The Difference between Braces and Clear Aligners

When it comes to straightening your smile, American Family Orthodontics offers a couple of options to choose what works best for you. While traditional braces and clear aligners both work to straighten your teeth, there are many differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision. 


Traditional braces have metal brackets and wires that are glued to the teeth to help them connect and move. They work by putting pressure on the teeth and slowly moving them to correct crowded, crooked or misaligned teeth. Your brackets are adjusted periodically by your orthodontist in the office. If you don’t want metal brackets, we also offer a clear ceramic option. Clear ceramic braces work the same way as traditional braces, but they use clear or tooth-colored material instead of metal. 

Clear Aligners 

Clear aligners are clear, plastic-like trays that are far less noticeable than traditional braces. Clear aligners can be used to correct gaps, overbites, underbites or crowded teeth. Your orthodontist will give you trays and instructions on how to wear and change them, and you come back periodically to have your trays checked.

What’s the difference? 

The main difference between the two is that clear aligners can be removed for short periods of time for eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing. Braces are glued to the teeth and cannot be removed by the patient. In addition to this, both braces and clear aligners are used for crooked or misaligned teeth, but it is just the degree of crookedness and misalignment that helps determine which is best.

Clear aligners are more suitable for those who do not need extreme teeth movement or rotation, whereas braces are more suitable for those with a more significant level of crooked or misaligned teeth. Clear aligners are also nearly invisible when being worn, which allows an individual to achieve a straighter smile inconspicuously. Braces are more visible to the eye, and you even get to choose colored rubber bands to add to your braces to make them unique!

Interested in starting your smile journey but not sure which option is best for you? Schedule your free consultation today!

What It’s Like Being an Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists has declared the month of October National Orthodontic Health Month, a time to focus on raising awareness of the importance of orthodontic health. In honor of this month, Dr. Brammer has given us the inside scoop on what it’s like being an orthodontist! 

Originally from Florida, I made the city of Louisville my home in 2002. My husband, Tom, works at JB Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville. We have four boys, Tyler, Mason, Grady and Logan. As a family, we enjoy spending time outdoors. My husband and I enjoy volunteering our time coaching youth softball, baseball and basketball teams. Our family is active in our church and enjoys being part of the Louisville community.

I received my bachelor’s degree from Culver-Stockton College in Canton, Missouri, while playing for the softball team and earning team captain my senior year.

I graduated with my DMD degree from the University of Louisville (U of L) School of Dentistry in 2006. I completed the two-year Orthodontic Residency Program at U of L in 2008. I joined the American Family Orthodontics team in 2009.

Professionally, I strive to improve my knowledge and skills by attending numerous continuing education courses and believe learning is a lifetime endeavor. I am a member of the Association of Orthodontics, American Dental Association and the Kentucky Dental Association. I am also certified in Botox. 

Now that I have shared the technicalities of my life, let’s get to the fun stuff — my team and straightening teeth. I have the most amazing team EVER! Within all of us we have over 150 years of experience. My practice manager, Renee, has been with us since 1998. She was in the clinic for 20 years and has moved to the role of our new patient coordinator. I have four orthodontic technicians: Erika has 25 years experience, Tiffanee has 23 years experience, Andrea has 14 years of experience and Lori has 28 years of experience. When you walk into our office you will be greeted by our lovely, Jill. She is our business associate and has over 23 years of experience.

We see on average over 50 patients a day, run four chairs and we see an average of eight consultations a day. With the amount of patients we see per day, it’s just not possible for me to do all the hands-on clinical work myself, so the orthodontic assistants are trained to do a lot of clinical work such as changing wires, prepping brackets, cementing appliances, taking records and more. I truly could not do my job and run a successful office without them! They are my hands and feet, and I am lucky to be blessed with the best!

We offer many options to create a smile that suits your needs. We have your traditional style metal braces, which we offer in ceramic as well. We have a scanner that will allow us to scan images of your teeth so we can send it off to the lab so they can fabricate any appliances or aligners that will be able to give you the best result for your lifestyle.

In between checking patients and seeing consults I am working on things like treatment planning cases, tracing cephs and reviewing X-rays. Depending on the insurance, I have to analyze records and write a narrative and treatment plan to submit for a pre-authorization before we can start treatment. I do these treatment plans throughout the day between seeing my patients.

My favorite thing about orthodontics is getting to know my patients on a personal level. This really gives me the opportunity to access the needs of my patients in order to give them the ultimate result that they have been striving for. The change is not just physical, it is the confidence and excitement that they notice when more than just their smile has been changed in the past two years. What our patients don’t know is that it is because of them that WE have been changed for the better. 

If I can leave you with anything, know this: “If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you never ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t move forward, you’re always in the same place.” —Nora Roberts

Come find your new place with us. ~ “Dr. B”

If you are interested in orthodontic treatment, talk to your dentist at your next appointment to learn more!

Why Summer is the Best Time To Start Ortho Treatment

There’s no right or wrong time to receive orthodontic treatment, however there are certain times that may be better for you and your child’s treatment plan. With treatment comes many appointments for consultations, placements, and adjustments. Because of this, starting during the summer can be beneficial in many ways: 

  • Adjustment period – When your child first gets braces, and each time they have them tightened, there will be a short period of time where they experience some discomfort. In addition, getting braces requires a few lifestyle changes that take time to adjust to. Starting during the summer gives them the opportunity to adjust to this new lifestyle before needing to go back to school.
  • Better scheduling – During the summer, there may be more flexibility in your and your child’s schedules, and it may be easier to find an opening that’s right for you compared to during the school year, when more parents are trying to schedule around school hours.
  • Extra time for better care –  During the school year, it’s easy to find yourself in a rush and forget to take the time for proper care of your braces. Beginning treatment in the summer can ensure that you have time to slow down and really focus on caring for your braces.

With summer upon us, now is a great time to start on your orthodontic journey. Come see us today for a free consultation to determine if treatment is right for you!

The Best Foods To Eat with Braces

When it comes to having braces, adjustments to your diet are important. In the early months of treatment or after a tightening, your mouth and teeth may be sore. This is due to the fact that your teeth are being pushed and pulled as they move into their new positions. 

During this time, stick with soft foods, as well as cold foods and drinks, until the sensitivity is gone:

  • Mashed potatoes.
  • Yogurt.
  • Applesauce.
  • Protein shakes.
  • Smoothies.
  • Ripe bananas.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Scrambled eggs.
  • Soup.

Dr. Woods, a fellow orthodontist, shared his favorite smoothie recipe for you to try: 

  • 1 scoop of Arbonne Chocolate Plant Protein.
  • 1 scoop of Arbonne Vanilla Plant Protein.
  • 1 banana.
  • 1/4 cup of Frozen Organic berries.
  • 1/8 cup of Frozen Spinach.
  • Almond milk. 

When you are ready to go back to your normal diet, cut your food into small, bitesize pieces and chew with your back teeth. Never bite into food with your front teeth! If you have any questions about what foods to eat or avoid, always ask your orthodontist. 

American Family Orthodontics is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

The Difference between Braces and Clear Aligners

When it comes to straightening your smile, American Family Orthodontics offers a couple of options to choose what works best for you. While traditional braces and clear aligners both work to straighten your teeth, there are many differences between the two that you should consider before making a decision.  Braces  Traditional braces have metal brackets […]

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