September 1, 2023

Grow Your Practice With Clear Aligners

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In this podcast episode, Tom Wright from ODL is joined by TJ Wright to dive deep into the world of clear aligners and the role of technology in the designing and manufacturing process. They discuss major players in the clear liner industry, including Invisalign, 3M Clarity, Spark, and Sure Smile, and the growing trend of labs performing Aligners. Discover how aligners are transforming the orthodontic industry and providing convenient treatment options for patients, and how VIVID Aligners is leading that charge. Explore the potential for 3D printed aligners, the importance of precision and quality control, and the role of pricing in clinician decision-making. If you’re a dentist, orthodontist, practice owner, or simply interested in the growth of aligner technology, this episode is a must-listen!

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Understanding Clear Liners: A Conversation with TJ Wright

Discussing Aligner Industry with TJ Wright

Growing Popularity of Aligners in Orthodontic Practices

The Challenges Doctors Face When Choosing an Aligner Provider

The Impact of Technology in the Aligner Industry

Discussing The Future of 3D Printed Aligners

The Importance of Precision in Clear Liners Design and Manufacture

Quality Control in Clear Aligner Production

Discussion on Materials in Aligners

The Impact of Pricing on Choosing an Aligner Company

The Role of Volume Discounts in Making Orthodontic Treatments Affordable and the Future of Direct Printing of Aligners

Understanding the Evolving Market Landscape of Aligner Companies

[00:00:00] Understanding Clear Liners: A Conversation with TJ Wright

– Technology has greatly influenced the clear aligner industry, particularly in treatment planning.
– AI is being used to improve the segmentation of models for clear aligner treatment planning.
– There may be a revolution in the industry soon, possibly with the introduction of a new and better way to treat 3D printed aligners.
– The podcast is discussing the differences between clear aligner companies and the details of the industry.

[00:00:47] Discussing Aligner Industry with TJ Wright

– The biggest player in the clear aligner industry is Invisalign, but other companies are gaining market share.
– 3M Clarity is a growing competitor in the Aligner market.
– Spark is a company that has recently seen significant growth in the Aligner industry.
– SureSmile is another company that offers Aligners and works closely with dentists who use dentist bly Serona equipment.
– Candid started as a direct-to-consumer company but is now focused on partnering with general dentists.
– The Purple Company offers DIY Aligners but is also targeting dental offices.
– Labs across the country are also offering Aligners, and their quality is improving with the advancement of technology.

[00:04:35] Growing Popularity of Aligners in Orthodontic Practices

– The use of aligners in orthodontic treatment has grown significantly in recent years.
– Aligners are becoming more popular among doctors, who are prescribing them more frequently.
– The convenience of aligners, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when patients were staying at home, has led to increased adoption.
– Aligners allow for remote treatment, reducing the need for frequent in-office visits.
– Some states are now requiring an initial in-person visit before remote treatment can commence.
– The convenience of aligners improves the overall patient experience.
– As long as the clinical outcome is equal or better, aligners are a viable alternative to traditional fixed appliances.

[00:06:43] The Challenges Doctors Face When Choosing an Aligner Provider

– Doctors are facing challenges in choosing an aligner provider due to the overwhelming amount of noise in the market.
– Doctors have limited time and resources to evaluate and choose the best aligner provider for their practice.
– Navigating through the noise to find the best fit is a challenge.
– The differences between aligner providers seem to be small, making it difficult to make a decision.
– Highlighting the differences and understanding how they will affect the practice is important.
– Doctor preference plays a significant role in choosing an aligner provider.
– Lack of consensus among orthodontists regarding aligner providers.
– Multiple vendors in the orthodontic space make it harder for doctors to manage and choose from different products.
– Dealing with multiple salespeople can take up valuable time that could be spent with patients.

[00:09:00] The Impact of Technology in the Aligner Industry

– More and more orthodontic and general dental offices are going digital and using scanners.
– Scanning technology is becoming more available, with companies like Medit and Prime Scan offering scanning options.
– Treatment planning technology is improving, with AI assisting in model segmentation and teeth movement.
– Remote monitoring is a growing trend in the industry, with options from aligner companies and companies like Dental Monitoring and Grin.
– The industry needs more revolutionary advancements in technology, instead of just repackaging existing technology.

[00:12:19] Discussing The Future of 3D Printed Aligners

– The speaker believes that there is room for improvement in the current methods of treating 3D printed aligners.
– The speaker suggests that the next big revolution in aligner treatment could be the ability to deliver different clinical results.
– Currently, aligner companies do not 3D print their trays directly. They 3D print the model and then thermoform a fixed thickness material onto it.
– With 3D printing, it would be possible to create aligners with varying thicknesses in different areas, allowing for customized and more effective treatment.
– The speaker suggests that with advancements in technology, the time required for treatment could potentially be reduced by up to 40%.
– The speaker mentions that nighttime aligners and similar marketing strategies are limited by the safe speed at which teeth can move.
– The speaker expresses a desire to see more advancements in technology to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of aligner treatment.

[00:14:02] The Importance of Precision in Clear Liners Design and Manufacture

– Precision in the design and manufacture of clear liners is critical.
– It is important for achieving the desired results in the digital setup.
– User error can still occur, such as missing areas in the scan.
– Working with a partner who can ensure quality and human oversight is important.
– Automated processes may still have limitations for the next few years.
– AI may eventually play a role but should complement human involvement.

[00:15:47] Quality Control in Clear Aligner Production

– Quality control is important in the production of clear aligners to ensure that everything is operating correctly.
– Traditionally, aligners were made manually but now there is automation involved.
– The quality control team checks each model to make sure everything is coming out right.
– The goal is to prevent any issues that could arise when a patient opens a tray and it doesn’t work.
– It can be challenging to automate the process completely due to the individual differences in dentition and gum lines.
– Human observation and intervention can help ensure that aligners are smooth and comfortable for patients.
– The use of lasers in the production process helps to achieve smoother edges compared to milling machines.
– Comfort and patient fit are key considerations in the development of aligners. Different materials and parameters are tested to improve these aspects.
– Patient feedback and data are important factors in determining the quality of aligners.
– Establishing an aligner brand takes time and a well-thought-out approach, rather than being just a lab offshoot.

[00:21:34] Discussion on Materials in Aligners

– There are different types of materials used in aligners, including single layer plastics, stiff and rigid plastics, and flexible multilayered plastics with an interalastic core.
– The biggest differences in materials are seen between single layer plastics and multilayered plastics.
– Companies may claim clinical significance of their aligner materials, but the differences between materials from different companies are generally minor.
– Graphs comparing aligner materials are often used for marketing purposes, but they may not provide substantial information for making a purchasing decision.
– Many aligner brands have access to similar advanced materials, and the overall performance of aligners depends on factors such as the clinician, the scan, the manufacturing process, and patient compliance.
– The material used in aligners should be safe, biocompatible, and have elastic properties that can effectively move teeth.

[00:24:39] The Impact of Pricing on Choosing an Aligner Company

– Pricing and affordability impact a doctor’s decision when choosing an Aligner company.
– Competition in the market has driven down prices and encouraged innovation.
– Some Aligner companies invest a significant portion of their budget into marketing, which can drive up prices.
– Doctors should consider the overall value and quality of the Aligner product, rather than just the brand name.
– Some Aligner companies offer a more cost-effective and clinically effective product without excessive marketing costs.
– Patients may be unaware of the differences between Aligner brands and may associate the term “Invisalign” with any clear Aligner treatment.
– The focus should be on finding a skilled and reputable doctor who can deliver a good clinical result, rather than the specific Aligner brand.
– Higher prices may be attributed to marketing costs, not necessarily the quality or effectiveness of the product.
– It is worth considering alternative Aligner companies and being open to experimentation to find a better pricing and quality combination.

[00:31:12] The Role of Volume Discounts in Making Orthodontic Treatments Affordable and the Future of Direct Printing of Aligners

– Volume discounts are often used by Aligner companies to incentivize doctors to order more cases, resulting in lower fees for the next quarter or month.
– Some companies offer volume discounts for not only clear aligner work but also for brackets, wires, and lab appliances.
– This can create a sense of loyalty to a specific company and make it harder for doctors to switch.
– Aligner companies that prioritize shareholder or investor interests may not always have the patient’s best interests in mind, as shorter treatment times and lower costs may not benefit their bottom line.
– Direct printing of aligners using 3D printing technology has the potential to make aligners more affordable by reducing manufacturing costs.
– However, more research is needed to establish the clinical effectiveness of direct 3D printing of aligners.
– Ultimately, aligner companies should consider passing on some of the cost savings to their clients in order to provide more affordable options without compromising quality.

[00:36:01] Understanding the Evolving Market Landscape of Aligner Companies

– The aligner market is growing rapidly, with new companies entering the space regularly.
– The aligner industry is dominated by a few large players, but there are also smaller, more niche companies.
– The success of aligner therapy depends on factors such as case selection, patient compliance, and clinician expertise.
– The pricing of aligners varies between companies and can depend on factors such as volume discounts and payment plans.
– Many aligner companies offer training and support to help clinicians integrate aligner therapy into their practice.
– Onboarding processes for aligner companies typically involve learning the software and logistics of ordering and reviewing aligners.
– Having orthodontists on staff is important for aligner companies to provide clinical guidance and support.
– Giving control back to the doctor is a common trend in the aligner industry, allowing clinicians to have input in the treatment planning process.
– The aligner market is expected to continue growing, especially in overseas markets.
– Orthodontists have the opportunity to take back control of their patients and treatment by offering in-house aligner options.
– Patients are starting to care more about the quality of care and expertise rather than the brand name of the aligner.
– The aligner industry is changing rapidly, and it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the coming years.

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