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Category Archives: Orthodontics

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3 Myths About Orthodontics & Braces Busted

Unfortunately, some people who could benefit from orthodontic treatment never make appointments with a West Seattle orthodontist because they believe one or more of the many myths about orthodontic care that have been around seemingly forever. That’s why we’d like to bust some of these myths so you’re well-informed and know the truth. Here are three of the most popular myths circulating about orthodontic care along with the facts.

 

Myth #1: Bulky Metal Braces Are The Only Option for Straightening Teeth

 

Fact: While metal braces are still the most common type of braces used, today there are many different types of orthodontic appliances from which to choose. Our Seattle orthodontic practice offers patients many choices in orthodontic appliances including:

 

  • Conventional stainless steel braces
  • Clear ceramic braces
  • Lingual or “hidden braces”
  • Invisalign clear removable aligners
  • Invisalign Teen

Myth #2: Any General Dentist Can Provide Me With Braces

 

Fact: General dentists are trained to diagnose and treat infections, tooth decay, impactions, chips and other restorative issues which is great for taking care of your day-to-day dental needs. A general dentist is also the dental professional to see for making sure your teeth and gums are healthy by providing you with routine checkups and cleanings. While many general dentists offer orthodontic treatment, it is always best to see an orthodontist if you need to perfect your smile or bite with orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists receive specialized orthodontic training once they’ve finished dental school which teaches them how to precisely and accurately realign teeth and jaws.

 

Myth # 3: Only Kids See Orthodontists to Straighten their Teeth

 

Fact: This myth is one that needs to be busted once and for all because nothing could be further from the truth! Today, nearly half of all orthodontic patients are adults. There are many reasons why so many adults are seeking orthodontic care including the fact that there are now many types of orthodontic appliances which are perfect for adults like clear aligners and transparent braces which are very discreet and effective at moving teeth swiftly and comfortably.

 

Questions?

If you have any questions about orthodontic treatment, please feel free to contact us as we’re always more than happy to speak with you! If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Peralta to find out how you could benefit from orthodontic treatment, please complete the Appointment Request form. We look forward to meeting you soon and helping you achieve your most incredible smile!

adult woman with braces

How Flex Spending Can Help You With Orthodontic Care

Our West Seattle and Burien, WA orthodontist and his team at Peralta Orthodontics never want finances to stand in the way of our patients getting the orthodontic care they need. That is why our practice offers several options for paying for the orthodontic services we provide.

 

What is Flex Spending?

 

A flexible spending account, or FSA, is a popular benefit option offered by many employers that allows participants to avoid taxation on money spent for health care and dependent care expenses. At the time of hiring or during the open enrollment period, employees may elect to set aside a portion of their pay for a given year into a FSA.

 

If you have a FSA through your employer, funds from that account can be used to cover the cost of orthodontic care that your dental insurance plan might not cover. The current law allows individuals with FSAs to set aside $2,550 per year. However, families can stretch these benefits because the maximum applies per employee, per plan and not per tax return or household. So if both parents are working, each can set aside $2,550 for a total of $5100 and use the money to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses (including orthodontic care) for themselves, each other and their children.

 

How We Work with FSAs

 

Under most plans, you will lose your FSA money if you don’t use it at the end of the year, although $500 of unused funds may be rolled over into the following year. We regularly work with flexible spending accounts and can set up a payment plan that can be structured over the course of 2 to 3 years (if applicable to the treatment plan) to help you get the most out of your tax-advantaged FSA account.

 

For more information on your payment options at Peralta Orthodontics, visit our Office Policies page. If you have any questions about paying for orthodontic care using your FSA funds, please contact us as we’re always happy to help!

hand putting money into piggy bank

How to Save On Braces and Other Orthodontic Care

Undergoing orthodontic treatment is an investment both in terms of time and money. At Peralta Orthodontics, we strive to provide our patients with affordable, high quality orthodontic care using the latest available technology and orthodontic techniques. If you’re considering seeing a Seattle orthodontist for braces, the cost of braces is surely something you’ve thought about. Here are a few tips that can help you save on braces and other orthodontic care so your finances don’t get in the way of you achieving a straight and beautiful new smile.

 

Choose a Less Costly Treatment Method

 

Thanks to so many advances made in the field of orthodontics, there are now many different types of braces to choose from. Of course, your West Seattle orthodontist will have the final say in what type of braces you can wear based on your particular orthodontic problem, but you may have several types of appliances from which to choose.

 

With these different types of braces come different prices. For instance, conventional metal braces cost less than clear removable aligners. Braces that fit on the backside of the teeth (lingual braces) are more costly than conventional braces, as are braces featuring sliding-door bracket technology. So if you’re given a choice and you wish to save money, choose the least expensive type of appliances.

 

Begin Treatment Early

 

Treating some orthodontic issues early can help avoid more complicated treatment later that can end up costing significantly more. If you think your child needs orthodontic treatment, don’t delay on taking him or her in for an evaluation. This way, we can identify any problems early on and treat them before they become bigger, more expensive problems.

 

Ask Your Orthodontist About Payment Plan Options

 

Many orthodontists offer payment plan options, so don’t forget to ask. Peralta Orthodontics offers a no-interest, in-house payment plan that allows you to pay in person at your monthly visits, through the mail or set up as an automatic payment through our secure server.

 

Look into Other Payment Options

 

Many insurance companies offer partial coverage for orthodontic treatment. Check with your insurance provider to see if it covers orthodontic treatment. If you have a health savings account or flexible spending account, your orthodontist may work with these accounts. It is possible that a payment plan can be structured over the course of two to three years to better utilize your tax-advantaged accounts.

 

Follow All Instructions Your Orthodontist Gives You

 

It is important to follow all the instructions your Seattle orthodontist gives you. For instance, you will be told to avoid braces-busting foods like hard, crunchy and chewy foods. If you do eat something you shouldn’t, you may need to pay the cost of replacing broken wires, bands or brackets. The same thing goes with retainers. If you don’t take good care of your retainer and it breaks or you lose it, a new one will have to be made for you, which will cost you money.

 

Contact Your West Seattle Orthodontist

 

If you have any questions about the cost of orthodontic treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to help! Peralta Orthodontics never wants finances to stop you from obtaining the orthodontic care you need. We offer many payment options, accept many types of insurance and have some financing options available to help make getting the treatment you need possible.

girl at dentist with braces

Teen Orthodontics & Wisdom Teeth: What’s the Deal?

While one of our recent blog posts discussed Dr. Peralta’s philosophy on adult wisdom teeth extractions, his opinion differs when it comes to adolescents.

 

For adolescent and teen patients,  braces are usually removed long before it is time to consider the wisdom teeth. However, by the time the final retainer check appointment approaches, our Burien and West Seattle orthodontist Dr. Jorge Peralta will likely recommend wisdom teeth removal.  The primary reason why he recommends this for all adolescents, and not necessarily adults, is because far more often than not, wisdom teeth can present the following issues:

 

  • They can be painful when erupting
  • They can be difficult to clean
  • They are prone to extensive tooth decay that can transfer to nearby teeth
  • Soft tissue infection can occur
  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) may surround them and cause issues
  • Gum disease can occur

In an effort to prevent these potentially costly and inconvenient side effects of wisdom teeth, Dr. Peralta recommends extracting them prophylactically.  Particularly for teens, the benefits of visiting the oral surgeon early include healing more quickly, preventing health issues and potential emergency dental appointments, and removing them before they have the opportunity to impact the fit of retainers.

 

For adolescent patients, Dr. Peralta typically recommends that they visit the oral surgeon between the ages of 15-20. The exact timeframe depends on the development of the wisdom teeth and if their position can potentially impact the final orthodontic result and health of surrounding teeth.

 

If you have questions about orthodontics and wisdom teeth removal or would like to schedule an appointment at our Burien or West Seattle orthodontic offices, give us a call or fill out our appointment request form online now.

two female friends smiling

How to Get The Most Out Of Your Orthodontic Treatment

Whether you’re wearing Invisalign clear aligners or conventional metal braces, you surely want your treatment to go along as planned. After all, orthodontic treatment is a big investment in terms of both time and money. It’s a 2-way street as both you and your orthodontist have responsibilities in helping you achieve your new, beautiful smile.

 

The team at Peralta Orthodontics wants all of our patients to get the best, most efficient treatment possible. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your orthodontic treatment.

 

Be Extra Diligent with Your Oral Hygiene

 

It is always important to do a good job of brushing and flossing your teeth. But good oral hygiene is even more important when you’re in orthodontic treatment and especially if you’re wearing conventional braces that are bonded to your teeth. By being extra diligent with your oral hygiene, you can avoid common dental problems that could delay your treatment like tooth decay and gum disease.

 

Follow the Instructions Given By Our Seattle Orthodontist

 

Whether you’re wearing Invisalign aligners or regular braces, it’s important that you follow all of the instructions that your orthodontist gives you. For instance, if you are wearing traditional metal braces, you were told to avoid eating braces-busting foods like hard, crunchy and sticky foods. If you are wearing clear aligners, you were told to wear the aligners for at least 22 hours per day. If you do not follow the instructions you’re given, your time spent in treatment may be prolonged. Failing to follow the instructions we give you could also alter your final results and make your treatment more costly, so it’svery important to be compliant.

 

Keep Your Regularly Scheduled Appointments

 

It’s also very important that you come to all of your scheduled orthodontic appointments. These important visits allow Dr. Peralta to check on your progress and/or to make necessary adjustments to your appliances. When you visit our Burien or West Seattle orthodontic offices as you should for each scheduled appointment, you will be doing your part to ensure that your treatment moves along as planned. This will result in you getting the best possible result, which is a straight and healthy smile that you can proudly wear for the rest of your life!

2016 new years resolution

2016 New Years Resolutions: Braces Edition

While it’s hard to believe, 2015 is quickly coming to a close. This is the time of the year when our Seattle orthodontist Dr. Jorge Peralta and his team reflect over the past twelve months and look forward to what’s to come in 2016. We’ve had a great year and have enjoyed seeing many new and familiar faces in our Burien and West Seattle orthodontic offices.

 

The end of the year is when many of us make New Years resolutions to improve and enrich our lives. That’s why we’d like to offer a few possible dental-related New Years resolutions that those of you wearing braces might want to make.

 

Schedule an Appointment with Your Family Dentist

 

Just because you’re seeing a Seattle orthodontist doesn’t mean that you should neglect to see your family dentist. In fact, when you have braces on your teeth, it’s more important than ever to see your dentist regularly for examinations and cleanings. This is because food debris and plaque can become trapped in and around wires and brackets can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and other problems.

 

Cut Back on Sugar

 

Many studies have found that there is a direct link with how much sugar one eats and the amount of tooth decay he/she has. This is why it’s a good idea to make a New Years resolution to cut back on how much sugar you consume. For instance, if you drink sugary soda water, give it up for a healthier option like sugar-free bubbling water. And instead of reaching for candy when you have a sweet tooth, go for something healthier like yogurt or soft fruit.

 

Be Compliant with Your Elastics

 

The elastics on your braces are there to help move your teeth into new positions. Poor compliance in wearing these elastics, like skipping days or not wearing them full-time as prescribed, may result in a longer treatment time and poorer than expected final results. Make a resolution to wear your elastics as directed so your treatment goes along as planned.

 

Make a Commitment to Floss Daily

 

Many people fail to floss their teeth each day, including people wearing braces, because they feel it’s a hassle to floss or that it’s just not necessary. But flossing your teeth is a very important thing you should do every day, especially if you’re wearing braces. Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between teeth and in and around your appliances to help you avoid tooth decay. We recommend using a special floss threader that makes flossing your teeth easier.

 

These are just a few suggestions for New Years resolutions that patients wearing braces might wish to make. For those of you who are thinking of seeing an orthodontist in West Seattle or Burien to improve your smile, make 2016 the year you take the big step! Our practice offers orthodontic care to patients of all ages using the most advanced orthodontic treatment options from metal braces for youngsters to Invisalign for teens and adults. Please contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Katy Perry wearing braces and headgear

Will I Need to Wear Headgear?

No appliance garners as much negative attention as headgear. Originally developed in the 1800s, the purpose of headgear is to help guide growth of the face and jaws, balance the profile, and create a healthy bite. It is most effective when worn between the ages of 10-14 because this is when most growth occurs.

 
While the majority of orthodontists still recommend the use of headgear today, Dr. Peralta often has the pleasure of reassuring his patients that they will never be asked to wear headgear. He believes the headgear appliance is too cumbersome and most patients will not wear it. So, he recommends other modalities to create the same final result. These include inter-arch elastics, inter-arch springs, and the Forsus appliance.

 
Rest assured that while orthodontic treatment is not always easy, Dr. Peralta is always looking for the best and most comfortable ways to accomplish ideal results. If you are wondering if you or a family member is in  need of orthodontic treatment, or if it has been recommended to you, call our Burien or West Seattle offices today to schedule a free consultation!

female high school student with braces

Back to School with Braces

It’s hard to believe, but the summer season is fading away and the brand new school year is underway. Returning to school while wearing braces will be a new experience for many of you. The good news is that you’re certainly not alone. Many of our patients’ new school attire includes braces. Our Seattle orthodontist Dr. Jorge Peralta and his staff want all of our school-aged patients wearing braces to make a smooth transition into the classroom! That’s why we’d like to offer up these tips for making that adjustment easier. Ready? Here goes!

 

Take Along a Braces Care Kit

 

It’s a great idea to take along a small “braces care kit” in a zippered pouch that you can keep in your backpack, locker or desk. Include essential items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss threader, dental wax, a small mirror and some spare rubber bands if you wear elastics. Then after lunch, you can step into the bathroom and brush and floss your teeth.

 

Pack Braces-Friendly Lunches

 

One of the biggest challenges you face while wearing braces is choosing the right types of foods to eat. If you carry your own lunch to school, make sure you only pack braces-friendly foods. Avoid taking along foods that are difficult to eat and which can damage or break your braces like hard, crunchy, chewy and gooey foods. You can still pack things like fruits and sandwiches as long as you cut these items into bite-sized pieces before eating them. Some good lunch choices include yogurt, cheese, bananas, pasta dishes, soups, salads, mashed potatoes, melon and eggs.

 

Don’t Skip Those Orthodontic Appointments!

 

It’s easy to cancel appointments when you’re busy with school and all the activities that you’re involved with like clubs and sports teams. But you should never skip the appointments you have as they are very important. If you do cancel appointments, your time spent in braces will most likely be prolonged and your treatment may even be compromised. Good planning is key so make sure you always leave time in your schedule to come to all your orthodontic appointments.

 

Emergencies – How to Deal with Them

 

The good news is that it is rare to have a true orthodontic emergency. However, it is possible that something can go wrong like a loose wire that pokes and irritates the inside of your mouth. If this does happen, don’t panic! Just use a blunt instrument like the back of a spoon or a pencil eraser to carefully and gently push the irritating part out of the way. If the irritation continues, place dental wax (or wet cotton) on the wire and then call us as soon as possible for an appointment. If any part of your braces comes off, save it and bring it along with you to your appointment.

 

Take Good Care of Your Retainer

 

If you’re in the retention stage of your treatment and are wearing a retainer, it’s important to wear your retainer as directed and to take good care of it. When your retainer is not in your mouth, it should always be in a retainer case. Most retainers are lost in school lunchrooms as many students wrap them in napkins when eating and throw them in the trash by mistake. Clean your retainer at least once per day using toothbrush and toothpaste. If you lose or break a retainer, call us right away so we can replace it and remember to always bring your retainer to the appointments you have with us.

 

The team at Peralta Orthodontics wishes all of our school-aged patients good luck in the 2015-16 school year! We’re always available to speak with you so if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us during regular office hours.

elastics for dental braces

You & Your Fantastic Elastics

If you’re like most people, nothing about stringing your mouth up with rubber bands should feel natural. Moreover, while it is easy to understand the work that the metallic brackets and wires of your braces are doing, it is a bit less obvious what the elastics that you’re given are meant to accomplish alongside them. Until now, that is…

 

Elastics are the tiny rubber bands that are attached to your braces to assist with coordinating the upper and lower arches. They are designed to exert force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth in the directions that braces cannot achieve alone. Consequently, if you neglect to wear your elastics as directed your treatment time will be extended, which means you’ll be wearing braces longer than you expected.

 

Unless you are told otherwise, you should wear your elastics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can remove them when eating and when brushing or flossing your teeth. However, they must be replaced immediately afterward because, as mentioned, elastics only work when they’re worn as directed.

 

Dr. Peralta will provide you with many elastics because they are designed to be replaced at least three times a day. This is because elastics stretch out with use and lose their strength. You should always carry extra elastics with you in case they break or get lost.

 

To ensure that your treatment moves along as expected, be sure to:

 

  • Always wear your elastics as directed.
  • Remove your elastics only when eating and cleaning your teeth; then replace them immediately after.
  • Always carry extra elastics with you, so if one breaks or gets lost you can replace it right away.
  • Be sure to change your elastics as instructed, as these small rubber bands quickly lose their elasticity, causing them to no longer exert the right amount of pressure required for moving teeth.

Orthodontics is a two-way street (so to speak), which means it takes effort from both your orthodontist and you to make treatment successful. Wearing elastics as directed is one of your responsibilities, and if you adhere to it your time with braces will proceed much more smoothly and result in a healthier occlusion.

 

If you have any questions about wearing your elastics, contact Orthodontics of Burien at our Seattle office. We are always happy to speak with you!

woman wearing teeth retainer

Do I Really Need to Wear Retainers for the Rest of My Life?

Our patients regularly tell us they are surprised to learn they have to wear retainers for the rest of their lives. We wanted to offer a little scientific insight about why retainers are a necessary part of your orthodontic treatment.

 

In order to learn why it is recommended to wear retainers for the rest of your life, you have to know a few things about tooth movement.

 

First – The roots of your teeth are held in place by fibrous tissue that stretch and adapt while undergoing orthodontic treatment.

Second – Some of these fibers remodel and adjust to their new position after orthodontic treatment is complete, but not all.

Third – This means that fibers that do not remodel try to spring back to their original positions, bringing the teeth with them. Without the braces or retainers to hold them in place, relapse occurs.

 

Many people who do not wear retainers after their braces are removed mistakenly think their teeth are not moving over time simply because they do not see obvious changes in the position of their teeth. The fact is for many people, teeth move very slowly. By the time relapse is noticed, it is often too late to do anything other than braces or retainers to fix it.

 

Think of stretching a rubber band. The longer you hold the rubber band in its stretched position, the less prone it is to return to its original position. However, by nature, it will always have a tendency to snap back. It is due to the nature of the fibrous tissue that Dr. Peralta recommends wearing retainers, at least at night, for the rest of your life. It is the only way to ensure that your teeth will not move back and create the need for orthodontic treatment again.

 

Remember, you only have to wear retainers for as long as you want to keep your teeth straight!

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Peralta Orthodontics