Options mean opportunity

Dr. Melissa Shotell wows patients with 3Shape TRIOS scanner technology for a digital workflow that allows her to create clear aligners in house.

Dr. Melissa Shotell talks about the opportunity an open intraoral scanner brings to her practice

My orthodontic practice shares our space with a restorative dentist. So, when it came time for us to look for an intraoral scanner, we were interested in finding a solution that we both could use. We knew the scanner had to be highly accurate for restorative, crown-and-bridge, and implant dentistry, and also had an open platform so that we could send scans to aligner and orthodontic laboratories as well as to restorative laboratories.

From an orthodontic standpoint, I was looking for a solution that could scan quickly, accurately, and easily, especially because I work with many younger patients. For us, the 3Shape TRIOS® was perfect because of its fast scanning, the high level of accuracy, and the small wand size for younger patients.

We were also very interested in the intraoral scanner having an open architecture so that we could export the STL files to any laboratory, including our own in-office laboratory. As an orthodontist, I also needed the ability to save the scans long-term instead of having to archive plaster models. Again, TRIOS ticked the right boxes.

Answering the clear aligner boom

The clear aligner market is the fastest-growing area in orthodontics for adult treatment and a very, very fast-growing area for children. TRIOS and its ecosystem of solutions and integrations enable orthodontists to take advantage of this market by giving us options on how we deliver clear aligner treatments.

The scanner’s open architecture means that you can decide if you want to use the scan to make the clear aligners yourself with, for example, 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio, or send it to a commercial laboratory. This gives you, as a professional, ultimate control. And for me, this is incredibly important.

With clear aligners, many doctors tend to choose a laboratory for their larger clear aligner cases but produce the smaller cases in-house. The beauty of TRIOS as an intraoral scanner is that it offers both options.

One of the things that frustrated me with commercial clear aligner makers was the time frame in receiving aligners and the time it took with the setup process.

In a society where we are used to wanting everything quickly, the open architecture of the TRIOS scanner and the ability instead, to produce clear aligners myself, allows us to start cases much faster and create refinements much more easily. Again, TRIOS gives us ultimate control.

When I began bringing the clear aligner process in-house, I found that there was not only a tremendous time savings, but also a cost savings because you are eliminating a lab bill when you create your own in-house aligners, which can be 50%-75% of the cost.

Remember, with TRIOS, you already have the technology in your office as an intraoral scanner, but with it, you can take your practice a step further and begin making the clear aligners in-house because of its supporting software such as Clear Aligner Studio and the STL export options.

The very fact that you are making your own clear aligners creates a more competitive price in the market. A commercial lab costs between $1,500 to $2,000 for a case, but by making the clear aligner yourself, you can reduce that price to $500 or less at times. That cost savings is passed along to the patient, which in turn means you end up with more cases and higher profitability.

The “wow” factor

At our practice, we make sure to actively promote the technology we have in our office with the digital workflow. We let patients know that we are going to create their aligners for them by using our technology to achieve optimal results. Patients are very impressed by this. Their clear aligners are created in a customized process just for them.

As a result, our patients leave with that “wow” factor. It’s fantastic for marketing our practice. After a TRIOS scan and using tools like Treatment Simulator, patients tell their friends that they had goop-free impressions and that we showed them models of their teeth onscreen. It is something that they talk about, and for us, a solution that drives more referrals and consults.

This information was provided by 3Shape.

Read more about what 3Shape TRIOS scanner technology can do in a digital workflow here: https://orthopracticeus.com/3shape-digital-orthodontics/.

Melissa D. Shotell, DMD, MS, is a Board-certified orthodontist and practices in a multi-specialty practice in Sonora, California, focusing on the interplay of orthodontics and restorative treatment. Dr. Shotell received her DMD at Nova Southeastern University and advanced hospital training and General Practice Residency Certificate from The Ohio State University. After spending years in general practice treating a broad range of patients, Dr. Shotell returned to complete a certificate and master’s degree in orthodontics from Loma Linda University, where she focused her training on cutting-edge three-dimensional imaging technology for diagnosis and treatment planning for interdisciplinary dentistry. Dr. Shotell considers education to be her passion and regularly consults and lectures on dental technology, clear aligner therapy, orthodontics, in-office clear aligners, office efficiency and workflow, and teamwork. Dr. Shotell shares tips and tricks on orthodontics and clear aligners on social media as “alignerbee.”

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