Braced-lets were THE craze back in 2010. First came Livestrong bracelets and then there was the sillybands fad; but after all that was the Braced-lets mania. How did a product become viral in the days before social media? I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jennifer Salzer who has been practicing orthodontics in the heart of New York City for over 20 years at Lemchen Salzer Orthodontics (almost 30 years if you count her time as a student and resident at NYU). She and Dr. Lemchen came up with the idea when they noticed that kids with braces LOVED to pick out their colors. The two of them are natural inventors and entrepreneurs, with many patents and ideas in the dental field and beyond. The first “prototype” was created by soldering brackets onto a metal bracelet and then putting different colored o-rings onto the brackets. This was a long and arduous process; but luckily Dr. Salzer’s sister, Lisa Salzer, the creator of jewelry company Lulu Frost, came along and simply said, “Why not just put the brackets on the elastic powerchain?” It immediately became a huge hit. Dr. Salzer says she knew she was onto something when kids would run up to her car and ask her for some Braced-lets out of her trunk. Up until this point, it was just a fun gift for Dr. Lemchen and Dr. Salzer to give to their patients. One day, Zitomers’s, a boutique pharmacy in NYC, approached them about an opportunity to sell the product. Immediately, they had to transition from a fun giveaway for patients to a legitimate business with all the necessary permits, papers and patents. They were soon written up in the New York Times, LA Times, The Today Show and many blogs online. Dr. Salzer remembers one moment when Selena Gomez was photographed with a Bracedlets on her wrist while at a concert. A fan had given it to her! They made over 500,000 bands and donated some of the proceeds to build a school with the charity Pencils for Promise.
During COVID, Dr. Salzer came up with an idea to help people breathe more comfortably by proning. Proning is the action of placing patients on their stomachs, often used in intensive care for acute respiratory distress syndrome. The idea is called The Co Pro (Covid Proning) pillow and is made with only towels and tights. Dr. Salzer has a patent pending status but decided to not sell the product and rather share the idea with people to make at home (it’s easy and basically free to make). It went viral on Tiktok after being shared by an ICU nurse – @thaticunurse. It’s been almost one year since the idea came to fruition, and people continue to contact Dr. Salzer to express their gratitude for the Co Pro pillow and how it has helped their loved ones.
Dr. Salzer and Dr. Lemchen also created their own whitening foam to use for clear aligners that also functions as an aligner cleaner. It is very safe and less expensive than current products on the market. So, what is up next for Dr. Salzer? She has been working on creating a special case for aligners that is patent pending. It will be different from anything out there and will help people not lose track of their aligners. Make sure to be on the lookout!