Tech Tip: Patient compliance & wear schedules

It's been a while since we've talked about patient compliance and since it's on the top of the list for causing trouble in clear aligner treatment, we thought we'd offer a refresh and an expert opinion on the topic.

We consulted our Clinical Advisor, Dr. Ken Fischer, and here's what he had to say:

What is your experience with patient compliance and how has it affected your success or lack of success with clear aligner treatment?

Patient compliance, or wearing the removable aligners as instructed by the doctor, is absolutely critical in successful outcomes. Not every patient is going to be 100% compliant and wear their aligners 22 hours per day, every day, as we would like them to do. The Doctor's challenge is to learn and understand how each individual can best be motivated to maximize their compliance. Some patients can be "directed", others will need to be "pushed", but either way, full compliance is necessary to accomplish the treatment goal.

What is your percent of compliant vs. non-compliant patients?

Without considering the variance in the degrees of compliance, I think anywhere from 60%-75% of aligner patients are reasonably compliant and are willing to do what it takes to get the desired results. The other 25%-40% do not have the self-discipline necessary to be good, compliant aligner patients. Patient compliance is an issue that must be dealt with commonly in the practice on a daily basis, but that does not mean that we have to struggle with most patients at each appointment.

How do you manage patient compliance? What are your tips and recommendations for gaining patient compliance?

The key is to learn what is the best "motivator" or "incentive" for each patient; younger, adolescent patients will be motivated by techniques or stimulators different than those appealing to adult patients. The common denominator is for the patient to understand that they cannot complete their treatment unless they wear the aligners as directed. This means understanding the variables, that they will either have to stop treatment with an incomplete result, wasting the fee they paid, or finish with an outcome we can all be proud of. When we present the alternative treatment with braces, the patient will usually appreciate the importance of compliance.

See our article on non-compliant patients and compliance checkpoints for more information, tips and tricks on the topic of patient compliance.

Patient wear schedules

The wear schedule you give to your patient is entirely up to you. When you submit your case, you're able to request a 3-week, 2-week or even 1-week wear schedule, and dispense as many aligners as you see fit at each appointment. We recommend that your patient wear each set for at least two weeks for optimum results.

We also consulted with Dr. Fischer on this topic:

What should a doctor consider when deciding what wear schedule to choose for a patient?

95% of cases will be best suited for the 2 week wear schedule. That is the appropriate time it takes the skeletal and periodontal changes to occur with adequate tooth movement. 1 week intervals may be used when using accelerators such as; Acceladent (vibration), Propel (microperforations), Biolux/OrthoPulse (selected wavelengths of light) and Wilcodontics (surgically assisted orthodontics). (When using any of these the dentist will need to closely monitor for root resorption or other complications of moving teeth too fast.) 1 week intervals can also be OK when there is a minor amount of overall movement necessary for correction. 3-4 week intervals are good when there is questionable compliance or particularly difficult movements to accomplish.

Also, one may suggest that "young" teeth move more quickly and "older" teeth move more slowly due to the biological skeletal remodeling process, therefore the wear schedule for younger teeth can be shortened (1 week) and lengthened (3-4 weeks) for older teeth. However, clinical circumstances exert more influcence on the optimum wear schedule than the age of the teeth.

The health of the tooth is not as important as the health of the supporting bone and periodontal tissues when determining the aligner wear schedule. Even devitalized teeth can be moved if the periodontium is healthy.

Wear schedules can be changed by contacting one of our support representatives either by phone, email or by sending us a chat.

Thanks Dr. Fischer for sharing your experience and wisdom! 

Until next time... 

Tech Tip: Posterior open bite with clear aligners

A posterior open bite is when the upper & lower anterior teeth are touching when the patient bites down, but the posterior teeth are not in occlusion.

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Causes

There are many possible causes for a posterior open bite and it is fairly common with clear aligners. Usually it's temporary. It can be caused by the “hinging” action of the jaw.

Imagine placing a 1 mm sheet of flat plastic over the occlusal & incisal surfaces of the lower teeth. As the jaw closes, the posterior teeth will contact first. The patient would have to bite down firmly to get the anterior teeth to touch completely.

The same thing can happen when the teeth are covered by clear aligners. When the patient first starts wearing them, the posterior teeth are the first to contact. After wearing the aligners for a while, the teeth adjust to compensate, and before long, the patient can bite evenly with the aligners on.

The posterior teeth will intrude slightly to accommodate for the thickness of the aligners as occlusal forces are applied. Once the teeth have adjusted to the aligners, if the patient removes the aligners and bites down, the anterior teeth will make contact first and the posterior teeth probably won't quite touch.

Solutions

Here are some common approaches for a posterior open bite.

For posterior open bites present during clear aligner treatment:

  • Remember to check the occlusion during treatment visits and look for signs of posterior open-bite. Request a revision to slightly intrude the anterior teeth by ~0.5mm - 1.0mm on both arches, depending on the amount of open-bite. This relative intrusion will allow the posterior teeth to extrude, thereby closing the posterior open-bite.
  • To assist with re-establishing posterior contact, an open tray approach can be taken. Cutting off the aligner at the terminal molar to establish contact and gradually working your way forward until a canine to canine tooth aligner is left and posterior contact is established.

For posterior open bites present after clear aligner treatment:

  • After the patient has worn the final retainer for 3-6 months and the teeth are stable, the patient can switch to wearing the retainer on alternate days to give the posterior teeth freedom to move back into their normal position.
  • Or you can have the patient try the combination of wearing the upper retainer one night and lower the next and so on.
  • A Hawley retainer could be prescribed, which won't interfere with occlusion, allowing the posterior teeth to super-erupt freely.
  • A fixed retainer is also another option.

If you liked this article, check out our Help Center which is abundant with helpful information on clear aligner treatment.

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Where to place dimples

A dimple is a small depression made in the plastic of the clear aligner. The dimple  increases pressure on a tooth to help make desired tooth movements or to increase retention of the aligner. 

Uses

Dimples can be used for:  

The force made by dimples will only be as strong as the aligner’s strength, so it's best to place dimples in a fresh aligner that has not been worn yet or request a remake of the aligner if retention is inadequate.

Overcorrection & Dimpling:

If overcorrection is requested in the treatment setup, it reduces and often negates the need for dimpling. Whenever possible, planned overcorrection in the treatment setup is more advantageous than making dimples (since dimples need to be made for each aligner and are generally limited to one or two teeth).

Dimpling is used as a chairside measure to increase pressure on the tooth for difficult movements. However, the amount of tooth movement is limited as there must be adequate space on the opposing side of the dimple within the aligner to allow the tooth to move. Often this is limited to the size of the air gap between the aligner and the tooth.

There are different approaches to overcorrection and dimpling. Some clinicians prefer to utilize overcorrection as much as possible and dimple only for difficult movements. Others do not plan overcorrection and dimple the aligners as needed, however as described above, dimpling only works for select movements.

How to... 

Dimples are made using a dimpling plier. Be aware that different manufacturers make dimpling pliers that produce slightly different sized dimples and some pliers require heating while others do not. Refer to the plier manufacturer for specific instructions.

Where to place dimples:

For added retention:

  • To add additional retention to aligners - place a dimple between two teeth on the lingual and facial sides of the aligner.

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For rotations:

  • For distal rotations - place dimples on the lingual mesial and facial distal side of the tooth.

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  • For mesial rotations - place dimples on the lingual distal and facial mesial side of the tooth

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For tipping:

  • For facial tipping place dimples on the lingual mesial and distal sides of the tooth.

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  • For lingual tipping place dimples on the facial mesial and distal sides of the tooth.

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  • For mesial tipping place dimples on the lingual and facial of the distal surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3.

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Dimples_-_mesial_tipping_FD-3.jpg 

  • For distal tipping place dimples on the lingual and facial of the mesial surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3.

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For torquing:

(Engagers are recommended for torquing but not for small movements. Fresh aligners are the best option to get a tooth to torque. You may end up needing more than one replacement for stubborn teeth.)

  • To torque lingually place one dimple on the facial gingival. 
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  •  To torque facially place one dimple on the lingual gingival.

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  • To torque mesially place dimples on the lingual and facial of the distal surface of the tooth on the gingival.

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  • To torque distally place dimples on the lingual and facial of the mesial surface of the tooth on the gingival.

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For translation:

(Engagers are necessary for large mesial and distal movements. IPR may be needed if there is contact preventing movement.)

  • To translate lingually place dimples on the facial occlusal 1/3 at the center and on the facial gingival.

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  • To translate facially place dimples on the lingual occlusal 1/3 at the center and on the lingual gingival.

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  • To translate mesially place dimples on the lingual distal surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3 and gingival. And place dimples on the facial distal surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3 and gingival.

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Dimples_-_translate_mesial_FD-4.jpg

  • To translate distally place dimples on the lingual mesial surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3 and gingival. And place dimples on the facial mesial surface of the tooth on the occlusal 1/3 and gingival.

Dimples_-_translate_distal_L-4.jpg

Dimples_-_translate_distal_F-3.jpg

The information provided above on where to place dimples can be found in our Help Center and referred to at your convenience. We hope you find it useful!

Keep an eye out for our upcoming pre-sale announcement for dimple pliers!

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Providers offer impression tips & tricks

We recently asked some of our providers to share their tips & tricks for taking impressions.

Nothing here should be taken as official advice or recommendation from ClearCorrect or it's employees. It's up to you to use your professional judgement on what is best for you and your patients.

Here are some pearls of wisdom a few of our providers wanted to share.

Tips & tricks on impression technique

  • "Put putty in a good fitting tray, put plastic (like saran wrap) on putty, put in mouth and then when set, remove plastic and use light body syringe around teeth and put back in mouth until set. The putty is like a custom tray."
  • "Dry off the teeth with gauze first, and make sure the tray fits passively over the entire dentition."
  • "Don’t overseat the tray to the point where it contacts the teeth. It will cause a perforation in the impression material."
  • "I have the assistant dry the teeth completely with a 2x2 piece of gauze, prior to placing tray in mouth. I load most of the tray with a layer of putty or heavy body, and a thin layer of light body PVS, then quickly put a thin layer of light body directly on the teeth, especially on the facial of the anteriors. I make sure that the lip is retracted to avoid trapping air."
  • "Dry the mouth and begin from the distal of the most posterior tooth, and concentrate more on lingual of lower and buccal of upper."
  • "I use a universal body straight out of the cartridge intra-orally and in the tray. I place material via the cartridge over all teeth and add extra around and in the buccal space of the most posterior tooth bilaterally."
  • "Be sure to use adequate materials."
  • "Place light body on all surfaces of teeth to be included in the treatment, then place the heavy body over it."
  • "I prefer to let the putty set a little before I put the PVS wash in. This prevents my pushing through to the putty and/or the trays."
  • "I do a putty/wash technique. The trick though is to pop in the putty impression first, pop it out in 12 seconds or so, fill the wash into the putty, and reseat while both are soft and let them solidify in tandem…no distortion of trim needed."
  • "Put a thin layer of wash on top of heavy body at the occlusal and incisal position prior to seating. Have patient rinse mouth with mouthwash prior to impression to cut surface tension. May need to prophy first to remove heavy plaque or food from between teeth."
  • "Place a strip of red rope wax across the posterior border of the upper impression tray to limit the flow of the impression material posteriorly."
  • "I have a lot of success with 3M Position & trays. You can use a border molding/wash technique by systematically adding material and the design of the tray helps prevent overflow which reduces the gag reflex."
  • "Having the patient bite slightly helps if they can."

Tips on tools for taking impressions

  • "Use OptraGate retractors."
  • "Use cheek retractors."
  • "Use a very stiff, fast set, VBS material in small amount at end of the tray as a separate first step to stabilize tray for final impression and to prevent material from running past tray and gagging the patient."
  • "I now use different viscosity material for my orthodontic impressions than I use for crown & bridge impressions. My assistant fills the tray with a syringeable monophase PVS while I dry the teeth and syringe a light body PVS on the occlusal surface. I then place a thin layer of the light body PVS over the monophase in the tray, and seat. Works every time!"
  • "I use wax in the posterior of the trays to build a “dam” on the upper to prevent pulls or running of material. Both putty/wash and heavy body wash works well."
  • "I typically do a light body wash over a medium body. That usually helps pick up the sulci accurately."
  • "I use a fast set (90 second) from Parkell to minimize patient gagging and discomfort."
  • I use Panasil Tray Fast Heavy and Panasil Initial Contact X-Light."

General tips on taking impressions

  • "Practice – technique is more important than materials."
  • "Prepare patient that it is not the most comfortable experience but it will be over quickly and cooperation is needed to ensure you only have to do each arch once."
  • "Take your time."
  • "Patient compliance is very important."

Tips about scanners

  • "The CEREC Omnicam is very intuitive."
  • "Intraoral scanner is the way to go!!"
  • "Getting dental impressions is easy with my OmiCam!"

We hope you found some of the information helpful!

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Information on impressions

In case you missed it, in our last tech tip, we walked you through how to locate an occlusal view of your original PVS impression scans in the doctor's portal.

On that same topic, we recently did a survey to find out what questions you had about impressions and the most common question was:

I have difficulty getting the distal of the last molars. Do you have any suggestions on an easy way to capture these?

Posterior distortion of the most distal teeth in the arch is 3rd on the list of most common impression issues. It can be difficult to get a good impression since it's hard to see back there. There are a couple of ways to avoid this problem:

1. Make sure that you're using a correctly-sized tray. It should extend past the last tooth in the arch without touching the gums.

2. Before inserting the tray containing light body, add some light body directly to the occlusal and distal portion of the last tooth in the arch, ensuring that the last tooth is completely covered with impression material.

And in case you haven't seen these, we have an array of articles in our Help Center, covering various impression topics. Whatever your questions are, these articles likely have the answers:

We hope you found this information helpful! Keep an eye out for our upcoming article on some provider offered tips & tricks on taking impressions.

Until next time...

Tech Tip: Notes from your Technician

You may have noticed notes from your technician regarding your treatment setup. These notes can be about the case type, your prescription or the quality of your impressions. These notes or comments do not always require a response.

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If you have a question or would like to respond to the note, you can click DISAPPROVE and there will be a field for you to enter your response.

When disapproving a treatment setup, providing your technician with the following information will give them a clear picture of the problem and what you want changed, resulting in a quick turnaround on your setup.

  1. Tell your technician what you don't like about the setup.
  2. Tell your technician what angle you are viewing the setup from.
  3. Give your technician simple instructions on how you would like any issues to be corrected.

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The other type of note you might receive from your technician is usually a question on your prescription or materials before they can provide your treatment setup. In this situation, you will see the action item below, with the technician's notes and a field for you to reply.

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You may also receive emails (daily summary emails) notifying you that there is a note from your technician. You can click on the case in the email and it will ask you to log in to the doctor's portal where you will see the case and notes from the technician to reply.

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Viewing your original impression scans

The note from your technician may sometimes be about your impressions. If you would like to review your original impression scans, you can scroll down from the notification box and in the History section of the case, where you will see a title "Upper impression, lower impression received" along with the date it was receieved and an icon of the impression.

Each of the icons in the history can be clicked on, opened and viewed. (This is also how you can access your invoice, photos and the treatment prescription for the case.)

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We hope this information is useful to you when you're reviewing and approving your treatment setups!

Until next time...

Tech Tip: All about scanners

Making accurate dental impressions is easily the most essential part of submitting a case. There are many different options out there for capturing dental impressions, from traditional impressions to the wide variety of intraoral scanners available on the market today.

3-D technology has had a significant impact on dentistry in the last 20 years, and it is only expected to increase in the coming years. More and more doctors are moving over to intraoral scanners.

We thought that a tip covering intraoral scanning with ClearCorrect might be helpful, whether you already use an intraoral scanner or if you're considering one.

Intraoral scanners

A study from 2014 found that the use of intraoral scanners could significantly accelerate the work flow of making impressions.

Some benefits of using an intraoral scanner include:

  • More comfortable for patients than conventional impressions
  • Save costs on impression materials
  • No shipping hassles
  • Higher accuracy than traditional impressions
  • Fewer errors resulting in having to re-impress
  • Facilitates sending scans to ClearCorrect electronically, resulting in a faster turnaround

ClearCorrect accepts records from most intraoral scanners currently on the market.

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With the wide variety of intraoral scanners available, selecting the best intraoral scanner for you really comes down to your preferences. Some things you might want to consider when choosing a scanner:

  • Is the scanner portable?
  • Is the scanner light and easy to use?
  • Will the scanning experience be comfortable for patients?
  • Is there a cost for image export and storage?
  • Is the software for the scanner compatible with your practice management software?

Submitting a case to ClearCorrect with scanners

You can upload scan files from any intraoral scanner to ClearComm as long as the file is in STL format. (STL is an open, industry-standard file format that can be exported by most popular scanners.) Export your STL files from your scanner to your computer, and then upload those files just like your photos when you submit a case online, or on the case page after submitting.

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STL files are not necessary if your scanner has the option to select ClearCorrect as your dental lab and upload scans directly from the scanner. CEREC Connect and TRIOS currenty offer this option.

We provide instructions for some of the common scanners:

Model or impression scanners

We also accept scans from model or impression scanners like Motion View's Ortho Insight 3D Scanner. Whether you're using an intraoral scanner or a model or impression scanner, ClearCorrect works with your team to accept digital files enhancing productivity and quality.

Scanning tips

Here are a few tips for using scanners:

  • We strongly recommend that you visually inspect your STL files before you submit them to us. We recommend netfabb Studio Basic, which is available free for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Other STL viewing options include viewstl.com, MiniMagics and FreeCAD.
  • Some scanners output several files, but the only files we want are the upper and lower arches. The arches should be saved in separate files, with the arches oriented in occlusion.
  • Scan both arches, even if you're only treating or revising one of them. Recreating the occlusion based on one arch is prone to error. (This advice applies to PVS impressions as well.)
  • We prefer "closed shell" models, but "open shell" models are acceptable too.
  • To prevent aligners from flaring at the edges, always capture at least 3-5 millimeters of gum in the scan.
  • While bite registrations are no longer a requirement for submitting PVS impresions to ClearCorrect, this is still part of the workflow with some scanners. You can capture more accurate bite scans by including as much of the occlusion as your scanner allows.
  • We can't provide support for your scanner software, but if you have any other questions, as always, our knowledgeable support reps are here to help.

We hope you found this information useful!

Until next time…

Tech Tip: Case submission FAQs & tips from providers

In a recent survey, we asked some of our providers about any questions they might have on the topic of case submission, prescription and treatment setups. Below are some of the questions and answers. We hope you find this information helpful!

FAQ about case submission, prescription & treatment setups

Is ClearCorrect now 2 weeks for each aligner? I’m still using the 3 week method.

We did change our default wear schedule from 3 weeks to 2 weeks in 2015. At the same time, we also added the ability for you to choose your patient's wear schedule when you submit your case. With this change, you're able to request a 3-week, 2-week, or even 1-week wear schedule and you can dispense as many aligners as you see fit at each appointment. (This only applies to new cases--any cases that started on a 3-week schedule should still be on that schedule.) We recommend that most patients wear each set of aligners for at least two weeks. See our full article on aligner wear schedules.

Wear schedules can be viewed in the treatment setup and in the fine print on the treatment plan.

If a bite is no longer needed, how do we bypass this in CEREC Connect?

At this time, a bite scan is a requirement and part of the workflow when scanning with CEREC Connect. While we've made bite registrations optional, most doctors still like to take a bite scan to have as a record to compare to the bite that we provide in our treatment setup.

I understand that this system is only for anterior teeth. Is that correct?

No, ClearCorrect is an advanced system of clear aligner therapy that uses the latest digital technologies, design and clinical approaches to treat various types of malocclusion, ranging from simple to advanced extraction and surgical cases depending on the knowledge and expertise of the doctor.

What are the most common issues that cause a Limited 12 aligner case to be elevated to an Unlimited case?

When the ClearCorrect technician reads the case submission form, they try to follow all of the doctor's instructions taking into account the requested case type. However, if they can't follow both the treatment plan and case type instructions, they will prioritize the treatment plan instructions over the case type which can lead to upgrading the case to an Unlimited. If it's noted on the case submission form that the case type is a higher priority over the treatment plan, along with a note of which correction is allowed to be compromised for the case type, then our technician will follow those instructions instead of their normal protocol.

I’m not sure about the amount of trays to plan for. Maybe a guideline to selecting the right case type?

In 2015 we made a change where by default and at no charge to you, our technicians recommend a case type appropriate for the treatment you prescribe, which eliminates the need for you to choose the case type for your patient. However, if you have a preference, you can indicate it when you submit the case.

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Either way, the case type won’t be final until you approve a treatment setup and pay for the case.

If you want to choose your case type, we've prepared a simple chart to help you predict which treatment option might be best for your case:

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Can I ask for specific sizes or shapes of attachments for the setup?

Not at this time. Engagers are an active area of research and development at ClearCorrect and elsewhere. Many variations of engager shapes have been proposed and discussed in literature and professional forums, but in practice, once the shape is thermoformed in the engager template, problems of adaptation and air gaps reduce the capability of many of these designs.

Without conclusive information and until the mentioned adaptation problems are resolved, ClearCorrect is happy to stick to the simple horizontal and vertical engagers that we've been using for the last ten years, which have proven sufficient to help with movements requiring an engager.

Fortunately, because of the way we trim our trays, our aligners are 2-4 times stronger than our competitors. This can reduce the need for engagers in many cases.

It looks like some overcorrection was built into the treatment setup. Is this correct?

Overcorrection is only added to the case per the doctor's instructions. Overcorrection can be requested at the beginning of a case when filling out the submission form, when submitting a revision or when reviewing/approving the treatment setup.

No bite turbo or bite ramps were offered, is this something that will be coming or is it even necessary with the greater gingival coverage that ClearCorrect has in their aligners?

Doctors can request lingual engagers to prevent full closure of the teeth. This is an advanced treatment technique, and should be monitored carefully. Whether a bite turbo and/or bite ramp is necessary would be determined on a case by case basis.

In cases with anterior interproximal reduction, how can I have a virtual power chain added to the end of the treatment sequence so that I have all the required aligners, including for the power chain, without having to request a revision?

When submitting the case, just ask for overcorrection with a digital power chain on the last two steps in order to get a virtual power chain without having to request a revision.

How do you determine which teeth will start the movement? (Or, phrased differently); How do you stage treatment?

We use protocols that have been developed by our Chief Technology Officer, orthodontist Dr. James Mah; ClearCorrect founder Dr. Willis J. Pumphrey; and our VP Products, Paul Dinh, CDT. These protocols are applied on a case-by-case basis by our technicians to help get the outcomes you prescribe for your patients.

Is there a process that I can tweak the final treatment setup myself?

Not at this time, though we are aware that doctors are interested in this functionality. The current process for adjusting your treatment setup is described below.

How do I make adjustments to a treatment setup?

If the model looks inaccurate, you want to move the teeth differently, or you want to cancel the case, click DISAPPROVE when viewing the treatment setup and let us know what you want to do. Our technicians will do their best to make any changes you request and upload a new version of the treatment setup for your approval within a few days.

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I have difficulty with viewing the setup. It isn’t real clear to see the final result. I kind of just go on faith that it is going to look good.

At the bottom left of the setup, you'll see a timeline representing every step of the case. The starting position of the teeth is shown at the left. Steps with checkup appointments are numbered on the timeline, and the final position of the teeth is represented on the right as a retainer.

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To navigate between steps, you can drag the slider, click on a step, click the Previous and Next arrows, or click Play to animate the treatment from beginning to end. You can click Previous at the beginning or Next at the end of treatment to quickly toggle between views before and after treatment.

Shortcuts are available for the most common views: Upper occlusal, Lower occlusal, Right, Front, and Left. You can also rotate the model to view the teeth from any angle by clicking and dragging.

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I sometimes need help in deciding on the treatment setup.

When approving a treatment setup, it's best to begin with the end in mind - consider the whole treatment and what are the goals for that particular patient. Also, when filling out the case submission form, the more information you give the better treatment setups you'll receive.

For more information, see our recommendations for how to evaluate the treatment setup in our Help Center article on this topic.

As a “bracket man” for years, I feel that the torque movements are hard to envision. Can some support evidence or outcomes be made available to give me more confidence?

We understand that being able to see some successful outcomes is helpful. We offer a number of different case studies covering a variety of scenarios from treatment of a Class II with crowding and a deep bite, to treating an anterior open bite with clear aligners. You can check out all of our case studies in our Help Center.

Provider tips & tricks

Some of our providers offered a few tips & tricks for submitting cases. Nothing here should be taken as official advice or recommendation from ClearCorrect or its employees. It’s up to you to use your professional judgement on what is best for you and your patients.

  • "I usually let ClearCorrect dictate the course of action. I have had an extraction case that I had never done before and the ClearCorrect technician walked me through it and said that she had seen my other work and was sure that I could do this as well. It made me feel good."
  • "I look at my comprehensive diagnosis and go through in my head step-by-step what I need to correct the deficiencies."
  • "I like to avoid placing attachments at the initial stages, so that the patient can become accustomed to the appliances before making it tougher to remove them."
  • "I would recommend that all doctors finish with a digital power chain."
  • "I would overcorrect all rotations and ask for power chain to close any original spacing. My experience tells me that less engagers allow better fitting and tracking of aligners."
  • "I always leave 1mm of overjet between anteriors at completion to prevent a slight posterior open bite."

Thanks to all the providers who answered our survey!

Check out our Help Center for more helpful information on treating your patients with clear aligners.

Until next time...

Tech Tip: An in-depth look at impressions

Perhaps the most important aspect of submitting a case with ClearCorrect is making sure that you have clear, accurate intraoral scans or impressions. We thought we'd cover some of the basics on the topic of taking impressions, along with some new information that you may not know.

We love intraoral scans, but if you prefer taking PVS impressions, we happily accept them. We require both upper and lower impressions, even if you're only treating one arch. As we've mentioned recently, bite registrations are now optional.

You can use nearly any type of tray you like for your impressions except for metal trays. We don't return your impressions, so it's best to use disposable trays.

PVS or VPS materials work best for impressions. Polyether (Impregum) will work as long as the detail for the gum lines are there. In our experience, Sultan Genie™ VPS and Premium Dental VPS impression materials are easy to work with and deliver consistent results. If you prefer a different polyvinyl or polyether impression material, feel free to continue using what you're comfortable with. Alginate is not acceptable because it dries out and distorts.

A good impression looks like this:

Good_Impression.png

We recommend one-step impression methods for the best results, but we'll accept two-step impressions as well.

Make sure your trays are properly sized to fit all the teeth and surrounding gums. Because our aligners cover beyond the gingiva for improved retention, the importance for obtaining full and complete impressions cannot be overstated. Impressions that may have worked for other clear aligner companies, should not be assumed to work for our product (especially where the gingiva is not covered in the impression).

Our most common issue with impression distortions is material that hasn't fully set before being removed. There are a few simple things you can do to prevent this problem:

  • Set a timer and make sure to follow the directions for your material exactly
  • Discard the first inch of material that comes out of every new mixing tip
  • We recommend waiting an additional 60-90 seconds longer than instructed before removing the trays from the patient's mouth

Did you know that performing a cleaning before taking impressions, removes plaque which can make for better impressions and could reduce the amount of residual spacing at the end of treatment?

Any existing spaces or gaps that are filled with plaque can be properly caught in an impression if a cleaning is done before impressing. With the plaque removed, the spaces or gaps get accurately detailed in the impression and when the aligners are made, they can indent into those gaps and push out any plaque that develops during treatment. This process could reduce the amount of residual spacing at the end of treatment.

Help Center articles

Our help center has several helpful articles on the topic of impressions. Maybe they can be of use to you. Check out some of these great articles here:

We hope you found this information helpful! Don't miss our upcoming advanced training webinars on case submission, prescription & treatment setups or our advanced training series of webinars on various topics related to clear aligner treatment.

Until next time…

Tech Tip: Providers talk engagers

In a recent survey, we asked some of our providers to share their tips & tricks for placing and removing engagers.

Nothing here should be taken as official advice or recommendation from ClearCorrect or its employees. It’s up to you to use your professional judgement on what is best for you and your patients.

As the clinician it is important for you to be aware of different approaches, so that you can customize treatment for each patient. By way of example, while it may be possible to place engagers all at once in one patient, it may be necessary to cut the engager template and place engagers separately for another patient. Another example is the availability of various composite resins. Some patients seem to have no problems with engagers made from flowable resins, and with others they can wear away and break down. In this situation, a filled resin or other more durable resin can be used. 

We wanted to pass on some of these responses in hope that you might find them useful in treating your patients.

Tips and tricks on engager materials/composite/flash

Doctors who preferred flowable composite said:

  • “I use only flowable composite to fill the engager templates. It is easier and fills the template without voids. I know you recommend a two fill system, but it doesn’t seem there is time to do that and still get a good fill. I have had good luck so far with my variation of your system.”
  • “When placing engagers, use a little drop of flowable to “wet” the inside of the well prior to injecting paste, then a dab of flowable to “wet” the interface of paste and tooth when going to mouth.”
  • “Flowable composite seems to work best versus packable products. Also, checking the bite after placing engagers can prevent some engagers from interfering with the bite and being dislodged. “
  • “A “thick” flowable resin like GC Universal Flo will work well, without need for two materials, thin flo and thick paste.”
  • “I use flowable composite first, then a filled resin when filling the template.”
  • “The combo of flowable composite placed on the etched, primed/bonding agent light cured teeth and heavier composite place in the lubed engager reservoir works predictably on seating and curing. The sandwich of light and heavy composite will leave some flash to remove.”

Doctors who preferred different composites & bonds said:

  • “Using a lower viscosity composite, but not flowable.”
  • “Blue phosphoric acid etch bonds better.”
  • “I use a packable composite and place the college plier’s tips in either embrasure, forcing the aligner into closer contact with the tooth.”
  • “Use cheek retractors, spot etch, bond and use Surefil flow, which has been my best result in placing engagers.”

On the topic of flash, doctors said:

  • “I find that if I leave a little flash they stay on better.”
  • “They key is high speed finishing off any flash or over extension of composite. Wearing an LED headlight with loops and air drying the tooth/engager composite junction shows excess flash the best. Always verify that the next corresponding aligners seat completely in the excess flash removal evaluation. I use yellow or red striped carbide finishing points (like a 7901 or 7102) to remove the flash. Remove some with a high speed and water spray, air dry, repeat until satisfied and remember less is more.”

Tips and tricks for attaching engagers

Doctors offered us a multitude of tips on technique, tools and even timing for placing engagers. Here’s what they had to say:

Doctor’s tips on engager placement techniques:

  • “Poke a small hole through the engager tray from the inside of the engager area to extrude excess air and composite material, then perform minor adjustment on the surface of the engager to smooth if necessary.”
  • “Make a pin-hole in incisal edge/cusp tip of template of each tooth getting an engager. Hydraulic pressure relief as seat filled template allows easier, more complete seating.”
  • “Using a very small bur the diameter of an adhesive tip (I use Flow Tain with disposable tip), drill a small hole in middle of engager on the template. Prep the tooth as recommended, place template on the teeth and then fill the engager bubble with adhesive through the hole. This ensures the correct amount every time.”
  • “For placing engagers, pre-load composite in wells, cover from light bonding procedures, then directly to mouth, less change for salivary contamination by pre-loading.”

Doctors tips for engager template removal:

  • “The composite tends to stick to the template tray unless you wipe with alcohol and then apply the Vaseline.”
  • “I cut up the engager template and only attach 2 at a time.”
  • I usually cut the template. I keep 3 teeth, the engager tooth and the 2 adjacent teeth on each side. That way it will be easier to remove the template once the engager is placed.”
  • “Trays definitely need modification prior to placing engagers. I separate the right & left sides, and remove the lingual portion of the tray just past the incisal edge. This way I can peel the tray off easily. I also place a light coat of Vaseline with a micro brush on the inside surface of the tray where the composite will go.”
  • “On the template for the engagers, I remove the aligner material on the gingival side just below each engager well, right up to the edge of it, either with a high speed hand piece or a hole punch. Removing the gingival area below the engager wells allows me to wipe away any excess composite material that extrudes out of the gingival side of the engager well. It also provides me a purchase point to be able to lift up the template off of each tooth that has an engager.”

Doctors tips on tools to use for engager placement:

  • “I do better with composite out of a fine needle syringe. It seems to be strong enough to hold up, but there is some excess flash that needs removing.”
  • “Attaching with Filtek Ultra resin worked so much better than anything else for me. Microetching first is a must.”
  • “Pumice and selective acid etching before regular bonding routine.”

Doctor’s tips on timing of engager placement:

  • “Attaching to rotated lower canines always presents a challenge because of the super-acute angles between the canine and the adjacent incisor. You should request to hold placement of those engagers until the last possible time during treatment.”
  • “Sometimes to ensure proper placement, I will have the patient wear the trays for one week and then come back and place the engagers.”

Tips and tricks for removing engagers

Based on our responses, doctors seem to favor burs and using a combination of burs, discs and polishers.

Doctors who preferred burs said:

  • “I find that the best FINAL tool is a small pointed low-fluted carbide bur.
  • “Use Braessler ET long multifluted burs to remove engagers and/or excess.”
  • “Use a diamond or carbine finishing bur, get close to the enamel, then use enhance polisher to remove residual resin. Does not harm the enamel.”
  • “I only use a finishing bur. It helps to dry the surface to see if any bond remains. If there’s bond/resin left, the surface will be dull.”
  • “Use a high speed composite finishing bur, dry, followed with a composite polisher.”
  • “I use older ET composite shaping burs as they are less likely to cut enamel.”
  • “12 fluted bur.”

Some doctors prefer a combination of tools:

  • “I use a band remover to remove engagers and then go to a fine diamond bur then carbide flame bur and polish the surface with something like a pogo.”
  • “I use a sandpaper disc and football Brasseler finishing bur to remove them.”
  • “I remove engagers with 1) medium diamond to very thin resin, then 2) carbide finishing bur to enamel resin layer, then 3) finishing/polishing discs, points and brush and last, 4) burnish fluoride.”
  • “To remove engagers, I use a diamond finishing bur to remove the bulk and then switch to a Softlex disc for the final removal.”
  • “I first use a scaler, then Soflex discs, dry to better visualize the borders of composite. I check with the side of an explorer to see if the composite abrades some metal or if is completely removed.”

And some doctors prefer other tools:

  • “Remove with a white stone and high speed hand piece.”
  • “Use a high speed dry (no water so you can see the difference between the composite and the tooth structure, then use composite polishers to finish.”
  • “I use a fine diamond for gross reduction and finish with Dentsply enhance.”
  • “Use G-Bond provided by ClearCorrect, red stripe (fine) bur to remove 90%, then usually I’m able to flake off with a scaler. Not fun but it works without damaging the enamel.”
  • “Dura white stone high speed ulta dent polishing brush.”
  • “I like to remove the final layer of composite with a Brownie point, at a reduced speed.”

Doctor’s tips on engager removal techniques:

  • “I like to polish after removing engagers to make sure all is smooth.”
  • “You can always shave down engager slightly if too difficult to remove aligner initially.”
  • “Have patience in removing. Using a porcelain polishing diamond wheel works very well. When the resin is very thin a scalpel can be used or a rubber resin polisher will help remove resin without removing enamel.”
  • “Use a fluoride treatment after removal.”

Tips and tricks for lubricating

Doctors offered us several different tips for lubricating the engager template before installing, helping with template removal.

  • “Lubricate the template with Vaseline.”
  • “Apply mineral oil to the aligner beforehand so engagers don’t come off in the tray.”
  • “Make sure template is thoroughly coated with a separator and pull template away facially not incisal after curing.”
  • “Your seating video is spot on. The key is to lube the engager housing with either a dab of Vaseline or separating liquid (Sure Sep by Belle de St. Claire lab products).”
  • “We coat the template with Pam cooking spray before bonding the engagers. It makes it easier to remove the template. With multiple engagers the bonding material would sometimes fracture during template removal before using the releasing agent.”
  • “I find that the template needs to be wiped with alcohol before using Vaseline. My guess is that there is some type of oxygen inhibiting layer that the composite sticks to.”
  • “I spray the inside of the aligner with a light mist of non-stick cooking spray and then air blow it out of the engager well, not allowing any to pool up but still leaving a thin amount of separating medium. The separating medium in the template helps prevent the composite from bonding to the template and also aids in disengaging the template from the teeth which minimizes the engagers popping off.”

General tips and tricks regarding engagers

From installation techniques and engager modification to patient preparation, here are some general tips offered from providers.

  • “The engagers are pretty sharp to the lip so I always polish them a bit.”
  • “ Have the patient wear the engager stent/tray for at least a week before placing the engager.”
  • “I do one quadrant at a time. Usually there’s an area on the tray that serves as the best point for removal. You may want to consider adding something similar to a removal button on PFMs.
  • “Important to place pressure on the template from buccal and lingual. This ensures the engager is not too thick.”
  • “Magnification is a must.”
  • “Keep area clean and dry. Etch the enamel very thoroughly. Fill template and push the material into each attachment to adapt it well.”
  • “I make sure to abrade the enamel slightly with air abrasion or diamond and then etch. I fill with composite slightly below level, then place a dot of flowable composite to fill the last bit so it is level before placing in the mouth.”
  • “I always round them just a little after I place them. They seem to work fine and it makes the trays easier to insert and remove. I know that could cause some trouble at some point, but so far it has not.”
  • “I do them one at a time so I can press the engager matrix hard against the tooth with the back of the tips of a cotton forceps.”
  • “You should overbuild the engager and reapply material if it does not look accurate.”
  • “Sometimes we like to modify the tray and enlarge the engager to act as a hook and use the engager with elastics/rubber bands to help super erupt a tooth.”
  • “We prefer longer treatment without engagers than shorter treatment with engagers. We also prefer to have engagers removed at the earliest possible step instead of waiting until treatment completion.”
  • “I try to always prepare people for engagers: “You’ll have a big, tooth-colored blob on these three teeth…etc. This way they don’t freak out: “You told me I could take them out but I can’t take this blob out!”

Thanks to all of the providers who answered our survey!

Check out our Help Center for more helpful information on treating your patients with clear aligners and don't miss our upcoming advanced training webinar Case submission, prescription & treatment setups or our advanced training series of webinars on various topics related to clear aligner treatment.

Until next time…