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Clear aligners - Patient information

When patients come in to receive their clear aligners, they're often excited about what's going to happen. They don't really know what it feels like to have the aligners in their mouth or what it will look like. They also don't really know how it all works in practice - because they haven't tried it yet.


Invisalign aligners in a tray held by a hand with blue gloves

Emotional control

Practitioners should keep in mind that most patients feel that they are investing a large amount of money in their aligner treatment.


It pays to think about how you can design a delivery protocol where the patient experiences the consultation as something special. This will help spread a positive message and increase the likelihood of the patient remaining satisfied with their decision to invest in the treatment. In a later blog post. I will give an example of such a protocol.


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As I wrote about in the last post, there are some great benefits to planning your treatment in a way that makes delivery as easy and painless as possible for your patients.


Clinical benefits of creating a great experience

When patients have demonstrated how to put their aligners in place and remove them, they are more receptive to information about use, hygiene and storage when the aligners are not in the mouth.

Handing out clear aligners no. 1-2 to the patient.

The patient is trained to put on and take off the aligners.

They are informed that the aligners only work when they are in the mouth.

The patient is then instructed to wear the aligners 22 hours a day.


Demonstration of the package label

On the packages of aligners and on an aligner, the patient is shown where the aligner number can be found. Instructions are given on how to use the first 2 aligners for 2 weeks each before switching to a new aligner. The patient shows which aligner number to look for to show that the instructions are understood.

Aligner hygiene instructions

Instructions are given on how to clean the aligners with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

The patient is informed that the aligners are to be removed every time the patient eats and drinks.

For Invisalign, inform the patient that anything that stains a white shirt will also stain the aligners. Especially curry, energy drinks, red wine, cola and the like tend to permanently discolor Invisalign aligners. (Most other brands do not have this challenge)

Swiss Smile toothpaste and toothbrushes that are optimal for cleaning clear aligners

Securing the clear aligners when not in the mouth

When not in the mouth, aligners should be stored in the box, out of reach of children and pets.

Tracking - make it easy for yourself

The patient is instructed to check for air between the teeth and aligners. If the patient notices a difference, the patient takes a photo with a smartphone showing the deviation. The image is sent in an email to the dental office, where a decision can be made on what to do next, without the patient having to come in for an additional consultation.This is beneficial for the patient, as they will not spend more time than necessary in the practice. It's also beneficial for the dental practice as you save valuable chair time.

In case you need help deciding what to do in these cases. You are always welcome to reach out to AlignerService.com and get help.


Inform the patient that air between aligners and teeth CAN indicate that there are teeth that are not tracking properly. By intervening in a timely manner, an extension of treatment can often be prevented. This motivates patients to take responsibility themselves.


Educating the patients to monitor their own treatment is often just as effective and much easier to handle. Than using digital tracking devices to do the same.

Checking the contact points

The patient is also instructed to floss a couple of times a week. Not for hygiene reasons, but because very hard contact points can prevent teeth from moving properly, which can prolong treatment time. (Unofficially, it's a great side benefit for oral hygiene when patients start flossing. But hygiene is rarely a motivating factor in getting healthy patients to floss).

Number of aligners to hand out

The patient is given 2 sets of aligners.

The first set is placed in the mouth when the patient leaves the clinic.

The second set is in the numbered pouch.

The patient is instructed to change aligners after 2 weeks.

Used aligners

The used aligner is returned in its original plastic pouch.

If something happens to the aligner the patient is using (e.g. eaten by a dog, thrown away, breaks, etc.) The patient puts the last used aligner back into use and then calls the dental practice immediately.


The rest of the patient's aligners are stored in the practice.

NEVER hand out all aligners to your patients!

Written clear aligner patient information

The patient is given a written protocol for use of their clear aligners, how to handle hygiene and how to store the clear aligners when they are not in use. Written patient information about their clear aligners, is essential to some patients and does not matter to others. In any case it is easy to deliver and adds to the patient experience.


Aligner changes in the first 4 weeks - essential!

Remember it takes 4 weeks from the start of treatment until the teeth start to move. We therefore recommend that ALL clear aligner treatments start with an aligner change every 2 weeks for the first 4 weeks. After that, the aligners MAY be changed every 7-10 days, depending on the complexity of the tooth movements and the aligner system used.

If in doubt contact AlignerService.com


Controls:

We recommend follow-up visits every 4 weeks until you and your team are fully familiar with clear aligner treatments. After that, you typically start to get a sense of how long you can let patients go without being checked. It all depends on the complexity of the case, the actual movements to be performed and patient compliance.

IPR

In the next post, we'll write about why we never plan IPR when delivering the first aligners and what we do instead.


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dentist and clear aligner expert Jesper Hatt DDS

Kind regards

Jesper Hatt DDS



Phone: +41 78 268 0078



AlignerService helps dentists create realistic, safe and predictable treatment plans with clear aligners.

Currently, we help approximately 1500 dental clinics in 19 different countries optimize their Invisalign, ClearCorrect, Spark and SureSmile treatments to make them realistic and predictable.

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