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The Clear Aligners Party
Is it worth joining?
SPONSORED BY GREATLAB
The Clear Aligners Party
Is it worth joining?
By Mario Dasca · 4th Dec, 2023
Welcome! Reading time: 1700 words… 12 min.
Dear dental maestros, the clear aligner revolution is upon us, and it's not just straightening teeth; it's reshaping the very foundations of dental technician businesses.
In this edition, I propose we embark on a journey through the aligner-infused landscape and explore the ways in which this industry is playing a tune on the dental technician symphony.
A journey through time
First of all, let’s take a quick journey through time, unveiling the Clear Aligner evolution.
Picture this: it's the 1940s, and a clever American orthodontist named Dr. H.D. Kesling is tinkering away with a revolutionary idea - removable plastic aligners.
Dr. Kesling, our orthodontic maverick, was probably sipping on some experimental potion when he thought,
"What if braces, but make it fashion?" That is how the “positioner” appliance came into place.
People were probably sceptical at first, thinking he'd lost a few too many teeth, but little did they know – a revolution was brewing in Kesling's dental lair.
Fast forward to today, and clear aligners have taken the orthodontic world by storm. From Kesling's brainchild to the sleek, nearly invisible trays we see now, the journey has been nothing short of a dental odyssey.
The 70s and 80s were decades of disco balls, funky hairstyles, and bell-bottom pants. But amidst the groovy chaos, aligners were quietly evolving.
Plastic prototypes were swapped for sleeker models, and the dream of a Hollywood smile became more tangible than ever.
Enter the 90s, a time of grunge, boy bands, and dial-up internet.
Invisalign made its debut, proving that braces could be invisible, like an orthodontic superhero. Suddenly, kids didn't have to endure metal mouth mockery – they could straighten their teeth incognito.
As the 2000s dawned, Invisalign had the clear aligner kingdom under its invisible rule.
ClearCorrect, the underdog, entered the scene, declaring, "We're here to disrupt the invisible monopoly!"
The dental world watched as trays clashed, and the aligner wars began.
2. A Showdown Of Aligner Giants
Let the battle of the aligners commence!
Invisalign, the pioneer, with its global dominance, versus ClearCorrect, the underdog, shaking things up.
It's like a dental version of Rocky Balboa versus Apollo Creed. Who will come out on top?
The trays are ready, and the competition is fierce!
Invisalign hasn't been all sunshine and perfectly aligned rainbows. They've thrown some legal haymakers at ClearCorrect, claiming patent infringement like it's a dental version of "he said, she said."
It's a fight for the right to straighten teeth without stepping on each other's patented toes.
After a long courtroom drama, Invisalign secured royalties from ClearCorrect. It was a chess move in the aligner game – ensuring that even challengers would pay homage to the aligner king.
In a statement from Straumann Group, we read:” 28 March 2019: ClearCorrect, a Straumann Group company, has agreed to pay USD 35m to settle its longstanding patent dispute with Align Technology out of court and to withdraw its assertions that certain Align patents in the US and Brazil are invalid. In return, Align has agreed to drop all pending infringement litigation against the company. This litigation began several years before ClearCorrect was acquired by the Straumann Group, and the settlement amount is largely provisioned for in the acquisition agreement.”
As of today, the aligner saga continues….
Invisalign, with its invisible crown intact, maintains its reign.
ClearCorrect, having accepted its place in the aligner hierarchy, dances to a slightly different beat.
If you are curious to see how are they actually compare against each other, and many other Clear Aligners providers, we have found a website that does that for you.
3. How are Clear Aligners changing the dental lab space?
You are probably wondering right now, what’s this got to do with me and how will this change my day to day?
The Clear Aligners industry, which includes products like Invisalign, has had a significant impact on the dental field, including dental technicians' businesses. Here are some ways it has influenced their work:
Shift in Demand: With the rise of Clear Aligners, there has been a shift in demand from traditional braces to these more discreet and convenient alternatives. As a result, dental technicians may see changes in the types of cases they handle and the appliances they need to fabricate.
Digital Technology Integration: Clear Aligners heavily rely on digital technologies such as 3D scanning and computer-aided design (CAD). Dental technicians now need to be proficient in these technologies to create accurate and customised aligners. This may require additional training or investments in new equipment.
Collaboration with Orthodontists: Clear Aligner treatments often involve close collaboration between dental technicians and orthodontists. Technicians may need to work closely with orthodontists to ensure proper treatment planning and the fabrication of aligners that meet the patient's specific needs.
Business Opportunities: While traditional braces and other appliances are still widely used, dental technicians who adapt to the Clear Aligners trend may find new business opportunities. This could involve expanding services to include the design and fabrication of Clear Aligners.
Changing Skill Set: The skills required for dental technicians may evolve as technology advances. Knowledge of digital workflows, software applications, and 3D printing may become increasingly important in the field. Dental technicians may need to stay updated on these technological advancements to remain competitive.
Market Competition: The Clear Aligners market is competitive, with several companies offering similar products. Dental technicians may face increased competition as more providers enter the market. This could impact pricing and the overall dynamics of the dental appliance industry.
Patient Expectations: Clear Aligners have changed patient expectations regarding orthodontic treatment. Patients often prefer more aesthetically pleasing and less intrusive options. Dental technicians need to consider these preferences when designing and fabricating appliances.
4. Why should you join the Party?
In a world where appearances matter, clear aligners have become the secret weapon for dental labs.
Why should you join the manufacturing game?
Well, if nothing jumped at you from the points above, let’s summarise them and see if there’s anything now:
Patient Demand: The quest for a perfect smile is eternal. Clear aligners satisfy the desire for a subtle, effective solution.
Technology Meets Dentistry: Embrace Innovation! Digital scanning and 3D printing technologies have revolutionized the aligner creation process.
Dentist Collaboration: Forge stronger ties with dental practitioners by providing an in-demand service. It's a win-win for everyone involved.
Business Growth: Expand your horizons and boost your bottom line. Clear aligners open new avenues for revenue streams.
In summary, the Clear Aligners industry has brought about changes in the dental landscape, impacting the way dental technicians operate. Adapting to these changes by incorporating digital technologies and staying informed about industry trends is crucial for dental technicians to thrive in this evolving environment.
5. Quick Guide on Manufacturing Clear Aligners Game
Entering the clear aligner manufacturing industry involves several steps, and not every dental lab may have the resources or capabilities to do so. However, if you're interested in pursuing this path, here are some general steps and considerations:
🤓Research and Education:
Understand the clear aligner manufacturing process thoroughly. This involves learning about the materials used, the technology required, and the overall workflow.
🏗️Infrastructure and Equipment:
Ensure that your facility meets the required standards for cleanliness and compliance with health and safety regulations.
🖥️Software and Technology:
Acquire or develop the software needed for treatment planning and design. This may involve CAD/CAM software that allows for the creation of 3D models of patients' teeth.
Implement a reliable system for case tracking, communication, and quality control.
Identify and establish relationships with suppliers for clear aligner materials. This may include biocompatible plastics or polymers suitable for orthodontic use.
🧾Certification and Compliance:
Understand and comply with regulatory requirements for clear aligner manufacturing in your region. This may involve obtaining certifications or approvals from relevant health authorities.
🥼 Clinical Validation:
Consider partnering with orthodontists or dental professionals to clinically validate your clear aligners. This step is crucial to ensure the effectiveness and safety of your product.
🚀 Marketing and Distribution:
Develop a marketing strategy to promote your clear aligners. This could involve creating a brand, establishing a web presence, and reaching out to dental professionals. You may consider partnering up with experienced agencies.
Set up a distribution network to reach orthodontic practices and dental clinics.
🗣️ Training and Support:
Provide training and support to dental professionals who will be using your clear aligners. This may involve offering workshops, webinars, or on-site training.
🕵️ Quality Control:
Implement robust quality control measures throughout the manufacturing process to ensure the consistency and reliability of your clear aligners.
💰️ Cost Analysis:
Conduct a thorough cost analysis to determine the pricing structure for your clear aligners. Consider factors such as material costs, manufacturing expenses, and market competition.
It's important to note that entering the clear aligner manufacturing industry requires a significant investment of time, resources, and expertise. Collaboration with experienced professionals in the dental and orthodontic fields can be beneficial. Additionally, staying updated on industry trends and advancements is crucial for long-term success.
Now, in the era of selfies, influencers, and TikTok dances, Clear Aligners have become the must-have accessory for a killer smile. It's not just about straight teeth; it's about looking good while getting there.
Dr. Kesling would be proud – his dental experiment has become a full-blown alignment extravaganza!
Is it worth it or not for you to join?
You’ll be the only one entitled to answer to that for yourself….
All we were trying to do in this article was to give you a fair understanding of how Clear Aligners are changing the dental lab spectrum, what it would take for you to join the party and have a giggle about it while reading.
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