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...

Tech Tip: Compliance Checkpoints

Question:

My treatment plan showed green dots (Compliance Checkpoints) between teeth 12 and 13. When I flossed between those teeth, there was no contact. Now what?

Answer:

When the contact hasn't fully closed at a Compliance Checkpoint, it doesn't necessarily mean that the case is hopelessly off-track. If the aligners still seem to be fitting, you can just keep an eye on that area and continue with the treatment.

The IPR performed in that area may have been larger than recommended, your patient may not be wearing the aligners for 22 hours a day, or the teeth may just not be tracking as intended.

The most common issue is patient non-compliance, so that's the first thing to investigate. Make sure that your patients understand how often they need to wear the aligners.

If the treatment plan recommends IPR in a spot where the teeth are not touching each other, wait to perform it until that area closes.

When you move on to the next step, make sure that the other teeth in the vicinity of the Compliance Checkpoint are tracking properly.

If the aligners eventually stop fitting, then you'll probably need to take new impressions and request a midcourse correction.

If the problem doesn't resolve itself by the end of treatment, you can request a refinement to close all of the spaces with a "digital power chain."

Hopefully, you won't run into this issue too often. That's it for this week.

Until next time...

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...