debunking common myths about adults braces

Most people think of a teenager wearing braces when they hear the word orthodontics, and maybe you do, too. Although many orthodontic patients are indeed teens, treatment can benefit patients of all ages. There’s never a wrong time to improve your smile, even if you’re an adult! More adults than ever before are exploring orthodontics to achieve a straighter smile, with about 1 in every five current patients over the age of 18. 

That number is always on the rise, so if you’ve spent years feeling self-conscious about how your teeth look or function, you’re not alone. This is the perfect time to take a look at how Surf City Smiles Orthodontics can help! We offer a variety of treatment options to correct a wide range of orthodontic issues, including traditional braces. While today’s braces are comfortable, efficient, and affordable, you may still be unsure about them because of what you think you know about braces. 

If you’ve been hesitant to consider traditional braces as a treatment option, keep reading below as we debunk some of the most common myths about braces. We’ll also look at why these orthodontic powerhouses are the most popular orthodontic treatment around, year after year!

Myth #1: Braces are just for kids

You’re never too old to take advantage of the many benefits orthodontics has to offer! As we age, we often begin to understand how our oral health is related to our total body health. Understand the importance of dental health is a great motivator to start taking better care of your teeth and gums, which may include seeking dental care or orthodontic treatment. 

Many adults have crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw positioning, or other issues that they’ve waited years to correct. Others would just like to improve their smile cosmetically. Whatever your reason for seeking treatment as an adult, braces can give you a straighter, more confident!

Myth #2: Braces will make be make you even more self-conscious about your smile

The last thing you want to do is draw attention to your smile if you’re already feeling shy about it. Many people think that’s precisely what will happen if you get braces, but thanks to modern technology, there are multiple treatments available to adult patients. For a complete smile makeover, Surf City Smiles Orthodontics offers the following options:

Traditional metal braces

Metal braces are one of our most popular and efficient treatments. Generally made of high-quality stainless steel, modern metal braces are much more comfortable and lighter than they used to be. They’re also customizable, with a variety of fun colored bands to choose from if you want to show off a little personality with your smile! These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more severe or complicated.

Clear braces

Also known as ceramic or tooth-colored braces, these function the same way metal braces do. However, they provide patients with the additional benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. Both options blend in well with your natural smile.  The brackets are about the same size and shape as metal braces, but much less noticeable. When we pair them with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly subtle way to straighten your smile. Because of these benefits, clear braces are especially attractive to adult patients. 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Invisalign’s system consists of a series of removable plastic trays that fit over the teeth and gently move them into the desired positions over time. These customized aligners are replaced with the next in the series every 1-2 weeks to keep up with your teeth’ movement. Invisalign offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than fixed braces since you can remove the aligners when eating or drinking. It also maintains an oral hygiene routine much simpler since patients brush and floss as they normally would.  

Hidden Braces 

Dr. Carlson is proud to offer INBRACE®, a smart, custom lingual appliance changing orthodontics’ face. INBRACE’s innovative and proprietary technology allows orthodontists to provide hygienic, ultra-esthetic treatment options to patients who don’t feel aligners fit their lifestyle.

Myth #3: Braces will be painful

Fortunately, modern orthodontic treatment can move the teeth far more gently and effectively than it has in the past. Braces, in general, are more comfortable than they’ve ever been. Although you may occasionally experience a little discomfort as outlined below, these minor issues are usually easy to take with a bit of know-how.

Issues like general mouth irritation or tenderness around your gums, which are common when your braces are first put on or adjusted, can be easily solved with orthodontic wax or saltwater rinse. If a specific area if uncomfortable, dry the bracket or wire and place a small amount of wax on it. To relieve pain with a saltwater rinse, simply mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds.

A warm washcloth or a warm heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can also offer you relief. Over-the-counter pain relievers are another useful remedy, just be sure to check with Dr. Carlson first!

Problems with the appliances like the ones mentioned below may need some in-office attention from Dr. Carlson. 

Protruding wires

Occasionally, a wire may come loose and irritate the inside of your mouth. You can fix this with an ordinary pencil by using the eraser end to nudge it back against the teeth until it flattens out. You can also place a piece of orthodontic wax over the wire to reduce irritation and provide extra stability.

Loose brackets

We’ll need to know about loose brackets as soon as possible to help you decide what the next step should be. If you want a placeholder fix, try sliding the bracket back along the wire to the center of the tooth. Place orthodontic wax over the bracket to add some extra stability. 

Debunking common myths about braces for adults

Myth #4: Braces are too expensive

Since orthodontic treatment benefits can last a lifetime, the investment of time and finances is well worth it. Here at Surf City Smiles Orthodontics, you’ll never have to worry about any hidden costs. During your free consultation, we’ll outline everything included in your treatment plan, such as:

  • all appointments, including emergency visits
  • braces or aligners
  • retainers
  • post-treatment follow-up visits

Our treatment fees reflect our skillful technique, the quality of the technology we use, and the world-class service we provide to our patients. We appreciate what a significant investment treatment can be, and our office will work with you to find a payment option to fit your family’s budget! We offer no interest, in-office financing, and accept cash, check, credit cards, debit cards, and automatic monthly payment options. If you have dental insurance that covers orthodontics, we’ll be happy to verify your orthodontic benefits and process your insurance forms for you.

Get the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted with braces by Surf City Smiles Orthodontics

No matter your age, braces can be an excellent option for straightening your teeth and improving your oral health. By choosing an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Carlson, you can be certain you’re receiving only the best treatment for your unique smile! Our expert team will provide you with a rewarding orthodontic experience that’s fun and stress-free from your first appointment to your last! If you’re ready to take the first step towards the smile you’ve always wanted, get in touch with us today to schedule your FREE consultation.


Orthodontic treatment has gone through some major changes in recent years, giving patients more options than ever before when it comes to achieving a healthy, confident smile. Using state-of-the-art technology and innovative techniques, Dr. Chuck Carlson and the team at Surf City Smiles are able to successfully treat a wide range of orthodontic issues, including:

  • crowded teeth
  • gaps between teeth
  • protruding teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • impacted teeth

We’re able to do this using a variety of treatment methods, including multiple types of braces. These are the most common type of orthodontic treatment, and have seen a number of changes to their design, shape, size, and even color! The days of bulky brackets that stand out are long gone—today’s braces are smaller, more aesthetically pleasing, and are able to more efficiently move the teeth. 

If you’ve been considering pursuing braces treatment to improve your oral health, you may be wondering what options are available to you. Your initial appointment with Dr. Carlson will include a thorough orthodontic examination that will help him determine which treatment option is right for you, your unique smile, and your lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at the different types of braces available, how they differ, and how Surf City Smiles can use them to give you a beautiful smile you can’t wait to show off!

A note about traditional braces

Braces are incredibly good at fixing complex tooth issues and can work faster at closing gaps and aligning teeth than other treatments might. This has the potential to shorten your treatment time! Since every case is different, there is no “one size fits all” treatment time with metal braces will. In most cases, however, the average tends to be anywhere from 14-24 months. Signs of improvement are often visible in just a short period of time, which can be very encouraging! 

The maintenance involved with traditional braces can come with a slight learning curve in the beginning, but it gets easier over time. A good dental hygiene routine is essential for oral health, especially during your orthodontic treatment. There are many orthodontic accessories available that have been designed to make cleaning braces easier, such as waterpiks, which help rinse any hard to reach areas, and ortho picks to assist with flossing. 

Some foods must be avoided while you’re wearing braces in order to keep them safe. This includes anything sticky or crunchy since these foods can damage the brackets and wires. Remember this won’t last forever, though, and it will all be worth it once your braces come off and you see your beautiful new smile!

As a patient wearing traditional braces, you can expect follow-up visits with us every eight weeks or so throughout the treatment process. During these appointments, Dr. Carlson will check the progress your teeth are making, change the bands that are attached to the brackets, and replace any wires that may be worn out. These check-ups tend to be pretty quick, and though there may be some slight residual soreness after each adjustment, it should only be temporary. These visits are a very important part of the overall treatment plan and will help to ensure the best results in the least amount of time, so try your best not to miss them. 


Metal braces

Metal braces are one of the most recognizable symbols of orthodontics, and also the most common type of treatment. Thanks to a mix of stainless steel, nickel, and other high-quality metals, the brackets are very durable and long-lasting. 

Modern metal braces are much more comfortable and lightweight than they used to be, and they’re also customizable, thanks to a variety of fun colored bands to choose from! These braces deliver excellent results and are especially useful in cases that are more severe or complex.

Since they don’t require some of the more complex technology or expensive equipment that newer treatments might, metal braces also tend to be a slightly more affordable option. The overall strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness of traditional braces keep them the top treatment for orthodontics, year after year. 

Ceramic braces

Also referred to as clear braces, tooth-colored braces, or esthetic braces, ceramic braces function in much the same way metal braces do. However, they have the added benefit of semi-translucent or tooth-colored ceramic brackets. While ceramic braces are about the same size and shape as metal braces, they’re better able to blend in with a patient’s natural smile for a more subtle straightening option. Although ceramic braces are tough, the material they are made from can be prone to chipping or cracking. Since metal braces can tolerate more pressure than ceramic ones, they may be a better option for those who have severe corrections that need to be made. 

Ceramic brackets are often slightly more costly than metal brackets, as well. Since they can be more expensive and are more prone to breakage, we believe ceramic braces are generally better suited to adults and older teens. That said, ceramic braces can be an excellent option for many patients. When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly discreet and efficient way to straighten smiles! 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

The Invisalign system consists of clear, removable aligners that are customized to fit comfortably over the teeth. Like traditional braces, the aligners gently move the teeth into the desired positions. This is accomplished by wearing them 20-22 hours per day throughout the course of treatment, and replacing them every 1-2 weeks for the next aligner in the system.

Invisalign offers patients a bit more freedom and flexibility than regular braces do. There are no food restrictions since aligners are removed when eating or drinking, and it’s easy to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy since you don’t have to work around wires and brackets. You simply remove the aligner, then brush and floss the way you normally would! 


Braces to work with every smile at Surf City Smiles

No two smiles are the same, and what will work for one patient may not be a good choice for another. That’s why the team at Surf City Smiles creates a personalized treatment plan for every patient! Dr. Carlson has the education, skills, and experience necessary to recommend the course of treatment that’s best for your unique smile. 

If you’re in Huntington Beach, we’d love to meet you and talk more about how braces can give you a confident smile you love! Get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

For many people, the most pressing question they have involving their orthodontic treatment is “how much do braces cost?” We hear this question every day at Surf City Smiles! With a variety of effective treatment options and customized plans for each patient, the answer will depend on several different variables. These include:

  • The type of braces chosen
  • Whether the braces are for an adult or a child
  • The orthodontic issues being corrected
  • How long braces will be needed
  • If the patient has dental insurance that covers orthodontics
  • The orthodontist providing treatment
  • The area in which the patient lives and will be receiving treatment

These are the factors that come into play when we determine the total cost of your braces treatment. For example, traditional metal braces are generally the least expensive option, while clear braces or Invisalign clear aligner therapy may cost slightly more. Orthodontic treatment for children also tends to be a bit less expensive than treatment for adults, although this may vary from case to case. Patients who have more severe or complex orthodontic issues may require longer treatment times, which means more work for the orthodontist and more follow-up appointments. 

In addition to these factors, each orthodontist will have a unique pricing structure based on where they are located. Some dental insurance includes coverage for orthodontic treatment, but the exact amount will depend on the individual patient and the treatment needed. 

What does the total cost of treatment include?

Here at Surf City Smiles, you’ll never encounter any hidden costs or unwelcome surprises! We’ll outline everything that will be a part of the treatment plan put in place by Dr. Carlson before ever beginning the active phase of your orthodontic process. Our customized treatment plans contain everything necessary for beautiful, long-lasting results, including:

  • all appointments, including emergency visits
  • braces or aligners
  • retainers
  • post-treatment follow-up visits
  • an oral hygiene starter pack

Our treatment fees reflect the expertise of our team, the quality of the products we use, and the world-class service we provide. Dr. Chuck Carlson is dedicated to creating healthier smiles in Huntington Beach and the surrounding communities! We understand that braces treatment is a significant investment for our patients, and we’re proud to help them achieve the confident smiles they deserve. 

What is the average cost for braces?

Since every case is unique, there is no “one size fits all” answer as to how much orthodontic treatment will cost. However, the average cost of treatment for a child can be anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, while adult braces or aligners may range from around $5,000 to $8,000. Again the complete cost will depend on the individual patient’s specific needs, along with the factors mentioned above. 

Using dental insurance to cover orthodontic treatment

Many dental insurance policies will include some coverage for orthodontic treatment, but the exact rules and allowances can be confusing. Our team is dedicated to working with insurance companies to help ensure that our patients receive the maximum coverage!

Each patient’s customized treatment plan is developed to meet their unique health needs and the professional judgment of Dr. Carlson. We’ll never recommend a treatment based on whether or not that particular option is covered by insurance. Instead, our patients are presented with a plan that will best address their needs and help meet their goals. 

Once a patient has seen Dr. Carlson for an initial consultation and received a diagnosis and treatment plan, those who have dental insurance should check with their provider to see what they will and will not cover when it comes to your orthodontic treatment. 

As a courtesy to our patients, we’re happy to help with insurance claims and paperwork. Co-payments or out of pocket expenses will be estimated before your treatment begins. Once your treatment is complete and all insurance payments are received, we’ll reconcile the account. You’ll be responsible for any remaining balance at that point.

Patient x-ray

If insurance will not cover treatment, can the cost be deducted?

If braces treatment is considered to be medically necessary, the dental health care costs associated with them may be tax-deductible. However, the cost has to exceed a certain amount before any potential deductions will be applied. You should keep track of all of your expenses related to your braces treatment if you intend to deduct the costs, including co-payments and check-up visits. 

Will Medicaid cover the cost of braces?

Treatment costs may be covered by Medicaid if the patient’s braces are considered to be medically necessary. For those who want to learn more about this possibility, visit It’s important to ask about the percentage of coverage and the lifetime maximum before proceeding with your orthodontic treatment.

Beautiful smiles are worth the investment at Surf City Smiles 

Dr. Carlson believes that braces are about so much more than improving a patient’s cosmetic appearance. Oral health plays an important role in total body health, and misaligned teeth can increase the risk for cavities, tooth decay, pain and soreness in the head and neck, and gum disease, just to name a few. Although orthodontic treatment can be a significant investment, it’s one that will last a lifetime!

A smile is too important to comparison shop based on price alone. While it’s only natural to want a good deal, it’s important to choose an orthodontist based on their skill and experience. You’ll spend a lot of time visiting your orthodontist’s office during your treatment, so pick a practice that feels warm, welcoming, and comfortable! 

At Surf City Smiles, our goal is to provide a positive and stress-free orthodontic experience, from your first appointment to your last. We believe everyone should have access to high-quality, affordable orthodontic care, and we work hard to ensure this for all of our Huntington Beach patients.

To learn more about beautiful smiles to fit every budget, get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Carlson!

kids smiling

Today’s dental technology is far different from what it used to be just a couple of decades ago. As orthodontists or other dental professionals, many of us have seen the evolution of dental equipment and techniques firsthand. Today, these advancements allow us to provide state-of-the-art treatment and better patient experience for everyone who walks into our offices.

Technology used in orthodontic treatment continues to progress at an incredible pace. If we want to continue providing fast, efficient, and effective treatment to our patients, we need to make sure that we stay up-to-date with changes in the field.

Here are five trends that orthodontists and dentists should keep an eye on:

1. 3-D Imaging With CBCT Scanning

Because they provide hazy two-dimensional images, conventional dental X-rays are limited in their ability to view a patient’s dental structure. With cone beam CT scanners (CBCT), however, an orthodontist can view three-dimensional images of a patient’s entire skull, jaw, and oral bone structure.

CBCT scanning provides clear and detailed images that can be manipulated and viewed from any angle. This makes it easier to pinpoint symptoms of dental problems, reach an accurate diagnosis, and customize orthodontic treatment for each patient.

2. Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs)

Temporary anchorage devices (TADs) are surgical-grade titanium miniscrews generally used for oral surgery. Now, orthodontists are also using them to control movement of teeth in the mouth. These devices provide a secure anchor in the jaw bone for molars and other teeth, reducing unwanted movement.

The procedure of placing TADs in a patient’s mouth is easy and painless, because it only requires a small amount of topical anesthetic applied to the gingiva. They can be removed after orthodontic treatment is complete.

3. Self-Ligating, Clear, and Invisible Braces

The conventional twin brackets and elastic ligatures used in traditional braces rely on heavy force to move a patient’s teeth into place, causing pain and discomfort in addition to being an aesthetic nightmare. Modern orthodontic solutions are far more effective, efficient, and discreet.

With self-ligating systems, teeth can be straightened without elastic bands, while clear ceramic braces and aligners such as Invisalign are barely noticeable. Even traditional metal braces have become more sleek and comfortable than they used to be.

4. Customized Smile Design Systems

Today, an orthodontist or dentist can use 3-D planning software to create a custom smile for each patient, using their facial and dental features as a guide. This technology also makes it possible for individuals to see the final results of what their smile will look like after orthodontic treatment.

Using 3-D planning software and impressions of each individual’s teeth, we can create three-dimensional models of their dental structure. Wires and brackets can also be customized based on each patient’s specific needs.

5. Faster Orthodontic Treatment with PROPEL

While many of the changes in orthodontics have helped make procedures more comfortable and efficient, they don’t always help with shortening treatment time. No one wants to wear braces or aligners for months, and PROPEL can help us make sure they don’t need to.

This non-invasive orthodontic technology is designed to speed up treatment, without affecting patient safety or comfort. It works by stimulating the bone structure around teeth, helping them shift into their ideal position more quickly and easily.

There are numerous areas where technology has helped us move forward, but its effect on the world of medicine is the most important. In orthodontics, modern procedures and equipment are critical for patient comfort, safety, and satisfaction, so make sure you’ve invested in nothing but the best!

Schedule a consultation with Chuck today