Frequently Asked Questions | Orthodontists Saskatoon SK | Uptown Orthodontics
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Frequently
Asked Questions

The most frequent of the frequently asked:

Why should I be treated by an orthodontist rather than a dentist?
Good question. Dentists can certainly offer tooth movement treatment plans utilizing braces, clear aligners, and other appliances for simple alignment concerns - in fact the doctors of Uptown have been training dental students in the basics of orthodontics for over a decade now. However, the fact of the matter is that orthodontics is complex; it is an art and a science that is very difficult to execute at a high level without additional specialized training.

Dentists are critical to your oral health but they should likely be thought of in general as ‘Jacks (or Jills) of all trades, masters of none” - that is to say they are good at many things but they are not specialists in any one thing. Orthodontists (who, by definition, have also been trained in full as general dentists prior to pursuing extra training in orthodontics) specialize in creating beautiful esthetic results that improve confidence and quality of life. Straightening teeth and shaping smiles is what orthodontists do all day, everyday. Furthermore, orthodontic specialists do more than focus simply on developing a better looking smile; additionally, they pay particular attention to creating a result that improves function and emphasizes maximizing long-term stability.

Food for thought: who would you visit should you ever need a major procedure done on any other part of your body? A medical specialist or your general family physician?
Why choose Uptown Orthodontics?
We are lucky to work alongside a tremendous group of orthodontic colleagues in Saskatoon. We trust that you won’t be disappointed with your experience at any orthodontic office in our city, but then again, we know only what we provide, and of course we work hard every single day to be the best at what we do!

In short, we feel we go the extra mile for our patients and their families in the areas of comfort, convenience, affordability, and clear communication.
When should my child first see an orthodontist?
Countless national and international dental and orthodontic groups (such as the American Association of Orthodontists) recommend a child be examined by an orthodontist at age 7. We think this is a reasonable suggestion for the average child - at this point baby teeth are usually being lost and permanent teeth are beginning to grow in. Furthermore, a child’s behaviour is usually not an issue at this age; 7 year olds can generally understand basic concepts of “ideal fit” and can rationalize the need for, and the sequencing of, basic treatment if needed.

Indeed, for the sake of the patient’s best interests, we recommend to families that all children be evaluated by age 7. Similarly, we recommend that all dentists perform an orthodontic screening evaluation in their office at age 7 and refer the patient to an appropriate specialist if they have any concerns of significance.

Should you child already be older than age 7? Don’t feel bad if you’ve missed this landmark; improvements can be made at any age but in general are more predictable with younger patients.
Am I too old to consider orthodontics?
Absolutely not. Teeth can be moved safely at any age provided that the patient is reasonably healthy and the condition of the teeth, gums, and mouth is good. We routinely meet with and treat patients in their 60s and 70s.
Do I need a referral to schedule a consultation at Uptown Orthodontics?
You do not need a referral. This is one of the biggest myths in our profession. Please feel free to introduce us to your friends or family, or better yet, introduce them to us! Your personal recommendation is the best way to help us help those you love.
How much will braces or Invisalign treatment cost?
As you can probably imagine the cost of treatment depends on a few things - most importantly it depends on the type of appliances used to move the teeth and the overall difficulty-level of the case. We believe wholeheartedly that treatment is worth the investment as your smile is something you’ll use literally every day for the rest of your life. That said, here are some approximate ranges of treatment costs for most patients. (Please note that some treatment options may not be listed below; also please understand that fees do change with time.)

Consultation: $60
Records: ($0) Included with Consultation
Interceptive “Phase I” Treatment: $500 - $3300
Comprehensive Treatment with Braces: $5000 - $7500
Comprehensive with Invisalign: $3300 - $7500
Comprehensive with Hidden Tongue-Side Braces: $7500 - $13000
Partial/Limited Treatment: $2000 - $3300
Retainers: 2 sets of clear shell retainers are included in comprehensive treatment fee
Additional Retainers: $100 - $500 per retainer

Typical Initial Down Payment: $500 - $1500
Typical Monthly Payments: $150 - $300
Are payment plans available?
Indeed! We are happy to offer interest-free (0%) financing for our patients and their families. Typical down payments to initiate treatment at our office range from $300 to $1500. Monthly payments can range widely but generally range from $150 to $300.
Will my insurance cover the costs involved with treatment at Uptown?
Unfortunately, this is not something that we can tell you. We recommend that you investigate the details of your benefits plan and look for a section on Orthodontics specifically. Please note that orthodontic care is not part of the section concerning you Dental coverage. Should you have a benefit covering Orthodontics treatment specifically, then yes, the costs incurred at our office will be submittable to your insurer for reimbursement according to the terms of your plan.
How long should I expect orthodontic treatment to take?
Orthodontic treatment duration varies but at Uptown Orthodontics we quote an expected time frame of 18 months for the vast majority of our “comprehensive” treatment cases where an ideal result is the goal. We are proud to say that with few exceptions we are able to meet these time estimates.

Thankfully, in the past few decades, we as orthodontists have discovered ways to make the course of treatment a bit faster. Currently, there are a few new techniques being used to speed up treatment even more! We certainly understand that not many people enjoy treatment that “drags on” past 2 years in braces.

Still, it is important to understand that it generally takes at least a year to obtain an acceptable and stable result. Most all cases can be completed to a high-standard within 2 years. However, some cases requiring very complex movements or cases where multiple medical/dental specialists are involved may take 3 or even 3.5 years of treatment.
How often will I need to have an appointment?
Our doctors will recommend an appointment interval for you based on many factors, but principally the time frame needed to reliably achieve a set of specific goals. For braces placed on the outer surface (i.e. cheek side) of the teeth, appointments are on average made every 7 weeks (range: 3-10 weeks). For braces placed on the inner surface (i.e. tongue side) of the teeth, appointments are usually a bit more frequent - approximately every 4 weeks or once per month (range: 3-8 weeks). Orthodontic treatment with clear aligners allow for even longer appointment intervals due to their more resilient and pre-prescribed nature; in our office patients undergoing this type of treatment should expect appointments approximately every 10 weeks (range: 3-12 weeks).
Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
In general, no, orthodontic treatment is very comfortable for most patients.

In fact, if treatment is found to be painful it could mean that improper forces are being applied and such a situation should be mentioned to your orthodontist ASAP. We know that constant but light forces move teeth the safest, the fastest, and the most comfortably; our doctors make every attempt to apply low-level forces to the teeth.

That said, it is common for the teeth to feel just a bit achey or sensitive for 2-4 days following placement of the appliances for the first time or following significant adjustments. These situations usually don’t require any sort of pharmaceutical pain management but use of standard over-the-counter pain medications (e.g. ibuprofen) as directed on the package should provide adequate relief if needed.
How do I have to modify my diet when in treatment?
It depends, but in general we recommend avoiding very hard, very chewy, or very sticky foods anyway - such foods are rarely good for your teeth whether or not any orthodontic appliances are in place.

Invisalign is the best treatment option for those that wish to maintain a typical diet. Patients wearing braces either on the outer side or the inner side of the teeth are instructed to try to avoid certain food consistencies in order to minimize discomfort and the risk of damaging the braces or the orthodontic components. Damaged appliances can delay treatment time, add additional costs, add extra interruptions to your work/school life, and also can be quite irritating or potentially even painful.
How will braces affect my daily life?
Honestly, they shouldn’t much at all! It’s possible your smile will garner some extra attention especially during the early stages of treatment but otherwise you should be able to live your life nearly as usual.

Sports, playing musical instruments, public speaking, and kissing your mother-in-law on the cheek are still all very possible while undergoing treatment. We recommend (and provide) a mouthguard for sporting activities to protect both the appliances and your lips, as well as your opponent. Please let us know if you’d like a complementary sportsguard.

The one aspect that you’ll have to build into your life is a bit of extra time to maintain clean teeth and clean braces. Braces and other appliances can generally be cleaned with techniques that are the same as, or very similar to, your usual brushing and flossing techniques. The main difference is time - you’ve got more stuff to clean and more nooks and crannies to clean around so it’s going to be a bit more work.

Generally we suggest a 4-minute brushing after every snack or meal and a 5-10 minute flossing session every night before bed. Think of it as creating great habits for your future oral health!
Am I a candidate for Invisalign?
We hope so! Approximately 80% of the population needing orthodontics can be considered for treatment with Invisalign.

Our doctors really enjoy using clear aligners and find it a superior option to braces in many situations. Unfortunately, some cases cannot be treated reliably with this type of appliance on its own. Should your case require braces, it is possible that a combination of braces and aligners could be considered. Furthermore, it is possible that partial or short-term braces could be combined with typical Invisalign therapy.

Of course, the only way to know for sure is to book a consult!
Do I need jaw surgery, permanent tooth extractions, or headgear?
Our team at Uptown is likely not too different than you in this respect - we’d rather avoid surgery, extractions, and obtrusive outside-the-mouth headgear appliances if at all possible. We work really hard to catch major problems that may traditionally require such interventions very early and we also study recent innovations and approaches very carefully. If there’s another way that leads to equal results we’ll certainly investigate the options with you.

However, sometimes a good result is just not possible without more invasive procedures such as those mentioned above. Should your case, in the opinion of our doctors, require movement of the jaw bones, removal of permanent teeth, or any other special appliances in order to achieve the stable and beneficial improvements you desire we’ll be sure to carefully educate you on the details behind our recommendation and ensure that we follow through with the best professionals and the best protocols to make the experience easy for you.
What do I do if I’m having a problem due to my treatment?
Well, you’re in the right spot. Firstly, we recommend investigating our recommendations right here in these FAQs. We often will suggest that there is “no such thing as an orthodontic emergency, only an inconvenience” and while this is mostly true, we do understand that when certain situations occur it can be unsettling and uncomfortable. We’re here to help you!

Should your treatment be directly leading to pain, significant discomfort, or inability to function, please call our office immediately. If your call is outside of our office hours, our voicemail system will prompt you with ways to leave a message for your doctor. It is the goal of our doctors to return any urgent call within one hour.

If you simply have discovered a problem with your treatment that is not of an urgent nature, please do notify us of the problem as specifically as possible and within a reasonable timeframe. Such calls can be managed by our skilled reception team during office hours or left in the general voicemail inbox after-hours. For issues not invoking pain or disfunction, it is rare that a special visit will need to be made; instead, your next visit may be adjusted to allow for investigation or correction of the issue.
Will I need retainers?
In short, yes. Retainers or the period in which they are used (called “retention”) are critical to an adequate long-term orthodontic result.

Indeed, the retention phase is still considered as a treatment phase and, as always, excellent compliance and appointment attendance is critical.

Your retainer style, your wear regimen, and your appointment interval will be carefully planned by your doctor. The cost of retainers is included in the overall treatment fee but we cannot provide new retainers in the event of damage due to misuse, poor compliance, improper storage, or destructive habits such as clenching of the bite.

Please note that retainers, like any product, do not last forever and will require maintenance and/or remaking throughout life. We are here to help with such procedures as needed over the long term to protect your teeth from all avoidable movements over the course of your life. That said, just like how everything else in our bodies changes with time, our bites and the alignment of our teeth do as well; such change is part of aging and cannot be stopped completely. Faithful use of retainers over a lifetime can certainly minimize such changes however.