A ‘cookbook’ approach to straightening teeth

We speak to Jan Einfeldt, Six Month Smiles clinical instructor, to find out why he would recommend Six Month Smiles.

Dentistry.co.uk: Why did you choose to offer short-term orthodontics at your practice?

Jan Einfeldt (JE): I was doing a lot of restorative dentistry, but sometimes I just could not restore around the problem, which was the tooth position that was the issue.

I realised when I referred patients for comprehensive orthodontics, a lot of patients wouldn’t take up the treatment. They would ask whether I could do it, or something similar. I realised sometimes I just needed a minor change just to get better cosmetic options for the patient. That’s how I started doing short-term orthodontics.

Dentistry.co.uk: What made you choose Six Month Smiles?

JE: I was actually using aligners before I used Six Month Smiles. I was getting frustrated that certain treatments could take a long time. Certain tooth positions just took forever to change and I felt I had very little control.

With Six Month Smiles, because it’s a fixed bracket system, I made these corrections myself. I had more control, I could make certain tooth movements in a shorter period of time than I could with aligners.

Dentistry.co.uk: What has your experience with Six Month Smiles been like?

JE: Patients are very grateful for the combination of shorter treatment times and cosmetic braces. Most people say they don’t want fixed braces, it looks horrible. Then I show them Six Month Smiles and they think: ‘I can wear that’, especially if they only have to wear it for a short amount of time.

I still give patients the options of fixed and removable braces and let the patient decide which one they prefer.

Dentistry.co.uk: What’s the support like from Six Month Smiles?

JE: Great support, but maybe I’m biased because I provide it myself, I’m one of the clinical instructors. However, I also base this on feedback I get from seminars where attendees comment on the support from Six Month Smiles compared to other companies.

There’s an online forum, so people can get help with their questions. When I started out, I needed support and I had the support given at the time. Now I’m in a position where I actually support other dentists as well.

Dentistry.co.uk: Are the results predictable?

JE: They are, especially now we have the digital plan, Confidex. That actually gives the dentists a preview of what the teeth are going to look like, which is great for both the dentist and for the patient.

Confidex was introduced a couple of years ago now and that’s made a big difference. Dentists and patients can see what the final result is going to look like and the dentists have a ‘cookbook’ approach of what they need to do next.

Because the braces are fixed, the patient can’t take them off. With aligners, patients can take them out, but sometimes forget to put them back in again. In terms of predictability, the system is great providing the dentist does what they’re supposed to do in their plans. Sometimes when teeth aren’t tracking the way we expect them to, that’s where the forum comes in and the dentist can upload pictures to ask questions for help.

Dentistry.co.uk: Would you recommend Six Month Smiles?

JE: I’d certainly recommend it, however, importantly, I let the patient know which options they have in terms of goals (cosmetic or comprehensive orthodontics) and which systems we can use to achieve that (fixed or removable).

We believe the gold standard is comprehensive teeth straightening, but we also explain how long it’s going to take, the cost etc and then we let the patient choose. So many times, the patient says they don’t want to wear braces for such a long time, then we give them the options and they choose the cosmetic teeth straightening with Six Month Smiles or aligners.

I don’t want the patient to wear braces they’re not going to be happy with. I really want the patient to own that decision and the commitment to wear the braces correctly.

Dentistry.co.uk: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

JE: The only thing I would add is that all orthodontic systems have come a long way now. There’s so much support available for the dentists who are thinking of offering orthodontics to their patients. With the digital planning, the forum support, these are systems designed for general dentists (you do not have to be a specialist) to start and help their own patients.

Some patients will just not go anywhere else. They would rather do nothing than be referred to another dentist.

We also know where to draw the line with Six Month Smiles. We know when to tell the patient or dentists if a case is not suitable for Six Month Smiles. We’re very clear with that. It’s all for the benefit of the patient and the dentist. However, often it’s a question of a case being a bit more complex, but can still be treated with Six Month Smiles. This is where the ‘complexity index’ is very helpful for dentists to see how complex a case is before they treat.

For more information visit www.6monthsmiles.com.

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