This is a guest post by Dr. K. Amanda Wilson, DDS, MDS.
Dr. Wilson is the Founder & CEO of StraightSmile Solutions and the former Dental Director of SmileDirectClub. She was a practicing clinical orthodontist for more than 10 years.
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 regards 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 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.