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!

Tech tip: Smörgåsbord of helpfulness

You might call this week's tech tip "a random mish-mash of helpful tidbits."

Keep in touch!

First, if you've been visiting our YouTube channel or this blog recently, you'll notice we've posted lots of new stuff over the past month or so. This blog is a great place to see all sorts of news and tech tips, from the very-recent to the relatively-old (while we're thinking about it, our Facebook page ain't half-bad, either).

Lately, we've been talking to some of our hometown doctors to see what they think of our product and our service. The latest of these was Dr. Annette Murphy of Smile Dental Arts. (Spoiler alert: Marvin's true identity is revealed.)

Completing cases

When you get to the last aligner in the last planned phase of your patient's treatment, it's time to evaluate the patient's dentition.

If you or the patient aren't happy, you'll probably want to request a refinement. If you have unused phases remaining, there's no extra charge for refinements (although you will be responsible for the cost of shipping any new impressions to us). Just send us a refinement form to let us know what needs to be changed.

If you and your patient are satisfied with the treatment, please let your account rep know so we can send you the final retainer and close the case. If you never request a retainer, the case might just hang in limbo indefinitely.

We're working on streamlining this process, but for now, if your last phase is finished or about to finish, please contact your account rep and let us know whether you're ready for the retainer.

Also, please let us know if your patient gets behind schedule so we don't waste your phases delivering aligners that you're not ready for. We can put your case on hold and start it back up whenever you're ready.

Marketing: kicking it up a notch

Finally, we've recently had a couple of doctors tell us that they have dozens of case submissions coming up. We looked into it, and those doctors had recently run very successful Groupon promotions.

We've seen doctors run Groupon promotions before that didn't turn out so hot, so we thought you'd like to know what worked in this instance:

  • One doctor offered limited cases (with some tubes of tooth whitening solution) for 50% off.
  • One doctor offered full cases for 55% off.

That's about it. They were simple offers and they seem to have worked well for these doctors.

We don't have any relationship with Groupon, so we're not endorsing them specifically. (Honestly, I can't even get anyone at Groupon to answer the phone. They need some Katys & Marvins over there.)

We're just passing along something that seems to have worked well. If you do decide to run a promotion with a site like Groupon, make sure they get the product details right. We've seen some descriptions that barely resemble what you get in a Full or Limited case. You can always double-check the descriptions on the Product List.

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

Tech tip: Bad handwriting? Why not submit online?

Today's tech tip comes from our team of diagnostic technicians.

They asked me to pass along a message... how can I put this delicately?

Your handwriting stinks.

Well, maybe not yours specifically. (This is a blog post, after all.) For all I know, your prescription forms look like they were illuminated by a Benedictine calligrapher.

Some of the forms we receive, though--well, they look more like they were scratched onto a wall by a drunk pharaoh. When the techs have to guess what doctors are asking for, all kinds of confusion can ensue.

Fortunately, there's a simple solution: just submit your cases online.

It's easy: just log on to ClearComm and choose submit a case.

The website will walk you through each step of the submission, and when you're done, you can print a shipping label along with a nice, legible copy of the case submission form. 

A case number will be assigned immediately, and the data you enter will be stored directly on our servers, with no delays or confusion caused by transcription errors.

Our technicians thank you in advance.

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

Tech tip: Documents & how-to’s now on ClearComm

Thumbnails of documents on ClearComm

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve assembled a library of helpful documents and videos on ClearComm. Just visit dr.clearcorrect.com and click on Documents.

You'll find the latest versions of all the documents from our starter kit and more, including:

We hope you find it useful. Until next time...

Interview with Dr. MaryKaren Matt

Thanks to Dr. MaryKaren Matt for sitting down with us recently to chat about ClearCorrect.