Dr. Heather Hopkins : Smiles Forever Orthodontics : Orthodontist Charleston : Braces Charleston : Invisalign Charleston

Dr. Paul Blackman

(843) 577-7477

About Braces

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the area of dentistry concerned with the supervision, guidance and correction of the dentofacial structures. Orthodontic treatment uses braces, retainers and other appliances to correct any dentofacial abnormalities. Regular dental check-ups and orthodontic treatment are proven to be effective tools in helping establish and maintain good oral health for people of all ages.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specially trained dentist who has attended an advanced education program for a continual training period of two to three years. All members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) have received the appropriate training.

When should I visit the orthodontist?

Orthodontic treatment can be beneficial to patients of any age, including adults! An increasing number of adults are seeking treatment due to advances in technology and treatment efficiency. It’s never too late for orthodontic treatment; in fact, treatment later in life can be beneficial to self-esteem and appearance. Malaligned teeth can lead to gum/bone loss and are more difficult to clean around, often leading to decay and abnormal wear.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occur no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary; however, regular growth monitoring can prevent future problems and allows for the most ideal timing of treatment. Beginning treatment at the ideal time helps achieve the greatest result, in the shortest amount of time with the least expense.

What can I expect on my first visit?

You initial visit to the orthodontist will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor and our knowledgeable team who will answer any questions you may have. At this appointment, a thorough examination will be completed by Dr. Blackman and diagnostic records taken. This will allow us to determine if treatment is recommended. If treatment is required, Dr. Blackman will review an individualized treatment plan and address any concerns you may have. Treatment financing and flexible payment options will also be reviewed. In most cases, our patients are given the option to start treatment the same day as the initial examination leading to less time away from work or school!

Who should wear braces?

Braces may be worn by both children and adults, not only to improve the attractiveness of their smile, but also because braces correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Left untreated, crooked teeth with irregular spacing make cleaning harder and allow cavities to more easily develop. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food, and eliminate the headaches and pain caused by uneven chewing. Uneven teeth may result in weak enamel, gum problems and jaw misalignment.

What will my braces look like?

Braces are lighter, more comfortable and more technologically advanced today than ever before. They come in clear and a variety of color and material choices. Ask the office team about what options are available. Other appliances include colorful bands, elastics and retainers.

How will braces straighten my teeth?

Braces exert a gentle pressure on teeth over time to straighten them. The two main components include the braces placed on the teeth and the arch wire that connects them. The brace is a specially-shaped metal or ceramic affixed to each tooth and the arch wire is bent to reflect the bite that the patient should have after treatment. The wire threads through the braces. As the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move the teeth.

Are braces uncomfortable?

There have been some fantastic advances in modern orthodontics to make treatment more comfortable and quicker for patients. There are now smaller, smoother braces and gentler wires which provide a continuous small force over a long period of time rather than a strong force for only a short period.

Will braces affect playing sports?

You should be able to play just about any sport. However, it is recommended that you wear a mouth guard while participating in certain sports.

Why are retainers so important?

Retainers help keep your teeth straight at the completion of treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, your teeth will move.

How long will my orthodontic treatment last?

Treatment may last from 18 to 30 months, though this will vary depending on your individual case. Your cooperation in keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper oral hygiene and taking care of your braces may allow you to finish your orthodontic treatment early.

When should I visit the dentist?

You should continue to see your dentist every six months or as directed by your dentist during orthodontic treatment for routine dental check ups and cleanings.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the orthodontic problem, the age of the patient and the estimated length of treatment. Since each patient is different, a visit to the office for a complimentary examination will allow you to get a better idea of the fee. We offer a variety of payment options with low down payments, 0% interest, and affordable monthly payments.

How does orthodontic insurance work?

Please provide us with your insurance information at your first appointment. We accept and file most insurance.