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Natalia Strasburg’s Tips for Patient-Centric Clear Aligner Therapy

Natalia Strasburg
Operations Manager at Straighten Up Orthodontics (SUO), Clearwater, FL

Thank you to Natalia, who uses uSmile™ clear aligners to differentiate SUO as a provider of personalized, patient-centric care.

Tip #1
Second opinions are a chance to differentiate.
When patients come to us for a second opinion, they have an even greater appreciation of our offering. They may have been told at other offices that they would not be able to start aligner treatment for several weeks or even that they weren’t a candidate for clear aligners.

Recognizing and honoring our patients’ individual needs and goals enables us to deliver customized care. For this reason, our office offers a variety of treatment options including hybrid and combination treatments. During our consultations, we regularly propose using fixed appliances on one arch and uSmile aligners on the other (hybrid treatment) or, when needed, starting with fixed appliances and then switching to uSmile aligners (combination treatment). We explain to patients that this allows us to use the most efficient tools for the movements needed to achieve the patient’s desired outcome. Patients will often say, “I didn’t know you could do that!” and are impressed that we have taken a customized approach to their dental health. This has made us memorable and unique in our community.

Practicing in Florida, we have many patients who travel regularly. Whether our patients are college students, seasonal travelers, or busy professionals, our ability to provide the first few sets of aligners within a day or two compared to a five-week delay has been very popular. Our fully digital workflow allows us to use uDesign® in conjunction with 3D printers to make a few aligners in-office to get them started and ship the rest of the aligners to their new location. People are now accustomed to instant gratification, and uDesign helps us meet that expectation. Even when we order the entire case, we schedule aligner delivery appointments within a few weeks after the consult since uSmile aligners arrive quickly. Often, we contact the patient for an earlier delivery. This provides convenience to the patient and helps us improve our appointment flow.

Tip #2
Show off your advanced technology and expertise.
We emphasize our advanced technology on social media—low-dose imaging, digital scanning, remote monitoring, and 3D printing. Patients appreciate the latest technology—especially if they have experienced alginate impressions.

In the TC room, we let patients know that with our aligner system, the doctor drives the treatment. We describe how he creates very personalized treatment without relying on a 3rd party to deliver his vision. Our patients are keenly aware that they are being treated by Dr. Layman, not a manufacturer, and that there is value in seeing a specialist. This is also reflected in the packaging—we order our aligners in packaging already printed with the Straighten Up logo.

Tip #3
More benefits of transitioning to uLab®
Before we switched to uLab in 2021, we often experienced limitations when making changes or refinements to a patient’s treatment. For instance, once we had a patient who preferred his bite without the overcorrection built into the final aligner. Unfortunately, he had already thrown out his previous aligners. We ordered a new set of aligners which took several weeks to receive, delaying the end of treatment. Today we would simply go back to the patient’s desired treatment stage in uDesign, 3D print the models and make a new set of aligners in-office that we can deliver to them the next day. The same convenience applies to lost aligners, retainers, and minor refinements.

We used to throw out a lot of aligners. What a waste! Now, with uSmile aligners, we can order aligners in sprints (20 or so at a time.) Usually, the patient tracks, and we simply order more. If we need a refinement, however, we have little to no waste and receive them promptly.

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