Tech tip: non-compliant patients

Compliance is the most common reason things go off the rails during treatment. As much as you'd like to give your patients the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you might need to check for compliance yourselves. Here's a few ways to determine if your patient has been wearing their aligner properly.

  • Your patient comes to the appointment not wearing their current aligner.  This is a big red flag. The patient needs to know that ClearCorrect aligner treatment won't work unless they diligently wear their aligners for at least 22 hours a day. If they aren't wearing their current trays when they arrive at their appointment, your patient may not be wearing their aligner properly.
  • Aligner is tight after 3 weeks of wear, or is still hard to remove or insert.  After three weeks of wear, the aligners should sit loose on their respective arches and should be easily removable. 
  • A clean aligner is a neglected aligner.  Anything that gets put in a human mouth for three weeks is not going to come back out looking clean. If your patient has suspiciously clean trays when they come to their appointment, it's a good bet they haven't been wearing them.
  • Frequent missed or rescheduled appointments.  They're probably not wearing their aligners as recommended.
  • Spaces between teeth made by IPR don't close when expected. When you look at your phase instructions and gaps between teeth don't decrease as they should, your patient probably isn't wearing their aligners properly. There are compliance checkpoints in your treatment plans telling you exactly when to check for closed gaps.
  • Aligners gradually fit worse as treatment progresses. If the fit of the aligners progressively worsens over time, your patient might not be wearing their trays as prescribed. Non-compliant patients are the most common cause of poor fitting aligners.

Here's what to do if you have a non-compliant patient:

  • Show them what their teeth will look like if they wear their aligners properly! Get them to daydream about what a nice smile they'll have after they've finished their treatment. Suddenly wearing those aligners doesn't look so bad, does it?

  • Don't let up!  Extend the time they have to wear their current aligners by a couple weeks. They'll learn that the more diligently they wear their aligners, the less time they have to be in treatment.
  • Remind them that there are no refunds. Why pay all that money and not get the results they want? 

If you have any tips or techniques for ensuring patient compliance, we'd love to hear from you! Share what works for you and we'll share them in a future tech tip.

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