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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!

How Much Should Braces Cost?

How Much Should Braces Cost?

Everyone wants a beautiful smile these days.  In a world full of social media and instant photo uploads, it’s no wonder why so many people are seeking perfect, straight, white teeth.

Having a beautiful smile that you are comfortable with undoubtedly raises your confidence!  In turn, I think we all know how a rise in confidence can affect a person!

So, it’s a great thing that braces were invented over a hundred years ago for all those who desire that perfect smile. Thank goodness for the evolution of them too!  Braces used to be bulky and uncomfortable, but these days, they are just about as small as they can get.  It’s actually a cool thing now, for kids to get braces.  They love being able to change the cool colors at each visit!  Braces have come such a long way that we even offer CLEAR ones!  These happen to be favored by adults.  I’m talking clear brackets.  We all know that Invisalign trays are awesome too!  


Well, I’ve worked with orthodontists for about 10 years now, so I am speaking from my own, personal experience here.  The cost of braces can vary greatly!  There are several things to consider and look at when it comes to pricing out dental braces.

First and foremost, finding a specialist in braces, an orthodontist, is MOST important, in my opinion.  I heard this analogy once and it stuck.  If you had a heart issue, your primary care doctor would certainly be educated enough to inform you of what is happening with your heart and why.  Your doctor might even be able to perform a procedure that is necessary to help you.  However, a primary care physician is not a heart specialist, like a cardiologist would be.  Cardiologists deal with cardiovascular therapy, day in and day out.  It’s most likely that your primary doctor would even send you away with a referral to the the specialist to perform any necessary surgeries or therapies.

In the same manner, it is recommended that when you are searching for someone to move your teeth around and adjust your bite, you see a specialist in braces, which is an orthodontist.  You may have a general dentist that happens to do braces and may charge  you less for the treatment, but they do not specialize in braces solely, like an orthodontist does.  The bottom line is that an orthodontist does braces and Invisalign, day in and day out, and this is their primary focus.  When you choose an orthodontist to treat you with braces, it is likely that the quality will be much higher than someone who does a little bit of everything.

We also happen to live in a generation of social media marketing, and for some reason dentists have been able to get away with doing orthodontic treatment via snail MAIL.  The sound of that as a dental provider is chilling, honestly.  A could do a whole separate blog post on this topic, and I just might.  I caution everyone to do their research before proceeding with a treatment like this.  I know the prices are very enticing, but let’s not forget that saying, “You get what you pay for.”  I truly believe that to be the case here.  My best advice is:  SEE A SPECIALIST.  Get a free consultation from a doctor who spent 3-4 extra years in school learning specifically how and why braces work.  These consultations are likely free, and will cost you nothing but maybe an hour of your time and possibly save you from a bad treatment.

So, what should braces actually cost?  There are a couple reasons that I can say affect your cost, for sure.

First of all, there is most definitely an average range, but this will mostly depend on where you live.  For now, I’m going to speak for our area here in New Braunfels, TX, since that is where I currently work and operate out of.  The average cost of braces in New Braunfels is roughly $3,500 to $6,000.   

Why such a wide range?  Well, let’s talk about variables, there are a few. 

The first and biggest variable, would be the amount of treatment time a patient needs.  On average, MOST people need about 24 months for treatment.  With treatment time, comes treatment cost, not only to you, but to your orthodontist.  Time spent in the chair can become costly over time for your doctor.  However, not everyone needs a 24 month treatment.   If we all had the same size mouth and teeth, treatment times wouldn’t vary so much, but variation is what makes us individuals.  So it only makes sense that your braces treatment wouldn’t look the same as maybe your best friend or your neighbor.  Orthodontic treatment is very personal and should be custom to each and every individual. 

This is why it is typically recommended that you schedule a consultation with your orthodontist.  Dr. Smith and his team here at Next Level Orthodontics have made it a point to ensure these consultations are absolutely free.  At this point, it’s an industry standard, so if you are seeing someone who is charging you on your first visit, and you are looking to save money, you might as well move on.  I can most likely guarantee that there’s about 3-4 surrounding orthodontists that have also made it a point to conduct free exams.  

If you are unsure of what a FREE CONSULTATION consists of:  here is what we do here at Next Level Orthodontics, and here is what you should be looking for.

A consultation should include x-rays, photos, and a full exam by the orthodontist, in which he or she explains what type of treatment would be necessary to resolve your concerns.  Our consultations here at Next Level also include a full breakdown of cost and a customizable financial plan that will allow you to be comfortable proceeding with your braces treatment.

The second, and most obvious factor, would simply be the market pricing around you.  This is just like any other industry.  The cost of living around you will determine a large portion of your cost.  This is to be expected anywhere you go. 

A large portion of my job as a dental hygienist is to educate patients.  My goal is to educate as many people as possible, but for me, it’s not only on their oral health when they are in my chair getting a dental cleaning.  I’d like to share as much knowledge that I have been able to gather over my 10 years in dentistry.  Part of that, is just knowing how the industry works and why!  

Don’t hesitate to call us!  We are looking forward to hearing from you! 

Schedule your free consultation today!  

P.S.  $500 OFF TREATMENT is waiting for you, until July 31st! 

CALL OR TEXT 830-515-4330 

-Krystal Smith, RDH 



If you have been thinking about braces for your child, or even yourself, the summer season is the perfect time to do so! 

Here’s 3 reasons why:

  1.  Most orthodontists will run summer promotions, just like ours, during this time!  Dr. Smith has decided that this summer season, $500 OFF any braces treatment would be a great way to help with finances over the summer!
  2. Summer is the busiest season in orthodontics!  Most kids are out of school, meaning they don’t have to miss class.  Also, the summertime will give your child time to adjust to their new braces!  It only takes a couple of weeks to get used to a new set of braces, so by the time school comes back around, your kids will be more than ready!
  3. Bright colored bands go with bright summer colors!  Kids just love putting fun color combinations around their brackets.  Summer is the best time to have some fun with all the bright and fun ones!

Dr. Ashley Smith, doctor and owner at Next Level Orthodontics, has over 10 years of experience in treating orthodontics, and his fun and friendly personality really helps keep patients relaxed and comfortable. 

The exam process is so easy!  Dr. Smith’s team will take photos and x-rays; then Dr. Smith will come in and do a thorough exam of your teeth, address your concerns, and let you know what treatment options would be best for you.

Take advantage of this summer special and keep an eye out for some cool new teeth whitening products COMING SOON!

Call or text us today to schedule your free braces exam! 830-515-4330