Category Archives: Childrens Orthodontics

Early Signs That Your Child Might Need Orthodontic Care

Your child’s permanent teeth can begin to erupt as early as five years old. Proper oral hygiene is essential, paving the way toward a lifetime with a functional and healthy smile. Yet orthodontic issues are common and can begin at an early age. As your local Burien and West Seattle orthodontist, Peralta Orthodontics wants to help your family spot these problems as soon as possible. Take a look at some typical symptoms and contact our office to learn about your child’s treatment options. 


Tooth Alignment Problems


Issues with proper teeth alignment can begin early in life. These can be pretty apparent, with many of them fitting the classic definitions of common orthodontic conditions:


  • Misplaced, protruding or crowded teeth 
  • Impacted or blocked-out teeth
  • Delayed or premature loss of baby teeth
  • Lack of or abnormal alignment of upper and lower dental arches 
  • Jaws positioned too far forward or back
  • Unbalanced facial features, such as an unusually small or large jaw

Other Symptoms You May Not Have Considered


Of course, orthodontic problems don’t just manifest in the physical appearance of one’s face, teeth or jaws. Behaviors can also point to underlying issues that need correction:


  • Difficulty biting or chewing
  • Thumb sucking
  • Mouth breathing 
  • Biting the roof of the mouth or cheek
  • Teeth clenching or grinding

Most of these indicate possible alignment, crowding or spacing problems with your child’s teeth or jaws. Others, such as thumb sucking or teeth grinding, are habits that can eventually cause such issues to develop. 


Contact Your Orthodontist in West Seattle


At Peralta Orthodontics, we deliver the highest quality care to patients of all ages in West Seattle, Burien, Renton and the rest of the greater Seattle area. No matter what level of care you need, Dr. Jorge Peralta and the care team are ready to offer solutions. Simply use our online appointment request form or call our Burien office at (206) 244-7800. We look forward to meeting you soon!

boy sucking thumb

How To Break A Thumb Sucking Habit

Even though seeing a child suck their thumb may look innocent and even sweet, the harmful effects of a thumb sucking habit can be very serious if the habit goes on too long. A persistent thumb sucking habit that continues past the age of five or so can lead to significant tooth misalignment and/or jaw deformation. The degree of seriousness depends on several factors, including how forceful the habit is and how long the behavior continues.


If your child has a thumb sucking habit, below are a few tips from your friendly orthodontist in Seattle that can help your child break the habit before any serious damage can be done to their teeth and bite.


1. Talk to Your Child About the Habit


Take the time to explain to your child that their habit can cause problems with their mouth or teeth. Because many kids suck their thumbs at nap or bedtime, be present when your child is going to bed so you can gently remind them not to suck their thumb. Tell your child that breaking the habit will help ensure their teeth come in nice and straight, for an attractive smile they can be proud of.


2. Use a Reward Chart


Another good idea is to use a calendar as a reward chart and let your child apply a sticker every day when he/she doesn’t suck their thumb. If your child makes it through a week without sucking, allow him or her to choose a small reward like a trip to a favorite park or a special treat.


3. Use a Thumb Sucking Guard


There are special thumb sucking guards available to try which can help. This type of device is a plastic cylinder that fits over the thumb that’s attached to a wristband, to make the thumb too large to fit comfortably in the mouth. If you decide to use a guard, be positive when introducing it to your child. Tell your child that the guard is not a punishment, but rather a way to help him or her remember to avoid sucking.


4. Visit An Orthodontist!


If you don’t have any luck helping your child break their thumb sucking habit, visit an orthodontist or contact us for an appointment if you live in the greater Seattle area near Burien or West Seattle. Our orthodontist Dr. Jorge Peralta helps children break thumb sucking habits through the use of habit appliances. This is an oral appliance designed to block the thumb from fitting into the palate. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

girl with braces wearing backpack

Back To School Orthodontic Reminders

Now that the 2016-17 school year is right around the corner, many of the patients we see at our Burien and West Seattle orthodontic offices will be heading back to the classroom. Making the transition from summer time fun and freedom to the structured environment of school can be challenging, and even more so if you are heading back to school wearing braces. Here are a few friendly reminders that can make it easier to adjust to wearing braces while at school!


  1. Don’t Forget About Your Food Restrictions

It is really tempting to head to the nearest vending machine at break time to grab a sticky candy bar. That’s why you should always make sure that you have some braces-friendly snacks on hand that won’t bust your braces. It’s a good idea to pack your own snacks like cut up soft fruits, yogurt, grapes or applesauce so you don’t give in to the temptation of eating something you shouldn’t.


  1. Be Sure To Brush After Lunch

It can be easy to forget all about your oral hygiene when you’re so busy with school. But you need to brush your teeth after lunch to help protect your teeth from decay. Therefore, be sure to carry your toothbrush and toothpaste along with you so you can duck into a bathroom after eating to brush and floss. it’s also a good idea to take along some dental wax just in case a part of your braces causes you irritation like a poking wire.


  1. Protect Your Teeth and Braces When Playing Sports

You should always wear a protective mouthguard that fits over your braces whenever you play sports or take part in any activity that puts you at risk for a facial or mouth injury. Every morning before heading out the door, make sure your mouthguard is packed in your bag or backpack so you can pop it when you’re gearing up to hit the field or court.


  1. Don’t Skip Your Adjustment Appointments

Even though your schedule will be filled with classes, sports and free-time activities of all types, you still need to make sure you come to all your adjustment appointments. These appointments are key to keeping your treatment on track. If something unexpected happens and you absolutely must miss an appointment, call our office right away so we can reschedule.


Dr. Peralta and his amazing Seattle orthodontics team at Peralta Orthodontics would like to wish all our school-aged patients the best of luck in the upcoming school year! We hope these tips come in helpful for adjusting to wearing braces while in school. Just remember that before you know it, your braces will come off to reveal the straight, beautiful and healthy smile you’ve been dreaming of!

female high school student with braces

Back to School with Braces

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


Take Along a Braces Care Kit


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


Pack Braces-Friendly Lunches


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


Don’t Skip Those Orthodontic Appointments!


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


Emergencies – How to Deal with Them


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


Take Good Care of Your Retainer


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


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

young girl with braces smiling

Are Kids Getting Braces At A Younger & Younger Age?

Our Seattle orthodontist, Dr. Jorge Peralta, is often asked by people he meets why it seems like kids are getting braces at a younger and younger age. Although it may seem like a more recent trend, we wanted to write a blog to let everyone know whether this is really happening or not.


While it may seem that kids are starting orthodontic treatment at a much younger age today, it’s not necessarily true. Most orthodontic treatment starts when all of the permanent teeth have erupted. This is typically between the ages of 9 and 14. Some children start much earlier, around the age of 7, due to their own individual needs as their mouth develops. The timing all depends on the patient and what his or her specific problems and needs are.


When is The Best Time for Your Child to Begin Treatment?

The best time for your child to begin orthodontic treatment is dependent upon the severity of his or her dental problems. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children receive their first orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7. The ultimate goal is to create the best result possible without the need for potential tooth extractions by using the patient’s own growth to help balance the bite and jaws.   In some cases, beginning treatment at a younger age can maximize the result because you do not have to make compromises for growth or crowding in the future.


While it may seem very young for a child of 7 to see an orthodontist, by this age the first permanent molars have erupted, allowing an orthodontist to evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Even if Dr. Peralta decides that your young child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, he or she may not need to start wearing braces right away. If treatment is not needed at an early age, we will monitor your child’s development so that treatment can begin when it’s most appropriate.


Some kids start and finish orthodontic treatment long before they’re adolescents; but again, it all depends on the treatment a child requires. Some children who start early with interceptive treatment end up undergoing a second phase of treatment wherein they wear braces into their early teen years. The first phase of treatment these kids go through often consists of them wearing special appliances that solve potential orthodontic issues they may encounter in their teen years.


Schedule An Appointment for Your Child

If you have any questions about early orthodontic treatment please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to speak with you! If you’d like to set up your child’s first appointment with our Seattle orthodontist, please complete and submit the ‘Request an Appointment’ form here on our website.

mother and daughter smiling

Parents: Tips for Your Child’s First Day in Braces

For a youngster, getting braces on their teeth can seem like the end of the world. Many children worry about how braces are going to affect their appearance. They’re also often concerned about the pain associated with having their braces tightened.

Dr. Peralta and his staff here at Orthodontics of Burien, your leading Seattle, WA orthodontic practice, want our patients to feel good about wearing braces. That’s why we’re offering the following tips to all you parents out there that can help your children become used to wearing braces on their teeth.

Dealing with Soreness and Discomfort

The first few days are the worst as far as soreness and discomfort are concerned. Remind your child that it’s normal for the teeth and mouth to be sore after having braces put on but also remind them that this discomfort only lasts for a few days. We do not want the discomfort of new braces to change your child’s daily life, and we don’t ask that patients change their schedule when they first get their braces. Rather, we recommend patients stay busy to keep their mind off of the discomfort. Your child can take over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen to help him or her deal with the soreness and discomfort if needed. You can help by preparing soft foods for the first few days. Foods like soups, mashed potatoes, yogurt, scrambled eggs, macaroni & cheese and applesauce are braces-friendly foods your child can enjoy while adjusting to braces.

Orthodontic Wax

You can pick up orthodontic wax at nearly any drugstore. This wax is designed to be placed on brackets and wires that may be causing sore spots on the inside of the mouth. Your child can use as much of this wax as needed. To apply it, just have your child squash the wax between his/her fingers and then press it onto the wire ends or brackets that are bothersome.

Dealing with a Self-Conscious Teen

If your child feels very self-conscious about wearing braces, remind him or her of all the celebrities who wear braces now or who’ve worn them in the past. Some famous faces with braces to mention include Faith Hill, Gwen Stefani, Emma Watson, Tom Cruise and Prince Harry. It also could prove helpful to tell your teen that wearing braces is very common and that most people are not at all judgmental towards people who are in orthodontic treatment.

Remind Your Child of How Great They Will Look When the Braces Come Off

Remind your teen that he/she is going to have a straight and attractive smile when the braces come off at the end of the treatment process. Consider finding some before-and-after photos online or at our website that clearly show just how dramatic a difference braces can make.

If your child is really struggling with his or her personal image after being fitted for braces, see if you can help in another area of his or her appearance. Maybe a new haircut would make your teenager feel better or even a new pair of shoes or shirt. You also can help your child cope with braces by complimenting him or her on other aspects of his/her appearance or by pointing out positive personality traits.

Go to Each Orthodontic Appointment with Your Child

It’s a good idea to go along with your teen when he or she has to visit the orthodontist to have adjustments made. This way you can find out first-hand how the treatment is progressing. You also will be given the opportunity to ask the orthodontist any questions you may have. When you’re present at each orthodontic appointment, you’ll be showing your teen that you support him or her every step of the way on his/her quest for an improved, straight smile!

kids smiling

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Dr. Jorge Peralta and his staff of friendly professionals would like to remind our patients that February is Children’s Dental Health Month in the United States. During this month, dentists and orthodontists across the country focus on providing their young patients and their families with tips on how to take care of their teeth so that they can achieve beautiful, healthy smiles that will last a lifetime.

We are very proud to be a leading Seattle, WA orthodontist office that treats patients in the greater Seattle area as well as those living in Burien. Dr. Peralta believes that great orthodontic care is so much more than straight teeth. It’s about preserving your teeth for the duration of your life by having them precisely positioned so that you have a healthy bite and enhanced facial aesthetics.

During Children’s Dental Health Month, Dr. Peralta and his staff will be focused on helping our young patients and their parents learn how to care for their teeth at home. We know that it’s common during the year to get caught up with your active lifestyle. When you are busy, it’s easy to put important things off like teaching your children how to properly brush or floss so that they develop good habits early that they carry with them throughout adulthood. When you take the time to teach your child how to properly care for his/her teeth, gums and mouth, he or she will develop good oral health habits to ensure that he or she has a healthy and attractive smile that will endure a lifetime.

Orthodontics for Children is Important All 12 Months of the Year

Not only is orthodontic treatment for children important during Children’s Dental Health Month, but for the other 11 months of the year as well. If your child has crooked teeth or an uneven bite and it goes untreated, he or she may grow up to be very self-conscious. And, more seriously, untreated malocclusions and crooked teeth can lead to all types of serious health problems so getting your child’s teeth straightened while he or she is young is of the utmost importance.

There Are Many Options Available in Children’s Orthodontic Treatment

Today, there are more orthodontic treatment options available to kids than ever before. In addition to traditional metal braces, we also offer clear ceramic braces, Incognitio lingual braces and Invisalign for our teen patients. The Invisalign system consists of a series of clear, smooth aligners that gradually move teeth into place. Invisalign is available to some of our late teen and adult patients who want to perfect their smiles without having to wear visible, metal braces.

Dr. Peralta would like to encourage parents to schedule appointments for their children during Children’s Dental Health Month for a preliminary orthodontic consultation and exam. Even if you forget to schedule an appointment in February, you can still do so at any time of the year as it won’t be too late to set your child up with his or her first Seattle orthodontist visit. During this first appointment, our team will determine if your child needs treatment and if so, when the most optimal time for treatment is. Early orthodontic care can provide your child with a huge advantage for the future concerning his or her oral health. Contact our Seattle orthodontics office today to set up your child’s first visit!