Winning Orthodontic Smiles: Bracing for the Future
Author: Michael Paskevich
Dr. Travis Fiegle wore headgear, an expander, and braces as a kid growing up in Georgia. The experience had a very positive impact on his life and led him to a fitting career in Bluffton, fashioning alluring smiles for others…without the use of headgear he promises.
“The reason I became an orthodontist is because of my own experience wearing braces,” Dr. Fiegle said. “I was insecure about my teeth, I didn’t like to smile and I think that led to me being kind of an introverted kid. You’re forming your self-image at that time, and my orthodontist made such great changes in my life.
“It gave me so much more confidence,” he added, “so when I was looking for a career it was something I remembered.”
Fiegle graduated from the Medical College of Georgia and has gone on to become Beaufort County’s only practitioner certified by the American Board of Orthodontics and found a welcome mentor and business partner in Dr. A.G.
“Skeet” Burris, who has practiced in the Lowcountry for three decades. Soon after meeting, the two discovered a shared philosophy about providing exceptional care, community involvement, and helping others. This led the two men to open a branch of Winning Orthodontic Smiles in Bluffton in June (the original same-named practice continues in Beaufort) as they continue to dedicate themselves to their mutual goals.
“We’re here all the time and really believe in being a part of the community,” said Fiegle, who lives in Old Town Bluffton and participates in local fundraisers and neighborhood events in his spare time.
Their belief in helping the less fortunate includes participation in the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation, founded by Dr. Burris and his son, Dr. Ben Burris, in 2008. The non-profit foundation has grown to more than 150 chapters across the country and has awarded more than $25 million in orthodontic scholarships to needy children. Through the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation, Dr. Burris and Dr. Fiegle award 12 annual orthodontic scholarships to needy children in Beaufort, Hampton, and Jasper counties. In addition to the twelve scholarships provided annually the practice provides options to make braces affordable for every family.
“We don’t ever want a child to not have treatment,” said Fiegle, “so we offer free consultations and no-interest payment plans. Our philosophy is: let’s figure out how we can do this.”
Their new office in Bluffton’s Berkeley Place shopping plaza serves patients ranging in age from six to 70, catering to all in a modern environment that includes floor-to-ceiling windows in the treatment area and a video game nook in the waiting room to entertain the younger set. “We want everyone to be calm and also to have some fun,” Fiegle said.
Advances in orthodontics have diminished the days when patients had to endure mouths packed with metal. New options include transparent braces that are almost invisible and clear trays that straighten your teeth. Winning Orthodontic Smiles is also the only practice in the area that allows kids to customize their smiles with braces featuring footballs, hearts and stars in place of traditional clamps.
Dr. Fiegle recommends that parents schedule a complimentary exam for children starting at seven years old to check for dental problems and jaw growth discrepancies that can lead to the need for jaw surgery and/or extractions if left undetected. “What we do involves art and science, which is a unique combination,” he said. “You have to be aware of the science of how the teeth move and the face develops, but you also have to have an artistic eye. You have to create this beautiful portrait where the smile looks great and goes perfectly with the patient’s face.”
The Bluffton location of Winning Orthodontic Smiles is located at 102 Buckwalter Parkway, Suite 3J, in the Outback/Cinmeark Shopping Plaza. Open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Thur., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Fri. For more information or to schedule a complimentary exam, call (843) 836-3010 or visit online at winningorthodonticsmiles.com.