Tech tip: New trimming how-to video!

You know, patients lose aligners all the time. Whether it's accidentally sitting on them or the classic "my dog ate them," you will eventually have a patient lose or damage an aligner.

When that happens, you can request a replacement from us, but it'll take several days to a week to manufacture, and then several more days to ship-—plus you'll be charged for shipping & handling.

From the very beginning, we've shipped the models with each phase so you can make replacement aligners right from your office, and last year we started offering our trimming kit, so making aligners can be fast, inexpensive, and totally in your control.

Now that we've started shipping our new models, trimming aligners might be a little different for some of you. To make things easier than ever, we've made a video to show you how to make aligners in your own practice, whenever you need them. We tapped our resident expert, chief technical officer Paul Dinh, to show us how it's done.


Trimming Kit

Remember, if you'd like to order a trimming kit for your office, your account rep can send one to you for $90 plus shipping & handling. Just call (888) 331-3323.

That's all for this week. Until next time…

Competent totem awarded to Carl Jonard

Meet Carl.

Carl is...well, he's my boss, so I'll have to be careful how I put this:

Carl's a stickler. There, I said it.

He's the creative director here at ClearCorrect, and he's an excellent designer. And if I had a dime for every mistake I've made that he has caught and corrected before it goes out the door, I'd be able to backstroke in them like Scrooge McDuck. But what makes Carl exceptional—and what makes him the winner of the yardstick of quality, the Competence totem—is not how many typos he catches, or how many mismatched colors he spots, or how many programming bugs he fixes. It's that he's a thinker. He has foresight and a sense of practicality that I've rarely witnessed anywhere else. He thinks so clearly and communicates those thoughts so succinctly, it makes you think that there's a right answer, a right course of action, in even the murkiest situations. This is what continually impresses us about him. And Carl doesn't just apply that clarity of thought to design and communication; he often shares really deep insights into how we can create a better overall experience for our doctors. He goes consistently above and beyond his duties to improve our company, and this is a value we hope one day will be instilled in each ClearCorrect employee: an uncommon level of competence.

Yes, if every ClearCorrector could somehow become Carlized, there's just no limit to what we could do.

Thanks Carl, for being so good, you're scary.

Seriously man, you intimidate the bejeezus out of me.

Playful & Fun totem awarded to Martin Gonzalez

Our vision for our doctors is that they would find in us a company that can exceed all of their expectations, especially in customer service. When they look at us, we want them to see a company they want to work with, who they feel they have a personal relationship with.

Our vision for our employees is for them to have a job that is fulfilling and fun. Ultimately, if we're having fun, then running a company that's personable and unique will be easier. In fact, it should be almost effortless.

One of the guys who "gets" it, who really works to make this vision a reality, is Martin Gonzalez, our estates manager.

Say Hi, Martin.

Don't get me wrong, when it's time for business, Martin hops to it. He's a very effective manager, but he's a manager you want to be around because he's always going to make your life just a little more fun. We all love him for that (that, and his dodgeball prowess), and we chose to thank him with a green squishy football. Mostly so we could see him do this pose:

Economical totem awarded to Paul Dinh

When you think of being economical, you probably think of money (it's okay; I do, too). But really, there's a lot more to it than that. At the core of it, being economical is about being conservative, careful, and effective. It's about doing more with less—maximizing output from a limited input. It's about limited time, space, labor and/or materials yielding the greatest quality and the greatest quantity of a product.

All that said, the totem is still a piggy bank, and it belongs to our Chief Technical Officer, Paul Dinh.

Paul started our company with Dr. Pumphrey way back in the day, and while Paul isn't making aligners in his garage anymore, the way he conserves resources, you'd think he doesn't know that. Paul is always studying the best way to do everything—making models, making aligners, moving teeth—he's made efficiency his biggest concern.

Flexible totem awarded to Melleny Penketh

Remember how we told you we're still a pretty small company? One of the best things about being small is you get to be flexible—the ship's not too big to change course. But being a flexible company means finding flexible people, and let me tell you, they don't exactly grow on trees. Lucky for us, we've got Melleny.

Mel—not unlike the gooey substance that fills the "be flexible" totem—will take any shape we need her to in order to help the company move forward. And she's proven it time and time again over the last few years: from gathering official documents and jumping legal hurdles to organizing schedules, Mel has been on-the-spot with everything we've needed. We can't thank her enough for being so adaptable, but this totem is a start.

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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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.

Passion totem awarded to Daniel Cantu

We're not a big dog. If the competition is a Saint Bernard, then we're probably like a Jack Russell Terrier. They may be big and powerful, but we more than make up for that with our energy, our vigor—our passion. (And ingenuity too, but that's more of a collie-like trait, which doesn't really fit in this analogy.)

Since we've started up on these core values, I've noticed that we've got a lot of people here who go the extra mile, who get energized when you present them with a challenge. These are the kind of people we like to see at ClearCorrect—people who, if you give them a challenge, they kick it into high gear.

This is how Daniel Cantu is. One of our most experienced sales reps, Daniel's the winner of our second totem, and it's not too hard to see why:

"He’s been with the company since the beginning and he’s stuck it out through thick and thin."

"He’s shown an interest in learning several different areas of the company so he can pitch in and help whenever needed."

"He’s a fighter—when met with obstacles, he works hard to overcome them."

"He owns in tug-o-war."

“He’s a Marine. ‘Nuff said.”

So of course Daniel deserves the boxing gloves—commemorating a fighting spirit—and you can't say they don't look good on him.


Service totem awarded to Kevin Bell

When we started thinking about how we were going to roll out our core values to the company, we were thinking long-term. To get everyone invested in the concept of these values, we wanted to recognize and honor employees who exemplify them. But trophies aren't really our style. You have to keep giving them out and giving them out, and if the same people win multiple times, next thing you know, you're experiencing massive trophy inflation. Pretty soon, people would be trading 8 trophies for a sandwich at lunch, or a whole wheelbarrow full for a car wash. No, what we needed was something unique, and something tied to the core value it represented.

Hence, totems.

Instead of being awarded by the management, totems are intended to be passed from peer to peer, recognizing consistent, conspicuous displays of a given value. This will encourage coworkers to observe each other and appreciate the roles they play here at ClearCorrect. Our hope is that, over time, these totems will come to be one of the most meaningful ways an employee can be recognized, because although it isn't a plastic tower masquerading as gold, it is awarded by the people who know him or her best.

Our first core value is "be service-driven," and the corresponding totem is a vintage rotary phone (an homage to our outstanding account reps). However, the first recipient of the service-driven totem isn't an account rep; Kevin Bell, our deputy director for manufacturing. All ClearCorrect employees are called to be service-driven, and Kevin has always answered that call the loudest.

Why is Kevin our first winner of the service-driven award? Well, here's what some of Kevin's peers have said about him:

He always does what he says he’ll do.  If he tells me a case will go out, I have no doubt it will happen.

He gets others to deliver what they promise.  He’s the kind of guy who’s so good, he makes others better by working with them.

He’s responsive to the needs and wants of those around him.  More than once, like some kind of service ninja, he’s shown up out of nowhere because he heard I was talking about some case that needed to go out and he wanted to make sure he knew so he could help.

He’s dedicated to getting the job done.  (I think he works more than anyone in manufacturing, possibly the whole company.)

I don’t think he’s ever really complained about the amount of work we’ve given him.  He just smiles and gets it done.

So congratulations to Kevin—service-driven. With a smile on overdrive.