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663: How to Make Clear Aligners Profitable - Allison LaCoursiere

Whether you offer clear aligners in your practice or you’ve been thinking about it, Allison LaCoursiere has tips on how to bring them into your practice efficiently, get your patients to overcome cost barriers and how to make it profitable. Learn more in Episode 663 of The Best Practices Show!

Episode Resources:

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Aligner Bootcamp

Clear Aligner Coaching

Main Takeaways:

Dentistry went through a big shift during the pandemic. 

Patients are more educated about clear aligners. You, as a dentist, need to be as well. 

Don’t “kind of” do aligners. Go all in or it can be a big waste of your time. 

Partner with your orthodontist and you will both benefit. 

Educate your patients on the importance of teeth retention. 

Attach a value along with the cost of the aligners, so patients can overcome cost barriers. 

Clear aligners should be a team effort with minimal support from the doctor. 


“Dentistry has continued to change and evolve and partially during the pandemic I think we saw a big shift. But there is something that’s happening, especially as it relates to social media, to marketing, to digital technology where patients are getting almost an inside perspective of our practices. They get to see more. They get to understand dentistry better because we are talking about it in different ways on social media, online, YouTube, all of these places. And so first of all patients want clear aligners. They want that beautiful smile. They can see it as an option now…Patients are knowing more now and they know they want clear aligners. Partially because the aligner companies have done such a good job making it understandable to the modern day consumer. So that’s reason #1. Reason #2 comprehensive treatment planning. If we can put the teeth in the right position before we place implants, bridges, crowns, we are doing better for our patients…The third one: it can be highly profitable.” - Allison (3:31—4:36)

“[Aligners are] something that [patients] want, so as a general dentist being able to offer something like this to them is really really powerful.” - Allison (5:21—5:26)

“If you want to do clear aligners, don’t dip your toe in. Don’t kind of do it….otherwise it can be a big waste of your time. Go all in. Know how to use the software, whatever software you choose to know. Know how to use the treatment planning and implement it across your entire team so that your team knows why you’re doing this. Go all in. The second thing is clear aligners are a team drive procedure meaning they don’t go in your productive chair. They don’t need a lot of doctor time. And so if you’re here sitting here listening to this podcast and you’re like ‘wait a minute, clear aligners are taking up a lot of my chair time’, that’s a problem. So get them out of your chair and into your team’s chair and get your team to run the system.” - Allison (5:44—6:33)

“Your orthodontist will be excited because when you start screening every single one of your patients for orthodontic treatment you’re going to refer more because you’ll see more…and you’ll want to refer…be open and honest with your Orthodontist. “Hey we’re offering clear aligners in our practice. I may need your help on a couple of cases, but I’m still going to be referring the cases I’m not confident doing to you.” - Allison (8:05—8:56)

“I think the language around retention needs to change. And we’re going to have it. Patients are not compliant with their retainers. They’re going to be super disciplined for a couple of years and maybe drop off…we don’t take that on. We are educating them on your teeth are going to constantly move over the course of your life…we want to be able to protect your arch with arch height and holding it in place with a retainer. That’s your job for the rest of your life to have a retainer and then they still don’t do it? We don’t have to feel guilty about that. We have done the process.” - Allison (9:38—10:09)

“I think we have to remember our patients are going to pay for what they want…We have to do what we do best which is treatment plan and educate and offer a reasonable, flexible payment option for our patients…One of the biggest mistakes I see practices make is the assumption is that patients are not going to want it or pay for it…It’s our job to educate patients on the consequences, the risk, the factors over time. ‘If we leave your teeth like this, what is going to happen? If we move your teeth into the right position, what is going to happen?’ And that’s our job. It’s not our job to assume what our patients are going to pay. How much they rely on their insurance or not. We have to let that go and just do dentistry.” - Allison (12:13—13:13)

“[The confidence of the person discussing the money] is make or break when it comes to the success of clear aligners in your practice. And what many practices do is they take it on as if they decide if the patients are the ones that are going to choose to start or not. Assume they are going to. Assume they will start. Assume that they find this valuable and important. When I ask people ‘Why do you think patients say no?’ They say ‘Money’ That’s a part of it for sure, but the other two factors are trust in you and your entire practice and value. Do they value what you just gave them? There is a reason you said yes and so when we can attach the money to the value that is when patients will be like “I totally understand. I’m going to do this.’” - Allison (13:56—14:39)

“Our relationship with the patient starts online and more and more than ever our patients are looking into us. They are researching us. They are trying to see who we are. How we can help them. So we must have [what we offer] on our website. We must have it on our social media. And not just one time. Many times. Marketing is not doing something different each day. It’s saying the same thing in different ways. So don’t be afraid to be repetitive. Make sure it’s in your waiting room. Make sure its in the operatory. Be so obvious with the fact that you do clear aligners. You’re not being pushy. You’re not being salesy. You’re just showing them it’s an option in your practice.” - Allison (15:59—16:35)

“Digital technology is changing dentistry. It’s changing what patients know could be true for them and seeing is believing. So if you have a digital scanner and you feel like maybe you’re not utilizing it enough or you don’t have a digital scanner. When I was in clinic it was the one tool that completely changed the game for our practice. We started scanning every single new patient and we’d literally be like ‘Look, what do you see? Let’s look at this.’ And it creates this buy in that I’ve never seen with patients before…and especially with the millennial population which is the largest cohort of purchasers and decision-makers the world has ever seen, coming into your practice. They’re constantly looking at themselves on camera. So if you can show them this is what your teeth will look like using the digital software on your scanner, you’re 10 steps ahead.” - Allison (17:19—18:15)

“Get super efficient with the Clincheck technology. And you get to do the same thing again and again with every case, there are ways to make it super super simple and streamlined. The second thing is your are spending too much time, you as a dentist, on the case. You must have your team be an ortho-assistant for you. So they’re doing the scanning. They’re doing the treatment case presentation. They’re doing the aligner checks. They’re doing the bonding and debonding. This is not a doctor procedure and it’s the one procedure that we can add to our practice that won’t take up more time. And then I would say inefficiency in the systems. With clear aligners, everyone needs to know who is doing what when and how more than a lot of other procedures because it can touch a lot of hands and so you have to be very very systemized with it. And then also just look at your pricing. We know what the average bill is. We know the average cost of chair time. We know what our marketing budget is. Run a P&L just on your clear aligners and see how much this is actually costing me. What do I need to charge? What is my average profit per case? And it will give you an idea of when you’re running promotions or you’re doing more, what that actually looks like.” - Allison (18:56—20:12)

“It’s just going to continue to grow and I think one of the things that really motivates me about this is just our ability to set up our cases better. So if we are placing an implant, if we are placing anything permanent in our patient’s mouth, the question we ask ourselves is could we put our teeth in a better position first? And the reality is, with more information that our patients are getting they can understand more about dentistry, they’re going to expect more from you…I can see this trend where straight, white teeth is the norm. People want that. It’s all over social media.” - Allison (22:54—23:39)

“If this feels daunting to you to add this entire procedure, I know a lot of times general dentists say ‘You know we didn’t get enough coursework in school for me to be confident about this.’ There are so many opportunities for education online. You can figure this out very quickly and easily and it can be a really beautiful part of your practice.” - Allison (24:12—24:32)


0:00 Introduction.

3:26 Why clear aligners are becoming more popular. 

5:26 How to start integrating aligners into your practice. 

7:56 Work with your orthodontist.

11:41 Making it profitable. 

13:26 Overcoming cost barriers. 

17:16 Using digital technology to recruit more patients. 

18:26 Get more efficient with how you’re using clear aligners in your practice. 

22:54 The future of the industry. 

24:06 Final thoughts. 

Allison Lacoursiere, RDA, OA, CPC, ELI-MP Bio:

Innovator Allison Lacoursiere, RDA, OA, CPC, ELI-MP, is the creator of the Clear Aligner Systemization methodology. Allison helps dentists and teams streamline efficiencies to increase both patient and practice satisfaction and health.

A native Canadian, Allison moved to Bermuda at the age of 19 to work as a dental assistant and to seek adventure and try something new. She incorporated a system in that practice which generated $80K a month in clear aligner production.

With over a decade of dental practice experience, Allison is a sought-after mentor and speaker. She helps dental teams improve culture, increase production, and grow into their full potential. She is certified through International Professional Excellence in Coaching and is a member of the International Coaches Federation. Allison is a member of Toastmasters International and has trained with Dale Carnegie Speaking Institution. She is a Certified Transformational Trainer through LionSpeak.

Allison is passionate about fitness and wellness. She is an active team member and competitor on the Bermuda National Beach Volleyball Team. Allison is also a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Her passion lies in empowering individuals to achieve their ultimate potential and life satisfaction. 

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Kirk Behrendt

Kirk Behrendt is a renowned consultant and speaker in the dental industry, known for his expertise in helping dentists create better practices and better lives. With over 30 years of experience in the field, Kirk has dedicated his professional life to optimizing the best systems and practices in dentistry. Kirk has been a featured speaker at every major dental meeting in the United States. His company, ACT Dental, has consistently been ranked as one of the top dental consultants in Dentistry Today's annual rankings for the past 10 years. In addition, ACT Dental was named one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States by Inc Magazine, appearing on their Inc 5000 list. Kirk's motivational skills are widely recognized in the dental industry. Dr. Peter Dawson of The Dawson Academy has referred to Kirk as "THE best motivator I have ever heard." Kirk has also assembled a trusted team of advisor experts who work with dentists to customize individual solutions that meet their unique needs. When he's not motivating dentists and their teams, Kirk enjoys coaching his children's sports teams and spending time with his amazing wife, Sarah, and their four children, Kinzie, Lily, Zoe, and Bo.