Tech tip: A provider writes in

Today's tip comes from Dr. Harvey Mahler of Chicago, IL:

Thanks for the email. Although I only have one ClearCorrect case, I have completed hundreds of clear aligner therapy cases for patients over the last 9 years.

May I add a couple of hints to your tech tips??

We use a fast setting medium viscosity material from Parkell called Cinch. It sets in 2 minutes for minimal patient discomfort and distortion. It says 90 seconds, but we set the timer when the tray goes in the mouth. There is a wash material which can be used in conjuction with it for greater gingival margin detail.

In addition, we will modify trays as needed. I will heat the tray with a flame/lighter till I can "bend" the tray to fit over a buccal tipped second molar and cool with water to harden. We also add rope wax to extend the tray if needed or trim the tray on the lathe to shorten it.

We haven't tested that impression material ourselves, but thanks for the suggestion.

We have reshaped impression trays by heating them before to fit unusually-shaped mouths. It's always best to start with a properly-sized tray, but sometimes dentists have to get creative. :)

Keep your suggestions coming in. Until next time...

Tech tip: Submit your cases online!

The big day has finally arrived: you can submit new cases directly on ClearComm.

Screenshot of submitting a case on ClearCommClick on Submit a case, and you'll be able to fill out all of your patient's information and even upload photos and x-rays directly to our website.

When you're done, you'll be prompted to print a completed case submission form and a shipping label.

Include the form with your impressions (so we know who they belong to) and send them to us via UPS, just like you usually do.

We're really happy to roll out this feature, and we've got even more great improvements to ClearComm in the works. Stay tuned!

P.S. While you're on ClearComm, why not double-check your contact information by clicking My account? If we have an outdated e-mail address or phone number on file for you, you could miss important information about your cases. You can update the information yourself on ClearComm, or call your account rep for assistance. Until next time...

Tech tip: More helpful tips about impressions

I know we've talked about impressions before—and recently, too—but I thought it might still be really helpful to show all of our doctors a few examples of inaccurate impressions and the distortions they cause. Nobody's more familiar with impression problems than our prescreening department, so we asked them to share some models poured up from rejected impressions so you could see examples of common problems that can occur.

Take a look:


Common impression problems

All of the impressions in this document would probably lead to inaccurate aligners that simply wouldn't fit.

So please, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use plenty of PVS material. Too much is better than too little.
  • Use the right size tray. If it's too small, the teeth can touch the edges. Make sure your tray reaches beyond the most distal tooth in the arch without touching the front teeth.
  • Don't move the material while it sets. This can cause subtle distortions that are hard to spot until you get aligners that don't fit.
  • Leave the tray in long enough. You can add an extra minute to the recommended final set time just to be safe. Use a timer to make sure you never remove an impression early.
  • Don't wait too long to add the light body. Don't let the putty or heavy body harden completely before covering it with light body and finishing the impression.

And here are our nifty impression guides and videos again, if you'd like a refresher, or if you'd like to pass them along to someone else:

One-step PVS impressions (our favorite!)

How to Take One-Step Impressions

Two-step putty impressions

How to Take Two-Step Impressions

Bonus tip!

We recommend scheduling appointments with your patient after you receive an email notifying you that their aligners have shipped. Shipping dates on treatment plans are just estimates; your patients will be very frustrated if they show up at your office and their new aligners aren't there.

That's it for me this week. As always, contact your account rep if you have any questions.

Open & Transparent: The Game

The third core value game was all about communication—thoughtful, quick communication.

The game goes like this: you draw a card and run back to your team. You then have to get your teammates to guess the word or phrase at the top of your card, without using any part of that word or any of the words listed below. Maybe you've played a similar game: Taboo!

We thought it was a great game to help sharpen our minds and flex a little creative muscle in our speech.

Check out the impeccable technique of our 8 teams in action. Apparently, leaning forward is key.

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Tech tip: Track your cases & shipments online

Screenshot of case tracking on ClearComm

We've got an awesome new feature to announce: Right now, you can view details about every case you've ever started with ClearCorrect online.

Just log on to ClearComm and click Cases. You can review your patients' info, look up which parts of your case submission have passed prescreening, and find out when your patients' next phases are scheduled to ship. (Of course, as always, projected ship dates are just estimates, so don't schedule a fitting appointment until you receive notification that the aligners have shipped.)

Speaking of shipments, now you can track those on ClearComm too! You'll find tracking numbers and detailed status updates for everything we ship in the Shipments section of the website.

You can also check & update the shipping, billing, and contact information we have on file for you by clicking on My account.

Check it out at dr.clearcorrect.com, and let us know what you think.

We're still improving the website and rolling out new functionality, so some sections might move around a bit or change in the next several weeks.

If you need help logging in, email or call your account rep. Enjoy!

Until next time...

2011 Townie Choice Awards

Townie Choice Awards 2011

Just a quick note: Dentaltown is currently surveying members to choose the winners of their 2011 Townie Choice Awards.

If you have a moment, we'd really appreciate your vote for ClearCorrect as your favorite clear aligner system. I think we've really got a shot at taking the prize this year. Thanks.

(P.S. You could be chosen at random to win $1,000 and be featured on the cover of Dentaltown magazine.)

Tech tip: Empty boxes, bad impressions, and phantom packages

Empty boxes

The #1 cause of case delays is missing items. Sometimes we get case submissions with nothing but a form in an empty box. Remember, every case requires:

  1. A case submission form
  2. Upper and lower impressions (even for single-arch treatments)
  3. A bite registration
  4. Photos
  5. X-rays

Bad impressions

The #2 cause of case delays is bad impressions.

I know we've covered this topic before, but we still get a lot of unusable impressions. Believe me, our prescreeners don't enjoy rejecting impressions--it causes delays and inconvenience for everyone involved.

But we really can't lower our standards either. If we let an unclear or incomplete impression through, our 3D model will be inaccurate, and that will cause even bigger problems all the way down the line.

So please, be extra careful when you take impressions for clear aligners. Our prescreening department has put together the following tips:

  1. Use plenty of PVS material. Too much is better than too little.
  2. Use the right size tray. If it's too small, the teeth can touch the edges.
  3. Don't move the material while it sets. This can cause subtle distortions that are hard to spot until you get aligners that don't fit.
  4. Leave the tray in long enough. You can add an extra minute to the recommended final set time just to be safe. Use a timer to make sure you never remove an impression early.
  5. Don't wait too long to add the light body. Don't let the putty or heavy body harden completely before covering it with light body and finishing the impression.

There are free videos and PDF guides linked at the bottom of this email: we recommend that you share these with anyone in your office who takes impressions.

Phantom packages

Finally, our receiving department has asked me to remind you to generate a new shipping label every time you ship us a package.

If you print copies of the same label to use on multiple packages, they'll all share the same tracking number. UPS won't be able to track the package correctly (they may not ship it at all), and your materials can be lost.

That's it for this week. As always, contact your account rep if you have any questions.

Here are those impression guides I promised:

How to Take One-Step ImpressionsHow to Take Two-Step Impressions

Open & Transparent totem awarded to Paula Clark

Our first three core values are all about how you are when you interface with others. Service obviously depends on interaction with others. Passion is something you wear on your sleeve, a trait that, if you have it, should be evident to others when they speak with you.

But the first two values are cheapened if the third value isn't there. Being open & transparent is so important in doing business with others, especially these days, when the public distrusts larger companies more and more.

Paula Clark has done an exemplary job in being open and transparent with everyone she does business with. She's our director of disbursements, and her fastidiousness and honesty have set a standard for us here at ClearCorrect to follow.

Some of Paula's coworkers and friends would seem to agree:

She has a great relationship with everyone she works with. She is very helpful to people who are new or are learning the purchasing system.

She has developed great relationships with our vendors.

Paula is open to new ideas and new ways of doing things and with our company constantly growing and changing, this is an invaluable ability.

In working with money you are constantly asked for information. Paula keeps her area open and transparent to executives who need financial information.

She knows the sound of angry typing and always tells me not to hit “send” until I get back from lunch Smile

She is one of our hardest working employees and she definitely deserves this Core Value Totem.

Thanks for showing us how it's done, Paula.

Core value #3: Be open & transparent

Trust depends on openness, respect and humanity.*

—Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author

*Excerpt from “My challenge to you: only speak like a human at work

We’re lucky. We get to be something many companies don’t—we get to be real people.

Real people have names and faces. They have friends and families, real lives full of real life. They matter. They have something worth working for.

Real people aren’t perfect. They have flaws. They make mistakes and learn from them. They improve. They have something worth striving for.

Real people have opinions and values, something to speak up about. They agree with some and disagree with others. They have something worth standing for.

And real people have hopes and dreams. They have faith. They have passion. They have a certainty anything is possible. They have something worth fighting for.

There’s a lot of worth in being real, down-to-earth, shamelessly genuine people. We can count ourselves among them as long as we're open and transparent. 

So let's show the world who we really are. People will trust and respect us more when they see we’re real people—no different than them.

Tech tip: Digital power chains

Today's tip comes from our own chief technical officer, Paul Dinh.

Question:

My patient is finishing his scheduled treatment, but he still has a bit of space left between some of the teeth. What should I do?

Answer:

This sounds like a good candidate for a case revision. Send us a case revision form. In the Reason for Submission section, let us know which teeth still have space between them. In the Instructions section, you can request a "digital power chain."

A "power chain" is traditionally a piece of elastic that wraps around metal braces and pulls the teeth closer together. If you request ClearCorrect's "digital power chain", we'll just adjust our 3D model to lingualize all the spaced teeth by about 0.2 mm. There's no rubber band, but the effect is similar: the teeth are pulled closer together.

If your patient's aligners are still fitting well, you don't need to take new impressions when you request your case revision. A case revision does require another phase (with probably just one or two steps), so if you're not sure whether you have unused phases remaining in the case, you may want to ask your account rep.