With five new instruments featured in the kit, orthodontists have more options during aligner treatment.

HuFriedyGroup recently rolled out a new extension to its Clear Collection for Clear Aligners Instrument Set. The expanded set includes five all-new instruments in addition to the original four. Like the original instruments in the collection, designed by orthodontist S. Jay Bowman, DMD, MSD, these new instruments were created to make it easier for dental professionals to manipulate invisible aligners, avoiding the need to heat the instrument.

The company points out there are many ways to accent, individualize, and optimize the biomechanics of invisible aligners, and as more patients adopt these aligners, the need for greater flexibility in how they can be manipulated became increasingly apparent. 

These new instruments reportedly provide additional options for enhancing aligner treatments in unique ways. According to the company, The Spot creates a tiny, rounded dimple for spot contacts to accent small individual tooth movements or added aligner retention. The Petite Punch cuts a 4.5mm half-moon cutout in an aligner for relief of the plastic around bonded buttons used for elastics. The Clockwise and The Counter Clockwise Wedge are used to produce indents into the facial and the lingual plastic for the rotational movement of a specific tooth; and The Eraser is designed to reverse or remove unwanted indents placed by other instruments in the Clear Collection series.

To learn more about these latest tools of enhancement, and the impact the expanded kit has on private practice, Orthodontic Products spoke with Megan Mendes, vice president of the instrumentation strategic business unit at Hu-Friedy. 

Orthodontic Products: What was the motivation for creating the Clear Collection instrument set?

Megan Mendes: The instruments in the Clear Collection are designed to enable orthodontists to better individualize clear aligner treatments, and we’ve found that once they are introduced to the concept, many clinicians prefer this approach because they can efficiently customize treatment for each patient. The instruments streamline procedures that orthodontists had already been providing, so while it ultimately comes down to clinician preference, the Clear Collection does provide additional utility for clear aligner treatments. Additionally, as practitioners take on more complex patient cases, these instruments allow them to adapt to unexpected challenges, such as patient non-compliance.  

OP: How have the latest add-ons benefited patient outcomes and improved daily practice workflow?

Mendes: The new instruments in the Clear Collection have expanded the scope of clear aligner manipulation by providing more options for accentuating and refining individual treatments. There are simply more ways to customize clear aligner treatment and enhance desired biomechanics. We worked directly with Dr Bowman, who is a respected key opinion leader on the design of the new instruments. In each case the new designs are a direct result of specific needs experienced in the field of orthodontics. 

OP: These instruments do not require heating. Why was it so important to eliminate the need to heat instruments during the aligner treatment process?

Mendes: Manipulating clear aligners without heat can provide some significant benefits for clinicians. Most importantly, it decreases the possibility of compromising the integrity of the plastic since excess heat can deform the aligner shape. Additionally, it also offers a time-saving chairside solution for clinicians. Without having to heat the instruments, clinicians can streamline the process and improve their efficiency. 

OP: Which of the five new instruments is the most popular?

Mendes: The Spot and the Petite Punch. The Spot is typically used to accent movements on any tooth in the aligner that needs just a “nudge,” and this has so far been a popular solution to a long-time need among practitioners. 

The Petite Punch is a smaller version of the original Hole Punch instrument, which cuts a 6-millimeter cutout, and is used when only a small cutout is required to provide clearance for buttons or hooks on the buccal or lingual side of any tooth in the aligner. It is especially useful for smaller teeth, which is why it has also proven to be very popular. 

OP: What’s next for the company?

Mendes: We’re focused on delivering a complete portfolio of best in practice products, services, education, and solutions that enable clinicians to continue to deliver the highest level of care to their patients. That includes our unwavering commitment to innovative instrumentation and infection prevention and control products needed to perform comfortably, safely, and in compliance with all regulations. Looking specifically at orthodontics, we are excited to continue partnering with key opinion leaders to develop new Clear Collection instrumentation that will improve the orthodontic experience for patients and clinicians. New products are in the works that will launch in the future.OP