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Is your Invisalign®, ClearCorrect® or generic, clear aligner treatment as productive as it could be? I recommend that all of my StraightSmile Solutions® clients run this basic test to calculate the efficiency of your orthodontic services:

1. Run a report of the last five orthodontic cases you’ve completed successfully (D8050-D8090). Calculate the collections and average them. Write the number here: _________

2. Calculate the overhead on each case. The overhead includes:

· The sum of lab fees for all the appliances, aligners, refinements, revisions and retention

· The sum of all supplies used

· The sum of the overhead on the chair time throughout the lifetime of the case (from consult to retention) for both doctor and staff chair time.

· Average the overhead on the 5 cases. Write the number here:____________

3. Subtract 2 from 1. Write the number here:______________

If the margin isn’t at least 50% on each case, you aren’t doing it efficiently. You should be profiting at least $1500-$2000 on each case. If you aren’t, read on. I’ll be talking about ways to take back control of the profitability of your orthodontic cases by leveraging technology to reduce chair time and lab fees.

I’ve been preaching remote consults and remote aligner check-ins for years with my StraightSmile Solutions® clients. This is not at all DIY or DTC dentistry. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s just reducing unnecessary chair time and increasing efficiency in your practice.

Dental Monitoring® (DM) is launching a myriad of programs to increase the ROI in your aligner, braces and functional appliance patients. I attended their symposium in Las Vegas this month, and we previewed some of the new products and features that will officially be launched at AAO in May. I’ve also included some of the existing DM® programs and features so you can fully understand the scope of this system.

1. SmileMate®:

This product will be a game-changer in GP (general practice) and DSO orthodontics. You’ll be able to use this tool to take initial diagnostic photos and have the technology screen the complexity of the case. It will prompt you to refer to an orthodontist, as needed. Each doctor can customize the variables. It’s a great way for an orthodontist to work symbiotically with GPs in their area and to increase the rate and value of their referrals.

2. DM Vision®

This is basically like an iOSim/iTero® product, but it will actually simulate the look of aligners with or without attachments (or braces) on the patient’s actual teeth and face. I can see this being a very powerful tool to help the patient pick the right orthodontic product. We’ve all done Invisalign® cases where the patient was mortified to recognize the reality of how incredibly unattractive a smile full of attachments is. It will also replicate the color and morphology of the actual teeth of the patient so it will look very realistic, unlike other options out there on the market. I believe this is a critical took for explaining the R/B/A of each product (risks/benefits/alternatives) and allowing the patient to make the most educated decision.

3. DM Stability®

This is a new retention-for–life program that is being supported by DM®. Retention is low-hanging fruit for doctors and the opportunity is often dismissed and patients are neglected. Doctors can pay extra for this optional program, but it creates an additional revenue stream.

4. DM Live®

DM now allows doctors to track not only their aligner patients but also their braces and functional appliance patients with DM®. Patients will scan at home at a regular, predefined frequency of 4-8 days. It will detect everything that could unravel or slow down a case using A.I. (artificial intelligence). You’ll be able to pick from a comprehensive list which has over a hundred different conditions for DM® to screen. Here are just a few:

· aligner unseats

· broken attachments

· poor OH

· inflammation

· passive archwires

· broken brackets

Doctors will receive a daily report on their patients with alerts they can follow-up on with their patients. They can also create a “master monitoring protocol” as a template to personalize communication and preferences. There are turn-key protocols for braces, aligners and phase 1 treatment.

5. AOD™ (Appointments on Demand)

Those using DM® most efficiently are using the AOD™ feature. Gone are the time-consuming and often unnecessary, pre-booked orthodontic appointments. AOD™ patients are only scheduled an appointment when determined by the AI through the DM Scan Box. They have weekly, virtual check-ins from home. We all know that if an aligner treatment design or bracket placement is idealized, the cases just track as-planned. Revisions, refinements, mid-course corrections, wire bends, and bracket repositioning are now a thing of the past.

Many speakers at the DM® Symposium said their revision/refinement rate had dropped from 80-90% down to below 10% in their patients who were fully using DM®. This helps your bottom line immensely and also patient satisfaction. Their average aligner case duration also dropped by 50%. This frees up chair time and allows you to see more production patients. Again, I want to circle back to the quiz you did at the beginning of the blog. How much more production could you make from your orthodontic cases if you were more efficient?

6. Hybrid Treatment

There is nothing new about hybrid treatment but DM® makes the process more streamlined. This is one of the first products on the market that will allow the doctors to transition a case from braces to aligners without that mid-course scan, as long as you had the initial STL file and the weekly AI from DM®. This is a game-changer. The ROI of hybrid treatment is still pretty much an unknown in the GP and DSO arena, but it is the best way to scale your operations and everyone reading this blog can get a head start! Start with a scan and IDB. Use self-ligating braces and an initial 16 NiTi to idealize all the challenging movements like extrusion and rotations over 30 degrees. These mechanics are notoriously difficult to do with aligners. It’s also a great way to open a deep bite and level the arches. Once the wire is passive, as determined by the DM®-AI, you can schedule the patient for debonding and the delivery of the aligners to finish the case.

As a DM® hybrid case, you’d need only three chair side appointments:

1. Initial IDB Scan and records

2. Bonding

3. Debonding/Aligner Delivery (attachments and IPR aren’t likely needed since the difficult movements were already completed in the braces)

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