Integrating aligner therapy into your dental practice

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integrating aligner therapy into your dental practice
Photo: andreypopov – 123RF

Two stalwarts of the dentistry field have teamed up to launch a dental disruptor business that could help improve clinical and financial outcomes for dentists across the country. By Tracey Porter 

Drs Geoff Hall and Jesse Green and are all too aware that when it comes to business, keeping everything closely aligned is key to a successful practice.

In addition to being business partners, the pair are also good friends and catch up regularly to debate the many issues that cause consternation among their dental colleagues.

It was at one such meeting where Dr Hall, a specialist orthodontist who was the first person to use Invisalign outside of the United States, touched upon the topic of aligner treatment—most notably the fear many dentists hold of incorporating it into their practice.

Shortly after, they began plotting to come up with a plan to address these concerns. 

Their turnkey solution for dentists wanting to integrate aligner therapy into their practice is a novel new business they christened Clear Aligner Excellence (CAE). 

Launched in April, the CAE offering is a combination of further ongoing education, both in the field of clinical treatment as well as good practice management, and how to deliver aligner therapy efficiently and profitably into one’s practice; it is part-buying group, part educational facility. 

The problem

Having completed more than 11,000 orthodontic cases during a career spanning over 32 years, Dr Hall says there are three key issues that stop general dentists from not just doing aligner therapy but making it a big part of their practice.

“Patients would all come in wanting to have straight and white teeth—but the problem was dentists had little self-confidence that they could perform an alignment treatment to a standard that would be acceptable to their patients and that the aligners themselves were too difficult and lacked clinical predictability,” he says.

The problem was dentists had little self-confidence that they could perform an alignment treatment to a standard that would be acceptable to their patients and that the aligners themselves were too difficult and lacked clinical predictability.

Dr Geoff Hall, co-founder, Clear Aligner Excellence

There was a third issue too which suggested that while dentists felt aligners could improve a patient’s aesthetic and general dental health, those who had investigated incorporating the solution into their practice had been put off by the fact that the laboratory fee for aligner therapy was excessive and meant little profit for them.

Dr Green, who regularly speaks with business luminaries, athletes, philosophers, and other high achievers who share their lessons and insights “so dentists can create a practice and a life they love”, says it became clear that many dentists don’t know how to integrate aligners into their practice profitably. 

“They need help learning how to attract more aligner patients, convert cases and develop workflows that allow the practice to deliver great care efficiently and profitably.”

As such, the entrepreneurial pair sought to develop a business that would benefit both dentists and patients.

Improving the balance sheet

Having assembled a faculty of nationally and internationally recognised experts to provide dentists with the very best in education, the CAE business model incorporates an accelerated program of learning which includes fortnightly education sessions for the duration of their CAE membership. 

Dr Green, whose background includes practice ownership and practice management consultancy but is perhaps best known for his role as host of dental podcast Savvy Dentist, says that on average, a general dentist does approximately one aligner case per month. 

“The aim is to take that practice from doing one aligner case per month to at least four aligner cases per month, hence increasing their profit by over $290K per year.”

The pair say there are also substantial savings, on a monthly basis, on their aligner laboratory fees.

The aim is to take that practice from doing one aligner case per month to at least four aligner cases per month, hence increasing their profit by over $290K per year.

Dr Jesse Green, co-founder, Clear Aligner Excellence

“If members are already doing one case a month of aligners in their practice, the discount on the lab fee they receive will cover the cost of membership. And if they are not doing any cases yet, the monthly membership fee represents just 10 per cent of the revenue they’d receive from just one case,” says Dr Green.

With deals signed with all of the major alignment manufacturers, significant discounts of up to $900 per case for CAE members have also been negotiated.

A unique proposition

Dr Hall, also director of dental training provider The OrthoED Institute, says the brand’s bespoke business model has been designed with the aim of increasing the confidence of every general dentist in the field of aligner therapy. 

“Through our CAPS treatment planning service, we can even optimise the treatment plan for each doctor. The unique part of doing aligner therapy is the fact that once this treatment plan is optimised, then basically the final orthodontic result will be the same for ‘Dr A’ as it is for ‘Dr Geoffrey Hall’, as all the hard works needs to be done at the front end with the optimisation of the treatment plan.”

Dr Hall says one of the great advantages of aligner therapy is that it also helps free up dentists looking to focus on a different area of the business.

“It’s one area of dentistry that can be leveraged to the point that 95 per cent of aligner therapy can be performed by the dental auxiliary such as the hygienist or OHT—allowing the dentist to still do their productive work in their main surgery but now their hygienist/OHT can perform very high-end work and it will still be a very rewarding treatment for the practices’ patients.”

Dr Hall says the pair’s ultimate aim is to provide dentists with an accredited qualification following 18 months or three years CAE membership. 

Labelling it an “absolute game changer”, Drs Green and Hall says launching a disruptor business of this type will ultimately prove advantageous to the entire dentistry sector.

“It has been purely the area of corporates in the past that have utilised their buying power with these aligner companies—and now CAE are providing these same benefits that corporates have been receiving for many years to the private practitioner—something which we think is exceptionally well deserved and really required to keep the playing fields level.”  

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