3Shape’s focus on clear aligner workflow puts dentists and labs in charge of their clear aligner treatment.
A while back 3Shape shook up the clear aligner market by launching an open clear aligner workflow that enables laboratories and practices, no matter what size, to enter the booming clear aligner market.
The open workflow, from scanning and treatment planning to setup and manufacturing, is powered by 3Shape technology and its Clear Aligner Studio software and award-winning 3Shape TRIOS® intraoral scanner. The workflow puts labs and doctors completely in charge of the clear aligner treatment and its budget. Any steps in the open workflow can be done in-house and/or sent to 3Shape partners.
Starting with an intraoral scan, Clear Aligner Studio software enables professionals to treatment plan and print models for clear aligner treatments. The printed models are then simply vacuum formed to create the clear aligner treatments.
What is unique about 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio and 3Shape TRIOS is that they give professionals options. Professionals can choose to design and produce the treatment or outsource any steps along the way. The result is a clear aligner treatment that can be 500 – 1000 euros ($546.07 – $1,092.14 USD) cheaper than name-brand clear aligners.
Price does matter
Dutch lab owner, Germen Versteeg, says that for his business, the decision to go with 3Shape was simple: “When patients come to us, we can offer them a choice for their clear aligners. They can choose the name brand, or they can have us make the clear aligners for five hundred to a thousand euro less. The huge difference in price usually helps them come to a decision.”
In Versteeg’s workflow, he has chosen to outsource the clear aligner planning to 3Shape design service partner, FullContour, which uses 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio for its setup and staging. Versteeg takes intraoral scans of the patients at his practice and sends the files to the FullContour portal; within 1 or 2 days, he gets the proposal back from them.
Once cleared by the doctor, Versteeg simply downloads the STL files from FullContour and prints the models with his NextDent printer. From there it’s just a matter of vacuum-forming the aligners.
Versteeg says that his lab carefully packages the aligners “very nicely just like a name brand would. And the customers go home happy and a thousand euro richer.”
Getting started with clear aligners
When getting started with clear aligners, U.S. Orthodontist, Dr. Christian Groth, says the process can be as simple or as advanced as you want to make it.
Groth says, “If you want to go full on with bringing the design and production of aligners in-house, you can do that with 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio. You can do it by bringing a 3D printer online, and you can fabricate in-house.
“However, if you want to go a little bit slower, you can simply outsource the design portion of this, and you can outsource the manufacturing portion, just to deliver the treatment portion to your office. You can mix and match, whichever you want to do it, depending on you and your staff’s skill set, and what your space requirements are. You may not have space in your office to do all this, but you are still going to want to offer these products to your patients.”
Bring simpler cases in-house for control and profitability
Having software like 3Shape Clear Aligner Studio enables you to work seamlessly in one integrated workflow. The software’s guided workflow bar walks you through the planning and production steps.
With enhanced setup and staging, Clear Aligner Studio gives you more control over tooth movements and improved visualization with intuitive setup and staging features, such as per-aligner tooth-specific movement constraints, and timeline and waypoint adjustments. The software’s automated features, such as automatic attachment placing and sizing, ID tagging, number of aligners, and generated reports, save you time and increase workflow efficiency.
In a testament to the software’s usability, U.S. Orthodontist, Dr. Ignacio Blasi, says, “Getting into Clear Aligner Studio and clear aligners in-house is not that difficult. You just have to have good staff that’s trained, the whole office onboard for digital itself, and then you can make things happen.”
Make your practice stand out
With the opportunity to offer clear aligner treatments made from your practice, you can pass the cost savings on to your patients. For simple movement cases, relapses, or patients who have already been through treatment, there is really no reason for them to spend so much money on big-name brands.
Patients can literally get scanned in the morning and have the aligners designed, models printed, and aligners fabricated by the afternoon. The turnaround time is unheard of.
Dr. Groth also adds that another benefit of making clear aligners in-house is when it comes to debanding brackets. He says, “Everyone has had patients where you have small spaces or small rotations that you want to take care of, but you don’t want to do that with brackets and wires, either because hygiene is an issue, they are overtime, or the patients simply want to get their braces off. You can easily design and manufacture a small number of aligners to get these movements taken care of, and they are not done in fixed appliances. These are services that we could not offer before.
“Clear aligners are changing what we do because it’s bringing a whole new segment of patients to our office. There’s a lot of people who want to have orthodontics, but they don’t want to have metal braces, and so we have options now to offer treatment in a much more esthetic and streamlined fashion. Clear aligners are the primary way we do that.”
There’s more to being open than just your choice of solution partner
While Clear Aligner Studio and 3Shape TRIOS enable you to instantly send your cases to more than 50 different clear aligner makers around the world, it’s the open workflow that really drives savings for you and your patients. From integrations with all major 3D printers to seamless connections with design and manufacturing services, you are in full control over your budget.
You keep everything in the office so that your overhead can be diminished dramatically. Even though you may still have to invest in a printer and whatever other equipment you might need, you end up saving.
Dr. Groth sums up the clear aligner workflow powered by 3Shape technology: “When you have clear aligner design and production in-house, you can do whatever you want to do. You can do it in the time frame you want. You control the costs. You control the whole process, which is something that we have not been able to do in the past. In my practice, moving aligner design and production in-house has been one of the greatest things we’ve done.”
This information was provided by 3Shape.