Kids and Braces

What To Know About Kids and Braces

If you had braces as a kid, you may already know a little bit about how things work with kids and braces. However, even as a kid who had braces you may still have a lot of questions. Such as, how old (or young) should a kid be to get braces?

If you never had braces before, this may be only one of the many questions you have. We are here to help! One of the things we love here at Reagin Orthodontics is helping families understand the importance of orthodontic care for children and adults.

Therefore, we have outlined some of the basics surrounding kids and braces to help you get familiar with this topic. In addition to this overview, Dr. Reagin and our team are available to answer additional questions.

What are Braces?

Since more than 4 million people wear braces in the United States, you probably know someone who has or has had them. Maybe that person is you!

Therefore, when asked what braces are, most of us know that they are used to help straighten teeth. How do braces do that though? Moreover, why is it important?

Traditional metal braces are a combination of metal brackets, wire, and o-ties (these come in different colors and look like a small rubber band that holds the wire to the braces). The brackets are adhered to each tooth. Then the wire and o-ties are used to create tension within the bone (alveolar bone) that houses the teeth. This tension allows alveolar bone to change and slowly move teeth into proper alignment over time.

While metal braces are the type of braces most people are familiar with, there are a few other types that are also available. Some kids prefer to get clear brackets instead of metal brackets.

These are adhered to the teeth and follow the same process as metal braces with wire and o-ties. Rather than metal brackets though, they are a clear ceramic material – so some find them less obvious. In addition, there are ceramic braces and even braces that can be adhered behind the teeth – called lingual braces.

Beyond the traditional form of braces that are adhered to the teeth, clear aligners like Invisalign have become popular for kids as well as adults. Clear aligners produce similar results as metal braces; however, the method is slightly different.

“Invisalign braces” are made from clear plastic trays. The plastic trays are removable so that they can be removed for eating and brushing. Still it is important to make sure you get 20 hours of wear per day for the alveolar bone to allow the teeth to move into place. When they are being worn, they are not obvious in the same way metal braces are.

Since it doesn’t look like you’re wearing braces, clear aligners have become quite popular with adults.

Why Do Kids Need Braces?

While circumstances may not allow everyone to get treatment as a kid, orthodontists recommend not waiting to get orthodontic treatment until you are an adult if possible. One reason is that adults are less likely to get treatment when it is needed. This may be due to not wanting to wear braces (even clear aligners), or simply because of the time commitment.

More importantly, the longer orthodontic care goes untreated the worse it can get. Misaligned teeth and jaws that are untreated can lead to several oral health concerns. This may include gum disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and even trouble with digestion. Therefore, as a parent it is beneficial to your child to explore the need for kids braces at a young age.

While the most common association people make with braces is to fix crooked teeth, it goes beyond aesthetics. Properly aligned teeth are also important for good oral health.

In kids, properly straight teeth help them to bite and chew properly. It also helps them in speaking clearly. Moreover, addressing misaligned teeth at a young age helps eliminate possible problems as an adult.

When kids who have a need for orthodontic care do not address it at a young age, it can lead to discomfort as a teen or adult. Discomfort may result from overcrowding, when the teeth are too close together.

Another issue may be a misaligned jaw. When a misaligned jaw is untreated the teeth can wear out more quickly due to the upper teeth and lower teeth not matching up to properly bite and chew.

Even though oral hygiene is a primary reason for kids braces, we recognize that the visual appeal of straight teeth is also important as it helps with confidence. Teeth are one of the first things people notice about another person. Therefore, having crooked or gap teeth can cause insecurities in many people – especially as kids grow-up.

Therefore, even though some children may initially feel insecure about wearing braces, the treatment at a young age is worth it. Kids tend to adjust quickly and do quite well with all aspects of wearing braces. Plus, after they complete their treatment they get to enjoy the confidence of a perfect smile as a teen and adult.

Do All Kids Need Braces?

Many kids will not need braces. However, we suggest that every child visits an orthodontist for an initial check-up.

The American Association of Orthodontics suggests that kids get their first check-up by age 7. The reason the American Association recommends coming by age 7 is because this is when most kids have lost all of their baby teeth and have the majority of their permanent teeth.

This varies from child to child though. Therefore, Dr. Reagin encourages parents to schedule their kid’s first visit to the orthodontist between the ages of 7-9. However, sometimes early orthodontic needs may be visible while a kid still has their baby teeth. If you notice concerns at any time, bring your child in for an orthodontic consultation as soon as possible.

Signs Your Kid May Need to See an Orthodontist

  • A child’s baby teeth are crowded
  • Thumb sucking beyond the age of 4 years old (or using a pacifier)
  • Protruding teeth
  • If a child loses their baby teeth early
  • Kids who grind their teeth
  • Children who have trouble biting or chewing
  • When a child has trouble breathing (or is mostly a mouth breather)
  • You notice your child’s jaw clicking or making sounds

What Is Included in an Orthodontic Consultation for Kids?

Cost is a concern for many families when it comes to orthodontic treatment. This may be one reason that you initially may avoid making an appointment.

Most orthodontist offices offer complimentary initial consultations. Therefore, if you think there may be a need for your child to get kids braces, we recommend taking advantage of that first consultation.

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation for Your Child

During an initial consultation you can expect to have x-rays and pictures taken to help the orthodontist get a better idea of what kind of orthodontic treatment your child may need. Once the orthodontist knows what your child’s needs are, they will explain to you what type of treatment would be best.

At Reagin Orthodontics, we love to make this a family event! We encourage the whole family to support the person who is receiving the consultation. This is especially great if you have older children who have already received braces. They can provide support for their younger sibling(s).

In addition, if this is your first child who is receiving orthodontic treatment it can be a great time for younger siblings to see what the process looks like. Then when it’s their turn for a consultation they also know what to expect.

Each orthodontist will have a different protocol for what follows the initial consultation. Here at Reagin Orthodontics, if it’s determined your child needs braces, you have the choice to start right away! This means that your kid can get their braces completed even sooner.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The cost of braces will vary depending on individual treatment plans. We suggest using our  financing and payment calculator to get an approximate idea of what down payment and monthly payments could look like for your family. We offer 0% in house financing to help make braces more affordable.

In addition, we also offer discounts for families who have multiple children receiving treatment. Discounts are also available for military families, first responders, and teachers.

How Long Do Kids Have to Wear Braces For?

The first appointment for getting braces put on takes about 60-90 minutes. Once the initial braces are adhered to the teeth, kids will wear them for an average of 18 months. This can vary depending on each individual child’s malocclusion. Some kids will need to wear braces a bit longer, while others may only need to wear braces for 15 months.

During treatment, kids will need to visit the orthodontist about every 8 weeks. These check-ups are about 20-30 minutes long (much shorter than the initial consultation or when the braces are applied). Just enough time for the orthodontist to make needed adjustments to the wires, evaluate the treatment plan and make any needed changes, and change out the o-ties.

Once again, each individual child’s treatment plan will vary. Therefore, you may not need to visit as frequently. Your orthodontist will discuss this with you at the time of the consultation.

How Will Braces Impact a Kid’s Life?

Getting braces can be a big adjustment for many kids. This adjustment period is often short though, as most children adapt quickly to their braces.

Check out some of our other blog posts to learn more about how to help your child adapt to their new way of life.

Life With Braces | Reagin Orthodontics (

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School – Reagin Orthodontics (

What to Do When You Get Braces-3 Important Steps – Reagin Orthodontics (

A Complete Guide to Aligners

What are Aligners?

Aligners are commonly referred to as “clear aligners” or “invisible braces.” These common terms are accurate, since aligners work similar to braces to help align crooked teeth. As the name states, they are also indeed clear (one of their biggest selling points).

Even though invisible aligners help correct misaligned teeth in a similar way traditional braces do, there are some significant differences between the two.

One significant difference is that traditional braces are made from metal, gold, or ceramic, while clear aligners are made from plastic. This difference in materials is one of the reasons that clear plastic aligners have become so popular in recent years.

While treatment for crooked teeth is about oral health as much as aesthetics, sometimes the aesthetics of wearing metal braces often deters patients (especially adults) from getting treatment. Therefore, with clear aligner treatment a patient can get the treatment they need without having to sacrifice aesthetics.

What Are the Advantages of Clear Aligners?

In addition to the difference of materials used in making clear aligners vs metal braces, another big difference is how they are used to straighten the teeth. With traditional braces, metal brackets are adhered to the teeth and then connected with a wire that creates tension. The tension on the wire and how the shape of the wire interacts with the bracket is what helps to move the teeth over time.

Since the metal brackets need to be adhered to each individual tooth, they cannot be removed until the treatment is complete. On the other hand, clear aligners can easily be removed every day. This is one of the biggest advantages of clear aligners.

As the clear aligners are removable, you can choose what time of day you wear them (although you do need 20 hours of any given day for success). This gives you control to wear them when it is best for you, as well as to choose who knows you are wearing them. It also allows you greater ease over your daily oral health routine.

One thing many people find frustrating with traditional braces is the need to adapt to new practices for brushing and flossing. Many people are even told to avoid certain foods that could get stuck in their braces.

With clear aligners though, you can continue to floss, brush, and eat as you normally would because you can simply remove your aligner tray.

How long is the Aligner Process?

With the ability to remove aligners every day, you may wonder if this means it takes longer to achieve straight teeth using this treatment. While there is a lot of misleading marketing on aligners being faster than braces, they take about the same time.

The old adage of “the teeth and bone do not know what is moving them” applies here. Meaning it still takes the same amount of time for your bone biology to allow the tooth to change positions.

While overall treatment time is similar to braces, using aligners does save you time throughout the process with less visits needed to see the orthodontist. While traditional metal braces require you to see the orthodontist anywhere from every 6-8 weeks, Invisalign and 3m Clarity aligner patients only must go in for an office visit every 12 weeks.  Many of these visits can be virtual.

So, while some young kids may like to go in for frequent office visits to get new colored rubber bands on their braces – most adults love how they do not need to see the orthodontist in person as frequently.

At Home Aligners vs. In Office Treatment

If you have been thinking about getting clear aligners, then you may have explored trying an at home kit, known as direct to consumer. The appeal of not having to go into the orthodontic office is one of the biggest appeals for at home aligners.

Even though an orthodontist doesn’t have to apply traditional braces, getting aligners is still a practice that falls under orthodontic care. Therefore, just because an orthodontist does not have to provide the specialized practice of adhering braces to your teeth, it is still best to have an orthodontic specialist diagnose your malocclusion and give you an individualized treatment plan.

As with any type of medical treatment, it is very useful to have a local expert to check-in with as needed. With at home aligners, you do not have access to a professional that you can go in and visit if something goes wrong.

A common frustration that patients have with at home aligners is when the aligner tray rubs on their gums. While this may not seem like a big deal, if the trays are uncomfortable, you may not wear them as regularly. Therefore, your investment may not pay off because your treatment may be slowed down (or you may never finish it). Other common complaints of at home aligners are the aligners do not fit or “I did not get the results I was promised.”

By choosing in office treatment, you have access to a trusted orthodontist that you can contact for questions or in person office visits. You also have the accountability of a professional to help you complete your treatment.

Orthodontic Treatment for Clear Aligners

Here at Reagin Orthodontics, we make it our mission to offer the best orthodontic care. When it comes to clear aligners, this means offering patients easy and accessible options and the best treatment available.

As a clear aligner specialist, Dr. Reagin has helped over 1000 patients achieve their perfect smile. He has been able to accomplish this by combining his knowledge of orthodontia and the support of Invisalign clear aligners.

Dr. Reagin trusts the Invisalign process as not only a reputable brand, but a treatment that is effective and truly aligned with best practices for orthodontic care.

In addition to the treatment itself, our team has also noticed how important it is to make this a process that fits with each patient’s lifestyle. We do this through only requiring in office visits as needed, and even offering virtual appointments.

On average, we only need to see our clear aligner patients every 12 weeks for check-ups. Furthermore, as mentioned above, not all those visits have to be in person! Since the trays are removable, we can check-in with you virtually. This makes it so you get the ease of at home aligners, with the orthodontic care of in office aligners.

Who Can Use Aligners?

Traditional metal braces are often viewed as a treatment for kids and teens. Therefore, most adults are not eager to show-off braces even if they want straight teeth. Therefore, clear aligners were mostly marketed towards adults when they first came on the market.

However, many teens today do not want to wear visible braces either. As a result, brands like Invisalign created a specific treatment for teens. Even though clear aligners can be worn by teens though, there are some things to consider before choosing clear aligners over other braces.

One of the main factors in deciding if Invisalign braces are right for your teen is to determine if your teen will remember to consistently wear the Invisalign trays. Since clear aligners are removable and only worn for a certain amount of time each day (20 hours per day), it can be easy to forget to wear them. This can then result in not seeing the results you (or your teen) want.

Invisalign and 3m Clarity aligners want to make sure that everyone sees the results they want though. Therefore, they created a helpful tool so that parents and teens can use, to check and see that each tray is being worn as needed. Learn more about it over on the Invisalign® Teen section of our website. 

Moreover, clear aligners continue to be an excellent option for their original target audience – adults. They are just as effective as the braces you would have gotten as a kid, but with all the added benefits of ease, comfort, and invisibility!

Learn more about this revolutionary treatment on our main  Invisalign® Invisible Braces page.

How Much Do Aligners Cost?

When choosing the best orthodontic treatment for yourself or your teen, part of the decision may come down to cost. We understand! We know that proper orthodontic care can be a large financial investment.

It is much more than an investment in cosmetic dentistry though, it is an investment in your overall oral health, confidence, and self-esteem. Therefore, we do our best to provide patients with a full financial overview, as well as financing options to support each person in finding the plan that works best for their family.

While you may want to know the cost before even seeing an orthodontist, the cost for clear aligners can vary from patient to patient depending on each treatment plan. To help you get an idea though, we have a finance calculator on our website to provide you with a general direction.

Choosing the Best Clear Aligners

With every type of dental or orthodontic treatment, every patient is different. Therefore, it is always best to get a consultation before making a final decision.  A consultation is a time for you to get a professional opinion from an expert on the best treatment for you or your teen.

During a consultation a trained orthodontist, like Dr. Reagin, will discuss what he sees and your goals. He will then provide an overview of a treatment plan. Sometimes it will be suggested to begin treatment soon, while other times treatment may not be needed until the future.

The great thing about a consultation for clear aligners is that there isn’t a commitment, just helpful information so you can make the best decision for you or your family.

Dentists vs Orthodontists: What to Know

What is the Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists?

If you are already seeing a dentist twice a year for your bi-annual cleaning, you may wonder why you would also need to see an orthodontist. Especially if you don’t need braces.

While not every person needs to be treated by an orthodontist, everyone can benefit from at least being evaluated by an orthodontist. Especially when they are younger. In fact, it is recommended that children visit the orthodontist as early as 7 years old for an initial screening.

Before exploring why kids as young as 7 can benefit from seeing an orthodontist, as well as adults, let’s take a look at the differences between a dentist and orthodontist. Once you have a better understanding of these differences you will be able to better understand why seeing an orthodontist may be a benefit for you or your child.

What Do Dentists Do?

You may have a general idea of what dentists do just from going to your bi-annual cleaning and screening each year. Each visit is probably similar: getting x-rays, having a dental hygienist clean and polish your pearly whites, and then meeting with the dentist to review any concerns.

These procedures give you a good idea about what dentists do. Dentists focus on oral health and hygiene. This includes cleaning teeth, checking for healthy gums, and looking for cavities. In addition to these basics that you experience during a routine cleaning, dentists also offer other services that help you to maintain a healthy mouth.

What services does a dentist offer?

Oral hygiene covers a lot of different areas. It ranges from the basics for maintaining healthy teeth to surgical procedures and even includes cosmetic treatments.

Common Treatments Provided by Dentists

  • Routine dental care: teeth cleaning and x-rays
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Filling cavities to treat decaying teeth
  • Performing root canals
  • Extracting decayed teeth
  • Designing and placing crowns/caps on severely broken or cracked teeth
  • Creating replacements for missing teeth: bridges, dentures, and individual implants
  • Offering treatment for gingivitis and gum disease
  • Cosmetic procedures: teeth whitening and veneers

While dentists, being your primary oral health provider, cover a lot when it comes to oral health, there are still several treatments they refer out to specialists. When a dentist notices that a patient has a need beyond the scope of the primary dentist, they will refer them to a specialist like an orthodontist.

How is an Orthodontist Different from a Dentist?

Just like any other form of medicine there are similarities and differences between general practices and specialties. One of the most common things between general practitioners (like dentists) and specialists (like orthodontists) is their initial training.

Orthodontists must first become dentists. Therefore, orthodontists have the same initial training as a dentist. However, a dentist does not have the additional specialized training that an orthodontist has.

Let’s take a quick look at the first steps in becoming a dentist. Then we can talk about the additional training it takes to become an orthodontist.

What Training Does a Dentist Complete?

Both dentists and orthodontists first complete a four-year undergraduate program. This is then followed by four more years of dental school. Dr. Reagin began his journey into orthodontics with a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Charleston, followed by dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina.

After four years of dental school, a dentist demonstrates their readiness to practice by completing a comprehensive (and rigorous) written test. They also must complete hands-on clinical trials to prove they are ready to practice on future patients.

Once a dentist achieves their license, they can begin working on patients. Another option after becoming a licensed dentist is to pursue a specialty – like orthodontics.

 What Training Does an Orthodontist Complete?

Orthodontics is truly a specialty, as only about 6% of dentists choose to pursue this path. This can be a good indicator that your orthodontist is quite passionate about what they do. Dr. Reagin is certainly one of those who is passionate about what he does!

After completing the requirements to become a dentist, an orthodontist continues with additional training that teaches them how to treat several ailments that go beyond that of their general dental education. For example, learning how to manipulate and move the teeth and jawbones to help correct misalignments.

This additional training ranges from 2-3 years and is a highly competitive training. At the end of their orthodontic training, candidates complete a comprehensive clinical trial and written exam. This ensures that your orthodontist has a thorough and complete understanding of orthodontics and how to best serve their patients.

What services does an orthodontist offer?

When you hear the word “orthodontist” you probably think of braces. This is understandable since over 4 million people in the United States wear braces!

While braces are a clear focus in orthodontics it is not the only treatment or service that is offered by orthodontists. Although, most of the treatments do align with the purpose behind braces – to treat a misalignment.

Braces are used to treat a misalignment of the teeth. Beyond traditional braces, many orthodontists also offer modern aligners. Modern aligners are made from plastic and are worn 20 hours per day. Helping patients by designing a custom aligner plan is actually one of our specialties here at Reagin Orthodontics.

Orthodontics isn’t just about aligning teeth, it is also about helping to align the jaw. An orthodontist is able to help correct an underbite, overbite, or a misaligned jaw.

Common Treatments Provided by Orthodontists

  • Braces for children
  • Braces for adults
  • Aligners for adults (Invisalign)
  • Aligners for teens
  • Closing gaps between teeth
  • Widening the jaw
  • Treating oral habits that impact the alignment of the teeth
  • Treating overbites and underbites

Learn more about the services we offer here at Reagin Orthodontics.

When Do You Need to See an Orthodontist?

While everyone knows they should see a dentist, not everyone thinks they need to see an orthodontist. Hopefully understanding the difference between dentists and orthodontists will help you decide when you (or your children) may need to visit an orthodontist.

Early Intervention

Earlier we mentioned that children should see an orthodontist for the first time by the age of 7. This is the recommendation of The American Association of Orthodontists. This recommendation is based on the fact that around the age of 7 children have a mix of baby and permanent teeth. This can result in a lot of changes to the development of childrens’ teeth and jaws.

While many children will not need to be evaluated until the age of 7, if you notice your child has any issues with breathing or jaw pain, then it is recommended to see an orthodontist as soon as possible.

Orthodontics for Adults

The same recommendation goes for adults. If as an adult you have never seen an orthodontist, you may want to go in for an evaluation if you notice any pain with your jaw or teeth.

You may also want to see an orthodontist if you notice any of the following:

  • Clenching your jaw
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Not able to close your lips over your teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • You do not like your smile

You can also see an orthodontist to get a consultation for braces or aligners. Yes, even as an adult! Even though we try to catch and treat misaligned teeth at a younger age, there are plenty of adults taking advantage of aligners to get the smile they always wanted.

Choosing an Orthodontist

Now that you have a better understanding of the difference between dentists and orthodontists, you can choose when you may need to visit an orthodontist. We say when because while you may not end up needing treatment, it is always a good idea to get evaluated.

We know choosing an orthodontist can be a big task. So, to help you make the choice that is best for you and your family, take a look at 9 Things to Know When Choosing an Orthodontist to help you out.


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

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 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.