The new treatment setup is here!

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Good news, everyone!

We've finished beta-testing the new treatment setup, and we're starting to roll it out to all of our doctors. It's going to be a gradual transition, so don't be surprised if you receive the older style of setup during the next few weeks.

If you want to play around with the setup early, you can download this sample.

We've prepared a brief video demonstrating some of the new features, including:

  • Color gums & teeth
  • Models for every step of treatment
  • 3D representations of IPR & engagers
  • Tooth charts & instructions for every step
  • Missing teeth & placed engagers on chart
  • Treatment animation
  • Embedded link to ClearComm
  • Better Mac support
  • Improved interface

Check it out:

Pro Tip: If the models occasionally flicker, you can fix it by adjusting your settings. In Adobe Reader, go to Preferences > 3D & Multimedia and change Optimization Scheme for Low Framerate to None.

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ClearCorrect case study: Dr. Julie Staggers

Check out the below case study written by ClearCorrect provider Dr. Julie Ann Staggers, DDS: ClearCorrect Treatment of an Anterior Crossbite

Update on April 3rd ITC Ruling

On April 3rd, the International Trade Commission (ITC) made its ruling in the patent infringement case Align filed against ClearCorrect. As a ClearCorrect provider, here’s what you need to know:

What was the decision?

The ITC reversed the majority of the adverse claims in ClearCorrect’s favor. Of the 7 patents and 40 claims at issue, the ITC found ClearCorrect did not infringe on 2 patents and 22 claims.

While most claims went our way, the Commission did find that we infringed 18 claims related to the digital data we receive from ClearCorrect Pakistan. As a result, the Commission issued an order to cease and desist importing that specific digital data. The order does not prevent us from continuing to make aligners.

Is it still safe to submit cases to ClearCorrect?

Yes. We will continue to make aligners for both new and existing cases. The only material restriction is on the importation of digital data that would infringe Align’s patents. While we still consider Align’s patents overly-broad and invalid, we’ve made adjustments to our process in order to comply with the ITC’s decision while we appeal it.

Will my current cases be interrupted or suspended mid-treatment?

No. The ITC has not made any ruling that would prevent us from completing any existing cases.

Well, why does Align keep saying I should be concerned?

That’s just Align being Align. They’ve been known to resort to these sorts of tactics in the past to get doctors to do what they want. This is just more of the same.

We maintain Align’s patents are overly-broad and invalid. That said—despite whatever Align represents to the contrary—the patents at issue do not cover every possible way of making aligners.

We’ve been making aligners for over seven years now. We’ve improved our process countless times along the way, and now we’ve made further adjustments to our process in anticipation of the ITC’s order.  We can continue making aligners in full compliance with the ITC for the foreseeable future.

We’re not going anywhere.

Is the ITC decision final?

No. Like most court or agency decisions, the ITC’s determination can be appealed. We will appeal this decision to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as soon as we’re allowed to do so.

It isn’t uncommon for decisions in one court to be overturned by another. For instance, in Align’s patent litigation with Ormco Corp., the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that key Align patents were invalid, reversing the lower District Court’s decision.

Patent litigation is a long process, even when conducted in the ITC (where things are supposed to move quickly). We’ve spent a couple years fighting our way through this case already and we expect at least another couple years before it’s ultimately decided.

Can I help invalidate Align’s patents?

Yes! Though we have mounds of prior art to support our arguments of invalidity, we’re happy to throw more on the pile. Here are the core topics and themes of the patents at issue:

  1. Making dental appliances.
  2. Thermoformed appliances.
  3. Orthodontic appliances.
  4. Using systems like 3D printers to print digital models.
  5. Treatment planning on a computer.
  6. Planning a goal for treatment before treatment begins.
  7. Digital dentistry or digital medicine.

If you know of any patents, papers, articles, documents, manuals, promotional materials, printed media of any kind, video, movies, TV programs, recorded lectures, transcripts, etc., that discussed any of the above topics or any related topics before October 1, 1996, please contact us at legal@clearcorrect.com with your name and contact info. We’d like to speak with you.

ITC Reverses Majority of Initial Determination in ClearCorrect's Favor

ClearCorrect announced today it received notice that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) reversed, in ClearCorrect's favor, the majority of the Administrative Law Judge's (ALJ) Initial Determination that ClearCorrect infringed 37 claims across 6 Align Technology patents. The Commission found wholly no infringement of two of the patents and no infringement of most of the remaining claims at issue.

"We're pleased that the ITC reversed the majority of the adverse findings of the ALJ's Initial Determination, and we're confident the remainder will be reversed during the appeal process," said Mike Myers, ClearCorrect legal counsel.  "The Commission conceded that the issue of whether data constitutes an 'article' within its jurisdiction was a difficult one.  This issue will obviously be decided on appeal and ClearCorrect agrees with Commissioner David Johanson that intangible data is not within the definition of 'article.'" Myers added.

Regardless of the appeal, ClearCorrect is fully prepared to comply with the ITC's order while it continues to service its customers and sell its product.

"We've spent months streamlining our process and making the necessary changes to comply with whatever the Commission might order so that it wouldn't impact our business," said Jarrett Pumphrey, ClearCorrect CEO. "We're all set to continue servicing our providers and making our product well into the future."

For more information on the history of this case, please check out the legal section of our blog.

ClearCorrect case study: Dr. Colin Gibson

Check out the below case study written by ClearCorrect provider Dr. Colin Gibson, DDS: ClearCorrect Correction of a Class I Impinging Deep Bite with Crowding

Why does my patient still have a gap after treatment?

Occasionally, you may notice a small gap between the central incisors even after the patient has completed aligner treatment. This includes the so called "black triangles" that occur when the interdental gingiva doesn't fully fill the void between teeth at the gingival margin. If your patient read their informed consent & agreement form, they'll be aware of possible outcomes like this ahead of time. Although it doesn't happen often, it can be a disappointment for a patient who just went through months of treatment.

Black triangles can happen with any method of alignment, including traditional braces. This is a natural consequence of alignment correction, so it can't always be avoided. If a gap remains after the aligners come off, additional orthodontic treatment may be required to close it. Here are a few solutions that might work for your patient:

  • In the case of black triangles, perform IPR at the point of contact to allow the affected teeth to come together.
  • Restorative therapy might be in order to fill smaller gaps caused by insufficient interdental gingiva.
  • Reconstructive periodontal therapy, also known as "periodontal plastic surgery", may also be considered to increase interdental papilla height and volume to fill the black triangle void.
  • The digital power chain is a valuable technique that eliminates gaps by bringing the teeth closer together. If you have diastemata, you don't have to rely on traditional metal braces to do this! ClearCorrect has its own power chain that doesn't require elastics.

Before we go...

Just a friendly reminder - we don't accept stone models in your case submission materials; we only need the PVS impressions and some high quality photographs. If you'd like, you can even send us X-Rays, although it's not required.

Actually, one more thing...

A few doctors have told us they're having trouble viewing our treatment setups while using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. Here's an easy troubleshooting solution that's been helpful to many of you.

  • Make sure you the have newest version of Adobe Reader (currently 11.0.06).
  • Type "chrome://plugins" into the search bar (without the quotes).
  • You'll see a list of plugins. Find the one labelled "Chrome PDF viewer" and deactivate it.
  • Close Chrome and bring it back up.

And that should do it! If you were having difficulty reading Treatment Setups in Google Chrome and this helped, let us know. As always, we love to hear from our providers, so if you have a question or a suggestion you'd like featured in one of our tech tips, drop us a line.

Commonly questions and concerns

We often survey our customer service representatives to get an idea of what our providers are interested in knowing. Below is a short list of some of the most commonly raised concerns and questions.

What can I do to prevent my patient's engagers from popping off?

From the wiki:

There are several possible causes for why an engager might fall off - usually while removing the aligner - although the most common cause is that the composite is not fully adhering to the tooth.

Read more...

My patient's front teeth occlude properly, but the posteriors don't.

From the wiki:

There are many possible causes of this situation. This phenomenon is fairly common with clear aligners, and it’s usually temporary. It can be caused by the “hinging” action of the jaw.

Read more...

Can I hand strip during treatment if it's not recommended by ClearCorrect?

From the wiki:

Take IPR into your own hands! The recommended amounts of IPR in the treatment setup and treatment plan are for guidance only. You are the doctor, and are the one ultimately treating the patient. Small amounts of unscheduled IPR can get treatment back on track much quicker than submitting a lengthy case revision.

Read more...

Why is it so critical for me to submit good photos if you have the impressions?

From the wiki:

When submitting a case to us, you'll need to take photos of your patient from eight very specific angles. We use these photos both to identify the patient, as well as to make some decisions regarding the fullness of the lips in profile.

Read more...

Will ClearCorrect return my impression trays?

No, we don't return impression trays or other records. As our terms & conditions state:

“Records submitted to ClearCorrect become the property of ClearCorrect and will not be returned to Doctor.”

If you're especially fond of your impression trays, don't forget that we accept intraoral scans from most major scanners on the market! If you don't have an intraoral scanner, send us disposable impression trays instead. If there are any questions you'd like addressed in one of our future tech tips, we'd love to hear from you!

Guess who's back?

Just in case you didn't catch our recently released tour video, here it is again! Take a two minute tour of our facility and see what goes on behind the scenes. Click the player to be taken to the video.

 

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ClearCorrect offers free retainers

Just a friendly reminder - one of the unique perks ClearCorrect offers is a pair of free retainers at the end of any case.

After a patient is finished with their clear aligner treatment, it's important they get (and wear) their retainers to prevent relapse. Make sure to order your free retainers within a year of receiving your final phase so you don't miss out! If your patient needs a new set of retainers after they've used up the free ones, you can submit a new "Retainer" case on ClearComm. Just remember that when you order your free retainers, it automatically closes your case, so make sure your patient is happy with their teeth. If you decide later on that more tooth movement is necessary, you can just submit a new case.

A few months ago, we released a tech tip discussing the importance of proper retainer use.We regularly get questions about how long patients should wear their retainers. Let's take a look at what Dr. Mah has to say:

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How do you talk to your patients about wearing their retainers? Drop us a line and give us your ideas, and we will use them in a future tech tip.

Tech Tip: avoiding case revisions

 

As we've mentioned in previous tech tips, you can avoid unproductive case revisions by checking for tight contacts on a regular basis. Teeth can't move when they're jammed up against other teeth. By reducing the enamel a bit at the point of contact, you can free up space for the teeth to move.

If you're looking to avoid a lengthy case revision, consider the following steps:

  • Use a diamond strip to handstrip between areas of tight contact. Our IPR tutorial video shows you exactly how to do this. 
  • Confirm your patient has been compliant in wearing their aligners. It's critical they wear them at least 22 hours a day to maintain osteoclastic activity. Compliance checkpoints can be found on the treatment plan on treatments with IPR.
  • If rotations are not occurring as planned and you have verified there are no tight contacts, use an orthodontic retention dimple plier to add pressure on that tooth, pushing it in the direction it needs to rotate.
  • If you encounter a stubborn tooth that won't extrude, see our simple guide to extruding with auxiliaries.
  • Request a replacement aligner from us and keep your patient in the same step for another three weeks to complete the movement, then continue on with the next scheduled step of treatment.
If these solutions don't work, then it might be time to request a revision. Make sure to call us first and reference our Wiki to ensure you've exhausted all possible troubleshooting options. Don't forget: there is no fee to request a revision, but if the result of the revision requires upgrading your treatment option, you'll need to pay the difference.

Reference Links:

Do you have your own ideas for avoiding a case revision, or have experience troubleshooting? Drop us a line in the comment section below, and we'll share your experience in a future tech tip!

Models no longer included

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As you probably know, we make our aligners by thermoforming Zendura plastic over 3D-printed models. Those dental models were originally just a byproduct of the manufacturing process, but since we started including them in the box several years ago, dentists have found ways to make them useful—mostly by tracking their patient's progress and making replacement aligners in their office. So it's with some regret that we announce that we will no longer be shipping dental models with our aligners. Our improved manufacturing processes have increased the quality of our aligners, but they've also been harder on our models. A new upgrade to our laser trimmer is about to make the aligners more comfortable and durable, but it will also render the models unusable by blasting through the surface. The quality and consistency of the dental models are no longer up to our standards, and we won't ship anything we can't stand behind.

Easy replacements

Fortunately, this change won't affect most of you. Surveys indicate that most doctors rarely or never used the models. If an aligner breaks, you can advance to the next step early, or you can call us at (888) 331-3323 to request a replacement. We'll manufacture all replacements in 48 hours or less, guaranteed. The Limited 12 treatment option includes up to two replacement aligners, and the Unlimited option includes replacements for any aligner. (If you want to retain your patient's teeth in the meantime, you can always pour up a model from impressions and create a temporary retainer from that.)

Every step in the setup

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If you used the models to track your patient's progress, our new treatment setup should do an even better job of filling that role. Coming early this year, the new setup will include detailed 3D models of every step of treatment, with clearly delineated teeth and gums. Fortunately, there are some advantages to eliminating models. We'll be able to streamline our packaging to take up less shelf space in your office, and the decrease in size & weight means we'll be able to bundle shipments for doctors who have multiple active cases. We know some of you will be sad to see the models go, but we're confident these changes will result in a better product overall. Thanks for your understanding. Until next time...