A Different Kind of Orthodontics For All the Right Reasons – Dr Carl Roy

“We are going to accept you now, just don’t tell anyone yet.” His heart danced. A fist pumping, joy dance inducing moment that had to be submerged.  But it hadn’t started out that way.

When Dr Carl Roy decided to go to specialize in orthodontics, it was no small decision.

After having graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1979, he had spent time practicing in Northern Virginia as a dentist, then in Lynchburg, VA and then back in Virginia Beach.

He got “his feet wet” and then some in the practice of general dentistry.

During this time, he had sought out the best training that dentistry had to offer so he could be the best he could be.

It was at one of these post-graduate trainings with Dr Peter Dawson, a giant in the field, that he came to the conclusion: “I am going to be an orthodontist.

This meant once again uprooting and going to still another location. Plus, he had the responsibility to provide for the new addition to his life, his beautiful newborn daughter, Meredith. Yet, this was what he wanted and as is his way, he was determined.

He was the first interview of what he knew were 132 applicants for just 3 spots in the orthodontic residency at West Virginia University Health Center. This was the one he wanted.

The interview had gone well until the last question asked: Why do you want to be an orthodontist? Talk about pressure. THIS was where he wanted to be. He had overcome a slew of “why you should not go to ortho school” just to apply. And now this one answer could be the hinge that opened the door to entrance or slam it shut. 

“I can’t even remember what I said”, Dr. Roy admitted, “but it must have been okay because as soon as I came out, the dean of the school asked to see me.”

It was in that Dean’s office that Dr Roy learned of his very unique acceptance. First interviewed and first accepted.

He completed his Masters degree in Orthodontics in 1987 and promptly moved back to Tidewater. The place he loved and the place he grew up.

He was the blessed middle child with two sisters whom he often was at odds with growing up. They had the typical brother sister relationship as kids, but became very close as they grew up.

His dad, Valley, meet his mom, Jane at a dance not long after Valley returned from military duty as part of the occupying force in Japan at the end of World War II. They married after an 18-month long courtship and started their family.

His mom was the ruler of family rituals: she cleaned and expected the kids to do their chores, clean their rooms and keep the house clean. His mom was also an avid bridge player and golfer.

“My house was so clean you could eat off the floors!” Dr Roy chuckled as he recalled those early years.

His dad would sometimes work two jobs just to make sure the family was provided for. Dr Roy was just Carl back then and he did not always see eye to eye with his dad. “We had our spats to say the least, but I see now how much he and Mom loved us, always taking care of us and showing tough love when warranted. I feel so grateful for my Dad. He was one of my heroes.”

 That new recognition brought a smile to his face. “I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but as an adult I see all mom and dad did for us.”

He was something of a mischievous kid and all-boy growing up. This was before the Internet and cell phones so playing outside in all seasons was just what kids did. He had a particular love for football. He played for Ferguson High School in Newport News. He even thought he might play in college.

Instead he went to college at Virginia Tech, briefly entertaining the idea of architecture, but quickly changing his major to biology and pre-dentistry. He had visited and shadowed both medical and dental doctors. The dentist was a family friend that encouraged Carl, telling him it was a great choice. The medical doctors weren’t so happy with practice, so Carl chose dentistry. But first he had to get into dental school and that meant doing well in school at Tech.

The courses for biology and pre-dent are very challenging, especially if you want to go to dental school. The killers of careers are organic chemistry and physics. Many a student has changed majors and their entire futures because they couldn’t get through these courses.

Carl Roy made the firm decision that if he was to do well, he had study and study hard on a disciplined schedule. He held himself to the standard he had set. This is a quality that lives in him today.

His organic chemistry professor, Dr Oligarusso, took a liking to Carl and encouraged him to take his Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) early and apply to dental school early during his junior year. Carl wasn’t so sure, but he allowed the experienced professor to give him guidance. He scored very well on his DAT and got his interview at MCV School of Dentistry, the only place he applied. 

After his interview, Carl thought he would have to wait until the next year. Evidently, Carl has a real skill in interviewing because he did the highly unusual. He was accepted after his junior year!

Carl had no thoughts of being an orthodontist while going through school at the Medical College of Virginia. He just wanted to be an excellent dentist.

He did well and was ready to graduate and take his state board exams. Now these exams are nerve racking because a major part of the three-day exam is done on patients, who may or may not help the doctor. Most cooperate, but you never know.

Well, Carl had one of those times when his patient presented a challenge that would have doomed most young dentists. He swallowed the gold inlay that Carl had worked on all day.

There was very little time left.

He scurried to the lab, made a new gold inlay in short order and successfully placed it just in time.

Less than 1% of dentists could have done what he did. He was already showing his professional skills.

In 1987, Carl began practicing orthodontics with four other orthodontists, sharing five offices situated across Tidewater.

“I learned a lot there, but I wanted to practice orthodontics to improve function as well as esthetics the way I was taught in my restorative dental education. That was why I went into orthodontics in the first place.”

So, in 1990, he opened his practice in Virginia Beach. Later he would open a second office in Chesapeake.

He searched for the mentor he now knew he needed to practice orthodontic excellence.

He talked to all the best orthodontists he knew from all over the country. They all pointed him to the same place: the Roth/Williams Center for Functional Occlusion post graduate program in Burlingame, California, about 20 miles south of San Francisco.

Drs. Roth and Williams befriended Carl and gave him the encouragement and training to practice a different kind of orthodontics, one that was and still is far more than just straight teeth.

Dr Carl Roy went from being student, to becoming teacher. He lectured with Dr. Roth and Williams for many years from the late 1990s until Dr Roth’s early death in January 2005.

In 2007, he started teaching the Full FACE (Functional and Cosmetic Excellence) course with a group of orthodontists trained by Drs. Roth and Williams. FACE has taken the Roth/Williams principles and added to them, accelerating and improving results all over the world.

Dr Roy has practiced as a restorative dentist and orthodontist – a unique combination that gives him perspectives on your care that help you get the care you really want at a high level.

He has lectured at universities around the country and internationally. These include Harvard, Boston University, Arizona School of Dentistry, NOVA Southeastern University, UCLA, Loma Linda, USC, Louisville, University or Colorado, multiple programs in New York and North Carolina.

Dr Roy has given professional talks to colleagues at the American Association of Orthodontists annual meeting. 

He has lectured in China, South America and Europe on the importance of jaw joint stability as well as how doctors in different specialties can work as team to ensure the best treatment outcomes and objective measurable goals for predictable treatment.

He has been invited to join the faculties of Boston University and Harvard. These invitations are a tribute to his understanding of orthodontics, the proper function of the jaws and enhancing the oral health of patients. 

Dr Roy has served on the faculty of Children’s National Medical Center and the Dawson Academy.

He serves on the Examining Committee for the Edward H. Angle Society, a prestigious, educational, invitation only orthodontic study group composed of the luminaries in the profession of teaching and guiding orthodontics around the world.

Dr Roy has been spending nearly 30 days a year teaching postgraduate orthodontics for over 25 years.

When asked why he has done this, he simply said, “It is how I give back.”

He then explained a bit more. “I have seen too many cases under-diagnosed and under-treated leading to disappointment and failure of care and waste of monies spent. I don’t want that for my patients.”

Today Dr Carl Roy is married to Laura Roy who he says is just about the best thing that ever happened to him.

He has 2 wonderful children, Meredith and Taylor. Meredith and Taylor were completely different growing up. Meredith loved writing poetry and short stories even in elementary school. Taylor loved mechanical things and wanted to grow up to be an aerospace engineer. “Their interests were consistent as they grew up and Meredith still loves to read and write and proofs research papers for college students.  Taylor is studying to be an engineer. 

“I am very proud of who they have grown to be” says Carl. “They are both very kind, with a loving heart and a good head on their shoulders. I pray they both have a future that they love as much as I have loved practicing orthodontics.”

Today, Dr Carl Roy is an honored clinician and teacher to so many and has earned the respect and admiration from the best in the field that selected him to prestigious honorary orthodontic organizations as a member and a leader.

Dr. Carl Roy is still on the mission that brought him to orthodontics in the first place – to help his patients enjoy beautiful smiles and faces, healthy jaw joints, open airway and bites that help teeth last a lifetime.

That is a true health service.

This is so much more than just straight teeth, but you or your child will get that too!

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Dr. Roy and his team took great care of my son’s teeth. They are efficient, professional and knowledgeable. Everyone has been friendly and helpful. They fixed my niece’s braces for free during her visit!Jay W.

Dr. Carl Roy obtained his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the Medical College of Virginia in 1979. After practicing general dentistry for six years, he made the decision to pursue orthodontics as a specialty. In 1987, Dr. Roy completed his orthodontic residency at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry, where he received a Master’s of Science Degree with honors.

Upon receiving his license for orthodontics, Dr. Roy began practicing alongside four other specialists in Tidewater, where he was born and raised. However, he soon realized he wanted to further his education once more, so he could provide optimal health and function for his patients in addition to simply straight teeth. That is when he decided to attend the two-year program offered by the Roth/Williams Center for Functional Occlusion. Years later in 2007, Dr. Roy would go on to adopt the principles he learned there; and along with a group of several other orthodontists, he developed the Full FACE (Functional and Cosmetic Excellence) Course in an effort to improve the field of orthodontics all over the world. Today, Dr. Roy has spent nearly 20 years teaching postgraduate orthodontics.

For Dr. Roy, orthodontics is truly a passion. In addition to beautiful smiles, he gives his patients healthy jaw joints, functioning bites, and open airways. These are the elements that can improve your oral health for years to come.

Dr. Roy is a member of several professional associations. His affiliations and roles are listed below.

  • Member of the American Dental Association, Virginia Dental Association, and Tidewater Dental Association
  • Past Chairman of the Peer Review/Patient Relations committee
  • Executive Committee of the Tidewater Dental Association
  • Fellow of the Virginia Dental Association
  • Member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Tidewater Orthodontic Society
  • Past President of the Tidewater Orthodontic Society
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics
  • Member of the Roth/Williams International Society of Orthodontists and the Arnett Interdisciplinary Foundation
  • Served as Attending Instructor: Department of Orthodontics, National Children’s Medical Center, Washington, D.C.
  • Faculty Roth/Williams Center for Functional Occlusion and the Functional and Cosmetic Excellence post orthodontic training program
  • Lecturer at numerous orthodontic residency programs around the country and to orthodontists and dentist both nationally and internationally
  • Visiting Faculty at the Dawson Academy, a center for advanced dental education