Technology & High-Touch Orthodontics

Technology’s role in the orthodontic workflow increases efficiency and effectiveness. While some people believe the implementation of new technology can be at the cost of the patient connection, Michigan-based orthodontist Christian Groth, DDS, MS, of TDR Orthodontics, disagrees. According to Dr. Groth, it all comes down to how the orthodontist uses technology.

The TDR Orthodontics team places an importance on understanding cutting-edge technology. As they implement new technology, they continue to focus on “high-touch orthodontics.” This approach means utilizing technology to increase efficiency and the ability to connect with patients.

With the addition of new technology, such as the 3M Oral Care Portal, Dr. Groth is able to better prepare for the specific patient’s needs behind the scenes, spending more time at the chair chatting with the patient rather than bending wires or brackets. This helps strengthen the connection with the patient.

Going Digital
TDR Orthodontics hasn’t always been so technology-focused. However, the partners at TDR Orthodontics take on the projects that interest them. And for Dr. Groth, that meant transitioning the practice to digital intraoral scanning.

As he went through the process of incorporating the scanning technology for a new clear aligner system at the practice, Dr. Groth couldn’t help but wonder, “Why are we still taking impressions?” After that, the team decided to go impression-less, which marked the moment the practice went all in on technology, making a commitment to a digital workflow.

The practice utilizes 3Shape TRIOS and Align Technology iTero intraoral scanners, so Dr. Groth can get started with a patient’s case at the initial visit, eliminating an additional appointment and allowing the patient to start treatment sooner.

“After the patient leaves, I can send the scan into the 3M Oral Care Portal to get my 3M Clarity Aligners, or I can route it into the 3Shape OrthoAnalyzer to design my indirect bonding trays. Then the next visit is delivery of the aligner or placement of braces with directly-printed indirect bonding trays,” he said. Using the 3Shape software, Dr. Groth can print the indirect bonding tray via the practice’s own lab in about 30 minutes.

The Aligner Transition
The practice made another large transition when they moved to using 3M Clarity Aligners. This decision was made after the team saw the benefits of the 3M Oral Care Portal and the material used to make the Clarity Aligners, which is less flexible and allows for more specific, intentional movements.

Online portals have evolved along with other technology. With the 3M Oral Care Portal, Dr. Groth has tools for measurement, movement, and communication, including a treatment simulator.

“It used to be the online portals were just our way to get cases. The technician sent us a case back. We had to type [our comments]: change this, do that. The evolution of these portals has turned them into something that allows us to control treatments. I don’t want to have to go back and forth half a dozen times when I can drag the tooth into the right position and I’m done,” Dr. Groth said. “Any portal that doesn’t allow you to make direct changes is automatically behind the times.”

To learn more about the 3M Oral Care Portal or Clarity Aligners System, visit the 3M Orthodontics website .