Tech Tip: Tips on closing patients

This week, while we are on the subject of talking to patients, we thought we would share an oldie but a goodie. 

In this video, our very own Dr. Mah chimes in to give us all a few tips on talking to patients about ClearCorrect. 

What's the best way to approach the subject of clear aligners with a patient who needs corrective treatment? What should you do if your patient balks at the cost of their aligners? How can your staff pitch in to help, and why is staff participation so important? What good will aligners do for them besides a nice looking smile? Click the video to hear what Dr. Mah has to say and find out!

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Tech Tip: Patient FAQ's

Patients have questions and it’s nice to have the answers for them. We’ve provided some of the more common questions asked about clear aligners so you and your staff are prepared.

What should I expect during treatment?

While wearing clear aligners is generally not painful, there will be brief periods, days not weeks, when the new aligners may cause the teeth to be uncomfortable.

Expect people to glance at your teeth and ask, “What do you have on your teeth?”

Your ‘bite’ will feel different from time to time while the teeth are in transition.

You may have a lisp at first while becoming accustomed to talking with the aligner on. 

You may have engagers ("buttons") a small bump on the aligner, assisting the aligner to move the tooth. 

Will the aligners hurt? How comfortable are the aligners?

It’s fairly common to experience some tenderness or sensitivity for the first few days of wearing a new aligner. However, the more you wear the aligner the more comfortable they become. Sores and irritation are possible but really don’t occur that often.

The aligners can also sometimes temporarily affect your speech. But most people adapt quickly to wearing the aligners and it is rare that your speech would be impaired for an extended period of time. You may also experience a temporary increase in salivation or dryness of the mouth.

ClearCorrect aligners are among the most comfortable in the industry. Similar to braces, if aligners change too abruptly between steps, they can cause unnecessary discomfort. ClearCorrect aligners employ a unique system which balances your comfort and treatment time.

Are the aligners hard to keep clean? How do I clean them?

No. The aligners are fairly simple to keep clean, however, tooth decay, periodontal disease, decalcification (permanent markings on the teeth) or inflammation of the gums may occur if proper oral hygiene and preventative maintenance are not maintained.

Most aligners can be cleaned with a toothbrush and cool water. A non-abrasive toothpaste is also recommended. Cleaning instructions are on every bag of new aligners.

I’ve seen people with bumps on their aligners – what are they?

Depending on your treatment, it may be necessary to temporarily affix engagers (those bumps) to your teeth. They’re made of tooth-colored composite material and are there to assist with difficult tooth movements. When you’re not wearing your aligners they can feel awkward in your mouth, but don’t worry they’re easy to remove and are only used when absolutely necessary.

How long will I be in treatment?

That depends entirely on the treatment goals you set with your doctor and the amount of correction that needs to be achieved. Treatment time can at times exceed estimates. Poor compliance, missing appointments, excessive bone growth, poor oral hygiene and broken appliances can make treatment time longer, increase costs and affect the quality of your results.

Treatment time can also vary considerably depending on an individual's health and physiology. Much of orthodontic tooth movement relies on metabolism and bone remodeling. Further, the rate of tooth movement is not always linear and also depends on the type of movement being performed. For these reasons, treatment times are estimates based on the doctor's clinical examination findings and experience.

What is the daily wear schedule?

It's recommended that you wear the aligners 22 hours a day. They should be removed for meals only, brushing and flossing before re-inserting the aligner. If not worn for up to 22 hours a day, the corrective process can be halted and within a few hours begin to reverse. It can then take several days for this process to start up again. Wearing your aligners 22 hours a day is key to achieving your treatment goals.  

How long should I wear an aligner before going to the next one? 

The wear schedule is determined by the doctor taking into account the individual's malocclusion, health history, treatment setup and goals. It commonly ranges between 1 and 3 weeks and may not always be the same increment of time during the entire treatment. Compliance with wearing the aligner and type of tooth movement being performed are central factors in determining aligner changes.

What will happen when I’m done with treatment?

While the treatment aligners will have a determined period of wear based upon the treatment goals, the retainers may have to be worn for an extended period of time based upon the condition of the treatment result. The doctor will recommend a retainer wear schedule for you based on your dentition and what correction was done. 

What are the clear aligners made of?

ClearCorrect aligners are made from a plastic which has been specially formulated for ClearCorrect. It is a polyurethane resin that has been crafted and tested extensively to make it a superior plastic for clear aligners: it leads the class in stress retention, crack & impact resistance, clarity, and stain resistance. And, of course, it has been thoroughly tested for biocompatibility. 

Do the aligners contain BPA or phthalates?

No. ClearCorrect aligners are made without BPA or phthalates, and have been approved by the FDA.

I’m pregnant/nursing, can I do clear aligner treatment?

ClearCorrect aligners are free from harmful chemicals and do not pose a significant risk to your health. However, it’s up to you and your doctor to determine if treatment is safe for you.

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Benefits of correcting malocclusion

There are a number of benefits to correcting malocclusion. To reflect this, we've put together a table below reflecting each condition and the specific benefits.

As seen below, a patient with crowded teeth will benefit his oral health in 8 different ways by correcting his crowding. Some additional benefits can include increased confidence, social advantages, graceful aging, and the money saved from fewer dental repairs down the line.

When a patient comes through the door for a filling or a cleaning, or any service other than correcting his malocclusion, this is an opportunity for you or your hygienist, dental assistant, treatment coordinator, etc., to use this table to educate a patient on these benefits.

For a printable version of this checklist, click here.

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Tech Tip: Waiting room playlist

If you're looking for something to educate and enlighten patients on clear aligners, we've put this series of videos together just for you. It has been designed to play and loop in your waiting room or you can pick and choose any of the videos to play for patients in the dental chair. 

If you have a prospective patient in front of you, we recommend showing them How clear aligners work and Why you should care about orthodontics?.

This playlist includes:

  • Patient reviews
  • Before and afters
  • How clear aligners work
  • Why should you care about orthodontics 

You can find this playlist on our Youtube channel or you can find it in the practice building section of our help center. To get started, simply click on the image below. 

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Tech Tip: Marketing your practice online

Figuring out how to market your practice online can be overwhelming. Here's a summary of how online marketing and a personalized website can increase the number of patients coming through your doors:

S3SB Website.png Website design and maintenance. Your website is your online calling card and most potential patients will judge you completely based on how your website resonates with them personally. Building or updating your website so it is professional, up-to-date and draws customers in is key for obtaining new patients.
S3SB SEO.png Search engine optimization is the process of maximizing the # of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that it appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. Ranking high in the results is what SEO is all about. Google is the biggest and most popular search engine in today's world, with more than 75% of all internet searches being done through Google. If your website isn't showing up on the first page of a Google search, you're missing out on potential patients.
S3SB Paid Search.png Paid search advertising or pay-per-click means you advertise by paying the search engine you're using (i.e. Google) each time your ad is clicked on. Paid search makes your website visible to people searching for your services even if your ranking is low. With paid search you can create and run Google Ads that target the right location and potential patients. You can also run specific campaigns on procedures such as "ClearCorrect" or "clear braces" or other dental services.
S3SB Social Media.png Social media marketing is the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites. The most commonly used social media sites are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. A higher number of social media followers tends to improve trust, recognition and credibility to potential patients. The most significant benefit is it's humanization element; becoming more humanized is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies or businesses.

Because we know the struggle is real when it comes to getting more patients in your door, we've recently partnered with S3SB, a prestigious Los Angeles web design and marketing agency, to provide online marketing and practice-building services customized for ClearCorrect providers.

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S3SB offers a full suite of services, including:

  • 20% off a full website design for ClearCorrect providers
  • Updates to existing pages
  • Search engine optimization
  • Paid search ads
  • Reputation management
  • Social media
  • Lead tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Monthly metrics

 

You can call (855) 674-S3SB or click below to receive a free marketing evaluation performed by actual marketing experts, not a computer program.

Request a free marketing evaluation

 

P.S. You know what goes great with a redesigned website? Our Practice Success workshops, where you can learn more marketing tools and tips for building your practice from orthodontic specialist Duane Grummons. Check out our upcoming sessions in Orlando and Chicago. Or you can check out our Practice Enhancement e-course, coming soon!

Tech Tip: Patient appointments

A thorough review of your patient’s progress at each appointment can help you catch and address treatment issues early on, such as non-compliance or difficult movements not occuring as planned. By keeping an eye out for red flags, you may be able to avoid revisions, keep treatment on track, and get better results faster.

Here's a checklist of things to look for at each appointment:

  1. Confirm that patient is wearing the correct set of aligners.
  2. Visually confirm that the aligners fit completely without no incisal gaps or other spaces between the teeth and the aligner. If there is an incisal gap after the aligner has been worn for the recommended time, that may be a sign of incomplete movements. Check out this article for some solutions. 
  3. Verify that your patient can remove the aligners without difficulty. If the aligners are still tight, the patient may need to wear them for another week or two.
  4. Examine the condition of the aligners. If they still look pristine, that may indicate that the patient hasn't been wearing them regularly. If you suspect non-compliance, address it with your patient.
  5. Verify that the teeth are moving as planned by comparing the dentition to the current step on the treatment setup.
  6. Use floss to confirm loose interproximal contacts between all teeth, especially if Compliance Checkpoints are indicated on the treatment plan. Address any tight contacts found.
  7. Confirm that any engagers are still present and in good condition.
  8. Confirm that the next scheduled set aligners fits well.
  9. Refer to the treatment plan paperwork or treatment setup and perform any scheduled procedures, such as performing IPR and placing or removing engagers.
  10. Try the aligners on again and check for blanching of the gingiva near the trimline. Blanching can occasionally be seen around gingival frenum, but could also be caused by distortions in the original impression. Often these are minor and any discomfort can be addressed by trimming the aligners back slightly with scissors.
  11. Some clinicians may find it helpful to run a finger along the edge of the aligner to check for sharp edges or areas where it has lifted away from the gingiva.
  12. Confirm the wear schedule and document the dates when the patient should change aligners and return for a followup appointment.

What are some of the key indicators that a patient is ready to move to the next aligner?

  • Full and complete fit of current aligners
  • Patient able to easily remove and place current set of aligners
  • Loose contacts and spaces closed at Compliance Checkpoints
  • Planned tooth movements have occurred

A printable version of this checklist is available on our Help Center. 

Tech Tip: Talking to your technician

Depending on your dental school and sometimes from one instructor to another, dental terms and their meanings can vary slightly. This can spell disaster when it comes to prescriptions and moving teeth. 

If you are asking the technician to "tip" a tooth and this means something different between the two of you, you may not get the movement you wanted.

For this reason, we've put together a list of definitions you can refer to when speaking to our technicians. This glossary covers all movements, directions, tooth charts and more. Here are some examples:

You can access the full glossary here

Until next time...

New volume discount program

We're happy to announce that we've updated our volume discount program to qualify more providers for discounts, faster than before.

Our old program was based on quarterly case submissions, totalling 5% for every 5 cases, and maxing out at 25%. You wouldn't earn a discount until the quarter was over, and your rate would be fixed for the entire next quarter. Revisions and retainers did not count towards or qualify for discounts.

After we rolled out our new Flex & Unlimited pricing options, we saw an opportunity to improve the volume discount program as well. Basing the discount on "cases" didn't make much sense anymore, when an order can be as small as one aligner or as big as five years of Unlimited treatment. The quarterly deadlines were also a bit arbitrary, and we wanted to do more to reward our most loyal providers.

So, here's how the new program works:

When you place an order (by approving a setup or ordering retainers), your volume discount is now based on your total orders placed within the previous 90 days. You can earn volume discounts in increments of 1%, up to a maximum of 35% off.

View volume discount program details for your region here.

The exact details vary by region, but the basic idea is: your discount goes up by 1% each time you spend a bit less than the list price of Unlimited treatment. You could qualify for a discount as early as your second order—you don't have to start five cases and wait a quarter to start seeing benefits.

Flex orders, Unlimited orders, revisions, and retainers all count towards discounts, and they all qualify to receive them.

When you pay for an order, you'll see your current volume discount (if you qualify for one) listed in the dropdown menu, along with any available coupons or vouchers:

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Volume discounts can't be combined with other discounts, so if you choose to apply a coupon or voucher, it will apply to the list price—it doesn't stack with the volume discount. Taxes and shipping will not be discounted, and don't count toward your order total either.

If a volume discount is available, you can apply it to all of your orders—it doesn't get "used up" like a coupon or voucher.

Your volume discount doesn't have an expiration date, per se, but it will naturally decline if you have a prolonged period of inactivity, as your previous orders grow more than 90 days old and are no longer counted towards your total. To maximize your discount, it's best to place orders on a regular basis, and approve treatment setups as soon as possible.

Many dental groups have negotiated alternative pricing in lieu of individual volume discounts. If you belong to one of these groups, you will not be eligible for volume discounts. You can contact your group or sales rep for more information.

Let us know if you have any questions about the new program. Until next time…

Tech Tip: Auxiliaries and tooth movements

In the majority of cases the aligner itself will do most (if not all) of the work to accomplish the patients treatment goals. However, sometimes auxiliaries are needed.

The term “auxiliaries” as used in orthodontic treatment with clear aligners refers to an entity or item that may be used in conjunction with clear aligners to enhance the movement of, or effect a change in, the teeth or skeletal components.

Some of the more common auxiliaries used in clear aligner treatment are:

1. Bonded brackets or buttons with elastics for:buttons, brackets, elastics.jpg

2. Limited braces

  • Closing anterior and posterior open bites
  • Pre-aligner treatment in the late mixed dentition

3. Expanders for:

  • Skeletal expansion
  • Dental expansion greater than 3-4mms

4. Dimples made with pliers for:

  • Improving retention of the aligner
  • “Nudging” a tooth (rotations, tipping, torqueing)

5. Pontics when teeth are missing for:

  • Esthetics
  • To maintain space pre-restoration

6. Class II correctors and Molar distalizers

7. Temporary anchorage device (TADs)

Where a movement is not being achieved as desired or planned with the aligner alone, auxiliaries can help to effect the desired movement.

Auxiliaries can assist with the following movements:

  • Tipping

  • Torqueing

  • Rotations

  • Extrusions

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Editing your prescription instructions

Occasionally a doctor will call in and ask for a change to be made to a prescription form, a treatment setup or a revision request. 

While support is happy to answer any questions you have about this, there are legal liabilities to us verbally receiving these instructions and forwarding them to the technician. Meaning that we will be required to ask you to log into the doctor's portal and request these instructions directly. 

If you have a treatment setup pending approval, you can update your prescription by declining the treatment setup and communicating the new information to the technician in your notes. If you’ve already approved the treatment setup, you may need to request a revision and make your changes there.

If your treatment setup is not available yet, (it was recently submitted or declined), feel free to contact support for assistance. 

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You will receive an email notification once your new treatment setup is ready to be viewed, either right away, at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, depending on how often you've asked to receive notifications.