Braces 101 with Dr. Brian (Part I)

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Braces 101 Part I

Parenthood is an infinite learning curve. The moment we think we’ve got things figured out and finally under control, we begin a new phase with new questions and daunting unknowns. And entering the territory of orthodontics is no exception. So we’ve teamed up with Dr. Brian Smith of Smith Orthodontics to help ease our fears and answer some really important questions when it comes to braces. (Hint : Braces aren’t just for tweens and teenagers. Even if you have young children or are thinking of making some correction yourself, read on to see when and if you should schedule a consultation.)

When should I schedule my child for an orthodontic visit? 

Dr. Brian : I agree with the American Association of Orthodontists that the best time to visit an orthodontist is when kiddos are 7 years old. This is the perfect age because it coincides with the permanent first molars erupting into the mouth. This doesn’t mean that your child will need braces at this time, or even ever! It is simply a time for us to educate parents and transparently answer any questions.

Why so early?

Dr. Brian : There are certain aspects of some bites that are best corrected earlier rather than later. So by seeing kiddos early on, I can help educate and direct parents based on the individual needs of their child. However, for most of our patients, early orthodontic correction is not necessary. One of the services we offer at no charge to patients is complimentary six-month growth and development monitoring. We like to make this fun, and these patients are part of The.Smile.Squad. I see these kiddos twice a year to evaluate bite development and keep parents informed. Kids in The.Smile.Squad get a t-shirt, earn wooden nickels (our fun rewards program) and can participate in our office contests. In fact, this summer, we rented out a theater at Warren Theaters for a private showing of The Minions, exclusively for The.Smile.Squad members!

What should I look for in an orthodontist? 

Dr. Brian : Wichita is really fortunate to have a number of good orthodontists. As you look for one, I think it is important that you feel like you are valued as a person. This is what we strive for in our office with our tagline more than a smile. We desire a relationship with our patients. Excellence in orthodontic care is always our goal, but coupled with relationships, we find great fulfillment in what we do. We actively seek to engage our patients and create a culture in our office that is professional, fun and inviting. Another important aspect of orthodontic care is the team who works with the orthodontist. We have a fantastic team and love working together for our patients’ good. This is something you can feel in the interactions at our office.

What questions should I ask an orthodontist during a consultation?

Dr. Brian : The most important thing you can do during a consult with an orthodontist is to ask questions! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your recommended treatment. I am partly a teacher at heart, so during our complimentary new patient exams, I love getting to explain, share and educate patients and parents regarding treatment options. Another thing to consider is how much of the treatment is done by the orthodontist (in some offices, the orthodontic staff handles the majority of the treatment). In our office, we pride ourselves on the fact that I place all of the braces and appliances on the teeth. I see every patient at every appointment and make all adjustments to the wires, in order to position teeth properly. While orthodontic emergencies are not frequent, at our office, I handle all emergencies and personally see patients after hours, if necessary. These are great things to research at an orthodontic consult.

Who needs braces? Are they just for children?

Dr. Brian : I am passionate about orthodontics because it allows our team to build relationships with young kids, teenagers and adults! We help serve patients across all stages of life and have worked hard to create an environment where both kids and adults feel comfortable during their treatment. Since the needs of our patients are different, we seek to find an individualized treatment option that works best for you or your children. While most people visualize traditional metal braces, we also offer aesthetic options that our adult patients love, such as clear braces and Invisalign treatment.

My child has straight teeth, do we really need to see an orthodontist?

Dr. Brian : Orthodontic treatment is not only beneficial for a wide range of ages, but also for a variety of dental issues. Whether it is crooked teeth, a misaligned bite or jaws, missing teeth, jaw joint discomfort or simply a smile that you would rather hide than share with others, we work to provide options that improve your dental health.

A big thank you to Dr. Brian for providing insight to those of us who have no clue where to begin in the orthodontic process! Stay tuned for more from Dr. Brian, like what exactly to anticipate during treatment and the big one – what do braces cost?


SmithFamilyDr. Brian’s orthodontic dream began when he was just five years old. A few decades later, he is now thrilled to pick up the torch and carry on his dad’s 30-year legacy of orthodontic excellence in Wichita.

After receiving his dental degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 2007, Dr. Brian was accepted into an advanced education program where he completed a year of specialized dental training. He then moved on to an internship with the world-renowned Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic in Pennsylvania. In 2011, Dr. Brian received his orthodontic certificate and Master’s degree from Indiana University. The combination of these distinctive experiences has developed Dr. Brian into a well-rounded orthodontist who strives for “more than a smile” with each patient he sees. Passionate about helping those in need in our community and across the world, Dr. Brian has volunteered in several public health clinics and has also taken dental outreach trips to Central and South America.

Dr. Brian has been married to his wife, Emily (also a Wichita native), since 2005.  They welcomed their first child, Boone Robert in 2011 and Vera Noelle in 2014. They are also proud parents to two golden retrievers. After many years away from home, they are grateful to settle in Wichita and serve the city they love.

Disclosure : Wichita Moms Blog received compensation for this sponsored post. That said, Smith Orthodontics is WMB approved and an orthodontic practice we proudly stand behind!