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For many years, orthodontists have been using clear aligner therapy, self-ligating brackets and computer-aided arch-wire bending as tools to help them stand apart from other practices. Few, however, use advancements in laboratory appliances or technologies the same way.
For example, most orthodontic offices now offer clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign® as an alternative to traditional braces. Whether you agree that this philosophy fits most patients or not, it is hard to argue with the success that Invisalign® has had in the market. Offering this treatment alone though will not make your practice stand out. Many, if not all, of your peers offer it as well. However, using this treatment in conjunction with the EZ-2000® pre-aligner appliance can definitely help you stand apart.
While this might sound like a shameless plug for the laboratory for which I am employed (DynaFlex®), I would be making the same recommendation if it were made by some other company. The EZ-2000® (Figure 1) is a .060 Essix® appliance that uses a nickel-titanium spring-loaded screw to create space around the upper and lower arch prior to aligner treatment. Now, there are many ways to do this with more traditional appliances, but keep in mind your patient came in wanting clear aligners, and this appliance looks just like a clear aligner.
So, how can you use this appliance to help your practice stand apart? Teach your treatment coordinator to explain the appliance during consultation. Have her explain how your practice is different when it comes to clear aligner therapy. Your differences may include the number of cases you have provided or the outstanding service you provide. In addition to these benefits, have her explain how your practice uses the EZ-2000® prior to treatment. Explain to “Mom” why this is beneficial as outlined below:1. Reduced need for interproximal reduction (IPR). There are few parents who are excited about stripping away their child’s enamel. Your treatment coordinator can educate parents on how your practice uses this appliance to create space and therefore eliminate some of the IPR required.2. Prepares teeth for orthodontic treatment. By using the EZ-2000® prior to aligner therapy, the teeth become prepared for movement, thus increasing the overall effectiveness of the trays.3. Pre-qualifies compliance. Because the EZ-2000® is removable (it is worn 22 hours a day and removed only for eating and brushing teeth), it will help determine if “Johnny” will be a good overall candidate for aligner therapy.4. It looks like a clear aligner. This is important since the patient has requested this treatment because of its esthetic qualities. The last thing patients choosing clear aligner therapy want to hear is that they must wear some bulky appliance that is easily seen in the mouth.5. It is included in your price. At $87 per arch, it makes sense to include the appliances at no additional charge. If your potential patients leave to get a second opinion, they are now armed with knowledge of this appliance. When they ask the other practice how they treat and find out they don’t use this appliance, you have significantly increased the likelihood they will return to your office. If you run the math, it still works. Let’s say you do 30 clear aligner cases a year. If you provide this appliance to every patient free, the cost for the year would be $5,220. If you save one case you would have lost for the year, you pay for the entire year’s appliances. Anything more than one case saved is money in the bank.
Another appliance that can help your practice is the CS-2000® (Figure 2). This is a chair-side Class III device. As you know, there are very few choices for Class III correction. One of the best is Dr. Leon Klempner’s Modified Tandem (featured on the cover of the June 2011 issue of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics (JCO)). If however, you are looking for the convenience and value of an appliance that can be placed without having to take an impression and pay traditional laboratory fees, it is the CS-2000®. This appliance consists of two nickel-titanium springs that are attached to pivots that are slid on the arch wire. Set-up and delivery is less than 5 minutes, and the cost is about $65 per patient. If you are skeptical about how much correction you could expect from such a simple design, you can read the study completed by a resident of West Virginia University (view the study, www.dynaflex.com). The study found approximately 5mm of correction, of which 60% was skeletal. So how can this help differentiate your practice? I don’t know many young teens who are excited about wearing a face mask or many parents who are doing somersaults because they get to schedule jaw surgery for their child.
One of the newest, most exciting ways to differentiate your practice is to consider an iTero™ scanner from Cadent. As most of you know, Invisalign® acquired this intraoral scanning manufacturer in 2011. The system allows you to use a wand to scan the arch of the patient instead of using traditional PVS or alginate. The scanner can be purchased with a package that allows your practice to store your own digital models, eliminating the need to store plaster models and to send those scans to a laboratory that can use the scans to fabricate appliances. Several great labs can make your appliances using this technology; however, DynaFlex® is arguably the most advanced. DynaFlex® has an entire digital lab that includes several 3D printers, multiple scanners and four highly trained stereolithography technicians. This allows DynaFlex® to accept your iRecord from the iTero™, which saves your practice time and money. In fact, Cadent will have a representative and iTero™ scanner at the DynaFlex® booth at the AAO in Hawaii this May.
There are many ways to differentiate your practice—clear-aligner therapy, self-ligating brackets, computer-aided wire bending, and most importantly, the “experience” your team of employees provides with each visit. Please don’t forget your lab options; they too can help your practice stand apart.
In addition to having an iTero™ unit and representative at the DynaFlex® AAO booth, Dr. Leon Klempner will be sharing his experiences with the scanner. Dr. Klempner is one of the top orthodontists in the country and has been using two iTero™ scanners since September, 2011. He will be discussing the impact the systems have had on his practice including the decision to go completely aginate and PVS free.
Gary Johnson, executive vice president of Dynaflex, has more than 20 years’ experience in business management and leadership, and currently holds two MBAs. For the past 3 years, he has managed and directed the entire sales and marketing effort at DynaFlex in domestic and international markets. Mr. Johnson regularly consults with practices throughout the United States on leadership, marketing and creating the ultimate patient experience.
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