamecock braces in all of greater Charleston.
Treatment duration depends on the extent of your particular situation and the type of treatment you choose. There are many variables we look at, such as the amount of crowding or spacing, type of bite, and facial proportions. Typically, treatment with silver, gold or ceramic braces will take anywhere from 18-24 months. Treatment with Invisalign usually is of similar duration as braces in our office. Some cases are shorter than 18-24 months while others are longer. We do offer a 2-month and 6-month Invisalign product, both of which are extremely efficient, cost-effective, and can normally achieve the desired cosmetic results on the simpler cases. The best way to determine how long you will need to wear braces is to contact our office and schedule a free exam.
Braces do not often hurt, though you may feel a small amount of pressure and discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks and mouth get used to your new braces.
We can place braces in one treatment session, which means you can return to school or work the same day.
When you get your braces, there will be some food restrictions. Avoid all foods that are hard and sticky (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears etc.), hard foods (hard candy, nuts and ice cubes), or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, pizza crust, ribs, taffy etc.).
You will need to be diligent about your oral hygiene when you get braces. We recommend that you brush at least three times a day with braces and ideally after every meal. Flossing should occur daily and it’s normally best to do at night prior to bed. With Invisalign, you can keep your normal oral hygiene practices, but continue to clean your clear aligners on a regular basis. You can talk to our orthodontist about the most efficient way to brush and floss, or check out our instructions, here. Our orthodontist can also provide you with tools that can make oral hygiene with braces easier.
All patients who received orthodontic treatment should have some type of retainer which is usually worn just at night. Although your teeth may look and feel straighter, they’ll have a tendency to revert to their original, misaligned positioning due to your jaw’s muscle memory. A retainer will help keep your teeth in their proper place so that you can enjoy your new smile for a lifetime.
Although braces may take some getting used to when you first begin to wear them, they should not interfere with day-to-day activities like sports, exercising, or playing an instrument. Your braces might feel foreign initially, but as you practice speaking, playing your instrument or participating in sports, they will feel completely normal.
Your regular dental check-ups don’t stop when you start seeing an orthodontist. It’s actually more essential than ever for you to see your dentist for a professional cleaning when you are wearing braces. We recommend that you receive a cleaning every six months since plaque accumulates in hard to reach places, making oral hygiene more difficult. Our orthodontist and dentist can also work together to ensure your treatment plan is progressing properly.
Your first examination with our orthodontist is a time for you both to understand the dental issues you are experiencing. Our orthodontist will usually take orthodontic records and check your teeth and jaw for any misalignment. Additionally, they will perform a bite check to see whether your teeth come together normally and make a diagnosis for any abnormalities. If you require treatment, our orthodontist will design a treatment plan that addresses your needs and then schedule a time for you to get started.
Our orthodontist will discuss how often you should come in for a follow-up appointment, as it varies from person to person. Usually, patients will see us every eight to ten weeks for braces and two to four months for Invisalign, but it depends on your particular case.
If you want to get in touch with us, just call our office and speak to one of our receptionists! We would be happy to find a time for you to come in for an appointment, and we work with your schedule so that you can choose a time slot that works for you. Our goal is to be here for you so all of our locations are open Monday-Friday 8:00 – 5:00 and Saturday 9:00 – 2:00.
Do you have more questions for us? You can contact Charleston Orthodontic Specialists at 843-642-8100 for more information about the services we provide or to schedule an appointment for your free exam.