Ask A Doctor: How Do I Get Started With Clear Aligners?

One of the best advantages of Motto™ clear aligners—aside from the fact that they cost 50% less than Invisalign1—is that you have an Aspen Dental doctor to help guide you through the whole treatment process. We asked our very own Dr. Wasil Malichin (Bolingbrook, IL) to share what it’s like to start Motto treatment, the types of cases he sees most, and what patients can do to maximize great results on their way to a more beautiful smile.

Motto: What is your first meeting with a potential Motto patient like? Which questions do they ask? 

“I like to start an exam with a general rapport-building conversation and form that personal connection.”

Dr. Malichin: The first meeting usually occurs as part of the new patient exam. During the exam, the patient will go through a series of diagnostic procedures such as x-rays & scans. After the initial procedures are over, my hygienist will go in and examine the patient’s gingival health including the bone levels.

Additionally, my hygienist will look out for the 3 basics: Crowding, Bite & Spacing (CBS). Depending on what we find, my hygienist may start a conversation about clear aligner therapy.

Subsequently, during handoff, my hygienist will briefly walk me through the findings of her exam, including the fact that clear aligners were discussed. I like to start a patient consult with a general rapport-building conversation and form that personal connection after which I tend to steer the conversation towards:

  • What brings you in?
  • What do you like about your smile or what do you not like about your smile?
  • In a perfect world, what would you want your smile to be?

If a patient indicates any interest at this point, I will thoroughly walk the patient through the simulator AI, which helps the patient visualize that their bite may actually be less than optimal. This can explain an array of dental abnormalities such as TMJ problems, excessive wear and tear, and others.

Motto: What types of cases do you see most often? What are patients most concerned about?

Dr. Malichin: The most common case that my practice sees is a patient in their mid-30s to early-40s that may have had orthodontic therapy in their early to late teenage years but has not been compliant with wearing their retainer as directed. Cases of this difficulty level are usually very straightforward and can be treated in a timely manner with minimal risk to the patient or the provider. The majority of my patients are concerned about their appearance, whether that may be a shifted midline (in other words, the line between your upper front teeth and your lower front teeth) or a tooth that has fallen out of alignment and visually protrudes.

Motto: How do you determine what their treatment plan will be and how long it will last?

Dr. Malichin: At my practice, we usually stick to a general treatment timeframe estimate of 6 to 12 months depending on the severity of the case. The patient is aware that with good compliance a shorter treatment timeframe can be achieved. But at the same time, the patient is also aware that the treatment timeframe may extend due to non-compliance (i.e., less than optimal retainer wear).

Motto: What expectations do you set for patients and what they need to do in their treatment plan?

Dr. Malichin:

  1. Hygiene Compliance – the patient has to be aware that poor hygiene will lead to an increased risk of cavities.
  2. Compliance requirements – 22 hours of wear time per day/every day of the week – NO EXCEPTIONS – the patient is aware that anything less may lead to additional treatment and cost.
  3. Realistic expectations – for example, if the patient is missing some of their teeth, the expectation will be set that their bite will improve using clear aligners. Treatment will also create space for subsequent restorative treatment such as an implant, a bridge or partials.

Motto: What is the most important thing you like to communicate to patients who are considering clear aligners treatment?

Dr. Malichin: Compliance requirements, as well as realistic expectations. If you do not wear your retainers you will not see the desired results. You may be able to say that you are doing clear aligner therapy but if the trays are sitting on your nightstand, they will not move your teeth appropriately.

Meet your new smile

An Aspen Dental dentist like Dr. Malichin is ready and waiting to help get you started on Motto clear aligners at a practice near you. So, schedule a visit today.


¹If patient selects MottoEssential package. The average price of Invisalign is about $5,040.

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