The Best of Both Worlds

With his focus on high-quality care and results, Dr. Ashley Smith provides patients with the smiles of their dreams at SmileLife Orthodontics.

By: Sarah Tindall  //  Photos by: Dustin Ashcraft

Dr. Ashley Smith enjoys making a great smile available and affordable for adults and children who need orthodontic care.

At SmileLife Orthodontics, conveniently located on SPID between Airline and Staples, the emphasis is on using modern, state-of-the-art technology and products to provide consistent, high-quality care and results. Smith also strives to keep services as affordable as possible for patients and ensures that payment options and plans are accessible and easy. Along the way, he and his team like to have fun and enjoy interacting with patients and parents, too.

Smith, who grew up in Las Cruces, N.M., says he has always been interested in the field of dentistry. “When I was growing up, one of my friend’s dads was a dentist, and I always thought it was a great profession,” he says. “I was interested and really loved the medical background.” However, Smith’s mind was on other matters when he began college. He spent two years at Western New Mexico University playing on the tennis team. “When I realized that I wasn’t going to be playing tennis the rest of my life, I decided to concentrate a bit harder on academics and pursue a different dream: becoming an orthodontist,” he continues.

Upon graduating from UNM, Smith gained admittance to Tufts Dental School in Boston, Mass., where he achieved his doctorate in dental surgery. After graduation, he moved to Lordsburg, N.M., and went to work as a general dentist as the head of a dental clinic. “I enjoyed the work because I love working with people and also enjoy the medical side of it,” he says. “It was the best of both worlds.”

Then an orthodontist at the clinic retired, and two dozen orthodontic patients became his. This resulted in Smith forming a friendship with an orthodontist practicing in Las Cruces. This interaction solidified his interest in the field of orthodontics, and he went back to school in 2010 to specialize in orthodontics; he graduated from the Roseman University of Health Sciences in Las Vegas three years later.

He then bought Sun Orthodontix here in Corpus Christi, and the rest is history. He renamed the practice SmileLife Orthodontics, which has locations in Corpus Christi, El Paso and Las Cruces. The practices continue to grow, and they have a reputation for affordable and professional orthodontic treatment for adults and children in a fun and energetic environment.

“There have been huge advances in orthodontic treatment in the last few decades, which some practices don’t utilize,” he says. “For example, many places still use that material with the gummy stuff in it for molds of your teeth. We take 3-D scans of the teeth so we don’t have to use the old materials that tasted awful and made you gag. The scanner takes a digital mold of the teeth that is 3-D, and we can evaluate your teeth from all angles.

“We also use brackets instead of bands on the teeth. This is so much less invasive for the patient, and the wires we use now are so much more gentle and comfortable than the ones used years ago. Kids get excited because we offer colored ties to go on your braces and they can pick out the colors they want, while adults may prefer our clear braces and Invisalign options. Anybody who needs braces can come see us; we have something for everyone.”

Most importantly, Smith says, his office works hard to ensure that middle-class Americans who want and need dental braces can afford them by maintaining highly affordable pricing and offering third-party financing options. He also offers other services such as teeth whitening.

“Whitening has been great on so many levels, not only for the patients who have just removed their braces and want to make their smiles perfect, but also for moms and dads who want to brighten their smile, as well,” Smith says. “You don’t have to be an orthodontic patient at SmileLife to whiten your teeth. Virtually anyone is a candidate.”

While many people can benefit from braces, Smith says many parents appreciate knowing when it is appropriate to take their kids in for an evaluation. His answer is simple: All kids, regardless of whether or not their teeth are straight, should visit an orthodontist at the age of 6 or 7. This is when the doctor can identify problems like overbites and misalignment that can lead to issues later on. At this appointment, Smith can make a recommendation about when and if the child would benefit from braces. Most children, however, are not ready for braces until all of their permanent teeth have come in.

SmileLife offers free consultations to anyone interested in getting an evaluation to see if braces would be beneficial. Some patients get referrals from their dentists, but anyone interested in an evaluation is welcome to call or stop by the office to schedule a free consultation with Smith. “Oftentimes, we can see patients for their consultation the same day that they call,” he says.

Smith says his patients’ excitement at finally having a smile they can be proud of is his favorite part of the job, and that he enjoys his work each and every day. “Many of our patients are adults who couldn’t afford braces as kids,” he says. “They come in, and we give them the smile they always dreamed of having. I love seeing all of our patients able to show off their smiles in public and no longer having to hide the teeth they were embarrassed of. It’s so rewarding to spend every day making people happy.”

To find out more about SmileLife or to schedule your free consultation today, call 361-853-1900 or visit www.smilelifebraces.com

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