Frequently Asked Questions

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?
No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

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?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an e-mail. 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 from you.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient will be asked for the new patient forms and insurance card. The doctor will then complete a thorough clinical exam. Additional information, such as X-rays or photographs, may be needed for proper diagnosis.

What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are five essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
What must 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?

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. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. In general, treatment time lasts from 8 months to 30 months. The “average” time frame a person is in braces is approximately 18-24 months.

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. We will cover the exact cost and financial options during the initial examination. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will review these with you. We will also review your insurance policy and help to maximize your benefit and file your claims.

How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

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 4 to 8 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.

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 their patient manager 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 you cannot return to school the same day.

Do you give shots?
No. Shots are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Do you use recycled braces?
Absolutely not! It is our belief that each patient should be provided with their own braces to achieve the best orthodontic result possible.

Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for all sports.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

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 at least four times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. We will show each patient how to floss their teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, 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 aside time for you.
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.

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 usually lasts about 6-18 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image.

Will my child need full braces if he/she has Phase One treatment?
It is best to assume that your child will need full braces even after Phase One treatment. 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 future treatment recommendations.

Will my child need an expander?
At the completion of the initial examination, we will determine whether a patient will need an expander.

Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. In fact, 25 percent of all orthodontic patients are adults. Health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces!

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have extensive and specialized training that enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalized treatments.

Complimentary Consultation Form

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Our Family has chosen Petrunic Orthodontics because of the overall care that is given to our children. Dr. Chris takes time to learn about each individual and their personality and lifestyle then tailors his plan of care to that child. He only recommended devices or procedures as they became necessary. Dr. Petrunic is also involved in the community supporting the various activities of his patients

Jennifer - Prattville, AL

"Dr. Petrunic and his staff are extremely caring and professional. During every appointment and follow up visit , I always felt he was truly concerned about my satisfaction and always provided a comfortable and caring environment. Now that my daughter is a patient, I look forward to seeing him and his staff every month! I would highly recommend Dr. Petrunic for your orthodontic needs."

Kim - Prattville, AL

When it was time for my daughter to need braces, we consulted with a few different orthodontists regarding treatment. Since Dr. Petrunic was the third orthodontist we met with, I guess you could say the best was saved for last. My daughter felt at ease as soon as she met Dr. Petrunic. He and his staff have been wonderful to work with. Dr. Petrunic is very thorough in all aspects of the treatment.

Denise S. - Prattville, AL

Orthodontics FAQ

At Petrunic Orthodontics we are here to walk you through the entire process. From our free consultation to your desired end results, we make sure the process is as easy and seamless as possible.  We have created some FAQ to help you get started, but we would  also love to sit down with you in person and answer any and all of your questions.    

Is it required that my family dentist schedule my appointment with the orthodontist?

No, it is not. Many of our patients are referred by their family dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.

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?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or send us an e-mail. 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 from you.

Chris Petrunic, DMD, MS

Braces Prattville, AL | Orthodontist Prattville, AL | Braces Millbrook, AL | Orthodontist Millbrook, AL

Seeing the joy and confidence on my patients' faces when they achieve the smiles of their dreams is the best part of being an orthodontist. Over the past eight years, I have met such wonderful people, and they've all taught me so much. I think people enjoy being around somebody who truly loves what he or she does, and that excitement becomes infectious. I hope that each and every patient I meet becomes as excited as I am about his or her orthodontic treatment.

I am a native of Prattville, AL, and proud to have been born and raised in such a great community. I live here with my wife, Ashley, and our two children. My free time is spent hunting, fishing, playing golf, or really just doing anything outside. I can also be found on my family’s farm. 

Being a part of the community where I practice is very important to me. I enjoy watching the children I treat grow up and thrive in the community that I call home. I see so many of my patients out around town at dinner, ballgames, church and community functions. I believe that a practicing doctor should know his patients as people and not just as a name on a chart. I want my patients to develop a sense of pride and bond with somebody they see as one of their own.

Testimonials

"Dr. Petrunic and his staff are extremely caring and professional. During every appointment and follow up visit , I always felt he was truly concerned about my satisfaction and always provided a comfortable and caring environment. Now that my daughter is a patient, I look forward to seeing him and his staff every month! I would highly recommend Dr. Petrunic for your orthodontic needs." read more 

"Our Family has chosen Petrunic Orthodontics because of the overall care that is given to our children. Dr. Chris takes time to learn about each individual and their personality and lifestyle then tailors his plan of care to that child. He only recommended devices or procedures as they became necessary. Dr. Petrunic is also involved in the community supporting the various activities of his patients..."  read more

"When it was time for my daughter to need braces, we consulted with a few different orthodontists regarding treatment. Since Dr. Petrunic was the third orthodontist we met with, I guess you could say the best was saved for last. My daughter felt at ease as soon as she met Dr. Petrunic. He and his staff have been wonderful to work with. Dr. Petrunic is very thorough in all aspects of the treatment..." read more

Don't Wait Any Longer for The Smile of Your Dreams!