Dr Linehan explains how taking an Invisalign EUMAA orthodontics course turned him from “zero to hero”
Dr Michael Linehan works in three dental practices in the UK and has a 30-year track record successfully practising orthodontics. However, until recently, orthodontics meant treating with fixed appliances. He had not considered clear aligner therapy to be a treatment option and had always been ‘suspicious’ about the outcomes the treatment modality could achieve.
Besides, he had neither time to waste, nor the inclination to learn something which risked leaving him feeling poorly supported or under pressure.
Invisalign was no exception. Dr Linehan disliked people “Experimenting with systems just to say that they had done it. You either had to give your best shot, or not at all”. So, he opted for the latter, and had never treated an Invisalign case.
However, in the last five years, patients were increasingly asking about the Invisalign system, and the subject was becoming trickier for him to avoid. His patients cited successful cases of friends and family members being treated with Invisalign or they referred to celebrity patients showcased in the press and on social media. Offering no choice but fixed braces started feeling too restrictive and almost inappropriate.
In January 2017, Dr Linehan booked on the European Masters of Aligners (EUMAA) course with Dr Raman Aulakh, believing that if Invisalign had to be explored, it made sense to choose a course led by a specialist orthodontist with the highest level of clear aligner experience, and who dealt with Invisalign patients every day.
Dr Linehan explained: “The 5-module course is a well-balanced mix of theory and hands-on delivered in a personalised setting. Dr Aulakh’ s forte is his determination to bring delegates to the highest standards. He is exceptionally encouraging and is always at hand to explain and demonstrate.
“He is a superb asset to EUMAA in my view and results speak for themselves. I have since treated 20 Invisalign cases and will continue to do so if it proves the best treatment for my patients.
“The EUMAA course configuration is unique. The group is kept small to encourage the maximum interaction and support. Dr Aulakh helps his delegates explore new ways of treating patients, encouraging them to think differently, unconventionally, and from a new perspective. The variety of functions and feature benefits hugely contribute to the success of the Invisalign treatment and all serve valuable purposes, and Dr Aulakh is a master at demonstrating how.”
Dr Linehan now confidently discusses Invisalign with all his patients; and is happy to treat a wide range of simple to more complex cases. His whole practice team are also fully on board, with his nurse and practice manager witnessing treatments so that they can feel more involved, putting them in a better position to relay the information to patients.
Second-to-none support makes all the difference
Dr Linehan enthused: “The Align Technology support system is second-to-none. If a case is a bit more complex than expected, a clinical advisor can offer advice. During the EUMAA course, I had the great privilege of being assisted by Dr Erico Pilapil who has gone that extra mile time and time again, guiding me through various pitfalls. And if a case is still too complicated, you can pass it on. There is also a huge case library to draw on which allows you to view previous cases with tutorials, again invaluable.”
The Align Clinical Team designs the Invisalign System protocol teachings for the EUMAA course and is well placed to offer advice. Beyond their role as an Align Clinical Specialist providing support to those using the Invisalign Doctor’s Site (IDS), Align clinical specialists lecture in universities, and contribute to training sessions, study clubs and round-table events. They are also involved in several aspects of the Invisalign product development.
Dr Linehan observed that the customer and clinical support service Align Technology offers Invisalign providers is in such high demand that it has been extended until 8pm GMT every evening from Monday to Friday; and covers the Invisalign provider's treatment planning stage before starting a case, as well as supporting them once they have commenced an Invisalign treatment plan.
He added: “Many orthodontists will try the system once or twice; won’t get the results they want and revert to fixed appliances. They attribute poor results or failures to the limitations of treating with Invisalign rather than the unfamiliarity of the system.
“This is where a personalised course like EUMAA is priceless. EUMAA’s objective is twofold: it is about marrying together good orthodontic training and someone like Raman Aulakh who deals with ClinCheck all day, and ultimately empowering professionals to use Invisalign to great success.”
Invisalign and complex cases
Addressing the question of the suitability of Invisalign system to treat complex cases, Dr Pilapil advised that the Clinical Specialists at Align Technology are aware that the interpretation of complexity can be different according to the Invisalign provider; and depends on what level they have reached on their Invisalign journey. By understanding their level of experience, the Align Clinical Specialists can provide the appropriate level of support.
After graduation Dr Linehan attended an extra EUMAA study club with Raman Aulakh and has no plans to slow his momentum.
He concludes: “The concept of having a course fronted by clinicians who are totally dedicated, passionate about Invisalign and enthusiastic to share their experience is what has made me believe in the system’s capabilities. And my patients are not complaining either: one recent patient has avoided a tooth extraction, which I wouldn’t have thought possible a year ago. I truly believe the possibilities are endless.
“Align Technology’s recent announcements of both the five millionth patient embarking on Invisalign treatment and reaching the milestone of 127,000 Invisalign-trained dentists, clearly reflects the accelerated adoption of Invisalign treatment.
“My advice to doctors is to take advantage of the whole system, and this means use all the support platforms in place to help you learn and understand what Invisalign can do for you, your patients and your practice. And Raman Aulakh’s personalised style of training and support is ideal for this!”
The next EUMAA course is scheduled for 15th 16th and 17th June 2018 (option 1) and 29th 30th November and 1st December 2018 (option 2).