Tongue Rings and Oral Health

Tongue Rings and Oral Health

Tongue rings are a popular accessory for teens and adults. However, they do not come without risks. As an oral health professional, I want to make you aware of a few potential problems that can arise from this fashion trend. After reading this blog, you can decide if the risk is worth the reward.

Image 1 (photo from dentagama.com)

Problem 1: Tongue rings frequently cause a receding gum line.

See Image 1. The receding of the gum usually occurs on the inside (backside) of the teeth and near the lower front teeth, but it can also occur in other areas. As the gum recedes, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. These roots are often sensitive and cause discomfort.

In addition, as the gum recedes, the affected teeth have less attachment because the gum is no longer there. That means less “dirt around the fence post,” or less attached tissue to hold your tooth in your mouth. At present, dentists do not have a solution for receding gums on the tongue side of teeth, so they cannot be regenerated.

Problem 2: Tongue rings can cause bacterial infection.  

The mouth is full of bacteria, even if you practice good oral hygiene. An infection occurs when the bacteria becomes trapped inside the piercing. Much of the bacteria is introduced by eating and drinking (although there are other sources), and new piercings are more prone to infection than older piercings. Signs of infection include:

  • Uncomfortable swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Persistent warmth
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Yellow discharge or pus
  • Bump around the piercing

If these problems surface, see your doctor as soon as possible. Complications can arise, and in some very rare cases, infection can lead to death.

Image 2

Problem 3: Tongue rings can interfere with braces.

As you see in Image 2, the bottom part of the tongue ring is caught on a lower bracket. The barbell on the upper part of the tongue ring has been removed. This required a trip to the ER, then to the orthodontist to have the tongue released from the braces.

Other problems associated with tongue piercings include:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Nerve damage
  • Excessive drooling
  • Choking
  • Damage to fillings

Listed above are a few of the complications that can arise from a tongue ring.  While the fashion and popularity of a tongue ring might be calling your name, be sure to weigh the pros and cons prior to booking your appointment with a piercing artist.

Allergic Reactions to Braces

While it is not common to have an allergic reaction to your braces, it is possible. Most commonly, allergic reactions to braces are due to latex and nickel.

To help limit these reactions, we have eliminated latex in our office as much as possible. Our practice is latex-free with the exception of our rubber bands/elastics used to correct bites. We do offer latex-free elastics for those with a latex allergy. The colored O-ties used to hold the wire in place are not the same as rubber bands and these O-ties are made from polyurethane, not latex.

The other common cause of allergic reactions—nickel—is found in the metal brackets and some of the arch wires we use. You are more likely to be susceptible to a nickel allergy if you are female and have been sensitized by previous exposure from nickel, which is often found in jewelry.

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction to nickel:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Severe gingival inflammation (swollen and red gums)
  • Swelling of the lips
  • Rash around the mouth

If you think you are experiencing an allergic reaction, please call our office as soon as possible. If you are having difficulty breathing or swallowing, please call 911 immediately.

Why We Love Teachers At Reagin Orthodontics

Teachers are important members of our community. They help build the future by shaping the minds of kids, by educating and guiding the people who are going to make up the next generation. Teachers make a huge difference in our world by inspiring students and by bringing the light of knowledge into their lives. 

Think of a favorite teacher of your own—chances are it has been many years since you’ve been in their class, but you still vividly remember the lessons you learned or the ways in which your thinking was impacted by them. All too often, teachers are underappreciated and undervalued. As a token of appreciation, we’d like to reflect for a moment on the ways that teachers make a difference in our world and why we think they’re so important.

Teachers Inspire

It may not happen in every single class, but when you are inspired by a teacher, it’s like someone’s lit a fire within you. Teachers provide the spark that develops into a passion, whether it’s for science or the written word or something else entirely. School is where many people are first exposed to their true potential, and teachers facilitate that.

Teachers are also inspiring because of what they do. They devote so much time and energy into their students, and it’s often with little recognition. But if you talk to any teacher, they’ll tell you recognition isn’t what they are looking for anyways, and that kind of selfless dedication is inherently inspiring. 

Teachers Encourage

When a kid says “I can’t,” teachers are there to tell them “yes you can.” Encouragement is important, especially for kids who are younger or more timid. It can take time and effort, but a bit of patient encouragement can make all the difference. 

Teachers Motivate

stack of books with apple on topEncouragement goes hand in hand with motivation. Teachers strive to nurture their students and foster growth, which requires a good deal of effort in some cases and different things for different students. Motivation is an important factor in learning—it’s difficult to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Teachers are there to see the potential in their students and motivate them to achieve and work towards that potential.  

Teachers Act as Role Models 

Not every child has an adult at home that acts as a positive role model. They might not be conscious of it, but the teachers they see every day at school influence the adults they will become by modeling positive behavior and good decisions.

Teachers Are Leaders

In addition to being strong role models, teachers act as leaders. They model characteristics of what a good person should be. They support, encourage, and lift others up. In many ways, the lessons taught in a classroom involve much more than curriculum. Many of the lessons are inherent or less prominent, whether the teacher is correcting behavior or modeling it,

As student advocates, teachers also play a crucial leadership role both in their schools and in the greater community. Nobody knows the needs of students better than the teachers who spend so much time building them up, and teachers lead the way in creating the ideal environments for their students.

Teachers Help Students Realize Potential

Some students take to school like a duck to water and seem to know what to do and how to excel naturally. Others need a little help or need someone who has vision, who can believe in them. Sometimes a student can’t see his or her own potential, but a teacher can, and a teacher can then provide the support needed to help develop that potential.

Teachers Provide Safe Havens

We all wish that the world were safer for our kids. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that domestic violence, bullying, peer pressure, sexual harassment, discrimination, and poverty are all things that children might have to weather daily. A good teacher can be a hero for these children by lending a sympathetic ear and helping children find safe and supportive ways to solve their problems.

Teachers Help Fight Poverty

Poverty is not a simple issue with a simple solution, but education is one of the most vital tools for fighting poverty. While an education will not guarantee a ticket out of poverty, literacy skills and a basic education help make it possible for families to overcome social and economic barriers. Education can give people not just knowledge, but a skill set for navigating and understanding the world and improving their lives.  

Teachers Help Build Community

A good school forms the center of a community, where students and their families come together to learn, share resources, and invest in their children. Teachers are the backbone of this community, creating the classroom and extracurricular experiences around which everything revolves.

When teachers inspire, motivate, encourage, act as role models and leaders, build community, help show students their potential and help students when they are coming from conditions that are less than ideal, they’re helping to shape the world. 

It’s important to invest just as much into our teachers as they invest in their students—after all, it’s an investment in the future. But it’s also a way to show gratitude for the teachers who shaped you and helped influence the person you are today.  

We want to thank and help give back to our teachers. That’s why we are running a Teachers Wishlist Challenge from August 1st – September 30th.  Our Teacher Wishlist Contest is our way of helping teachers offset the cost of their classroom supplies.

Vote for your favorite teacher before then! We will be giving $250 to four different area teachers as a way to offset the costs of buying items on their wishlist. 

If you are a teacher, we also offer discounts on our services for you and your family. It’s another way for us to thank you for the difference you make in our community.

Do You Have a Normal Bite?

Have you ever wondered if your bite is normal? What even is a normal bite?

The History of the Normal Bite

As early as the 1800s, dentists saw a need to classify what a normal bite might look like.  The need for this classification arose as dentists made false or prosthetic type teeth to replace missing ones.   

If you are missing one or two teeth, it is likely obvious where the teeth go. However, imagine replacing an entire upper arch of teeth—dentists need to know where to put them!  Edward Angle, a young prosthodontist (basically, a dentist the specializes in prosthetics), was one of the first to recognize this and work to put together a classification system or guide for replacing teeth.

graphic showing the three classes as developed by angle
Source: Quizlet

Angle’s Classification System

Edward Angle was a prosthodontist as well as the father of modern orthodontics. He gave us the first useful classification of bites in 1890, Angle’s Classification System. With this system, he provided a relatively simple definition of normal as well as abnormal bites.  

Angle’s classification was based on the relationship or articulation of the upper first molar to the lower first molar. Generally, he classified molars as being Class I, Class II and Class III depending on their sagittal position. Class I is a normal molar relationship, Class II is similar to buck teeth or “overbite,” and Class III is similar to an underbite.  

Larrys Andrews’ Six Keys

Larry Andrews expanded on Angle’s work. Andrews recognized that even when Angle’s classification was achieved, some bites still did not look or fit well. During the 1960s, he found 120 people with what was deemed a normal bite, according to Angle and according to professional judgment.   

These models met Angle’s criteria but further than that he could find no flaws in the way the teeth were arranged nor how they appeared to function.  He was the next big player in developing a system that went further to describe a normal bite. From these 120 models, he developed six keys to normal bite.  

child smilingThose 6 keys are: 

  1.  The posterior teeth should be positioned normally according to Angle’s classification.  
  2. The angulation (or tip) of each tooth. He stated that the gingival portion of the long axis of each tooth should be more distal to the incisal portion the same tooth. 
  3. Inclination or torque.  The front teeth should be angled so that they do not over-erupt into a severe overbite. 
  4. No rotated teeth 
  5. No spaces between the teeth.  
  6. The plane of the bite in the lateral view should be flat and not excessively curved.

Angle and Andrews are a great place to start when looking at a normal bite.  Once we have established a baseline of where teeth should be, we can then diagnose how much they deviate from that baseline.  

We consider these factors when looking at bites and building treatment plans for our patients:

  1. The Face. Esthetics place a huge role in orthodontic diagnosing and treatment plans.
  2. The upper and lower jaws and how they relate to each other.
  3. Andrews’ 6 keys to occlusion (or 6 keys to a good bite)
  4. Angle’s classification system

If you would like to schedule a complimentary bite or smile analysis to see if your bite is normal, don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 843-871-4411!

Managing and Leading for a Happy Team

From Dr. Britt Reagin:

When I started practicing orthodontics in 2006 I had exactly zero hours in education on how to manage people. My mentors were Michael Scott from the office and Mr. Burns from the Simpsons. Being extroverted I had spent my life around people and I had a good idea of how to get along with others, but I had no real background on managing or leading others.

That lead to a rough start and plenty of mistakes.

One mistake in particular was how I attempted progress reviews. Not having any prior experience in reviewing staff, I simply listened to the masses on Google of how to do a proper performance review. After reading several articles from “experts” it seemed the best method was to use “the sandwich technique”?

It goes like this: employee you are doing a good job at X, you need improvement on Y and you are doing a good job on Z.

Seems pretty simple.

Well, if you have ever given a review like this you know that all the team member recalls is the Y….what they are not doing well. I remember the feeling I had after serving up what I thought were “subway approved sandwiches” to our employees. Only to find out over time that this type of review breeds negativity, distrust, and a lack of fulfillment in one’s work.

All they heard was that I did not value them as an employee.

As I was doling out these “amazing sub sandwiches” I was also being sure to correct folks when they made a mistake. We were going to run a tight and perfect ship and the only way to do that is to make sure people know when they mess up….right? Isn’t that what managers are supposed to do? Go around looking for mess ups and then correct them. Over time I felt like all I could see was what was not going right and all our team was feeling was “oh God, I hope I don’t mess up today.” Let me tell you, this is no way to lead, manage, or encourage others.

Something had to change and that something was ME. I needed a paradigm shift in managing and leading people. I had to learn and learn fast.

This time I took care to research and read books on business, management, and leadership. I cannot count how many books I inhaled during this time and in a matter of months. Some of my favorites were: The E Myth (Gerber), Five Levels of Leadership (Maxwell), and Extreme Ownership (Willink).

In addition to reading, I sought out advice from other leaders that I valued as mentors and friends. Several but not all of these folks were: Mike H., Gary B., Brian A., and Josh R. They all had a major influence on me and the way I lead my team now.

Mike taught me that when I help others achieve their goals, my goals will take care of themselves.

Our performance reviews instantly changed, I now ask 4 basic things:

  1. How do you think you are performing in key areas of the business?
  2. What are your goals in the work place and how can I help you achieve them?
  3. What are your goals personally, and if you give me permission how can I help you achieve them?
  4. How can I improve as a leader?

Gary taught me to always put my best foot forward and let God take care of the rest. Brian taught me what it means to be a caring teammate, and that we are in this together…even when we have bad days…we can still have each other’s back. I needed to be more caring and compassionate. Josh taught me to look for the positive in our staff and what they are doing right and praise them when I see it.

This will breed a culture of trust and positivity.

Slowly and baby step after baby step it has started to change for me. I cannot thank the authors and mentors enough for their advice and example along the way. I am not managing perfectly by any stretch, but I am better than I used to be☺

I will list a few additional tips below:

  • You do not have a staff, you have a team, and you are part of that team.
  • Start your day with a team huddle and if possible (depending on the size of the team) everyone can have a part.
    • In our huddle we start with a positive quote, talk about the day ahead, recite our customer service Core 4 (got this from Chic-fil-A), read an online review and say a “tip” from our tip jar. Our tips are interoffice pats on the back, that build each other up. In the huddle each person, except me, has a role.
  • Read a team book at least once per year. Start with the Energy Bus if you have not yet done one. Let someone else lead the discussion.
  • Do performance reviews where the team member evaluates themselves, sets goals and evaluates you as a leader. Then help them reach their professional goals and if they give you permission you can also help them reach personal goals.
  • Acknowledge their hard work and efforts and never take the credit yourself.
  • Praise in public and criticize in private. And when you have to talk to someone about “a thing”, you need to be specific and set clear expectations and tell them why it is important.
    • Example, Susie I really need you be sure and call the patient by name 2-3 times during the visit. The most important word to another person is their name, and when you use their name it makes them feel good. Most people do not know what we did or how well we did it, but they know how we made them feel. If you make them feel good they will tell other people about our office. When they do that it helps all of us keep our jobs and be able to do fun things as a team.

Our team is not perfect, but we are trying to continually improve a little bit at a time.

Good luck on your management and leadership journey and feel free to reach out if you have any questions for me. If you would like a copy of our performance review (which is a collaboration of others before me) please email manager@drorthodontics.com and we will be happy to share.

Let us know how we can help!

Dr. Britt Reagin

The Truth About Invisalign

Ready to straighten those teeth? Trying to decide between braces and Invisalign?

With a qualified provider, either option will eventually lead to straighter teeth. But the beauty of Invisalign is that it offers all the benefits of traditional braces with hardly any of the drawbacks.

With Invisalign…

  • Will your mouth feel like it’s full of metal?
    • Nope.
  • Will your mouth look like it’s full of metal?
    • Nope.
  • Will you have to keep the aligners in your mouth 24/7?
    • Nope. They’re removable, with 22 hours of wear needed for good results. 
  • Will you have to change how you eat, brush, and floss?
    • Absolutely not. You can eat what you like. Just remove the aligners first.

On top of all that, with Invisalign, your checkups are less frequent. At Reagin Orthodontics, we see aligner customers about every 12 weeks. Plus, our customers can opt for FaceTime appointments to minimize their overall office visits.

So when it comes to braces or aligners, it’s a no-brainer, right?

Pretty much, yes. But some of our clients come to us with concerns about Invisalign–they’ve been told this treatment doesn’t work as well as braces. And, with some practices, that might be the case. But at Reagin Orthodontics, Invisalign is a fantastic option.

Simply put, Invisalign’s success lies in the hands of the provider. A skilled orthodontist who has spent time understanding this treatment and putting it into practice will give you amazing results. Ninety percent of our patients (including teens) are candidates for Invisalign.

Dr. Reagin has spent extensive time working with the aligner system to achieve the same results offered by traditional braces. He gets it. And, remember, this isn’t something that’s learned in orthodontic school. Each provider has to take the time to learn Invisalign on their own, if they choose to offer it to patients.

Think of it this way: We might be able to go out and buy the same clubs Tiger Woods uses, but that doesn’t mean we’ll have the same skills as a golfer. Any orthodontist can get access to Invisalign, but that doesn’t mean they’ll put the time and effort into learning and using this treatment properly.

We can promise you that, if you choose Invisalign, you will receive outstanding care and treatment–and you’ll see the benefits in straighter teeth, a more confident smile, with much less hassle than braces.

So whether you’re on the fence or ready to make a move, give us call at Reagin Orthodontics today to set up a complimentary consultation.

Braces Aren’t Just For Kids

Thirty years ago, it’s seemed like braces were primarily for kids. 

In the last decade or so, we’ve seen a new, encouraging trend: More and more adults are hopping on the braces train. It’s true! Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. 

Today, a lot of our adult customers are simply looking for a boost in self-esteem and the confidence to smile without reservation on their professional headshots or family Christmas pictures–or even on job interviews and a first date!

In fact, 40% of our patients are adults who’ve decided that they’re ready for an orthodontic correction. So it’s not some kind of weird thing to be a 40-year-old with braces or aligners. It’s actually pretty normal these days. 

But too many adults still aren’t’ comfortable with the idea of braces. They’ve gotten used to tight-lipped, half-hearted smiles. Maybe their parents just weren’t able to take care of their orthodontic issues, and they’ve come to believe that crooked teeth and mouth pain are just a way of life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

We have adults come in for orthodontic treatment that might include Invisalign, clear braces or other limited treatment options that make getting a confident smile easy and convenient. 

They also realize that choosing braces will save their teeth by improving long-term oral health that they might not have had in the past. Adults have the amazing ability to adapt to oral issues and might be maybe overcompensating by chewing or smiling in a certain way. 

But what seems like a small issue now will become a bigger issue the older you get. Your teeth shift as you get older. So dealing with these issues now can save you a lot of discomfort later. 

The good news is that we’re here to help. 

Reagin Orthodontics specializes in the unique needs and desires of adult patients. And once we’ve got your teeth lined up in perfect rows, we’re happy to help you with teeth whitening options to brighten your new smile. Let us know what we can do for you. 

Considering Direct Smile Aligners? READ this first!

Don’t let your DIY orthodontics become a Pinterest Fail

You see them everywhere these days…those ads from mail-order aligner companies promising to give you perfect teeth, with little hassle, all without ever making you leave your house.

Of course, that sounds like a great idea. It’s convenient, yes. And while we have super comfortable chairs and a really welcoming office, the idea of putting on aligners on your own couch while watching Netflix is appealing. You could even post about your newly straightened teeth on Pinterest!

The problem with these companies, though, is the lack of hands-on, personal oversight. Without an orthodontist, you could suffer serious, irreversible damage to your teeth. You might save a little gas money, but your teeth could ultimately pay the price if you use one of these companies–and that would make for one massive Pinterest fail.

Still on the fence? Here are several reasons why mail-order aligners are a bad idea:

1) You don’t have regular checkups.

With traditional treatment, you’ll visit the orthodontist for x-rays, initial photos and a diagnostic plan (the most important part). After your initial smile analysis, you’ll revisit in 8-12 week intervals to see if you need new aligners, your bands need to be tightened, and for your overall dental health. From start to finish, treatment can take as little as 6 months.

With mail-order, you don’t have regular checkups. They send you a kit to help you take impressions of your teeth, you send it back, and your new aligners are mailed to you with instructions. Convenient, yes, but not the best way to treat your teeth.

The companies claim your treatment will be done in three to six months, and you’ll never likely see a licensed professional before or after that.

Who is checking the diagnostic plan? 90% of the time it’s not an orthodontist (a dentist with 2-3 years extra training in tooth movement). Instead it’s anyone with a dental license regardless of their education and training in tooth movement. The huge problem here is dental school doesn’t teach you about tooth movement. You need further education to become an orthodontist to understand how to do that.

Who is evaluating the final bite to see if your “new bite” will cause you harm in the future? No one.

What about the overall health of the bones and gums as the teeth move…who is monitoring that? No one.

2) You’ll receive substandard care.

Aligning your bite and straightening your teeth isn’t a quick fix. It’s a slow process that’s all about shifting ligaments and bones around your teeth. If this isn’t done the right way, and if it’s not closely monitored, you can do serious, even irreparable damage to your pearly whites.

The American Association of Orthodontics (they’re really smart people) even issued a warning about this. “The risks associated with ‘do it yourself’ orthodontics can, and should be, avoided,” they said.

We agree.

3) The mail-order company doesn’t know what it doesn’t know.

In other words, you can’t begin orthodontic treatment until your teeth and gums are cleared by a dentist. And, in many cases, you need a dental specialist, periodontist, to further evaluate your bone health prior to starting orthodontic treatment.

If you have problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, chipped teeth or cavities, an orthodontist is going to send you back to a dentist to get these taken care of first.

You’re not going to get that type of treatment and interaction from a mail-order company.

4) Your insurance probably won’t pay.

The mail-order companies advertise that their treatment is often covered. But self-treatment, without the right supervision, likely wouldn’t be a covered expense in most insurance plans.

Insurance companies aren’t going to pay for something that doesn’t meet their quality standards–because when the treatment fails, more expenses are headed their way.

5) Cost.

Most of these companies charge around $2,200 for alignment and retainers. This fee is for very limited simple fixes. But guess what? MOST orthodontists can give you a better, faster result for simple fixes at or near the same fee.

Our advice to you: Stay away from do-it-yourself orthodontic care. If not, you’re taking a big risk and only asking for trouble.

Schedule an appointment with a licensed orthodontist, like Reagin Orthodontics, to learn more about your options when it comes to making your teeth pretty enough for the perfect Pinterest post!

Invisalign Or Braces?

What is the difference? (Hint:not cost)

Considering braces or Invisalign to straighten your teeth? Many patients have questions regarding these different treatment options. What is more affordable? Will Invisalign be as effective as braces? What is the best treatment choice for my teeth? At Reagin Orthodontics, we want all of our patients to have an incredible experience and finish their orthodontic treatment with the best result possible.

Braces
Traditional braces have come a long way over the years. They are sleeker, smaller and more comfortable. At Reagin Orthodontics we use high quality American made brackets and that is certainly something to smile about! Traditional braces consist of small brackets bonded directly to the teeth with adhesive and a wire that connects them all together. They require periodic adjustments approximately every 6-8 weeks throughout the course of treatment to align the teeth. We offer metal brackets with a wide array of colored elastics and clear ceramic brackets for those looking for something more discrete!

Invisalign®
Clear aligner therapy, such as Invisalign, is an alternative to traditional metal braces. The clear aligner system is a series of customized, virtually invisible aligners that are designed to gradually move teeth over time. You may be surprised to learn the cost of Invisalign® treatment is comparable to braces! Dr. Reagin has spent extensive time learning how to use clear aligners to achieve the same results as braces and nearly 80% of our patients are able to select Invisalign as a treatment method. These aligners are removable which means there are no dietary restrictions, you can brush and floss normally, and there are virtually no emergency appointments needed! There are also fewer appointments required which mean less time away from work and school! You might be surprised to learn that the cost of Invisalign treatment is comparable braces.

If you are considering orthodontic care, call and schedule a complimentary consultation to find out what the best treatment options are for you and your family!  843-871-4411

Goop Be Gone!

Impressions are so last century!

When you ask someone what they liked least about their orthodontic experience, almost everyone can agree: the goop from impressions!  Well, goop be gone! Summerville’s Reagin Orthodontics is nearly impression free. We have the latest technology on standby to help us provide our patients with the most enjoyable orthodontic experience.

The 3D scanning technology enhances the experience that patients have at Reagin Orthodontics by eliminating one of the aspects of treatment that people dislike most!

At Reagin Orthodontics, we have integrated intraoral scanners into models, banded expanders, space maintainers, Invisalign, and retainers.  With this awesome tool, there is rarely a need for our patients to experience those goopy impressions! This is just one more way we are helping our patients smile with confidence!