Skip to main content



What are the Different Types of Braces? How to Pick the Best Kind?

By Orthodontics No Comments

The Different Types of Braces and How to Pick the Best Kind

Dental braces have been around for quite a while. In fact, early variations of the metal braces that are still used today were created in the 19th century. The reason they’ve stuck around for so long is they’re extremely effective at straightening the teeth and aligning the bite

However, there have been some serious innovations in orthodontics, so braces are smaller, sleeker and way more comfortable than they used to be. They’re also available in ceramic materials that blend in with the smile and there are low-profile, self-ligating brackets that don’t require elastics.

Today, we’ll cover:
  • The different types of braces we offer at our Papillion orthodontic office
  • Self-ligating vs. traditional braces
  • Which braces work faster?
  • How long until you see results from braces?
  • Tips for choosing the right braces for your smile.  

Different Types of Braces at Hawley Orthodontics

There are a variety of different types of braces, including traditional metal braces, traditional clear braces and self-ligating braces. 

At Hawley Orthodontics, in addition to Invisalign® and Invisalign Teen, we offer two main types of braces: self-ligating ceramic braces and self-ligating metal braces. We want our patients to get the best results as quickly and comfortably as possible, which is why we only use self-ligating brackets. 

Self-Ligating Braces vs. Traditional Braces

Both traditional braces and self-ligating braces consist of brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to your teeth and we run an archwire through them that acts as a track to guide the teeth into place. The difference is that traditional braces rely on ligatures (tiny elastics or metal ties) to attach the archwire to the bracket. Self-ligating braces don’t use ligatures and, instead, the brackets each have a door that holds the lightweight, memory wires in position. The wire moves on its own along with the teeth.

Self-ligating brackets are lower profile than conventional brackets and they reduce the amount of friction, so they’re more comfortable and they look great, regardless of whether you choose metal or ceramic. Since we don’t need to put on ligatures or change elastics, you’ll spend less time in our chair and appointments will be a bit shorter. 

Additionally, self-ligating braces are more hygienic and easier to clean, as ligatures trap food and plaque. We do allow our patients to wear elastics if they want a pop of color but they’re not necessary, so if your child isn’t good at brushing and the elastics pose a problem, we can always forgo them at the next visit.  

Some practices keep traditional braces on the menu as a cheaper option. However, we don’t believe in upcharges and the braces price (and fee for Invisalign) is the same, regardless of the treatment you choose at our practice. Considering we’re not basing a patient’s treatment options on how much they can pay, we go with what’s most efficient and effective and for us, that’s self-ligating braces.

Schedule your free orthodontic consultation with Dr. Hawley to see how self-ligating braces will work for you by calling us at (402) 592-3200 or sending us an email at [email protected]. With our one flat rate, choosing braces that suit your smile will really come down to personal preference.

Which Braces Work Faster?

Patients often ask, which braces work faster? The truth is, your teeth don’t know what type of appliance is exerting force and they’ll move into place whether you use traditional metal braces, self-ligating braces or clear aligners. 

That said, the combination of self-ligating brackets and memory wires we offer at our practice helps the teeth take a more direct path to their final positions. Dr. Hawley doesn’t have to make tweaks or deal with unwanted tooth movements, so your treatment may be slightly faster with our braces system than it would be with traditional braces. 

How Long Until You See Results From Braces?

How long it takes until you see results from braces varies depending on how your body responds to treatment and the severity of your case. Some patients notice a subtle difference within four to six weeks, while others don’t see much change until around three months. This will be consistent whether you choose metal or clear self-ligating braces. 

Choosing the Right Braces for Your Smile

Self-Ligating Metal Braces

Metal braces are still the most common among the different types of braces. The self-ligating metal brackets and high-tech wires Dr. Hawley uses for his Papillion, NE braces patients are very streamlined. They’re not big or bulky and they don’t create the stereotypical mouth full of metal depicted in pop culture

The brackets are made of stainless steel and the wires are crafted from titanium. Some of our patients, particularly younger ones, prefer metal braces vs. clear braces because they like showing them off and orthodontic treatment can be like a rite of passage marking the transition from childhood to those teenage years.

When all of their friends are wearing metal hardware, they want to as well. However, even older patients sometimes like how braces look. As we said earlier, self-ligating braces don’t need elastics, but for those who enjoy customizing their braces with colorful bands, we’re always more than happy to put them on. So, are self-ligating metal braces for you?

The Metal Braces Checklist

Check all that apply:
  1. I want straighter teeth and an aligned bite.
  2. I’d prefer a comfortable, effective, efficient treatment option.
  3. Silver is definitely my color.
  4. I like the idea of showing off the fact that I’m wearing braces.
  5. I’d love to add a little shimmer to my smile.
  6. All of my friends are wearing metal braces and I feel left out.

If you checked off three or more points, you might have found the perfect type of braces for you!

Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces

Self-ligating ceramic braces, often called clear braces, also consist of brackets and wires and are put on the same way as metal braces. However, the brackets are made from a translucent, durable ceramic material, so they blend with the color of your teeth and are much less noticeable. They’re really popular with our teen and adult braces patients who want an esthetic option, especially since we don’t charge extra for them here

In the past, a disadvantage of clear braces was that they weren’t as strong and broke more easily. Another concern was that the ceramic was porous and prone to staining and the elastics got discolored quickly. Thanks to advances in materials, clear braces are now a lot stronger and they resist stains, so these aren’t issues anymore. Plus, we use self-ligating ones with no elastics to speak of. They’re practical and attractive. Are clear braces right for you?

The Clear Braces Checklist

Check all that apply:
  1. I want to straighten my teeth and align my bite.
  2. I’m interested in more comfortable, quick, effective treatment.
  3. I don’t want people to notice I’m wearing braces.
  4. Metallics aren’t my thing.
  5. I’d like to keep my orthodontic treatment low profile.
  6. I’m a professional and feel like metal braces would be distracting.

If you checked off three or more points, clear braces might be your best bet!

Now that you have a better idea of the different types of braces we offer and perhaps the kind you might be leaning towards, give us a shout at (402) 592-3200 or [email protected] to schedule your free exam with our Papillion, NE orthodontist, Dr. Hawley. We can usually get your treatment started on the same day as your exam. 

If Invisalign seems more your speed, we also happen to be the largest Invisalign provider in the Omaha area. With one cost for clear braces, metal braces, and Invisalign, you can base your choice on which one best reflects your personality and needs. Your smile, your style!

food with braces

Your Food and Beverage-Related Braces and Invisalign® Questions Answered

By Orthodontics No Comments

Can you eat chips with braces? Can you eat lollipops with Invisalign? Can you drink coffee with clear braces? These are some of the common questions we hear from our Papillion Invisalign and braces patients about eating and drinking during treatment. Hey, between all of the amazing Omaha-area restaurants and grilling season being in full effect, we get it! You want exceptional braces or Invisalign results without having to give up your favorite foods. The team at Hawley Orthodontics is making things easier for you by covering all of your food and beverage-related braces and Invisalign questions. 

Can you eat chips with braces?

You can eat chips with braces depending on the type. Since really hard foods can break your appliance, avoid chips that are, well, really hard like Doritos and corn chips during your treatment. Chips that are easy to chew, such as certain baked chips or alternatives like cheese puffs, are okay to eat with braces. Eat one chip at a time and, if possible, go with smaller pieces of chips instead of large ones, so you don’t accidentally break a braces bracket or damage a wire. 

There is one thing to note: since chips are starchy and the bacteria in the mouth feed on starches and sugars, which can result in cavities, enjoy chips in moderation. Getting cavities during your braces treatment could make your treatment last longer and, in extreme cases, you may need to have your braces removed to have the cavities treated. Be sure to brush your teeth thoroughly after indulging! 

Can you drink coffee with clear braces?

Yes! You can drink coffee with clear braces. The clear braces we use at Hawley Orthodontics are durable and stain resistant. While the clear elastics often used with traditional clear braces can become discolored from beverages like coffee, our braces are self-ligating braces that don’t require elastics or ties, so you won’t need to worry about that.

Can you drink coffee with Invisalign?

You can drink coffee with Invisalign as long as you take your aligners out first. Hot beverages, including coffee, can warp the thermoplastic material the aligners are made from, which could affect the fit of your aligners and, ultimately, your Invisalign results. Drinking coffee with Invisalign aligners in your mouth will also cause the aligners to become discolored. 

Can you eat ice cream with braces?

Oh yeah! While we do recommend cutting back on sugary treats to prevent cavities during your treatment, you can eat ice cream with braces in moderation. In fact, it’s preferable to many other desserts, because it rinses off the teeth easily and won’t get trapped in your hardware. Ice cream is an excellent option for when you first get braces put on. It’s super soft and cold enough to numb your mouth a bit. 

Can you chew gum with braces?

No. Unfortunately, you can’t chew gum with braces. At Hawley Orthodontics, we use self-ligating braces, which have a door that opens and closes to put the wire in. The sticky gum can open the doors on the brackets. Believe us, your fantastic new smile will be worth temporarily giving up gum! 

Can you chew gum with Invisalign?

While you can chew gum with Invisalign, take your aligners out first and opt for sugarless gum. Sugar-filled gum can cause cavities and no one wants cavities when they’ve invested in getting straight teeth and a healthy smile! While sugarless gum isn’t as sticky as regular gum, it still tends to stick to aligners. Plus, you’re also exposing your aligners to constant chewing forces as you enjoy your gum. This could potentially interfere with the fit of your aligners or damage them. 

Can you eat lollipops with Invisalign?

You can eat lollipops with Invisalign as long as you remove your aligners first. Since lollipops are sticky and full of sugar, they can cause a mess and/or lead to cavities if you eat them with your aligners in. 

Can you eat peanut butter with braces?

Absolutely! Peanut butter is an excellent choice when it comes to soft foods to eat with braces. It has protein, fat,  important nutrients and doesn’t require a lot of chewing, making it ideal for when your teeth are feeling tender after first getting your braces put on and following adjustments. Brush your teeth after eating the peanut butter to remove it from your brackets and wires. 

Can you drink water with Invisalign?

Yup! You can drink plain water with Invisalign. If the water isn’t hot, you don’t need to remove your aligners first.

What can you eat with Invisalign?

Since the clear aligners are removable, there are zero Invisalign food restrictions. You can eat and drink whatever you want during treatment. The caveat? Take your Invisalign aligners out before eating or drinking anything aside from plain water

The aligners fit snug against your teeth and saliva isn’t able to flow freely beneath them to wash away any lingering debris or residue from your food or drinks. This means eating or drinking with Invisalign aligners in will allow the food or beverage to sit against your teeth for a longer period of time, increasing your risk of tooth decay and the staining of your teeth and/or Invisalign aligners. 

On that note, you’ll also want to brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in after eating and drinking. This will ensure your teeth are clean and your aligners aren’t trapping anything beneath them. 

Can you eat chocolate with braces?

Yes, you can eat chocolate with braces. Since things like nuts and caramel are among the foods you can’t eat with braces, go with plain chocolate like a Hershey’s bar or Hershey’s Kisses. Anything without hard bits that will melt in your mouth is okay. For more information on the candy you can eat with braces and the candy to avoid during treatment, check out our “Guide to Halloween Candy and Braces.”

Can you eat popcorn with braces?

It may seem like you can eat popcorn with braces without a problem, however, unpopped kernels can damage your brackets and wires. Additionally, popcorn is notorious for getting caught in braces and around the gumline, leading to inflammation. That’s why we usually tell patients to avoid popcor

Can you eat pizza with braces?

Breathe a sigh of relief, because, yes, you can eat pizza with braces. However, pizza crust, especially if it’s really chewy or hard, can damage your appliance, so stay away from it. If the crust is nice and soft, cut or break it into small pieces to eat. 

What are the best soft foods for braces when your teeth are sensitive?

As for what to eat with braces the first week or following adjustments when your teeth are feeling a little sore, go with soft foods, as well as cold foods and drinks. Some of the best soft foods for braces include soup, yogurt, ice cream, smoothies, Jell-O, applesauce, scrambled eggs, peanut butter, mashed potatoes, popsicles and fudgesicles, ice water, ripe bananas, macaroni and cheese and protein shakes. Pro tip: Stock up on braces-friendly foods before you get your braces put on so you have plenty to eat from the get-go. Once you feel ready to tackle your normal diet again, you can still eat most of the foods you love with a few exceptions. 

Again, while there are no Invisalign food restrictions, your teeth can be sensitive when you start your Invisalign treatment and, sometimes, after putting in a new set of aligners. Choosing soft foods that require minimal chewing will be helpful as you adjust.  

What foods can’t you eat with braces?

Foods to avoid with braces include anything really hard, chewy or sticky that can damage your appliance. Skittles, hard candy, caramel, taffy, toffee, hard taco shells, whole, raw apples and carrots, hard pizza crust, hard rolls, Starburst and nuts are some examples of these types of foods. 

Are there special techniques to use when eating with braces?

How to eat with braces is just as important as what to eat with braces. Break or cut food into small, bite-sized pieces and chew with your back teeth. Never tear at food with your front teeth. Take corn off the cob, take meat off the bone and cut things like raw apples into small, thin slices before eating them. 

Now that you’re an expert on eating and drinking with Invisalign and braces, are you ready to kick-off treatment? Whether you want to get started or you’d just like to learn more about your teeth-straightening options, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Papillion orthodontist, Dr. Hawley, today! 

How can Invisalign and Braces Change Your Face Shape?

By Orthodontics No Comments

You probably know that orthodontic treatment can straighten your teeth and create an ideal bite. But how can Invisalign and braces change your face shape too? The answer is they can, though whether or not they do, and to what extent, will depend on the type of malocclusion (improper bite) you have and the severity of the issue. 

When our Omaha orthodontist Dr. Hawley creates a treatment plan for you, he bases it on your unique facial features and profile, while also keeping in mind how your face will change as you get older. This ensures you get your best smile.  Read More

Hawley Orthodontics first orthodontic visit

What Happens at My First Orthodontic Visit?

By Orthodontics No Comments

First Orthodontic Visit

Tired of hiding your smile on Zoom calls? Worried your child’s teeth are coming in crooked? Or just have some questions about orthodontic treatment in general like: How long do braces take? How does Invisalign work? At Hawley Orthodontics, we have you covered. We offer free, no-pressure orthodontic consultations at our Papillion, NE practice. This first orthodontic visit is meant to give you a chance to tour our office, meet Dr. Hawley and our team, learn more about your treatment options and have all of your questions answered. Our ultimate goal is for you to feel informed, confident and excited about beginning your or your child’s smile journey.  Read More

orthodontic problems addressed to a young patient

7 Early Common Orthodontic Problems We Watch for in Kids

By Orthodontics No Comments

Early Common Orthodontic Problems

When should kids visit an orthodontist for the first time? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children have their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven. We know, we know, that seems super young, but seven isn’t just a random number that was picked out of a hat. There are several reasons behind the recommendation, including the fact that we can see certain emerging orthodontic problems in their earliest stages. So, what is our Papillion orthodontist watching out for when he examines your kiddo? Read on to find out! In this post, we’ll be covering the common red flags, as well as the basics of early orthodontics in general.  Read More

Girl with braces eating donut

50 Delicious Foods to Eat With Braces During the Holidays

By Orthodontics No Comments

It’s hard to believe the holidays are nearly here. We know, regardless of what you celebrate, a big part of the festivities will involve food. If you’re one of our Omaha braces patients, you might be wondering, “What can I eat with braces this holiday season?” Well, have no fear, because while, yes, you will have to make a few adjustments, there are plenty of braces-friendly holiday foods you can eat with abandon. In fact, we’re sharing 50 delicious options! Read More


Invisalign Tips and Tricks to Ensure Your Treatment is a Huge Success

By Orthodontics No Comments


At Hawley Orthodontics, we’re not just a Papillion Invisalign provider, we’re also one of the leading providers in the Omaha area. In fact, Dr. Hawley has earned the distinction of being a Platinum Invisalign provider, which means he’s treated a whole lot of patients with clear aligners. It’s true that much of the success of Invisalign relies on the expertise of your orthodontist, which highlights the importance of seeing an experienced provider like Dr. Hawley. However, there are also things you can do as a patient to get the best possible results and have an awesome experience. To help, we’re sharing some of our best Invisalign tips and tricks.  Read More

tips for braces and invisalign patients

Tips for Braces and Invisalign

By Orthodontics No Comments

We know most of you are pros when it comes to caring for your braces and wearing your Invisalign. However, with our office temporarily closed because of the coronavirus, we thought it was the perfect time for a refresher. While we can get you in for a one-on-one appointment if it’s a true emergency, of course, avoiding emergencies and keeping your smile journey on track is ideal. Here are some tips for braces and Invisalign to follow to keep your oral health in top-notch shape! Read More

tips for healthy teeth and gums explained on a module

Show Your Smile Some Love: Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

By Orthodontics No Comments

Why is it so important to keep your teeth and gums healthy?

Well, for starters, having a beautiful smile gives you confidence and smiling is a way to connect with others. From a health perspective, your teeth are essential for chewing and getting all the nutrients your body needs. Additionally, gum disease has been tied to a host of other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Having a healthy smile really does impact so many areas of your life, which is why as a Papillion orthodontist, Dr. Hawley is dedicated to ensuring his patients have the healthiest (and most stunning!) smiles around. To help, we’re sharing some of our best tips for healthy teeth and gums. Read More