Align Announces New Technologies, Products, and Acquisition. Image: © Align
Align has a plethora of new product offerings and solutions, all designed to enhance workflows across the dental practice. As a provider of orthodontic and restorative technologies for dentistry, Align is uniquely positioned to optimize the way dentistry is done, and its latest product and technologies offerings are clear indicators of that.
Here is a roundup of the new products and technologies that Align has announced.
- Plan Editor for Align’s ClinCheck treatment planning software. ClinCheck is Align’s treatment planning software that is naturally built into the Align Digital Platform, and it provides dentists, orthodontists, and dental labs with a robust digital workflow for Invisalign treatments. Plan Editor will allow doctors to more easily make changes to treatment plans, per Align chief product and marketing office, executive vice president and managing director, Asia Pacific, Raj Pudipeddi. “Align Technology is transforming orthodontic treatment planning with next-generation tools and customized treatment plans based on years of research and intelligence from millions of patients treated with the Invisalign System,” Pudipeddi says in a press release from Align. “Our goal is to enable more control for doctors so that they can efficiently design the best treatment plans for their patients. Plan Editor is one more step in this direction, as it builds on the Live Update with 3D controls feature and enables doctors to quickly change more aspects of the treatment plan and see the effects almost immediately.” Dentists can make changes on a case-by-case basis that will appear in the ClinCheck Live Update. Plan Editor works with the Flex Rx form to make case submission more streamlined. Plan Editor will be commercially available in the first half of 2024.
- SmartForce attachment-free aligner activation feature. This new feature is designed to help minimize the amount of attachments and deliver the right force necessary for predictable tooth movements. These necessary forces, which used to rely on numerous attachments, can now be applied through this aligner activation. This eliminates or lessens the need for double attachments, providing an esthetic solution that is desirable for both patient and practitioner, according to Pudipeddi. “After extensive research it was clear to us that our doctors and their patients needed and esthetic solution for an enhanced Invisalign treatment experience,” Pudipeddi says in the press release. “With this game-changing innovation that builds on Align’s aligner activation innovations, we address the needs of doctors and their patients without compromising exceptional Invisalign treatment outcomes.”
- Align Oral Health Suite. This new software from Align enables doctors to create custom oral health reports that can be shared with patients through the iTero Element Plus Series. This means that iTero diagnostic and visual aid tools are all channeled into a single interface, making visualization, patient communication, and practice growth easier. “The goal of the patient exam is to diagnose oral and dental health conditions, whereas the goal of patient education is to increase treatment acceptance,” Dr Lovedeep Randhawa, a dentist who participated in the limited market release of the Align Oral Health Suite, says in the press release. “This new framework streamlines and elevates the oral health consultation with the patient in a very efficient and user-friendly way. My team has found patients are responding better during consultations, as we are able to provide a highly visual, patient-centric experience that helps them understand their oral health and builds trust in diagnosis.”
- X-Ray Insights. This new clinical assessment tool is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and works to ensure treatment options and visualization are made even better oral health communications. “AI-driven oral health assessment tools, like X-Ray Insights, discern data and enhanced doctor-patient conversations, treatment option evaluation, and shared decision-making regarding oral health conditions and dental treatment options,” Align executive vice president and chief digital officer Sreelakshmi Kolli says in the press release. “It goes beyond digital orthodontics and supports oral health assessments by generating a digital image or oral health findings, improving patient communication and helping increase practice growth.”
- Vivera Retainer Subscription. Align has announced a new subscription model for retainers, allowing doctors to arrange direct-to-patient shipment of retainers. This allows patients to save time in not having to pick up retainers and doctors to save space in not having to store retainers in the dental practice. First retainers will still be sent through the doctor’s office to ensure optimal fit and adherence to the patient’s treatment plan. This subscription model is set to begin with a limited number of clinicians in October 2023.
- Invisalign Palatal Expander System. This 3D-printed device safely expands skeletal and/or dental narrow maxilla for growing patients, eliminating the woes of uncomfortable metal expanders that require a screw to turn. “The Invisalign Palatal Expander System is a game changer, as it alleviates the most common challenges with palatal expansion, including maintaining proper hygiene, emergency appointments, turning the screw, and the parent’s fear of causing pain to the child in treatment,” early participant and orthodontist Dr Sandra Tai says in the press release. “It’s removable and supports oral hygiene while delivering a clinically effective and comfortable treatment experience for growing patients that achieves high satisfaction rates reported by parents.” This system is expected to arrive to market in 2024 pending regulatory approval.
On top of new products and technologies, Align has also announced its acquisition of 3D printing company Cubicure, which has a patented Hot Lithography technology to process highly viscous resins. This processing would create temperature-resistant polymers, creating a new type of additive manufacturing.
“As the pioneer and a global leader in clear aligners with the world’s largest 3D printing operations producing over 1 million custom appliances every day, Align is continuing to innovate and invest in technologies that enable the next generation of direct 3D printed products, thus creating more sustainable and efficient solutions,” Joe Hogan, Align Technology president and CEO, Joe Hogan says in the press release. “Our partnership with Cubicure began several years ago as a joint development program and has evolved over time with the potential for significant innovation in scaling our direct 3D printing processes. The agreement toacquireCubicure is a natural next step to bring their talented team and unique cutting-edge technology in-house where they will support our long-term growth strategy by enabling us to scale our 3D printing operations to eventually direct print millions of custom appliances per day.”