How to Find an Orthodontist Near You

Many adults and children will need orthodontic treatment at some point in their lives. However, the busier our lives get – the less we are willing to add another thing to our plates. Like visits to the orthodontist. Therefore, having an orthodontist that is near you is helpful. 


If you are searching for an orthodontist in the Summerville area, then you have found the right page! Finding an orthodontist near you is an important part of getting orthodontic treatment. Especially in this busy world! 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in straightening teeth, correcting bites, and treating occlusions in the mouth. Orthodontists go through the same schooling as a dentist plus special orthodontics education. Orthodontics is a competitive field that includes lots of training, so you can feel safe with orthodontists that are certified like Dr. Reagin here at Reagin Orthodontics


Dr. Reagin graduated at the top of his dental school class at the Medical University of South Carolina. After dental school, he attended the University of Alabama where he got his Orthodontics certificate and master’s degree. 


As one of the most well-known orthodontists in the Summerville area, Dr. Reagin is dedicated and educated in his practice. He continues to learn and grow in the field of orthodontia.Showing his knowledge and expertise in his everyday practice, as well as through multiple publications and academic journals that he has contributed to. 

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist? 

If you think you may need to see an orthodontist, it can help to understand the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. Moreover, why a specialist like an orthodontist may be necessary. 


Dentistry is a general practice while orthodontics is a specialty. Training-wise, dentists complete a four-year undergraduate program followed by four years in dental school. Here is a look at what a dentist does:

  • Routine dental care
  • Filling cavities
  • Performing root canals
  • Extracting teeth
  • Cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening


Orthodontists must complete general dentistry training before diving into their specialty. After eight years of initial schooling, orthodontists complete additional training for 2-3 years. Here are treatments that orthodontists do that dentists don’t:

  • Braces
  • Aligners
  • Treating overbites and underbites
  • Widening the jaw


This general overview of the differences between dentists and orthodontists can help you see why it is essential to see an orthodontist for treatment beyond basic oral health. 

What does an orthodontist do? 

While we have shared a quick overview of some treatments provided by orthodontists, there are a lot of terms that you may be familiar with. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at some specific things orthodontists do to help straighten teeth, correct bites, and fix occlusions.


Orthodontists straighten teeth through two methods: braces and clear aligners. Braces are the traditional method that most people are familiar with. While a newer method, many people are also familiar with clear aligners. Most likely, Invisalign. Invisalign has gained popularity in recent years due to its low-profile look and has become a favorite for both adults and teens. 


While most people are familiar with the role of an orthodontist in straightening teeth, you may not be as familiar with how they help correct bites. Orthodontists use bite splint therapy to stabilize the jaw to correct overbites, underbites, open bites, and crossbites. The process of correcting bites is a little more complicated than straightening teeth. Therefore, it is important to find an orthodontist near you that can help explain this process to you. 


Finally, let’s talk about occlusions. Occlusions refer to how your upper and lower teeth make contact with each other. If your teeth don’t sit on top of each other, an orthodontist may encourage you to get braces or a splint to decrease pain from occlusions. This is another possible reason you may need to see an orthodontist near you.

Why Do I need to see an orthodontist? 

As an adult, seeing an orthodontist in order to get an evaluation is recommended if you experience any pain in your jaw or teeth. It is also recommended if you clench your jaw, grind your teeth, have protruding teeth, or have difficulty biting or chewing. 


You can even see an orthodontist if you simply don’t like your smile! We love when adults come in to see us and get a consultation for braces or aligners


In addition to orthodontic treatment for adults, children also need orthodontic treatment. For children, The American Association of Orthodontics suggests that children should see an orthodontist by the age of 7. This is recommended because at this age children have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth, and that affects the development of their teeth and jaws. Children younger than the age of 7 are highly suggested to see an orthodontist as soon as possible if they have any breathing issues or jaw pain. 


Whether looking at treatment for yourself or your child, having an orthodontist near you will make taking care of your oral health much easier! If you or your child experience any of the above, we recommend finding an orthodontist nearby. Those looking for an orthodontist in the Summerville area, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation!

What should I look for when finding an orthodontist?

Finding an orthodontist is important to ensure the quality of your teeth and jaw health, but how do you know what to look for? 


You can ask for recommendations from family and friends. What better way to find a trustworthy practitioner than through someone you trust? Don’t stop there though! Be sure to do your own research by looking at the orthodontist’s website and social media. 


Here is a list of what to look for when researching an orthodontist on the internet:

  • What do the reviews say? See what other people in the area think about the orthodontist. You can even Google “reviews orthodontists near me” to see a comparison of orthodontists in the area.
  • How often do they post? If they post on their website and social media frequently, there’s a good chance that they keep up with new technology. If your orthodontist keeps up with new technology in these areas, that means they probably also keep up with technology in their practice. Therefore, you can be confident that they are practicing the safest and most efficient methods to support your oral health.
  • How recent are their posts? Recent posts on social media and on their website (such as a blog) indicate that they are up to date on the most accurate and relevant information in orthodontic care. Moreover, having accurate and relevant posts indicate that the orthodontist is committed to giving correct information and keeping their patients informed. This is another indication that the orthodontist is reliable and trustworthy. 


Another option is to ask your dentist for recommendations for orthodontists. They have a wide variety of patients, so they will have a good idea of the suitable orthodontic offices near you.


We also recommended having a thorough consultation with an orthodontist before committing to them. If the orthodontist gives you a complimentary exam to determine your dental needs, that is a good sign.


 The following are questions you can ask at your consultation:

  • What treatments are available to me?
  • How often are appointments?
  • How long are appointments?
  • How many appointments will I need?
  • Who can I contact outside of office hours if an issue arises?


In addition, feel free to ask any other questions you may have! 


If you live in the Summerville area, we would love to invite you to Reagin Orthodontics for a complimentary consultation to see if we are a good fit for your orthodontic needs.

Why is it important to find an orthodontist near you?

Finding an orthodontist near you is important for your own convenience. Life is much easier when your appointment locations are close to your home!  


If you have found this post, then Dr. Reagin is most likely an orthodontist near you! With office locations in Summerville and Cane Bay, Reagin Orthodontics is the perfect spot for future patients in the southern South Carolina area! Come visit our offices in person, or you can tour them online


In addition to making it easy and convenient for appointments, having an orthodontist nearby is also helpful in case of an emergency. While emergencies are rare during the course of treatment, they can happen. Therefore, having your orthodontist nearby makes it easy to get treatment quickly. 

Do I need a referral for an orthodontist?

When looking for an orthodontist you may wonder if you need a referral. While some specialists require a referral, you do not need a referral for an orthodontist! In fact, at Reagin Orthodontics, you can simply give us a call (843-471-4411) or visit us online to schedule a free consultation. 


Even though you don’t need a referral, many dentists do refer patients for orthodontic treatment. Therefore, while a referral is not necessary to see an orthodontist, we happily take referrals here when we get them!

How much is the orthodontist? 

The cost of orthodontic treatment is a common question. It is a difficult answer to provide in a single blog post because the cost of service depends on the patient’s needs. We understand that this is a big investment though! Therefore, we always take time to discuss different payment and financing options during your consultation.


However, if you have questions about financing before we meet, feel free to contact us ahead of time. For your convenience, Reagin Orthodontics also offers a financing and payment calculator on our website, and we also have an excellent team that can discuss payment plans with you. If you have insurance, we can go over the coverage you have available.


While we hope that Reagin Orthodontics is an orthodontist close to your home, we hope that wherever you are this information will help you find an orthodontist that is best for you! 


Adult Braces: Am I too Old?

Did you miss out on braces as a kid? Or did you get braces as a teen and now your teeth have shifted? You are not alone! 

Statistics show that 1 in 4 patients receiving orthodontic care is over the age of 18 years old. Here at Reagin Orthodontics, adult orthodontics is one of our primary services.

While traditionally braces have been seen as an orthodontic treatment for kids and teens, they are not exclusive to any age. In fact, the more technology has changed the more adults have been getting braces. 

Today, there are many choices for adult braces. Moreover, while adults desire braces for aesthetics there are many other reasons why braces for adults are important. 

Why You May Need Adult Braces

You wonder if it is even worth it now. You may even feel like it is selfish to get braces. Maybe you think you don’t REALLY need a smile with straight teeth. 

What you may not realize is that braces are not just about misaligned teeth. Braces are more than an aesthetic treatment. They are an important part of oral health for many people. For people of all ages!

Oral health doesn’t just stop at a certain age. In fact, you may have noticed more dental problems the older you have gotten. Some of these problems can be caused by misaligned teeth or jaws. 

A misaligned tooth or jaw does not only contribute to unesthetic teeth but other dental issues as well. It can also be a result of other oral health concerns: 

  • Teeth Grinding
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Excessive tooth wear
  • Recession of the gums 
  • Difficulty cleaning the teeth 

Misaligned teeth and bite can lead to other health issues as well. They can eventually lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

Beyond oral health, a misaligned jaw can lead to chronic headaches, neck pain, and jaw pain.

All of these are reasons that you may benefit from braces as an adult! 

Pros and Cons of Adult Braces 

In addition to supporting good oral health, there are other benefits of getting braces as an adult. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of adult braces. We will also address some potential negatives of adult braces. 

We think it is important for anyone interested in orthodontic care to have all the information. Then you can make an informed decision that is best for you. 

Adult Braces Can Lead to Improved Self-Confidence 

Let’s look at that aesthetic side of getting braces. While braces fix deeper underlying health issues, the main thing they are known for is fixing crooked teeth. 

Guess what? That is a pretty important benefit of braces! We don’t think wanting to improve your smile is a negative thing – at any age. 

Your smile is often the first thing that other people notice. Therefore, having a smile that you feel proud of is important. If you are confident in your smile, it transfers to overall confidence. 

Confidence isn’t something to be taken for granted. Improved self-confidence can lead to improvements in many areas of life. 

  • Better personal relationships
  • More opportunities in the workplace 
  • Improved communication skills
  • Confidence to pursue new goals
  • Healthier attitude in meeting new people

The desire to have more confidence is not selfish. It is also not something that goes away with age. Whatever age you are, it is not too late to improve your confidence by improving your smile. 

Adult Braces Can Prevent Future Oral Health Problems 

While we think everyone has the right to a beautiful smile, we know sometimes that may not be enough for an adult to get braces. The truth is, braces as an adult can be overwhelming. There are a lot of adjustments that come with getting braces at any age. 

However, while a gorgeous smile is an outcome you can see after braces – there are many other results. Results that as an adult can be even more appealing than the aesthetics. Long-term health! 

As mentioned earlier, misaligned teeth may be reflective of a bigger health concern. What we didn’t mention are the potential health risks if not treated. 

A bad bite can lead to heavy wear and tear on your teeth and gums. Whether it comes from grinding your teeth too much or not being able to properly chew, years of misalignment eventually take their toll. 

The result of so much pressure on your mouth can lead to several serious dental problems. Problems that require expensive treatment! 

  • Gum Surgery
  • Root Canals
  • Bone Grafts
  • Dental implants

Most of these procedures are not elective. They are a requirement for healthy teeth. Unfortunately, most of these treatments are also not cheap. A root canal can cost over $1,000 for one tooth! 

In the long run, getting braces as an adult can prevent many potential oral health problems. Adult orthodontic treatment is preventative care that can save you money and a lot of painful procedures.

The Potential Downside of Adult Braces 

As with any type of procedure, there are often two sides to consider. While we think the benefits outweigh the negatives, let’s address some of the potential drawbacks to getting braces as an adult. 

Time Commitment 

One concern adults have when getting braces is the time commitment. Braces do take time to work. The average treatment for braces is 12 to 18 months. 

Moreover, there is the time required for the consultation and regular check-ups. After the initial consultation, most adults need to see their orthodontist every 8-12 weeks. However, this can vary depending on the type of braces and individual treatment plan. 

Most orthodontists recognize that this time commitment can deter adults. Therefore, most make an effort to make treatment as convenient as possible. We know it is one of our priorities here at Reagin Orthodontics! 

From work to family and other commitments, time is precious. We want to respect your time, while also giving you the best treatment! That’s why we offer convenient options for treatment. 

Starting with the initial consultation, we encourage you to bring your family! This saves you time and money on finding babysitters. Moreover, it helps your family to understand the importance of your treatment plan and support you in it. 

Depending on what type of braces you choose, we also offer virtual appointments! Therefore, you may not have to come into the office as much as you thought. 

Teeth Don’t Move as Quickly 

One other drawback of getting braces as an adult is that your teeth may not move as quickly. When kids get braces their adult teeth have just come in. Therefore, they are not fully set and often are easier to move. 

As an adult, your teeth are fully set in place and the bone housing the teeth is more dense. The result is that sometimes the ligaments and bone around the teeth may need more time to move and adjust. This simply means that your treatment may be longer than a teen’s. 

However, most adult patients still complete treatment in less than two years. Then, they get to enjoy their smile for all the many years to follow. 

May Negatively Affect Your Appearance

Initially, the idea of wearing braces may put you off of the idea. There are a lot of adults who are worried about the appearance of metal braces. They often associate the visual of traditional braces with something only kids wear. 

As we have discussed, braces are not just for kids. Metal braces work the same way on adult teeth as on kid teeth. We get it! Most adults do not want to have a metal bracket attached to each tooth. Thanks to technology, you don’t have to wear metal braces. 

With the invention of clear aligners in the early 2000s, you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing it. Brands like Invisalign are a great treatment choice for many adults. 

The align technology of clear aligners provides the same results as traditional braces. Without the negative appearance of metal brackets. If you are not familiar with Invisalign and clear aligners, we have a Complete Guide to Clear Aligners where you can learn more. 

Schedule a Complimentary Consultation for Adult Braces

In the end, every adult patient is going to have their own individual experience with braces. Some will benefit from getting traditional braces because of the ease of maintaining them. Like busy moms

Other patients will love the secrecy of clear aligners. Slowly moving towards the perfect smile with no one knowing. 

With many different types of braces and treatment plans, it is best to find what orthodontic treatment is best for you. The best way to do that is to meet with an orthodontist for a consultation.

If you are in the Charleston area, we would love to have you visit us! You can schedule a complimentary consultation on our website. When you come in, Dr. Reagin and the team will sit down with you to decide what adult braces are right for you. 


Invisalign vs. Direct to Consumer

You see them everywhere these days – ads from mail-order aligner companies. This Direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies promise to give you perfect teeth, without ever making you leave your house.

Of course, this sounds like a great idea. It’s convenient and appealing. Who wouldn’t want to slip their clear aligners on at home and then sit back on the couch? The idea of getting perfect teeth while watching Netflix is appealing.

Did you know that if you get your aligners through an orthodontist, you can still wear them while watching Netflix? Getting clear aligners through an orthodontist is not as inconvenient as it may seem.

While there are a few similarities between at-home aligners and being treated by an orthodontist, there are also many important differences. Differences that as professionals in orthodontic care we have to address.

If you have been thinking about ordering at-home aligners, we invite you to take a quick look at those differences. In the end, the decision of what treatment to choose is always up to you. We simply want to make sure all of our patients (and potential patients) have ALL the info to make the most informed decision.

Are Direct to Consumer Aligners Really More Convenient?

There are two reasons people tend to choose direct-to-consumer aligners: cost and convenience. What mail order companies don’t tell you is that the cost and convenience of their product are not that different from getting aligners at the orthodontist.

Let’s first take a look at the convenience of these two aligner treatments. Moreover, why the convenience offered by these companies does not factor in the importance of hands-on help and quality of care. Then we will get into the truth behind what they cost.

Convenience Isn’t Always Comprehensive

Let’s start where you will start – the consultation. With mail-order clear aligners you do your consultation online. The company provides you a set of questions to determine if you are a good candidate for their treatment plan.

Yes, you can do this at home. However, it does take time to complete. Moreover, these are a set of standardized questions. Standardized questions can’t effectively address every potential scenario a patient may present.

Moreover, everything they use to create your treatment plan is based only on what you say. They do not SEE your teeth! Without any x-rays or photos, they are unable to see if there are any underlying conditions.

Pre-treatment X-rays are a standard of care in orthodontics, per the American Association of Orthodontists and The American Board of Orthodontists. Unfortunately, most direct-to-consumer companies do not require them.

This is a concern because prior to getting orthodontic treatment (by an orthodontist) your teeth and gums must be cleared by a dentist or orthodontist. If you have problems like gingivitis, periodontitis, chipped teeth, or cavities, an orthodontist is going to send you back to a dentist or dental specialist to get these issues taken care of prior to starting orthodontic tooth movement.   Orthodontic tooth movement with underlying dental diseases is a recipe for disaster.

When you go through a mail-order company, there is no one to check for these underlying issues. These programs are intended only for simple/minor adjustments. While many times a simple adjustment is all the patient needs braces for, there are many times when crooked teeth are due to a more serious condition.  There are even more scenarios where the patient’s teeth appear to be a simple fix when in reality the correct plan is more involved.  An in-person consultation with an orthodontist would reveal and educate the patient on these scenarios.

Invisalign Consultations are Comprehensive

When you decide to get Invisalign aligners through the orthodontist, it does require leaving the house. However, it will be a more comprehensive consultation. This can actually lead to a quicker overall treatment plan.

During your initial consultation, you’ll visit the orthodontist for x-rays, initial photos, and a diagnostic plan. Many orthodontists will even take a digital scan of your teeth during this visit!

Therefore, after that one visit, your treatment has already started. In contrast, with mail-order treatments you have to wait for several shipments before starting your treatment.

How Effective are Mail-Order Impression Kits?

Unlike going into the orthodontist’s office for your impressions or better yet a digital scan, direct-to-consumer companies will send you a kit in the mail. Using this kit, you take impressions of your teeth and then send them back.

While this initially seems more convenient, it can take more time. As mentioned above, your treatment plan begins on your first visit to the orthodontist. With an at-home treatment kit, you have to wait for the kit to be mailed to you, take the impressions, then mail the kit back. Then, you wait to get your aligner trays and hope you took the impressions correctly.

Who Creates an At-home Treatment Plan?

In addition, taking impressions at home presents potential problems. You are not a trained orthodontist who has taken (at least) hundreds of impressions of teeth. This is probably your first time taking impressions. Therefore, there is the possibility you may not fit the trays properly for the best impression to be captured.

Since your entire treatment plan is based on these impressions, there is the possibility that your treatment won’t be exactly what you need.

In contrast, when you see a trained orthodontist to get fitted for your clear aligners they know exactly what to do! Moreover, they know what to look for if an impression does not come out as needed (and can redo it right then). Also, most orthodontists use digital scanners so you can skip the impression altogether. Now that is convenient!

Not having a hands-on approach to gathering impressions is just the beginning.

Not All (in fact most) Direct to Consumer Professionals are Licensed Orthodontists

Even though mail-order companies advertise that a state-licensed dental professional will make your treatment plan, they are more likely than not a licensed orthodontist.

Most of the time the person checking your diagnostic report and providing your treatment is not an orthodontist. Instead, it’s anyone with a dental license willing to accept on average $50 USD per case to approve your case, regardless of their education and training in tooth movement. Therefore, out of all the money you pay a direct-to-consumer company, on average only $50 goes to the one person who is liable for your outcome.

The problem here is that while an orthodontist has all of the training of a dentist, a dentist does not have the additional training of an orthodontist. Orthodontists have an additional 2-3 years of training in the biology and biomechanics of tooth movement.

A general dentist does not have the expertise in tooth movement. Therefore, it is possible (and likely) that these services are not overseen by a qualified orthodontist.

Invisalign Treatment Plan vs At-Home Treatment Plan

One of the biggest differences between a mail-order treatment plan and an in-office aligner treatment is checkups.

Direct-to-consumer companies advertise that they are better because you don’t have the “inconvenience” of going in for regular check-ups. What this really means is that – you will likely never see a licensed professional during your treatment!

How Long is the Treatment for Direct-to-Consumer Aligners?

DTC companies also advertise that their treatment is faster. Often offering results in 4 to 6 months.  In some very minor cases, this might be the case. Unfortunately, for most people getting straight teeth is not a quick fix. To advertise it as such is dangerous.

Correcting misaligned teeth is a slow process. It takes time to align your bite and straighten your teeth. The ligaments and bones need time to shift around your teeth.

It is also a process that needs to be closely monitored. If this adjustment is not done the right way, you can do serious damage to your teeth. In fact, it can result in irreparable damage.

There is such a concern for promoting these quick fixes that the American Association of Orthodontics issued a warning around this, “The risks associated with ‘do it yourself’ orthodontics can, and should be, avoided.”

How Long is the Invisalign Treatment?

Essentially, all companies use similar types of plastic aligner technology. Therefore, it is concerning that direct-to-consumer aligners advertise working in half the amount of time.

Invisalign treatment takes about 12 to 18 months depending on your chief concern. This is the same amount of time traditional braces take as well. Clear aligners are doing the same thing as metal/clear braces – moving teeth through bones and ligaments. There is not a safe way to make this faster.

Clear aligners might be more convenient though! Yes, this includes clear aligners from the orthodontist. Getting them professionally fitted may even be more convenient than you knew.

Many orthodontists now offer virtual check-ups for Invisalign treatment. We do this here at Reagin Orthodontics!

Therefore, after your first initial visit, you can do some of your visits from the comfort of your home. You get the best of both worlds. Convenience and professional care!

Even if you choose not to do virtual visits, a patient usually only needs to go in for a check-up every 12 weeks. That is only 4 visits in a year!

During these visits, your orthodontist will assess if you need new aligners. They will also check your overall dental health. Two important things that you do not have regular access to with at-home companies.

Remember, regular check-ups are not a bad thing. They are essential for proper treatment!

Are At-Home Aligners Really Cheaper?

Direct-to-consumer companies that make at-home clear aligners make it seem like the cost of their treatment saves patients a lot of money. However, the price is not drastically different. Especially, if you compare apples to apples.

DTC treatment is by nature, limited orthodontic treatment, however, their ads compare full orthodontic treatment fees to their limited orthodontic fees. This is misleading at best and the national advertising agency has asked one leading DTC brand to stop this false advertising (to no avail).

When you compare limited orthodontic fees at an orthodontic office to DTC fees, the fees may not exactly match up, but the DTC fees are not nearly 60% less as they claim. In the end, you get what you pay for.

Most direct-to-consumer treatments are between $2,100 and $2,900. Advertisements will make clients think it is only $2,050. However, that is if it is paid all at once.

While this company does offer payment plans, it raises the price. In the end, the price is almost $2,600! Keep in mind that this price is only for simple teeth straightening treatment.

If you have a more complex condition, not only will you not get the proper treatment – the treatment may not work. In the end, you could end up paying for something without results. You might end up paying an orthodontist to correct your condition after paying a DTC  company.

How Much is Invisalign Treatment?

You may be surprised to learn that limited clear aligner treatment through the orthodontist is not that much more than limited clear aligner treatment through a DTC company! In fact, MOST orthodontists can give you better results at (or near) the same cost as mail-order companies.

Keep in mind, that this is only for simple fixes. If a patient requires additional treatment then the price can increase. However, since many underlying concerns are related to dental health they are covered by insurance.

Moreover, many orthodontists also offer payment plans and financing options.

Does Insurance Cover At-Home Aligners?

Mail-order companies advertise that their treatment is often covered by insurance. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many insurance companies do not cover orthodontic treatment that is not supervised.

Moreover, trying to get insurance on board for at-home treatment is often a hassle. It can also take a lot of extra time. More time that takes away from moving closer to your new smile!

In contrast, when you go through an orthodontist, insurance almost always covers your treatment. Even better, the insurance companies already know how to work with the office to get things properly billed. This saves you a lot of time!

Overview of Invisalign vs At-home aligners

The simple fact is that orthodontic care, just like any medical care, is not a one size fits all. So, while mail-order clear aligners and in-office aligners use the same basic align technology, only one tailors that technology to each individual patient through a proper diagnostic exam and oversight.

If you are interested in getting clear aligners, but undecided on which brand is best for you, let’s chat! We would love to have you schedule a complimentary consultation with us to come in and talk about a plan that fits YOU!

What to Expect at Your Initial Orthodontic Consultation

Prepare for Your Orthodontic Consultation

Is it time for you or your kid to visit the orthodontist? Did you already take the first step and schedule your initial consultation? If so, this post is for you! 

 Making an appointment for the initial consultation is the first step in orthodontic care. The next step is coming to the appointment. Whether it is a visit for you, or for your child, that first appointment may feel a bit daunting. 

 Getting braces should be an exciting time though! At any age! It’s the first step towards a lifetime of confident smiles. Therefore, we want to make sure that excitement is the prevailing feeling when it comes to getting orthodontic treatment.  

To help you get excited, here is a guide on what to expect during your consultation. The consultation experience is the same for all patients. 

If you are coming in to learn more about adult braces or Invisalign for yourself, we hope this guide will help you feel prepared and excited about your appointment. If you and your child are coming in to learn more about kids and braces, we encourage you to share this information with your child to help them feel prepared as well. 

Why is a Consultation Important? 

You may have already made your appointment for a consultation, but you also may still have some questions about why a consultation is important. Moreover, if it is the right time for a consultation. 

A common question parents have is, when is the right time to start orthodontic treatment? The answer to this will vary from patient to patient. However, as a general guideline, we encourage parents to bring kids in around age 7 for their first consultation

This doesn’t mean that every kid will need treatment at age seven. Some kids will not need braces until a later date. Moreover, some kids won’t need orthodontic treatment at all. However, all kids can benefit from a consultation. 


As an adult, you may have missed your chance at orthodontic care when you were younger. The great thing is that orthodontic treatments are not just for kids! Adults may need treatment as well. A complimentary consultation is a perfect way for you to learn how to get the smile you dreamed about since you were a kid. 

More importantly, a consultation is a time for you or your child to find out if there are any concerns beyond misaligned teeth. Some patients may need treatment for an overbite, underbite, or to adjust the width of the jaws. Not all of these concerns can easily be seen. However, they can be detected by a dental specialist, an orthodontist, during an exam. 

Therefore, a consultation at any age helps address these concerns. With young patients, this early detection can help parents plan for potential orthodontic needs in the future.  

Who Should You Bring to the Appointment?

Even though there are different reasons for orthodontic care, braces are the number one treatment modality. It is most likely the reason you have decided to visit the orthodontist. 

Getting braces is a change, not only for the patient but for their family as well. Especially when the patient is younger. Therefore, here at Reagin Orthodontics, we encourage you to bring the entire family to the initial consultation, so everyone knows what to expect. 

Family support isn’t just for the youngins either! We encourage all patients to bring in their family or support team to the consultation. This allows you to share this exciting new journey with the people you love. 

What if my Spouse or Partner Can’t Make it?

Even if you are not able to get the whole family into the office, we encourage you to have other decision-makers join virtually. You are welcome to Facetime your spouse or partner or put them on speaker phone during the consultation. 

This allows them to hear everything firsthand. It also provides them with the same opportunity to ask questions. Involving everyone in the initial conversation gives all parties involved access to the same information right away. This gets everyone on the same page from the beginning. 

Why is it Important to Bring the Whole Family?

Bringing the whole family gives everyone a feel for what orthodontic care entails. This helps parents and siblings support the child who is getting braces. Furthermore, it establishes familiarity with orthodontic treatment for younger siblings who may need braces later. 

In addition, this is a great time for everyone in the family to understand the time commitment for braces. On average, treatment will take about 18 months. During this time, the patient will need to visit the orthodontist’s office about every 8 weeks for adjustments. 

While this time frame can vary depending on if a patient gets traditional braces or clear aligners, it is a time commitment, so you should feel comfortable with the office team you choose.  

This time commitment impacts the whole family. Therefore, it can help everyone to learn about what is involved. Even better, to hear it directly from the orthodontist during the consultation. This provides the whole family with the same information, making it easier to support the patient and each other throughout treatment. 

Who Will You Meet with During Your Visit?

The experienced team at Reagin Orthodontics is excited to meet your family and introduce you to ours! Our team is like a family. We work together to help every patient have the best treatment experience – this begins the moment you make the first phone call to our director of first impressions and continues when you walk in the door. 

When you arrive, our front desk staff will welcome you. Then they will introduce you to our treatment coordinator. Whether you come to our Summerville office or Cane Bay office, the first thing our treatment coordinator will do is take you & your family on a tour of that office. 

As a patient, you (and possibly your child) will spend a lot of time with us and in our office over the course of treatment. Therefore, we want you to be familiar with your orthodontic home.

 X-Rays and Oral Exam

After the tour, the treatment coordinator will take you to get x-rays and photos. The x-rays and photos are referred to as your initial records. These initial records are the orthodontist’s first view of your teeth, so smile big for the camera! 

Once the records are taken, it’s time to meet your orthodontist, Dr. Reagin! Dr. Reagin will perform an oral exam to identify any orthodontic concerns. To determine the best line of treatment for you or your child, Dr. Reagin will look closely at the records that were taken to evaluate the teeth and jaws.

After he has completed the exam, he and the treatment coordinator will discuss the suggested treatment plan with you. 

Review the Suggested Treatment Plan

If Dr. Reagin determines that orthodontic treatment is needed, he will talk to you and your family about what treatment schedule he recommends. This includes discussing different types of treatments, such as braces and clear aligners

In addition, Dr. Reagin will discuss the different appliances used to support the braces or clear aligners. This may include explaining the purpose of elastics (rubber bands), Herbst appliance, separators, expander, positioner, retainers, separators, and the twin block appliance.

Moreover, during this time Dr. Reagin and our treatment coordinator will answer any questions you may have about the recommended treatment. 

Discuss Payment Options

One of the main questions patients (and parents) have is, “how much will treatment cost?” 

The cost of treatment varies from patient to patient. It depends on how complex the orthodontic treatment will be and how long treatment will take to achieve the desired result. This is another reason the consultation is so important – it allows us to give you an estimated length of treatment and specific cost for treatment based on the exam.

While orthodontic care is healthcare, it is also an investment. We recognize and know that it is a large investment for most families. Therefore, we have flexible payment options to allow you or your child to enjoy a beautiful smile. 

Questions to Ask

Before investing in orthodontic care, we want each patient to have all the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and their family. The first step in that is providing you with what to expect when you visit our office for an initial consultation. 

Knowing your orthodontist goes beyond that though. It is important that you and your family feel like the orthodontist you choose (and their office team) is a good fit for you. Therefore, we encourage you to do your own research and ask questions. 

Here is a list of questions that are helpful in finding the right fit for you. Dr. Reagin and our treatment coordinator are happy to answer any of these questions, along with any others you may have. Feel free to ask away! 

If you choose to get a second consultation from another orthodontist, we encourage you to ask them the same questions. Remember, orthodontic care is a process that takes some time.  You want to make sure that whoever you choose as your orthodontist is comfortable with answering your questions, and that you are comfortable asking them. 

Questions to Ask During the Initial Consultation

  • When you meet an orthodontist for an initial consultation, we strongly recommend consideration of the following:
  • What is the practice’s philosophy? Make sure it lines up with what you are looking for.
  • What is the orthodontist’s level of experience and how long have they been practicing? What is the team’s experience?  
    •  How long has the longest employee been with the doctor?  
  • Does the practice have multiple doctors, and will you see the same doctor at each appointment?
  • Ask to see before-and-after photos of previous patients. Are the results to your liking?
  • How varied and advanced are the treatments offered? Are they up to date on revolutionary new technologies such as temporary mini-screws, translucent aligner scanning (such as Invisalign and Invisalign Teen), and self-ligating brackets?
  • Is the orthodontist familiar with the different cutting-edge accelerated treatment options such as AcceleDent, Propel, and Wilckodontics?
  • What is the orthodontist’s diagnosis and plan of action for your teeth and how clearly has it been explained to you? 
  • How practical is the treatment plan in light of your personal, business, and social needs? Did the orthodontist provide information about alternatives?
  • What is the office ambiance like? Specifically, are you (or your child) comfortable with the orthodontist’s chair-side manner?
  • Is the staff friendly, welcoming, and quick to address your concerns? Since orthodontic treatment takes an average of one and a half to two years, with appointments typically every six to eight weeks, it is important to establish a rapport with all of those who will be providing services.
  • Emergencies are unlikely, but just in case, what is the office protocol?
  • What are the financing options? Are there multifamily discounts? Paid in full discounts?
  • Does the fee for treatment include retainers? Make sure to ask.
  • Does the practice focus on educating you (and/or your child) on the care of their braces and/or appliances?

At Reagin Orthodontics we believe that finding an orthodontist you trust is like forming any important relationship in your life. So, while we hope you choose to be a part of our family, we encourage you to do some research, get to know us, ask your friends, and choose the practice that is best for you! 

Invisalign for Kids

Can Kids Get Invisalign?

When it comes to orthodontic treatment for kids, the standard is traditional metal braces. While metal braces have been the industry’s go to for decades, in the last twenty years a newer form of orthodontic treatment has grown in popularity. Clear braces or clear aligners.

Invisalign was the first of the clear aligners to come onto the scene in the early 2000s. Even though there was some uncertainty around them in the beginning, they have proven to be just as effective as other types of braces in most situations.

Originally, clear aligners were targeted towards adults. This made sense since many adults don’t want to wear metal braces. While adults were the primary patients early on, the appeal of having invisible braces has trickled town. Today, many teens and kids want to know if they can also use clear aligners.

The simple answer is yes. Kids and teens can wear clear aligners like Invisalign. In fact, Invisalign has a special Invisalign Teen program. However, every child is different.

Therefore, just because teens and kids can get clear aligners doesn’t mean it is the best treatment for your child. Especially if they are under the age of 13 years old.

The Difference Between Invisalign for Kids and Teens

Before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of clear braces for kids and teens, let’s clarify who we are referring to. A patient who is considered a kid is anyone younger than 13 years old. A teen patient is anyone between the ages of 13 and 18 years old.

While this may seem like a small detail to clarify, the difference in age is the main factor to consider when discussing if invisalign is the right treatment for your child. As mentioned above, there is a specific Invisalign Teen treatment protocol. This is almost identical to the regular treatment for adults, with a couple small differences.

The teen program includes a small blue dot on each plastic aligner tray. This helps parents see if their child has been wearing the trays enough. In addition, the treatment plan includes a few free replacement aligners (in case any are lost).

These two additions to the teen treatment plan address the two main concerns when having young patients use clear aligners. Tracking the frequency in which the aligners are worn, and the possibility of losing the aligners.

These are the same concerns around having kids use the Invisalign treatment. Currently, there is not a different treatment plan for kids that are younger than 13 years old. Therefore, kids would use the teen treatment protocols to help address these concerns.

However, even with the added benefits of the tracking dot and replacement trays, Invisalign may not be the best choice for your kid. Moreover, while clear aligners are the newest form of orthodontic care, there is still a place for tried-and-true treatments. Especially for kids.

Before choosing the Invisalign treatment for your kid, here are some things to consider.

The Benefits of Traditional Braces for Kids

Here at Reagin orthodontics we love clear aligners! In fact, it is one of our specialties.

We especially love that Invisalign encourages more adults to get treatment. As much as we love Invisalign for adults though, we also still love more traditional methods for straightening teeth.

Metal braces were the tried-and-true method to straighten crooked teeth for decades. Even with the new options available today, traditional metal braces continue to be an excellent treatment. They are especially great for kids.

The main benefit of choosing traditional braces over clear braces for kids is that they can’t be removed.

Metal braces are made up of small metal brackets, wire, and o-ties. A single metal bracket is adhered to each individual tooth. Then, the wire and o-ties are added to the brackets to create tension. This tension helps to move the teeth.

Once the braces are adhered to the teeth, they are on there for the entire treatment. When considering braces for young kids this is a key factor to consider.

With the braces being adhered to the teeth the orthodontist is the only one who can move or change the position of the braces. This keeps the treatment plan on track. Moreover, it takes away any extra responsibility for the parents or kids.

The Benefits of Invisalign Braces

If you are considering Invisalign braces for your kid, then you are probably already familiar with biggest benefit – their look. In fact, your kid may have asked for these specifically because of their invisible look.

While the lack of visible braces is one of the main benefits of Invisalign clear aligners, there are many other benefits.

More comfortable: Even though there can be some discomfort as teeth are adjusting, most patients find clear aligners to be a bit more comfortable than traditional braces.

Better oral hygiene: With metal braces it is difficult for kids to clean their teeth effectively. Since clear aligner trays can be removed, it is easier to brush and floss. Therefore, kids can keep their teeth just as healthy as prior to their treatment.

No off-limit foods or drinks: Some foods are difficult to eat with metal braces because things get stuck in the wire and brackets. However, since you can remove aligners to eat and drink, kids can enjoy their favorite treats without any concern. While the aligners are being worn (20 hours a day) it is important to only drink water so you are not bathing your teeth in sugary or acidic liquids.

Fewer visits to the orthodontist: With clear aligner treatment, less time is needed at the orthodontist’s office. In addition, the visits are quicker. Office visits can even be done virtually (in some cases).

Shorter Treatment (if treatment is followed): IF the protocol is properly followed by the patient, the overall treatment plan could be shorter than with traditional braces. However, one of the concerns with choosing Invisalign for kids is that it is more difficult to manage how long the kid is wearing their trays. If a kid does not wear the trays as prescribed, then treatment could end up taking longer.   You know your child best.

Despite all of the benefits of Invisalign treatment, the ability to remove the trays may be the single reason this is not the ideal treatment for your child.

Disadvantages of Invisalign for Kids

Invisalign aligners are removable. It is one of the things we love about them! Depending on the patient though, this advantage can become a disadvantage.

For Invisalign to properly work, each clear plastic aligner needs to be worn for a minimum of 20 hours per day. Remembering to wear the trays this much can be hard, even for adults. Even with a routine, they may forget to put them back in after eating or before bed.

Most adults eventually find a routine that helps them meet this goal each day though. In addition, many teens have enough awareness to meet this goal as well.

The younger the patients get though, the more difficult it can be to guarantee the 20 hours is being met.

Since it is recommended to remove the trays for eating, a young patient will do this every time they eat. If they are at home, it is easy to remind them to put the trays back in after a meal. Parents don’t have this control when kids are away from home though.

From school to sports and friends’ houses in between, there are plenty of places kids might remove their aligners. There is no way to track how long the aligners are being worn. Moreover, it is easy for kids on the go to potentially lose a tray.

Kids and Parents are Responsible for the Results

If a kid loses a tray or regularly forgets to wear their aligners, it is likely to extend the treatment. This is the main reason that choosing Invisalign treatment for your kid may not be the most effective treatment.

With traditional braces, young kids cannot remove their braces. The braces are set for the entire treatment. The only one who can make a change to them is the orthodontist.

With the Invisalign treatment though, once the patient leaves, the orthodontist cannot control if the braces are being used. The responsibility to maintain the treatment protocol becomes the responsibility of the parents and the kid.

Therefore, when considering if clear aligners are the best choice for your kid, consider how much time you want to invest in the daily treatment. In some families, this treatment will work well. In others, a more traditional approach to braces may work better.

If you would like some help deciding on which treatment is best for your kid, contact us for a complimentary consultation. 


Smile Story: Gregory L.

At Reagin Orthodontics, we know that getting braces is about more than fixing your teeth; it’s about how you feel afterwards. We celebrate with patients every time our treatment/smile plan helps them live the life they want! We want to share some of the amazing stories from our customers with our Smile Story series, starting with Greg L.

Greg says that he came to Reagin originally to look for braces for his daughter. When she was nearing the end of her treatment, Greg said “I wish I had gotten my teeth fixed” at her age. Dr. Reagin pointed out that it wasn’t too late! Many patients at Reagin are over 40 years old, just like Greg.

Greg decided he wanted to start his orthodontic treatment because Dr. Reagin made it ” too easy to pass up.”  Greg was able to take advantage of our payment plans and 0% rate to finance his treatment over time. “It was an investment, but they made it so easy.”

We made a plan to help Greg with aligners to coordinate problems with his alignment, arch coordination/symmetry and crossbites. Because Greg was motivated to complete his treatment, even with his frequent travel, we are able to celebrate Greg’s successful treatment. 

Gregory L Before Photo
Gregory L After Photo








Where did Greg start?

When we first met Greg, we noticed that Greg had a severe reverse crossbite of the posterior teeth on his right side. Reverse crossbites in the back teeth usually result from a constricted lower jaw or unusually wide upper jaw. This problem could lead to:

  • An incorrect position for the lower jaw
  • Accompanying facial asymmetry
  • Uneven wear of teeth
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Poor Esthetics

He also had a traditional crossbite of his upper right lateral incisor, where the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth,  and some mild crowding of both upper and lower teeth. There were some challenges with the shape of his mouth. Greg had asymmetric upper and lower arches. The two dental arches (upper and lower) are important because they house the teeth, including the gums and alveolar bone.

Greg had a narrow lower arch and a narrow mid buccal segment (canine, premolar and molar teeth) of the right maxilla (one of the bones that forms your upper jaw). Upon smiling, it appeared that he was missing some teeth especially in his upper right quadrant.

What Was Greg’s Treatment Plan?

Our treatment plan was to coordinate the arches, relieve the crossbite in the front and align the teeth. Our treatment modality was clear aligners.  Due to the severity of Greg’s reverse crossbite, we were not sure whether we could correct it without surgery. But with a good diagnosis, plan, and most importantly a compliant patient,  we were able to make the needed adjustments and deliver a great smile result for Greg without surgical intervention.    

What were some of the unique aspects of this case? 

One challenge of Greg’s treatment was that he traveled  frequently and would spend months overseas. We would often do virtual visits with Greg while he was overseas to help him keep up with our planned treatment. Greg says, “We were able to check in once a quarter with Facetime to make sure everything was fitting, just like normal” while he was thousands of miles away.

Dr. Reagin is proud that we were able to use the technology available to us to still serve as Greg’s remote orthodontist. We are excited to be the local orthodontist with a physical location for patients, no matter where they live!

What made for a successful treatment?

We had an amazing patient! Greg was very compliant and internally motivated to complete the treatment. Along with a great diagnosis and treatment plan, this made for a great result. Greg attributes the success of his treatment to following the program that Reagin set out for him. 

To his team at Reagin Orthodontics, Greg says, “Thank you for your patience! They went above and beyond for me. They did a lot of things for me that they didn’t have to while I was 8,000 miles away. They really care about their patients. They call you by your first name and they ask about your family.” 

When Greg looks back at pictures, he says that he notices a huge difference! He wishes he had made this change 20 years ago, but he’s glad that he can now go through life with properly aligned teeth thanks to his successful treatment at Reagin Orthodontics. 


What Candy Can I Eat With Braces This Halloween?

Halloween is a holiday all about enjoying sweet treats! But if you have braces or are getting them soon, you probably know that there are some sweets that you should avoid while wearing braces. Some common candies we like to enjoy on Halloween might damage braces and set orthodontic treatment back. So before you sink your teeth into sour, sticky, or crunchy candy this Halloween, take a look at this list of candy that you shouldn’t be tricked into eating and treats that are ok to enjoy with braces.

Why Avoid Certain Candies?

First, let’s talk about why we recommend staying away from certain candies. Any candy your orthodontist recommends staying away from is to help you complete your treatment plan on time, and avoid inconvenient emergency visits to your orthodontist’s office. Crunchy, sticky, and sour candies can all cause different problems for your teeth during your scheduled treatment.

Crunchy candies like jolly ranchers can shear the bracket off of your tooth. Sticky candies, like caramels, can get stuck in the brackets and cause them to loosen/break via pulling forces. A broken bracket can set your treatment back past its expected completion. On average, one broken bracket equals one extra month in braces. Brackets hold the wires into place and help guide your teeth. Without them, your teeth will not be able to reach their correct alignment.

Sour candies are usually very acidic. The acid from Skittles, Starbursts, Gummi Worms, etc. create an environment in your mouth where cavity causing bacteria thrive! This acid environment can cause the enamel on your teeth to decalcify and wear down. Enamel is the outer layer of tooth structure that protects our teeth from damage, and allow our teeth to be esthetically pleasing. Compromised enamel will not look good and can lead to a greater risk for cavities which will require fillings/repair from your dentist.

Don’t Get Tricked Into Eating These Candies:

To get the best results from your braces treatment plan, your friends at Reagin Orthodontics recommend staying away from these candies:

  • Chewy Candy
    • Gummi Worms
    • Sweet Tart Ropes
    • Starbursts
  • Jellybeans
    • Red Vines
    • Licorice
    • Twizzlers
  • Suckers/ Lollipops
    • Ring Pops
    • Tootsie Pops
    • Dum Dums
  • Sour Candy
    • Sour Skittles
    • Trolli Sour Worms
  • Nuts
    • Almond Joy
    • Crunch
    • Peanut M&M’s
  • Hard Candies
    • Lifesavers
    • Jolly Ranchers
    • Werthers Original
    • Lemonheads
    • WarHeads
  • Caramels
  • Laffy Taffy
  • Tootsie Rolls
  • Skittles
  • Peanut M&Ms

Why Are Certain Candies OK To Eat?

Candy is not always a bad thing when you have braces. Soft or low sugar candies offer safe, delicious options for people with braces because they will not cause damage to braces or tooth enamel.

Soft candy like Hershey’s Kisses and Peppermint Patties don’t have any pieces that could fracture off and break brackets or wires. Keeping your brackets in place helps us line your teeth up faster, so soft candy is the way to go to make sure that your treatment goes according to plan.

Candies that are low in sugar will be less likely to cause tooth decay or damage enamel. Eating candy that is low sugar and by brushing regularly will help prevent cavities.

Treat Yourself To These Candies Instead:

These candies are great choices to enjoy this Halloween without risking any damage to your braces or any delays in treatment.

  • ChocolateHershey’s Kisses
    • Dove Chocolate
    • Snow Caps
  • Soft Candy Bars
    • KitKats
    • 3 Musketeers
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Mint Candies
    • Peppermint Patties
    • York Peppermint Patties
  • Soft Sugar Free Gum

When in doubt, ask yourself if eating this candy might get something stuck in your braces or loosen a bracket. If the answer is yes, wait to eat that candy until you’re done with your treatment.

We also recommend that you brush and floss between teeth after eating candy. When you brush, make sure you pay special attention to your gums and the area around your brackets. It can also help to swish water or mouthwash around your mouth to help remove any remaining bits of candy. Water piks are also very helpful with removing plaque and food when you have braces.

Other Desserts You Can Enjoy

If you’d like to enjoy some other desserts for Halloween, you can enjoy most other baked goods and ice creams as long as there are no hard, sticky, or sour parts. Try celebrating this year with:

  • Jell-O
  • Ice Cream
  • Smoothies
  • Soft Cookies
  • Cake
  • Cupcakes
  • Sliced Apples (You won’t be able to bite into any candied or caramel apples, but you can dip small pieces of apples into peanut butter).

If you have any questions about the candies or other foods that you can enjoy with your braces, ask your orthodontist! Our friendly team at Reagin is always happy to help answer any of your questions. You can give our friendly team a call at (843) 871-4411 or email us at with any questions. We hope you have a very happy and healthy Halloween!


5 New Year’s Goals for a Healthier Smile

Did you know that almost 75% of Americans make resolutions—changes they want to make in their lives in the coming year? And 50% of those resolutions are related to health. Unfortunately, most people forget one important aspect of their health: dental care. Listed below are five easy-to-adopt habits that could improve not only your overall dental health, but could also result in a healthier smile.

     1. Follow the 2×2 rule for brushing. This is an easy habit to develop: brush twice a day for two minutes. Brushing your teeth helps remove food and plaque—a bacteria-containing film that forms on your teeth. That plaque produces acids that erode tooth enamel, causing cavities. Unfortunately, 30% of Americans don’t brush frequently enough.

Not only do you need to brush often, but you need to brush for at least two minutes. One study showed that brushing for one minute only removes about 27% of plaque on your teeth.  So that extra minute makes a difference.

     2. Floss at least once a day. If you develop this simple habit, you’ll be doing better than 85% of the population. Your toothbrush can’t reach into tiny areas, like the gum line between your teeth. Flossing removes debris like food and plaque, which helps prevent gum disease. It can help eliminate bad breath as well.

     3. Evaluate your bite.Crowded or crooked teeth don’t just affect your smile. They can cause multiple problems, including your ability to brush and floss thoroughly. This can lead to more severe issues, such as:

  • Periodontal disease
  • Improper chewing
  • Digestive problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Excess wear on the teeth, gums, and jaw
  • Chronic headaches

     4. Cut back on smoking and other tobacco products. You know that tobacco can cause throat, lung, and oral cancer, but those aren’t the only complications. Using tobacco can also cause tooth discoloration, gum recession, periodontitis (gum disease), cavities, and even tooth loss.

     5. Drink more water. Lots of studies have shown the importance of proper hydration for your body to function as it was designed. But drinking water also helps keep your teeth healthy and strong. That’s because any acids in your mouth, even natural ones, can weaken your teeth and cause dental erosion. By drinking water often, you neutralize those acids and hydrate the tissue in your mouth at the same time. Not only that, but when you drink water at meals, you rinse away food particles that could get stuck in tiny crevices.

Here’s one more suggestion: It’s the new year, so it’s a great time to get a new toothbrush! If you’ve had your toothbrush for three months or more, it’s time for a new one, especially if the bristles are frayed.

A quick trip to our office can be the starting point for not only improving your smile but also your overall health. Children as young as seven need an orthodontic check-up. Just call or email us and we can schedule a personalized orthodontic evaluation.  We have two offices in the Summerville area for your convenience.

If you want more tips for a better smile and better dental health, please refer to our website.

What Are Palatal Expanders?

At Reagin Orthodontics, we want you and your family to experience the best in dental care. On occasion, we may suggest that your child wear a palatal expander to help teeth grow into place correctly. Naturally, you have questions about expanders. Below you’ll find the information you’re looking for.

What is a Palatal Expander? 

A palatal expander is a small device inserted into the roof of the mouth (palate) to create more space in the upper jaw when it is smaller than the lower jaw.

An expander works because the palate (roof of the mouth) has two halves that do not fuse (grow together as one) until adulthood. These two halves can be gradually pushed apart, making the jaw wider to allow more space for teeth to grow in properly. Once the jaw is wide enough, the palatal expander holds the bones in their new position while the new bone is formed.

When Is a Palatal Expander Used?

A palatal expander is often used to correct a crossbite. This occurs when the top teeth and bottom teeth do not come together (or bite) in the right position. This can happen in either the front teeth or back teeth. Crossbites are common in both children and adults Because crossbites can lead to other problems (such as damaged teeth), it is important to correct the problem as early as possible. That’s why palatal expanders are most commonly suggested for children,

Here are other common situations requiring intervention:

Overcrowding.Expanders create space for all of the upper teeth to come in and grow into their correct positions without having to extract any teeth.

Breathing. Because the palate and nasal cavity are both part of the maxilla/upper jaw, a narrow upper jaw makes it more difficult to breathe through the nose. This can contribute to mouth-breathing, which can cause bacteria growth, dry mouth, and halitosis. A widened upper jaw can help improve nasal breathing in some patients.

Blocked teeth. When a tooth can’t come in because another tooth is blocking it due to crowding, an expander can provide the necessary room. This happens most with canine teeth or eye teeth.

Better smile. Expanding the upper jaw can create a wider, more pleasant smile, giving children and teens more self-confidence.

Shortened treatment.In some cases, a palatal expander can shorten the amount of time a child will need to wear braces. Every situation is different, so your orthodontist cannot guarantee that braces won’t be necessary.

How Does a Palatal Expander Work?

Every palatal expander is custom-made for each person. It fits over a few top teeth in the back of the mouth and sits in the roof of the mouth. Once in place, it is cemented or bonded to a few upper teeth, which means the expander is not removable. The device has two sides connected in the middle by a tiny jack-screw that is turned once or twice a day using a special key (as directed by your orthodontist). This gentle pressure outward over time causes the two bones of the palate to move apart. Once the palate is the correct width, the expander will remain in place to allow the bone to form at the gap and secure the expansion, typically 3-6 months.

How Long Would I Wear a Palatal Expander?

On average, patients wear a palatal expander between 9 to 12 months, although it varies for each person depending on how much correction is needed. Separating the palate happens relatively quickly, but it takes several months for the new bone to form.

Will a Palatal Expander Prevent Braces? 

Having a palatal expander won’t necessarily alleviate the need for braces. Some people only need braces because of a crossbite or because of overcrowding, and an expander may help fix those problems. However, a child may still need braces to correct other problems that occur.

Does a Palatal Expander Hurt?

A child often feels discomfort or pressure, especially after turning the screw to widen the expander (a millimeter or two at a time). This pain usually goes away with a few minutes, and the discomfort can be controlled with an over-the-counter pain reliever.

In addition to pain or pressure, your child might experience the following:

  • Headache
  • Tongue discomfort
  • Temporary difficulty speaking
  • Temporary difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  • A build-up of food debris between the roof of the mouth and expander
  • Increased saliva

In addition, a gap may form between your child’s front teeth, but this is intentional. The palate is widening to allow space for the permanent teeth to come in normally.

How Do I Take Care of My Palatal Expander?

Your child will need to brush their palatal expander several times a day, including mealtimes if possible. They will need to clear out any debris by squirting the expander with a syringe or water pik.

Because certain foods can loosen or damage, bend, or dislodge a palatal expander, your child will need to avoid hard or crunchy foods (like nuts), sticky foods, and candy. They also need to avoid chewing ice and objects like pencils. If the expander does become loose, you should push it back into place and call our office to make an emergency appointment as soon as possible.

Do Nighttime Aligners Work?

Do Nighttime Aligners Work?

If you’ve watched TV or been online lately, you might have seen an ad for an invisible aligner that you only have to wear at night. No muss, no fuss. Quick results. Sounds great, right? 

Not so fast.

When you read the details, you’ll find that nighttime aligners don’t work for the majority of people. Why not? Because nighttime aligners are meant only for VERY mild spacing or crowding that might take approximately 3-5 aligners total. Otherwise you need traditional braces or Invisalign. Let’s discover why.

Nighttime Aligners: Do They Work?

To understand why nighttime aligners are usually ineffective at tooth movement greater than .5 mm, it’s important to first know how teeth move.  Braces and/or aligners compress the periodontal ligament that surrounds a tooth root. This space is about .25mm per tooth. Next, the compressive action causes bone to resorb on one pressure side of the root and bone to deposit on the opposite side/tension of the tooth. Over time, the teeth gradually realign based on where the force is placed (it’s based on physics). Decades of research with the pressure/tension theory has determined that teeth move the best physiologically with light continuous pressure. 

Further, it takes about 20-22 hours per day of light pressure to resorb and deposit bone, thereby allowing teeth to move. If you only wear aligners at night, you are only compressing the ligament space and not actually changing the bone around the tooth roots. This will not allow any significant tooth movement. I would expect minor movement (.5 mm and less = .25 mm per tooth) with nighttime only wear. With braces or aligners worn 20-22 hours per day, we can straighten crooked teeth, close gaps between teeth, correct overbites and underbites, and much more. 

If braces and aligners only work if you have continual pressure, then how can companies claim that nighttime aligners work? Because they specify that nighttime trays only work with people who have very mild dental spacing or crowding. 

Wearing an invisible aligner only at nighttime to correct your teeth is like having a broken foot and wearing a cast only when you sleep.

You might wear a retainer at night to keep teeth in place after you’ve had your teeth corrected, but retainers aren’t intended to actually shift teeth into a different position. They’re used to make sure your teeth settle in place permanently.  

Nighttime Aligners Lack Peer Reviews

There’s another problem with nighttime aligners: No scientific studies have shown that they are effective. On the other hand, braces and Invisalign have been studied and reviewed by experts, and mounds of research show they work. At our offices, we trust these methods to correct dental problems because they’ve proven effective over time. Your dental care is too important to try any modes of correction that haven’t been evaluated and proven as a viable and safe option. 

Why Cheaper Aligners May Cost You More

Some discount aligners can even make your teeth worse and cost you more in the end. These companies often cut corners and downplay the importance of regular check-ins with an orthodontist. Without periodically checking the progress of your teeth, you don’t know if the trays are working like they are supposed to, and you can’t address any problems along the way. Then, you’ll have to pay to have any mistakes corrected, so those cheaper aligners aren’t such a great bargain. You should always have regular evaluations by your orthodontist when you are wearing braces or Invisalign. 

Nighttime Aligners: Don’t Fall for the Hype

You can’t take shortcuts with dental care and expect good results. There’s no substitute for ongoing, individualized care from an orthodontist who uses proven methods to correct problems with your teeth. 

If you would like a consultation to see if braces or Invisalign would improve your smile, please contact our offices today. We  will explain every step in your orthodontic care. We will explain the payment options and help you find options that will work the best and fastest for your unique situation.