Orthodontics is a booming market worth $11 billion per year. Additionally, many orthodontists are expected to retire soon. Increased demand (along with limited supply) means the industry should become even more lucrative.
Clear aligners are one of the major growth engines of this boom. They are used in place of braces to straighten a patient’s teeth. Many patients favor them over braces because of their robust perks. Ever since their introduction, they’ve gained popularity.
The biggest perk that patients love is that clear aligners are, of course, clear. They are difficult to see. Many patients believe braces make them unattractive to their peers. Clear aligners, however, allow patients to smile more comfortably. They also improve these patients’ confidence while undergoing treatment. Yet that’s not the only reason clear aligners are sought these days.
Clear aligners also require less maintenance and fewer visits to the dentist than braces. Patients can perform some of the maintenance themselves at home. Also, clear aligners are removable. Patients can remove them at will, enabling them to eat and drink what they want to. Brushing and flossing are easier, too. Clear aligners, then, don’t have the dietary and hygiene restrictions that come with braces.
Interestingly enough, there are also health benefits that come with clear aligners. For instance, clear aligners reduce enamel decalcification compared to fixed appliances. There are also fewer emergencies because clear aligners don’t have poking wires or broken brackets, a problem that accompanies braces. Overall, there are plenty of benefits for clear aligners. This is why patients are willing to pay a premium for them.
Nothing is perfect, and this holds true with clear aligners. What’s the most obvious drawback? Well, price-elastic customers may stick with regular braces, which are the cheapest option. But the drawbacks of clear aligners go beyond cost.
One big disadvantage of clear aligners is that treatment is in the hands of the patient. Clear aligners can be easily removed. Of course, they should be removed while eating. Some patients remove them too much, however, or forget to put them back in. This inhibits the aligners’ ability to straighten teeth. Braces are much harder to remove, so patients don’t face this temptation. Parents may like braces because they can be more confident their investment will result in straight teeth.
Users are also known to develop a lisp while using clear aligners. Speech is important, and consumers want to talk as clearly as possible. This lisp is known to be temporary.
Another drawback with clear aligners is replacement. Patients have to get a new aligner every 2 weeks or so. This doesn’t mean they need to see the dentist that often. Some of these treatments can be done at home. And there is discomfort with every update, but it usually goes away after the first day or 2.
In some cases, clear aligners may not get the job done. This is true when the patient has smaller teeth, or when there is major teeth movement. And of course, since they are removable, it’s easier to lose clear aligners. Parents who feel their kids are undisciplined are circumspect due to this concern.
How You Can Offer Clear Aligners
One way to provide clear aligners is through ClearCorrect. Dentists can sign up with the company to become a provider for free and start submitting cases right away. Although ClearCorrect does provide training, dentists can decide for themselves if they need it. No certification is necessary. Starting June 1, case options will include Flex and Unlimited.
Flex pricing allows providers to purchase as many or as few aligners and retainers as they want, enabling dentists to fully customize treatment. The Unlimited option covers 5 full years of treatment, including retention, for one flat rate. It also covers all aligners, revisions, and replacements for 5 years regardless of inactivity.
Alternatively, many dentists become Invisalign Certified. Practitioners must finish special instructional classes to become an Invisalign dentist. There are 3 levels of Invisalign providers: Preferred Invisalign Providers, Premier Invisalign Providers, and Premier Elite Invisalign Providers.
The differences are straightforward. A Preferred Provider treats 10 patients per year. A Premier Provider treats 25 every six months. An Elite Premier Provider treats 50 every six months. Additionally, to become a Premier Provider, dentists have to have treated 50 patients total. That number jumps up to 300 for a Premier Elite Provider.
You also need a strong orthodontic diagnosis and treatment background because, as with any other speciality in dentistry, you’ll be responsible for your patient’s treatment. And as with any other appliances in orthodontics, you absolutely need to know how to use them! Nobody will do the job of diagnosis and analysis of your treatment for you.
Improve Your Revenue
The concept is simple. More and more people are demanding clear aligners. The fact that they’re invisible is a robust feature, and demand is growing.
If you can’t provide them, your patients will go to someone who can. That being said, many patients are loyal to their dentist. You have the first chance to sell them. Make sure you’re certified so you can. Learn how to install them well, and you’ll accelerate your revenue.
Dr. Bach received his dental degree from the University of Montreal in 2002 and completed a certificate of multidisciplinary residency at Notre-Dame Hospital in 2003. In 2008, he completed a master’s degree of science and a certificate in orthodontics at the University of Montreal. He is currently an associate professor at the University of Montreal and is responsible for the undergraduate orthodontic clinic, in addition to maintaining a private practice limited to orthodontics in Montreal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.