Opal Orthodontics

Ultradent, the parent of Opal Orthodontics, had a strong reputation with the general practice dentist, but was unknown in the orthodontic community.  They wanted to leverage their products and experience into this lucrative market.  We were hired to help them understand how they could best sell their products and services into this market.


Strong Branding Positions Company

Opal Orthodontics was attempting to become a major player in an already crowded marketplace.  Many of the established companies had been there for decades and had proprietary technologies, which helped differentiate them from each other.  At launch, Opal would not have the benefit of a unique bracket/wire offering.  The challenge, therefore, was how to make them stand out.



We recruited and brought in leading clinicians to an upscale ski resort for several days of meetings and fun.  Together, we mapped out the existing companies in the market, their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.  We uncovered white spaces in the market and a nearly universal practice that doctors found confusing – tiered pricing with complicated discount programs that appeared to vary from doctor to doctor.  These left doctors feeling that they weren’t necessarily getting the best deal and that these companies, at best, were not transparent, and at worst were not honest.



We recommended that Opal Orthodontics go against market practices and adopt a transparent pricing strategy with a single price point.  As this was a daring move to make and would make them stand out, we also recommended that they build their company positioning around this key insight that would make them stand out from the rest of the market.  This was manifest in our selection of bright, bold colors, graphical images, tag line (“Daring to be Different”), and our “One Price. No Games.” manifesto.


Increasing Patient Satisfaction

Ultradent had a strong market share in dentist (GP) sold teeth whitening kits with their Opalescence Tres White brand.  These pre-loaded whitening trays provided full coverage and excellent results at home.  The orthodontic version, Tres White Ortho, despite being the only product specifically designed for orthodontic usage had minimal penetration in the orthodontic community.  Opal wanted to increase usage among orthodontists.



Orthodontists are interested in products that increase patient satisfaction, differentiate them from their colleagues in the community, and can lead to increased patient referrals.  However, teeth whitening is typically seen as the purview of the GP dentist, who is also the #1 source of new patient referrals for the orthodontist.  Thus, they were concerned about offending their referral base.



We examined the limited existing clinical research on hydrogen peroxide whitening, as well as interviewed orthodontists to better understand their potential concerns.   The research seemed to show clinical benefits of whitening, and we assumed the patients would notice too.  We designed, recruited, and executed a custom marketing/mini-clinical study with control and test legs at orthodontic clinics throughout the U.S.  The results showed that patients receiving whitening as part of their orthodontic treatment were happier with their smiles and the overall experience than those in the non-treatment control arm.


Recognizing Key Target

Opal Orthodontics was attempting to become a major player in an already crowded marketplace.  Most companies differentiated based upon bracket and wire technology or played upon a creator or founder’s reputation.  Opal would not have the benefit of technology or a known personality to initially help it stand out.



The industry was changing dramatically as more women graduated as dentists and went on for orthodontic training.  The percentage was rapidly increasing from less than 5% in the early 1970’s to 50%.  Additionally, most of the staff in an orthodontic practice were women.  Despite this, advertising tended to be male dominated.  We felt that recognizing women and their issues could be another key to early adoption and goodwill.



We recommended that Opal Orthodontics partner with Susan G. Komen, and incorporate pink into its trade show and launch graphics.  All of the Sales team wore pink shirts and the tie-in adhesive product featured a pink plunger.  The partnership with Komen was launched at the 2008 annual AAO convention and continues to this day.