In part two of this blog featuring Dr. Dennis Dionne, shares the unique way he uses aligners and retainers and the economics of competing with DTC treatment.
Dr. Dennis Dionne,
Tip #4 Retainers—interim, permanent and active
If we debond a patient with poor hygiene, we scan, use the bracket removal tool and produce a couple sets of temporary retainers using an inexpensive plastic. These are ready at debond and fit really well – I have been surprised that we can actually do this! We recommend the patient chew sugarless gum periodically over the first couple of weeks (retainers out, of course) for functional settling, which also helps with gingival shrinkage. After a month, we rescan and make a retainer in-office or simply order from uLab. If the patient orders a second set at the same time, we offer a steep discount—most patients take us up on that.
We set a 12-week retention appointment for all patients to see how the teeth have stabilized. If at that time I see anything that should be addressed, I offer additional aligners. This incredible flexibility really reduces my stress, as I can easily deal with those pesky little rotations etc. that sometimes arise.
Tip #5 Aligners with pontics for adolescents missing front teeth
Another way we use aligners is for adolescents with missing teeth. We get the teeth to where they need to be for implants when they reach adulthood and then provide a quantity of passive aligners with pontics (we use Orvance putty) until the implants are placed. They’re happy to wear these aligners until their dentist can provide a more permanent solution.
Tip #6 Compete with DTC aligners
With uLab I can profitably compete with DTC companies on limited treatment cases. Using DTC aligners will cost the patient CAD$3500, and without the benefit of orthodontic supervision. If the case is 10-15 stages, my estimated lab cost for the aligners is ~CAD$400 – 600. For the same fee of CAD$3500, I can complete the case, and the patient has the reassurance of working with and being supervised by an orthodontist. I don’t have to stress about which package to choose, I can always add a few more aligners if necessary. It is liberating to not have those artificial restraints on my treatment decisions.
Our revenue is up 10-15% annually since we implemented uDesign.
Bonus Tip: Just do it
I hear doctors say, “I don’t have time to treatment plan.” It only takes me 10-15 minutes to treatment plan a case, and I only touch it once. I’m not on the phone dealing with delays and issues or trying to remember what I wanted to do with a case. I think it actually requires less of my time because I can do it all in one sitting. It takes a bit of effort and training but developing an experienced staff member’s skill set so that they can get cases at least to the initial stage of set up really saves time. My experience is that the staff members enjoy expanding their horizons.
And now with uAssist™ you can use the system without needing to learn how to use all the tools, at least to get you off to the races.
Dr. Dennis Dionne
Tecumseh, ON CANADA
MAR-0001201 Rev 1