Frequently Asked Questions

About PWD

Why choose PacificWest Dental?

We encourage a friendly atmosphere at our Vancouver and Surrey office, and welcome all our patients into the PacificWest Dental family. We understand our patients are trusting us with their smile, and we appreciate that trust. We believe in being transparent with our patients about the process, and we make sure they are comfortable every step of the way. We are happy to offer the latest technology in the industry and multidisciplinary care to treat our patients in the best possible way.

Who are the orthodontists?

We are pleased to have Dr. Wang, Dr. Lee, Dr. Cheng, and Dr. Chiang overseeing the orthodontic treatment of our patients. Each of our orthodontists is Certified Specialists in Orthodontics. Learn more about our orthodontists here.

Does it matter if I receive treatment in the Vancouver or Surrey location?

The teams at both of our locations provide equal quality care, and we want you to choose the location that is most convenient for you.


Why do I need to see an orthodontist?

Having crooked teeth or a misaligned bite can affect more than how your smile looks. Severely crowded dentition is more difficult to clean, and may result in higher risk of cavities and gum disease. Other common malocclusion such as crossbite and deepbite can cause uneven wear to the teeth and extra stress to the jaw joint. Check out our Orthodontics page for more information.

What are the differences between my family dentist and an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has so much passion and love in the art of moving teeth, they spend 2-3 more years in specialty school to learn the knowledge and skill in orthodontics. Additionally, they need to pass the rigorous national board examination (The Royal College of Dentists of Canada, National Dental Specialty Examination) in order to become a certified specialist in Canada. Finally, because a certified orthodontist usually will limit his or her practice to orthodontics only, they have much more experience in diagnosing malocclusion and providing treatments than a family dentist.

Can my family dentist also provide braces treatment?

Whether a case can be treated by a family dentist depends on the complexity of the malocclusion and the experience and training of the family dentist. Many family dentists have great interest in orthodontics and will take courses to obtain knowledge and experience in providing braces treatment. In fact, the orthodontists at PacificWest Dental have hosted many study clubs to help our family dentist colleagues learn about orthodontics.

You should ask your family dentist what kind of training he or she has in orthodontics, if he or she treated cases like yours before, and does he or she have photos of the case that he has completed to show you. We will be more than happy to provide you with a second opinion if you have any questions about your teeth!

What is the ideal age to begin orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is suitable for people of all ages, whether young or old. Starting from the age of 7, we recommend taking your child to visit us so that we can monitor his or her teeth and jaw growth, and keep an eye out for potential problems. Learn more about our approach here.

How do braces actually work?

Braces work by gently pulling and pushing the teeth to guide them into alignment. The real working horse in this process is the wire. Think of your teeth as a set of trains; braces are the wheels on the train, and the wire is the rail. It is the wire that guides the teeth where to go.

But how does the physical force from the wire actually make teeth move? Teeth are suspended in the bone by a collection of ligaments. When teeth are under pressure, these ligaments are squashed, and they release signals to call for cells (osteoclast) to come to remove the bone surround them (so they could become unsquashed).  After the teeth have moved into new position, another type of cell (osteoblast) will come to build new bones around the teeth to secure it in the new position. And this is how braces work to move your teeth!

What information do you need from me during our initial consultation?

At the initial consultation, we want to understand your needs and provide you with treatment options. In order to do this, we will need your medical and dental history, and any questions you may have!

How much will my orthodontic treatment cost?

This is the million dollar question! The cost of braces is based on several factors like the complexity of your case, how long treatment will take and which type of appliances you choose (metal braces, clear braces, Invisalign® or lingual braces). And because each patient receives a different treatment plan customized to his or her need, the cost will also be different.

Rest assured that during the consultation with Dr. Wang and Dr. Lee, financial figures will be discussed in depth. At PacificWest Dental Group, we work together with our patients to ensure treatment is affordable and payment options are flexible. We offer interest-free financing and accept cash, cheque, Visa, MasterCard, and debit.

How much of my treatment cost will be covered by insurance?

Insurance plan coverage varies greatly, so we recommend asking your provider what your coverage includes. We will provide you the total cost of your treatment before your first appointment so you can determine your cost after your insurance coverage.

Do you do direct billing for insurance?

We do not direct bill to your insurance provider, but provide you with receipts and invoices so you can successfully process your claims.

During Treatment

What do I do if my mouth is feeling sore?

On the day you get braces put on, your mouth may feel tender, achy, or sore. It may be difficult to bite or chew hard foods for three to five days after your treatment begins. To help relieve this soreness, it’s important to rinse your mouth with warm, salt water: dissolve one teaspoon of salt in about eight ounces of water, and rinse your mouth (spitting out the salt water).

Do this multiple times a day for the first three to four days. You can also purchase products like Colgate Orabase, a topical pain reliever that is applied to the sore spots in your mouth. Alternatively, you can also take pain relievers in pill form. If the tenderness persists for more than a week, contact our office. You may also want to consider laser pain management as well.

Your lips, inside cheeks and tongue may also be irritated or tender for several weeks as they toughen and become used to the braces. To lessen the irritation you can apply wax on the braces!

What happens if part of my braces becomes loose or falls off?

Give us a call to schedule an appointment to get this issue fixed. In the meantime, place wax on the wire or bracket to reduce any abrasion that may occur as a result of the loose appliance. Make sure you always have wax with you, it can be your best friend during your treatment.


Why do I need to wear retainers?

After teeth move, the bone and tissue around a tooth need to reform and adapt to the new position. This process usually takes between 4-6 months, and the teeth have a high tendency to shift back to the crooked position if a retainer is not worn during this period. Therefore, retainer acts as a bridge to lifelong straight teeth and is designed to hold teeth in the perfect position after your braces are removed.

How long do I need to wear my retainers for?

Each patient will receive specific instructions on retainer wear tailored to his or her condition. In general, you’ll eventually reach the point where you only need to wear it a few nights per week.

My retainers hurt when I put them on – is that bad?

Your retainers were made to fit your teeth when braces first came off. If the retainer feels tight when you wear them, then there is a good chance that the teeth have shifted. Most of the time you just need to wear the retainers fulltime again for a few weeks to get the teeth back in alignment, but it is best to make an appointment to come to see us. The doctors will evaluate the situation and advise you the best action to take.

Have other questions? Feel free to contact us!

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