How to Make Your Clear Aligner Systems Profitable
Episode #531 with Allison Lacoursiere
If you think clear aligners are not for your practice, this episode will change your mind! Kirk Behrendt brings back Allison Lacoursiere, founder of Clear Coaching and creator of the Clear Aligner Systemization methodology, to explain why every dentist needs to offer clear aligners and how to create a system for this untapped resource. Don't let opportunities walk out of your office! To learn how you can get started today, listen to Episode 531 of the Best Practices Show!
Develop your clinical confidence.
Get buy-in from your team about clear aligners.
Use your team to educate patients about clear aligners.
Create specific systems that your team is in alignment with.
Say, “Yes, this!” to motivate your team when they do things right.
“The first thing — and this is going to be the foundation of everything you do in your practice with your team and your patients that's going to help you be successful — is your clinical confidence. The more confident that you can be as a provider that you can treat these cases and know exactly how to utilize the software and the mechanics of the aligners, the more profitable you're going to be, but the more aligner cases you're going to do. And so, the first step for any provider is to, one, decide which clear aligner they want to use, and then, two, get the education around how to use it really, really effectively, because your confidence will be the key to your team getting on board and starting to do more cases.” (6:29—7:12)
“I see almost a cavalier approach, like, ‘Eh, I know what to do,’ or the approach of like, ‘If I don't know everything, I won't even start.’ And so, I talk to doctors all the time between those, and both of those ways don't result in the success they want. The good news is, online education and those communities allow for us to be educated so much easier than we use to be. I was the dental assistant that was sneaking into orthodontic lectures — don't tell anybody. I would have the badge of “Doctor” and I would go in, and in the background be writing all my notes because there was nothing online for an orthodontic assistant to understand clear aligners. And now, there are so many options to be able to get that clinical confidence, to have a community that can help answer questions, and to really have that support. If you're stuck with a case, there are so many providers that you can call on to help you with the clinical aspect of it.” (7:31—8:28)
“If you're a doctor that has had a patient ask you these questions, my two solutions for you is, one, don't get defensive by pushing back. Like, ‘Why would I pay you if I can get this for $1,000 online?’ One, don't get defensive. Two, get very empathetic and concerned. So, come from a place of like, ‘Oh, gosh. Yes, I've heard about those aligner companies. I feel so worried about the patients that are actually going through with them because they don't have anybody taking care of them when they're moving teeth through bone. As a doctor, that's something I'm trained to do, and I have taken exceptional, additional training in order to be able to do that. And so, it scares me when patients are getting that treatment and no doctor is watching and overseeing that result because big, big consequences can happen.’ So, come from that place of concern, and then tell them why it’s so much better to see a doctor with this case than getting somebody to mail them their clear aligner cases.” (9:26—10:27)
“There are very few procedures, especially in a general practice, that the doctor does not need to do that is still profitable. And so, when I'm looking at the profitability of any practice that I'm looking at, one of the first questions that I have is, ‘Where is your Invisalign booked and scheduled? Where are your clear aligners booked or scheduled? Show me your schedule.’ And if we have all of those appointments booked in the doctor’s chair and the doctor is the one that's running that, then I know for sure that there's so much opportunity right now to make Invisalign or your clear aligners more profitable.” (11:02—11:39)
“The first step is to engage your team. One, your hygienist, help them understand the language on how to educate their patients on the benefits of moving their teeth into the right position. A lot of times, when I go into a practice and I talk to my hygiene team about putting teeth into the right place, and malocclusion, and the consequences of the chipping, and all of that stuff, that's the part that they resonate with rather than, ‘Hey, we need to talk to our patients about clear aligners.’ We need to help our teams understand why. Why is this part of our practice philosophy? Why is this something that we care about? Why is this something that we want to educate our patients on with consistency? When we can get our hygiene team to understand that, it’s almost like you can't unsee what you've seen when it comes to the possibilities of putting the teeth into the right position, getting them out of malocclusion, and getting your patients healthier. And so, as soon as the hygiene team is bought into that, they're going to talk about clear aligners all the time because they know and understand the true results for the patients and how it’s going to benefit their overall health over time.” (11:41—12:44)
“If your clinical confidence is exactly where it can be and you're super-efficient planning these cases, you have the systems in your practice that are going to support that, and your team is bought in, 30 minutes a case [is what it takes].” (14:02—14:14)
“The range of what people charge is anywhere from $3,500 to $8,000 for an orthodontic case. So, 30 minutes for $3,500 to $8,000, that's a pretty good deal when it comes to being in dentistry, I would say.” (14:30—14:45)
“[Clear aligners are] one of those procedures that patients come in and they're like, ‘I want this. I want it.’ They're not coming in asking for a root canal. They're not coming in asking for a crown in their lower molar. They're coming in asking for clear aligners and things that are going to help them be healthier and have a more beautiful smile.” (15:15—15:31)
“Your hygiene team is so critical because they're going to be the educators day in and day out. They're the ones that are teaching the patients every single day. But then, your dental assistants are a huge asset to this as well. And, of course, depending on your location, what your dental assistant is allowed to do in your state or province matters. But they can be the ones that are having that initial consult. They are the ones that are taking all the initial records. They are the ones that are bonding. They are the ones that are doing the aligner checks. And they are the ones that are helping the doc literally step into the room and confirm that everything looks good, based on their training and ability to know what “good” looks like.” (15:46—16:22)
“When I was dental assisting and I was the ortho assistant, I had 20 patients a day. My doc would be dragged into the room, check a few things here and there, and get his way out to go back and do his restorative dentistry. So, it’s so powerful. You can have a complete ortho chair that you're not running. That's another team thing that you need to know is possible for you within your clear aligner world.” (16:24—16:46)
“I got bored of clinical dental assisting when I was in my practicum. I was like, ‘Oh, gosh. How am I going to get through this?’ And as soon as I got the tools to be able to educate patients and talk to patients confidently, to run the clear aligner systems, it kept me in clinical practice for a decade — a decade. And I loved it. I still love it. And I see this transformation in dental teams all the time where they go from feeling not super engaged in what's going on to being a partner in the restorative aspect. And so, it’s exciting for dental teams to be re-engaged, which I think we can agree, collectively, at this point in the world, needs to happen right now. We’re seeing a lot of team members disengaged, and I think that clear aligners are one of those ways that we can empower our team members to run that process. It can keep a lot of team members in practice with joy while increasing productivity in your practice, decreasing stress for the doctor, and increasing patient care.” (17:17—18:12)
“Create specific systems in your practice. Make sure that everyone in your team [knows] this is a team approach, this is a team procedure. Everyone has a touchpoint when it comes to the clear aligner systems. And so, create systems that are very clear for every person in your practice so that everyone knows who is doing what, when, and how. So, when is your office manager calling the insurance company to find out what coverage they have for the clear aligners? How are they talking about it when a patient calls on the phone and says, ‘How much are your clear aligners?’ How are they answering that? Make that a system. How are you scheduling them in your practice, and when? The secret answer is no more than 48 hours. Make sure you bring people that call into your practice within 48 hours because that's when they're most excited to say yes.” (19:15—19:59)
“You want to have a total goal within your practice. Like, what are we trying to do? Who are we talking to? Who is a candidate for clear aligners? Have a goal in your practice so that your whole team can work towards it. And it creates almost a culture of celebration because everyone is involved.” (20:00—20:16)
“Create videos in your practice. So, if you have a doc teaching a team member how to do anything, take your camera out, video him or her doing it, and put it into an online video platform so that your team can have video content in your practice. You don't have to keep saying the same things over and over again if you get a new team member.’ (20:57—21:15)
“It starts with buy-in from the team. If the doc is like, ‘Guys, we just need to slam our schedule,’ and they're like, ‘But why?’ that's going to be a tough sell for the team. So, make sure there's buy-in from the team. Help them understand why this is important, why we want to do it, and then, at the beginning of the day, in your morning huddle, ask the question, ‘If we get somebody that's interested in clear aligners, where do we want to put them today?’ And I promise you, your team will be able to find somewhere. They will be able to find somewhere. If they're motivated to do it, they understand the why, and you guys have a goal as a practice, and you're saying every day, ‘Where are we going to put that clear aligner patient if we get that call?’ they’ll be able to find a place. You don't want to have the front desk just shove somebody in there and hope that's okay. We want it to be an agreement with the team.” (21:54—22:35)
“When you have a goal, everyone is running the exact same race. In fact, they're pulling each other along. They're helping each other. That's the beauty of it, is that you have every single person bought in to the same mission. And sometimes, our practices are like, ‘That's so expensive,’ or, ‘How do I afford that?’ But there are a lot of ways that we can create a goal with an incentive for a team that doesn't have to be hugely monetary, or even monetary at all. In fact, a lot of times, when you look at the data of the reasons why team members leave practices, number one is not money, it’s not feeling valued. That's the reason that they leave. And so, when we reverse-engineer that to solve for that problem and want them to do more of what we’re hoping for, we actually value them more for the things that they're doing.” (23:10—23:57)
“How can you set a goal that has a result in helping your team feel more valued and seen for the work that they’ve done? That's the way that we set a goal. And the power of it, when I see teams come together, anything is possible. It is so exciting.” (23:57—24:11)
“I would start with five cases a month. Try starting with that. Hit that goal, crush it, and then go to seven the next month. And then, start to increase from there. Let your team have that benchmark, let them hit it, celebrate, and then make it bigger. Continue to do that and continue to acknowledge the team for what they're doing in order to achieve those goals.” (24:31—24:53)
“When you start to see your team do some of the things that you want them to do, there are two words that you can say to make them do more of it: yes, this. So, let's say I was like, ‘Kirk, I want you to start to scan some of your patients and educate them on the effects of malocclusion and their opportunities to correct this with clear aligners,’ and you're like, ‘Okay, doc. Got it.’ And I see you the next day scanning a patient. That moment is so critical in that team behavior for me to be like, ‘Yes, Kirk! This! This is exactly what we were talking about!’ Isolating those moments, that's going to help your team do more of what you want them to do. And it’s two words: yes, this. It will change the way that your team is motivated.” (25:52—26:34)
“Clear aligners enable practices to create a culture of celebration because everyone is involved. Everyone gets to see their result, the patient is excited, the team can be excited, and it’s something that can be a really, really beautiful commonality between everyone on the team. I have seen shifts in practices that I'm coaching that have created this beautiful culture of celebration based on their clear aligner goals. So, the connection is so real. It’s amazing.” (27:13—27:38)
“After a patient has said yes to clear aligners, the likelihood of them starting to pay more attention to their teeth, care about their oral health even more — they’ve just made this investment in themselves, in their mouth. At the end of treatment, this is an amazing time to discuss any anterior wear that needs to get built back up, any implants that need to get placed. Finish taking care of this patient. What I've seen with this is that those patients are more likely to say yes to those treatments because they’ve already invested in themselves, their oral health, and they know the value of it. They’ve seen the results and they're ready to finish off their mouth, their health, because they already trust you and they’ve had such a great experience with the clear aligners.” (27:53—28:35)
“Don't underestimate the power of being able to create treatment plans during and after the clear aligner process for patients that you may assume wouldn't have said yes to these things before. I started to track the treatment plan acceptance after Invisalign or after clear aligners, and it’s massive. Those patients are way more likely to say yes. That, I think, is a beautiful opportunity to keep in your back pocket as you're getting through these cases and finishing them.” (28:37—29:06)
“This is something that you can change immediately. A lot of doctors I talk to have this goal of doing more clear aligners. And I want you to know that wherever you are right now in that journey, you can start to do more immediately. You can change your perspective. Listen to this podcast, and go back into your practice, and tell your team, ‘Hey, guys. Let's set a goal for clear aligners. Let's talk about this. What questions do you have about it?’ It’s something that can be changed very quickly with intentionality. And remember, there are so many places that you can get that clinical confidence, if that's what's holding you back. And as a reminder, you're not dumping more on your team with this. You're actually empowering them to have a more enjoyable experience in your practice. So, these are common reasons why docs might think like, ‘Ugh, it’s not for me,’ or, ‘It’s not the time.’ But you really can make the shift very quickly and easily, and the benefits and the results are huge.” (29:46—30:41)
1:56 Allison’s background.
4:04 The state of clear aligners today.
6:04 Where to start with clear aligners.
7:12 Get advanced education in clear aligners.
8:29 How to effectively respond to patients’ questions.
10:50 Utilize your team.
13:26 What 30 minutes will get you.
14:45 Patients want clear aligners.
15:32 Your hygiene team is critical.
16:51 Empower your team to change your patients’ lives.
19:04 Make specific systems.
21:17 Get buy-in from your team.
22:36 Set specific goals for your team.
25:40 Two words to help motivate your team.
26:50 Clear aligners create a culture of celebration.
27:41 Create treatment plans during and after the clear aligner process.
29:38 Last thoughts on making the aligner system profitable.
30:43 How Allison can help you, and how to get in touch.
Allison Lacoursiere, RDA, OA, CPC, ELI-MP Bio:
Innovator Allison Lacoursiere, RDA, OA, CPC, ELI-MP, is the creator of the Clear Aligner Systemization methodology. Allison helps dentists and teams streamline efficiencies to increase both patient and practice satisfaction and health.
A native Canadian, Allison moved to Bermuda at the age of 19 to work as a dental assistant and to seek adventure and try something new. She incorporated a system in that practice which generated $80K a month in clear aligner production.
With over a decade of dental practice experience, Allison is a sought-after mentor and speaker. She helps dental teams improve culture, increase production, and grow into their full potential. She is certified through International Professional Excellence in Coaching and is a member of the International Coaches Federation. Allison is a member of Toastmasters International and has trained with Dale Carnegie Speaking Institution. She is a Certified Transformational Trainer through LionSpeak.
Allison is passionate about fitness and wellness. She is an active team member and competitor on the Bermuda National Beach Volleyball Team. Allison is also a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Her passion lies in empowering individuals to achieve their ultimate potential and life satisfaction.