At Tollgate Orthodontics, our mission is to provide the communities of Warwick, Jamestown, and East Greenwich with the best in orthodontic care, just as we’ve always done. Over the years, Dr. Eves and our team have worked with countless patients, helping them transform their smiles with state-of-the-art orthodontic technology and personalized treatment plans, and one of the most important factors in ensuring that our patients get the best care is providing information. Keeping our patients informed creates a more comfortable treatment experience because they’ll never be caught off guard or feel lost at any point during their smile transformation. That’s why we always make a point to let our patients know that we encourage all questions at any time, whether you’re in the office for an appointment or you think of something at home, and you want to give us a call. We promise that we will always provide you with the answers and information that you need. In an effort to make getting that information even easier for you, we’ve put together this list of our most frequently asked questions, that you can check out below!

Questions about Orthodontics for Children

When should my kids get their first orthodontic screening?

The recommended age that kids have their first appointment with an orthodontist is age seven, since this is when a few of their permanent teeth have already erupted and their jaw has entered the next stage of rapid growth. During this time, the orthodontist can identify early signs of potential orthodontic issues that require early treatment, or can plan for preventative treatment in the future. 

What are the advantages of early treatment?

Early treatment can often reduce the severity of bite issues once all the permanent teeth have developed, which can also lead to a shorter treatment time when your kids get braces or Invisalign

Why are tooth extractions necessary before orthodontic treatment?

Tooth extractions are not always necessary, and are only needed in certain cases of severe tooth crowding. The most common instance where a tooth will need to be removed is when baby teeth are causing the permanent teeth to become crowded, since there is not enough space in the jaw for them to comfortably develop. By extracting the specific baby teeth, the adult teeth will then have the room that it needs, preventing the development of a severely crowded smile. 

Can my child play sports while wearing braces?

Yes. However, we recommend that your child wears a special orthodontic mouth guard that will protect their braces, teeth, and soft tissue from damage. 

Can my child continue playing their musical instrument while in braces?

Yes. Although a period of adjustment is necessary, braces do not interfere with the playing of musical instruments.

Why are retainers necessary after orthodontic treatment?

After your kids finish with braces or Invisalign, the teeth and jaw need to get adjusted to their new positioning, and if not held in place, they can shift back to their original structure. To keep their smile perfectly straight, retainers prevent the teeth from shifting. 

Will my child’s tooth alignment fix itself as they get older?

Unfortunately, no. If your child has a crooked or misaligned smile, their smile will stay that way as they get older unless they get it corrected with orthodontic treatment. In fact, misaligned that is not treated can actually get worse over time. 

Questions about Orthodontics for Adults

Am I too old to have orthodontic treatment?

Absolutely not! Orthodontics can improve your smile at any age, and now, there are even a variety of treatment options available to adults, like braces and Invisalign. Approximately 25% of our orthodontic patients are adults.  

How does adult orthodontic treatment differ?

Since adults have a fully developed jaw and set of teeth, it becomes more difficult to move the teeth, meaning orthodontic treatment typically takes longer with adults compared to kids. Adults are also at greater risk of gum disease, which can cause issues with treatment. That’s why it Dr. Eves recommends that patients get treatment for gum disease if necessary, before starting with orthodontic treatment. 

My general dentist said I need to have some missing teeth replaced, but I need orthodontic treatment first, why?

When you have a missing tooth, your remaining teeth will naturally shift over into that open area of your gums. If the other teeth have moved, there may not be enough space there for your dentist to create an adequate tooth replacement. By getting orthodontic treatment first, you’re straightening your teeth to free up that empty space for your new tooth replacement. 

I’ve had crooked teeth for years. How can orthodontics benefit me now?

Yes. It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and get a perfect smile. The only thing to consider is that you may require other dental treatment before you start with orthodontics if you suffer from serious tooth decay or gum disease. 

General Information about Orthodontics

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities. These abnormalities typically consist of misalignment or developmental issue with the jaw and teeth. To correct these issues, corrective appliances like braces or clear aligners are used. 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has specialized in the field of orthodontics. To achieve that specialization, a dentist must undergo two or three years of additional training and schooling after graduating from a four-year dental program. 

Who can have orthodontic treatment?

Anyone can have orthodontic treatment, since there are so many types of treatment available that can fix any kind of bite or jaw issues. 

What causes bad bites?

Generally, most malocclusion are hereditary, but some are can form due to bad habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or nail-biting that are very common at young ages. 

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment will vary on a case-to-case basis. Factors that can affect the cost include the severity of the misalignment and the type of orthodontic treatment needed for the correction. However, we believe that price is something that should never stand in the way of getting a new smile, which is why we offer the option for patients to set up affordable payment plans that meet their needs. 

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

While treatment time varies on a case by case basis, the typical length of orthodontic treatment ranges in between 18 and 24 months, meaning that the average length of treatment is around 22 months. Treatment time may be shorter for kids that received early orthodontic treatment before they got their braces or Invisalign.

How do braces & Invisalign work?

Both appliances are designed to put a small amount of directional pressure on the teeth and supporting jawbone, which will cause the teeth to move at a very slow pace. Over time, the teeth will eventually move into their new positioning to be perfectly aligned. 

What type of orthodontic treatment is right for me?

At Tollgate Orthodontics, we offer Damon® Braces (Damon Clear, Damon Q) and Invisalign, all of which have their own set of advantages that cater to a wide range of preferences. To find out which type of orthodontic treatment is best for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Eves, and he will go over all of your options with you.

Are braces painful?

No. The most that patients ever feel with braces in a slight discomfort after they first get their braces put on. As their teeth get adjusted to the pressure from the braces, which typically takes a few days, that discomfort will go away. Also, patients can take over-the-counter pain medication that will provide more than enough relief for the amount of discomfort.  

Contact Us With Your Questions!

If you didn’t find all the answers you were looking for on this list and have more questions about your orthodontic treatment, just contact us at Tollgate Orthodontic, and you’ll be connected with a member of our staff who will be more than happy to assist you. For years, Dr. Eves and our team have worked with the communities of Warwick, Jamestown, and East Greenwich, providing reliable orthodontic care to patients of all ages, so everyone can have the perfect smile they deserve. If you’re ready to take the first step on the path to your new smile, just schedule your appointment with us today by calling either of our two local orthodontic offices, or by filling out our online appointment request form. We look forward to seeing your smiling face in our office soon!