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clear orthodontic aligner

How Effective Are Mail-Order At-Home Aligners?

Many patients, mostly adult, who are looking for a quick and easy way to realign a slightly crooked smile tend to consider the newly popular mail-order, at-home clear aligners, but not without some good questions. These systems are frequently touted as a way to save money while still gaining the benefits of premium orthodontic care from a qualified professional, but they do come with concerns and challenges that we’d like to point out.

 

Issues With Mail-Order Aligners

 

Mail-order solutions tend to come with some common issues. Many have you book in a 3D scan at a local office in order to get the model of your teeth necessary for the creation of the aligner trays. Other companies ask you to make an impression at home and send it in. Both of these scenarios have one common issue. You never work with the professional who builds your orthodontics, so they never get to actually see or examine your teeth, mouth, and face, and you don’t have the opportunity to provide feedback and get face-to-face answers to questions.

 

Why Face-to-Face Time with an Orthodontist Matters

 

Aligners are a less invasive way to make minor adjustments to your smile when you don’t want or need to commit to a full course of metal or clear braces. They’re designed to be lower maintenance than traditional braces, and that’s why so many patients want to look at mail-order solutions. The fact is, though, that aligners still make major changes to your body, and regular monitoring by a professional will ensure that your orthodontic treatment is looked after and cared for. It will also keep the timing of your aligner tray adjustments and changes more on pace and custom to your needs than a program that makes automatic updates based on a treatment calendar alone.

 

Make an Appointment for Aligners

 

If you’re ready to talk to an orthodontist in West Seattle about realigning your smile, contact us today. Dr. Peralta offers Invisalign to our adult and teen patients, so if clear aligners are in your sights, our team can set you up with an free consultation appointment. Schedule one online or call 206-244-7800 today!

orthodontist vs dentist graphic

Are Orthodontists Dentists? And Other FAQs

With so many patients seeing our Burien and West Seattle orthodontist to improve their smiles, we’ve answered many questions here at Peralta Orthodontics over the years. Because we’re often asked if orthodontists like Dr. Peralta are dentists as well, we thought we’d answer that question here in case it’s something you’re wondering about. We’ve also answered a couple of other frequently asked questions related to the same topic below.

 

All Orthodontists are Indeed Dentists

 

Technically, all orthodontists are dentists because they undergo the same training and earn the same degree as dentists. However, orthodontists go through an additional two to three years of education to learn how to properly align the teeth and jaws using a variety of orthodontic appliances like braces and aligners. As a result, most orthodontists don’t offer dental services like routine cleanings or tooth decay treatment because they’re focused entirely on correcting all types of malocclusions or “bad bites”.

 

Just like orthodontists specialize in the alignment of the teeth and jaws, dentists specialize in helping their patients keep their teeth and gums healthy. They can treat problems like tooth decay and gum disease and teach their patients how to avoid both. It’s important to see your dentist every six months for a routine exam and cleaning to maintain good dental health.

 

Why is it Best to See an Orthodontist for Braces?

 

While it may seem fine to visit a dentist that offers braces in order to achieve the attractive and healthy smile you want, it’s always best to receive orthodontic treatment from an orthodontist. Only an orthodontist has the training, experience, and expertise needed to accurately realign the teeth and/or jaws to give you the best possible outcome which is a smile that’s as healthy and attractive as it can be!

 

Why Do I Have to See My Dentist During Orthodontic Treatment?

 

Many of our patients just starting out with braces or Invisalign are surprised to hear us tell them that they still have to see their dentists, even though they’re being treated by Dr. Peralta.

 

These regular dental visits are important because dentists are trained to identify any problems that may be developing with the teeth and gums in their earliest stages.

 

If a problem is found during a routine exam, the dentist will treat the problem right away before it becomes worse. An untreated dental problem can throw orthodontic treatment completely off track. In the worst case scenario when braces are worn, the braces may need to be removed from the teeth until the dental problem is brought under control.

 

Visit us for Braces & Invisalign in Seattle!

 

Dr. Peralta is passionate about providing his patients with “hands-on”, detail-oriented orthodontic treatment to ensure they receive the best possible outcomes. You simply cannot find a better orthodontist in Seattle to help you achieve your most perfect smile! If you’re ready to see what he can do for you, please request an appointment with us today! We can’t wait to hear from you soon!

What Is The Difference Between Orthodontic and Dental X-Rays?

When a patient is at our office for his or her first visit, Dr. Peralta will carry out a thorough oral examination to detect any current or potential problems with the teeth and jaws to determine if the patient can benefit from treatment. A part of this first visit may include us taking X-rays so Dr. Peralta can see what is happening below the gums. For instance, X-rays can help our West Seattle orthodontist detect issues like:

 

  • Missing or extra adult teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Misplaced teeth
  • Short, long or misshapen roots
  • Problems with the jawbone like a jawbone that’s too big or small, asymmetrical or misshapen.

Many patients hope that we can use old dental X-rays when they visit us for the first time. However, this isn’t possible because dental X-rays don’t provide all the information that Dr. Peralta needs. Below is an explanation of how the X-rays we take differ from those taken by your dentist.

 

Dental X-rays

 

The X-rays that your dentist commonly takes are called bite wing Xrays and periapical X-rays. With a bite wing X-ray, you bite down on a wing-shaped device that holds the film in place while the X-ray is being taken. This type of X-ray helps your dentist find decay between back teeth.

 

A periapical X-ray is similar to a bite wing X-ray but it shows the entire length of one or two teeth, from the crown to the root.

 

Your dentist may also take a panoramic X-ray every few years (or when a problem presents itself) to give him/her a view of all the teeth on both the upper and lower jaws.

 

Orthodontic Xrays

 

An orthodontist uses several types of X-rays to see what is happening with the jaws and below the gums including:

 

  • Panoramic X-rays – A panoramic X-ray that captures all the teeth on the upper and lower jaws is used to see emerging and impacted teeth and to monitor tooth development in children. If your dentist has taken a panoramic X-ray at some time during the twelve months prior to your first visit with Dr. Peralta, we can use that X-ray instead of taking a new one.  Just let us know, and we can request to have the X-ray sent to us.
  • Cephalometric X-rays – This type of X-ray can capture the entire side of the head so Dr. Peralta can see the relation between the teeth and the jaw.
  • CT Scans – This type of diagnostic record is occasionally needed to give Dr. Peralta a three- dimensional (3D) view of the teeth and jaws. A CT scan is particularly valuable when planning complex orthodontic treatment.

Contact Your Orthodontist in Seattle!
We hope this information has helped you understand how the X-rays we take are different from those your dentist takes. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them so just contact us! If you’re ready to find out how we can help you achieve a remarkable new smile, please request your complimentary consultation today. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

woman covering mouth

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!

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Peralta Orthodontics