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Digital Scans Instead of Impressions? Yes Please!

March 10th, 2020

If you've ever had dental impressions taken for your diagnostic records you know how much fun it is to have a gooey mouthful of impression material. ?

Well we have good news! We are now taking a digital scan instead of impressions for diagnostic records on all patients. Our Orthodontic Clinicians, Lisa, Diane and Reba and our Treatment Coordinator Traci have all trained and become masters with our new ITero® Digital Scanner.

What is an iTero® Digital Scanner?

“Intraoral scanners from iTero® scan the mouths of patients, capturing images to create three-dimensional dental images in minutes.”* That means instead of using impression material that sits on the teeth for up to 2 minutes and pouring the impression up to make a plaster model of your teeth, we will simply take a digital scan which will generally take less than 5 minutes and you will immediately be able to see 3-D images of your teeth, gums and bite.

Why would we need a Digital Scan?

Orthodontists must have an accurate representation of what your teeth look like before beginning treatment in order to keep it as a record and plan your orthodontic treatment. “Digital Scanners help orthodontists diagnose orthodontic problems and develop the best treatment plans.”

How does a Digital Scanner Work?

“Intraoral scanners feature a small wand,” (much smaller than cumbersome wands associated with the first scanners from 2007) which our clinicians manipulate around a patient’s mouth. In the newest version which we have now, “the wand captures thousands of frames per second which are pieced together to create a three-dimensional visualization of the patient’s mouth. Intraoral scanners also have screens which display the digital dental images as they’re captured in real time.”*

What is the Benefit to the Patient Besides no Gooey Impressions?

“Orthodontists can scan their patients with an iTero® intraoral scanner, then show them how their Invisalign® or other Orthodontic treatment will look. This technology improves the patient experience because patients can know what to expect and feel more confident in their diagnosis and treatment plan.”* Often patients had no idea what their teeth and bite actually looked like prior to seeing their scan on the screen.

The best news for you is that your scan, along with your initial consultation, is completely Free. We also have interest free in office financing available for all of our treatment options.

Give us a call today at 520-531-1496 or click 'Contact Us' and 'Appointment Request'  on our website.  We can’t wait to meet you!

Linaker Orthodontics - Where Tucson Comes To Smile

* https://www.123dentist.com/itero-intraoral-digital-scanners-everything-you-need-to-know/

Do I Have Orthodontic Insurance and How Does it Work?

April 2nd, 2019

The first question will be easy enough to find out, the second can be a bit complicated.

Orthodontic insurance is separate from medical and dental. If you have dental insurance, it’s quite possible that you have Orthodontic benefits however Orthodontic benefits are separate from your normal dental insurance with your general dentist. There are a few medical plans that have orthodontic benefits only if the braces are medically necessary.

Orthodontic benefits are paid over the course of the treatment and normally have a lifetime maximum per patient. The average time for orthodontic treatment is 24 months. In that case, your benefit would be paid over 24 months. Only 1% of insurance companies pay your orthodontic benefit in full in one payment.

Orthodontic benefits work in several ways:
The most common benefit is payable at a percentage with a lifetime maximum of a certain amount. For example: payable at 50% with a lifetime maximum of $1500 per person. This means if your treatment is $4000 they will pay $1500 total. Additionally, they will not pay their amount in full as they know most treatment plans may take anywhere from 18 to 30 months so most orthodontic plans usually pay one of 2 ways; either half of their benefit at the beginning and half one year later, or a percentage at the beginning and then monthly payments throughout the course of your treatment.

If you change employers and/or insurance companies during the course of your orthodontic treatment we need to know right away.

If you are working for the same employer and that employer changes insurance companies during your orthodontic treatment, we can submit a claim to the new insurance company. That claim will be prorated according to the date the braces were put on and the number of months required. The new insurance company will consider how many months the prior insurance company has paid and how many months are left of treatment. In this case, usually, the new insurance company will pick up the payments where the other company has left off. We say ‘usually’ because when you have the same employer, your benefits should continue even though your employer has changed insurance companies. But, in some cases, there might be a pre-existing clause in your new benefit and the new insurance company will not continue payments. If this is the case, you may personally want to try to appeal to get your full benefit from your employer.

If you change employers, your benefit from the first employer will be stopped automatically and they will not pay any more at that point. You can submit a claim to your new insurance company from your new employer and location. If your new plan allows for “Ortho Work in Progress”, the new insurance should pick up payments when you send in a claim and submit the amount of months left of treatment. Sometimes this is not covered due to a pre-existing clause in your new benefit.

Additionally, since Insurance companies do not pay their portion of your benefit in full, if you drop your Orthodontic coverage they will stop payments at that time and you will not receive the full benefit which means at that point you will be responsible for that full amount.

In a nutshell: Insurance can be complicated for orthodontic treatment due to the length of treatment and different plan types. It is important to know your benefit, lifetime maximum, how it is paid and at what percentage. We are happy to help you navigate the details of your Insurance Company but we ask that if there are any changes, or even if you are contemplating making a change, let us know right away so we may help you receive your maximum benefit.

Will My Teeth Stay Where My Orthodontic Treatment Moved Them?

October 1st, 2018

At Linaker Orthodontics, this question has come up from time to time from our patients and parents. We try to explain the importance of retainer wear before treatment begins, during treatment and of course as your treatment is completed and retainers are placed.

Change is a natural part of life. Just as our bodies change throughout our whole life, our teeth change too. We start out with no teeth, then get baby teeth, and shed those in favor of permanent teeth. Sometimes there are problems with tooth placement and jaw positions. That’s where the orthodontist is called in to bring about a change for the better, and transform misaligned teeth and jaws into a healthy and beautiful smile.

After any orthodontic treatment is complete the most reliable way to keep your teeth where you and Dr. Linaker moved them is by wearing your retainers as prescribed. Your teeth will not stay where they’ve moved to unless you do. Changes in tooth position are a lifelong and naturally occurring phenomenon, and to maintain the result created by your orthodontic treatment, retainers must be worn. While small changes after treatment are normal, retainers prevent teeth from going back to their original positions.

When treatment is complete, there is a “settling in” period; teeth adjust as you bite, chew, swallow and speak – actions that all place forces on your teeth. These small changes in tooth position are not a failure of orthodontic treatment, but are a natural process. If your retainer is not worn as prescribed, however, large changes occur instead. Large changes are disappointing to you and to us. If you are in retainers, and should you notice an unwanted change in your bite or your smile, or if you should lose a removable retainer or damage a fixed retainer (bonded in behind teeth), contact us right away. Don’t give your teeth an opportunity to shift.

Commit to wearing retainers as prescribed and limit those undesirable changes!

Linaker Ortho Invisalign Hacks

March 12th, 2018

As we’re seeing an increasing number of Invisalign patients, and even have one of our staff in treatment, we’re hearing some great feedback that we can share with all of you that hopefully will make your Invisalign Treatment even more enjoyable.
If you’re currently in treatment and have a great idea or Invisalign Life Hack to share with us make sure to let us know so we can pass it along.

#1
Soak your aligners in a clear whitening rinse while you’re eating and brushing, this will keep them clear longer and give you a minty fresh feel when you put them back in. We’ve noticed that some colored rinses can tint your aligners and then they need to be scrubbed which can dull them.
(BONUS: We’ve seen some patients teeth even get whiter simply from soaking them a whitening rinse and putting the aligners directly in their mouth.)
#2
Keep a good nail file on hand (gentlemen this is for you too) At times, new aligner trays will have rough edges that could irritate your tongue, cheeks and lips. Simply file them a bit yourself to smooth them down. This will make your aligners more comfortable and save you a trip to the office.
#3
Make sure you have your Invisalign Case with you at all times. You can also ask for an extra case at the office to have one for home and one for your purse or pocket. You want to be able to keep your aligners protected on those impromptu stops for coffee or lunch. There’s nothing worse than having to dig thru a public garbage can for something that is practically invisible because they were inadvertently wrapped in a napkin and subsequently thrown away. :-O
#4
Eat with your aligners in. Believe it, this is an option. We wouldn’t recommend foods or drinks that could potentially stain (such as spaghetti with red sauce, red wines, coffee, etc…) or perhaps a big old steak, but many foods can be chewed just fine with your aligners in place. This eliminates the possibility of them being thrown away. Then just make sure to remove them to rinse and brush as soon as possible.
#5
Keep a travel dental/aligner cleaning kit in your purse, backpack, carryon bag or vehicle. It’s important to put clean aligners on clean teeth so even if you can’t take the time to thoroughly floss and brush, you can at least get things clean enough to replace your aligners until you get home or to your next destination.
#6
Colored lozenges or hard candies are not your friend. These can damage and stain your aligners. Try not to have sweets in your mouth with your aligners and if needed, switch to a lozenge with no color such as a honey or lemon flavor. Also, breath freshening strips such as Listerine strips are a great option in place of gum or a sugary breath mint.
#7
Lipstick is possible! Girls you may have found that some lipstick colors have ended up on your aligners and given up on the idea for as long as you’re in treatment. We’ve found however that using a matte lipstick, an extended wear color and/or blotting your lip color several times, proves to help make lip color a possibility. Make sure to apply your lip color without aligners in or to not let your lips rub against your teeth/aligners until the color is blotted and dry.
#8
Put your new set of aligners in before bed each week. This helps provide potentially 8 hours of uninterrupted movement as your new aligners begin to transform your teeth to the next position. Also, for some of us, each new set of aligners causes a little soreness, getting that movement while we sleep will help to deal with any possible discomfort.
#9
Jump on to your patient page on our website and watch your Clincheck animation. Depending on the length of your treatment, your excitement may begin to wane. Seeing the simulation of your teeth moving toward their final straightened position promises to be just the encouragement you need to keep your aligners in and keep going! You can even share this with your friends and family and let them see how easy and amazing Invisalign treatment is.
#10
SMILE!!! Show off your aligners and your new beautiful straight teeth. And when people ask about them, which they will, make sure to tell everyone how much you love Linaker Orthodontics and they should make a new patient consultation appointment! (And if they tell us you sent them, you’ll receive a gift card for the referral ;-) Win/Win!)