The invisalign effect

March 21, 2012

General dentists see volumes of patients each year. However, only 1 in 4 adults has straight teeth and a healthy stable bite. General dentists can add Invisalign® to their practices knowing there are many patients who can benefit from treatment.  An excellent way to market Invisalign is to educate patients about its benefits.

General dentists see volumes of patients each year. However, only 1 in 4 adults has straight teeth and a healthy stable bite. General dentists can add Invisalign® to their practices knowing there are many patients who can benefit from treatment.  An excellent way to market Invisalign is to educate patients about its benefits.

Thankfully, GPs have a built-in target audience in their practices. Most people do not have perfectly straight teeth with a good, stable bite. In fact, statistics indicate that approximately 70% of the adult population has some amount of spacing, crowding or malocclusion. Dentists have a unique opportunity to address these issues because patients come in regularly for checkups.

Speaking from experience

Our practice has offered Invisalign treatment since 2005. We realized most adults would refuse traditional braces even if they needed them to correct significant periodontal issues.  When offered Invisalign as an option, most patients were excited to consider treatment because they wanted to improve their oral health and their smile-they just didn’t want to wear braces to do it.

Know your spokespoeple
Marketing Invisalign to patients in our practice is all about educating them about the benefits of straight teeth and a healthy bite. At 3-, 4- or 6-month recall visits, patients spend almost an hour with the hygienist and approximately 5 to 10 minutes with the dentist. This provides an excellent opportunity for us to educate our patients on the many benefits of Invisalign therapy.

Dental hygienists are one of your most important resources in promoting Invisalign to patients. It is very important for hygienists to understand-and be confident discussing-that Invisalign is a comprehensive orthodontic system that can be used to treat almost any amount of spacing, crowding and malocclusion. The hygienist has a full hour to spend with the patient. While the scaling is taking place it should be easy to explain to the patient that the position of the teeth contributes to the amount of plaque and calculus present. Teeth that are crowded are more difficult to clean and thus accumulate levels of plaque and calculus that cause gingivitis.

In our practice, patients often respond favorably to this information with comments like, “my teeth weren’t always this crowded,” or, “I had braces when I was younger, and they shifted when I lost my retainers,” or “I floss for a few weeks after a cleaning but then I stop,” or “I try to floss these teeth…but the floss breaks or shreds so I give up.”

It is easy to explain to a patient that the bacteria in the plaque and calculus live in the spaces between the gum and teeth. Gingivitis that is left untreated eventually can lead to bone loss or periodontal disease. The patient can easily understand that crowded teeth are more difficult to clean and maintain appropriately, and will respond favorably to educational information presented in a manner which they feel is beneficial to their oral health.

From conversation to treatment conversion

Once the patient has been educated in this manner, then it is easy to introduce treatment options. The hygienist explains that Invisalign is not just used for improving someone’s smile-although that is an excellent part of the equation. Invisalign also is used to align the teeth and improve periodontal hygiene. Patients who are concerned about maintaining oral health will be glad to hear that straighter teeth are easier to clean and maintain at home.

Finally, the dentist gets to spend 5-10 minutes with the patient to reinforce what the hygienist has already discussed and answer any questions the patient may have. The dentist can then explain the difference between a good occlusion and malocclusion.
This educational process is an excellent way to “market” Invisalign to patients in a manner that is supportive of their oral health. I find the two best “educational” aids provided by Invisalign are the demonstration models and the educational brochures. Patients can handle the models and sample aligners to see its shape, thickness and strength. Most patients are very excited at how clear the aligners are and how smooth and comfortable they look.

Go beyond the cosmetic pitch

The need for Invisalign extends far beyond patients who are looking to improve their smile. While those are excellent patients, Invisalign can help treat or prevent periodontal disease and malocclusion as well.  It also is persuasive for patients who might not “treat” themselves to a more attractive smile, but will take steps to improve or maintain their oral health. 

General dentists who add Invisalign orthodontics to their practices will have a unique opportunity to market it to existing patients. All patients who have spacing, crowding or a malocclusion should be educated about the benefits of Invisalign. Most patients are excited to learn about Invisalign and eager to start treatment-and those patients are already sitting in your practice.