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Thanksgiving Foods to Avoid with Braces

As the holidays roll around, it can be very tempting to eat at our hearts content. Next Level Orthodontics is here to guide our patients through the holidays to avoid broken brackets and delayed treatment! Dr. Ashley Smith wants everyone to enjoy their Thanksgiving feast, but he also wants to make sure we can get our patients finished with their treatment as soon as possible, so they can enjoy their next Thanksgiving without braces! Next Level Orthodontics has come up with a list of some foods to be cautious of during your Thanksgiving dinner! 


-Crunchy Raw Fruits and Vegetables: Raw vegetables are typically crunchy enough to break off brackets, this can include raw carrots, apples, or celery if you are biting straight into them. Although Dr. Ashley Smith and the Next Level Orthodontics team highly encourage to eat fruits and vegetables, it is important to be mindful of how you eat your fruits and vegetables. Making sure that you cut up the fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces and chew with your back molars to avoid any breakage. 

-Popcorn: The soft popcorn that doesn’t have the hard kernels is okay as the kernels are the truly hazardous part of the popcorn that could potentially break brackets. 

-Hard Chips: Hard chips such as tortilla chips, Fritos, Cheetos, and Takis are the harder chips you’ll find at the HEB or Walmart, so these should be avoided as they are more likely to break brackets and could even delay your treatment. 

-Nuts: Nuts are a big item to avoid during treatment as they are so hard they can easily break brackets. 

-Turkey or Ham off the bone: Don’t worry, you can still eat turkey and ham, just make sure it’s not directly off the bone!

-Caramel Apples: As delicious as they are, both the caramel and the apple can be very dangerous for your orthodontic treatment. The caramel is very sticky and hard, and the apple can be too crunchy for your brackets to stay on. 

-Corn on the cob: Again, you are more than welcome to eat corn, just make sure you are not eating it off of the cob! Eating corn off the cob, for the same reason that you shouldn’t eat turkey off the bone, can easily break your brackets.


Schedule you FREE consultation with Dr. Ashley Smith and the Next Level Orthodontics team, today! Click here to pick a day and time that work best for you! 

Orthodontist Approved Candy for Halloween

It can be hard to tell which candies to avoid on your first Halloween with braces. Don’t worry, Next Level Orthodontics has made a list of Orthodontist Approved candy for this Halloween! We know the excitement of opening up your goodie bag after your full night’s hard work, but it’s very important to be mindful of what you eat, as it can potentially delay your orthodontic treatment. As much as we’d love for our patients to stay with us forever, we want to get you brace-free as soon as possible too!


There is a reason you should avoid certain candy

Before we dive into the dos and don’ts of candy, we want to explain the importance of why certain candy can be harmful to your braces. Braces are held to your teeth with a very specific type of glue that is strong enough to not break off brackets when you eat normal foods, but when a stronger force is applied to the brackets, they are made to break. If the glue were to be any stronger, it could risk hurting your enamel (the outer layer of your tooth surface), so after about 300 years of perfecting the art of braces, they got the glue consistency just right. With this being said, the braces will do their part in moving your teeth in a safe manner, as long as you take care of them as well. Eating very chewy foods, such as Laffy Taffy can put you at risk of broken brackets. And the more broken brackets you have, the longer you can be in your braces! Remember, your orthodontic treatment will not last forever, so if you can be mindful for the Halloween that you do have braces, we can help you stay on track with your braces, and you can be in your retainers in no time!


Just as important!

Dr. Ashley Smith and his team want to wish you the happiest Halloween, and we would like you to know that Halloween is meant to be FUN, and safe! As long as you take care of your braces, this will ensure your treatment can stay on track and you will be able to eat ALL the candy you want once you are in your retainers! With this being said, check out the list we created to give you a better idea of what candies and goodies should be avoided, and which ones are Dr. Ashley Smith approved!


Dr. Ashley Smith and the Next Level Orthodontics team recommends to stay away from extremely chewy or sticky candies such as:
  • Laffy Taffy

  • Caramels

  • Licorice

  • Jelly Beans

  • Sugar Gum (Sugar free gum is okay!)


You should also try to avoid very hard candy as they can also break off brackets such as:
  • Nuts

  • Jaw Breakers

  • Lollipops (These will be okay as long as you don’t bite into them!)


Don’t get us wrong though, there is also a list of candies that are safe to eat!
  • Soft Chocolate

  • Peanut Butter Cups

  • Kit Kats

  • 3 Musketeers

  • Marshmallows

  • Cookies

  • Peppermint Patties

  • Ice Cream

  • Milkshakes

You know what is as fun as opening up that candy bag at the end of Halloween night? Scheduling a FREE consultation with Dr. Ashley Smith! Click here to take the first step to your dream smile!

How young can I start my kids in braces?

Nowadays you will see a lot of little kids with braces, and you may ask yourself, aren’t they too young for treatment?? Well, there are several reasons why it is important to start kids with braces at a young age, but they are mainly for preventative reasons. Here are some situations where getting braces will benefit your child at a young age. Typically unless the patient is dying to get braces, Dr. Smith will not recommend treatment until all of the adult teeth have erupted, and none of the issues below are present. Dr. Smith thinks you should save your money and complete the treatment all at once, saving the patient from having two sets of braces. Either way, we still recommend coming in for a free consultation, as some of these issues can only be detected by an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Smith.


Schedule your FREE consultation today by clicking HERE!

What are In-House Aligners?

So you’re thinking of getting some aligners, such as Invisalign, to correct some minor movements, whether it’s because you didn’t wear your retainers, or you’ve always had pretty straight teeth besides a couple of teeth out of line. Treatments with large corporate labs such as Invisalign and Spark can be costly and maybe you don’t think the money is worth the amount of treatment you may need.


In house aligners may be your best option! In house aligners; meaning they are made in our own lab here at Next Level Orthodontics, are almost the same thing as Invisalign or Spark, but instead of having to pay another lab to manufacture your trays, we do it all in our lab, here in our office in New Braunfels, with our new 3D printer. Our assistants will create, and shape your aligners.


In the end, you’ll save money and Dr. Smith still has full control over your entire treatment, and tooth movements.


But why doesn’t everyone go with this option?


The answer is that not everyone qualifies for the in-house aligners, other patients may need to do a full case with Spark for more tooth movement, beyond what our lab can create. In house aligners are typically one of the more affordable options in the office, because the treatment time is so short (because there are minor movements). So just because one patient is eligible for our in-house aligners, it doesn’t necessarily mean their friend (they are referring to our office), will have the same treatment time, or cost. In fact, every patient must qualify for aligners.


Once you are eligible for our in-house aligners, the first thing we do is take a 3D scan of all of your teeth. Once the scan is complete Dr. Smith will write a prescription which designs the custom trays and movements of your teeth, just like Spark or Invisalign does. Once the design is complete, we will continue the printing part of the process. Our dental assistant here at Next Level Orthodontics will print off all of the 3D models and from there we trim each tray to make sure the patient is not uncomfortable in the tray.  As soon as your first set of aligners are completely processed, we will give you a call to get you started in your aligner treatment!


You can easily find out if you qualify for this affordable aligner option by scheduling a COMPLIMENTARY consultation at our office with Dr. Smith. He will be able to review your specific case and let you know what your options are for orthodontic and aligner treatment!


Easily schedule your complimentary consultation with our online scheduler here:


Aligners 101


Yay! You finally started your aligners, what now? I’m sure you have a lot of questions; how do I wear aligners, how long do I leave my aligners on, how do I clean my aligners? Next Level Orthodontics is here to help! Wearing aligners is nothing like having braces. Aligners while having the best aesthetic between the two, require much more maintenance, and upkeep. We have shared some helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of your aligner treatment.


  • Probably the biggest tip, WEAR YOUR ALIGNERS! Keep in mind, you are only actively in treatment if you are actually wearing your aligners. This means you should be wearing your aligners a MINIMUM of 22 hours a day, the other 2 hours should be solely for eating and brushing. Your teeth will not move, if you do not wear your aligners.
  • Keep up with your hygiene! Because the aligners consist of a special plastic that covers all of your teeth, it is that much easier for sugars to get trapped in your aligner and damage your teeth. If you drink anything with sugar, take the time to rinse your mouth before placing your aligner back in, and refrain from drinking anything with sugar while you have the aligners on. If you are asking yourself “How do I clean my aligners?” the answer is quite simple as you have a lot of options. One great way to clean your aligner is gentle soap and water, make sure the water is not hot as it can warp the plastic. Another way you can clean your aligners is using cleaning tablets
  • Do not leave aligners in the car (especially in Texas!). This could cause your aligners to warp the plastic. If the aligners melt, even just a little it will not fit properly, and you will need to contact Next Level Orthodontics to see how Dr. Smith would like you to proceed.
  • Invest in bite chewies to ensure your aligner attachments are fully engaged. You are probably asking yourself “What is a bite chewie”? Bite chewies are a flexible plastic that sometimes come in the shape of a tube, or a bite wafer (see photos) that help your aligners fully wrap around any and all attachments. This may seem silly at first, but it is a great way to get the most out of your treatment.
  • ALWAYS put the aligners in your given case when you are not wearing them. It can be really easy to store your aligners in a nearby napkin when you go out to eat, but keep in mind that your aligners are clear, and small. The chances of you throwing away that napkin will significantly increase. You never want to keep your aligners near your pets (even if your aligners are in your case) as they can easily think it is a toy and chew it up.
  • Change your aligners on time. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar to make sure you are switching to your new aligner on time. This will ensure that your treatment ends when Dr. Smith quoted you.
  • If you are sore, that means your teeth are moving! Removing your aligners when you are sore, will cancel out the progress you have made. Like taking one step forward and one step back. It is crucial that you stay consistent about how you wear your aligners. It’ll take some getting used to, but once you build your habits, you won’t even have to think about it!

Never Worry about Losing Retainers Again!


Next Level Orthodontics would love to introduce our newest patient program!

This program is specifically designed to help you live a stress free life after braces! Many people come to us after their orthodontic treatment because they have either lost or damaged their retainers. Many times they end up paying for new retainers or sometimes even braces treatment again!

Our Secure Smiles program takes away the worry of losing or breaking your retainers once you have completed your orthodontic treatment. The program gives you 3 sets of retainers annually, at a very affordable cost, meaning you won’t have to pay for retainers ever again. Once you have decided to join the Secure Smiles program, we will use the scan we took when you ended your braces treatment with us to make your original retainers over and over again, no questions asked. After we print your new retainers we ship them directly to you about one week later.

In the case that your new retainers do not fit, from teeth shifting over an extended period of time, we can offer a new scan for a ONE-TIME fee of $89 and this will prevent your teeth from shifting anymore and prevent you from having to start braces treatment again. The one-time fee will put you back into the Secure Smiles Retainer Program.

At Next Level Orthodontics, we take pride in providing high quality orthodontic care, many types of braces treatments, affordable prices, and now the opportunity to live a worry-free life after braces!

Contact us for more information about our Secure Smiles program or if you are interested in our different braces treatments here in New Braunfels, TX! Dr. Ashley Smith and his team are ready to help you achieve your BEST SMILE.

Schedule here!