Braces 101: Now in session.

Braces have been around since pharaohs ruled Egypt. Between then and now, braces have come a long way – like light years away from drilling holes in your teeth to weave them together with a metal wire. Eeek! Scary, right? Well, lucky for you, braces today are lighter, stronger, smaller and have a lower profile, meaning they’re more comfortable. In fact, some braces are virtually invisible while others are made from ceramic or even gold.

Here’s how braces work: Metal brackets are placed on your teeth using a special glue. Then, a thin metal wire passes through each bracket, stringing your braces together. Sometimes elastics or other appliances are used in addition to braces to help ensure each tooth moves the right way.

At Smart Smiles, Dr. Witcher will walk you through everything. He’ll talk to you about your smile goals, your lifestyle, and will examine your smile and bite to create a custom treatment plan just for you. Below is a breakdown of all the different types of braces we offer at Smart Smiles.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional Metal Braces are the most common. They’re strong and can withstand most types of treatment – even the most complicated kind.

metal braces

Gold Braces

Similar to traditional metal braces, gold braces work just the same. The main difference: they look more natural on your teeth and add a special kind of “sparkle” to your smile.

gold braces

Clear Braces

With clear brackets people will notice your smile not your braces. Clear braces are a little more tricky than traditional metal braces as you need to be a little more careful about what you drink to ensure you don’t stain them.

clear braces


8 reasons why braces get straight A’s.

Getting braces will transform your self-esteem. Below are 8 reasons why braces are great for more than your looks.

  1. They reposition your teeth to prevent tooth loss and gum disease
  2. They correct overlapping or crooked teeth
  3. They remove spaces and gaps between teeth
  4. They correct overbites, underbites, and crossbites
  5. They prevent front teeth from sticking out
  6. They help you speak and chew better
  7. They improve your oral hygiene habits
  8. They give you lifelong pride in your smile

Keeping your braces & your teeth lookin’ sharp.

Taking care of your teeth while going through treatment is so important! Oral hygiene and home care has to be a priority because with braces, food can get caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach.

This can easily cause bacteria to build up and can lead to gingivitis, gum disease and cavities. Not to mention, breath that could peel the paint of cars. Below are a few tips and tricks to keeping your gums, teeth, and mouth healthy throughout treatment.

Oral Hygiene 101: How to keep your smile healthy.

  1. Always brush after every meal and floss at least every night.
  2. Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.
  3. Drink water with fluoride.
  4. If recommended, use a fluoride rinse.
  5. Avoid sticky and chewy foods (gum, laffy taffy, caramel, gummy worms, sticky snacks).
  6. Avoid hard foods (ice cubes, nuts, jaw breakers or any kind of hard candy).
  7. Avoid foods that get stuck in your braces and are hard to clean (corn on the cob, ribs, soft bagels, dried fruits).
  8. Avoid foods you have to bite into (apples, carrots, peaches).
  9. Avoid food or drinks with a lot of sugar, which can increase cavities.
  10.  When you take your retainers or clear aligners out, make sure to put them in their container so they don’t get lost or broken. Keep them away from animals, as they love to chew them!
  11. Follow your dentist’s recommendations on when to schedule your routine checkups and cleanings.

Ouch. Soreness from braces & other appliances happens.

It’s totally normal to notice your teeth or mouth feel a little sore when you first get your braces or when you get them adjusted. Just remember that this soreness will go away and is all part of the process to create a beautiful smile! To help with any tenderness, we recommend rinsing with warm salt water.

How to make a saltwater rinse: Dissolve about one teaspoon of salt in about eight ounces of warm water. Swish and gargle for a few minutes. Always spit the solution out. Swallowing salt water can make your tummy not feel so good.

If the pain is more severe and is not relieved by rinsing, it’s okay to take a pain reliever. Consult with your primary care doctor to see which pain reliever is best for you.

It’s also completely common for your lips, cheeks, tongue and the soft tissues in your mouth to become irritated for a few weeks as they get used to your new braces and other appliances. For sore spots, we recommend using orthodontic wax.

How to use orthodontic wax: Just take a bit of the orthodontic wax and place it over the bracket or wire that’s causing tenderness. The wax will act as a buffer protecting the bracket and wire as well as the part of your mouth that’s tender.

Loose teeth, loose wires & bands – oh my!

The first thing braces do before they start to really do their job is that they loosen your teeth so that they’re able to move into their proper position. So, if your teeth feel a little loose when you first get braces, don’t stress. It’s totally normal. Once your teeth are looking great and your braces come off, remember to wear your retainer as instructed to allow your teeth time to set in their new spot.

Occasionally, a wire or band may come loose and cause some irritation. If this happens, contact us as soon as possible so that we can repair the appliance. If any piece comes off, bring it to the office with you. If you are unable to get into the office to have it fixed you can temporarily fix the appliance by gently pushing a broken wire back into place. If a loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheek, use orthodontic wax or a wet cotton ball to cover the broken metal and reduce the discomfort.

Keep playing. You’ve got a game to win!

Good news! You CAN still play sports with braces. If you do play sports, we recommend that you wear a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth and your appliance. We offer custom mouthguards here at Smart Smiles for just $79.99, which we will fit & create just for you so that you can put your game face on the SMART & SAFE way! Talk to a team member about getting fit for YOUR custom mouthguard today!

In the event of a sports emergency, check your mouthguard and mouth for any sign of damage. If you notice any loose teeth or damage to the appliance, call our office immediately!

Cool Fact: You can also play instruments with braces, too. So if you play the trumpet, piccolo, trombone, flute, obo – whatever –  keep making music.

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