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Airway-friendly clear aligners are the future

7 min read

See how our Vice President of General Practitioner Clinical Education is helping shape CandidPro.

Clear Aligner System

Our Vice President of General Practitioner Clinical Education, Dr. Ben Miraglia, is a distinguished educator, thought leader, and a giant in the field of airway health. At CandidPro, Dr. Miraglia is one of our most-requested lecturers and has played a key role in crafting our clinical approach. 

Read on as he shares his thoughts on airway-friendly clear aligner treatments, upcoming feature releases, and why he thinks CandidPro’s airway-friendly clear aligner approach is an integral component of the future of oral health. 

You’ve been at CandidPro for over two years now. What are some highlights of your time here so far?

I was first drawn to CandidPro because of the minimally invasive approach. That aligned with my own clinical philosophy, and I was eager to help bring that methodology to more doctors and their patients.

I spent much of my first year here helping redefine our treatment planning standards and implementing new features. It was a significant push to get our product ready for broader adoption. Seeing the results of that work today is very fulfilling. I think it’s set us up to be a really strong competitor in the clear aligner space because we’re offering clinicians an effective way to move teeth while reducing the need for interproximal reduction (IPR) and attachments. 

What makes CandidPro’s focus on expansion so exciting for dental professionals involved with airway? 

CandidPro’s expansion protocol allows us to increase arch width, thereby expanding tongue space. The sleep and airway research references narrow arches and decreased tongue space as serious issues. In my experience, traditional orthodontics tend towards retraction—either maintaining a narrow arch width or even decreasing the arch width. 

For doctors who are airway-aware like me, they may be using removable adult expanders in conjunction with CandidPro clear aligners. The removable adult expanders address the foundation. Aligners address the teeth and bite. 

While airway treatments are becoming more common, some clinicians still prefer to use traditional methods based on their individual experiences in practice. We’re not in the business of telling them how to treat their patients, so we’ve given them the flexibility to approach treatment planning in a way that makes sense to them. That’s something I really appreciate about CandidPro. We listen to providers and respect their clinical opinions. 

Can you speak to some other reasons why CandidPro is a great fit for airway doctors?

Absolutely. I think the most important thing to mention here is, again, our flexibility. We’re all about letting doctors leverage their orthodontic expertise or advance it. For airway doctors specifically, we’re giving them the kind of validation that helps them address their treatment goals effectively. One example of us validating airway doctors is our treatment planning philosophy that allows for expansive, full-arch tooth movement. That’s huge for airway doctors. 

We also offer some really great standard features that are perfect for those treating with airway health in mind. When providers submit their cases, they can designate them as airway cases from the start. That signals our treatment planning technicians to stick to certain airway-friendly protocols like avoiding IPR to maximize tongue space. 

Our Candid Academy Faculty includes some of the most inspiring voices in airway-focused dentistry right now: Dr. Kevin Goles, Dr. Kalli Hale, and Dr. Geoffrey Skinner, to name a few. The opportunity to learn from these experienced clinicians is invaluable to doctors interested in airway. Additionally, we offer free treatment planning support from US-licensed orthodontists who can help providers approach treatment with confidence.

Finally, for airway doctors who prescribe CandidPro as a way to achieve a healthy occlusion after using removable adult expanders, we’re giving them an easy way to reduce refinements with CandidMonitoring™, which is proven to minimize refinements by keeping patients on track with their treatment. 

You’ve decided to expand your role here at CandidPro. What does that look like?

That’s right. I’ve decided to put in a little more time here because I think CandidPro has the opportunity to really change the conversation around moving teeth. I’ve reduced the hours I spend at my practice and plan to keep my time there to a minimum in 2024.

Going forward, I’ve committed to a heavy travel schedule for in-person educational engagements, including a lecture at the Greater New York Dental Meeting at the end of November. I’ll also likely have a few more webinars here and there. Additionally, I’ll be taking on a greater role in helping steer our clinical future alongside our Chief Dental Officer, Dr. Brian Gray, and others. 

How is CandidPro helping validate the goals of airway doctors? 

This is possibly the most exciting part of my role here. It’s estimated that around 26% of Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and more people are realizing that this is a serious, widespread issue. While we can’t treat OSA directly, we can ensure that the airway doctors who do treat OSA have a clear aligner partner that isn’t working against their treatment goals. 

I think there are also opportunities to use our experience with airway cases to help substantiate what clinicians have anecdotally observed. Right now, our experience tells us that widening arches increase the tongue space, allowing the tongue to be more forward and high and allowing air to flow behind it with less resistance. We’ve seen how expansion can relieve symptoms of TMD in many patients. As we grow, our airway experts can help back up those observations with hard evidence.

An orthodontic platform leverageing best-in-class technology, a game-changing approach to partnership, and clinical expertise to give doctors more.

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