I hope you are having a good week.
I have a ghost writer who has a soap box that he wants to stand on.
It is a bit long so I will not write anything about me.
Except GO MAGIC (I went to the game last night. I will tell you about it on Friday).
Here is a scenario; an major implant company representative walks into your office and smiles. He/She proceed to inform you that they have great news and have instituted a few new policies to make you and the implants you place better! Sounds great right, well here comes the kicker. They proceed to tell you that you will have to attend place and/or restore ten implants a year or they will no longer let you buy their products!
Why stop there, how about the endo rotary file representative that tells you that to continue to be able to purchase their files you must submit endo cases that you have completed with their system on a yearly basis to continue to purchase their system.
How well would that go over in your office? This is preposterous scenario and would never happen correct! Think Again!
Essentially, that is what Align Technologies, parent company of Invisalign has done. They sent out and placed a letter (see their web site) requiring 10 cases to be completed per year and 10 Invisalign approved CE classes a year in order to maintain your Invisalign account in an active status.
This has all been done under the disguise that it is to better the doctor and assure that the patient is protected and has a well trained provider. You must first take the Clear Essentials certification course prior to being certified and this “supposedly” made you trained enough to treat cases. This has been the only certification process to begin Invisalign for some time now. I guess they have now determined I am not “trained” or “qualified enough” to treat patients. I “feel horrible” (wink wink) now for all this time putting my patients at risk not knowing what I was doing. I have been told in the past by others (4-5 years ago) that all it took was letting the Invisalign representative buy you lunch and you were certified. Oh how things have changed.
I am a member of the AGD and do not get me wrong I am all for continuing to improve yourself and your skills via continuing education but to have a company mandate what I have to do seems a little extreme.
The last time I recall having clinical requirements was in residency and dental school. I checked in my home state and once you have met the requirements for a dental license you do not have to do clinical requirements except for continuing education. One of my local oral surgeon buddies commented that once he has meet the initial requirements (clinical) cases for IV sedation he did not have to continue to submit cases after other than anesthesia CE. I would think the complications and risks involved with IV sedation far out weigh the risks with Invisalign.
The goals Align are seeking could and should be achieved via CE and hands on CE. Continuing education is acceptable enough for every other phase of dentistry and to maintain a state dental lisc. then why not for Invisalign.
My suspicion is that during a down economy this is an attempt to force practitioners (general and specialist) to “sell” more cases to patients. Based on my experience with Align I would be shocked if they had not run statistics on how much increased profit they would achieve by forcing ten cases per provider and factor in how many providers would be pushed out of the company. Align has had requirements for case submissions in order to be listed on their web site to encourage doctors’ to complete cases. This latest round of requirements is just another poor attempt to push and promote Invisalign.
Others have said that this is in collaboration with orthodontist specialist interest groups to limit the general dentist’s role in orthodontics. This could be possible, but from my experience local orthodontist have encouraged my use of Invisalign. They have been more than happy to help if I had any questions with the cases I was treating.
I understand that Align is a company and reserves the right to limit their product to whom they chose and impose rules on whom they provide it to. However, with Align currently the only provider of this system it is unfortunate they have taken this stance. We as dentists also have the right to let Align know that we disagree with the requirements.
What about the small offices and dentist in remote isolated areas that want to provide this service to their patients but might not have the patient flow to meet Invisalign requirements. I guess Align is telling them tough luck you will just have to refer everything out even if that is not convenient for the patient.
I believe that the biggest and most important thing a provider can do is know their limits and select cases based on comfort level and training. I do non complex and simple cases. That is all I want to do. If I want to increase my knowledge and do more challenging cases then great but right now I have treated several patients and have had few issues and all were minor and have enjoyed treating the patients with Invisalign. Invisalign is just a small part of my practice and was never intended to be a large role in my practice.
I strongly feel that this was not done primarily for the patients benefit and the doctors’ improvement and more for the increase in profits and benefit of the share holders.
This is a poor decision that if successful could encourage more companies in dentistry to follow suite seriously jeopardizing dentist autonomy to provide care.
Very well done ghost writer.
I have an opinion and I am sure you do to....so lets hear it.
If I get enough comments maybe I will post them all on Friday.
Have a great hump day.