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Unlocking expert treatment planning for clear aligner treatments - For free!

Updated: May 23

"Clear aligner treatment planning support by expert dentists and orthodontists only... how is that even possible?...."


That was the incredulous response I received from a colleague during a recent dental fair. Admittedly, it does sound almost too good to be true.


Woman smiling while looking at a computer screen

The cost of chair time

My reply to my fellow dentist was straightforward: "Have you ever calculated the total cost of one hour of chair time in your office?"


To our surprise, she hadn't.


So, on the spot, we embarked on a fairly simple calculation. We divided the total annual costs of the practice (including the owner dentist's salary) by the total hours of chair time available. In this case, the result was staggering: €327 per hour, equivalent to US$357 or £280.


I posed another question to my colleague: "What would it be worth to invest in a support solution that not only enhances clinical outcomes, as the planning is expertly conducted, but also saves the doctor an average of 4 hours of chair time, plus additional time spent on treatment planning?"


Savings on an optimised treatment plan

Perplexed, the doctor pondered for a moment. "Well, 4 hours of chair time adds up to €1,308 / US$1,427 / £1,120. If I factor in the time spent outside of practice hours, it would be worth even more."


I offered a simple solution: "Would it be acceptable to invest 199 in such a service? Because that is precisely what this service will cost you."


Needless to say, the outcome was eye-opening.



3 challenges with external treatment planning support

However, the doctor remained hesitant, facing three significant challenges with the proposed solution:


Firstly

She acknowledged her own limited orthodontic knowledge.


Secondly

She feared relinquishing control of the treatment planning process to another individual.


Lastly

Having completed postgraduate education from the Dawson Academy, the doctor was concerned that this solution might not align with her philosophy about functional occlusion.


A more complete dentist

While these objections were valid, upon closer examination, the doctor discovered that the solution could actually support her in becoming a more complete dentist.


4 women sitting together and listening to each other

Direct communication with dedicated expert dentists in the treatment planning process, coupled with the ability to observe all changes made to the virtual treatment plan within her own clear aligner software, including communication with aligner technicians, resembled a postgraduate teaching program. This enabled her to improve her treatment planning skills and optimise orthodontic treatment plans herself.


Furthermore, with direct communication with the same expert dentist not only during the treatment planning process but also throughout the entire treatment of the patient and in case of needed revisions, the dentist could always maintain control, with expert guidance readily available when necessary.


Competent clinical support within 24 hours

The clear aligner company the dentist was using, enabled the doctor to book a 30 minute support call with waiting time of 2-3 weeks. The support would not always be competent enough to help the doctor, which at times was frustrating.


With expert support from experienced dentists and orthodontists within 24 hours. A paid service would be a major upgrade. Not only would the doctor be able to receive clinical support. Complimentary case selection was part of the service as well.


Functional occlusion integrated in the planning

The ortho-restorative treatment philosophy posed a typical challenge for most general dentists, with differing opinions between orthodontists and general dentists regarding the ideal positioning of teeth. Orthodontists typically apply a philosophy based on a static occlusion, while general dentists work with a dynamic philosophy. Ideally, the treatment planner should be an expert in both philosophies to enable much better planning of ortho-restorative treatments.


Fortunately, there are companies specialising in this area as well, with teams of dentists from different specialties working together to create ideal interdisciplinary clear aligner treatment plans.


What should you be aware of?

The service described is typically found by searching online under "TPS" or "treatment planning service". However, you should be aware of the following:


  1. Who carries out the treatment planning? Most often it is not dentists, but dental technicians or former aligner technicians with no clinical or dental background.

  2. What is included in the price? (It's really annoying if you need support or a revision and it's not included)

  3. Is there a dedicated dentist working on your cases? Or is it several different random people who don't get to know your personal preferences?

  4. How quickly do you get a response to your enquiries? (Response time should ideally be within 24 hours and preferably faster if you have an urgent need)

  5. Is your preferred aligner system supported?

  6. Does treatment planning take place on your own doctor portal? Or do you have to upload all your data to one portal and then do it all again on your clear aligner portal?

  7. Do you trust the provider of this service?


Enhancing orthodontic skills

Integrated seamlessly into a general or orthodontic practice, this type of service not only proves to be a sound business decision but also yields substantial returns. Furthermore, by engaging with the treatment planning process conducted by expert dentists, including modifications and communication with aligner technicians, the doctor gradually enhances their skills.


As proficiency increases, the reliance on external support diminishes. Eventually, the doctor may undertake a number of cases independently. However, it becomes evident that delegating this responsibility to a trusted expert is a superior business solution. Yet, at this juncture, the doctor is well-informed and in control.


Conclusion

Investing in expert treatment planning support for clear aligner treatments can revolutionise your practice. Not only does it save valuable chair time and enhance clinical outcomes, but it also empowers dentists to take control of their treatment planning process. By integrating renowned philosophies such as Pankey, Dawson, Spear, and Kois into their treatment plans, dentists can deliver exceptional results with confidence and efficiency.


So, why wait? Unlock the potential of your practice today with expert treatment planning support.


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Jesper Hatt DDS smiling to the camera

Kind regards

Jesper Hatt DDSInternational key opinion leader for 9 years on CBCT and digital workflows for KaVo



Phone: +41 78 268 0078



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

Currently, we help approximately 1500 dental practices in 19 different countries. AlignerService is a preferred partner of ClearCorrect.

In addition AlignerService clear aligner experts work with Invisalign, SureSmile and Spark.

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