orthodontic Archives - The Wealthy Dentist

Invisalign Creates Greater Profits for Orthodontists

Invisalign Creates Greater Profits for OrthodontistsIs Invisalign a smarter braces treatment for an orthodontist’s bottom line?

A new study suggests some truth to this by revealing that, while Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners cost more in materials than conventional edgewise braces, they require fewer patient visits and a shorter duration of treatment for dentists.

Researchers reported this finding at the recent American Association for Dental Research annual meeting, according to Medscape News.

Researchers evaluated the records of 150 dental patients with mild to moderate class I malocclusion. The types of orthodontic procedures were matched for the amount of initial malocclusion and the number of rotated teeth.

According to Medscape News, here’s what they found:

Conventional braces required a median of 13.6 minutes for a routine visit, whereas Invisalign required 9.9 minutes. Emergency, initial, and final appointments were all longer than regular visits.

Conventional braces required about 2.6 more visits than Invisalign, treatment for 2.4 months longer, 1.1 more emergency visits, 9.7 minutes more in chair time, 1.2 minutes more emergency doctor time, and 86.2 minutes more in total chair time.

However, Invisalign cost $500 to $1441 more in materials and required 5.9 minutes more doctor time than conventional braces.

Measuring profitability as fees minus the cost of materials, Invisalign was more profitable than conventional braces, the researchers found, especially for Invisalign providers who are charged $899 in lab costs, a discount that the appliance maker, Align, offers to orthodontists who do more cases.

For these doctors, Invisalign provided about $1000 of profit per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees to the patient, rising to $3250 with $6000 in fees. Doctors who are charged $1549 in lab costs by Align had a profit of about $500 with the first $2750 in fees, rising to $3000 with $6000 in fees.

Braces were less profitable overall, starting at $750 per hour of chair time with the first $2750 in fees, but reaching only $2000 with $6000 in fees.

Invisalign is clearly the profit-maker when it comes to adding value to an orthodontist’s practice.

For more on this story see: Study Shows Invisalign More Profitable Than Braces

Orthodontic Braces: Taxpayers Spent $424 Million for Children in Texas

Orthodontic Braces: Taxpayers Spent $424 Million for Children in TexasIn June of this year, The Wealthy Dentist published a story about Taxpayers footing the bill for orthodontic braces in Texas.

In Texas, Medicaid pays dentists for orthodontics per procedure, instead of a lump sum for the “finished mouth” of straight teeth.

This has made Medicaid orthodontia a lucrative dental business in Texas.

WFAA-TV of Texas has been investigating this story for the last six months and has uncovered hundreds of millions of dollars of questionable Medicaid spending on dental braces for children in Texas. Their news reports prompted federal investigators to now audit the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which controls the Medicaid funds.

According to the WFAA website –

In a letter to the state, the Inspector General says it will examine the “authorization process for orthodontic treatment” under Texas Medicaid. “The objective of our audit,” the letter continues, “is to review the State’s controls to ensure that only medically necessary orthodontic cases are paid.” The time period covered by the audit is September 1, 2008 through May 28, 2011.

The new station’s investigation revealed that during that period, Texas taxpayers spent $424 million on orthodontic braces for children under Medicaid. Taxpayers spent $100 million in 2008, $140 million in 2009, and $184 million in 2010, state records show.

Texas dentist, Dr. Christine Ellis, who teaches at UT Southwestern Medical Center, has twice traveled to Washington in an attempt to convince lawmakers to scale back Texas Medicaid orthodontics payments and divert funds for more pressing dental needs.

Her attempts fell on deaf ears. According to the WFAA-TV article, Ellis said, “There’s no response. No one is putting the brakes on this thing.”

Billy Millwee of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is now telling WFAA-TV that if taxpayers money has been lost, the Attorney General might take action to get it back. He went on to say that Texas will have a new managed care Medicaid dental program beginning next spring.

For more on this story see: Feds Investigate Texas Dental Medicaid Program and Taxpayers Footing the Bill for Braces in Texas.

Dental Braces: Once Again Texas Makes News with Braces

Dental Braces: Once Again Texas Makes News with Braces What is it with Medicaid dental care and braces in Texas?

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which administers Medicaid in Texas for dental braces, has filed a request to be reimbursed for $7.5 million in alleged fraudulent claims it paid to Amarillo orthodontist Dr. Michael Goodwin.

Federal authorities also moved to seize the commercial and personal bank accounts of Dr. Goodwin and his wife as part of a probe linked to a Medicaid fraud scheme, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.

In 2008, Dr. Goodwin became an individual Medicaid provider, which allowed him to bill Medicaid only for services personally provided by the orthodontist.

Soon after the change, the Amarillo orthodontist was reported as scheduling up to 400 Medicaid patients a day and allegedly billing the government for orthodontic treatment he did not perform. The Globe-News further reports that patients and former employees likened the Amarillo Medicaid fraud scheme to “herding cattle.”

In 2009 the Texas Attorney General’s Office’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was alerted to the fact that Goodwin was likely billing Medicaid for work done by dental assistants, who worked on dental patients that state law prohibits them from doing “at Goodwin’s direction and without his direct supervision while Goodwin was out of town, away from the office or even while present in the office,” according to an affidavit for the case.

The affidavit further states that Dr.Goodwin scheduled patients in 10-minute increments, “causing pressure for assistants to practice dentistry quickly” and eventually billed Medicaid for their work.

It goes on to outline the fact that Dr. Goodwin would fly from Texas to dental offices in Indiana almost every month, while billing Medicaid for orthodontic patient services in Amarillo on dates when flight records showed he was clearly in Indiana.

The majority of Goodwin’s patients were Medicaid recipients with some reporting that figure could be as high as 95% of his dental practice.

Unfortunately, this is not a new dental braces trend in Texas …

Last June, The Wealthy Dentist reported that in 2010, Texas spent $184 million on Medicaid orthodontics — more than the rest of the United States combined. Dentist Richard Malouf’s All Smiles Dental Centers of Texas collected $5.4 million from Medicaid orthodontics. Since that time, All Smiles’ Medicaid orthodontics billings nearly doubled to $10.2 million.

In September we further reported that WFAA-TV had uncovered that Texas taxpayers had spent $424 million on orthodontics for children under Medicaid. Taxpayers spent $100 million in 2008 and $140 million in 2009 — above the $184 million spent in 2010.

On March 1, 2012 Texas implemented a new managed care Medicaid dental program, only time will tell if this will stem the bleeding of taxpayer money on braces in Texas.

For more on this story see: Feds Link Orthodontist to Medicaid Fraud Scheme

Dentist Has Invisalign Orthodontia at Age 50 and Loves It

Dentist Has Invisalign Orthodontia at Age 50 and Loves ItDental statistics report that almost 50% of the U.S. population have crooked teeth, irregular bites, or overcrowding.

In a recent The Wealthy Dentist survey we asked dentists if they have ever had braces themselves. 42% said they had braces as children, while 28% said they had braces as adults.

30% revealed they have never had braces in their life.

The American Association of Orthodontists reports that most orthodontia treatment begins between ages 9 and 14. When the same dentists were asked if their children have had braces, 75% responded yes.

Here are some dentist comments on braces:

“I had braces as a child and as an adult too — they still moved.” (Texas dentist)

“I had regular brackets and arch wire braces at age 40. Like many of younger patients I did not wear my retainer and I had a relapse. I had Invisalign orthodontia at age 50 and loved it compared to the brackets and arch wires. I continue to wear my Invisalign retainer going on 8 years now.” (Kentucky dentist)

“I had orthodontia before dental school as a teen by a general dentist, then again during dental school combined with orthographic surgery. I am so glad I had it re-done!” (North Carolina dentist)

“Having orthodontia as a child changed my life.” (General dentist)

“I now wish I did not get them. Four of my bicuspids were removed and it ruined my smile.” (Louisiana dentist)

“I was treated with “four-on-the-floor” and I wish it was done non-extraction. My son has the same structure and I treated him with Occlus-O-Guide and it gave him a great smile and profile. My daughter had fixed orthodontia, non-extraction.” (Illinois dentist)

“I had Invisalign as an adult, and it was a much more pleasant experience!” (Minnesota dentist)

“Four bicuspid extractions with retraction orthodontics resulting in a restricted envelope of function and a lifelong battle with headaches.” (Texas dentist)

“Braces have become much more readily accepted by the population and allow us to provide beautiful smiles and proper occlusions for patients of all ages.” (Michigan dentist)

“Had them. Love my smile.” (Washington dentist)

What has been your personal experience with braces? Did you have braces as a child and as an adult?

How about your children?

Dental Braces: Straight Teeth in 60 Seconds (video)

Dental Braces: Straight Teeth in 60 SecondsThe American Association of Orthodontists is the American professional association for orthodontists.

Through their online orthodontia videos, the AAO provides the public with an overview of what orthodontic treatment is and how braces can benefit patients of all ages.

The AAO  represents more than 17,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The Association encourages and sponsors key research to enable its members to provide the highest quality of orthodontic dentistry to dental patients, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.

One of their popular online videos is the time-lapsed teeth straightening in 60 seconds. This week, our Friday random video showcases this popular braces YouTube video.

Click on Play to see one young girl’s smile completely changed in 60 seconds by the miracle of dental braces

This video is one of the best dental advertising for orthodontics. She does have such a beautiful smile at the end. Who wouldn’t want that for their child or themselves?

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