Dr. Trent Smallwood discusses the benefits of clear aligner therapy and why SureSmile from Dentsply Sirona provides a better treatment experience.
Q: Why did you switch to SureSmile?
A: I’ve been offering clear aligners for 15 years, using one of the leading brands for most of that time. About 2 years ago, I started looking at SureSmile (Dentsply Sirona) and the success it was having. I realized it was an opportunity to provide a better treatment experience, so I switched.
The biggest advantage is the refinement rate. Recent data has shown that 72% of Invisalign cases needed 2 or more refinements.1 But in a 3-year case analysis of SureSmile cases, 3 of 4 patients did not have refinements. I have experienced even fewer than that in my own office.
Q: What makes SureSmile different?
A: The materials of Sure-Smile are outstanding compared to clear aligner products I’ve used. The movements are very efficient. And the average cost is less than the aligners I recommended previously, which makes an enormous difference in profitability.
The option to trim the aligners to the height of the gum is also a nice feature. Patients complain about discomfort far less with SureSmile. I also like that SureSmile offers a Complete Case option that includes more than just the aligners. First, it includes the SureSmile VPro High Frequency Device, which helps with patient comfort in seating the aligners and accelerates orthodontic tooth movement.2 Plus, the SureSmile Whitening Kit (only availahble in the United States) is also included to further enhance aesthetics once cases are finished.
Q: What impact do refinements have on a clear aligner case?
A: The difficulty with refinements is you must extend the treatment, so profitability is decreased. And any patient will tell you 100 times out of 100 that they’ll be more satisfied with the experience if treatment is finished on the first run. If patients think they’re done with treatment and you tell them you have to go a little further and add more aligners, they’ll be disappointed.
Q: What are the patient benefits of clear aligner therapy?
A: They work far more efficiently than brackets and wires and are more aesthetic. There’s no question clear aligners give patients beautiful smiles, but my main driving force for offering the treatment is not aesthetics. It’s the function of the teeth. When teeth are mispositioned, they’re hard to keep clean. Even the most diligent patients struggle. Moving teeth into a better position makes them easier to clean and reduces periodontal conditions that may require gum and bone work. Patients achieve both aesthetics and better functionality, improving their health and saving them money down the road.
There’s also less chance they’ll need crowns or have to deal with broken teeth. The entire oral environment is improved, preventing problems and improving air flow, reducing the risk of patients developing sleep apnea. It’s truly amazing what straight teeth can do.
Q: What opportunities does treating malocclusion bring to a practice?
A: Two out of 3 US patients have some meaningful form of untreated malocclusion, so clear aligners represent a huge opportunity for dentists.3 It provides a new stream of income with minimal time investment and without raising fees, which is critical for practices struggling with rising costs, staff shortages, and lower insurance reimbursements.
Q: What are the benefits of using an intraoral scanner?
A: Scanning our patients helps us educate them about their overall oral health and conduct preventative, restorative, and malocclusion assessments. This opens the door to talk about malocclusion and preventative procedures like clear aligners. It’s another revenue-generating use for the technology.
Q: Can you talk about SureSmile customer support?
A: It’s another reason I switched. If I ever have an issue, which is rare, I know someone will get back to me right away. That wasn’t the case with the other manufacturers. SureSmile also offers a growing amount of training and resources such as SureSmileU and the DS Academy, which are especially critical for new doctors.
Q: Why would you encourage other dentists to try SureSmile?
A: SureSmile provides a better clear aligner treatment experience for my patients and for myself. It allows dentists to grow their practices while improving patient smiles and, more importantly, their health.
For more information, visit Dentsply Sirona’s website at dentsplysirona.com/suresmile.
Disclosure: Dr. Smallwood is a consultant for Dentsply Sirona.
1. Kravitz ND, Dalloul B, Zaid YA, et al. What percentage of patients switch from Invisalign to braces? A retrospective study evaluating the conversion rate, number of refinement scans, and length of treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2022 Dec 18: S0889-5406(22)00773-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2022.03.016. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36539316.
2. Alansari. The effects of brief daily vibration on clear aligner orthodontic treatment. JFWO 2018.
3. Asiri SN, Tadlock LP, Buschang PH. The prevalence of clinically meaningful malocclusion among US adults. Orthod Craniofac Res. 2019 Nov;22(4):321-328. doi: 10.1111/ocr.12328. Epub 2019 Jun 19. PMID: 31152488.