Orthodontic Treatment for Adults in Dartmouth

Below are some things to consider for your oral health as an adult.

Is it too late to have braces if I am an adult?

No. Age is not a factor. More than 30% of our patients are adults ranging in age from 20 to 60, seeking the treatment they did not or could not have when they were younger. Technological advances in the healthcare industry have provided excellent treatment options for adults. Health, happiness, and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is “too old” to wear braces, to enjoy a radiant smile, or be able to chew food more efficiently without stomach upsets! Remember the slogan: “A nice smile and a firm handshake” will open the doors of opportunity and pave the way to a successful career.

What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment for adults?

When left untreated, many orthodontic problems become worse. Treatment by a specialist to correct the original problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years such as TMJ dysfunction, severe crowding, gum disease, and prevalence of tooth decay.

The benefits of orthodontic treatment for adults include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved self-confidence and self-esteem, therefore increasing your chances for success in business and personal relationships.
  • Improve your smile by making it more attractive, more radiant, and brighter.
  • Reduce appearance self-consciousness and embarrassment.
  • Improve the ability to clean your teeth in order to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and eventually tooth loss.
  • Orthodontic treatment can be very advantageous to reduce the potential for other problems, such as abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, excessive stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, malalignment of the jaws (which may result in chronic headaches and/or pain in the face or neck, or even arthritic jaw joints). Problems such as crowding, crossbites, overbites, underbites, or other alignment problems can all contribute to the above.
  • Eliminate or reduce discomfort which may accompany TMJ (jaw joint) problems, e.g. frontal headaches, eye pain, neck and shoulder pain, loss of hearing, loss of balance, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), jaw joint clicking and popping, jaw locking, numbness down the arm and fingers, and jaw joint osteoarthritic degeneration, as well as chronic tired jaws and muscles.
  • Correct harmful oral habits such as clenching/grinding, thumb or finger sucking, and nail biting.
  • Improve speech (prevent lisping or lateral air emissions).
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favourable positions.
  • Develop space for crowded, impacted, or blocked-out permanent teeth such as canine/eye-teeth or second bicuspid teeth, or in some cases, compacted second (12 year) molars.
  • Lower the risk of injury to protruded front teeth.
  • Improve facial balance (the balance of the jaw muscles), which enhances the attractiveness of the face and profile.
  • Improve lip closure and lip posture to prevent mouth breathing and opened mouth posture.
  • Improve chewing efficiency and enhance gastrointestinal tract function. A proper chewing mechanism helps eliminate gastritis, enteritis, heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and halitosis (bad breath).
  • Eliminate cheek, lip and tongue biting, and predisposition to precancerous trauma.
Everyone wants and deserves a beautiful smile, and everyone should have a healthy one. If you have an attractive smile and a firm handshake, a lot more doors will open with opportunities behind them. Some personnel managers and employers are reluctant or flatly refuse to hire a person with crooked teeth or an abnormal bite or unattractive facial appearance.

Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist or doctor to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jensen?

No. Many patients who have concerns about their health and appearance, and want to be evaluated as to the need for orthodontic care take the initiative themselves to schedule an examination. Dr. Jensen offers an initial consultation free of charge.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you think you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office at 902-466-6220 and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. During your call, our administrative staff will gather some very basic information and then schedule an appointment at our office in Dartmouth. If you notice a problem with your teeth, or if your dentist recommends that you see an orthodontist, it is in your best interest to make the appointment or have your dentist refer you as soon as possible.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Dr. Jensen will conduct a thorough examination using a digital panoramic X-ray examination of the patient’s teeth, jaws and jaw joints, etc., to determine if there is a need for orthodontic treatment. He will be looking to determine if there is enough room to accommodate all of the teeth, if the top teeth are lined up correctly with the bottom teeth, if any teeth are crooked or not oriented in the right position and/or angulated, and if there are missing or extra teeth. He will also be asking the patient if they clench or grind their teeth or experienced any jaw joint, headache, eye, ear or stomach problems. He will be looking for diagnostic wear patterns on the edges of the front teeth and muscle tenderness caused by grinding the teeth at night with the lower jaw in a forward or abnormal position. Many areas of the head and neck can be affected adversely by an abnormal bite or jaw joint problem.

Is there a cost for the initial examination?

No. There is no cost for the initial examination.

What orthodontic records are essential to properly diagnose and treat each patient’s individual orthodontic problem and prepare a customized treatment plan?

Orthodontic Records:

Orthodontic records include a panoramic (jaws or full mouth) X-ray, a cephalometric (3D) skull X-ray, impressions of the teeth, three facial photographs, and six intraoral photographs. Pretreatment orthodontic records are essential for Dr. Jensen to properly diagnose and plan each patient’s orthodontic treatment needs. Some orthodontic records may be taken again (progress records) during the course of treatment and after (posttreatment records) the completion of treatment in order to confirm that the objectives of treatment have been met, or to check on the status of the wisdom teeth in a patient who is 12 years of age or older, since wisdom teeth usually don’t have room, can cause relapse problems, and usually have to be removed by 16 years of age.

Panoramic X-Ray :

A digital panoramic X-ray enables Dr. Jensen to see all of the roots of the teeth and note the position of any unerupted and/or impacted teeth. Any missing or extra teeth will be identified on this X-ray. A digital panoramic X-ray is an excellent method to determine the best time to commence your child’s orthodontic treatment, or your treatment, since it used to assess the patient’s biological age, as opposed to the chronological age. It also enables Dr. Jensen to assess your jaw joint anatomy and position. This type of X-ray can also disclose jaw joint disease such as osteoarthritic degeneration, subluxation and or/dislocation, and fractures.

Cephalometric (Skull) X-Ray:

Cephalometric X-rays are used by Dr. Jensen to make angular and linear measurements of a patient’s hard- and soft-tissue profile and facial structures utilizing various skeletal and soft-tissue landmarks. Examples include the angles of the teeth in relation to the skull and jaw structures, as well as the angles of the jaws in the assessment of the facial profile. Each patient’s measurements are compared to normal values. Unaesthetic and asymmetrical, unbalanced faces, deep bites, open bites, and crossbites are usually related and caused by poorly related underlying bone structures and teeth, which usually can be aligned by orthodontic treatment.


Impressions are moulds of the teeth that are used to make 3D plaster of Paris/stone study models. Dr. Jensen uses the study models to help in the final diagnosis treatment planning when correcting the bite or relieving crowded teeth. Impressions are always made before and after orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic removable appliances and retainers are made on stone models of the teeth, which are made from the impressions.

Facial Photographs:

Facial photographs enable Dr. Jensen to identify and analyze various features of the face and smile, as well as the condition of the teeth and gums. Facial asymmetries, “gummy” smiles, and profile and soft-tissue imbalances are identified using facial photographs. These pretreatment photographs also provide a way to assess the progress of treatment. Some patients don’t show enough of their front teeth when they smile, which can be corrected with a combination of orthodontic and surgical treatment.

Intraoral Photographs:

Photographs of the teeth and gums are used, along with study models, to enable Dr. Jensen to accurately evaluate the malocclusion (bite), as well as the status of the supporting bone and gum tissue with areas of recession and/or periodontal disease (tooth-supporting bone loss). These photographs are extremely valuable to assess the progress of treatment and for assessing the colour, texture, and shape of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth and jaws.

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are seven important questions that will be answered during the initial examination:

Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it? Teeth, jaws, muscles and/or jaw joints, or all of the above?

  • What must be done to correct the problem? Orthodontics, jaw surgery, or both?
  • What are the alternatives to orthodontic treatment? Cosmetic dentistry, bite-plane therapy, and/or meds?
  • Will any permanent teeth need to be removed other than the wisdom teeth?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete? 12, 15, 18, 20, 24, or 30 months?
  • How much will the treatment cost? The usual range recommended by the Nova Scotia Dental Association is $6,200 to $11,200 for comprehensive treatment.
  • Will oral surgery be necessary in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to correct a jaw abnormality?
  • What kind of braces will I need to wear? Clear, silver, or coloured?

In addition to these most often asked questions, Dr. Jensen will take the time to answer any other concerns or questions the patient may have.

Will I have to have any teeth removed for braces?

Removing teeth is sometimes needed to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are always the goal. However, because today’s technology has resulted in advanced orthodontic procedures, the need for removing permanent teeth has been greatly reduced. Having said that, most patients do not have sufficient space for their wisdom teeth. Dr. Jensen recommends the removal of wisdom teeth by 16 years of age, in most patients, if it appears that they are causing a problem or may cause a problem in the future such as pain, infection, root resorption, and/or orthodontic relapse.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment may take between 12 to 30 months, on average, or longer, depending on the type of appliances used, the severity of the problem, the patient’s cooperation, amount of jaw growth, and the degree of tooth and/or jaw movement. Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem. The average time for completion with Dr. Jensen is 18 to 24 months.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until Dr. Jensen has actually examined you. The exact cost and financing options will be discussed at the initial examination. We have many financing options available to meet your needs and will be happy to review them with you. We offer a courtesy (discount) for fees paid in full. Proper orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop in later years. The Nova Scotia Dental Association has established a fee range of $6,200 to $11,200 for comprehensive orthodontic treatment. The surgical orthodontic cases are usually in the high range because they are more difficult, more time-consuming, and require more teamwork and responsibility.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each individual patient’s needs. With the latest technology and high tech, self-ligating brackets, most patients are seen every 6 to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments may be scheduled more often, especially in surgical orthodontic cases.

Do braces hurt?

With the latest technology, and self-adhesive and self-ligating brackets, many of our patients do not report any pain at all following most of their visits! For some visits, however, teeth may be tender for a day or two. In these situations, discomfort can be managed with medications such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol). We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”

Will I pay extra for “clear” and/or coloured braces?

No, our practice includes this option in the basic fee. We want you to look your best with our braces, and to feel as comfortable as possible while undergoing treatment.

What alternative do I have to wearing braces?

If the thought of wearing braces is all that is stopping you from getting the smile you’ve always wanted, we have some very good news for you. Invisitain is a breakthrough in orthodontics that uses a clear, virtually undetectable tooth-aligner to gradually move your teeth – without metal wires or brackets. Aligners are removable and custom-made for your teeth through the combination of our expertise and the latest in 3D computer graphic technology. Invisitain straightens your teeth without calling attention to them.

Dr. Jensen will determine if you are a good candidate for Invisitain.

Our Invisitain patients are just raving about their clear/transparent/invisible retainers.

What are lingual braces?

Lingual braces are mounted or glued behind a patient’s teeth (on the inside). They were popular many years ago before the advent of Invisatain and “clear” or “tooth-coloured” and self-ligating braces. Lingual braces are seldom used anymore since they are generally less comfortable than traditional braces, require a greater number of visits to complete treatment, and are more costly. In addition, some people have trouble eating and talking with lingual braces. Presently, lingual braces are only used in very special cases.

[toggle_block title=”Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. Ultimately, this can lead to functional, aesthetic, and periodontal (gum tissue) problems. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from deteriorating further and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth with implants, bridges, or removable partial dentures.

Do you give shots?

No. No shots are necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes. Regular check-ups with your family dentist are very important while in braces. Your family dentist will assist in determining how often you should be seen for cleaning appointments while you are in braces. Dr. Jensen advises that patients see their dentist every six months or more often if their oral hygiene is not adequate or if they are predisposed with periodontal bone loss or gum tissue recession.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, very complete instructions will be provided regarding foods to avoid.

Typical things to avoid:

  • Gum (all kinds)
  • Toffee
  • Hard Candy
  • Hard Ice Cream
  • Ice Cubes
  • Biting Your Fingernails, Pens, Pencils, Rulers, Etc.
  • Sucking Your Thumbs or Fingers
  • Meat on the Bone
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Whole Apples (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • Whole Raw Carrots and Celery (cut into small pieces or thin strips or cook them well)
  • Popcorn, because the kernels and/or scales get caught under the braces and irritate the gum tissue or break the braces away from your teeth.

Important Note : Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following instructions regarding foods. 

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least four times each day: after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and at bedtime. We will instruct each patient how to properly brush and floss their teeth with braces on, and will also recommend antibacterial and fluoride rinses to help protect the teeth.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If something happens and your braces are causing discomfort or if something is broken, you should call our office 902-466-6220. In most cases, these issues are simple to resolve and often do not require a special visit.

What if the emergency occurs after normal office hours?

Our office is available after normal working hours. Simply call the office and wait for the answering machine to answer. The recorded message will give you the number where we can be reached. We will work you in as soon as possible to take care of any emergencies.

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth so that the space where teeth are missing can be properly restored by a normally-sized artificial tooth.

Will I have to wear retainers?

Orthodontics is a process of moving teeth through the bone into new positions. Once the teeth have been moved into their desired positions, retainers need to be worn at bedtime to maintain the correction. Once stabilization occurs, we encourage our patients to continue to wear their retainers on a nightly basis two or three times per week to maintain their beautiful smile.

Is orthodontic care expensive?

Orthodontic fees have not increased as fast as many other consumer products. When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later. Due to the variety of problems that we treat, the cost of orthodontic care varies from patient to patient. After your examination at your first visit, we will review the costs involved with treatment. Financing is usually available and our office offers flexible, customized payment programs that will meet your needs. In addition, many insurance plans now include orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment is one of the best and longest lasting investments you will ever make in yourself or your child.

Will insurance pay for treatment?

Many dental policies include orthodontic benefits. If you provide us with the necessary information, we will be happy to assist you in determining your orthodontic benefits.

Why should you select Dr. Jensen to be your orthodontist?

Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, can be permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is very important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Dr. Jensen graduated from dental school and elected to complete three additional years of specialty training following dental school at the University of Manitoba to earn his Certificate in Orthodontics, as well as his Master of Science degree. He is a member of the American, Canadian, and World Association of Orthodontists, the only certifying organization recognized by the American, Canadian, and Nova Scotia Dental Associations, and has successfully provided orthodontic treatment to several thousand patients since opening his practice. He has taught and lectured throughout Canada for 20 years on various topics in the specialty of orthodontics.

If you have questions about your oral health or want to schedule a free consultation, contact us today.

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