Business Is Booming With Aligners
Dentsply Sirona’s SureSmile® provides shorter, more accurate therapy
Shivi Gupta, DMD
Shivi Gupta, DMD, is looking to hire more staff at Scripps Rock Dental in San Diego, California, but not because of resignations. Many of the members of Gupta's team have been with her for a decade or more. Rather, Gupta is facing a different problem, but one that is good to have: expansion. "I could use one more of everybody," she says. "We are growing because more patients want treatment, and they are excited about oral health again." The practice's success—both in terms of retaining a strong staff and growing patient volume—can be attributed to the fact that it is an efficient, pleasant, and high-quality operation. "When you walk into our office," Gupta says, "you get the sense that we are a well-run practice. Customer service is our No. 1 priority."
Among other efforts, the incorporation of technology was a significant factor in helping Gupta create such a fine-tuned workflow. She has a fully integrated CAD/CAM practice. "Patients are always very excited when we say that we do not need any of those messy impressions," she says. "Everyone in dentistry knows about digital impressions, but that is not the case among the general public. Patients are also very impressed when they learn that we can perform most procedures in-house and usually within one appointment." One treatment that patients particularly appreciate is orthodontics. With the advances in clear aligner therapy, what was once a treatment that was primarily reserved for children under the care of specialists is now a viable option for adults via general dentists.
According to Gupta, attitudes toward orthodontics have completely changed. "The process often starts with my hygienists noticing malalignment or crowding that is causing periodontal disease or esthetic issues, and now, many patients are coming to the practice specifically requesting aligner therapy," she says. "Oftentimes, they are familiar with the treatment because they know a coworker or a friend who is undergoing aligner therapy. They may also be more aware of their teeth because of the increase in video conferencing. In addition, many patients who now work from home feel that their remote working arrangements make treatment more viable. Clear aligners are everywhere, and people are excited about having their teeth straightened." Gupta's team enjoys providing aligner treatment as well-—from the hygienists who start the initial consultations to the assistants who prepare the patients for records and scan them. "Over the course of 20 years," she says, "my hygienists have seen the difference that orthodontic treatment can make for patients regarding the alleviation of abfraction lesions, periodontal disease, and more, as well as the improvement of esthetics. Now, when I walk into the room, they have already talked to the patient about aligners. My assistants, meanwhile, feel empowered by having such an intimate role in patients' oral health journeys."
Gupta's own journey in orthodontics led her to Dentsply Sirona's SureSmile® clear aligners approximately 3 years ago. SureSmile clear aligners are made from a high-performance material that is virtually invisible, ensures an outstanding fit, and provides excellent durability. After uploading patient records into the open architecture platform, clinicians can specify detailed preferences or simply rely on the expertise of the SureSmile technicians. With more than 20 years of experience in digital orthodontic planning, SureSmile provides outstanding initial setups, and doctors report that SureSmile aligners require up to 50% less refinements when compared with other brands.1 SureSmile also provides direct access to technical and system support as well as virtual or in-person training. "From start to finish, the outcome is the most important factor for my patients," Gupta says. "I have found that the tooth movement with SureSmile tracks so much better when comapred with other aligner companies. All patients have plans for the future and exciting things going on in their lives, so if I can tell them that their treatment will be complete in 9 months and it actually is complete in 9 months, then I am a hero, the patients are excited, and they are referring more patients to me. It is a win for everyone."
Part of the reason why SureSmile cases are so true to their treatment plans is the design of the aligners. "The material and the variable trim height allow us to place the margin of the aligner a bit higher with respect to the gum line if we so choose, which helps make the treatment both less time-consuming and more precise," Gupta says. "We have found that far fewer refinements are necessary than with other aligners we have used." Gupta's Primescan® intraoral scanner, which is part of what led her to try SureSmile in the first place, also plays a key role in the success of cases. "The Primescan delivers excellent cross-arch precision," she says. "That makes a difference in how my cases track as well as they do and why my patients are as happy as they are." For patients who are concerned about their appearance during treatment, SureSmile aligners are nearly invisible. "They also require fewer attachments than other clear aligner systems, which can require an attachment on almost every tooth," Gupta says. "The material adapts so well to the teeth. I take photographs midway through treatment so that I can show patients just how well their treatment is tracking, and they like seeing just how invisible the aligners really are. Furthermore, their speech is not affected."
The ease of the entire SureSmile process contributes to Gupta's streamlined overall workflow. "So much of this can be done by my team members, which gives me more time to focus on other treatments," she says. "If I can limit my time on aligner cases to treatment planning in between patients or during lunch, then my productivity increases that much more." There is immense promise for the future as well. Gupta recently acquired Dentsply Sirona's Primeprint® Solution, which includes a medical-grade 3D printer and postprocessing unit that allow her to 3D print models and fabricate the first few aligners in-office. "Having SureSmile fabricate the bulk of the aligners is still the most efficient, but this allows me to start a patient's treatment within a day of getting it approved," she says. Gupta's practice continues to grow, and the many benefits of SureSmile will continue to be a driver of that growth. "Both my patients and my team love the quality and convenience of SureSmile," she says.
1. SureSmile® Aligner global refinement rate compared to data reported in the survey of Keim/Vogels/Vogels, 2020 JCO Study of Orthodontic Diagnosis and Treatment Procedures (JCO/October 2020, p. 581 et seq.).
SureSmile Aligners are made by experts using proven materials and the latest technology.
Unique features allow for personalization to complete even the most challenging cases.
Precise processing of the data and thorough quality control enable outstanding fit, excellent durability, and aligners so transparent that they're hard to detect.
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