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. 

 

Bites That Can Lead to Chipped Teeth

Bites That Can Lead to Chipped Teeth

Imagine chewing on food when you hear a strange sound inside your mouth, like something breaking off. What just happened? You chipped a tooth. How did that happen?

The cause might be your bite.

Having an incorrect bite can affect how you speak, eat, swallow, and sleep. The good news is that you can fix both chipped teeth and a bad bite. We will explain how.

What is a Incorrect or “Bad” Bite?

Your orthodontist might use the term malocclusion, which literally means “bad bite” in Latin. It’s an overarching term for several different kinds of bad bites (the way the top teeth and bottom teeth come together). And those bad bites can cause chipped teeth, among other problems.

Here are common bad bites that lead to chipped teeth:

 1. Protrusive incisors. You’ve probably heard this called an “overbite in lay terms.” This occurs when the upper teeth extend too far forward (protrude) or in front of the lower teeth (see Photos 1-3). Technically this is called overjet…but we will use “overbite” for the article. An “overbite” can be caused by a number of different things: thumb sucking; nail biting; lip biting; misaligned jaws, or even heredity. Protrusive teeth in children can lead to teasing or bullying. It can also compromise a person’s ability to chew correctly. Having protrusive teeth can make them more prone to trauma/being chipped during a fall.

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3

 

 

 

 

2. Prognathism. This is also known as an “underbite.” It is the opposite of an “overbite”, when the lower teeth extend too far forward in front of the upper teeth. The teeth do not interdigitate properly and this can cause excessive wear and chipping of the enamel (See Photo 4.)

 

 

 

 

3. Retrusive incisors. This occurs when the teeth slant inward at an angle. Common causes are when the teeth erupt at an angle, crowded teeth, accidents, tooth extractions, or tooth disorders. As with other malocclusions, retrusive teeth can affect chewing. (See Photos 5-7.). Having retrusive incisors does not allow the proper range of motion for your lower jaw.   As your lower jaw closes, often the lower front teeth can traumatically collide with your upper teeth causing chips, breaks and fractures of the upper or lower front teeth.     

Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7

 

 

 

 

4. Edge-to-edge bites. This occurs when the biting edges of the upper front teeth bite directly onto the lower front teeth. This can interfere with chewing, particularly with the incisors. (See Photo 8) and lead to chips in the front teeth.

How Do I Fix a Chipped Tooth?

The sooner you fix your chipped tooth, the better. If the chip extends to the interior nerves, you could experience pain when chewing or drinking cold or hot drinks. A chipped tooth, when severe, can allow bacteria to infect the pulp of the tooth, which would then necessitate a root canal.

Most of the time, a chipped tooth can be fixed in two ways: dental fillings and dental bonding. Both of these can be done fairly quickly by your dentist. However, if you do not address the bite that is leading to the chipped teeth, then you will just break them again.

How Do I Fix My Bad Bite?

An orthodontist can correct a malocclusion in a number of different ways. The treatment will be determined by the severity of the problem. Here are the steps to correcting a bad bite.

Step 1: Diagnosis. Before an orthodontist can create a treatment plan, they need to know the source of the problem. When you come into our office, we will take a series of photos and x-rays that will show the placement of the teeth and the position of the jaws in relationship to each other.

Step 2: Treatment Planning. We will suggest a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique situation. Some options will include:

    • Braces. This is the most common option for treating a bad bite in both children and adults. They consist of brackets and wires and other materials that put pressure on the teeth to move them into correct alignment.
    • Invisalign. These are like plastic invisible braces. They are an alternative to braces and utilizes trays that fit over your teeth and slowly move them into correct alignment. We will take a 3D scan of your teeth and will create the trays from the scan. You change the trays weekly and visit our office approximately every 12 weeks for in person checkups. Once you have started treatment we even do virtual checkups to save you time.
    • Palate Expansion. Palate is another name for the roof of the mouth. This procedure is usually used to treat kids and teens when the upper jaw is too small to accommodate incoming adult teeth. An expander is attached to the upper molars and gradually widens the palate, so the adult teeth have room to grow in properly.
    • Surgery. This is the most intrusive option and is reserved for severe malocclusions and is done only after jaw growth is complete. Surgery takes place about one or two years after wearing braces to put the teeth in the proper alignment within each jaw.

Step 3: Overview of Cost. We work hard to make orthodontic treatment affordable. We have payment plans to suit different budgets. Of course, we accept most insurance plans, and we will file the paperwork with your insurance company. And if you pay the full amount of treatment upfront, we offer a discount.

If you are ready to achieve a correct bite you can schedule a consultation by calling 843-871-4411 or request an appointment online via our contact form.

Three Reasons Braces Are Better Than Invisalign for Busy Moms

Three Reasons Braces Are Better Than Invisalign for Busy Moms

As a mom, you’re the chef, chauffer, tutor, and nurse all rolled into one. But you’re also a woman who needs to take care of herself, even when it comes to your teeth. And braces may be a necessity, since crooked teeth can cause TMJ, interfere with proper cleaning, increase tooth decay, and increase the risk of breaking a tooth. You don’t need to add these problems to your already-full plate!

You have a choice between braces and Invisalign, but which would be the best option for a busy mom? While it is your choice, Reagin Orthodontics recommends braces for moms with young kids. Here are three reasons why.

  • Braces require less mental energy. With Invisalign trays, you have to remember to take them out and put them back in. Our moms tell us they like braces because once the braces are on, they don’t have yet another thing to keep track of. You can get them and forget about them, so to speak.
  • Braces don’t get changed out every week. Aligners are created to be worn a week or two at a time. Then you get a new set to wear. But who can keep up with which set of trays you’re on? You’re busy keeping track of schedules, pacifiers, meals, and a million other things. With braces, you don’t have the constant change!
  • Braces don’t get lost. They don’t get turned into an art project for school or a chew toy for the dog. Keeping up with a home full of small kids means one thing—chaos. You don’t have to worry about losing braces or finding them in the toilet. And with braces, you don’t have to say, “Don’t Touch!” a thousand times a day.

Are Braces Safe for Nursing Moms?

One question we often get is whether braces will affect milk production or introduce metals into breast milk. You don’t have to worry. Braces contain no chemicals that have an effect on milk production. They’re completely safe for you—and your little one.

Do Many Moms Get Braces?

You may think that adults don’t wear braces, but that’s not true. Today, one in four orthodontic patients is an adult. That means 25% of the moms in your play group probably has braces already! You won’t look weird. In fact, you’re setting a great example for your kids by taking care of yourself.

How Do I Get Braces?

Getting braces is easy—and it doesn’t take as much time as you think. First, schedule a free consultation at one of our locations, whichever is the most convenient for you. We will do an initial exam and let you know what we recommend. Then, you can work with our staff to find a time to place your braces. Once that’s done, you’ll have adjustments done every 8-12 weeks. We even offer virtual appointments for those times when you can’t get away for a visit.

Even busy moms need to take care of their teeth. Call or email us today to set up an appointment.

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

Taking Care of Braces and Invisalign at School

When you’re at home, taking care of your braces or Invisalign tray is easy because it’s a part of your everyday routine. But how do you keep up those good habits when you spend all day at school?

The good news is taking care of your braces or Invisalign at school doesn’t have to disrupt your normal routine. Just follow the tips from Reagin Orthodontics for your dental care at school and you’ll get an A from your orthodontist!

What to Do at School If You Have Braces

  • Keep a care kit in your locker. You can use a pencil case or cosmetic bag to store items you might need to care for your braces or Invisalign tray at school. Here are the essentials to include:
  • Toothbrush and paste. Both of these items can be travel-sized so they don’t take up as much room. You can stop by your locker after lunch and grab these for a quick cleaning.
  • Dental floss, threaders, and picks. You don’t want to walk into math class with food stuck in your teeth or braces after lunch. These items are essential for getting to those hard-to-reach spots between and behind your braces.
  • Small mirror. You can take a quick look between classes or after a snack to make sure nothing got lodged in your teeth or braces.
  • Orthodontic wax. This can ease any discomfort if your parts of your braces irritate your lips, gums, or the lining of your cheeks. Use a piece of the wax to create a barrier between the braces and that sensitive skin inside your mouth.
  • Braces-friendly snacks. Chances are, you’ll get the munchies at school. But some items in the vending machine will hurt your braces, so keep some soft foods on hand in case you get hungry or have after-school activities.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only does this help you stay hydrated (which is important), but it also helps removes food particles from your teeth. Water also rinses away any sugar, bacteria, acid, or other items that could harm your mouth.
  • Build in time to brush after lunch. Brushing at lunch can significantly lower the chances of tooth decay and cavities, so don’t skip this step. If you know your next class is across campus, just grab your care kit, take it to lunch with you, and stop by a bathroom that’s on the route to the class you’ll be going to.
  • Keep our phone number nearby. Sometimes emergencies happen. Brackets come loose and wires can become uncomfortable. You can call our office any time and we can schedule a time for you to visit one of our offices.
  • Get a mouth guard for sports. Even if you’re just a part of gym class, you can get popped in the mouth. Not only can it be painful, but the hardware in your mouth can cause cuts and damage to the inside of your mouth. And if you play a sport, a mouth guard is a no-brainer. Many athletes lose teeth because they don’t protect them.
  • Carry lip balm. When you have braces or Invisaligners, your lips can become dry. The solution is simple: keep some lip balm on hand. Stash it in your locker or backpack for easy access. (Just don’t leave it out in the heat. It could melt!)   

What to Do at School If You Have Invisalign

If you wear an Invisalign tray, you’ll need to follow the same instructions as someone with braces. However, there are some differences in caring for them at school. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep a care kit in your locker.  You’ll need to brush your teeth after lunch just as if you had braces. Your aligners can get stained over time if you’re not careful. Putting aligners back in your mouth without brushing your teeth can also increase the likelihood of cavities.

In addition to the items listed above, here are other items you’ll need to include:

  • Your case. If you need to take your aligners out (or even your retainer), your case will protect them and help keep them from getting tossed in the trash at lunch or lost during gym.
  • Your “outie” removal tool.  Sometimes, your Invisalign tray can be tight, especially when you switch to a new set. If this happens at school, you can use your removal tool to remove your aligner.
  • “Chewies.” When you first get a new set of trays, they can feel “off” as your teeth get used to them. We can give you some “chewies” (basically small rolls of gauze) for you to bite down on during the first few days. This will help them fit better and give you better overall comfort.
  • Brush after lunch. We’ve already emphasized how important this is. Don’t get lazy about it!
  • Take out your tray for contact sports. Your Invisaligners will fit your teeth closely, so you don’t have to worry about them falling out during non-contact activities. But if you are a wrestler, hockey player, or similar high-contact sports, you’ll want to take out your tray and put it in its case for safe keeping.
  • Hold onto your old trays. Once you’ve moved on to a different set of trays, keep the old ones. If you do happen to lose your current aligner, you can use an old one while we get a new set made and mailed to you. Wearing the old set keeps your teeth from shifting back into old positions.

Caring for your braces or Invisaligners at school doesn’t have to be a hassle. Just follow our tips and call us anytime if you have questions or problems.

Have a great school year!

What to Do When You Get Braces—3 Important Steps

What to Do When You Get Braces—3 Important Steps

Getting braces from Reagin Orthodontics is an important step in your dental care, but what you do when you get those braces is just as important as the braces themselves. So, what steps should you take after you get braces? Here are three easy-to-follow steps: 1.) manage your discomfort; 2.) be careful about the foods you eat; and 3.) take care of your braces. Let’s talk more about those steps.

How to Manage Pain When You Get Braces

One common issue with braces is the discomfort. While you will experience some soreness and biting pressure when you first get your braces, it will fade with time—usually within three to five days. Fortunately, you can do several things to ease the soreness:

  • Chew soft sugar-free gum. Yes, gum! Research has shown that chewing gum for five minutes after you get braces can reduce pain associated with orthodontic treatment. Continue every four to eight hours for a week to relieve discomfort. Just make sure you use soft sugar-free gum that doesn’t stick to your braces!
  • Salt-water rinses for your cheeks and gums. Mix ¼ teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of lukewarm water and rinse when you experience soft tissue discomfort in your mouth. It can help reduce inflammation. As a bonus, it also helps remove leftover food stuck in your teeth and braces.
  • Eat soft food. When you first get your braces, you’ll want to avoid hard-to-bite foods. Stick to soft items like fish, pasta, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, soups, scrambled eggs, and shakes. And cold foods like apple sauce and ice cream help your mouth feel better, too.
  • Take medicine. You can use over-the-counter pain relief like Ibuprofen if you experience discomfort after getting or adjusting your braces. You can also use a topical numbing gel like Anbesol or Orajel for soft tissue irritations.

Foods to Avoid When You Get Braces

The good news is, you’ll be able to eat most of the same foods you enjoyed before you got braces. However, you’ll need to stay away from a few things because they’ll damage the components of your braces. They can cause wires or bands to snap—and that means more time in treatment. We know you don’t want that! Here are some of the foods you’ll need to avoid when you get braces:

  • Very Chewy foods: big bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, hard chips
  • Sticky foods: caramels, bubble gum
  • Hard foods: nuts, hard candy
  • Foods you bite into: corn on the cob, raw apples, raw carrots

You can still eat foods like apples and carrots. Just cut them into smaller pieces so you can pop them in your mouth instead of biting into them.

Foods aren’t the only thing to avoid chewing when you get braces. You’ll also need to stop habits like biting pencils, pens, and fingernails. If you stay away from all of these things, you’ll be able to get your braces off as soon as possible, and we know you want that!

How to Take Care of Your Braces

Braces may look indestructible, but they’re not. They require care and maintenance. Here are a few tips on caring for both your teeth and your braces.

  • Brush after every meal. Even when you have snacks. That’s because those braces have a gazillion tiny places where food can get trapped—and that causes plaque buildup. Not good. Be sure to rinse with mouthwash and floss once a day. These basics can ensure you don’t spend more time in the dentist’s office than necessary.
  • Invest in a waterpik. This helpful tool can remove food from hard to reach areas, and aid in keeping plaque off of your teeth. You can pick one up at any pharmacy or online.
  • Floss carefully. Too much force can damage your braces, so be gentle. You might even try using a floss threader or braces floss sticks. We will show you how to floss with braces, so don’t worry—you’ll be a pro!
  • Eat with a fork and knife. Especially with finger foods like burgers and pizza. Biting into food (rather than placing a bite inside your mouth) pushes the food up behind and between your braces, and it can get stuck there—again, causing plaque.
  • Fall in love with chocolate. When you need a little sugar pick-me-up, avoid candy that sticks to your braces, such as hard candies and sugary gum. Chocolate is softer and melts in your mouth. Who knew you’d have a good excuse to eat chocolate? But don’t go overboard. The bacteria in plaque loves sugar.

Life with braces will take some adjustment—no pun intended! The team at our offices will walk you through what to do when you get braces so you can feel confident in taking the steps to make the process easier. We want you to experience the benefits and minimize the drawbacks of this orthodontic care. Call us today to talk more about your braces or your overall dental care. Or if you’re interested in getting braces, be sure to contact us for a free consultation.

Best Sports Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

Best Sports Mouthguards: What You Need to Know

You want to take care of your teeth. That’s why you brush, floss, and see your dentist for regular check-ups. You also know it’s important to protect them when you play contact sports, but you may not know the best sports mouthguards to use or how to purchase them. That’s where we come in. We’ll help you understand your options for buying a mouthguard for playing the sport you love.

Kinds of Sports Mouthguards

You’ve seen players using sports mouthguard on the TV, but what kinds of mouthguards are those athletes using? And which one is the best mouthguard to use? If you play sports for teams like Summerville High School, Cane Bay Middle School and High School or other local teams knowing your options is important, and so is choosing the best for you. Here are the three basic types:

  •  Stock Mouthguards. These are the most commonly used type of mouthguard, and they’re the least expensive, too. You can find them at most retail sporting goods stores. However, research from the American Dental Association has shown that stock mouthguards are the least effective sports mouthguards. That’s because they’re pre-formed so you can’t adjust them to your mouth’s nature bite.
  • Mouth Formed Mouthguards. This is also called the “boil-and-bite” mouthguards. These mouthguards soften when placed in boiling water before being inserted into the mouth. The heat from the water softens the mouthguard so it molds to the user’s mouth. These are also available at sporting goods stores.
  • Custom Mouthguards. As the name suggests, these kinds of sports mouthguards are made by dentists and orthodontists to fit the user’s mouth. They cost more than the other two kinds of mouthguards, but they are much more comfortable and provide better protection against injuries. Prices are typically 150-200 depending on customization options.

No matter what kind of sports mouthguard you choose, make sure you or your child wear them. Although parents know their value and importance, 67% of them admitted that their children do not wear a mouthguard during organized sports. That’s because the mouthguards are not required.

How Custom Sports Mouthguards Are Made

When you opt for a custom mouthguard, the process of having one made is quick and easy. First, you’ll need to make an appointment with our office. During your visit, our staff will use a digital scanner to create a 3d image of your mouth. Next we 3D print a model of your teeth. Finally a mouthguard will be created with superheated thick plastic. If your child is using a custom mouthguard, they will need a new one every few years as they grow and mature.

Why You Need a Sports Mouthguard

The American Association of Orthodontists reported that athletes who don’t wear mouthguards are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth than those who wear one. But that’s not the only reason to wear a mouthguard. They can also help prevent injury to your jaw and mouth. Even the most expensive mouthguards cost significantly less than repairing an injury.

Getting the best sports mouthguard is an important decision, and we’d like to help. Contact our offices and we will schedule an appointment for you to discuss your options. Your dental health is too important to ignore.

Can I Use My HSA to Pay for Dental Needs?

Can I Use My HSA to Pay for Dental Needs?

You want to take care of your teeth, but you also want to make your money stretch as far as possible. That’s why we offer payment plans to suit different budgets. But did you know you can also use your HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flexible spending account) to pay for your dental needs—including braces?

Not sure how it works? Don’t worry. We’ve got all the information you need to help you use your HSA or FSA for your family’s dental needs.

HSAs, FSAs, and Orthodontics:

If you’re not familiar with an HSA or FSA, these are savings plans available to people who enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). You can’t use an FSA with other health plans, and you sign up for the HDHP with your employer during open enrollment, so check with your benefits administrator to see what your options are. If you go the HDHP route, the contributions you make to the HSA are taken out of your paycheck before taxes, which means you’ll pay less in taxes on that money. Then when you need the money, you can use it for approved medical expenses. And it most cases, that means dental work, including braces.

How to Use an FSA for Braces and Other Dental Needs:

Once you’ve set up your FSA or HSA and have start putting money away each month, here are three steps to make those dollars pay for your dental work:

Come in for a consultation. Just set up a time to visit and talk about your concerns. We can even do an initial consultation online, so that’s an option if you’re super busy or if you’re unable to come into the office.

Once we’ve done an evaluation of your dental needs, whether braces, crowns, root canals, or other procedures, we will give you a quote of the total cost of the orthodontic portion of treatment. We will also give you a length of time you will have to pay for the treatment. With braces, including Invisalign, you can make monthly payments, and we even have a payment calculator online to help you figure that amount.

Choose your payment approach. When you sign up for an HSA, you’ll probably receive a debit card (or paper checks in a small number of health plans). You can use the debit card or checks to pay for your dental needs each month. Some HSA accounts allow you to pay for medical and dental bills online, so that’s an option as well.

If you haven’t saved enough money in your HSA or FSA, you can designate part of that money for your dental needs and pay the rest of the cost out of pocket. The good news is that you can use health savings contributions from year to year to pay the balance. As long as you keep money in the account, you can keep making payments, as long as it’s in the same calendar year as the treatment.

One more thing: If you have money in your FSA or HSA to pay for braces upfront at the beginning of treatment, we offer a discounts on treatment paid in full. So keep that in mind, too!

Keep track of paperwork. The IRS is a stickler on following its rules, so make sure you keep a copy of all the paperwork associated with any dental work done using an HSA or FSA. This is super important in case you get audited.

Also keep track of paperwork regarding our agreement for payment. That way, there’s no question about how much your paying and why.

Using FSAs and HSAs for Adult Dental Needs:

One question we get asked often is whether you can use an FSA or HSA for your own dental needs or if it only applies to kids. If your braces or other dental work is considered necessary for your health and well-being, usually it is in some component, you can use the savings account for your braces as well as your kids. On the other hand, cosmetic dental procedures like teeth whitening or veneers are not covered.

We know your dental needs are important, and we want to help you maximize your HSA and FSA dollars. Give us a call today or go online and sign up for a virtual consultation. You can be on your way to a better smile in no time!

What’s a Virtual Orthodontic Consultation?

You have wanted to get to an orthodontist to see if aligners or braces would be a good option for you, but you just don’t have the time. We’ve solved that problem for you with our virtual consultations. Here’s a quick rundown of the process.

  1. Give us some basic information. We need to know a few details. We’ll ask you:
    • Is the consultation for you or a family member? You may be asking about a child or a dependent, so we need to know how to tailor our responses to best fit your needs.
    • Why are you thinking about straightening your teeth? People give us lots of reasons. They may want more confidence, a better bite or a dentist may have recommended it. You may just be curious how much it would cost. We get it!
    • What is your smile like? Most smiles fall into four categories: crowded, spaced, protruding, or bite (overbite, underbite, open-bite).
    • What type of treatment are you interested in? In our office, we offer clear aligners, advanced metal braces, and clear braces.
  2. Send us some pictures. We need to see your pearly whites! We’ll explain how to take pictures of:
    • your molars (side of your mouth)
    • upper teeth (called the upper arch)
    • bottom teeth (called the lower arch)
    • bite (front teeth—overbite or underbite)
  3. We get back to you via email! Once you send us the information and photos, our team will assess your needs and give you our recommendation for treatment.
  4. Come to the office. Once you have the consultation and our recommendation, you can decide which approach you’d like to take. If you’d like to move forward, we will schedule an appointment in our office for a full evaluation. We will take x-rays and do an exam to make sure we tailor the treatment for your specific dental needs. You will likely have the option of starting treatment the same day as well.
  5. Get started! Our pricing and in office financing can be customized so that a new smile won’t leave you with a frown on your face. We want you to experience the self-confidence and better health that orthodontics can provide.

Sending us your information takes less than five minutes. In less time than it takes to get coffee, you can begin the process toward a great smile you’ll be proud of!

There’s nothing holding you back, so get your virtual orthodontic consult today!