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The future of Minimally Invasive Orthodontics

How Minimally Invasive Orthodontics can enhance your patients dental experience

Kunal Patel
9 May, 2019
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Awareness of dental health among the general public is on the rise. More and more people are appreciating the need for prevention, avoiding the potentially intrusive and costly treatment that some cosmetic treatments may require. This approach goes hand-in-hand with the concept of minimally invasive dentistry, which is fast becoming a greater priority for patients.

“Fantastic results can be achieved with less traumatic methods”

Through easily accessible platforms such as social media, many patients are seeing that the perfect smile doesn’t always require the destruction of healthy, natural teeth for the placement of veneers or crowns. Instead, fantastic results can be achieved with less traumatic methods, which the vast majority of clinicians are more than happy to provide.

In many cases, the minimally invasive techniques we use can also deliver results in a pain-free way, which can be an absolute game-changer, especially when treating patients with dental phobia. The various benefits afforded by minimally invasive dentistry have led me to change the focus of my clinic (Love Teeth Dental Practice).

“Absolute game-changer”

We started out as a clinic performing complete smile makeovers with veneers and crowns every week, due to our lack of confidence in the strength and long-term prognosis of resin materials. We have now shifted the dynamics to the total opposite and are performing multiple minimally invasive mini smile makeovers on a daily basis.

The huge increase in demand for treatment is primarily the result of word-of-mouth recommendations from patients who have achieved their desired results quickly, painlessly and in an affordable manner. They also really appreciate not losing a high volume of natural tooth structure just for aesthetic reasons.

How to illustrate the benefits of short-term orthodontics

How to effectively communicate what short term orthodontics (e.g. Invisalign) can do for the patient plays a huge part in the success of a mini smile makeover, as teeth in ideal occlusion and position result in less resin use for an improved long-term prognosis. Where we would have had to place a crown or veneer on a tooth that was significantly misaligned and resin would not have been possible, Invisalign offers a quick alternative with treatment possible.

In as little as seven weeks the tooth could be moved into its desired position safely and accurately. This time frame is acceptable for patients as long-lasting tooth whitening procedures take on average six weeks, with a two-week break before the resin build up can be performed. I therefore inform the patient that tooth alignment will be carried out simultaneously with tooth whitening, which does not prolong treatment time and still enables them to reach their desired results.

This treatment speaks for itself – I just tell my patients that ‘I can achieve your goal of loving your smile with white, straight, attractive teeth. This is with no aggressive healthy tooth loss, in as little as two to four months through discrete, pain-free treatment, with strong long-term prognosis – all for only £X.’

For informed consent, it’s important to ensure that patients understand what they could achieve. At my clinic we have the iTero element tooth scanner, which allows us to scan a patient’s dentition and instantly show them the required tooth alignment.

This is an indispensable element as we can actually show the patient what they can achieve with the treatment rather than just describing it to them.

However, we do advise that aligning the teeth may only make the patient happy with its improvement, which is of course what we strive to accomplish but if they want the world to say ‘Wow, look at your smile’, then we do let them know that a tooth whitening treatment and a mini smile makeover may also be needed.

Before and after

This makes people ask: ‘Where did you get your teeth done?’, so it is important that you factor in the value of word-of-mouth recommendations from each patient, when considering the price for treatment. We therefore provide every patient who undergoes STO with Enlighten Whitening treatment and a mini smile makeover using Renamel composite (Cosmedent) and all these aspects are factored into the price.

This treatment approach is simplified by the ABC concept: A – aligning B – bleaching C – cosmetic bonding. We display posters with basic information on the ABC concept on the walls throughout the practice, so patients start to develop their knowledge before attending a consultation.

I present the combined treatment as: A – aligning using Invisalign (one of the world’s best aligner systems) B – bleaching using Enlighten Whitening (guarantees a Vita B1 shade) C – cosmetic bonding using Renamel (award-winning composite resin material).

How to know what to charge

Still trying to keep things simple for our patients, at Love Teeth Dental, we charge a fixed fee for single arch treatment and double arch treatment. When charging patients according to case difficulty and treatment time etc, in the past, we were faced with some unhappy patients who didn’t understand why someone else they knew received a cheaper quote. As word-of-mouth recommendations are integral for our practice, this wasn’t ideal. We therefore decided to standardise our prices and have found that cases are balanced out financially by the easier ones. Plus, we’ve seen a large revenue increase since doing this, so it’s definitely working for us!

How you can learn more

For anyone interested in knowing more about mini smile makeovers, Dr Dipesh Parmar teaches a very thorough yet simulating course on the topic. For this technique and practitioner-sensitive concept, hands-on training is invaluable. Plus, the course will teach you how to confidently use the award-winning Renamel resin material from Cosmedent, helping you get results that will set you apart from the clinician down the road. Having listened to dentists’ feedback, the course also now includes a module on marketing, discussing how you can communicate the product benefits to your patients in more detail. There is the realisation that a high-end resin like Renamel needs to be sold to patients as a completely new concept to that of standard anterior resin used in the past. I’ve included a link to the course below:

http://minismilemakeover.com

Final thoughts

The benefits of minimally invasive dentistry are clear, and they are being appreciated by more and more patients as time goes by. For the clinician, successful treatment is no longer simply achieving an aesthetic result – it’s about achieving aesthetics and function in the least destructive way for the best possible long-term prognosis. Using concepts and products you can work with competently is going to be key, as it will give you the confidence to take on new cases and encourage you to complete them to a portfolio-worthy finish.

The pros of minimally invasive dentistry using effective composite resins include:

• Results are achieved faster than with veneers/crowns
• Subtle enhancements of smiles can be made
• It’s more affordable
• It’s painless – LA is rarely required
• Adjustments can be made easily
• The restoration can be replaced/ removed in the future if needed, without a significant amount of healthy tooth loss
• Composite build ups can be re-polished as a general maintenance plan every 24 months. The cons of minimally invasive dentistry through composite bonding are:
• There is an increased fracture/failure rate if an inferior resin material is used
• Success is technique and practitioner sensitive
• A long single clinical appointment time is needed
• The long-term prognosis is unpredictable in certain cases (e.g., bruxism patients).

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