FAQ

When should my child see an orthodontist?
The short answer is that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children see an orthodontist by age 7. This is the age where we can see major problems developing and recommend a plan for the future. Most children 7 and under do not require any treatment or intervention yet, just a plan for future action.

The long answer is that a discussion with your family dentist can help you to decide what the best time is for a consultation. There are some problems that may benefit from an earlier consultation and some that do not require an evaluation until all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

If you are unsure, don’t hesitate to contact an orthodontist for a new patient consultation. The appointments are almost always done at no charge to you and can provide you with valuable information.

How is an orthodontist different from a dentist who does braces?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist (in much the same way that a cardiologist is a medical specialist). Orthodontists have completed two or more years of university training, beyond dental school, specifically in the movement of teeth and bones. For a general dentist, braces is PART of what they do. For an orthodontist, braces is ALL that we do.

How much do braces cost?
The honest answer is that there is a huge range. Some orthodontic problems can be corrected with a simple plastic appliance and some will involve braces and surgery. It would be fair to assume that for a typical teenager, the range would be in the $6000 to $9000 range.

Do clear aligners work as well as metal braces?
Yes and no. For some bite problems, clear aligners are not a good option. This may be, for example, in cases where teeth need to be removed or surgery is required. For other bite problems, clear aligners are just as good as braces. There are also some instances where clear aligners are a better option than braces.

If you are interested in a less visible way to move your teeth, ask an orthodontist if clear aligners will work for you.

How long will I have to have braces?
It is rare to have braces for less than one year and also rare to have them for more than three years. Most people fall near the two-year window. Tooth movement is slow in order to protect the roots of your teeth from damage. Slow and steady wins the race here.

Why do some children who still have baby teeth have braces?
There are some bite problems (for example, an underbite) that benefit greatly from treatment beginning when there are baby teeth still present. These problems usually originate from the bony structure of the jaws, and braces may help avoid the need for underbite surgery.

Most orthodontic problems are best-addressed with intervention when all of the baby teeth have fallen out. Beware of recommendations of treatment for something like crowded teeth when baby teeth are present. This usually means braces twice with full braces later when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

What is a crossbite?
A normal bite will have all of the upper teeth slightly outside of the lower teeth. A crossbite is when one tooth or multiple teeth are on the wrong side of the other teeth. For example, an anterior crossbite is when the top front teeth are behind the bottom front teeth, instead of the other way around.

How can I pay for my treatment?
Most orthodontic offices have many options for payment. We accept cash, debit, Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Most of our families pay for their orthodontic care using our interest-free monthly financing.

Do you take insurance? Orthodontists in Canada are not allowed to accept payment directly from an insurance provider. However, we are more than happy to provide you with insurance forms that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

How often do I need to see Dr. Jen for appointments? If you have traditional metal braces, you will see Dr. Jen every four to 10 weeks for an adjustment. If you have clear aligners, it is slightly less often at every six to 12 weeks.

Why do I have to wear elastics?
Most patients with braces or Invisalign will have elastics at some point in time during treatment. Elastics are used to correct the way the teeth bite together and can be used for as little as six weeks of treatment to as much as two years depending on what is being accomplished.

What do I do if I have an emergency?
Fortunately, in orthodontics there are few true emergencies. If you do feel the need to speak to Dr. Jen outside of regular office hours, her cell phone number is on our office voicemail.

Will my wisdom teeth make my teeth crooked?
Not generally. Wisdom teeth can cause a whole host of problems, but crowding of the front teeth is not usually one of them. There are a lot of good reasons to have your wisdom teeth removed. Talk to your dentist or orthodontist if you are concerned about your wisdom teeth.

Can I chew gum with my braces?
Yes, you can! We encourage the use of sugar-free gum with braces as some people find this takes away some of the braces pain and achiness that can happen.

Will it hurt?
The process of putting your braces on does not hurt. It is very similar to putting a sticker on a piece of paper. The part of braces that is uncomfortable is the part that comes after your braces have been placed. We tell all of our patients that their teeth will be sore for three to 10 days. This is because the forces the braces are putting on your teeth are new. These new forces are making your teeth loose so that we can move them to the correct position. Eating softer foods and a Tylenol® or Advil® will help. Most people find that the mild discomfort they feel does not interfere with their regular activities.

To arrange your complimentary consultation, call Impact Orthodontics at 403.256.7797 or use our online Request an Appointment form. Patients visit us from Okotoks, Southeast Calgary, Southwest Calgary and South Calgary.

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