A comprehensive treatment portfolio is more than a nice-to-have; it’s integral to the health and longevity of your practice. Exceptional esthetic solutions, paired with powerful digital technologies, can help differentiate and grow your business, engage staff, attract patients and more.
I started my career in orthodontics in 2003 and joined 3M Oral Care in 2018. As a former orthodontic technician and treatment coordinator, I began to see the benefits of digital technologies firsthand. The momentum continued, and, today, I see many practices undergoing positive transformations thanks to the integrated solutions 3M Oral Care offers. I’d like to highlight a few of the most meaningful improvements I see, including greater patient engagement and operational efficiencies, as well as more robust treatment design.
From my experience as a Treatment Coordinator, patients seek esthetics, versatility, and convenience. Quick, in-person appointments are almost a non-negotiable in today’s fast-paced world. Plus, the pandemic has necessitated virtual communication when and where applicable. Today’s discerning patients know that the path to a healthy smile should be paved with options. From the start, the 3M™ Tx Selector app allows patients to "try on” various 3M appliances on a live version of themselves, so they can visualize what different treatment options might look like. 3M™ Oral Care Portal helps you walk through a treatment plan using a custom view of the patient’s mouth. This collaborative approach to initial consultation puts patients at ease and invites them to be active participants in their own oral health.
During my days as a treatment coordinator, I remember many patients expressing interest in but hesitancy around treatment. I’d always say: “It is possible for you. Let’s talk about your options.” Many patients aren’t aware that there are choices and each will come with pros and cons.
What’s great about the Tx Selector app and the Oral Care Portal is that they don’t just talk about options – it shows them. During treatment, the 3M™ Treatment Tracking app offers reminders and direct messaging with your office. Patients can send pictures to the practice if they have concerns that don’t necessitate an office visit. I see these supplemental tools encouraging patients to embrace the treatment experience. As other industries adopt advanced technologies to provide a better user experience, the exciting reality is that orthodontics can, too. Share how treatment options impact a patient’s lifestyle, show them what their options look like, and provide the convenience that remote monitoring offers. Together, the added digital support can make all the difference with treatment acceptance and compliance.
Of course, patients aren’t the only ones benefiting from these digital tools. Your practice does, too. The Oral Care Portal empowers you to visualize, plan, modify, treat and track – all in one place. If you use an intraoral scanner, you can upload your scans and order 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners or 3M™ Digital Bonding Tray. If you order Digital Bonding Trays that can be loaded with brackets featuring 3M™ APC™ Flash-Free Adhesive, you don’t have to worry about flash removal. The best part? You can experience these efficiencies without sacrificing quality. We no longer need to view shorter appointment times to mean less careful treatment. Instead, we can achieve optimal placement accuracy with a system designed to reduce chair time compared to traditional direct bonding. That’s appealing to the doctor, the team, and the patient.
The Oral Care Portal honors your approach to treatment planning while giving you the flexibility to choose from aligners, brackets, or combination treatment. The best part is that you can manage the occlusion in the 3M™ Tx Designer for these modalities. As a Clinical Specialist for 3M, I often see doctors hesitate to try something new, even if they had an instinct that the approach could be more efficacious. What would it look like, for example, to do aligners on the upper arch and brackets on the lower? Now, you can visualize versus guess. When you do digital planning with aligners, you can maximize the Portal’s advanced treatment planning tools using 3M’s new proprietary aligner material, 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners Flex used in combination with our time-tested material of 3M™ Clarity™ Aligners Force – giving you even more ways to tailor your treatment approach to you.
The 3M™ Oral Care Portal allows you plan treatment with a variety of appliances.
It’s an exciting time to be in orthodontics. We’re seeing how the digital revolution is making orthodontic treatment easier and effective. These technologies help patients and practices stay connected with more treatment visualization and stronger communication. I can’t wait to see how orthodontic treatment continues to evolve and encourage you to consider how 3M could play a part in helping you, your patients and your practice thrive.
Laurie Landis is a Certified Orthodontic Assistant (COA) with over 15 years of clinical orthodontic experience. Throughout her career in private practice, she has fulfilled the roles of orthodontic technician, treatment coordinator, and public relations. Laurie has a strong background in both core orthodontic products/processes and clear tray aligner cases, along with 3D intraoral scanning and oral hygiene and prevention.
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