Phase Out update & limited edition boxes

The response to our Phase Out announcement last week has been really encouraging.

Some doctors have already started suggesting other charities we might want to add to the program. Thanks for all your feedback. We're starting with just charity: water for now, but we'll definitely take your suggestions into consideration as we expand the program in the future.

As you'll see at clearcorrect.com/phaseout, we started with a lump sum donation of $5,000 to make good on our Twitter campaign from last year.

We plan to make our first regular contribution very soon, and follow it up regularly as cases close with leftover phases. As a reminder, we don't close a case and donate the leftover phases until you request a retainer. So please be sure to call your account rep and let us know when your patient is done with treatment.

This is really cool: We've produced a special run of black & yellow aligner boxes, bags, and cases to promote our campaign to phase out unsafe drinking water. The colors were chosen to coordinate with our first partner, charity: water.

Phase Out limited edition packaging

On the bottom of each box, you'll find a brief summary of the Phase Out project. Inside each aligner case (included with Phase Zero), we're inserting cards designed to introduce the campaign to patients.

Hopefully, this campaign will give you an opportunity to explain to your patients how wearing their aligners at least 22 hours every day ensures the best results, which cuts down on the need for midcourse corrections, leaving more leftover phases for Phase Out.

Even if your patients don't end up with leftover phases, they (and you) can always help out by spreading the word or donating directly to charity: water through our mycharity: water profile.

Tech tip: Simpler midcourse corrections

We recently updated our midcourse correction form to make it simpler to fill out. Also, as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we'll now accept impressions just for the arch that's giving you trouble, if you prefer.

new Midcourse correction form

Now there are basically just two questions you have to think about:

  • Which steps currently fit your patient's teeth the best?
  • Are you submitting new impressions?

If you submit impressions, we'll use them to revise the next phases. Otherwise, we'll revise the next phases based on the steps and instructions you specify.

As always, we strongly recommend that you try other options, such as backtracking, before resorting to a midcourse correction. If the real problem is patient compliance, midcourse corrections will just waste your time & use up your phases.

("Backtracking" means having your patient go back to the last step that fit well and try again, making sure to wear the aligners at least 22 hours every day. Most of the time, this is all it takes to get a case back on track. If you don't have the old aligners anymore, you can make new ones using the included dental models.)

That's it for this week. I hope 2012 is shaping up to be a great year for you all. Until next time...

A new year. A new project.

Five years ago, we started ClearCorrect out of a passion to help. Doctors had no choice in clear aligners, and we wanted to change that.

Since then, we've remained focused on changing the clear aligner industry.

Well, now our ambitions have grown.

I’m very happy to announce Phase Out, a new ClearCorrect project we’re kicking off this year.

The purpose of this project: To change the world.

We’ve created a special place on the Internet for Phase Out where you can learn all about it, stay updated, and get involved. Please check it out and let us know your thoughts.

This is something we’re excited and passionate about. We're just getting started, but we think it can be big. I hope you’ll share in our excitement and tell at least one person about what we’re doing. Together, we’ll help a lot of people.

Here's to a happy and giving New Year. 

2011: Year in review

2011 has been a busy year here at ClearCorrect.

I thought it might be helpful to review some of the stories you might have missed this year. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

  • We added snazzy new logos & images for you to download on ClearComm.
  • We countersued Align, asserting that the patents they sued us over (plus a couple others) are invalid, thanks in part to over 70 years worth of undisclosed prior art. (The case is still ongoing, but Align is currently trying to persuade the court to dismiss one of our counterclaims if they promise not to pursue that patent against us anymore).
  • We defined the core values that we hope will set us apart from the competition.
  • Should you do IPR before impressions? Generally, no.

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

  • We marked the passing of the innovative, inspring, and incomparable Steve Jobs.
  • Paul Dinh demonstrated how to make your own aligners in a free video.
  • We refreshed our treatment setups and demonstrated how to view them in ascreencast. (We're adding features to our website so quickly, this video is already half-obsolete. We'll try to record a new one soon.)
  • We recorded our first interview with a ClearCorrect provider, Dr. Dale Brant. It came out even better than we expected. (If you're in Texas, and you'd like to be featured in an interview, let us know. Also, the camcorder is still available.)
  • We updated our timeline to include Phase Zero.
  • We announced that, thanks to Phase Zero, we can let doctors judge their own impressions, instead of rejecting them based on arbitrary standards. We also explained how you can use Phase Zero to evaluate the accuracy of our models before you even approve a treatment setup.

November 2011

December 2011

And that pretty much wrapped up the year.

We have some cool stuff in store for 2012, starting with a major announcement next week that we're really, really excited about.

Thank you for all your support. We love you guys.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Tech tip: Changes to single arches and midcourse corrections

You can call this the St. Louis of tech tips, because it's all about the single arch.

Sorry.

Three announcements today:

1. Passive aligners now included for completed single arches

Sometimes, one arch completes its movements before the other arch. In that situation, we used to ship the final retainer for that arch, and send just one aligner with the remaining steps.

Now, when one arch finishes, we'll include a fresh retainer (a.k.a. "passive aligner") for that arch with each subsequent step. If you submit a dual-arch case, you'll get two aligners in every bag for the entire case. So if you stopped getting aligners for one arch, and now you're getting them again, it's not a mistake, it's free retainers. Merry Christmas!

2. Single-arch impressions OK for Phase Zero revisions

As a general rule, we've usually required upper & lower impressions and a bite registration for just about anything.

But what if you get Phase Zero and one arch fits great, but the other arch has problems? We're changing our policy. Now, if you like, you can submit an impression just for the arch that needs correction. Happy Hanukkah!

3. Single-arch impressions OK for midcourse corrections

You can probably guess where this is going.

What if you're submitting a midcourse correction, and one arch fits fine, but the other needs work?

We'll still happily accept two impressions and a bite registration, but if you prefer, we'll also accept an impression just for the arch that's having problems. Happy New Year!

You've trimmed your tree, now try Trimming Kits!

Make this the best Christmas ever by sharing the timeless gift of ClearCorrect Trimming Kits.

ClearCorrect Trimming Kit

Trimming Kits make perfect stocking stuffers for all your friends & family!

What better way to say “I love you” than with the gift of abrasive buff polishers?

Just imagine the smile on little Timmy's face as he fabricates his very first replacement aligner.*

To celebrate the season, we're offering the Trimming Kit for just $75 until the end of 2011—that's over 15% off the regular price!

The kit includes all the supplies you need to make your own replacement aligners quickly & easily in your own office:

  • 10 .030" plastic sheets
  • 1 steel wheel saw
  • 1 pair of crown & bridge scissors
  • 10 abrasive buff polishers
  • How to make your own aligners instruction sheet

To order, just email your account rep or call us at (888) 331-3323.

Happy holidays, everybody!

*Easy-Bake Thermoformer sold separately. Keep out of reach of children without valid dental license.

Tech tip: Upcoming changes to case submission

We're always looking for ways to eliminate problems that can hold up the case submission process.

Rejected impressions used to cause a lot of delays, but we solved that problem by accepting most impressions and letting you evaluate them yourself using Phase Zero.

In the next few weeks, we'll be making a few more small policy changes that should streamline things even further. Keep an eye out for these:

1. Uploaded photos required for online submissions

We already recommend that you submit your cases online. When you do, you can also upload your digital photos. Right now, you have an option to send photos with the impressions instead of uploading them to our website.

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors select that option but then forget to send photos. This is actually the #1 cause of case submission delays right now. To correct this problem, we'll soon be requiring uploaded photos with each online case submission.

2. Online payment method management

The #2 cause of hangups right now is that some doctors haven't authorized us to automatically charge their credit card or checking account when they submit a case. We have to call and get someone to read us numbers over the phone for every case. Soon, you'll be able to update your credit card or checking account information right on ClearComm, and you'll choose & authorize your payment method when you submit.

3. Automatically prescribing default treatment options

The #3 cause of delayed cases is incomplete submission forms. If a doctor doesn't fill in every treatment option, we have to call and ask for a new form. This isn't a problem on the website, because the most common treatment options are selected by default unless you change them.

To fix this problem, we plan to start processing handwritten forms more like the website; if you leave some treatment options blank, we'll assume that you want us to handle the case with our default options (the ones highlighted in green on the form). We've updated our forms with new wording to reflect this change.

Tech tip: What makes engagers fall off?

Not too long ago, a doctor wrote to us saying that he was having trouble getting engagers to stay on his patient's teeth.

Our chief technical officer, Paul Dinh, shares his thoughts:

Engagers coming off the tooth when removing the trays usually means the composite is not fully adhering to the tooth. Here are some possible causes and solutions for this problem:

  • Sometimes plaque might prevent the etch from working.
    • Micro etching (sand blasting) will remove the plaque properly.
  • The tooth is a restoration.
    • Use a special etch for porcelain from your dental supplier. (This does not always work.)
  • Petroleum jelly from the template is accidentally smearing on the tooth.
    • Lift the template off of the tooth during insertion. Or, if possible, use the previous aligner to install the engager without using petroleum jelly. The composite won't adhere to used aligners as much as it will to new templates.
  • Compressed air used to dry the tooth is contaminated with oil.
    • This is the most common problem with compressed air and is hard to correct in the system.  Try drying the tooth with a low-heat blow dryer that can be bought at a dental suppler.

If you have any tips regarding engagers, let us know in the comments.

Until next time...

Tech tip: Changes to treatment setup approval

This week, I wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the treatment setup approval process.

As we've mentioned in previous tech tips, one of the intended benefits of Phase Zero is to make it possible for you to test the accuracy of the dental models before regular phases go into production.

We've found that things can get confusing, however, when doctors test Phase Zero on their patients and discover a problem after they've already approved a treatment setup. We have to halt the production of Phase 1 and create a new treatment setup, canceling the one that was already approved because it's based on faulty models.

To prevent this scenario, soon we'll be asking you to approve or disapprove Phase Zero before you approve the treatment setup. We're updating ClearComm to reflect this new policy.

The new treatment setup viewing page will look something like this:

Treatment setup approval screenshot

You'll click (or right-click) the PDF icon to download the treatment setup and view it as usual in Adobe Reader. Before you can approve or disapprove the treatment setup, however, you'll need to make a decision about Phase Zero.

We strongly encourage you to test the fit of the Phase Zero aligners on your patient and carefully inspect the models before you approve them.

Remember, the effectiveness of the aligners depends on the accuracy of the models that are created from your impressions. As the prescribing doctor, this is your best opportunity to verify the models and aligners firsthand.

If you disapprove Phase Zero, the treatment setup will automatically be disapproved as well. We'll recommend that you submit new impressions, and we'll use them to generate a new treatment setup for your approval.

Treatment setup disapproval screenshot

By default, we won't manufacture another Phase Zero, but if you want to be extra-careful, you can check the box to request one for $95.

We think this change will make the process more reliable and less confusing. As always, we welcome your feedback.

Until next time...

Happy Thanksgiving!

No tip this week.

We just wanted to let you know that our account reps will be home for the holidays until Monday, November 28. (Hopefully, you will be too.)

Until then...

Have a great Thanksgiving!