Braces FAQs



If you have questions, we have answers! We believe patient education is key to creating beautiful treatment results.

If you don’t see your question here, please feel free to reach out to us. We love hearing from you!

When should my child come in for their first orthodontic exam?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) advises that children receive their first orthodontic screening by age 7. Early screenings are crucial for detecting problematic orthodontic conditions before they progress.

Through early detection and early intervention of orthodontic problems, we can effectively minimize the need for future treatment. Conditions that are left untreated can be more challenging to correct in the adult years and may require a more complex treatment, like corrective jaw surgery.

Early orthodontic screenings enable our experienced orthodontists to intervene with problematic conditions and take the necessary steps to establish a healthy foundation for a beautiful set of permanent teeth to grow.

What is the cost of braces?

There is no fixed cost of braces; the cost of treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and the length of treatment required.

We’re proud to offer modern braces options and personalized treatment plans with flexible financing! Our team will work with you to create a custom financial plan that makes you and your wallet happy.

We also offer discounts and accept almost all insurance plans to help you manage the cost of braces. We’re here to help you achieve the smile of your dreams in any way that we can!

Do I still need to visit my dentist throughout my orthodontic treatment period?

Yes! Dental cleanings are still extremely important. We want to ensure that your teeth and gums are clean and healthy throughout your treatment. Visit your dentist for professional cleanings every 6 months or however often your dentist advises.

We’re happy to coordinate with your dentist on any needs throughout your treatment as well!

Am I too old to start orthodontic treatment?

No matter your age, you’re never too old to achieve the smile you’ve wanted your whole life. We treat people ages 4-99!

How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?

This is why we perform a complimentary exam! During your complimentary orthodontic exam with Dr. Carroll or Dr. Sutton, we’ll thoroughly assess your teeth and bite (including complimentary X-rays and diagnostic photos) and discuss any orthodontic-related issues you may be experiencing. Through this assessment, we can determine which orthodontic treatment would be best.

meantime, here are some signs you can look out for to determine whether you need treatment:

  • You have crowding or spacing
  • You’re not confident in your smile
  • You have difficulty breathing, or you mouth-breathe often
  • You have difficulty sleeping
  • You feel pain when opening or closing your mouth
  • Your jaw pops or clicks when opening your mouth
  • Your teeth overlap
  • You experience persistent soreness in your teeth or gums

Do braces hurt?

We think you’ll be relieved to know that getting braces does not hurt! When we place your braces on, we are simply bonding brackets to your teeth and attaching your archwires to your brackets. This won’t cause you any pain. It’s like putting stickers on your fingernails – you won’t even feel it!

The first week you have braces, you may experience some minor soreness as your teeth and gums are adjusting to the support of your braces. You can take some Tylenol® or another over-the-counter pain reliever to counteract the soreness. This should subside after the first week or two.

How long will my treatment period be?

This will depend on a few factors, including your overall oral health, the severity of your case, and your diligence in following directions and wearing your appliances (like rubber bands).

On average, a full treatment can take anywhere from 12 to 36 months, although your case may require a shorter or longer period of time.

Once your orthodontist completes your complimentary consultation, we’ll have an estimate of how long your treatment period will be. The length of your treatment may change, depending on how quickly your teeth are shifting and whether you wear your appliances as instructed.

Can I play sports with braces?

Yes, your orthodontic treatment won’t stop you from living your best life! As long as you wear a mouthguard when playing sports, you won’t have to sit on the sidelines during the season.

Be sure to buy a mouthguard that is made specifically for braces. Wearing a mouthguard will protect you and other players from damage.

What can I eat with braces?

You can still eat at your favorite restaurants in Sarasota County! You’ll be able to eat tons of delicious snacks, meals and desserts with your braces on too.

During the first week of your treatment, as your teeth and gums are adjusting, you may want to choose softer foods, like pasta, tuna, mashed potatoes, or soup. Knowing what to eat during your first week with braces requires some of your own discretion. You can integrate harder foods into your diet as soon as you’re feeling up to it.

Here’s a list of foods to avoid with braces.

Is it normal if my teeth are wiggling during orthodontic treatment?

As weird as this sensation may be, this is normal! Your teeth and gums are adjusting to your braces. The whole point of your treatment is to guide your teeth into alignment, and with this movement comes some minor tooth wiggling.

Toward the end of your treatment, once your teeth have moved into the desired position and you enter the retention phase, your teeth will stabilize and stop wiggling.

If any of your teeth are wiggling considerably and it concerns you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We’re here to calm your fears and ensure that you’re working toward the best possible results from your treatment.

How do I brush and floss my teeth while wearing braces?

When you get your braces on, our team will show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth!

Maintaining your oral hygiene is especially important during orthodontic treatment. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria can grow between your teeth and around your brackets and archwires, causing permanent stains, cavities, or gum disease.

Here’s how to properly brush your teeth with braces:

  1. Brush the outside and inside of your teeth, as well as the chewing surface and gumline.
  2. Brush in small circles to reach between your archwires and around the corners of your brackets.
  3. Make sure you’re brushing thoroughly but gently enough to avoid damaging your braces.

When flossing between your teeth, we recommend using a specialized flossing threader that allows you to insert the floss thread between your teeth and braces. Specialized flossing threaders have a solid end that makes it easier to push the floss through the archwires.

For more information, watch our Braces Instructions video. Our assistants will teach you everything you need to know about having braces!

Will I need rubber bands (elastics) and orthodontic wax?

We won’t know whether you require rubber bands until you visit us for your complimentary consultation. Some patients need rubber bands to align their bite, while other patients don’t. It all depends on your unique case.

Elastics, or rubber bands, are one of the most common appliances used during treatment with braces. Elastics are hooked around a bracket on the top teeth and a bracket on the bottom teeth to exert persistent (but gentle) force. Over time, this force aligns the teeth and jaw bones and treats malocclusions (poor bite conditions), like overbites, underbites, crossbites, and open bites.

Orthodontic wax is used in the case of minor orthodontic emergencies. If a wire pops loose, or a bracket is irritating your cheeks, orthodontic wax can be applied to the bracket or poking wire to provide temporary relief until you’re able to visit us.

To apply orthodontic wax, you’ll wash your hands, then pinch off a small piece of wax. You’ll roll this piece into a ball, then apply it to the DRY wire or bracket. Squeeze the wax into place to make sure it doesn’t fall off, then run your tongue over the wax to feel for any looseness. If there is too much saliva upon placement, the wax will not stay attached well. Watch this video for the best way to apply wax to the bracket for the fastest relief.

Be sure to give us a call so we can get your braces fixed at your next appointment!

What is an “orthodontic emergency”?

Orthodontic emergencies are rare, but they happen – and our team is here for you if you experience one.

Common ortho emergencies include:

  • Rubber band comes off your braces
  • Archwire pops out of place
  • Loose or broken braces bracket
  • Soreness due to poking wires or metal pieces
  • Broken or misplaced Clear Aligners or appliance
  • Lost, cracked, or broken retainers
  • Tooth pain or soreness


We have an assistant on call 24/7 to handle our patients’ after-hours needs!

Just call our office and you’ll be prompted to follow instructions for an emergency.

(941) 257-2000