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6 Steps to starting a clear aligner business from scratch

With the competition for clear aligner and cosmetic treatments on the rise, having a clear, concise business plan is key to starting your business with maximum lead generation, optimal efficiency, and minimum spend

According to a study from HBR , 85% of patients need orthodontic treatment, but only 1% can access it. The barriers are usually the limited access to specialists and the expensive cost of treatment. With the high price of treatment from orthodontists and the inability for D2C companies to perform advanced tooth movements, there's a sweet spot for general dentists to access the 85% without heavy competition. Even within a practice, an orthodontist and general dentist can provide premium and moderate services allowing for more treatment selection and greater profits.


 

Here are 6 steps to setting up a clear aligner service or a full business from scratch.



#1: Name & Branding

You'll need to decide if you'll be using the name of your clinic or setting up an independent sub-brand name. If it's the latter, you'll need to come up with something very catchy which represents the tone of your business. Are you fun and sassy, or high-end and serious? Come up with at least 3 names and ask your friends and colleagues which one stands out the most. Once you've gotten validation for your name, you'll need a timeless logo and brand colours which command presence. If you don't have a graphic designer, you can turn to platforms such as Fiverr which offers freelance designers to match your budget. Alternatively, many labs produce their own aligner branding that you can use to get going.



#2: Competitive pricing

The average price for clear aligners in most western countries can range from €3000-€5000 per case. Most of the time this high cost is a result of high lab fees which are passed on to the patient. While this is great for full 1-2 year aligners cases, patients may run away if you charge high prices for very mild cases or post-orthodontic relapse. The newer direct-to-consumer model offers aligners for €1500 - €1800 while only being able to treat mild to moderate, 4-6 month cases without any supplementary treatment options such as IPR and attachment placement. As a result, this opens a unique path for general dentists and orthodontists to offer an affordable price point between €1900 and €3000 while using a combination of cheaper lab fees and full clinical methods for mild to moderate cases. The trick is to use a lab which offers a "per aligner fee" so the average cost of manufacturing is between €300-€400.



#3: Easy booking

Successful lead acquisition in the technology era is highly dependent on the ease of onboarding your patients. Waiting for patients to book in by calling or emailing your practice may lead to devastating delays, making their second or third treatment choices more attractive. A modern clinic should have a modern approach: self booking and assessment. Offering online booking options allows your patient to instantly select a time to come in, and reduces the workload of your receptionist. The first call the patient gets from your reception then is to confirm their appointment instead of them having to select a time over the phone or via email. Couple this with an automated email/sms reply/reminder system and watch your leads come through faster while improving your practice efficiency.



#4:Video calling and communication

The pandemic has forced many dentists to think outside the box regarding safe patient communication. Using online video calling systems such as Zoom, Google Meet and Whatsapp give dentists the power to assess and monitor patients remotely. This approach is particularly useful for the first suitability assessment and treatment plan discussion, allowing the clinician to select quality patients before they come into the clinic and allowing the patient to accept their treatment from the comfort of their own homes. By the time your patient comes into the clinic, their appointment should be far shorter and much easier. This is the power of teledentistry.



#5: Treatment monitoring

There are two types of treatment monitoring systems which should be considered when setting up your aligner treatment workflow. The most common is in-clinic monitoring, seeing your patient every 3-5 aligner stages and giving them new sets of aligners while checking their progress. While this style is great, most appointments are quick and usually end with the dentist telling the patient everything looks fine, wasting chair-time and time for the patient.


The other style is remote monitoring which lets the patient check-in online on a strict schedule at home and for the clinician to evaluate treatment progress at any time. A great strategy is to have a combination of both where the patient is given more Aligners and encouraged to check-in remotely, only coming in when instructed by the dentist or for mandatory mid-treatment IPR. This hybrid model saves chair-time by not having to book patients in for very basic progress evaluations, but also streamlines treatment by eliminating barriers to completion such as travelling and having to take time off work for the patient. More importantly this style may dramatically improve compliance/treatment success, reduce treatment time, increase practice efficiency & boost referrals and profit.


#6: Up selling

Aligner treatment is a gateway service for other dental services, particularly those cosmetic in nature. The align-bleach-bond (ABB) strategy is an excellent approach where after alignment the patient is very likely to want enhancements such as pro teeth whitening and composite.

The best time to mention these services is during the very first appointment, which can then be strongly suggested during the treatment plan discussion and confirmed right at the end of treatment. Most patients will also need a scale and polish and x rays while others may need fillings, periodontal work, prosthetics or other services which complement tooth alignment.


Not only will you offer the patient a better final result, but you will keep your staff busier and happier.


Planned correctly and executed successfully, starting a clear aligner business with these steps becomes a breeze. With the Smile Genius treatment management platform, implementing these steps is so easy since all of these services are integrated in our easy to use, web-based system. You can create a powerful and attractive brand while offering affordable pricing and instant onboarding though the built-in scheduling system. Conveniently onboard your patients with video/calling and chat through our integrated patient app and monitor your patients remotely with the advanced reminder and photo upload system workflow. Offer all your services through the first-of-its-kind online store where you can sell literally any service or product through the patient app.


Click here to book a demo today and let our dedicated specialists show you how to convert your practice into the most modern and efficient business in a few clicks.




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