The “Clear Aligner False Start” - What dentists told us at two Dentistry Shows over two weeks
After the October London Dentistry Show, we shared our key takeaways - the things at the top of the minds of clinicians, owners and practice staff. In March, we went to the North of England Dentistry Show in Manchester AND the BDIA Dental Showcase in London. Again, we spoke to hundreds of dentists and practice owners - and we found three recurring themes across our conversations about clear aligners:
- The “Clear Aligner False Start” - over time, practice owners see their associates losing confidence as they gain experience!
- The training days don’t really work.
- Both dentists and practice owners don’t know how to compete with the practice down the road.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Read on to see what clinicians across England are worried about right now - and how we were able to help.
“My associates try a few clear aligner cases and get less confident, not more”
The problem principals mentioned to us most was the ‘clear aligner false start’. In other words: getting set up with a clear aligner system, nominating one or two associates to start offering the treatment, getting going with a few patients… and grinding to a standstill.
Why? Firstly, there’s often a bit of a disconnect between associates and leadership within the practice. Whilst the principals we spoke to acknowledged the value of varied treatment experiences for associates, they often aren’t sure how best to help them achieve this. Setting practices up for success is a team sport, but many don’t know the rules.
This extends to supporting dentists with upskilling. Some opt to provide associates with in-house training; others will send them to a course; whilst many leave it to the dentist’s initiative.
This often means that clear aligner treatment practice implementation is half-baked. Often the practice doesn’t know how to capture patients’ interest, the dentist is unsure how to speak about the treatment, or the traditional clear aligner system they’re using hasn’t provided practice training and marketing to help.
This is then compounded by the fact that new clear aligner providers aren’t given enough clinical support ongoing - meaning they often face orthodontic issues they’ve never been taught to diagnose or treat.
This all means that when clinicians run into issues, it’s all too late - learning hasn’t been retained or never happened, whilst support on treatments is days or weeks away, often hidden in forums online. And on a wider scale, it means that hundreds of principals feel they’ve “had a go” at clear aligners, but never saw the traction they were promised
We work hard at 32Co to avoid our clinicians having false starts. Our clinical support team is only a few clicks away, and responds on average in under four hours. Our skilled team work with you to make sure you’ve got the right foundations to ensure that when you start, you get up and running smoothly.
And it’s why practice owners were interested to in our specialist orthodontist mentorship, offered for clear aligner case a clinician needs it, meaning their treatment plans are realistic and reliable.
“I have attended a clear aligner training day… but I’ve not really gotten started”
Many dentists we spoke to expressed their dissatisfaction with the quality of clear aligner training they received from traditional companies. They claimed that the training was not very detailed, and more of a sales tool to promote their products. Some dentists even admitted that they have already forgotten what they learned.
Clear aligner therapy requires proper assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning and fitting by dentists who have received high-quality training.
However, not all training courses are created equal. Some dentists complained that the training they received was expensive, but did not cover enough theory or practical skills. They also said that they did not get enough support or feedback from mentors or instructors during or after the training. Some dentists felt they were left on their own to figure out how to use computer-assisted technology or deal with different malocclusions.
Confession time - we saw this complaint coming because we’ve spoken to thousands of clinicians who’ve told us the same thing. It’s a massive gap in the clear aligner industry - one we’ve filled at 32Co with our Clear Aligner Starter & Stretch Courses. We built them after speaking to hundreds of dentists about the issues they face providing clear aligners - everything from educating patients to performing interproximal reduction (IPR). That’s why these courses have been such a revelation for getting dentists feeling ready and prepared to take on their first case, or more complex cases.
“It’s 2023 and I still don’t know how to market my practice!”
But many attendees we spoke to still don’t know how to use the internet for marketing their services and attracting new patients. They’re either hesitant to share their work online or aren’t sure how to; others struggle to find the time or resources to invest in digital marketing strategies.
However, this could be a costly mistake, as more and more people are searching for dental practitioners online. If you don’t have a strong online presence, you may be losing potential patients to other practices that do. The internet is where most showcase your services, credentials, testimonials, and contact details. It is also where you can build trust and credibility with your potential patients, who can learn more about you and your practice before they book an appointment.
That’s where 32Co comes in! We help our providers with everything from creating a professional and user-friendly website to running effective online advertising campaigns. Whether it’s an easy-to-use social media pack, or successfully advertising your 32Co Clear Aligner Open Evening, we can support you.
We send marketing leaflets, information sheets and posters to the practice’s doorstep, ensuring providers can shout about the new treatment they’re offering.
By working with us, you will be given all the knowledge and help you need to get the internet working for you. Sign up now to find out more.