The Guide to Getting Braces in Surrey, BC – Common Questions & Answers

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When you make a first impression, your smile is one of the first things to get noticed. It is no wonder that getting braces has never been more popular – we all want a perfect smile!

Orthodontics is a significant investment that will last a lifetime. Not only does it give you a beautiful smile that boost your confidence, it also improves the health of the teeth and give them the best chance to last for a lifetime. You only have one set of adult teeth in your life, so it is best if you take very good care of it.

There are various options available to patients at any age, so it is worth taking the time to investigate answers to the big questions and discover what will be right for you. In this article, our Surrey orthodontists at PacificWest Dental will share some knowledge about braces.

PacificWest Dental Group is located in the Newton area.

What are Dental Braces?

Simply put, dental braces are what specialized dentists called orthodontists use to realign teeth that are out of place, crooked and improve your bite.

Using various methods we will discuss later, braces exert pressure on teeth, guiding them into the correct alignment slowly and gradually over time. This actually changes the bones in your jaw, making the movement possible.

By using braces for correction of dentition, you will increase your overall oral health, eat and chew properly, and reduce the risk of gum disease as they will be easier to clean.

How Do Braces Move Teeth?

Braces exert constant pressure, which slowly moves teeth into the desired position as determined by your orthodontist.

Traditionally, metal brackets are glued to each tooth and then connected by an archwire which creates the pressure needed to realign them correctly.

Teeth are held in place in your jaw bone and surrounded by gum and ligaments. These tissues can stretch or compress under pressure. When light, consistent force is place on the teeth, the tissue on the compression side cause the bone to soften and be remodeled away. Once the teeth move into final position, new bone forms around it to hold it in place. Pretty amazing stuff!

You may have to use additional accessories for the speediest results. These may include elastics that connect the upper and lower jaw with added pressure or a removable external headgear to help teeth move in the desired direction. They may not be exciting, but they will reduce your overall time spent wearing braces by making sure they are moving the right way.

What Are The Different Types of Braces?

There are a variety of options for braces on offer in modern orthodontics. Your orthodontist will decide which type of treatment is best for the desired results and smile correction.

Metal Braces

The most common braces are made from Stainless Steel, with a Nickel Titanium or Stainless Steel archwire that connects them.

Rubber elastomeric ties are fitted over the archwire and wrapped onto each bracket to hold the wire firmly in place and are replaced when regular adjustments are made.

Ceramic Braces

Before 1987 the only type of braces was metal. And because metal braces can make people feel self-conscious, some people avoid orthodontic treatment. When ceramic braces came along, this increased the number of people seeking a perfect smile.

Ceramic braces are basically the same setup as metal braces but are less noticeable from a distance as they are closer to natural tooth colour. They can, however, be larger, easily stained, less durable and harder to remove.

Invisalign – Clear Aligners

Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are virtually invisible and removable, making eating and your usual oral hygiene easier. In Surrey, Invisalign has been a popular choice over the years. We have seen more and more patients in Surrey choose Invisalign for the convenience over the years.

Invisalign treatment provides a series of clear trays that are fitted and completely cover your teeth and are used in gradual succession to realign your smile. Usually, a tray needs to be worn full time for 7-14 days before changing to the next tray.

While not suitable for every orthodontic situation, they are a popular option but must be worn a minimum of 20 – 22 hours a day. Patients who remove them too often will see much slower progress or no progress at all, so they must be used as directed. If a patient lacks discipline, it may be best to stick with traditional braces since they cannot be taken off.

Our orthodontists in Surrey frequently work with patients who choose Invisalign.

Self-Ligating Braces

Self-Ligating braces look like metal braces and are usually made of stainless steel, but they do away with the ligature elastics to bind the brackets to the archwire.

The brackets use a spring-loaded door system to tighten the wires and can be obtained in a clear option instead of metal if desired.

Lingual Braces

While lingual braces are usually a costlier option, they have a highly desirable appeal to patients because the brackets are placed on the back of the tooth. Although not every orthodontic clinic in Surrey offers Lingual braces, PacificWest is one of the select clinics that does.

Using the same methodology as traditional braces, they realign teeth while remaining virtually undetectable by others. However, they are custom-made and can make the treatment take longer.

Although highly appealing for being almost invisible, they can also make speaking difficult initially and irritate your tongue until you become accustomed to them.

Common Problems with Braces and How to Fix Them

Choosing braces is much more than having that Hollywood smile. They can treat and correct issues that affect your oral health and wellbeing.

Jaw Problems

When jaw alignment is uneven, eating and chewing can be uncomfortable and even cause breathing problems.

In some cases, braces can help, but your orthodontist will be able to recommend if braces are suitable for your particular jaw issue.


This occurs when upper teeth are stuck behind the lower teeth and can happen at the front or back of the mouth. This can be treated with clear aligners if at the front or traditional braces more often at the rear.


When lower teeth sit in front of the upper teeth, it is known as an underbite. It can cause numerous issues with eating and speaking and potentially cause jaw joint discomfort if left untreated. It is best to have an assessment for this issue while the patient is still growing as this is a skeletal issue. However, in patients who have a family of strong underbite, jaw surgery may be required to correct the jaw size discrepancy. Surgery cannot be performed until the patient has stopped growing.


An overbite is the presentation when the top teeth reach out too far ahead of the lower teeth. Depending on the extent of the overbite, most cases can be corrected with braces of most types. More severe cases may require extractions of teeth to make room to push the front teeth back. Extreme cases may require jaw surgery to extend the shortened lower jaw bone.

Crooked or Misaligned Teeth

Most patients seeking braces or recommended orthodontic treatment do so because of crowding or gapping in their smile, resulting in a less than perfect smile. Braces in their various forms are the only option to correct their alignment safely and effectively.

Open Bite

An open bite is when the upper and lower teeth fail to touch at all when the jaws are closed. This is usually due to genetics or bad habits like aggressive thumb sucking or the use of a pacifier. Although this may self resolve once the habit is eliminated, it does not always do so, and this is where braces can effectively help.

How Do You Know If You Need Braces?

First of all, it’s important to recognize that braces are not just for teenagers! Adults may have changes in their tooth placement over time that make them candidates. Or they may just have avoided having treatment earlier in life but are still suited to treatment.

Key factors to consider that would indicate braces may be needed for you include:

  • Difficulty biting or frequently biting the insides of your cheeks
  • Gapping or crowding and overlapping of teeth
  • Early loss of baby teeth
  • Your jaw makes a sound when opening and closing
  • Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds

At PacificWest, we offer braces for teens, adults, and seniors.

How Long Do Braces Take to Work?

Every individual case will vary, but you can typically expect to invest between 1 and 3 years of wearing braces and whatever accessories are necessary to achieve the optimum result.

In some cases, accelerated options are available to reduce treatment time, but this is also down to the patient being diligent.

Patients with more severe bite and jaw issues can expect to be on the lengthier end of the timeline to complete treatment.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The overall cost of braces will vary, and again, the cost will be highly related to the severity of correction required. But you should expect to make a major investment for the greater good of your oral health and smile to the tune of between $3000 for very mild cases involving front teeth only, to $10,000 for severe cases needing extractions or even jaw surgery.

On average it costs:

  • Metal/Traditional braces $3000 – $7000
  • Ceramic braces $4000 – $8000
  • Lingual braces (custom-made) $10,000+
  • Clear aligners $4000 – $9000

Does Insurance Cover Braces?

Some insurance providers do, but not for over 18’s in some cases. Check with your provider for this option to see if it is available. Insurance can substantially reduce the cost of your orthodontic treatment.

PacificWest Dental Group has flexible payment options available to spread the cost and ease the financial burden of getting braces. A monthly payment plan with very low down payment makes braces very accessible to all.

Contact PacificWest Dental Surrey’s orthodontic specialists for a consultation today to discuss your options.

Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)


Orthodontic specialist, founder of PacificWest Dental Group. Helping people get the perfect smile since 1994!

Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)

Specialist in Orthodontics, UBC alumni. Love helping patients get a beautiful smile. Part-time clinical instructor at UBC.

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