Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know if adult braces are right for me?

Have you considered having your teeth straightened but felt you were too old? Are you dissatisfied with your smile but don’t know if braces are for you? Are you finding it hard to keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, a trip to the orthodontist’s office may be in order.

WEARING BRACES IS A rite of passage for many kids. Orthodontic options that make braces inconspicuous are a big part of this rising popularity.

As braces have become less bulky and visible in recent years, more and more adults are wearing them, for a variety of reasons. Some adults want to correct problems with their teeth or jaws before they cause serious or further damage. Others want to feel better about their appearance by addressing longstanding cosmetic concerns. Keep in mind that even "cosmetic" problems can cause real damage over time. Teeth and jaws that are not aligned properly can lead to premature wear and tear, advanced tooth decay and gum disease, dentures or other reconstructive solutions and even more extensive surgery to correct serious problems.

Q: Won't I feel odd and out of place if I opt to get braces as an adult?

On the contrary! Adults are now filling more than 25% of the seats in orthodontists’ offices across the country. Of this high number, men make up approximately 30% of these patients while women are still in the majority.

Although childhood is the ideal time to make changes in the positioning of the teeth, more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment and coming away with excellent results.

Q: What are some of the benefits of straight teeth as an adult?

Straight teeth are healthy teeth. Teeth that aren’t overly crowded are easier to keep clean. This means that adult gums will be healthier, and this will diminish the chances of decay and early tooth loss.

Teeth that do not line up properly can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces as well as cause excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. This can lead to gum disease and the eventual need for dentures.

Many adults suffer from temporomandibular disorders or TMD for short. These disorders can cause jaw clicking, headaches, facial pain and a vast array of symptoms. Proper tooth and jaw position can eliminate these problems.

7 Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

  • Easier to Clean. Unlike overlapped or crooked teeth, brushing and flossing are a lot easier to perform on a straight set of teeth.
  • Lowers Risks of Disease.
  • Avoid Losing Teeth.
  • Maintain a Healthy Jawbone.
  • Decrease Chances of Having Digestive Issues.
  • Deal with Fewer Headaches.
  • Fewer Chips, Breaks, or Cracks in Teeth.

Q: What are the advantages of having work done as an adult?

First of all, adults tend to be more compliant in their treatment. They tend to follow Dr. Antosz’s directions more fully, and this can make a big difference in the outcome of their orthodontic work. Adults tend to wear their appliances and elastic bands as instructed, and this can help the teeth to move into their proper position at a quicker rate. Adults tend to follow the rules of good oral hygiene. While this is important at any age, it is especially important during orthodontic treatment.

Q: What are the disadvantages of having work done as an adult?

The bones of an adult, unlike those of a child, are no longer growing. Because of this, treatment can be slower and take longer to accomplish. The end results, however, are usually well worth the wait.

The bone support for an adult’s teeth is firmer than that of a growing child and is naturally more resistant to tooth movement. Though this is a hindrance, it isn’t a deterrent. As long as the teeth, the gums, and the underlying bone are healthy, teeth can be straightened at any age.

Q: How is treatment approached for adults?

In most cases, treatment for adults is nearly identical for children. Adults, as well as children, need an individualized plan that our orthodontics will decide upon.

1. The first step is a comprehensive oral exam that will evaluate the condition of your teeth, jaw and gums.

2. Next, our orthodontists and team will use iCAT digital imaging technology to take images of your head, neck, airways, teeth and jaws. From these images, Dr. Antosz and Dr. Vincelli will get a clear picture of your orthodontic needs. Once a course of treatment has been detailed and fully discussed, our orthodontists will help you determine which options are right for you and your individual needs and concerns.

3. Then comes the big day when you get your braces or Invisalign®, and we will take care of you for the length of time for treatment.

4. Now you can grab a coffee in the Antosz Vincelli Lounge and participate in our many fun activities!

Q: What if something breaks on my braces?

If something breaks, call our office immediately for advice to determine the urgency of your situation. We may wait until your next scheduled visit or arrange an earlier repair visit.

Your braces treatment will also include some information on how to treat some common problems at home, like irritating wires and brackets. If you need more information, download our patient care app!

Use orthodontic wax to hold the broken bracket in place in your mouth until you can arrange to see your orthodontist. If the bracket has come loose, remove it, if you can easily, and bring it with you to the orthodontist for reattachment.

Q: What should I avoid when I eat with braces?

Although braces have become sturdier with modern technology, it’s still important to be careful not to damage them. Certain foods can damage braces components like the rubber bands, wires, or even the bracket itself. Generally, avoid all foods that are sticky, hard, or chewy. Soft foods are most recommended for those who wear braces because they are gentler on braces hardware.

Read the following list of foods to avoid:

  • Sticky candies like toffee, jujubes, caramels, skittles, etc.
  • Nuts, popcorn kernels
  • Hard granola bars
  • Suckers
  • Ice and popsicles
  • Hard candy (do not chew!)
  • Hard rolls, bagels, and pizza crust
  • Hard fruits and veggies: cut or break up into small pieces and chew with back teeth
  • Ribs and meat on bones
  • Corn on the cob: cut off before eating
  • Chewing pens, pencils, fingernails or using teeth to open things
  • Bubblegum (sugarless gum is okay!)

Q: Are there any apps I can download about my orthodontic treatment?

Yes! We have 2 that we highly recommend. Download Dolphin Mobile for lots for helpful patient videos, tips and instructions!

For current patients, download our Antosz Vincelli Orthodontics App to earn points and redeem great prizes!

Q: How can I pay my orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic fees are personalized according to the treatment required. All fees are broken down into an initial payment and monthly payments are made over the time of treatment. There is no interest charged or GST payable on orthodontic treatment. We accept Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, Interac, auto-debit and post-dated cheques. We will not accept payments directly from an insurance company.

Orthodontic benefits work in several ways:

The most common benefit is payable at a percentage with a lifetime maximum of a certain amount. For example: payable at 50% with a lifetime maximum of $1500 per person. Let us say the total charge for braces is $6000. The initial charge is 20% down when the braces are put on: that would be $1200, and this is covered at 50%. The insurance company will pay $600 when you get the braces on, and you are responsible for the remaining 50%: $600.00. The remaining balance of $4,800 is divided by 24 months (the course of the treatment): $200 per month. The insurance company pays this amount at 50%, which is $100 per month until you have reached your maximum benefit. In this case, it is $1,500. If you take the $1,500 minus the $600 paid at the banding date of the braces and $100 per month thereafter, you will run out of benefits in 9 months. After the 9th month, your responsibility would be the full $200 for the remaining months instead of the $100 per month for the first 9 months. In reality, the braces are $6,000 minus your $1,500 benefit with a remainder of $4,500 that is your responsibility.

Some people have an orthodontic benefit as a percentage. The most common percentage is 50%. This is calculated as above: $6,000 total charge, 20% down ($1200), and $200 per month for 24 months. In this case, the insurance company will pay $600 down and $100 per month for 24 months. The patient is responsible for the same. In this case, 50% is $3,000 payable in installments of $600 down and $100 per month.

Most managed care orthodontic plans have a fixed co-pay. The most common co-pay is $1,200 or $1,000. In these cases, you would have to pay your co-pay and the insurance company will pay the remaining balance of the full charge over the course of treatment (24 months). If braces are $6,000 and your fixed co-pay is $1,000, you would pay $1,000 and the insurance company would pay $5,000 in installments.

Some managed plans cover at a percentage. For example, the insurance company will cover 75% of the total fee. The patient is responsible for the remaining 25%. The 25% is considered your co-pay and the insurance company will pay the remaining 75% over the course of treatment. For example, if the braces are $6,000, 75% is $4,500 that the insurance company will cover in installments. Your 25% portion would be $1,5000.

Q: How does insurance for orthodontic treatment work?

Your insurance policy is an agreement between yourself and your insurance company. There is usually a lifetime maximum per person. How you decide to finance your orthodontic treatment is your decision and does not affect how your insurance company will reimburse you. Most insurance companies will only reimburse you for services rendered as they occur. In orthodontics, this means up to one-third of the total cost when treatment starts and each following month, an equal portion of the remainder for the estimated duration of treatment until the maximum has been reached.

Orthodontic insurance is separate from medical and dental. If you have dental insurance, most likely you have orthodontic benefits. Orthodontic benefits are separate from your normal dental insurance with your dentist. Orthodontic benefits are paid over the course of the treatment for the patient, and normally have a lifetime maximum or co-pay per patient.

Q: Does Antosz Vincelli Orthodontics have a payment plan?

Yes. We have a payment plan that is flexible and can be spread over the length of your treatment. There are also pay-in-full options. Ask us at our office to learn more.

Q: Do I need to submit a pre-authorization?

All insurance companies require a pre-authorization for orthodontic treatment before they will accept claims. My insurance company says I need procedure codes. There is an agreement in place between Specialists in Orthodontics in Canada and the insurance associations that procedure codes are not required for orthodontic treatment.

Once you have established that you have orthodontic coverage, and after financial arrangements have been made with the orthodontic specialist, it is the obligation of the orthodontic office to provide you with a Canadian Association of Orthodontists Certified Specialist in Orthodontics Standard Information Form. Send this form immediately to the insurance company. The carrier will write to you directly about your coverage. When you make a payment to the orthodontic office, you will be provided with a receipt. Attach this to one of your Dental Claim Forms (filled in by the subscriber) and submit both to your insurance company who will re-imburse you directly.

Q: How do I claim fees from my insurance company?

In our office you will receive claim forms to cover the entire treatment period or until your maximum is reached. You may be able to claim online; please check with your insurance provider. It is your responsibility to make your claims according to your insurance policy requirements. Most insurance companies will not accept receipts for payment, and they often have time limits for submitting claims.

POINTS TO REMEMBER: Orthodontic specialists do not accept assigned payment from insurance companies. It is not necessary for the orthodontic specialist to fill in the Dental Claim Form as no dental codes are required for orthodontic coverage. Only one Certified Specialist in Orthodontics Standard Information Form is necessary to predetermine benefits, and once approved, no other insurance forms are necessary from the orthodontic office.

Q: What if I have coverage with more than one insurance company?

You need to send pre-authorizations to both companies. When claiming for a child, each month, the parent with the birthday that falls first in the year, would claim first, and then send the remainder to the second or third company along with a copy of the explanation of benefits. You cannot claim more than 100% of what you pay.

Simple rules—always submit the claim first to the benefit plan that belongs to whoever received treatment and to the other benefit provider once you have received your claim payment and statement from the first.

With coordination of benefits, you claim first with the plan you are a member of, then you claim any amount that was not reimbursed with the second plan.

Q: Will you submit my claims electronically?

We will not submit your claim forms for you as we have no relationship with your insurance company and unfortunately, there is no system for us to claim orthodontic payments electronically. You may be able to claim online, please check with your insurance provider.

Q: I have run out of claim forms, what should I do?

Check to see if you have reached your maximum lifetime limit on your last payment from your insurance company. If not, please call our financial coordinator to discuss this. (403) 247-3250.

Q: We have new insurance coverage, what should I do?

If the new coverage is with the same employer, check with the human resources department to see whether you need a new pre-authorization. If you or your spouse has brand new coverage, you will need to call us to receive a new pre-authorization. You would then receive a confirmation from the new company as to the coverage that is still available if the patient is mid-treatment.

Changing employers and/or insurance companies during the course of your orthodontic treatment:

If you are working for the same employer and that employer changes insurance companies during your orthodontic treatment, you can submit a claim to the new insurance company. That claim will be prorated according to the date the braces were put on and how many months of treatment are required. The new insurance company will consider how many months the prior insurance company has paid and how many months are left of treatment. In this case, usually, the new insurance company picks up the payments where the other company has left off. The word "usually" is used because when you have the same employer, your benefits should continue even though your employer has changed insurance companies. But, in some cases, there might be a pre-existing clause in your new benefit and the new insurance company will not continue payments. If this is the case, you should try to appeal to get your full benefit from your employer.

If you change employers, your benefit from the first employer will be stopped automatically. You can submit a claim to your new insurance company from your new employer and location. The new insurance should pick up payments when your orthodontist sends in a claim and submits the amount of months left of treatment. Sometimes this is not covered due to a pre-existing clause in your new benefit.

In a nutshell: Insurance is complicated for orthodontic treatment due to the length of treatment and different plans. It is important to know your benefit, lifetime maximum, how it is paid and at what percentage.

Q: I have a Health Spending Account; is this the same as insurance?

Health spending accounts are not the same as insurance. They do not require pre-authorization or claim forms but will accept receipts for reimbursement. Your payments do not have to correspond with treatment rendered with a Health Spending Account.

Health Spending Accounts are not insurance plans. They have some aspects of tax planning and insurance. They are a tool for small business owners to reduce medical costs. There are no premiums or monthly charges associated with a Health Spending Account.

Q: Is orthodontic treatment tax deductible?

Any portion of the fee that is not reimbursed can be claimed as a medical expense.

Most non-cosmetic dental expenses are tax deductible.

The Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) is a non-refundable tax credit that you can use to reduce the tax that you paid or may have to pay. You can claim eligible dental expenses paid in any 12-month period ending in the fiscal year in question and which have not been claimed by you or by anyone else in the previous year.

If you paid for dental work, you may be able to claim them as eligible medical expenses on your income tax and benefit return (T1), including:

Dental care Dentures and Implants

Generally, you can claim all amounts paid, even if they were not paid in Canada, and only the amount for which you have not been, or will not be, reimbursed.

Orthodontic work qualifies as a dental expense, so you can include the costs when you figure your medical-expenses deduction on your annual income taxes. Deduct the costs in the year that you pay for the costs, even if you receive the dental treatment in a different year

Q: How much do braces, Invisalign® or orthodontic treatment cost?

Because each person is different, the cost for your personalized plan will vary from other individuals. Ask our Calgary orthodontist for a consultation to get a better idea of what your personalized orthodontic services will cost.

According to the Consumer Guide for Dentistry, the national average for Invisalign is $3,000–$5,000. For comparison, traditional metal bracket braces usually cost $2,000–$6,000. Again, all of these prices depend on your individual case.