Welcome to Jensen Orthodontics

FAQ/Glossary

Look through the list below to find answers to some common concerns from our patients. If you don’t get the information you’re looking for, contact our office.

How much does a consultation cost?

Dr. Jensen offers free consultations, which include a panoramic X-ray of your jaws, teeth and jaw joints, photographic digital imaging of the teeth, face and gum tissues, an orthodontic examination, a tentative diagnosis, and a tentative treatment plan. With this information, Dr. Jensen will discuss your treatment needs, the timing of treatment, and give you a fee as well as payment options.

How much do braces cost?

Our fees are based upon treatment time and the severity of the case. Since there is such a range, we cannot quote a fee without first examining a patient. We do try to provide payment options that are sufficiently flexible to accommodate most financial situations. In the area where Dr. Jensen practices, the Nova Scotia Dental Association has established a fee range of $6,200 to $11,200(Cdn) for comprehensive orthodontic treatment

Will my health insurance cover the cost of braces?

Many dental insurance plans will assist with a portion of the fee. If you would like to call our office, our financial coordinator will be happy to assist you in determining your insurance coverage.

Can I go directly to Dr. Jensen, or does the dentist have to refer me?

If you think you have an orthodontic problem, you may contact us directly. We do require that patients have a recent dental cleaning and a dental check-up before commencing orthodontic treatment.

Why should I see an orthodontic specialist?

Orthodontists have two to three years of highly specialized training above and beyond that of a general dentist, in the correction and diagnosis of jaw and bite irregularities. An orthodontic specialist practices only orthodontics. Other types of dentists can “legally” offer braces to their patients, but lack the intensive training and specialized experience of an orthodontist. Just as we seek the opinions of medical specialists, such as cardiologists and dermatologists, for specific medical problems, it is important to choose the proper orthodontic specialist for bite correction.

How do I know if I really need braces?

Patients generally require orthodontic treatment for four different reasons.

  • They don’t like the appearance of their smile.
  • Their bite is incorrect and is putting extra pressure on the gums, teeth, and jaw joints, which may cause pain, headaches, chewing difficulties, and/or stomach upsets.
  • Their dentist needs to perform some restorative work and needs the teeth to be moved orthodontically beforehand.
  • They are having difficulty keeping their teeth and gums clean, resulting in increased cavities, recession, or discolouration of their teeth.

How do I choose an orthodontist?

There are many factors you should consider when deciding on an orthodontic specialist. Since you will be visiting his/her office at regular intervals throughout treatment for an extended period of time, make sure that you choose an office where you feel comfortable. You should know what is involved with each aspect of your treatment before you start and you should feel comfortable asking questions. Dr. Jensen truly cares about each and every patient and will make every effort to ensure your comfort and/or your child’s comfort throughout treatment.

Am I too old for braces?

We like to say, “It’s never too late to go straight!” Teeth can be moved at any age. The oldest patient we have treated thus far was in her seventies.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

The length of treatment varies from 12 to 36 months depending on the severity and complexity of your malocclusion. Before you start treatment, Dr. Jensen will let you know the length of time your treatment should take. However, the average time for treatment is 18 to 24 months

What are clear braces? Are they more expensive?

The clear braces Dr. Jensen uses are of the highest quality composite material. They are just as effective as metal braces, but less visible. The clear braces are a little more fragile than the metal ones. Dr. Jensen only recommends clear braces on the upper front teeth because most people only show their upper front teeth when they smile.

Do I need to have surgery to correct my bite or my jaw joints?

In those patients who have been unfortunate enough to have inherited their upper jaw from their great-great grandmother on their mother’s side, and their lower jaw from their great-great grandfather on their father’s side, and their teeth inherited from who knows who, the jaws and teeth were never meant to fit together in the same head. Therefore, if the genetic codes for teeth and jaws in that particular patient do not match up, or don’t fit together in harmony and balance, and without dysfunction and/or pain, then they have to be rearranged so that they do work smoothly and painlessly. These types of jaw, teeth, and facial dysplasias usually start to manifest themselves between the ages of seven and 10 years of age. If they are diagnosed and treated by a qualified and certified orthodontist in the early years, before they stop growing, many of these potentially severe dentoskeletal problems can be minimized or eliminated so that the surgical decision to treat them becomes an optional one, rather than one of necessity. Dr. Jensen has been preaching this philosophy of prevention and interception for 25 years. To this end, he has encouraged parents to bring their children in as early as seven years of age for an orthodontic screening and diagnosis FREE OF CHARGE. During this visit, a digital panoramic X-ray is taken of all of the developing teeth, jaws, and jaw joints. As well, digital photographs are taken of the external and internal structures of the face, teeth, and jaws. Dr. Jensen performs an examination both intra and extraoral, writes up a report, sends it to the patient’s dentist and/or medical doctor when requested to do so. An in-depth explanation of the diagnosis and proposal for treatment is then given to the parents and child in layman’s terms.

However, in those patients who are no longer growing (14-21 years of age), or adults who have not had the opportunity to have their dentoskeletal facial problem diagnosed and/or treated early, then they may require orthodontic surgical management. To put things in perspective, orthognathic (jaw) surgery has been around for 150 years. A few of the pioneers in jaw surgery were Fouchard, LeForte, Obwegeser, Wunderer, Bell, Epker, and Precious. In Dr. Jensen’s practice, he has been using a combination of orthodontic treatment and orthognathic surgery to successfully treat difficult and challenging dentoskeletal facial dysplasias since 1972. Most jaw surgery cases are adults.

However, some growing patients can benefit from a combination of jaw surgery and orthodontic treatment if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • If the patient is grossly disfigured with low self-esteem, poor self-image, and lack of confidence because of their facial and jaw disfigurement.
  • If the patient is experiencing severe jaw/muscle pain and cannot be treated by medication, or remain on pain medication indefinitely.
  • If the patient cannot chew his/her food adequately because of a poor bite or crooked, and is having ongoing GIT (gastrointestinal) distress, manifesting in gastritis, enteritis, heartburn, acid reflux, ulceration, and halitosis (bad breath).
  • If the patient cannot tolerate wearing a headgear, face mask, intermaxillary elastic bands, or functional appliance to correct his/her dentoskeletal facial disfigurement.

Will I need to have any permanent teeth removed when I get braces?

Other than wisdom teeth, the answer is generally no. However, there may be a few exceptions, i.e. if there are already permanent teeth missing in the opposing jaw, occasionally a tooth or teeth may need to be removed to create a symmetrical arch form. Keep in mind that the right and left jaw joints work more harmoniously and symmetrically if the bite and teeth that dictate their movements is symmetrical right to left and top to bottom. As well, the muscles of mastication that control the lower jaw movements, when chewing, talking, opening, and closing like to work symmetrically. In addition, removing permanent teeth can deepen the bite which causes the lower jaw and associated muscles to work abnormally hard, causing the lower jaw to position itself too far posterially (backwards) resulting in encroachment on the auriculo temporal nerves, which in many patients manifests itself clinically in the form of frontal headaches, earaches, neck and shoulder pain, sinus-like pain, paresthesia (numbness or pins and needles) down the arm, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), loss of hearing, loss of balance, jaw joint noises, or locking of the jaw in some cases osteoarthritic degeneration of one or both jaw joints by the age of 40.

Removal of permanent teeth, other than wisdom teeth, in some patients results in a flatter or concave (dished-in) profile with the lips sunken in and the chin and nose appearing to be larger than they really are. Extraction also contributes to deeper nasolabial folds, i.e. deep wrinkles (lines) between the corners of the nose and corners of the lips, tends to cause premature aging in the opinions of many orthodontists, I being one of them.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is the name of the jaw joint associated with chewing. Dr. Jensen uses splints, braces, and occasional jaw surgery to relieve problems associated with the jaw joints. TMJ dysfunction usually implies that the patient is suffering from headaches, earaches, neck and shoulder pain, loss of hearing, loss of balance, backaches, difficulty chewing, difficulty in jaw opening, locking jaws, and jaw joint osteoarthritic degeneration. Sometimes, Dr. Jensen works closely with your family dentist, a periodontal specialist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, a prosthodontist and/or a physiotherapist, when correcting TMJ problems.

Will I be able to floss my teeth after the braces are put on?

Yes, our hygienist and/or dental assistant will teach you how to floss your teeth properly around braces, using floss threaders or superfloss.

Is it harder to clean your teeth if you are wearing braces?

Yes. It is normally more difficult to take care of your teeth because the braces are harder to clean around. We are committed to helping you take care of your teeth, gums and braces, and will show you exactly how to clean around your braces at the first appointment, when we put on your braces. With proper techniques, cleaning takes only a few minutes after each time you eat. We will supply you with proper tools required to keep your mouth and braces spotlessly clean.

Does it hurt when you put the braces on or take them off?

It does not hurt to have the braces placed on your teeth. We use a method called direct bonding that maximizes patient comfort and minimizes chair time for the procedure. We use a special instrument to gently remove the braces and most patients report minimal discomfort with removal, which usually take approximately five minutes.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a removable appliance that is fitted to your teeth to hold them in their newly corrected positions, after your braces are removed. Dr. Jensen’s patients wear retainers full-time (24 hours/day) for two weeks after braces are removed, then every night for an additional 12 months. After that time, patients will be instructed to wear their retainers two or three nights a week for as long as they wish their teeth to remain as perfect as they were when their braces were removed. The retainers are made from clear, strong, but flexible acrylic called Invisitain which is virtually invisible.

What are impressions?

Impressions of the teeth are taken to enable us to make a mould of the teeth, either for diagnosis or to construct an orthodontic appliance. Impressions are taken by filling a well-fitted metal or plastic tray with a substance called alginate that looks like frosting and is about the consistency of peanut butter. The tray is then placed in the mouth for about a minute until the alginate starts to set like Jell-O. When the tray is removed, you can see dents or “impressions” of all your teeth. The impressions are then filled with plaster of Paris or stone to make an exact three dimensional replica of the teeth.

Why are so many young children in braces today?

Our office generally initiates early, preventive, or interceptive treatment in children who do not yet have all of their permanent teeth erupted. By doing so, it will enable us to utilize their growth and dental development to achieve a better long-term result. Not all children need interceptive treatment. Some common goals of early treatment include creating enough space for all of the permanent teeth to erupt, and correcting an imbalance in growth between the upper and lower jaws, as well as the discrepancy in size between the baby teeth and the permanent teeth. By seeing patients early (seven years of age), we are usually able to either eliminate the problem and consequently braces, or make a potentially severe problem less severe, and therefore, more easily managed later on in life, with less invasive and expensive procedures.

Why are so many adults in braces today?

Mostly because they did not have the opportunity as children due to distance, cost or parental awareness, immaturity, lack of motivation, or lack of knowledge. Nowadays, with the prevalence of the Internet, TV, movies, and networking, the public is very tuned-in and very much aware of the benefits derived from orthodontics. To that end, this web site created by Dr. Jensen and his marketing team will hopefully address many of the concerns and questions in the minds of potential patients, and parents of patients, who may require the expertise of an experienced, certified, caring orthodontist who taught the subject for 16 years at Dalhousie Dental School in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Can I wear colours on my braces?

The colours you see on braces are elastic ties used to attach the brackets to the archwire. They are usually changed at each visit. We offer a kaleidoscope of 52 colours and allow our patients to select two different colours each time they have their braces adjusted. We even have glow-in-the-dark elastic modules for nighttime visibility as well as grey or clear ties for those desiring a more discreet look. Self-ligating braces are the latest technologically advanced braces we use, which don’t require elastics at all.

What is the proper age for a first visit?

Both the American and Canadian Association of Orthodontists (15,000 strong) recommend that every child have an orthodontic screening by no later than the age of seven. Even if comprehensive treatment is not indicated at that age, this appointment will serve as a baseline from which we can monitor future growth and development of the teeth and jaws. It is a common fact that 50% of all seven year-olds have an underlying orthodontic problem that should be, and could be diagnosed and treated early, thus avoiding the more comprehensive and more expensive form of orthodontic treatment that necessitates wearing fixed braces, and sometimes jaw surgery over a period of 18-24 months.