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November/December 2020
Volume 41, Issue 10

For Practitioners, Options Mean Opportunity

Melissa D. Shotell, DMD, MS, has a multi-specialty practice in Sonora, California. A board-certified orthodontist and frequent lecturer on dental technology, clear aligner therapy, orthodontics, and office efficiency and workflow, Shotell utilizes 3D imaging technology for diagnosis and treatment planning for interdisciplinary dentistry. In her practice she relies heavily on the use of an open intraoral scanner. Shotell discusses the opportunities digital solutions bring to her patients and practice.

Dr. Shotell: "My orthodontic practice shares space with a restorative dentist. So, when it came time for us to look for an intraoral scanner, we wanted a solution we both could use. The scanner had to be highly accurate for restorative, crown and bridge, and implant dentistry, but also have an open platform so we could send scans to both aligner and orthodontic laboratories as well as restorative laboratories.

From an orthodontic standpoint, I was looking for a solution that could scan quickly, very accurately, but especially, because I work with a lot of younger patients, was fast and easy to scan. For us, the 3Shape TRIOS was perfect because of how fast it scans, its high level of accuracy, and the small wand size for younger patients.

We were also very interested in the intraoral scanner because of its open architecture. With it, we knew we would be able to export the STL files to any laboratory, including our own in-office laboratory. As an orthodontist, I also needed the ability to save the scans long term instead of having to archive plaster models. Again, TRIOS ticked the right boxes."

One of the fastest-growing areas in orthodontics for adult treatment and a very fast-growing area for children is clear aligners. Shotell talks about the clear aligner market and how 3Shape TRIOS and its ecosystem of solutions and integrations have helped her team serve this rapidly growing market.

Dr. Shotell: "3Shape TRIOS' open architecture means that you can decide if you want to use the scan to make the clear aligners yourself with, for example, 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio, or send it to a commercial laboratory. As a professional, having options means control and opportunity.

Many doctors will choose a laboratory for their larger clear aligner cases but produce the smaller cases in-house. The beauty of TRIOS as an intraoral scanner is that it gives you both options.

One of the things that has frustrated me with commercial clear aligner companies was the timeframe in receiving aligners and the time it took with the setup process. In a society where we want everything quickly, the open architecture of the TRIOS scanner and the ability instead to produce clear aligners myself allows us to start cases much faster and create refinements much more easily.

When I began bringing the clear aligner process in-house, I found that there was not only a tremendous time savings but also a cost savings. Bringing the aligner fabrication in-house I can eliminate the high laboratory bills of commercial aligner companies and save 50%-75% of my laboratory costs by making my own aligners.

Making our own clear aligners has also allowed us to offer a more competitive price-with the cost savings being passed on to the patient, which in turn, translates into more cases and higher profitability.

At our practice, we let patients know that we are using our technology to create their clear aligners to achieve optimal results. Their aligners are created in a customized process just for them. Patients are impressed with this. They tend to leave our office with that ‘wow' factor. It's fantastic for marketing.

After we do a TRIOS scan and use tools like Treatment Simulator, patients tell their friends that they had ‘goop-free' impressions and that we showed them models of their teeth onscreen. It is something that patients talk about, and for us, a solution that drives more referrals and consults."


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