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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!

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