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...

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...

Tech tip: How Phase Zero virtually eliminates rejected impressions

It's been just about a month since we introduced Phase Zero™. We've gotten all kinds of feedback since then, and most of it has been enthusiastic.

A few doctors have expressed concern, however, that it seems like a waste of time to call their patients in for Phase Zero, since the teeth won't start moving until phase 1.

Rest assured: Phase Zero is not a waste of chair time, and it's not just a gimmick to make our turnaround time seem faster.

In fact, today I'm pleased to announce that Phase Zero has made it possible for us to announce a policy change that will save you and your patient a whole lot of wasted time:

No more rejections for "bad impressions"

If you've been with us for any length of time, there's a very good chance that you've had a case delayed by the dreaded "unable to complete submission" email.

Our team of diligent technicians has painstakingly prescreened every impression that we receive, analyzing it carefully for any flaws that could possibly result in an poorly-fitting aligner.

Of course, there's no way for us to be 100% certain whether an impression will work without actually making an aligner and trying it out on your patient's teeth.

So our standards have always been very high. We've had many frustrating conversations with doctors explaining that a case will be delayed and they'll need to call their patients in for another impression, even if they think the impression should be good enough.

That experience sucks for everyone involved, and it runs contrary to our belief that doctors should be in charge of the treatment they prescribe. We're just a dental lab; we're not here to tell you what to do.

Here's the beauty of Phase Zero: now we can make an aligner and you can try it out on your patient—just a short time after taking impressions, and without wasting any of the regular phases included with the treatment.

Why should we waste our time trying to outguess doctors and predict the future? From now on, doctors will be solely responsible for making sure that the impressions they submit are well-formed and accurate. And they'll receive an actual 3D model and aligners to confirm the results. We'll only reject impressions if they're completely impractical to use.

So it's more important than ever for you and your staff to take great impressions and inspect them carefully for mistakes. We've added our latest how-to documents and videos to ClearComm, so if your assistants need a refresher, please encourage them to check it out.

As part of this new emphasis on letting doctors be responsible for the treatment they prescribe, we've also decided that x-rays are now optional. We still recommend that you take & submit x-rays to help our technicians set up the treatment, but we won't delay your case if you decide not to include them with your submission.  

Phase Zero is a treatment setup you can hold in your hand

You should receive Phase Zero and the treatment setup around the same time. The aligners and dental model included with Phase Zero are made from the exact same 3D model that's labeled "Before" on your treatment setup.

Phase Zero and the treatment setup are two sides of the same coin. 

When you approve the treatment setup, you're also verifying that the Phase Zero aligners fit well on your patient, and that the dental model looks accurate.

Within a few weeks of submitting your case, you can show your patient their projected goal on the treatment setup, verify the accuracy & fit of the aligners, give your patient their first set of passive aligners, approve the treatment setup if everything fits well and looks right, and take new impressions if anything doesn't.

This is all at one appointment, at no additional charge, with no delays or extra appointments for retaking "bad impressions". Many doctors schedule an appointment around this time anyway, just to sign off on the treatment setup.

That's not even taking into account the other benefits of Phase Zero, like the more gradual acclimation to aligners, the retention of current dentition, the earlier product delivery, and the potential for shortened treatment time thanks to performing procedures like IPR at the very first phase 1 appointment.

Hopefully, this makes it more clear why we think Phase Zero is far from a waste of time.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Until next time...

Tech tip: What to expect when you submit a case (Phase Zero™ edition)

We recently started shipping Phase Zero at the beginning of cases, so it seemed like a good time to update our timeline showing what to expect when you submit a case.

Seriously old & busted · Slightly out of date · New hotness

As you'll see, Phase Zero doesn't delay your shipment of phase 1 at all--in fact, we've shaved a week or so off of our average turnaround time.

Stay tuned next week: we might have some interesting news related to Phase Zero to share with you.

Tech tip: New treatment setup video

If you've ever started a ClearCorrect case, you know what a treatment setup is: A PDF document with embedded 3D models of your patient's teeth before & after treatment.

It's pretty straightforward, but there a few quirks that have tripped up doctors in the past, particularly if they were using a Mac.

One problem we've discovered is that the before & after buttons aren't as self-explanatory as we thought they were. So we've made some minor design tweaks to make it a little more user-friendly.

Treatment setup comparison

We've also recorded a screencast that walks you through exactly how to log on to ClearComm and download, view, and approve a treatment setup—on a shiny new iMac, no less. Even if you're an old pro, you still might find something helpful.

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

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.

Enjoy!

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…

Tech Tip: How Phase Zero will get your patients started faster

We've got something really cool to announce this week. We're very excited about this, and we're pretty sure you'll like it too.

We call it Phase Zero™.

The number one request we get from doctors is "improve your turnaround time."

We get it. In the past couple of weeks, we've made some procedural changes that have already significantly reduced the time it takes to generate a treatment setup.

But Phase Zero will take things to a whole new level. As the name suggests, Phase Zero is a set of aligners that we'll ship you before Phase 1. In fact, we're aiming to get them to you around the same time that you receive your treatment setup, so you can fit the aligners on your patient and show them a 3D model of their teeth at the same appointment.

You may be wondering--how can we send you a set of aligners if the treatment hasn't been planned or approved yet?

Here's the secret: Phase Zero is based on your patient's current dentition. They're passive aligners, designed to retain your patients' teeth. Because we aren't moving the teeth, we can produce the aligners much faster. It should also be much easier for your patients to get acclimated to wearing aligners with less pressure being applied to their teeth.

Phase Zero also gives you an early chance to test the accuracy of our 3D model. If the passive aligners don't fit, you can take new impressions while your patient is still in the office, and we can get the problem fixed faster.

We'll still be producing Phase 1 on our regular schedule, so this shouldn't slow down your treatment at all. And there's no additional charge for this, either--going forward, we plan for this to become a standard part of our treatment.

Now, we should be clear: this is a brand-new feature that we're still testing out. As usual, we'll be rolling it out gradually to work out any kinks. We can't guarantee that every case will get a Phase Zero during this testing period. If it doesn't work out, we might even drop the idea altogether. (That's probably not likely, but the lawyers like it when we cover our bases.)

We sent out our first batch of Phase Zero aligners on Monday, and we've been shipping more out all week. If you have received a set, please call or email your account rep to let us know what you think. Your feedback is especially valuable in the early stages of a new feature like this.

We think these things are awesome, and we hope you will too. Until next time...

Tech Tip: Extruding teeth with auxiliaries

Extruding teeth is one of the more difficult movements to achieve with clear aligner therapy.

If you've tried using engagers, but a tooth just isn't extruding according to plan, here's a more advanced technique you can try.

How to extrude teeth with auxiliaries

Good luck!

Until next time...