Tech Tip: Contouring after IPR

Let's get back to the technical stuff this week.

Question:

How do you address the contour of the IPR areas to be convex and not flat? It seems to me that in the IPR course the reduction was just creating two flat surfaces.

Answer:

contouring after IPR

Actually, this issue is addressed around the 16-minute mark of our IPR webinar.

When you perform IPR with a diamond disc, you'll usually end up with flat surfaces between the teeth and some sharp corners at the edges. This isn't necessarily a functional problem, but some doctors and patients find it aesthetically displeasing.

To create a more natural appearance, you can file the corners with a diamond strip after finishing your IPR. Bend the strip into a "U" shape and hold it that way as you move it back and forth. You don't want to reduce the main contact area more than recommended, so make sure the strip is only touching the corners that you want to round off--not the middle of the contact surface.

IPR kit

Don't forget: we offer a complete IPR kit with discs, strips, burs, and gauges. If you haven't already, you can also take our IPR webinar demonstrating Dr. P's favorite technique. Reply to this email or ask your account rep if you're interested.

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

 

Tech tip: A word from the account reps, part 2

Last week, we promised you more tips from our lead account reps: Rachel, Colleen, Katy, & Felicia.

Guess what this week's topic is?

[SPOILER ALERT] That's right, more tips from Rachel, Colleen, Katy, & Felicia!

5. Unclog the internet tubes

  • If you're having trouble emailing photos to us, you can either submit your case online, split the photos across multiple emails, or resize your photos.
  • No, it's not deja vu... We sent some helpful links on this topic just a couple of weeks ago. If you missed it, check out our previous post.

6. Marvin has a posse

  • It's usually best to talk to your own rep when you can, but if you have trouble getting through, you can call a group extension to reach the first available representative who handles your area.
  • Our account reps all answer the phone here in Houston, but they're split roughly by time zone into three groups:
    • Western: x2903, 8-5 Pacific (9-6 Mountain)
    • Central: x2902, 8-5 Central
    • Eastern: x2091, 8-5 Eastern
  • Here's a map of the account rep service areas:

Time Zone Map

7. The cool, refreshing taste of webinar

  • Did you know that you and your staff can take a free refresher webinar any time?
  • Email Maxi, our provider training director, at mparilli@clearcorrect.com to set up an appointment.

8. Ship, then schedule

  • We highly recommend that you do not schedule your patient's fitting appointments until the aligners have shipped. You can save yourself a lot of grief by waiting for the shipment notification email.
  • Until you get an actual tracking number, all of our projected shipping dates are just estimates. Many a patient has had to leave the dentist's office empty-handed because of a prematurely-scheduled appointment.
  • We try to ship your aligners a week or two before you need them, but there are a lot of factors that can affect the exact schedule. 

9. Doesn't it feel good to pay less?

  • Did you know that when you submit 5 cases or more per quarter, you automatically get a discount on your cases for the next quarter? It's called Five for Five. Ask your account rep for details.

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone! Until next time...

Tech tip: A word from the account reps

Our account reps asked me to pass along a few tips today. But before that, we have a small announcement to make:

Group photo of ClearCorrect employees with the caption "WE'RE #1!"

No, we're not bigger than "the other guys" yet (not by a long shot), but according to Inc.magazine, we are "America's Fastest-Growing Health Company." How cool is that?

In the Inc. 500|5000 list, we came in #1 in the health industry, and #17 overall.

We couldn't do it without our providers. Thanks for your support.

Okay, enough crowing. Here are a few bits of advice that Rachel, Colleen, Katy, & Felicia (our lead account reps) wanted to share:

1. We can't recognize your patient's teeth

  • Always include a form with your impressions. If we can't identify who they belong to, that's not good for anybody. You can include a completed case submission form by printing it with your shipping label at the end of the submission process, or you can fill out a records submission form.
  • Be sure to enter your patient's name correctly. Play close attention to capitalization and spelling. It'll be printed on the patient's aligner bags just the way you type it in.

2. Stick to the 3-week schedule

  • Try not to let your patients jump ahead, because this usually results in a midcourse correction.
  • If you find that the next aligner is not seating properly, don't be afraid to go back to the last step and let them wear it a little longer. This suggestion has helped many doctors who have called us about this issue.

3. Be prepared to pay for your case upon submission

  • This will help to avoid production delays.
  • If you're not paying yet because you're waiting for confirmation from your patient, just let us know and we'll stop bugging you. :)

4. Don't be scared to talk to us

  • If you receive a call from us, relax. We're not calling to sell you anything. Your account rep will probably call from time to time to review your account, keep you up to date, and address your questions.
  • Feel free to let us know how often you want us to call.

That's it for now. Next week, we'll have five more tips from your account reps, so stay tuned. Until next time...

Tech tip: What to do if you can't email photos

Today's tip is all about submitting photos to ClearCorrect.

Actually, before we start that, let me pass on an urgent request from Katrina, who receives all of our new case submissions:

Please remember: ALWAYS include a form when you send anything to ClearCorrect. If it's a new case, include a case submission form. If it's a midcourse correction, a refinement, or just impressions or photos, there are forms for that too. Even if you submit a case online, ClearComm can generate a completed case submission form for you: print a copy and include it in the box. Thank you!

Very good advice. OK. Back to photos.

As you probably already know, we need photos & x-rays for every case. There are a few different ways you can send those in to us:

  1. Upload them to ClearComm when you submit a case online.
  2. Email them to photos@clearcorrect.com.
  3. Include them in the box with your impressions.

Submitting online is going to be the preferred solution going forward, but you can still use whichever method works best for you.

If you choose to email photos, you should be aware that some doctors have had trouble sending emails with several large photos attached. This is not a problem unique to ClearCorrect. Modern cameras have way more megapixels than they need, and their photos take up a lot of space. If you try to attach 8 super high-resolution photos to one email, it's probably going to be too big to go through.

(For reference, we can accept up to 25 MB of attachments at a time. However, your email provider may only allow you to send 10 MB at a time, or even less. If you try to send more than your email provider allows, it'll fail before it even gets to us.)

If you run into this problem, don't despair. There are a few ways to work around it:

  1. As we already mentioned, you can submit your case on ClearComm or send prints along with your impressions. You can't upload photos for existing cases yet on ClearComm, but we're working on it.
  2. You can split the photos across multiple emails. Try sending 4 photos at a time instead of 8. If that doesn't work, try sending 3 or 2 or 1 at a time to find out what your email provider allows.
  3. You can reduce the size of your images. You can do this manually with a program like MS Paint, Image Resizer, or Preview. Or, most operating systems and email programs can resize photos automatically for you when you attach them to an email. Here are walkthroughs for a few:

Whichever method you use, don't forget to include your patient's name and/or case number in the subject of your email.

Next week, we'll start a new series of tips submitted by our account reps. Stay cool until then (and please don't forget your forms, for Katrina's sake).

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.

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...

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

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.