Initial Examination

We are proud to offer no-cost, no-obligation evaluations in a comfortable and pressure-free environment. When you arrive for your appointment, you will be welcomed by our warm and courteous staff. If you have not already done so, you will be asked to complete a short patient information form. Once your paperwork has been completed, you will be ushered into our patient consultation room where Dr. Fulcher and our experienced treatment coordinator will take a few moments to learn more about you and your concerns and goals when it comes to your smile. Dr. Fulcher will perform a comprehensive examination to determine if orthodontic treatment is needed. During this exam, Dr. Fulcher will carefully evaluate the patient’s jaw, teeth and facial growth to determine the best time to begin orthodontic treatment. A panoramic x-ray and facial photographs will also be taken to assist in determining the best course of treatment for your unique case. Afterward, Dr. Fulcher will discuss his findings with you. This will include a recommended treatment plan, types of appliances available to treat your unique case, and an estimate of how long your treatment will take. He will also answer any questions you may have about your proposed treatment plan. If you or your child are dentally ready to begin treatment at the time of the exam, our treatment coordinator will provide a cost estimate, work with you to determine your orthodontic insurance benefit (if any) and customize a payment plan that fits your needs. If you like, we can also schedule a future appointment to have your appliances placed!
Sometimes Dr. Fulcher determines that it is in the patient’s best interest to allow time for additional growth prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. If the patient is not quite ready for braces, we will schedule a future ‘observation’ appointment to monitor your child as the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to grow. This service is offered free of charge, just like our consultations!

Early Treatment

For some patients, Dr. Fulcher may recommend early or interceptive treatment to guide facial growth and tooth eruption. This can help prevent more serious problems from developing as the child grows and can make completion of treatment at a later age easier and less time consuming. For example, if your child has overlapping or crowding of erupting permanent teeth, there are appliances that help expand the palate while the jaw and face are still growing. This can help possibly avoid the need for extraction of permanent teeth down the road.
 
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends all children be evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. The following warning signs indicate that your child may be a candidate for early treatment:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Thumb or finger-sucking
  • Overlapping or crowding of erupting permanent teeth
  • Jaws that tend to pop or click
  • Developing underbite, overbite, cross bite, protruding front teeth, or other abnormal bite
    development
  • Social Concerns – they are self-conscious about their smile or are being teased

Diagnostic Records

Once you decide to begin treatment, diagnostic records will be taken. These records help confirm Dr. Fulcher’s diagnosis and treatment plan. They also serve as documentation of the position of your teeth, lips and profile when you started treatment – your “before” photos. Typically, records include the following items:

  • Panoramic x-ray – This type of x-ray takes an image of your teeth and jaw region. It helps in identifying any extra teeth, teeth that are being blocked from erupting fully, missing teeth, or any underlying problems with your jaws, jaw joints or tooth roots.
  • Cephalometric x-rays – This type of x-ray captures an image of your entire skull and profile. It is used to identify any potential growth problems and for recording diagnostic measurements.
  • Additional diagnostic photographs – These are pictures taken of your smile, profile, face, teeth and mouth. These pictures are used to document your current status and will help Dr. Fulcher track your progress and see how your smile is changing.

Length of Treatment

Orthodontic care is not “one-size-fits-all” and treatment time will vary from patient to patient. Factors affecting treatment time include the patient’s age, severity of the his or her bite, individual correction needs, and patient cooperation. Every case is unique, but most cases can be completed in approximately 18-24 months. After the braces are removed, all patients are prescribed retainers. You will be instructed to wear your retainers continuously for a few months to set the tissues surrounding the newly straightened teeth. When ready, Dr. Fulcher will instruct you to begin wearing your retainers only at night to protect your investment and make sure your teeth do not shift!

Financial Arrangements

Lowcountry Orthodontics is proud to offer comprehensive personalized orthodontic treatment that fits your budget. You will be pleasantly surprised to find that premium orthodontic care may be more affordable than you think! You can even utilize your Health Savings or Flex Spending Account benefits for care with us!
We are pleased to offer flexible, interest-free payment plans that will fit your family’s individual needs. We also have access to outside finance options that make affording orthodontic care even easier. While we are not “in-network” with any insurance carriers, we accept and file all insurances that offer an orthodontic benefit. Ask about our customized payment plans at your initial consultation and let us show you how easy and cost-effective it can be to make healthy, beautiful smiles a reality for your family!