The benefits of AI-assisted monitoring for clear aligners

Dr Jan Einfeldt explains the benefits of Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for him, his practice and his patients.

What is Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for those unfamiliar with it?

Virtual Care 3.0 is the latest software from Align Technology and is an intrinsic part of the Align Digital Platform.

It allows where the patient takes pictures on their own smartphone. Those pictures are then assessed by artificial intelligence and the dentist, and will send notifications to the dentist if either teeth are not tracking or if the patient is not compliant.

How does it differ from the original Invisalign Virtual Care resource?

Invisalign Virtual Care 3.0 has evolved from more manual steps required to allow more automated and AI-assisted monitoring of the patient where the dentist is in full control of when they think a case may require intervention.

What are the benefits of harnessing Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for you specifically?

For me, as a dentist, the benefits include the very close monitoring of the patient’s progress. I will also get alerts from the AI if there’s any gaps developing between the aligner and the teeth, where I have set the parameters.

This also means that I have an amazing compliance measurement tool, which gives me a very strong indication of where there may be a lack of compliance by a patient. It also helps me to monitor their treatment progress.

What are the benefits of harnessing Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for your patients?

The benefits of Invisalign Virtual Care 3.0 from the patient’s perspective, is that it gives them ownership and responsibility for the progress of their own case.

The patient is responsible for wearing the aligners and is encouraged by the weekly request for sharing pictures. As a result, the compliance is actually encouraged this way.

What are the benefits of harnessing Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for your practice?

The benefit from our practice perspective is that it saves us in-clinic time and therefore saves us costs and resources without lowering the standard of care.

As a business, this lets me focus on the patients that do require a practice visit and corrections. Our patients really appreciate that we are very respectful of the time and the patients that are tracking well do not need to come to the practice.

How have you made Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 for your practice?

At the beginning, I only treated a few patients with Invisalign Virtual Care, but very quickly I realised the potential and the benefits for both the patient, the dentist and the practice.

Very soon, I started remote monitoring every single patient with Invisalign Virtual Care. I tell the patient at the consultation stage that they will be remote monitored and this helps with compliance.

It can reduce the treatment time for the patient and avoid extra costs due to low compliance.

Why is Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 beneficial when managing patients?

During the treatment, we can closely monitor if any tracking issues occur. It’s almost funny that patients rarely ever tell us if they’ve lost an aligner – it’s even happened to myself in my own treatment, I’ve lost an aligner. Patients rarely seem to call us and say: ‘I’ve lost an aligner.’

But we can see it on the photo stages that they go five, six, seven, eight and 10 – and suddenly there’s a gap appearing between the aligner and the teeth. So we have an idea that they’ve probably lost an aligner somewhere. That is, of course, due to the patient’s compliance.

What are the benefits of using Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0 as part of the Align digital workflow?

When you treat that many patients with Invisalign aligners simultaneously, it’s very important that we know where to focus our time and efforts without reducing the standard of care for any of them. We want to focus our time and efforts on the patients that need assistance and not waste time for patients that are tracking well.

I love the photo library that the Invisalign Virtual Care creates. It helps me to learn from my own cases – how I can reflect and learn from what went well, and what could I change next time, especially when I’m also teaching dentists about aligner-based orthodontics.

How to you educate patients to increase their engagement and compliance to use Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0?

Invisalign Virtual Care 3.0 integrates with the My Invisalign app, and makes it easier to use with AI-guided photo capture instructions. The patient receives messages with guide information to comply as well as automated or, if required, tailored messages that we can set up as templates.

Or, if the dentist wishes, they can write a fully individual response to the patient. These messages are sent to the patient via text and email.

How would you feel if you had to practise without Invisalign Virtual Care AI 3.0?

If I suddenly couldn’t use Invisalign Virtual Care 3.0, I would suddenly have to do a lot more manual steps. I would have to spend a lot more in-clinic time with a patient, and it would reduce the efficiency for us. We would not be able to treat as many patients as we are seeing right now.

I can give you an example. I treated a young lady several years ago, way before Invisalign Virtual Care was even available. She wanted teeth straightening, but because she worked on a cruise ship, she was only able to come to a practice every six months. That meant that we couldn’t do fixed braces for and she chose Invisalign treatment.

Now, we made sure that she was very, very compliant and she knew that it was important that she wore her aligners. With that we actually managed to treat her really well remotely.

But that really opened up my mind to the fact that you can actually treat patients with aligners without them coming to the practice so often. So a treatment was completed and she was happy with the outcome.

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