Your child’s new smile starts here.

Your child’s new smile starts here.

You can relax at Stark Smiles.

If this is your first trip to an orthodontist, you might be feeling a bit anxious. We get it! This is a new experience with lots of unknowns, so it’s natural to feel nervous. 

Before long though, you’ll feel like a part of our family! And beginning with the very first visit until your child’s braces come off, we’ll explain everything we’re doing (before we do it!), answer every question, and provide safe and gentle treatment. 

Our Process

Our patients love the process (almost) as much as they love their new smile.

Meet with Dr. Tom

At your first appointment, Dr. Tom will listen to your concerns and answer all your questions. This consultation is free.

If orthodontic treatment is the best next step for your child, and if you’re ready to move forward, we’ll take photos, x-rays, and molds of their teeth. The fee for this diagnostic phase is $300. 

Get a Plan

Based on what Dr. Tom sees, he and our team will develop a customized treatment plan for your child that meets your goals and budget. 

We’ll also address your financial questions, including those related to insurance and payment plans.

Start Treatment

The next appointment will be quick: We’ll put small elastic bands—separators—between some of your child’s teeth to gently create space for their braces.

A week later, your child’s braces will go on! This appointment takes about an hour, and we’ll make sure they feel comfortable throughout the process.

Have Regular Office Visits

Your child will come see us every five to nine weeks, depending on their personalized plan. At these visits, we’ll make small adjustments to their braces to keep making progress toward their new smile.

They should also continue to visit their regular dentist every six months for cleanings and exams.

Celebrate a Selfie-Worthy Smile

There’s nothing quite like the day your child’s braces come off! They’ll hold their head high with a new-found confidence, and you’ll know they have the best smile possible.

Have some questions?

What do braces look like?

Braces, a type of orthodontic appliance, are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. Some are removable, and others are temporarily bonded to your teeth. You can choose clear or metal brackets and, in some cases, the color of your appliance!

Do braces hurt?

At first, your teeth may feel a bit sore, and your lips, cheeks, and tongue may be irritated for a couple of weeks. We promise your mouth will toughen up quickly! 
In the meantime, try:

  • Gargling. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of cool water, then gargle and swish for a couple of minutes. Don’t swallow the salt solution.
  • Wax. If parts of your braces are rubbing against your mouth, cushion them with a bit of wax. (If you need some, just let us know!)
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers.
What foods should I avoid?

These foods can damage your braces: 

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice, beef jerky
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice* Sticky foods — caramels, chewing gum, taffy
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies, frozen candy bars
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

You’re welcome to enjoy:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake
Is it normal for my braces to feel loose?

No. If any wire or band comes loose, please contact us as soon as possible so we can make any necessary repairs. If any piece of your braces comes off, be sure to save it and bring it to the office with you.

You can temporarily fix a loose wire by gently and carefully pushing it back into place using the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil. If the loose wire is causing irritation to your lips or cheeks, put wax or a wet cotton ball over the broken wire to relieve the pain.
Keep in mind that your braces can only do their job if they’re in good working order. Broken braces may result in longer treatment times.

How do braces work?

Braces place a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, slowly moving teeth to their desired position.

How long do you wear braces?

Treatment time varies based on age, treatment method, complexity of the case, and how closely the patient follows Dr. Tom’s recommendations. Most people wear braces for one to three years, and your treatment plan will include a time estimate.

Is it normal for my teeth to feel loose?

Yes. This is normal! Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will tighten up and no longer be loose.

Can I still play sports?

Absolutely, but it’s a good idea to wear a mouthguard. We can help you choose one that will work well with your braces. 

If you’re injured playing sports, be sure to check your teeth and braces to make sure they weren’t affected. If you notice newly loose teeth or your braces seem not quite right, call us for an appointment.

Ready to give your child a new smile?

Ames Office

1212 Duff Ave
Ames, IA 50010

(515) 232-2255
(888) 402-2255

Boone Office

703 8th St
Boone, IA

(515) 432-4522

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