Invisalign has announced that they have recently provided aligners for their 5 millionth patient. This is an incredible achievement particularly considering it wasn’t that long ago when they announced their 4 millionth patient. The growth in this orthodontic product can no doubt be attributed in part to excellent consumer marketing, high brand awareness amongst potential patients and the successful differentiation of their products in the marketplace for ‘braces’.

This article is not about discussing the merits of Invisalign aligners to treat orthodontic patients, their efficiency or suitability for various types of treatment but focusses on whether you should consider offering Invisalign in your practice to attract new patients.

If you already provide Invisalign, you would have your own thoughts on the product and the impact it has on your practice to attract new business but if you do not, is this something you need to start thinking about? Let’s start looking at this from the patient perspective. As a prospective orthodontic patient wanting to get straighter teeth, I’m likely to undertake some research to find out what the options are and more importantly what it’s likely to cost me. If I’m already aware of Invisalign from consumer marketing and I lived in Exeter, I’m likely to start my Google search by typing in something like ‘Invisalign Exeter’ and the results that come back will point me in the direction of some potential providers. It’s important to note you do not actually have to provide Invisalign in your practice to appear in the search results (and that’s a whole new topic) but there needs to be some content on your website relevant to the search so that it will appear.

When thinking about attracting new patients, give some thought to what the patient might be searching for and undertake some research as if you were the patient. How well did your site rank for the search terms used?

The second item to consider is that if you do offer Invisalign, you are more likely to be able to engage with the prospective patient on a number of topics they are likely to easily understand. In the absence of an expert knowledge on the merits of different orthodontic systems, patients will inevitably understand price and this is something you can use to promote a conversation. Invisalign offers a number of different products so if initially price is a motivating or differentiating factor for the patient, you can start the conversation there and then move on to treatment outcomes and suitability.

Does it all come down to price?

Although important, the price is just part of the cost/benefits conversation you need to be holding with the patient. If you do not steer this conversation, there is a risk they will jump to their own conclusions and make a decision based on incomplete knowledge and in doing so may seek to differentiate competing practices based on price alone. This can promote a ‘race to the bottom’ which is not a healthy state for specialist dentistry.

Whilst there are many benefits to removable aligners, there are also some disadvantages as well and these may not be apparent to the patient unless highlighted to them and discussed. An example of this can include compliance with the need to wear their aligners for the recommended period each day and the potential impact this may have on their lifestyle. In doing so, the patient is likely to feel more engaged with you and a relationship based on unbiased opinion and trust starts to form. This will put you at a competitive advantage to those who may offer a limited range of treatment options or who overly emphasise the advantages of one system leading to a feeling of misplaced trust should the treatment outcomes not be realised.

If you do not already offer Invisalign or other aligner solutions, from a marketing and patient engagement perspective, maybe this is something you need to give some serious thought to going forward. It will certainly make you think about your offer to prospective patients and in doing so, may also make you question the approach you take to developing your practice.