Q: What is Orthodontist?

Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontists understand the complexity of growth development and facial form.  Treatment plans include issues related to the jaw and bite, not just movement of teeth.  There’s a reason orthodontists go to additional years of highly competitive orthodontic school – to learn and perfect their ability in the specialty.  A general dentist is ideal for providing regular oral health check-ups, comparable to your family doctor.  Many dentists offer orthodontic treatment plans, but have not been trained or educated in the area. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified to perform orthodontic services. Membership in the American Association of Orthodontists guarantees they are certified in the specialty of orthodontist.


Q: What is a Board Certified orthodontist?

A board certified orthodontist is committed to the highest level of patient care including a comprehensive treatment approach to ensure quality work.  And board certified orthodontists must re-new their certification every 10 years to demonstrate their continuous commitment to excellence.


Do I need a referral to see an orthodontist?

No, you don't need a referral from your dentist in order to see the orthodontist. However, 75 percent of our patients are referred to us by their dentist. You may call and schedule an orthodontic evaluation appointment yourself.


Q: At what age should an orthodontic screening visit to be scheduled?

It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that a child first see an orthodontist around age 7.


Q: Should my children wait until all the permanent teeth are in before seeing an orthodontist?

No, many tooth alignment or jaw growth problems can be detected by age 6. Some of these problems are best treated early, avoiding a more serious problem later or eliminating braces as a teenager all together.


Q: Will there be a charge for my examination?

No. the initial orthodontic exam and consultation at our office is complimentary.


Q: How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic fees depend on the complexity of the case, the age of the patient, the type of appliances used, and the estimated length of treatment. Our complimentary examination will allow us to give an estimation of the fee.  


Q: Is it too late for me to have orthodontic treatment if I am already an adult?

While you may consider orthodontic treatment to be primarily for kids, the fact is, one in five new orthodontic patients is an adult.  That’s because a person’s age need not be a consideration in getting a great smile. In fact, whether we’re treating adults or teens, the processes involved in orthodontic treatment are the same. The key factor in determining your prospects for an improved smile and dental health, is the health of your teeth, gums and supporting bone … all things we orthodontists consider before recommending treatment. With today’s orthodontic technology, both growing patients and adults who wear braces can feel good about how they look while they’re in treatment.;


Q: Will teeth straighten out as they grow?

No. The available space for the front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people with the emergence of the permanent 6 year molars, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.


Q: Will I have my teeth removed for orthodontic treatment?

Removing teeth is sometimes needed to achieve the desired orthodontic result. However, because of the state-of-the-art orthodontic treatments and technologies at Dr. Shen's office, the need to remove teeth has been greatly reduced. 


Q: Will I get shots for braces?

No. Shots are not needed for braces. 


Q: How long will orthodontic treatment take?

Although every case is different, patients generally wear braces from one to three years. Treatment times vary with several factors, including the severity of the problem being corrected, how well the patient follows the orthodontist’s instructions for wearing appliances and how well the patient attends to oral hygiene. Patients who brush and floss thoroughly; avoid hard or sticky foods; wear their appliances as instructed; and keep their appointments usually finish treatment on-time and with excellent results.


Q: 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 eight weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointment accordingly.


Q: Can I go back to school or go back to work the same day I get braces?

Yes. Patients can go back to school or go back to work the same day of getting braces.


Q: Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Unfortunately, we can not schedule all appointments for students during after-school hours. However, because most appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs. We also offer Saturday appointments.


Q: Do braces hurt?

It does not hurt to have your braces placed! It usually takes a few days for patients to get used to braces or appliances. Over counter pain medication such as Motrin /Tylenol /Advil can be used to relieve the minor discomfort as the teeth are being moved.


Q: Do you use recycled braces?

Absolutely not! Each patient get his/her own braces/appliances to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.


Q: Can I still play sports?

Yes. You can play sports with braces on. You may need to wear a special mouth guard to protect your lips and teeth just as you would without braces.


Q: Can I still play instruments?

Yes. You can play the instruments of your choice with braces on your teeth. It may take a few days for you to get used to playing with braces on.


Q: Are family dentist or pediatric dentist visits needed during orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontists work closely with family dentists and pediatric dentists to ensure total oral health. It is necessary for orthodontic to visit their family dentist or pediatric dentist at least every 6 months during and after orthodontic care. In consultation with the patient’s dentist, the orthodontist will work together with other dental specialists, as a team if needed, to bring the patient to optimal dental health.


Q: What kind of foods do I need to avoid while in braces?

In general, most nutritious foods in all the food categories are ok. Good nutrition is important for the teeth to move. Certain hard, crunchy, foods like apples and carrots need to be cut up into small pieces/bites or they can be cooked. This prevents wires from being bent or brackets being broken off the teeth. High sugary food and beverages like soda/juice should be limited. After eating/drinking high sugary food/beverage,  you need to brush and clean your teeth thoroughly. High acid foods like lemons should also be avoided. Too hard food such as ice, beef jerky, pizza crust, popcorn with kernel, or hard candies should be avoided. Sticky, chewy candies like taffy, tootsie roll, caramel, Gummy Bears, Jolly Ranchers and others should also be avoided as they will damage the appliances and braces. Breaking appliances and braces will delay orthodontic treatment being finished on time.


Q: How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least three to four times each day- after each meal and before going to bed. After you get braces or appliances, we will show you how to floss/brush the teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride/toothpaste, if necessary.


Q: Will braces damage my teeth or gum?

No. Braces will not damage your teeth and gums if you care for them properly and stay on schedule with your appointments. Lack of proper  oral hygiene and extended treatment can damage the teeth. 


Q: What is an emergency appointment? How will it be handled?

Although unlikely, should a situation arise where your braces break or become damaged resulting in pain, please visit or call our office at 214-7857696. In most cases, we can address the issue remotely. Additionally, please visit emergency problems page, you may be able to address the problems easily.


Q: Why are retainers needed after orthodontic treatment?

After the braces/appliances are removed, the patient often needs to wear a retainer to keep, or “retain,” the teeth in their new positions. Dr. Shen will determine how long the retainer needs to be worn.


Q: Will my teeth shift after removal of braces?

Teeth continue to change over a lifetime. Many patients continue periodic orthodontic visits even after the active retention phase to ensure that the teeth stay properly aligned.