Skip to content

NEWS

Align

April 18, 2024

Growing patients – Changing expectations: meeting the challenge with digital transformation

The fourth webinar of the 2023 Digital Excellence Series from Align Education took a closer look at treating children and adolescents. Dr. Guy Deeming and Dr. Simonetta Meuli detailed how they approach younger patients, the technology they rely on and why treating them is entirely different from treating adults.

FIG. 1 Dr. Guy Deeming.

Setting the scene for his view on the importance of a digital workflow, Dr. Deeming explained that a large gap now exists between adolescents and middle-aged adults. He stressed that Generation Z (those born between 1997 and the mid-2000s) and Generation Alpha (youngsters born after 2012) are a “visual demographic”, adding: “They want everything on-demand and they want it to adapt to their needs in a very dynamic fashion, and we, as orthodontists and as service providers must try to find a way to embed that visual, on-demand element into their experiences..”

“Being a digitally adept and dynamic organisation that can evolve and recognise the need to change is absolutely essential if we are going to future-proof ourselves for the needs of Generation Alpha and beyond.” This includes using social media to reach younger patients, he stressed, because they look to their contemporaries on social platforms for advice and reviews.

“Half of Gen Z use YouTube to search for opinions and information before they make a purchasing decision. And 40% use TikTok and Instagram in a similar way.. our practices are now on TikTok. 90% of traffic is now coming from mobile phones, with a massive skew towards that younger generation. So, if your services are not accessible via a mobile device in an instant, in that on-demand fashion, you are going to be missing all the opportunities to serve that younger and growing community” said Dr. Deeming.

“If your services are not accessible via a mobile device in an instant, in that on-demand fashion, you are going to be missing all the opportunities to serve that younger and growing community.” 

Technology, he pointed out, offers not only treatment in a form that suits younger patients but also the all-important customer experience. “That’s about virtual care.. it’s about using the different technologies to engage the patients throughout the treatment, monitor their progress with you so they can see how their teeth are moving, so they feel involved and feel like their treatment will be more successful.”

In terms of specific technologies, Dr. Deeming highlighted Invisalign Smile View™, which allows patients to generate their own virtual smile improvements via a selfie. “A tool that builds that hope, excitement and engagement with the process so that the patient can then take that next step.”

“Using technology in front of our patients helps them to feel like we’re part of their world. The next part of that is the Invisalign® Outcome Simulator Pro. Once we have our scans, we can then demonstrate how our skills come into play by modifying that simulation in real time on the iTero scanner to show them the tweaks and the artistry of orthodontic tooth movement to create that excitement.”

Invisalign® Virtual Care allows for effective, efficient interaction throughout the treatment journey “because teenagers don’t want to be inconvenienced.. we can give them that always-on feeling through the app, and we can give our younger patients control over their treatment, through the ability to share and communicate and have interaction directly with your team without always having to go through their parents. Align is now making it so much easier for us to engage our patients in the way they want to be engaged.”

FIG. 2 Dr. Simonetta Meuli.

Interceptive orthodontics with Invisalign First

In her detailed presentation, Dr. Simonetta Meuli explained that she relies heavily on digital tools to support her consultancy work, particularly the iTero Element™ 5D Plus Mobile imaging system, whose Cloud capabilities allow her to work more flexibly, even when travelling. Even more important for younger children, a scan is pain-free.

She favours using interceptive orthodontics incorporating Invisalign First™, which she said has advantages such as reducing the incidence of pre-molar extractions, orthognathic surgery and root reabsorption while increasing the long-term stability of the alignment of the lower incisors. She also stressed that interceptive orthodontics made it unnecessary to solve every issue immediately, instead recommending a concise focus using the digital planning workflow to plan simple procedures, beginning with the upper arch.

Dr. Meuli uses iTero NIRI technology to detect interproximal cavities and the iTero scanner’s SnapShot feature to help patient communication and acceptance of treatment. Echoing Dr Deeming’s views on how teens are the visual generation, she added: “Communication through images has become an important language that can influence people’s minds – transmitting strong emotions.. they are also one of the most powerful means of virtual storytelling.”

Dr. Meuli also stressed the importance of planning using ClinCheck® Pro when embarking on an Invisalign First treatment to enable informed decisions, which she said is particularly relevant for early orthodontic treatment in mixed dentition.

She is also an advocate of monitoring patient progress and underlined what she sees as a responsibility to keep track of young patients’ cases over extended periods as they grow. In conclusion, she said that all patients respond positively to the digital environment, and children in particular, who accept it as “the norm”.

NOTES

*Accuracy Test Methods

For evaluation of the accuracy, two aspects (trueness and precision) were tested respectively employing methods commonly adopted by the industry.

A gypsum dental model was scanned beforehand by an industrial grade scanner to generate a dataset as reference for trueness testing where a single, trained operator used AS 260 to scan the same model for 10 separate times to obtain datasets (all STL formatted).

The datasets were then superimposed to the reference dataset for 3D comparisons to acquire 10 average error values, the mean of which was calculated to describe the trueness.

In terms of precision measurement, pairwise comparisons between the 10 datasets were operated and the average error of each comparison was calculated to generate 45 different values, the mean of which was then used to represent precision.

Introducing our most significant innovation yet—the Midas Digital Press 3D Printer. This groundbreaking device introduces…

Sprintray

Powered by the new iTero Multi-Direct Capture™ technology, the iTero Lumina™ scanner quickly, easily, and accurately captures…

Align Technology

Great success for Congress “Al Lac”, held in a breathtaking 180° view of the Gulf of Lugano…

DDS Switzerland

Biotec, which has been providing simple, smart and state-of-the-art solutions in the surgical and dental field since 1999, has launched Rigenera…

Btk

What if you had more confidence in your diagnosis? Broader treatment options and the chance to expand your business?

Biotech

What if you had more confidence in your diagnosis? Broader treatment options and the chance to expand your business?

Carestream Dental

AS 260 is the latest intraoral scanner model designed and manufactured by Alliedstar™ that features a user-oriented scanning experience…

Align

Zebris JMA-Optic 3.0 – the new dimension of digital temporomandibular joint registration with digital occlusion analysis

Zebris

AS 260 is the latest intraoral scanner model designed and manufactured by Alliedstar™ that features a user-oriented scanning experience…

AlliedStar

DDS is proud to announce that Global Congress 2023 Lectures are available on its e-learning platform…

DDS e-learning