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...

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