Dr Louise McGuigan explains the benefits of Invisalign and iTero digital technology
Align Technology introduces an interview series with Irish dentists to help raise awareness of digital dentistry, allowing the doctors to share their experiences and key learnings from the past 18 months. In this interview, Dr Louise McGuigan talks about the ways the Invisalign system and iTero digital scanner helped her thrive during the pandemic.
I am quite a newcomer as far as the Invisalign system is concerned as I only attended a course in June 2019 and I have completely fallen in love with it, it is the best thing ever. It is a lot more minimally invasive, easy to use and helps my patients maintain good oral hygiene.
I don’t have any aligner system to compare it with but the support and customer care from Align Technology is superb. Any time you need anything, you literally get an answer within a couple of minutes. Treating with the Invisalign system can be daunting at the beginning, so it is reassuring and invaluable valuable to have their assistance whenever you need that extra confidence.
Northern Ireland is very different from the rest of the UK in terms of patient awareness of available treatment options. My first cases were practiced on my friends and staff to gain confidence and get some exposure. The more cases you do, the better you get, and the more credible you are amongst patients who can appreciate what you can deliver.
Interestingly, I have found that once patients are facing you, it is not a matter of convincing them to proceed with the treatment. They have already made their mind up by that stage, so it becomes a matter of discovering whether they are suitable for treatment.
Just before lockdown in March 2020, I took the plunge and bought an iTero intraoral scanner as it felt the most natural progression to get the best workflow with the Invisalign system. At the time it was a hard decision as circumstances made me wonder how I would be able to pay for it. But it was actually the best thing I could have done.
I use it for every new patient consultation and everyone gets a scan. The workflow is quick and seamless, and because you can receive the changes to a ClinCheck treatment plan fast, my patients can get into treatments in no time.
The iTero scanner is not just for Invisalign treatments – it is really valuable for so many other treatment modalities, too. It makes you look sleeker as a professional and gives you an edge over other practitioners. I am so happy with the iTero scanner – for me, it has really been a gamechanger.
During lockdown I have asked myself how I would have managed without the Invisalign system and my iTero scanner, and quite frankly I believe I would have really struggled. In fact, I may not be having this interview as it was very much touch and go whether my business would have remained viable. For me, the Invisalign system has been a complete lifeline and I am very glad I did the course a year and a half ago.
The majority of the Invisalign cases I have undertaken have been simple ones but in the last few months, I have been able to work on more moderate cases, as the newer Invisalign Go Plus system helps treat mild to moderate malocclusions with a 26-stage treatment option. It has made such a big difference to be able to provide this for my patients.
I also feel blessed that Align Technology’s clinical support is there whenever I need advice on the feasibility of cases. They are there to guide me, which makes it so easy. They come to the practice or do a virtual chat and support me as little or as much as I need.
I market the treatment through my Instagram page and awareness has improved. Word of mouth is definitely getting stronger with people asking for it. In Belfast, there must be at least ten other Invisalign providers and we all find our own ways of reaching out to patients. My stance is to deliver beautiful smiles and grow in confidence and, as you do more cases, people can see the results and start trusting you more.
I also offer package solutions to provide a more competitive price. I have noticed you can lose people’s interest if you add on costs, so my view is to give one figure and explain that it includes the consultations, the scan, the x-ray, the hygienist visit and the Invisalign treatment – as a single package. My patients see the value for money and appreciate the transparency too.
During the lockdown, I watched a webinar where some dentists in the USA were enthusing about Invisalign Virtual Care. It is a service built into the My Invisalign app and can be used for remote consultations, assessment of treatment progress, and to communicate adjustments or concerns during treatment. I had to choose the right patients for it, but using that additional tool was a massive step forward too.
Align Technology not only means fewer barriers to treatment but also provides options whereby I could avoid chair time, which is precious and expensive. Many dentists still believe that going digital is a gimmicky and expensive gadget to replace impressions. A few months ago, I would have said the same and believed an intraoral scanner to be a waste of money. Now I can categorically say that you quickly reap the benefits.
It helps engage the patients with their treatments, and although they may initially think they have one problem on screen they can often see five or six with their own eyes. They see every angle, inclination and rotation; you can show them exactly what you are talking about and that is invaluable. Not only can you speed up your workflow and improve your diagnostic abilities. Staying analogue makes no sense now, it is so limiting.
The Invisalign system has exponentially affected practice growth. I can confidently say that I have at least doubled my earnings within just a year.
I now want to ensure that my team gets more involved. We all have a role to play. Essentially when everyone is on board, it improves the patient experience and helps the dentist focus on treatments, so it makes the whole process more cost-effective.
I would love to have another Invisalign provider in the practice as we are getting quite busy and that would be a great way of expanding the business. Soon, I hope.
Dr Louise McGuigan qualified in 2014 from Queen’s University Belfast with a distinction on the practice of dentistry. After completing her foundation training year, she moved to Gransha in 2015 to set up her roots. Her special interests are minimally invasive dentistry, cosmetic procedures and facial aesthetics. She has also trained to treat using Invisalign Go and Go Plus systems.
For more information about the Align systems visit www.aligntech.com. To discover more about the Invisalign system or to find an Invisalign doctor in your area, go to www.invisalign.com. For additional information about iTero digital scanning systems, visit www.itero.com.