Tech tip: How to double-check your progress

Here's a tip from Dr. Rohini Vajaria of New York:

One tip I can offer is when the patient comes in the office for an appointment, it is helpful to do a careful clinical exam and compare the patient's progress to the ClearCorrect setups and confirm they match up.

For example, the patient's occlusion and alignment at the end of phase 1 should be compared to the phase 1 molds fabricated by ClearCorrect, and both should match each other.

This is a simple, intuitive piece of advice, but if they don't match up, it can help the clinician identify poor patient compliance, etc. and catch potential problems early.

Thanks, Dr. Vajaria.

If you have any comments or tips of your own that you'd like to share, please let us know in the comments.

Tech tip: One provider's favorite trick

In this week's edition, a ClearCorrect provider shares one of his favorite techniques.

Dr. Jose Chacon of Chicago, IL, writes:

I have what I think is a great clinical tip.

Using specially trimmed Essix retainers, I've shifted teeth to fit into an aligner that doesn't fit anymore.

A few weeks ago, I came across an interesting situation.

Long story short, a patient with spaces doesn't show for her scheduled appointment to start her ClearCorrect treatment.

Because of multiple personal and financial problems, she takes 5 months to come back after her original appointment. At this point, the impressions were about 6 months out-of-date, and I was worried about the aligners' fit. We explained to her that she would be responsible for expenses of re-booting her case if needed. We told her that most likely the aligners wouldn't fit when she made it back to the office.

Sure enough, when we finally got her back to the office, neither aligner would fit, but the lower arch was the worst. The discrepancy in the lower arch was so bad that it looked completely hopeless. The aligner was at least 5 mm off. If forced onto one side, it would not fit on the front or the opposite side.

After trying for a while, we discussed the possibility of retaking the impressions and starting all over again. But I wanted to try to avoid additional expenses, more appointments, and more waiting. I thought if I could at least trim the aligner and engage it partially, we could try fitting it 100% later.

I didn't want to damage my first aligner, so I made upper and lower Essix retainers using the #1 plastic model to reproduce the first aligner. We trimmed the plastic retainer half way the crowns' height. The upper retainer fit; the lower still didn't.

Then we trimmed away 2/3 of the lower retainer, leaving mostly the incisal and occlusal and about 1-2 mm on the lingual and buccal.

This time the lower retainer was able to be forced in place. The patient reported feeling this retainer very tight. We prescribed for her to wear these retainers/aligners 1 week full time. After a week, we tried her original aligners, and BOOM, they fit! The lower aligner was very tight, but it fit on the teeth 100%.

If aligners have not been used for a long time, and/or the teeth have moved, and aligners will not fit, then by making temporary trimmed-back 1mm-thick Essix retainers, we can make the regular aligners fit again, even if the teeth have moved a long way. So next time a patient's initial aligner doesn't fit or he hasn't worn aligners for a while and these can't fit again, I can use a trimmed clear retainer to move teeth back.

I hope this tip is useful to others. I am finding the versatility of these appliances makes them my # 1 choice for orthodontic treatment with aligners.

Thanks for the tip, Dr. Chacon. I should point out that we're just sharing one provider's tip; every patient varies, and we have not extensively tested this method for safety or accuracy, so we're not endorsing it as an official ClearCorrect technique. As always, use your own best judgement when prescribing treatment for your patients.

If you have any comments or tips of your own that you'd like to share, please let us know in the comments.

Tech tip: Marketing ideas from providers

Today we have some marketing tips sent in by providers.

Dr. Kathy DeFord writes from Papillion, Nebraska:

I had a really nice sign made for my office to advertise ClearCorrect. I forwarded the graphics from your website and had SpeedPro make a sign that shows nicely from the outside of my office, but doesn't show from the inside. From the waiting area you can look right out the window, with no advertising visible. I really like it.

Nice use of the ClearCorrect graphics, Dr. DeFord.

If you have a great idea for an ad or sign, please feel free to use any of the updated logos & images available at dr.clearcorrect.com, and share the results with us.

And don't forget that you can also order standard or customized vinyl banners directly from your account rep. We recently updated the artwork on those as well.

Dr. Alan Siegel of Phoenix, Arizona says that he tripled his aligner cases by promoting his practice with a custom folding windshield ad that he invented. Now he also prints windshield ads for other dentists as a side business.

And finally, Gibbs Hightower, our own director of public events, has a few suggestions of his own for increasing your visibility on the Internet:

  1. Spelling makes a difference. When you write about ClearCorrect, remember that there's no space between "Clear" and "Correct".
  2. Link it up. When you mention ClearCorrect or clear aligners on your website, try making the words a link to clearcorrect.com, like this: ClearCorrect. It might improve your ranking (and ours) in search results.
  3. Before & afters are priceless. There's no better marketing tool than before & after photos of your own patients. Remember to take pictures when your patients finish their treatment (get written permission first). And if you want to pass them along to us, we'd be happy to share them too. Send photos (and stories) to your account rep or beforeafter@clearcorrect.com.

New dental models

ClearCorrect has always included models for each aligner that we send out. This is one of the big advantages of ClearCorrect over the competition. We've gotten feedback that those models are a little inconvenient to use on some thermoforming machines, because you have to grind off the corners of the square base.

Today we're pleased to announce that we're starting a transition to the next generation of dental models. Our new models will be higher-resolution, so they're more accurate and should produce better-fitting aligners. We've also eliminated the square base, so it will be easier for you to make models in your office. Best of all, the case and step number will be engraved directly onto the bottom of each model.

We're switching over slowly to monitor any issues, but some providers should start to see the new models in their cases in the coming weeks. Here's what they look like:

Let us know what you think.

Tech tip: One provider's engager trick

Today's tip comes from Dr. Mark Bentele:

One tip that I have is on placing the engagers. The engager template may not fit passively over the entire tooth if the teeth are not tracking fully. In that situation, the engager may not end up in the right place when you use the entire template. Instead, trim the template down to just the tooth with the engager and about 2/3 of the teeth on either side of it. The template will fit fully in place and the engager will be bonded correctly. This is also helpful because the engager template can be peeled away from the tooth facially rather than trying to pull it off vertically, which is more difficult.

Sounds like a good idea to us. Thanks, Dr. Bentele.

If you have any tips you'd like to share, email us or let us know in the comments.

Tech tip: Special guest edition

Today's tips come from Stephanie, our director of communications, and Katrina, our case receiving coordinator.

They've seen it all when it comes to case submissions, and they have some friendly advice that could save you (and them) a lot of headaches:

  1. Write the tracking number in your patient's chart when you submit a case or send in materials. (The tracking number is printed on the UPS shipping label.)

  2. We won't start a case until we get all required materials (no exceptions):
    • Case submission form
    • Well-defined upper & lower impressions
    • Bite registration
    • Photos
    • X-rays

  3. Always include a form with your impressions, photos, and x-rays. It's not ClearCorrect's responsibility to figure out what to do with unidentified materials.

  4. Make sure you send in the correct, fully-completed form. All of our forms are available on ClearComm, and most of them have been updated recently, so you should make sure you have the current version. If you have questions about which form to use, how to fill it out, or how to log on to ClearComm, please call (888) 331-3323 and ask your account rep—that's what they're here for.

  5. Print clearly on the form and double-check the spelling of the patient's name.

  6. One case submission per box, please.

  7. If you email photos or x-rays, always include the doctor's and patient's names. Make sure that the photos and x-rays are sent as attachments instead of pasted into the middle of the message.

That's it for this week. Until next time...

Tech tip: Should I do IPR before impressions?

Question:

Should I perform IPR before I take impressions to submit a case to ClearCorrect?

Answer:

Generally speaking, no. We recommend taking impressions first, and waiting to perform IPR until the recommended phase, for the following reasons:

Impressions do not always capture enough detail to reproduce the spacing properly.

If more IPR than necessary is performed in one arch, you might need to perform IPR in the opposing arch to compensate. (We usually recommend IPR in just one arch, whenever possible.)

It's best to minimize the amount of time that patients have excess space between their teeth.

You may not be able to use the area where IPR was performed as a Compliance Checkpoint for some time.

New name for the blog

Quick note: We’re changing the name of the blog from Clarity to Clearly.

The address will stay the same: blog.clearcorrect.com.

Make your mailers & websites beautiful

We just finished adding an assortment of brand-new images to ClearComm. Feel free to use them on your website, in ads, or in mailers. We're including a variety of sizes, including images large enough to be used in print.

There's also a guide to the standard ClearCorrect colors, and some sample sentences and paragraphs you can use if you want help coming up with something to say.

There are several ways to download the new images to your computer. You can click the size you want to download and choose Save As… from the File menu. Or you can right-click any of the links and choose Save Target As… or Save Image As…. Or you can just try dragging the images directly to your desktop.

Whoever puts together your website should know how to add these images to your site.

Give us your feedback by emailing us or commenting here. Thanks!

Tech tip: Why are the distal edges of the aligner missing sometimes?

Question:

Sometimes I've noticed that the distal half of one of the furthest posterior teeth is missing from an aligner. Why is that?

Answer:

Sometimes we receive impressions that don't have enough detail to accurately model the distal edges of the posterior teeth. Distortion is much more prevalent in this area, because it can be difficult to make sure that the impression material completely covers the teeth in the back of the mouth.

Of course, we always prefer to receive complete, accurate impressions. But we don't want to inconvenience our providers unnecessarily either.

In some cases, we'll make an exception and process the case even though the distal surfaces of the posterior teeth are incomplete in our model. The aligners still have plenty of surface area to grip the teeth. We just trim off the potentially inaccurate area so that the case can progress without delay.

If you want to make sure that your patient's aligners fully cover the distal surfaces of all the teeth, just double-check your impressions to make sure that they're not distorted in that area, and you should be fine.