StraightSmile Solutions®

Same Day Aligners—A Game Changer for the Orthodontic Industry

Instant gratification. Dental professionals are all too familiar with the benefits of this marketing strategy and the resulting benefits to their profit. However, the past generation, was unable to offer this opportunity to their aligner patients because Invisalign® cases take several weeks to design, print, and ship. In many geographic markets, aligners are surpassing braces as the preferred orthodontic treatment method. With regard to clear aligners, the unanimous criticism from dentists and patients alike, is related to the high cost of the product relative to that of traditional braces. With an average lab fee of around $1,800 for a full case, this overhead is often passed on to patients.

The response to my previous blog post on www.straightsmilesolutions.com regarding strategies to reduce your Invisalign® lab fees has been incredible. Why wait weeks to deliver aligners and pay exorbitant lab fees when there’s now innovative technology that allows you to scan, design, print, and thermoform your own aligner case in just a few hours? Same day aligners are a game changer in the orthodontic industry. How do you know if it’s right for you and your practice? Let’s have a look at some of the key points.

Invisalign® & In-house – Not Mutually Exclusive

To understand which selection can prove to be better for your business, you can start with offering both options, branded clear aligners and in-house aligner solutions, and analyze the P&L and ROI. Evaluate both options according to the revenue they bring for your business and the usability in business operations.  Not sure if this would work for you? There’s a solution for that. Check out this ROI calculator.

By offering a more cost-effective aligner solution, suddenly your target market expands by opening up to a wider demographic. You can now introduce aligner therapy to those who previously could not afford it or were turned off due to the cost factor. However, keep in mind that not all cases are appropriate for in-house aligners, just as not all cases are suitable for Invisalign.

 

Case Selection is Key

Which cases are appropriate for in-house aligners, and which cases are better for branded aligners? The answer comes down to both volume and biomechanics. As the original dental director of SmileDirectClub® and now founder of StraightSmile Solutions®, I’ve seen a lot of aligner treatment plans come my way. You’re fooling yourself if you think that Invisalign® technology is required for an ideal outcome in all cases. It’s not. The vast majority of cases can be treated either without attachments or with more simplistic attachments that are available in the in-house/non-branded aligners. You don’t need G5 or G6 technology for the average case.

The key to success is case selection. I would recommend treating only mild to moderate, adult dentition, Class I malocclusion cases with the in-house aligner option. If you need guidance on case selection, I always recommend that general and pediatric dentists have an orthodontic coach to help guide them through the case selection and to assist with some of the obstacles they may encounter through the duration of the treatment. StraightSmile Solutions® is the first online portal to provide a customized orthodontic coaching solution for every practice. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com to get started.

 

Help is Readily Available

If you think setting up your own aligner brand sounds extremely complicated, it really is not. You have probably already purchased many of the necessary systems to streamline your office, like a 3D scanner and a thermoforming machine. From my experience, the biggest hurdle to overcome for general dentists is often the treatment planning. Luckily, you can partner with a company like eXceed® that will do the set up for you for a small fee.

As for 3D printers, Structo has an interesting blog post in this series that sheds light on the ideal 3D printing technology for aligner manufacturing. Or you can contact the Structo team and a representative will walk you through the entire process of setting up your manufacturing line.

 

New Revenue Stream – Dental Tourism

The dental tourism market is trending in many geographic areas. Another major benefit of opting for an in-house solution is that it will reduce the turnout time for the patients, who require minor tooth movement cases. While the turnaround time of Invisalign® is approximately two to three weeks, in-house solutions can be done only in a matter of hours, depending on the production capacity of your business. This creates an opportunity for the patients looking for convenience and the practitioners looking for increased profits.

 

Taking Control over Quality and Profits

With an in-house solution, you will be in charge of the manufacturing process; you will be able to control the final cost and the quality of the products. The process will require your utmost dedication, time, and effort, but all this will be worth the end result and the profits you will make . Moreover, having your own production line set up will enable you to start considering offering other appliances to your patients, which can include thermoforming mouth guards and splints.

If you want to learn more about adopting Structo’s dental 3D printers for your clear aligner line, you can contact the team online. A representative will help you install the machine, train your team, and guide you through all the steps. Don’t hesitate to contact StraightSmile Solutions® with any questions.

 

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Healthy Start and Early Orthodontics

What is Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB)?

Pediatricians often overlook the signs and symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and fail to refer patients in a timely manner for necessary treatment. Kids can be screened for SDB as young as age two. Not only do SDB patients have more allergies and growth and development challenges, but also SDB can contribute to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder among children. You can read more about the risks of childhood SDB here.

The Connection between SDB and Orthodontics

The connection between SDB and orthodontics has been well established in the literature, but most general dentists, pediatric dentists, and orthodontists are cognizant of it. Oral habits and malocclusion go hand in hand with SDB. Diagnosing and treatment planning SDB early can minimize not only the outward symptoms but also the long-term systemic and oral health complications. Most orthodontists and pediatric dentists, however, lack the formal education and training to adequately diagnose and treat these conditions in children before age seven.

Healthy Start® Explained

The best treatment to enhance both the oral and systemic health of SDB-affected children is the Healthy Start® System. Unlike other systems, Healthy Start® not only eliminates oral habits but also establishes and maintains the airway and, when started early, corrects malocclusion. Moreover, with early treatment, also straightens teeth without the necessity for traditional braces and lifetime retention.


Let’s have a look at some of the major reasons why the Healthy Start® System is established to be the best treatment choice for SDB-affected children:

➢ The appliances used by the Health Start® System have intrinsic, myofunctional properties. These components ensure that myofunctional exercises are being completed even while sleeping.
➢ The Healthy Start Habit Corrector® is often the initial appliance in the system. This patented appliance can expand arches up to 4 mm. This often eliminates the need for painful, fixed, rapid palatal expanders.
➢ The Healthy Start Habit Corrector® also helps to keep the mandible advanced while sleeping to keep the airway patent. It ensures the proper tongue placement and trains the tongue to swallow ideally and to rest in the optimal position.
➢ Healthy Start® also uses the natural, healthy, eruptive forces of the teeth for expansion of the arches and alignment. When started early, it can help treat severe malocclusion cases like overbite, overjet, gummy smile, crossbite, open bite, and pseudo class III along with correcting crowding and spacing up to 12 mm.
➢ The Health Start® System supports growth and development in both arches and promotes mandibular growth, when indicated, up to 54% in a healthy downward and forward direction.
➢ Healthy Start® appliances have a built-in compliance indicator.
➢ Progress can be tracked, quantified, and monitored by the doctor through the Healthy Start® app and doctor dashboard.


This is available in both Apple and Google Play stores at no cost to the patient.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, oral and airway health are related to a child’s overall systemic health. The Healthy Start® System has treated over 3.5 million smiles to date globally with a lab fee that is only 30% of many aligner systems available today. This US-based company for SDB and orthodontics, when started early, offers a healthy, nighttime, hygienic, and removable treatment alternative to painful braces, jaw surgery, premolar extractions, and headgear.

General and Pediatric Dentists may need an orthodontic coach to help guide them through case selection and some of the obstacles they may encounter throughout the duration of treatment. StraightSmile Solutions® is the first online portal to provide a customized orthodontic coaching solution for every practice. Visit StraightSmile Solutions® to get started.

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5 Surefire Steps to Slay your Invisalign® Lab Fees

What if you could live in a world where all your patients’ teeth could be aligned beautifully in-house and without lab fees? Imagine all the stunning smiles, happy patients, and robust business growth! This dream can be a reality for you with Structo® 3D Printers.

The fundamental philosophy at Structo is to empower the industry with their high throughput dental 3D printers to encourage the widespread adoption of digital dentistry. Structo’s high throughput printers allows dental professionals to bring down the overall cost of appliances such as clear aligners, increasing global access to care. At StraightSmile Solutions®, we support access to care to help create more healthy and happy smiles around the world.

As the original Dental Director of SmileDirectClub® and now the founder of StraightSmile Solutions®, I’ve seen a lot of aligner treatment plans. Invisalign® technology is not required for an ideal outcome in all cases. The vast majority of cases can be treated either without attachments or with an off-label aligner company. You don’t need G5 or G6 technology for the average case. The price point of 3D printers and treatment-planning software has come down significantly in the past few years. It’s now affordable for most Dentists and Orthodontists to own their own 3D printer and make aligners in-house for the majority of their cases. Not sure if this would work for you? Check out this Structo® ROI calculator: http://home.structo3d.com/roi-calculator.

If you think it sounds confusing, you don’t need to worry. You probably already have a lot of systems purchased and streamlined in your office like a 3D scanner and a thermoforming machine. Using a 3D printer is similar process flow. Visit this step-by-step guide here to learn how: http://blog.structo3d.com/part-2-5-things-you-need-to-start-a-clear-aligner-business.

STEP 1: First, you need to buy a scanner. This is a simple step that you’ve probably already completed. If you still have questions, check out my blog about purchasing a scanner here: https://www.straightsmilesolutions.com/blog/four-important-questions-to-ask-before-buying-a-dental-scanner/.

STEP 2: You can buy your own treatment planning software, or you can simply outsource for this service. Structo’s® printers are compatible with any variety of software that exports in STL format, like 3Shape® and Sirona®. You can also partner with a company like eXceed®, which will do the set up for you for a small fee of $175-$245: http://exceed-ortho.com/getting-started/.

STEP 3: After designing your treatment plan for your patient, you will need to translate that digital file into a series of steps in the form of models using a MSLA 3D printer. Structo’s® Ortho Form is the world’s fastest Orthodontic 3D printer. To learn more about MSLA 3D Printing, click here: http://www.structo3d.com/technology/.

STEP 4: Just like 3D printers, thermoforming machines come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. A good thermoforming machine will deliver aligners that are the perfect negative of the model used. You also want to make sure your thermoforming system is compatible with your 3D printer.

STEP 5: I always recommend that General and Pediatric Dentists have an Orthodontic Coach to help guide them through case selection and some of the obstacles they may encounter throughout the duration of the treatment. StraightSmile Solutions® is the first online portal to provide a customized orthodontic coaching solution for every practice. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com to get started.

If you want to learn more about becoming a Structo® Provider, you can contact their team atwww.structo3d.com/contact. A representative will help you install the machine, train your team, and guide you through all the steps. Don’t hesitate to contact StraightSmile Solutions® with any questions.

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IDB for ME!

Need a fixed orthodontic solution? Over the years, I’ve coached hundreds of General Dentists on various aligner systems. All too often, finishing cases is a significant barrier to overcome and trying to educate General Dentists who have no knowledge of basic straight-wire biomechanics is a challenge.

IDB Solutions, like Six Month Smiles®, are excellent supplement for any General Dentist who offers Invisalign®, Clear Correct®, or any other alternative aligner product. The ability to confidently use straight-wire sectional mechanics to correct a stubborn canine rotation, premolar cross-bite, or tipped molar during finishing of aligner treatment would improve outcomes and standards of care.

Refinements, revisions, and additional aligners with various attachments are always an option, but for patients who are notoriously impatient, having these tools and tricks up your sleeve will improve your confidence, speed, and outcomes, and ultimately patient’s satisfaction and your subsequent referrals and bottom line.

There are a variety of IDB solutions on the market, so pick the one with the right support, features and price point for you and your team. If you have questions, feel free to give me a buzz.

StraightSmile Solutions is the future of orthodontic coaching. We are the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert, in order to enhance information sharing and efficiency in problem solving. Visit StraightSmile Solutions to schedule today.

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Dental Monitoring® (DM) to Maximize Ortho Profit

 

Orthodontics can be an extremely profitable addition to any General Dental practice, but in order to maximize your profit, it’s important to manage your chair time efficiently.

With the advent of new and more efficient plastics and metals, and the incorporation of Accelerated Orthodontics (AO) auxiliary systems like Propel®, Ortho Pulse® and AcceleDent®, the utilization of Indirect Bonding Systems (IDB) like 6MS® and eXceed®, chair time overhead can often be significantly reduced by managing your patients remotely and eliminating unnecessary office visits.

The patient’s smart phone is transformed to a remote monitoring and scanning device for just $10-$15 a month.

The following are key patient benefits of Dental Monitoring®:

1. Safety:
Patients are monitored at the frequency the doctor prescribes, often 5 to 10 times more than a regular office visit. Movement is tracked and quantified and reports are generated to the provider’s dashboard.

2. Comfort:
You can enjoy virtual office appointments that only take a few minutes from the comfort of your home and as a result the frequency of office appointments is decreased.

3. Compliance:
The doctor can send encouragement to the patient regarding aligner or elastic wear, emergencies, or treatment progress and hygiene.

4. Overhead Reduction
Unnecessary office visits are eliminated by the utilization of tele-dentistry for the majority of the treatment. The patient is scheduled for office visits only when prescribed by the doctor.

5. Increased Patient Satisfaction
Patients are overwhelmingly satisfied by the reduced office visits and increased communication with the doctor and team, this leads to new patient referrals.
StraightSmile Solutions® is the comprehensive choice for dentists seeking an orthodontic coaching solution. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com and click on the services page to subscribe at https://www.straightsmilesolutions.com/services/. StraightSmile Solutions® is the future of orthodontic coaching, offering the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert.

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How to Ensure Orthodontic Positive Outcomes

Here’s the latest stats, last I heard, on the future of orthodontics in the US:

52% of all orthodontic cases are being completed by GP’s.

82% of GP’s and Pediatric Dentists are offering orthodontic solutions.

Access to care is here, and patients are thrilled to have more convenient, local orthodontic options.

2017 brings upon the expiration of some of Align®’s patents, so now there are literally dozens of aligner, IDB (Indirect Bonding) and Pediatric Phase I Functional Appliance Solutions available in the US alone.

Lab fees are dropping and technology is becoming more simple and affordable. Every General Dentist should be offering BOTH an aligner and an IDB solution in their office.

Why both?

Patient preference- Options are a great practice-builder.
Patient compliance- Not all patients will be compliant with a removable appliance.
Better outcomes- Not all bio-mechanical movements are optimized with one solution alone.
What about kids? Does your Phase I Orthodontic solutions address habits? How do you, address habits in kids? Positive reinforcement? Negative reinforcement? Wait until the 6’s come in and make an appliance?

There are a myriad of different habits that can disrupt the outcome of a seemingly simple orthodontic case: digit-sucking, thumb-sucking, lip-sucking, mouth-breathing, abnormal-tongue resting position, tongue-thrust, reverse tongue-thrust and backwards-swallow, just to name a few.

It’s important to incorporate a habit solution into all your orthodontic cases to ensure optimal outcomes.
StraightSmile Solutions® is the comprehensive choice for dentists seeking an orthodontic coaching solution. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com and click on the services page to subscribe at https://www.straightsmilesolutions.com/services/. StraightSmile Solutions® is the future of orthodontic coaching, offering the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert. We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. We are filling the gap in the market for quality and insightful coaching by providing valuable solutions for doctors and their teams, and subsequent positive outcomes in the quality of patient care.

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No Buts about Phase 1 and Habits!

Does your Phase I Orthodontic solutions address habits? How do you, address habits in kids? Positive reinforcement? Negative reinforcement? Wait until the 6’s come in and make an appliance?

There are a myriad of different habits that can disrupt the outcome of a seemingly simple orthodontic case: digit-sucking, thumb-sucking, lip-sucking, mouth-breathing, abnormal-tongue resting position, tongue-thrust, reverse tongue-thrust and backwards-swallow, just to name a few.

It’s important to incorporate a habit solution into all your orthodontic cases to ensure optimal outcomes.

StraightSmile Solutions® is the comprehensive choice for dentists seeking an orthodontic coaching solution. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com and click on the services page or schedule a complimentary coaching session. StraightSmile Solutions® is the future of orthodontic coaching, offering the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert. We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. We are filling the gap in the market for quality and insightful coaching by providing valuable solutions for doctors and their teams, and subsequent positive outcomes in the quality of patient care.

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DSO or Private Practice

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There are so many opportunities now upon graduation from Dental School. The decision to go DSO, DSO Hybrid or Private Practice is complicated and shouldn’t be taken lightly. I always recommend to my new-grad clients to first consider the following questions:

1. Where do you want to live and work? How saturated is the market in your area? What is the projected growth?

Many markets, especially on the left and right coasts, are completely saturated with dentists and the opportunity of growth is minimal. Unless you have a family member who has an established practice for you to buy into, I would not opt for private practice. High overheads also are not favorable. However, in smaller towns and fly-over America, there is still adequate opportunity. To succeed in private practice means that you need to integrate within the community. Do you have the right personality to do this and are you willing to commit to the chosen geographic location for the long haul?

2. What is your current debt to asset ratio? If you’ve taken out large student loans (200K+) for undergrad or dental school, do not go into private practice.

Don’t do it. You are setting yourself up for failure. Disregard all the hype and pitches from salesmen and banks.

3. Have you taken a recent Myers Briggs and EQ test?

I’ll bet you weren’t anticipating this question! Over the years, I’ve noticed that my classmates who have succeeded in private practice have certain traits that are favorable for success. This doesn’t always correlate with those who achieved good grades and honors in school. You also need the emotional stability to handle a private practice and manage staff. Not everyone is cut from the right cloth to do this.

The great news is that there are many hybrid DSO models that let you get your feet wet and incorporate some components of the private practice philosophy and model.

Make sure you check out the Glassdoor reviews from previous employee dentists. In my experience I’ve found that the reviews are very accurate.

StraightSmile Solutions® is the comprehensive choice for dentists seeking an orthodontic coaching solution. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com and click on the services page or schedule a complimentary coaching session. StraightSmile Solutions® is the future of orthodontic coaching, offering the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert. We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. We are filling the gap in the market for quality and insightful coaching by providing valuable solutions for doctors and their teams, and subsequent positive outcomes in the quality of patient care.

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Should You Specialize?

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It’s that time of year again! Mazels and congratulations all around! Hooray for the dental grads of 2021. It seems like just yesterday that myself and my classmates were graduating from UCSF. We were on top of the world! Dentistry has clearly evolved since 2001 and if I were a new grad today, I am not sure that I would make the same choices that I made almost two decades ago.

Often, dental students ask me to advise them on whether to specialize or not. My response often hinges upon their expectations and goals. If you are looking to make more income, the answer is a definitive “no”. General dentists often make more income now, and they also don’t have the burden of incurring additional educational debt and delayed income opportunities. If you are passionate about a certain area of dentistry and can attend a specialty program without incurring any additional educational debt, I believe that to be a good opportunity.

Honestly, 80% of my 3-year ortho residency program at the University of Connecticut was a complete waste of time. I understand that the research/indentured servitude that residents provide helps to fund the university, but if I had to do it over again, I would only attend an entirely clinical program. I did appreciate the opportunity to work with numerous skilled faculty members, and to have had the advantage of finishing hundreds of cases from start to finish. I also obtained a strong, fundamental, biomechanical foundation. We did not incur any additional educational debt as long as we completed our master’s thesis.

If you love orthodontics like I do, and want to incorporate it into your practice, there’s an easier way now. StraightSmile Solutions® is the comprehensive choice for dentists seeking an orthodontic coaching solution. Visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com and click on the services page or schedule a complimentary coaching session. StraightSmile Solutions® is the future of orthodontic coaching, offering the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service that will allow GPs and their teams to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert. We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. We are filling the gap in the market for quality and insightful coaching by providing valuable solutions for doctors and their teams, and subsequent positive outcomes in the quality of patient care.

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The Tiny Ortho System That Makes Big Smiles

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If you’ve been in the dental community for some time, you’ve probably heard of Healthy Start®, the hybrid sleep-orthodontic system. The history of the evolution of Healthy Start® is as interesting as the founder, Dr. Earl Bergersen. It rebranded from Orthotain® to Healthy Start® in the 1970’s. Dr. Bergersen tells a compelling story about how he started noticing a fascinating correlation amongst young patients who wore his Orthotain® dental positioner: an improvement in sleep-disordered breathing symptoms (a.k.a. kids sleep apnea), bed-wetting, overall academic performance and focus.

Obviously, tonsils, adenoids, nasal obstruction and orthodontic habits like mouth breathing and thumb sucking can all contribute to sleep-disordered breathing so a plastic mouthpiece isn’t a cure-all for every child. However research and testimonies support that for many kids and families, it really is a life-changing orthodontic appliance.

I initially became interested in Healthy Start® because one of my StraightSmile Solutions® clients admired the system and recommended I review the research. Initially skeptical, I took the two-day certification class to learn more about it. The class was jammed-packed with Pediatric Dentists, General Dentists, Orthodontists and staff. Unlike other classes I’ve attended, this one had energy, music, friendship and collaboration. What we all had in common is that we loved kids and we were present to learn and help.

Over the next two days a variety of speakers presented, which brought fresh focus to the class. We heard from Orthodontists, GP’s, parents and local children. We even got to examine and screen real, prospective patients.

The evenings were not forgotten. The collaboration continued, as the Healthy Start Team® hosted the out-of-towers at a social get-together. We left the Healthy Start® course with a new found appreciation for a quiet orthodontic system that changes both lives and smiles. There’s not a lot of procedures in dentistry that can create raving fans, but Healthy Start® does! It’s a fun, interactive orthodontic system, when prescribed precisely, simply changes lives.

As a provider, not only will you be listed on their provider network, but the Healthy Start Team® will also support you, as they work with you to help you screen ideal patients. Your success is their success. They use innovative, mainstream, social-media to reach out to prospective patients in your area and direct them to your office. Within the provider portal is a myriad of provider education and support opportunities.

For more information about the Healthy Start® system, visit www.thehealthystart.com. To more successfully integrate orthodontics into your practice, visit www.straightsmilesolutions.com.

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