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How Invisalign changed my practice … and my life

Aug. 23, 2022
For one dentist, diagnosing and treating more patients with Invisalign was the catalyst to renewed zest for dentistry, increased profits, and more fulfillment. Here's her story.

It was 2019. I was just your average general dentist, dealing with the same day-to-day issues as every other dentist. Staffing issues, crazy patients, overhead costs, all the usual stressors were present. I enjoyed dentistry (well, most of it) but I was kind of going through the motions of seeing patients and dealing with whatever walked into my practice. But then, something happened. I had a lightbulb moment, and my practice and life were forever changed.

Early career

I graduated from Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine in Arizona in 2015 and was certified in Invisalign right after graduation. I have been “doing” Invisalign since I became a dentist, but usually only if a patient asked for it. I averaged maybe five to 10 cases a year. It’s something I wasn’t truly confident in, but I dabbled.

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In January 2019, I met my new Invisalign rep. I remember the conversation vividly. I asked her point-blank, “What do I need to do to become the next big Invisalign provider?” She honestly laid it out for me. I needed to invest in additional education and get myself an iTero scanner.

I’ve always been surrounded with digital technology, and I’ve worked with three different scanning systems. I did the iTero demo after my rep recommended it and just assumed it was like any other scanner I’ve used in the past. Boy, was I wrong. iTero has a ton of different features and resources, and my eyes were opened to the fact that iTero places a huge emphasis on patient education. We can use iTero to show patients what their occlusion looks like, we can monitor changes in microns over time, and still use it for all restorative and Invisalign cases.

My lightbulb moment

One day, I was sitting in my office and thought to myself, “Well, if iTero is that good for educating our patients, why are we only scanning the people who are interested in Invisalign? Or only the patients with restorative treatment?” That’s when the lightbulb came on, and I considered implementing scanning as part of every routine hygiene visit. If a patient can see what’s going on inside their own mouth, this should lead to increased understanding of occlusion, the advantages of proper tooth alignment, and the benefits of restorative treatment.

The first thing I did was trade in my previous scanner and buy an iTero. Next, I shared my vision with my team. I got my entire team excited about the potential this represented for the practice. The third thing I did was take more continuing education courses to boost my confidence in my skills. By June 2019, we’d begun scanning every patient in hygiene, and I decided to buy a second iTero. We are a small, four-op practice, but if you could see what happened in the months to come, you wouldn’t believe it.

Increasing Invisalign treatment

We started diagnosing and treatment- planning Invisalign on a great deal of our patients. Why? Because we could evaluate the occlusion from our iTero scans and could identify areas of traumatic occlusion. Malalignment and traumatic occlusion will lead to recession, periodontal disease, abfractions, fractures, and very costly restorative treatment in the future. We started educating patients on the importance of preventing future complications and had the realization that Invisalign is truly a clinical necessity and a preventive treatment.

Once our patients understood this, we started seeing Invisalign treatment coming out of hygiene every single day. Our first month of scanning in hygiene, we saw a jump of $20,000 in total practice production. The month we purchased our second iTero, we saw an additional jump of $30,000. In the first six months of scanning, we started 66 Invisalign treatments. You can imagine what that does to production and collections for an “average” general dentist. It catapulted us into one of the biggest Invisalign practices in the area. We do 120 Invisalign cases a year and have continued with it to this day.

A win-win for staff and patients

Every single patient who goes through Invisalign treatment comes to me at the end and expresses how much their life has changed because of it. From improved confidence to reduced temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, better overall alignment and chewing, and totally transformed smiles, Invisalign is by far the most rewarding procedure I do.

So, how did I get to this point? Honestly, all I did was start scanning patients in hygiene with iTero. That’s it. That’s the secret.

Not only was I able to positively impact the lives of many patients, but this growth also impacted my team and me as well. I find so much joy in rewarding my team when we grow, and I now get to share my personal story with thousands of dentists around the world. I was invited to join the Align Global Faculty in 2020, and my new passion is empowering other dentists to grow their practices through Invisalign. By educating other dentists and seeing their growth, the impact on patients is greater than I ever thought possible. I continue to be fulfilled every day and I couldn’t imagine my life without Invisalign.

No matter what size practice you have, where you’re located, or if you’re an associate or owner, you are capable of growing and changing not only your life but your patients’ lives. Have the confidence to tell yourself you can and will become successful and have the courage to just go for it! You will thank yourself later; that I promise you. Connect with me @queenofinvisalign on Instagram for tips and tricks on Invisalign.

Editor’s note: Align Technology is a financial supporter of Dental Economics. This article appeared in the August 2022 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.

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