Can another orthodontist remove braces?

June 15th, 2021

Can another orthodontist remove bracesWhatever your reason might be, patients needing to transfer orthodontic treatment while in the middle of a braces treatment are becoming more common. Many families move due to jobs, the economy, or needing new scenery. There are over five million people wearing braces at any given time, which means that nothing has plans to change, and there are practices in place to make this work better for you if you need to transfer your care mid-treatment. 

Why Would Someone Transfer Orthodontic Treatment?

There are some cases in which you might choose to transfer your treatment. This may be due to not enjoying your current provider, or in some cases, it may be due to things out of your control. If you know you will need to move in the near future, you can decrease stress by switching your provider and finding someone you trust, like AA Braces. Common reasons for switching providers include the following.


Probably the most common reason that patients have to transfer orthodontic treatment is due to a move. This will have to do with a job change or military assignment, or simply because they believe it is best for their family. This presents its own set of challenges and adding in finding a new orthodontist only makes that worse.

Current Orthodontist Retired

Many orthodontists work for many years, but everyone needs to retire at some point. If this is the case with your orthodontist it might be disappointing. Despite this, you will most likely know a bit before it happens so you have time to prepare. In many cases, there will be a referral orthodontist to switch to, and this will make it a bit easier than normal.

Difference Of Opinion On Treatment Decisions

In some cases, your orthodontist may have an opinion on what you should do for treatment. This will require you to either go with their choices or push away and find someone else you feel more comfortable with. In this case, you have the right to move away and make your own decisions regarding healthcare.

Needs Not Being Met

If the event your office isn’t meeting your needs, whether that is physically in your care, or emotionally, then you will need to handle it. First, you can discuss this with your current provider, and if there is no resolution, you can discuss moving to a different provider. You should feel that your orthodontic journey is filled with compassion and understanding, rather than conflict and stress. 

Scheduling Issues 

You might have a very active schedule, and this can lead to issues with your orthodontic provider’s schedule. If this is the case, then you may need to switch because you cannot make it to your appointments. 

Contact us Today if You are Looking for a New Orthodontist

Regardless of your reason, for switching providers, if there are unresolvable issues, it is important to switch over and find someone new to take care of your needs. Contact us today to learn more.

Do orthodontists clean teeth before braces?

May 20th, 2021

Highlands Ranch Orthodontists

If you have decided that you or your child needs braces then you may have a lot of questions. Whether it is you or your child in the chair, there options and we are here to help you feel mentally prepared to take this step. We will help you to learn all you need to know about putting the mon, and how the procedure goes. We will even teach you about your orthodontist will clean your teeth before you get braces.

All About Braces

Before getting braces you will need to understand what braces are and how they affect your teeth. Braces have three parts:

  1. Brackets: Attached to the teeth and have slots on each side
  2. Wires: Threaded through the slots in the brackets
  3. Little rubber bands that hold the wires to the brackets

You may also need metal bands around your back teeth, but you can also customize your braces so that they reflect your personal style, or are more hidden.

The Process

First, your orthodontist will call you in, to create the impression of your teeth, as well as soft tissue to make your braces. Another thing to remember to do before the day of getting your braces is to obtain a cleaning. Your teeth must be very clean in order to ensure that your braces are properly attached to your teeth. You should also floss and brush beforehand as well. Then your orthodontist will clean your teeth with a polishing paste before affixing the braces.

The procedure itself should take about 90-120 minutes. You will have a retractor placed into your mouth as well to keep it as dry as possible. Then adhesive will be placed onto your teeth and the brackets will be attached. Finally, a wire will be threaded through and held with a small rubber band.

You Might be a Bit Uncomfortable

After you complete your procedure, your teeth may be somewhat sensitive. This is normal, and your mouth may even be sore. Try to eat soft foods such as applesauce, pudding, bananas, and potatoes. If it is extremely painful then you can take over-the-counter pain medications as needed. If you are experiencing extreme pain, then you should consult your doctor.

Braces and Oral Care

When you have questions, your orthodontist is the best person to speak with. Be sure to attend regular checkups so you can keep track of your progress. You will also want to make sure that you are brushing and flossing very well, or even using a water pick to get rid of food particles between the braces. Be sure to avoid sticky foods.

Getting braces can cause some fear, but if you prepare accordingly, you should feel comfortable about the procedure. Come into Highlands Ranch Orthodontist for your braces today!

How Much Does an Orthodontic Consultation Cost

April 16th, 2021

Colorado OrthodonticsWhen seeking out an orthodontist in Arvada, it’s important to understand the initial consultation process and cost. Most initial consultations come at little to no cost to you. However, there are a variety of factors that determine this cost. Read on to discover more about your first orthodontic consultation and how much you’ll pay up front. 

Initial Consultation Steps

An initial consultation is a great time to get to know your doctor better. You’ll have the chance to ask questions, express concerns, and receive a basic evaluation. This evaluation includes a look at your concerns and possible issues. You will most likely receive an x-ray and photographs that will show a complete view of your gums and teeth. After your doctor has reviewed these materials and examined your teeth, they’ll discuss further treatment.

We suggest asking your doctor these common orthodontic consultation questions:

  • Can you explain my main orthodontic issues?
  • What is the severity of these issues and how do I correct them?
  • Do you have any treatment goals in mind?
  • Will I need to have teeth removed?
  • Can you give me an estimate on how long my treatment will last?
  • Can you give me an estimate on how much my treatment will cost?

Orthodontic Consultation Cost

There are many factors that determine the price for your consultation with an orthodontist. Some include the type of insurance you carry and treatment fees. Your orthodontist’s office can help determine how much you owe for an initial consultation and other fees involved.

An orthodontic fee is determined by your type of treatment and plan. However, there are several options for covering the cost. Your doctor’s office may provide an all-inclusive fee for any type of treatment or require you to set up a payment plan. If you decide to go forward with treatment, a down payment may be required, as well. Some patients also cover payments through a health savings account or flexible spending account. 

How Insurance Covers Orthodontic Treatment

A common way to pay for orthodontic consultations and treatment is with dental insurance. Check with your employer to see if you have employer-covered dental insurance. You can also purchase dental insurance yourself. Either way, dental insurance covers a percentage of orthodontic treatment fees. This includes any fees incurred from your initial consultation. You can check online or ask your doctor about dental insurance coverage or how to pay for your consultation. 

The doctor’s office can also help you confirm the following items regarding dental insurance coverage:

  • Whether the branch or office takes your type of insurance 
  • What percentage your dental insurance covers
  • How much you owe for treatment
  • Any coverage limitations specified by your insurance

Orthodontist Arvada is here to help with everything from your initial consultation to insurance coverage and fees. Contact our office to discuss whether your insurance provider is accepted and how to move forward with orthodontic care. We are also happy to discuss different payment options for your visit. Our professional team is ready to help you start your orthodontic treatment today.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

April 9th, 2021

Aurora Orthodontists

Most people have probably been to a dentist at one time or another in their lives. Hopefully, this has been on a regular basis. This might include professional cleanings, X-rays to maintain good dental health, and other routine items. Dentistry is a broad term that is mentioned in regards to the health of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Dentists do treat a variety of oral health problems, as well as diseases. This might include cavities, tooth decay, and gum diseases such as gingivitis. But have you been to an orthodontist? What is the difference?

Orthodontist vs. Dentist

Both a dentist and an orthodontist both must obtain a bachelor's degree in their first part of schooling. Then they may apply to dental school, and complete a four-year doctoral program. This will allow them to become a general dentist. At graduation, they may both practice dentistry, but orthodontics must apply and be accepted into an orthodontic residency. 

Orthodontics specialty residency is difficult to get into. Only the most dedicated dentists are accepted. After this, they will go to a two to three-year program, which ends with focuses on the correction of dental malocclusions. This includes poor bites, crooked misaligned teeth, and facial growth along with the correction of skeletal discrepancies.

Orthodontists are Specialists

Both dentists and orthodontists must go through a long history of schooling before beginning their profession. The main difference is that an orthodontist is a specialist. Because an orthodontist is a specialist in their field, they must limit their practice to orthodontics. Most often you will go to see an orthodontist for serious gum issues, as well as braces. Most often orthodontists specialize in aligning teeth and jaws. 


There is some overlap between a dentist and an orthodontist. This is because all orthodontists are dentists, but very few dentists have undergone the extra 2-3 years to become certified in orthodontic training. Dentists are a bit different and can help patients achieve a cleaner, healthier smile through cleanings, X-rays, and even surgery.

When to See a Dentist

  • If you are concerned about the general health of your teeth or gums
  • When you suspect you may have a cavity, tooth decay, or gum disease
  • You want to learn more about how to keep your mouth clean 
  • You want to prevent disease or other dental issues
  • If you want someone to evaluate your oral health and provide you with the hygienic care you need

When to See an Orthodontist

  • You notice crooked, misaligned, or overcrowded teeth that you want to be changed
  • You have an overbite or underbite
  • Your teeth are affecting your ability to chew food or speak properly
  • There are numerous aches and pains in your mouth
  • If you want someone to evaluate the alignment of your teeth and determine the best course of action to correct your bite

If you are considering getting help from an orthodontist, consider Aurora Orthodontist. We can provide you with the best orthodontic service in all of Colorado.

How much do braces cost?

February 15th, 2021

Braces price

The average cost of braces may shock you and your bank account. It’s not a cheap procedure. While there’s no flat rate, braces typically fall somewhere between $4,000 and $6,000 with some going beyond that range. The reason is each situation is unique and different oral situations are going to me more or less work for the professional getting your braces put together and in your mouth. Plus there’s the costs of keeping braces maintained over the years and dealing with any complications that pop up. 

To get an idea of what goes into the cost of braces, where are some factors that will have an effect on the cost of braces

Complexity of Your Condition

Your situation’s complexity means time for your orthodontist to spend working on your case, that costs money. This mean the correct supplies, the correct procedures, the correct number of procedures, and any specialty procedures that are necessary. A few metal brackets is going to cost a lot less than a full set of braces that require multiple office visits and supplemental material. Only your orthodontist can tell you how your condition will impact the cost of your treatment. 

Orthodontist Rating

As with anything, the better a place you go to, the more it will cost. An orthodontist with several years or even decades of experience, multiple memberships to professional organizations, and awards is going to charge you more than a newer, less experienced orthodontist. So the same procedure may be two different costs between two different offices because one is more experienced and more in demand than another. So if you’re price shopping and see a discrepancy, check credentials and see if that explains it. 

Maintenance and Aftercare

Unfortunately, braces are hardly ever a once and done procedure. Braces usually require annual or semi annual visits to make sure they’re doing their job. These visits may require some routine or not so routine maintenance that costs money. On top of that, after the braces come off there is still maintenance and visits for aftercare to make sure your teeth are doing well. And post-care retainers themselves can cost a few hundred dollars. You should factor this extra care into the cost.

Where Your Procedure Is Happening 

Which state you’re in and where in that state you live also is a factor. While they don’t tend to go too far outside the mentioned range, some states have a low end cost of $6,500 while others have a base of $3,500 with high ends going up as high as $9,000. This is due to how difficult it is to get materials, the competitive experience of orthodontists in the area, and local fees. Braces in Los Angeles cost a lot more than braces in rural Illinois, for example. So factor that into your cost estimates as well. 

Give us a call to get started on a quote and appointment if you believe you need braces. 

What Are Considered Orthodontic Services?

January 15th, 2021


There’s much more to orthodontics than teenagers with metal braces. In fact, many adults benefit from orthodontic services, too. These services can range from clear aligners and retainers to different types of braces. Whatever your age or need, orthodontics can help you achieve better oral health and a beautiful smile. Discover more about the common types of orthodontic services and find one that’s right for you

Different Types of Orthodontic Services

Orthodontics helps realign jaw, teeth, and bite patterns. It can help prevent these issues from arising, as well. Although metal braces are the most well-known, there are actually several options when it comes to orthodontic services. These options include:


Invisalign clear aligners are a great option for both teens and adults. They are made of durable plastic that seamlessly shapes your teeth without the bulkiness of metal brackets. Additionally, Invisalign aligners can be removed for eating, drinking, and oral care. This option does require additional visits to your doctor for aligner replacement. Every few weeks, you’ll get a new pair to keep up with your shifting teeth. Invisalign works for complicated and simple alignment problems.

Lingual Braces

Another inconspicuous option, lingual braces are practically hidden from view. These braces attach along the inside of your teeth instead of the front. Like traditional metal braces, they include brackets and wires. However, this more discreet positioning is preferred for many patients.

Lingual braces do have some downsides, however. They can initially impact speech because of the placement on the back side of the teeth. This positioning may cause sores to develop on the tongue. Lingual braces are also not recommended for patients with an overbite since brackets are more likely to detach. Also, these types of braces are harder to clean because of their location.

Metal Braces

The most well-known type of orthodontics services, metal braces are permanently adhered to the teeth with metal brackets and wires. The wires are slowly tightened throughout your treatment by your doctor. Metal braces are a powerful tool that helps with serious teeth misalignment. This is a long-term option that involves treatment for three or more years. Those with metal braces should adhere to strict oral care, including giving up some food and beverages to avoid issues. 

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are another option for those looking for discreet braces. The ceramic brackets are clear or tooth-colored. It usually takes 18 to 36 months to see improvement in teeth alignment with ceramic braces. Like metal braces, patients should avoid certain foods and drinks that can stain the ceramic brackets. 


Retainers are extremely common after any orthodontics treatment. These plastic aligners help keep your teeth from shifting back to their former misalignment. Occasionally, doctors assign retainers to patients with minor alignment issues. They can be worn on the top, bottom, or both for up to six months to correct and maintain alignment. 

If you are interested in orthodontic services or oral care, Orthodontist in Arvada can help. Schedule an appointment today online or over the phone. 

Can I get Invisalign at any Ortho Office?

December 21st, 2020

Many people look to Invisalign to help straighten misaligned teeth and improve their oral health. Since Invisalign is made from clear, BPA-free plastic, they are a more subtle alternative to traditional metal braces. With Invisalign options, you’ll be on your way to a healthier smile. Learn more about the Invisalign process and where to go for your initial consultation.

About Invisalign

Invisalign clear aligners help straighten teeth over time. They are an alternative orthodontic treatment to metal braces and can be removed when needed. This makes it easier to keep your teeth and gums healthy while maintaining normal cleaning routines. Because of their clear material, they are also a less noticeable option because there are no brackets or wire. Additionally, Invisalign takes less time to straighten your teeth and are more comfortable to wear and eat and sleep with. This orthodontic treatment is an effective and inconspicuous solution for both teenagers and adults.

The Invisalign Process

Contact your doctor to discuss how to prepare for your initial Invisalign consultation. You may need to fill out paperwork before your first visit, so come prepared with all the necessary materials. Before you can receive your treatment, your doctor will run a quick examination that includes x-rays and a 3D scan of your mouth and teeth. After this, your doctor will be able to determine whether Invisalign is the right solution for you and create a treatment plan. The details of the treatment plan, including how long treatment will last, varies greatly from person to person, since everyone’s needs are different. 

After your doctor discusses your treatment plan with you, and your initial exam is complete, your scans will be sent to the official Invisalign laboratory where custom aligners are made. These clear aligners are crafted directly from your 3D model and will help to slowly realign your teeth. Depending on your treatment plan, you may receive a new set of aligners after your orthodontic issues progress further. 

When your Invisalign treatment is complete and you have achieved a healthy smile, you’ll still need to perform some upkeep to maintain the position of your teeth. Wearing a retainer after treatment helps to keep your teeth aligned in the future. Even after orthodontic treatment, your teeth can start to shift back to their former position. Be sure to perform any follow-up steps recommended by your doctor after your Invisalign treatment is over. Your orthodontist can help answer any questions you have regarding the use of a retainer. 

Invisalign with Your Local Office

You can receive Invisalign at your local orthodontist’s office. Colorado Orthodontics can help you with your initial consultation for Invisalign braces. Our professional staff will walk you through the examination process and discuss all your options so you can start your treatment towards a perfect smile right away. Our orthodontists are experts in helping patients find the best treatment plans for Invisalign. Call our office to schedule an appointment or to ask any questions you have regarding our Invisalign treatment.

Should I Invest in Invisalign for My Teen?

November 23rd, 2020

Invisalign Teen

Originally marketed as an adult braces option, aligners have recently appealed to a younger audience. Invisalign is a popular choice for many teens since it subtly helps correct teeth alignment without the awkwardness of metal braces. Invisalign manufacturers even reported double the increase of sales from 2013 to 2017, indicating that aligners are becoming the more popular choice among teens. 

This could contribute to the fact that aligner options have many benefits, including more comfortable treatment options with fewer emergency issues. Read on to discover more about Invisalign Teen and why you should invest in this orthodontics option.

About Invisalign Teen

Invisalign for teens involves a similar process to that of adult aligners. During your first consultation with our doctors, your teen will receive a quick scan of their mouth to render a 3-D model of the teeth and gums. Your doctor will then review possible options and outcomes due to the aligners, including what your teen’s smile will look like after treatment. 

Many teens appreciate aligners compared to braces because they are virtually invisible and also removable. Invisalign liners only need to be worn for around 20 hours per day and will rotate through to a new set. They also include space for incoming molars or wisdom teeth; a perfect option for your growing teen. 

The many benefits of Invisalign Teen

Invisalign Teen might be just the option for your family. It offers a comfortable treatment option that teens love. If you’re not ready to commit just yet, find out more about the top benefits of Invisalign and why your teen will love their new liners:

  • Invisalign liners are a set of translucent, BPA-free plastic that fit seamlessly in the mouth. Teens love this aligner option because they can still feel confident when showing their teeth or smile. Clear aligners won’t draw attention to themselves, making them a discrete choice for teens.
  • Teens choose Invisalign braces because they are removable and easy to use. Unlike metal braces, they don’t have to worry about food restrictions and can still eat their favorite snacks and food without the worry of trapped food particles. Invisalign liners are also easy to clean since they are removable. Flossing and brushing are just as easy as before and your teen won’t have a problem maintaining their usual cleaning routine.
  • Metal braces are often uncomfortable and take up more room in the mouth. Invisalign Teen is a great option for those looking for a more comfortable, and less stressful, experience. Without brackets causing irritation, cuts, or abrasions, your teen won’t even realize they’re wearing Invisalign braces. These clear aligners are completely customized and fit perfectly to the mouth.

Overall, Invisalign Teen is a great investment option for your family. With the use of Invisalign liners, your teen will be happier, more comfortable, and less stressed about their braces experience. Aligners require a minimal amount of lifestyle changes are regarded as an easier transition for teens and parents alike. Your teen will love how they feel in the nearly invisible aligners, so talk to your doctor today regarding your options. 

How to Prepare Your Teen for Orthodontics

October 23rd, 2020

Teen Orthodontics

Braces are a big step in any teen’s life. If your child is about to start Teen Orthodontics treatment, they might be nervous or have a few questions. Both you and your child must get your questions answered so you can prepare for your teen’s braces.

Discuss Treatment Options

There are many different treatment options for braces such as Invisalign or ceramic braces, but only one treatment option that will work for each person. Metal braces are often the option most often chosen for teens. This is because they are reliable and cost-effective as well. Your child can also customize these with different colors which can make it a more fun experience. Discuss why braces are important, and how long the process will take. 

Discuss What They Should Expect During a Fitting

The first time your teen is having their braces fitted, they might feel nervous. Let them know that this is a very straightforward procedure and that the small brackets are simply glued to their teeth. Then, they will be connected by a thin wire, and have colorful o rings placed on top if they choose. 

Purchase Soft Foods

Although having braces fitted shouldn’t be painful, they will put pressure on your teen’s teeth. This may make it a bit uncomfortable to eat, and so it might be easier to eat soft foods. These types of foods might include pasta, rice, potatoes, soup, or yogurt. When foods are cold, they can also soothe a sore mouth. Preparing this ahead of time can be very helpful.

Purchase a Lot of Wax

When anyone is getting used to their braces they may have sores or irritants inside the mouth. Orthodontic wax can help to make braces more comfortable. Make sure to have a lot of this on hand, and also give some to your child to bring to school or sport’s practice. 

Share the Benefits of Braces

One or two years may not seem like a long time for an adult, but for teens, it can seem like a very long time. Remember that two years is 50% of their high school life. If you remind them that the benefits will follow them for the rest of their life, it may help to ease the negativity around it. 

Listen to All Feelings About Braces

Although braces are a wonderful gift, many teens feel uncomfortable or embarrassed that they need to have braces. If you listen to how they feel regarding the braces, then they may be able to find a way to get over it. If their concerns are that they might be made fun of, remind them that almost everyone has worn, will wear, or is currently wearing braces. 

Help With Cleaning

Even if your teen is diligent about brushing their teeth, often their habits might change when it comes to braces. This is because braces require a lot more work. Sometimes special brushes need to be used, and kids do not want to take the time to do this. By helping them with cleaning it can take a bit of pressure off. 

Although braces can be a drag, they can be fun too. Contact us today so we can answer all of your questions.

How to Care for Invisalign Braces

September 21st, 2020

Invisalign braces are a great teeth-straightening option that utilizes clear aligners instead of brackets and wires. These aligners are completely customizable to your teeth and can be removed during sleep or when eating. Since they're practically invisible, Invisalign aligners are a great solution for teens and adults alike when it comes to oral health. 

Invisalign in Arvada

However, Invisalign aligners are very similar to regular braces in that the amount of upkeep is similar. Learn how to properly care for your Invisalign braces with this simple guide. 

Brush Teeth and Trays

Just because you're taking care of your teeth with braces, doesn’t mean that you can cut corners on your cleaning routine. In fact, you may experience even more bacteria and buildup while your Invisalign braces are in use. To avoid excess bacteria and dental issues, be sure to thoroughly brush teeth before bed and when you wake up in the morning. It’s also essential to clean your trays at this time, as well. Unseen food particles and bacteria can easily get stuck in your aligner trays and result in cavities if not removed properly. 

Rinse After Wear

Another way to care for your Invisalign braces is to rinse them after every wear. If you don't rinse them properly, build up from saliva and plaque is bound to occur. This could also cause a buildup of unwanted bacteria growth and harm the aligner trays. If rinsing isn’t cutting it, try gently brushing your trays with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This can help remove plaque, saliva, and bacteria buildup from the trays, all while protecting the integrity of the aligners. Use clear antibacterial soap only when cleaning. Scented or colored soap could cause discoloration of the trays or a strange taste when you put them in.

Soak Thoroughly 

Regular nighttime care for your Invisalign trays includes soaking them using cleaning crystals or denture cleaner. Soaking ensures that bacteria doesn’t grow overnight. It also makes brushing excess plaque, food, and saliva from the trays a lot easier. After soaking overnight, brush gently and rinse before inserting it into your mouth for the day.

Establish a Routine

Utilizing all of the care methods above, create a cleaning routine that is easy to remember. Establishing a care routine for your Invisalign braces helps keep them in good condition so they’ll do the important job they were meant for. Proper care of Invisalign trays guarantees a quick turnaround for your perfect smile and keeps your teeth healthy.

Add these other care tips into your routine for the ultimate braces care:

  • Schedule ahead with your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups during treatment.
  • Set an alarm each morning and evening so you remember to properly clean your Invisalign trays.
  • Properly prepare for any nights you aren’t at home so you can keep up with your cleaning schedule.
  • Follow all instructions given to you by your dentist to promote a healthy, clean, and straight smile.

Your orthodontics team can get you started with Invisalign in Arvada, Thornton, Aurora, and Highlands Ranch, CO

How Do I Know When It's Time for Early Orthodontic Treatment?

August 21st, 2020

Early Orthodontic TreatmentOrthodontic treatment can help individuals of any age. But in order to prevent oral health problems later in life, it's best to seek out an orthodontist at an early age. Get to know the recommended age range for an early examination as well as signs that someone may need further orthodontic treatment.  

Age Range for First Visit 

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, a child should meet with an orthodontist no later than age 7. When a child reaches this age, an orthodontist can spot issues with tooth and jaw growth that may later pose oral health complications. Some of those issues include:

Gaps Between Teeth 

Although braces can correct all sorts of tooth misalignment issues, people often associate the orthodontic device with correcting gaps between teeth. Gaps can lead to difficulty in chewing, speech problems, and low self-esteem. An orthodontist can offer early solutions to the problem.

Crowded Teeth

When teeth grow too close together, they may overlap or displace one another. This makes it difficult to properly brush and floss, and eventually increases the risk of other dental problems, such as cavities and infections. An orthodontic device can correct the issue, giving your child a better chance at maintaining a healthy mouth.

Mouth Breathing

Breathing through your nose is more advantageous than breathing through your mouth. That's because your nasal breathing moistens and filters air as it heads to your lungs. Habitual mouthing breathing, on the other hand, can have a negative effect on everything from facial development to academic performance.

Mouth breathing may be the result of an anterior open bite. This is when the top and bottom front teeth slant outward and fail to touch when the mouth is closed. An orthodontist can spot this condition and offer ways to correct it early. 

Thumb or Finger Sucking

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex. However, if children don't drop the habit over time, it could eventually have a negative effect on oral development. Some of those effects include overbite, speech impediment, or changes to facial development. An orthodontist can assess whether late thumb sucking has altered jaw or tooth growth. 

Irregular Loss of Baby Teeth  

Children often begin to lose their baby teeth around age 6. Early or late loss may indicate developmental problems. Inform the orthodontist of your child's tooth development, so the specialist can determine whether or not further steps will be necessary to correct the issue. 

Early Orthodontic Treatment in Aurora

It's important to note that you don't have to wait until a child is 7 years old to visit an orthodontist. In some cases, developmental problems may be more obvious, and you should seek an expert's opinion as soon as possible. For early orthodontic treatment in Aurora, you can reach out to Colorado Orthodontics. We accept patients of any age, and our team of experts can offer preventative oral health treatments to ensure your child grows up with a bright and healthy smile.

What are Clear Ceramic Braces and Will They Work for Me?

July 7th, 2020

You know braces. You’re familiar with images of teenagers with metal braces in their mouth as a way to help straighten out teeth. But braces have come a long way and it’s not just the classic metal look anymore. There are ways to have braces that are less noticeable, more comfortable, and more versatile for the wide variety of people who may end up needing braces at different stages of their lives.

If you’ve been told by a dentist or orthodontist that braces are going to be a benefit to you, then you might want to consider your options beyond just the classic metal wire braces. Ceramic braces are a lesser known but no less effective option you can spring for if you don’t want to deal with the discomfort and aesthetic issues that come from metal wire braces.

What Are Ceramic Braces?

Ceramic braces use clear or tooth colored brackets as opposed to the metallic wiring of normal braces. Despite this aesthetic and material difference, they perform the same job and do so rather effectively. They’re an ideal option for anyone concerned that they will feel self conscious while wearing braces and can make the process more comfortable and appealing. But that doesn’t mean they’re right for everybody. As with everything, ceramic braces have their pros and cons.

Why Ceramic Braces May Be Right For You

The biggest benefit of ceramic braces is that they are less visible and obvious than normal braces that use metal wiring. The coloring is more subdued and matches the natural color of teeth. On top of that you do have some options when it comes to picking your colors. While Invisalign is the ideal for those who want teeth alignment without braces, ceramic braces move teeth into alignment much quicker. Another great benefit of ceramic braces is that their lack of metal means they won’t interfere with any imaging tests you need to get during the course you wear them.

Why Ceramic Braces May Not Be Right for You

The first thing to know is ceramic braces are more expensive than traditional wire braces. The ceramic brackets are also a little larger and can be more irritating on sensitive gums than traditional braces. They’re slightly less durable than metal wiring and have a higher chance of breaking off or fracturing. They work slower than metal braces as aligning teeth and when you do get them removed they may leave some permanent damage to your tooth’s enamel surface. They also may stain during the course of wearing them.

Ultimately, Colorado Orthodontics want to help you get the best possible option for your braces needs. A consultation is going to be the best way you can understand what ceramic and traditional braces can offer you. If you’re in the market for clear ceramic braces in Aurora, give us a call to schedule a consultation or appointment so we can best understand your needs and get you the perfect solution to your dental problems.

What is an ABO Certification?

May 27th, 2020

The American Board of Orthodontics is nationally recognized as the highest standard of excellence in orthodontics through competency assessments. There are different aspects and levels to how one is deemed board certified. Certification to the board requires multiple boxes to be checked off: completion of a graduate program in orthodontia or Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine, but also completion of a CODA accredited residency in orthodontics.

What an ABO certification suggests is not just a necessary level of competency and training for an orthodontist but also a commitment to excellence in the field. And in an industry that takes the health of others into their hands, it’s incredibly important to have a drive to be the best and most professional at what you do. That’s why at Colorado Orthodontics, we strive to boast the most comprehensive staff of board certified orthodontists.

What is the ABO?

The American Board of Orthodontics is the  oldest and most respected governing body in the field of orthodontics. It was founded nearly 100 years ago in 1929 and has spent every year since then making sure all professional orthodontists meet their standards and promote progress in the field. A series of tests and evaluation goes into certifying qualifying orthodontists and it can take as long as 10 years to achieve this feat. So a team of board certified orthodontists is nothing to blink at.

What is the Certification Process?

As mentioned above, an orthodontist seeking a certification from the board must first have a graduate level degree in dentistry or orthodontics and have completed a multi-year residency in an accompanying position to qualify. The next step is to complete a written examination, administered by the board, to further explore and evaluate the skills of the orthodontist. After this is completed, a certificate is awarded to the doctor but they must go through the proper renewal process each year to ensure continued competency.

Membership Upkeep

To remain members in good standing and maintain a certificate, an orthodontist must follow the renewal procedures for each period that their certificate expires. Because the board is required to remain financially independent, their budgets each year are boosted by the fees of members and examination fees. In this way, the board can continue to ensure that only the best and most competent dentists are working in the field while maintaining their own function and financial freedom. This also prevents any biases from the board or monetary favors.

How Do I Find a Board Certified Orthodontist?

At Colorado Orthodontics we’re proud to say every orthodontist on staff is an ABO certified dental professional or is in the process of completing their certification. This ensures safety and security during your orthodontics procedures. Make sure any dental professional you see is certified and competent in their area and make sure you’re getting the best possible care for your oral health.

Does CHP Pay for Braces in Colorado?

May 21st, 2020

We see a lot of folks with CHP and CHP+ in our offices. Many have been bounced back and forth between Medicaid and CHP. With many of these folks, there is some confusion on the subject of CHP and how that works with braces.  So let us try to clarify.

The answer to the question, “does CHP pay for braces in Colorado?” is maybe and kind of. We know, not much of an answer, so here are the details. The state of Colorado outsourced the processing of CHP to a third party called Dentaquest. This was a relationship that is structured in such a way that Dentaquest acts much like a private insurance company.  There are rules and guidelines set by the state which they much follow, but within those rules and guidelines, they get to determine if a claim is approved or denied and it is in their financial best interest to pay out as few claims as they can as long as they remain within the parameters set by the state. The result is, very few claims are approved for CHP.

But what are those guidelines and how do they apply?  Well, first, to get coverage, any CHP or CHP+ member must have had CHP for a full year, without a break, at the time of their orthodontic evaluation.  Even if you have had CHP for say 18 months, if it was dropped in the middle of those 18 months you are not eligible as it would not have been 1 continuous year.  If you meet this criteria, CHP will still not pay for phase 1 orthodontic treatment (for an explanation of phase 1 vs. phase 2 treatment, see our blog “Does Medicaid Pay For Braces?”). If you are looking for phase 2 coverage under CHP AND have had coverage for an entire year, you then would come in for a free consultation and evaluation.  During the evaluation, we will score your kiddo against the criteria the state established for medical necessity.  This criterion is actually far more limited than the criteria for Medicaid and as such far few kids get approval. In the end, we find that about 10% of kids with CHP get coverage.

What does coverage mean with CHP? Well, sadly, unlike Medicaid, it does not mean that CHP covers the cost for braces.  What it means is that the doctor should apply a contracted rate for treatment (at this moment, in early 2020, that’s about $5200) and then CHP will pay $1500 of these charges to the doctor over time.  The “over time” piece is important here because if you lose coverage before treatment has continued for at least a year, you will only receive half of this benefit. But, assuming you get the entire benefit, you will still be looking at about $3700 out of pocket.  Many providers will do what we do which is to let you finance this interest-free over 2 years, so your payments are likely around $130 per month, but it will still cost you money. In our practice, since we know how unreasonable all of this seems for struggling families with CHP, we offer a substantially discounted rate for care to any of our CHP patients who are denied.

So what does this all mean for you?  Well, first of all, if you are one of those families that bounce back and forth between Medicaid and CHP, wait until you are back on Medicaid and then run, don’t walk, to an orthodontist and see if you can get the process all completed before the insurance switches back.  Even if you lose Medicaid the day after we started braces, while there will still be out of pocket expenses, in our practice for example, the MOST we would charge you would be $1800 over the next two years.  So far, far less than what you would have paid with CHP—and that is a WORST case scenario (it is true that other major practices will charge more than the $1800 noted—this is just our policy for patients who we start with Medicaid and lose coverage.  Again, for more on that, see our blog: “Does Medicaid Pay For Braces?”). If you are stuck with CHP and can not get other private insurance and are struggling to pay for braces, look into using an FSA or HAS account to save a ton of money on taxes. Not familiar with these acronyms?  Don’t worry, we’ll post another blog about these very soon.

Lastly, if you are here in the metro Denver area, we’d LOVE to see you! We openly take all CHP and CHP+ patients (and to our knowledge are the only 5280 Top Orthodontist (and have been for 10 years!) and winner of the #1 practice in the state by Colorado Parent magazine that does so), and, while still a family-owned and operated practice, have 9 locations throughout the city to see patients. Just give one of our offices a call and schedule for a consultation.

We hope this all helps!

Does Medicaid Pay For Braces?

May 21st, 2020

This is a question we get nearly every day.  Not only from folks here in Colorado but from around the country.

The short answer: maybe ….

Let us explain.  First, Medicaid coverage for orthodontics varies by state policy.  In some states Medicaid does provide coverage for some cases to be treated, while in others it does not.  Here in Colorado, for example, there is Medicaid coverage for orthodontics. In all states, however, coverage is only for people under the age of 21. If you are 21 or over, have Medicaid, and want braces, we are sad to say that your insurance will not help you with the costs.  You can still get braces, you will just have to pay for them yourself. 

We should note that our practice has a somewhat unique understanding of this topic. A few years ago, in working with our state here in Colorado to design the state criteria, we performed a nation-wide analysis of state-by-state coverage.  Later, as Dr. Baskin, one of our doctors, had been asked to help determine policy for the AAO on medical necessity, we updated this analysis for the AAO. Between these efforts, we came to realize that we might have a stronger grasp on this topic than almost any other practice in the nation.

So let’s say you live in a state that DOES offer orthodontic care and you have a child who you think could benefit from care.  You may ask, how does it work?  Well, to start, we need to provide a bit of “orthodontics 101” education. Orthodontics often has two different phases of treatment. Phase 1 (also called interceptive treatment) is for early care and is done often between the ages of 7-10 while the child’s jaw is still developing and they still have multiple “baby” (also called primary) teeth. This phase typically addresses more structural issues of the jaw such as a narrow palate, impacted teeth or an underbite.  It is done early because a child’s jaw is far more malleable (for example at the top of the mouth, the palate has not yet formed) and so treatment can be done far more easily and quickly than it could in later years, sometime avoiding what would have been surgical solutions later down the road. Phase 2, or comprehensive treatment, is done for people for 10-99.  It’s orthodontic care once most or all of the adult teeth have erupted in the mouth.  It is important to note here that because some children would significantly benefit from early Phase 1 care, our national organization (called the AAO for American Association of Orthodontics) strongly recommends that all children see their orthodontist at age 7.  Not every kid at 7 needs care, in fact most do not, but much like a checkup to the pediatrician, it’s important that children be “checked-out” by an orthodontist when they are 7 or 8.

So, back to Medicaid coverage.  Most, but not all states that provide orthodontic benefits cover both Phase 1 and Phase 2 treatment.  While rules change all the time, to the best of our knowledge there are still some states that do not cover phase 1 care.  For either phase of care, before they will pay for anything, all states require that the need for the child to get braces is “medically necessary”.  How do they determine medical necessity?  Well again this varies by state.  Each has developed its own set of criteria.  Some use one of a few commonly accepted scoring mechanisms.  With these, you get a certain number of points for exhibiting various conditions, and only if your point total meets or exceeds the required amount will the case be considered medically necessary. In other states, like here in Colorado, there is a checklist of criteria.  In theory, if you meet any of the criteria on the checklist, you qualify for coverage.  We say “in theory” because there is still a bit of a subjective element here.  We have submitted cases that we think show 1 or more the criteria and have still had these cases denied for coverage.  Why?  Well, put simply, while our doctors may say that the x-rays and photos of a patient clearly show a condition, the folks who review the cases for the state may disagree.  And in the end, the state reviewers have the final say.

“How often do kids get approved then?” you may ask. As you might imagine, again this varies greatly by state and phase of treatment. Politics and state budgets also sadly come into play. Here in Colorado, for example, as recently as 3 years again, we would often see about half of all kids get approved.  More for Phase 2 than Phase 1, but just over 50% when taken together.  Now, in the past year, that number has dropped to about a third.  As the criteria for Phase 1 is more limited, this splits, roughly, to about 25% of Phase 1 cases being approved and about 40% of Phase 2. If you live outside of Colorado, these numbers could be drastically different.

Medicaid Braces

The last piece to explain here is HOW Medicaid pays. Yet again, it varies by state.  Here in Colorado, they will pay in full for a Phase 1 case.  So, if you had Medicaid coverage on the day your evaluation consultation occurred and continue to have it on the day the braces or appliances are put on, you are all good.  Even if you lose care the next day, the treatment has been paid for.  Years ago, this also was true for Phase 2. But starting in 2017, Colorado changed these rules and now pays the doctor in installments. This can create some financial issues.  If you lose coverage during treatment (Phase 2 often lasts about 2 years), you will most likely be responsible for paying the provider for the remaining care.  What they charge you is completely up to them as, now that Medicaid is out of the picture, the practice can charge whatever they want.  We know many of our competitors, for example, will charge $130-$150 a month for as many months as you still need treatment.  Our practice, knowing the hardship on these families, decided to set a policy of charging $100/month and only charge for the number of months that we did not get Medicaid coverage (so no more than 18 months maximum, depending at what point the patient lost coverage).  If you regain Medicaid coverage at a later date while still in treatment, the practice can attempt to re-apply for benefits and adjust your financials accordingly (you may still owe money for the period where there was no coverage).  And yes, if you get private insurance during this time, this can sometimes be billed as well (depending on the policy).

So what do you do now armed with this knowledge?  Well first, if you have a child over the age of 7 who has not seen an orthodontist (and yes, even if they have seen a dentist, they should be seeing an orthodontist who has 2-3 more years of training specifically on jaw and tooth development and correction), schedule to see one.  It is painless for your child, free to you, and will assure they are getting the proper medical care they need. Secondly, as it relates to Medicaid coverage and approval, work with your orthodontist.  They are on your side and want to get you covered as much as you do.  They can advise if you get denied what the best next step may be (e.g., wait a year and try again, start with mild treatments that do not require approval but are covered by your insurance, etc.). 

Lastly, if you are here in the metro Denver area, we’d LOVE to see you! We openly take all Medicaid patients (and to our knowledge are the only 5280 Top Orthodontist (and have been for 10 years!) and winner of the #1 practice in the state by Colorado Parent magazine that does so), and, while still a family-owned and operated practice, have 9 locations throughout the city to see patients. Just give one of our offices a call and schedule for a consultation.

We hope this all helps!

Using a HSA or FSA to Pay for Braces

May 21st, 2020

We know that even though we offer arguably the best value for orthodontic treatment in all of metro Denver, orthodontic care can still be very expensive for most families.  While you want great care for you and/or your child, and so you likely are not just looking for the cheapest provider (as I often note, if you needed open-heart surgery, you wouldn’t look for the cheapest surgeon, but rather a great one that may also be affordable—and we would hope this is the same mindset when looking for an orthodontist in Denver), you still would like to find a place you can afford. With these concerns in mind, we are often asked about financial issues and if we know of any ways to make braces more affordable. To that end, we thought it would be great to discuss the advantages of HSAs and FSAs and how they can save you a significant amount of money when paying for braces.

To understand FSAs and HSAs, we need to begin with a bit of finance 101.  What is an HSA, what is an FSA and how are they different? At a high level, both HSAs and FSAs are ways that the IRS has set up for you to save money on medical expenses. They are similar, but different important ways. So we will now describe each.

Let’s start with FSA. FSA stands for Flexible Savings Account. It is typically offered by large employers and is something that you would ask to have set up during open enrollment for the following year.  The way it works is that you have your employer set aside a certain portion of your paycheck BEFORE ANY TAXES ARE APPLIED to be used for medical expenses. You may then use this money for medical expenses without these funds ever being taxed.  Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you get $1000 of gross pay on your paycheck and you pay 30% in taxes. Normally you’d get a check for $700 after taxes.  Now let’s say you put $100 of what you earned into your FSA account. Your paycheck would now be $900 less $270 in taxes, so $630.  But you also have the $100 you can spend to pay medical bills (typically your employer will provide you with a credit card tied to your FSA account).  As a result, in this example, you end up with $730, or $30 more than if you did not have an FSA. And the FSA funds, as long as they are used for medical expenses, are NEVER taxed. To use these funds, you do need to present evidence to the FSA administrators that the funds were actually used to pay for a medical expense.  In most cases, a simple receipt from the doctor or store (there is a lot of flexibility in what is considered a medical expense, so often things like eyeglasses, over-the-counter medicines, and even things like massages may be acceptable depending on the rules of the plan provided) will suffice. Is there a downside or risk of using an FSA?  Yes. The IRS rules say that if you do not use your FSA funds for the year, whatever balance is remaining gets forfeited to the IRS. Typically (those this does vary by FSA plan) there is a grace period of a couple of months beyond the New Year to spend these funds, but it is important that you plan and monitor this account. The net-net is that FSAs are a great way to save a significant amount in taxes if you have a known medical expense for the coming year (like paying for braces!) but is not something that most advisors would recommend doing if you do not know if you will have any medical expenses of any significance in the year to come. For 2020, employees can contribute up to $2,750 to health FSAs (and yes, spouses can BOTH do this).

An HSA (which stands for Health Savings Account) is similar to an FSA in that it can help pay for medical expenses tax-free, but is different in some key important ways.  Unlike an FSA, you do not need your employer to offer an HSA. Setting up an HSA has two key components.  First, you need to select and HAS-eligible insurance plan.  This will be a high-deductible plan, but the tax savings from the HAS will almost certainly outweigh the added deductible expense you incur. Once you have an HSA eligible plan, you would open up an HSA account. This typically can be done at your local bank. You would then contribute to this account.  While you are obviously funding the account with after-tax money, when you file your taxes the following year you will be able to deduct whatever amount you contributed to your HAS from your taxable income. This will either reduce the amount of taxes you owe or increase your tax refund.  The tax benefit is based on the money you contribute, not on the money you use from this account. One key difference from an FSA is that the IRS will not take this money from you if you don’t use it.  In fact, it can accumulate year-over-year.  Every year, the amount you put in is the amount you will be able to deduct from your taxes when you file. The new HSA limits for 2020 are $3,550 for individuals and $7,100 for families.

Can you have both an FSA and an HSA? Generally speaking, FSAs and HSAs cannot be used at the same time, although a limited-purpose, or "HSA-compatible" FSA, will allow individuals to also receive benefits from an HSA. A limited-purpose FSA is a healthcare spending account that can only be used for eligible vision and dental (and orthodontic!) expenses. So, as it relates to paying for braces, if your employer offers a limited purpose FSA, you can indeed use both.

Another nice element in using these tax-saving tools for paying for braces is that our services are spread out over time.  This offers two main advantages.  First, depending on when during the year you start treatment, you can spread your payments across 2 or even 3 separate years and as such use FSA or HSA funds to pay for the entire cost of treatment—yielding you as much as $1500-$2000 in tax savings.  Additionally, as our services are spread over time, we can, quite legally, adjust the timing of our payment arrangements to better optimize the use of your FSA and HSA accounts. HSA and FSA

We hope that by understanding these tax-saving features it will make it far more affordable to help you and/or your child get the smile of your/their dreams! As always, if you are here in the metro Denver area, we’d LOVE to see you! We openly take nearly ALL insurances, have been named a 5280 Top Orthodontist for the past 10 years, and winner of the #1 practice in the state by Colorado Parent. As noted, we are confident we offer the absolute best value in orthodontics in Colorado, with world-class care at affordable fees. While still a family-owned and operated practice, have 9 locations throughout the city to see patients. Just give one of our offices a call and schedule for a consultation.

We hope this all helps!

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