Personalised Learning

Finding patients and starting discussions about Clear Aligners

Maybe you’ve decided you want to start doing more aligner cases for patients in your current database or maybe you’d like to market a new treatment to gain new patients. Whatever your reasoning- you’ve taken the first steps! In either scenario, introducing new clinical treatment can be daunting, no matter how experienced you are as a dentist. 

We’ve been there - not only do you get treatment jitters but you also get a little nervous talking to patients about the treatment.

Questions such as “how do you explain?” or  “what if they ask a question you don’t know?” pop into your head

While we may not have ALL the answers (we have most!), we are here to help!! Determining the best ways to attract patients and how you’d like to start conversations about clear aligners means you can have a plan towards completing your first few aligner cases.

What are some ways you can attract patients?

‍Word of mouth

Your patients are your BIGGEST advocates and are walking advertisements! Good quality dentistry done locally leads to significant numbers of word of mouth referrals.  

Orthodontics can be life changing for many patients - imagine that adult patient who has been too shy to smile for years who, after your treatment, is smiling ear-to-ear or has new found confidence. ‘Your teeth look amazing, who did them?’ is a question patients commonly get asked by friends and family. You really don't need to be an influencer to generate plenty of clear aligner patients.

Marketing online and in practice

If marketing or social media is one of your strong suits then patients may come to you directly from your website, social media and/or brochures. Strong search engine optimisation (SEO) can help boost your website as potential patients search keywords and displaying your work on social media can attract new patients.

Once you’re comfortable, we recommend stating on your website that you provide clear aligner treatment - as you never know who might be looking just for that.

Current patient pool

Starting aligners in an already established practice? Send an email out to your current patient pool!

Many of your previous patients won't know you provide clear aligners, and will only find out if you or your nurse tells them. You are the best placed person to advise your patients - you see them most regularly, you know them and they are already your patient!

You may come across current patients (or even new patients) who have expressed that they were interested in clear aligners previously. ‍These patients are important to pick up and educate with regard to the role of the dental professional, especially given the uptick in unsupervised or DIY aligner companies. You should not feel under any obligation to do a patient workup for the purposes of the patient proceeding with DIY orthodontics, as the GDC has now issued a clear statement against DIY orthodontics (click here to read it).

You can suggest they come to you for clear aligner treatment supervised by a dental professional, or refer them to a specialist orthodontist. 

Most dentists tell us that they were surprised just how many patients of all ages were interested in clear aligners once they were explained to them. Don’t write anyone off, for example, men and women over 50 are a growing category in clear aligners!

Explaining Clear Aligners - a Script

Here are a few bullet points which you can use to explain clear aligner treatment to your first few patients:

✔ Clear aligners are a modern, subtle way of straightening teeth using plastic trays (called aligners) custom-made to your teeth.

✔ Each aligner is designed to have prescribed movement built-in which allows your teeth to move safely (little by little) with each aligner to the desired result.

✔ Given each aligner is custom made to YOU - we do a full workup to learn about your goals, including detailed photographs, radiographs and either impressions or 3D scans of your teeth. 

✔ Aligners fit like a glove around your teeth, in a sense “hugging” the teeth, so they can do a very good job of moving teeth in certain ways and not-so-good a job at moving teeth in other ways. For example, they can push against teeth very well but don’t do a great job of “pulling” teeth. Therefore, not everyone is suitable for clear aligners; some cases require in-person supervision by a specialist orthodontist.

✔ Costs are between X and Y depending on complexity, and we include A,B,C in your package

✔ Payments are made in this way [your payment structure].

✔ Clear aligner treatment requires dental supervision at the start of treatment and regularly throughout (every 4-8 weeks), so we would want to see you on a regular basis.

✔ Lastly, once we get your teeth in their new homes, they have a tendency to want to shift back!! While we wish this was not the case, the same reason we can move teeth is the same reason teeth are able to shift back! Therefore, retainers will be the final step in your treatment and will need to be worn to keep the teeth in position! We say “nighttime for a lifetime”.

You will develop a clear explanation as you get more practice, but we hope this serves as a starting point!

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