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Patients of All Ages Love Dr. Thornton!

March 9th, 2017

"Adult patients are some of my favorites! They take great care of their teeth and do exactly what I need them to. I feel very privileged to finally give them the smile they have always wanted!" - Dr. Thornton

We've heard Dr. Thornton mention this more times than we can count. Of course it's exciting to help any patient get started on the road to a more confident smile, but there is something really special about helping adults. Sometimes it's a mom who has put 3 kids through braces and now she finally says, "It's my turn!" Other times it's a retired person who realizes they still have so much life to live and they want to do it with a smile just as bright as their spirit. There are a lot of reasons that adults in the Eugene area look to Dr. Thornton for braces or Invisalign, and the benefits last a lifetime.

Since teeth are dynamic in nature, over time they wrinkle just like skin, whether or not you've ever had braces before. There is a tendency for them to drift forward causing crowding. People might like not the way that looks, but it can also cause a challenge with cleaning and lead to bone loss, as many dentist have told their patients. Those are some of the prompts for patients to schedule an orthodontic exam. During that time, Dr. Thornton evaluates the needs carefully and then clearly explain the details and benefits of all treatment options.

Once treatment has begun, Dr. Thornton works hard to maximize the progress at each appointment. Whether it is small or large changes needing to be accomplished, modern orthodontics offer many different options to reach those goals. Dr. Thornton loves Invisalign in particular for adults, as it allows him the freedom to control each step of the tooth movement before the patient even gets the aligners. And since adult patients are often motivated to get in and out of treatment as quickly as possible, they do a great job complying with the aligners.

In the end, what we hear is, "If I knew how easy it was going to be, I would have done this a long time ago!" And it is our pleasure to make that happen. Here are just a few of our many adult patients:

A closer look at Invisalign

February 8th, 2017

There are many clear aligner systems out there claiming to be able to do all that braces can do in correcting teeth, but Dr. Thornton has found that is often not the case. He has tried several of the available choices, but has found that Invisalign is the one he can count on to reach the exceptional results that are his standard. In fact, he has been successfully treating patients with the system since he begun his practice in 2008. Over those many years he has learned 3 important keys in working with Invisalign.

First off, you have to start off on the right foot. Each series of aligners are fabricated all at the same time, so Dr. Thornton carefully evaluates the records taken before treatment begins to make sure each step of the tooth movement is carefully planned. He has gained valuable experience in predicting the sequence of movements that are necessary to get patients to their final healthy smile.

Secondly, patient partnership is crucial. Each set of aligners are worn for 1 to 2 weeks a piece, depending on Dr. Thornton's treatment plan. The aligners have to be worn an average of 22 out of 24 hours a day for 1 to 2 weeks. When patients commit to wearing the aligners as needed, they sail through the alignment process. Without that commitment, the full tooth movement of each aligner is not able to be accomplished, so the teeth end up a step behind when switching to the next set of aligners. After enough of "the two steps forward one step back" game, we often notice that alignment is not progressing as planned, so treatment may need to be halted while a new series of aligners are made.

Finally, you can't under estimate what those aligners can do! Not everyone is an ideal candidate for the Invisalign technology, but Dr. Thornton has been surprised countless times with what can be accomplished. He has seen dramatic changes with severe crowding, closing excess spacing, misaligned bites and countless other complex dental issues.

In conclusion, Dr. Thornton loves Invisalign! It has proven to be innovative, reliable and an overall great option for a lot of patients. Please check out some of the before and after photos on our Invisalign page and at the main Invisalign website.

The glorious world of insurance.

January 12th, 2017

A new year has begun and often times that coincides with a change in insurance, so we thought we would answer some frequently asked questions when it comes to orthodontic benefits.

What insurance covers braces? Typically orthodontic benefits are provided by a patient's dental insurance, but are independent of the benefits that cover fillings and cleanings. The only time there is a possibility of having coverage through a medical provider is if there is facial malformation that require braces to correct, like a person who was born with a cleft palate.

How can I know how much my plan will cover? This is a team effort between us and the insurance subscriber. Before any treatment is begun, our financial team always contacts your insurance personally to get the most thorough explanation of benefits possible. We always request a printed explanation of the plan, and check to see if there are any exclusions to benefits or pre-authorizations required before treatment begins. That being said, some insurance companies offer more help to a third party inquiring about benefits than others. There is not always a personal representative available to clarify unclear details and they will never guarantee benefits until the claim is submitted, so it is important to cross check the information we receive with the employees plan description. We try our best to estimate benefits with as much accuracy as possible, but it is always only an estimate.

Do I have to get a referral or a predetermination of benefits to have my braces covered by insurance? Usually not. The vast majority of orthodontic coverage is available without a referral from your general dentist. There are a handful of plans that require a referral, but we can help coordinate any required red tape before treatment is begun.

What are the benefits of going to an in-network provider for my braces? There are two main reasons: greater likelihood of familiarity with your individual plan and possibility of saving money on the cost of treatment.

When you go to an in-network provider, they often times have more insight into how your insurance company processes claims, than one that does not work with the company frequently. Although, there are many customizations available to dental plans in today's marketplace. Sometimes the true nature of your plan may be more complicated than who the face of the insurance is.  For example, your insurance may be paid through Aetna, which we are a contracted provider for, but your plan may have specific limitations within the Aetna network of providers. As a bonus, in some situations your out of pocket cost may be reduced because of the contracted rates agreed upon by the provider and insurance company.

Does orthodontic insurance cover more treatment than standard braces? Yes! Insurance benefits can usually be applied toward Invisalign, retainers and several other orthodontic appliances.

What happens if my insurance changes during my orthodontic treatment? Since most orthodontic benefits are set up with a lifetime maximum, when you begin ongoing treatment, the insurance company will make incremental payments over the treatment length. Any changes to your plan during your time in treatment may change the total benefit paid. Any time you lose insurance, change policies, or get new insurance, please let us know so we can help you maximize your insurance benefits.

We hope all these tips are helpful, although it is only the tip of the iceburg. Please feel free to call us anytime you have questions.

Happy Holidays to all!

December 15th, 2016

Who loves to Smile? WE LOVE TO SMILE! We all love smiling! Its the most natural expression of happiness. Since this is the happiest time of the year, during this Holiday season we look back at every reason this year has given us to smile. New family members, new team members, exciting life events and countless memories. If you are anything like us, you'll find yourself scanning through the never ending photos on your cell phone, or uploaded to social media. Don't we all love reminiscing over pictures?

For those of us who are able to smile with confidence in life, those pictures are a joyful reminder of our year's highlights. Although for many, it can be difficult to see those awkward photos with strained and insecure smiles. We certainly don't believe you have to have "perfect teeth" to have a smile worth showing off. Instead , we feel whole heartily that smiling should be natural and effortless, so our mission is to remove any obstacle to that goal!

So this year, the Thornton team wishes that anyone who feels like making a change would step out and be brave enough to look into the options to change their smile. Whether it is a little tweek or an entire makeover, we want to help our patients get to exactly where they need to be to make smiling their favorite too!

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