Is it required that my dentist schedule my appointment or refer me to your office? 

No, it is not. Most of our patients are referred by their family or pediatric dentist, yet many other patients choose to schedule an examination themselves. 

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school? 

Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We are very willing to work with you to accommodate your scheduling needs. (We also offer early morning appointments!) 

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening? 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, several permanent teeth in most children have erupted, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.

Will my teeth straighten out as they grow? 

Although some conditions may improve on their own, others may actually worsen. The space available for the front teeth generally does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.

How often will I have appointments? 

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every four to six weeks. (At the beginning, the appointments are a little more frequent in order to get going.) If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will work with you to schedule appointments accordingly.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam? 

If you think you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office, send us an e-mail or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information, such as name and date of birth.

What happens at the initial exam appointment? 

Upon arriving, each patient and parent will be greeted and asked to complete a short new patient questionnaire. Then you will be seated in the consult room where Dr. Carney will complete a brief, but thorough, exam and discuss any recommendations or options.

To read more about your first visit, see our New Patients Page.  

To download the new patient questionnaire, see Patient Forms

What will I learn from the initial exam? 

There are five important questions we will cover during the initial exam: 

Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
What can be done to correct the problem?
Will any teeth need to be removed?
How long will the treatment take to complete?
How much will the treatment cost?

We will attempt to answer all of these questions or give you an idea of an answer. Some of these questions cannot be answered definitively until we have more information - photos, radiographs, and study models. This information is gathered at the next appointment, the Records appointment. 

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces? 

Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. Removing teeth is sometimes necessary in order to resolve the crowding while still allowing for an esthetic facial result. Extractions, however, are not always required for orthodontic treatment.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?  

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you or your child. We will discuss the cost estimates and financial options during the initial examination visit. We have many financing options available to accommodate most needs, and we can review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and see what we can do to help maximize your benefits.

Can I drop my child off for an appointment? 

Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with a staff member before dropping off their child.

Do braces hurt? 

Generally, braces do not "hurt." After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”.

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces? 

Yes. There is no reason to miss school after having had an orthodontic appointment.

Do you give shots? 

No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment. 

Can I still play sports and instruments? 

Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for most sports. It may take you a little while to adjust to playing instruments while wearing braces, but your embouchure will adapt! 

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces? 

Of course! Regular checkups with your family dentist or pediatric dentist are important while in braces. Orthodontic offices do not provide the regular cleanings and radiographs that are an important part of maintaining your oral health. Your dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces based on your specific needs.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces? 

Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces? 

Patients should brush their teeth thoroughly at least two times each day - in the morning and before going to bed. A quick brushing or rinsing is also usually a good idea after lunch. Brushing and flossing is different with braces. We will show each patient how to brush and floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride rinse, if necessary.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled? 

If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our office. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone. If you require an emergency appointment, we will set one up for you. After hours, if necessary, you can call Dr. Carney on her cell phone (214-502-2586). Dr. Carney lives close to the office and is happy to meet you there if necessary. 

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth? 

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin. It is not necessary for everyone to receive braces at early age. (For more information, see Treatment for Children.) 

What is Phase One (Early) treatment? 

Phase One treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-18 months. The primary objective for early treatment is to address significant problems (usually jaw growth problems) to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. 

Will my child need braces again if he/she has Phase One treatment? 

It is best to assume that your child will need a second round of braces after the remaining permanent teeth have fully erupted. The period following Phase One treatment is called the "resting period," during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of possible future treatment recommendations.

Will my child need an expander? 

At the initial examination, we can discuss whether an expander would be necessary or advisable.

Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult? 

A surprising percentage of adults are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Twenty-five percent of most orthodontic practices are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" for braces!

Can I get braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth? 

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like any other tooth. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth. Implants will not move like other teeth, but sometimes alignment can be improved around any implants present. 

Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist? 

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, can be permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be planned appropriately and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training beyond dental school (2-3 years extra!) that enables them to provide their patients with appropriate, personalized treatment.