Predictable, Streamlined Orthodontic Treatment
Dentsply Sirona’s SureSmile® Clear Aligners facilitate the delivery of comprehensive dentistry
Megan Weisenberger, DMD
With the end of her fifth year of practice ownership coming up in October, Megan Weisenberger, DMD, reflects on her approach by describing it as "go big or go home." Weisenberger purchased a small, fee-for-service practice in Cincinnati, Ohio, and implemented intraoral scanning, cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT), and milling. She also expanded the practice's portfolio of services to include orthodontics, implant therapy, sleep dentistry, BOTOX® Cosmetic injections, and more. "I was determined to do everything that I wanted to do and ensure that I was comfortable doing it," Weisenberger says. "I still refer out for services that are beyond my expertise, but because I am finding that more and more patients would prefer to remain in my office, I am happy to personally offer them any treatment that I am comfortable performing. I like to be able to do a little bit of everything."
Prior to purchasing the practice, Weisenberger had gained experience with digital dentistry, but the fee-for-service model was new to her. "I had come from a practice where I worked with nearly every insurance provider, so it was a big change," she says. "I decided to try it for a year and see if it worked for me, and it did." Of course, with the fee-for-service model comes certain patient expectations. "I have patients who are looking for high-level treatment and the latest technology, and they expect us to take the time to treat them as individuals," Weisenberger says. "Fortunately, the model allows me to slow down, look at everything, and give each patient the time that I feel is necessary. Patients enjoy and appreciate that flexibility."
Weisenberger's comprehensive approach allows her to focus on each patient's total health. "We aren't just looking at teeth and trying to fix caries," she says. "We are also looking for warning signs of sleep apnea evidenced by the dentition or based on what our patients are telling us. Offering BOTOX is a fun additional service that allows us to go a bit beyond dentistry and into facial esthetics with the patient, even if it is not a huge money maker. That philosophy also led us to implement orthodontics so that we could examine the bite and correct malocclusion or crowding, which can also lead to better patient home care through the elimination of plaque traps. For everything that we do, we take a big step back and look at the whole person."
Although Weisenberger began offering orthodontic treatment, she did not provide extensive treatment until she was introduced to SureSmile® Aligners from Dentsply Sirona. Initially, she found that the integration of her Dentsply Sirona Primescan intraoral scanner was the most significant advantage. "As soon as I acquire the scan, I send the data through Dentsply Sirona's Connect Case Center directly to SureSmile," she says. "I then log into the platform and fill out the prescription form, which is really intuitive and easy for general dentists. It typically takes less than a minute to complete. Within 2 working days, I get a treatment plan back from the digital laboratory technicians, who are pretty amazing in my opinion. They look through all of the data and develop the plan, and then I have the chance to look at it, talk to them, ask questions, and tweak anything that I want. They are super knowledgeable regarding tooth movement with clear aligners."
This ability to work directly with knowledgeable digital laboratory representatives made it easy for Weisenberger to integrate SureSmile Aligners into the practice. The technicians help not only with individual cases but also with general guidance and advice. "When I started using SureSmile Aligners, I was nervous because dental schools do not provide comprehensive training on orthodontics," Weisenberger says. "It was nice to have people behind me. I could ask anything that I wanted to, and they would give me great information. I learned as I went, and it made me a better clinician who was able to take on more difficult cases."
Once a SureSmile treatment plan is finalized, the aligners are usually delivered in approximately 1 week. "The time between the initial scan and the start of treatment is generally less than 2 weeks, so the process is really quick, streamlined, and predictable," Weisenberger says. The aligners themselves are extremely clear, comfortable, and effective, and they can be fabricated to have either a scalloped or straight trimline, the latter of which Weisenberger notes reduces the need for attachments. "People cannot tell when my patients have their aligners in, which is important because we are not wearing masks anymore, and patients do not want it to be obvious to others that they are undergoing treatment," she says.
As another benefit, patients can utilize Dentsply Sirona's SureSmile® VPro™ high frequency vibration device, which provides a 5-minute, at-home treatment that may improve aligner seating and accelerate tooth movement.1,2 "Patients are stating that it helps with discomfort,3 especially when swapping out trays," Weisenberger says. "I am also finding that some cases are tracking a bit faster when patients are using the SureSmile VPro." The SureSmile portfolio also includes the SureSmile® Retainer, which has the strength to protect teeth from damage caused by bruxing or grinding without compromising clinical effectiveness*, and the SureSmile® Whitening Kit.** "Patients really like the retainers," Weisenberger says. "They are clear, just like the trays, and they are rigid. Patients report that they feel sturdy and comfortable."
These tools from Dentsply Sirona have helped Weisenberger to become more comfortable herself in providing orthodontic treatment to more patients. Even for restorative cases, she has become more inclined to first consider how moving the teeth could help to improve the outcomes. "I have been doing a lot more orthodontics than ever before," she says. "In the past, I was never comfortable telling my patients how long the treatment would take because my refinements would often take as long as the initial treatment. With SureSmile, however, so many fewer refinements are necessary, and I can treatment plan more effectively because I understand the system and how it is working. I know I can get my patients through quickly and safely. In my hands, SureSmile has been super predictable and easy to use, and I believe that it has made me a better clinician."
• Implementing SureSmile Clear Aligners can help you address your patients' requests for healthier smiles without them ever leaving your chair.
• SureSmile Clear Aligners may be used in conjunction with the SureSmile VPro high frequency vibration device, the SureSmile Retainer, and the SureSmile Whitening Kit.**
• The SureSmile® Aligner Software offers a streamlined patient overview, an intuitive user interface, and treatment planning tools to optimize workflow management.
1. Alansari S, Atique MI, Gomez JP, et al. The effects of brief daily vibration on clear aligner orthodontic treatment, J World Fed Ortho. 2018;7(4):134-140.
2. Shipley T. Effects of high frequency acceleration device on aligner treatment-a pilot study. Dent J (Basel). 2018;6(3):32.
3. Nicozisis J, Brigham G, Sparaga J, Shipley T. Effects of a 120Hz high-frequency acceleration device on orthodontic discomfort. Preprints. 2018. doi.10.20944/ Preprints201810.0557.v1.
* When used in accordance with the orthodontic treatment/prescription.
** Available in the United States only.
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