Six Month Smiles – You Can Do Ortho (that patients want)!

In these difficult economic times, Dentistry has not been immune to the effects.  And, if we’re being honest, most dentistry is elective.  It’s a tough battle we’re in right now.  Dentists are the last bastion of entrepreneurism in health care.  We are tasked with the unenviable goal of encouraging people (who generally avoid us) to seek our services… AND PAY FOR IT.

One of the joys of being a General Dentist is having the freedom to create a practice that suits us by having many options.  We can do what we like and not do what we don’t like.  It’s a beautiful thing!  We can add new services as we please.  And, we can eliminate those services when we discover we don’t enjoy doing them.  Over the years, I have evolved as a dentist.  I’ve encountered both success and failure along the way.  And, that evolution continues.

Ortho?  No way I’m doing ortho!

One aspect of dentistry I never thought I’d venture into is Orthodontics.  Moving teeth was mysterious and portrayed as the sole domain of the anointed specialist.  When you think about it, it’s quite odd that Orthodontics is the ONLY discipline of dentistry that has been traditionally held out as a “specialist-only” territory.  The same has never been true for:  Endodontics, Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Oral Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, etc.  We general dentists have long provided services that fit into those categories with the freedom of referring the more complex cases to specialists as we see fit.  But, Orthodontics somehow escaped from us.  Surely most of us would agree our exposure to Orthodontics in dental school was minimal, at best.

Dr. Ryan Swain

My friend, Dr. Ryan Swain (founder of Six Month Smiles), spent a couple of years on (and via private messages) trying to convince me that Short Term Orthodontics would be a perfect fit for my cosmetically-oriented practice.  But, just hearing the term “Orthodontics” caused me to reflexively make the “sign of the cross” with my fingers.  Oh no… moving teeth… EGAD!  I’m not sure I want to get into THAT.  Then one day the light bulb in my head went on.  And, I took Ryan’s course.  It was truly an epiphany to learn how EASY it is to move teeth.  I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this.  I could prep an entire arch or even rehab an entire mouth, but I was afraid of THIS?  Silly me!

I Don’t Do As Many Veneers As I Used To

In my practice I had many patients that when faced with Veneers vs. Comprehensive Ortho (via an Orthodontist), they sometimes chose to do nothing.  They were in “Cosmetic Limbo.”  Some chose to let me prep their teeth for porcelain veneers.  Some even had elective root canals so I could give them “instant orthodontics” via porcelain veneers.

Short term ortho vs. veneers

This is a veneer case I did before I learned how to do Short Term Ortho with Six Month Smiles. I would approach this case very differently today.  Yep… we did a root canal on that #23.

Today, I have another option for those patients.  And, it’s amazing how happy they are to have that option.  Six Month Smiles short term ortho is a great and CONSERVATIVE way to eliminate crowding and spaces in the teeth that show when patients smile.

Dramatic Six Month Smiles before & after.

This patient had consults with orthodontists before seeing me.

I’ve been offering Six Month Smiles in my practice for about three years now.  It’s easy.  It’s FUN.  And, it’s another way to fight this economy while making patients very happy.

In 2010, I enjoyed being a clinical instructor for Six Month Smiles, teaching dentists all over the country in a 2-day seminar.  It was a lot of fun sharing this concept and watching the light bulbs turning on in the audience.

Happy Six Month Smiles patient.

We have a lot of fun with Six Month Smiles patients doing “Glamor Photo Shoots.”  This is the same patient as the one shown in the “before & after” photos above.

Easy to Get Started

I’ve said before that the Dental Warrior likes anything that doesn’t require a loan to get into and shows a good ROI in a short time.  Bang for the buck, there is no C.E. course that can compare to Six Month Smiles.  The investment is minimal, especially compared to many of the other popular services and technologies out there.  The ROI is nearly instantaneous.

And, the thanks we get from Six Month Smiles patients is very gratifying.  They are simply thrilled that they no longer have to live with a smile they are ashamed of.  Here’s a dramatic case we completed recently:

Six Month Smiles before and after photos.

Bryan had a tough time smiling “naturally” in the before photo.  This patient was SO happy!

Six Month Smiles B&A occlusal view

Only the upper arch was treated. Occlusal view – amazing before & after!

If you have any concern about how Six Month Smiles braces look…  Here’s one my patients currently in treatment who competes in pageants (and wins) while wearing braces!  Brackets and wires are white, making them nearly invisible.

Leticia is wearing her Six Month Smiles braces in this photo!

Neither Dentists nor Patients Are Ever Too Old!

I recently had a 72 year-old woman start her braces.  There is no upper age limit.  She told me, “I’ve wanted to do this my whole life.”  Can you imagine that?  She’s fulfilling one of her dreams at age 72.  Very cool!  And, very cool that I can make it happen for her.

Without a doubt, implementing the Six Month Smiles brand of Short Term Orthodontics in my office has been one of the best things I’ve done in my 23-year career.

What Six Month Smiles has mastered is turning Short Term Ortho into a SYSTEM for General Dentists.  Everything you need to get started and continue providing Short Term Ortho is available directly from Six Month Smiles – from instruments to supplies to technical / clinical support.  It’s “one-stop shopping” and a system you can rely on to guide you in every case.

The Dental Warrior highly recommends you look into Six Month Smiles. They offer courses around the country.  So, you’ll likely find one near you.  But, even if you have to travel, I promise it’s worth it!  Click here to find out how you can bring Six Month Smiles to your patients!

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31 Responses to Six Month Smiles – You Can Do Ortho (that patients want)!

  1. Bill goldner says:

    We are just finishing up our first five cases. Yes! What fun!
    Our patients are thrilled and we are,too
    I am so glad I began 6MS, I never suspected I would at this point in my career.
    You were a great teacher, Mike!

    Bill g
    key West

  2. John Seward says:

    Took my Course in 2009 February in San Antonio Tx
    Best move i ever made!
    Over 200 cases to date,
    John, Cork, Ireland.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      You rock, John! I might move to Ireland and open up across the street from you! 😉

    • 200 cases in just 2 years? Wow, that is impressive, John! Talk about taking the ball and running with it full-speed ahead. As Mike showed here, I sure hope you’re taking those patient pictures to plaster all over your website and office, although it doesn’t seem you’re having any difficulty with case acceptance. 😉

  3. Tony Gedge says:

    Love the ‘action photos’.

    Many lesons here for students of pictorial proof and demonstration of product.

    I particularly like the photo of Leticia effortlessly answering the most common objection; “will you be able to see braces?”

    Great blog- dental warrior!


    Tony Gedge

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  5. Andrey Eng says:

    Have any opinion about Ryan Swain’s course vs. Powerprox 6 month recall? Supposedly Ryan Swain was taught by the developer of powerprox?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Andrey,

      I will admit to being biased, as I took Ryan’s course way back when. What I like about Six Month Smiles is that it’s a SYSTEM. Everything you need… soup to nuts… is from one source. There’s also an excellent support system – both technical from SMS and also from the forum community of Six Month Smilers.

      I spent 2010 as an instructor for Six Month Smiles, so I got to know the company inside and out. The SMS people are top-notch. SMS is also continuously working on brand awareness and marketing.

      I cannot comment on any other courses, since I haven’t taken them. But, I am very confident in recommending Six Month Smiles. You will not regret the decision. 🙂


  6. Andrey Eng says:

    I appreciate your quick response and my gut feeling from reading both websites is that I like Ryan Swain’s system better. I get the feeling there are hidden annual fees with the other system. I also have recently trained in the Dentsply Essix Minor Tooth Movement seminar which involve clear liner. I’ve done Invisalign for a few years and have felt the quality control is not consistent and the high costs for sometimes minor tooth movement is a little too much. I wanted a couple of alternatives that are cost effective for patients. Have you utilized any clear liner systems you like that you can offer patients? I figure some patients just don’t want brackets at all.

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Hi Andrey,

      Actually, I haven’t done any clear aligner cases. I was about to sign up for Invisalign when they instituted the sales quota. I figured it was a good arrow to have in my quiver. But, the sales quota really turned me off. They’ve since rescinded it, but I still can’t, in good conscience, work with a company that puts their profits ahead of patient care…. and treats their customers (dentists) like that.

      For what it’s worth, I just haven’t had any patients that want clear aligners after I explain the pros and cons of each. Here’s what I say:

      Here are the advantages of Six Month Smiles:
      1. They are white or tooth colored, so they are nearly invisible.
      2. It moves teeth far more quickly than aligners. A fraction of the time.
      3. It is more PRECISE. I have more control over the movement of the teeth with brackets and wires.
      4. If I need to make a mid-course correction, I can do it in minutes vs. sending the case back to the clear aligner lab.
      5. It costs far less than aligners.
      6. No compliance issues. That means you don’t have to do anything except come back to my office once a month. No worries about putting your aligners in and out.

      Here are the advantages of Clear Aligners:
      1. They are clear.
      2. They are clear.
      3. They are clear.

      Disadvantages of Clear Aligners:
      1. More expensive. A lot more expensive.
      2. You have to remember to take them out and put them back in. If you skip a day here or there, it’s two steps forward and one step back.
      3. Much slower movement.
      4. Mid-course corrections require sending the case back to the lab and may require more impressions.
      5. Not as precise. Certain movements are very difficult or very slow.

      Most patients gladly accept brackets and wires, since they’re nearly invisible and work much faster. People like FAST. Give the nice folks at SMS a call and tell’em I said to give you the red carpet treatment! 😉

  7. Andrey Eng says:

    Hey Mike,
    You make so much sense and I cannot argue with any of your points.
    I am probably going to sign up for the 6 Month Smiles seminar.

    FYI, The dentsply Essix MTM system is based on the individual dentist making the clear aligners in his/her office. So there is no sending out to the lab and extremely minimal costs. You do end up buying a kit that cost $1500 to start, but otherwise not much else. The theory is based on giving room for teeth to move rather than Invisalign making tight retainers to move teeth. When I think about the Invisalign cases I’ve had difficulty with, it almost always points to not having enough room for the teeth to move.

    Thx for the common sense responses,

  8. Andrey says:

    Hey Mike,
    In utilizing the 6monthsmile system, do your assistants end up doing much of the work? How important is it that staff go to the 2 day seminars?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Many doctors bring some of their team to the course. Always a good thing, IMO. Way back when I took the course, it was in the ATTIC of Ryan’s office. No kidding. He had room for 6 doctors, and I was #7. 🙂 No assistants. And, my team had no problem implementing SMS. But, I would encourage you to bring at least your main assistant, if you can.

      In my office, I don’t delegate nearly as much as I can or could. Just my style of practice. I make my own crown temps, for example. But…. a LOT of short term ortho procedures can be delegated (pay attention to your own state’s laws, of course). Many SMSers spend very little time with their SMS patients and delegate most of it. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s up to how you want to do it.

  9. Andrey says:

    In the 6monthsmile system, each case has to be sent out to the lab? Is there a big lab fee attached?

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      SYSTEM is the key word. And, that’s what makes it so easy. I send every case to the lab (case processing center) for bracket trays. This is an indirect method of placing the brackets. The case processing center will place the brackets ideally on the models and then make a vacuum-formed (actually pressure-formed) tray over them. This makes the bracketing appointment SO EASY (and fast). I’ve never once free-hand bracketed up a case. Don’t want to, either. The trays make it easy and stress-free. Stress-free… another key word! 🙂

      The lab fee, if I recall, is about $550 for both arches. A single arch is something like $365… don’t quote me on that… I may be off a bit. But, it’s in that range. It’s really a great value, IMO. If it saves me TIME and STRESS, it’s well worth it. Retainers are $55 each, I think.

      When you take the course, you’ll be very impressed with how the system works and really makes your life easy. With the Six Month Smile system, I can say that doing short term ortho is the EASIEST procedure I do in my office. It’s like getting a break in the day. 🙂

      Hope that helps!

  10. Dear Mike, I enjoyed your 6MSmiles course and have stated and almost completed two cases. Very easy to place and exciting to see rapid tooth movement. Thanks!! And I’m getting more fired up as I see the wide range of cases treated with 6MS. Awesome!!! Alvaro- Coral Gables, FL

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