There are many questions you may have regarding orthodontic care. For your convenience, we have compiled this list of frequently asked questions to give you valuable information about orthodontic treatments. Please contact Tingey Orthodontics at 907-789-9683 to learn more about our orthodontic care in Juneau, Alaska, and to schedule an appointment with our orthodontist, Dr. Brent Tingey.

What is orthodontics? 

  • Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. It is a field of dentistry that requires professional skill in design, application, and control of corrective appliances to bring the teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment, and to achieve facial balance.

What is an orthodontist? 

  • An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an additional two to three years of training after dental school, learning the management of tooth movement and guiding facial development.

What is the right age to begin orthodontic consultations or treatments? 

  • The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7. By this age, most children have had several permanent teeth emerge, which allows for an effective evaluation of the orthodontic condition. Sometimes, early orthodontic treatment can help avoid more complex or extensive treatment later.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment? 

  • Not at all! There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment. While the majority of orthodontic patients are children or adolescents, we regularly and successfully treat patients between 40 and 70+ years of age. The basic process of adjusting a bite, or moving teeth is the same for all healthy individuals, regardless of age.

How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer? 

  • Brush your teeth after EVERY meal and floss at least once a day.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse.
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure to brush and floss, and keep your retainer safe in its container to avoid breaking or losing it.
  • Keep your retainer clean by gently brushing it with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You can also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Never put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, avoid foods that are high in sugar. These types of foods increase the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which can result in more plaque and cavities.
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears, etc.), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes, etc.) or any foods that could possible get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, soft bagels, ribs, popcorn, taffy, etc.).
  • Be sure to continue having routine checkups with your family dentist. We recommend that you visit your dentist every six months.

Do braces hurt? 

  • Braces do not usually “hurt.” After a regular visit to the orthodontist, your teeth may ache for a few days. Pain medications such as Advil or Tylenol are usually enough to ease this discomfort. Over time, you may not feel any pain at all following an office visit.

Can I still play sports or musical instruments?

  • Definitely! If you play a sport, we recommend that you be fitted for an athletic mouth guard to protect your braces as well as your teeth and gums. You may require a few adjustments while playing a musical instrument, but you should be able to play normally while wearing braces.