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Special Issues
September 2022
Volume 43, Issue 3

Embracing Change to Make Smiles Happen

We are on the cusp of the intertwining of two phenomena from the past 2 years: a rising patient awareness of and demand for oral healthcare, juxtaposed with the more recent 2022 broader macro-economic impact on our ability to provide patients access to dental care. This is reflected in the huge leap by patients in the embrace of once-disruptive hybrid teledentistry platforms, especially in clear aligners. Industry trends show a constant uptick in this field for the next decade. A study published in JADA ("Direct-to-consumer orthodontics: surveying the user experience") in August 2020 noted that 82.3% of patients opted for such platforms to correct their crowded or crooked teeth, with 41.7% identifying oral health as the key driver.

During uncertain times patients tend to deprioritize their discretionary spend on their immediate or long-term oral healthcare that could lead to early detection of oral health issues. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42% of adults aged 30 or older had periodontitis in a post-2008 recession study. The 2020 Surgeon General's Oral Health Report also reiterates that healthy oral behaviors are greatly shaped by social and economic conditions. Even more telling is the commonalities of barriers to oral health being the same over the years: cost, insurance, transportation, time, work flexibility, or lack thereof. Moreover, a tight labor market is impacting the composition of clinical dental teams in practices.

This is the call to urgency dental care providers face today. We must step up and address the patient-driven need for lifetime oral care while managing the logistical challenges patients face. By being present in a patient's moment of need, healthcare professionals can create an empathetic patient experience. Acknowledging patients' preference for telehealth options will build continued trust and long-term practice relationship.

Opportunity exists to embrace this change and a hybrid telehealth model to grow your practice and continue to "make smiles happen." The SmileDirectClub Partner Network supports clinicians' needs as the only turnkey single-visit solution for outsourcing minor and moderate clear aligner cases. Our innovative model is affordable, convenient, and both patient and practice friendly.

SmileDirectClub is constantly evolving and innovating its product and experience based on the patient. As you'll see throughout this supplement, the SmileDirectClub Partner Network offers a simple solution to engage both existing and new patients to utilize our non-prohibitive treatment for long-term oral health. Patient workflows start with relapse patients, patients that can be educated to understand simple crowding, and those with spacing-led issues that can create later-stage oral health issues. We meet your patients where they are and partner with you along the way to complete their smile journey.

Brett Deaver

Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Partner Network, SmileDirectClub

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