There are a number of clear orthodontic aligner systems on the market. The name that patients know best is Invisalign®, which is a product of Align Technologies. Patients always ask me for Invisalign, and I tell them I don’t use that brand of aligners. Why not?
Invisalign costs a lot more than other aligner systems. Therefore, patients must pay a lot more to have this particular brand of aligners.
Align Technologies wants dentists to take a weekend course and be “licensed” to use Invisalign. It is ridiculous for a dentist like me, who has been doing orthodontics for over twenty years, to have to spend nearly $2000 for such a proprietary weekend course, the sole purpose of which is to teach me how to use their product!
Align Technologies utilizes a team of lawyers who try to put other aligner companies out of business for alleged patent violations. Aligners have been used for many years before Invisalign was invented. I don’t like corporate bully-boys who try to eliminate their competition this way.
Align Technologies is a publicly traded company which must answer to shareholders. Their business is to sell as many aligners as possible. I have seen Invisalign treatment plans that were overly aggressive and had little chance in success. Many inexperienced dentists get into trouble when they are “sold” such cases by Align Technologies.
Finally, as you can see in the “Lab Work Made in USA” section of my website, I support American labs and American jobs. Align Technologies has offshored its aligner fabrication to Mexico, and its clinical staff planning the cases to Costa Rica. The labs I use for aligners are 100% U.S. based.
Consumers are too easily influenced by advertising hype in printed media and television advertising. Just because something is highly advertised does not mean it is the only game in town, nor the best deal. Patients don’t know which brands of dental materials work best, nor which are the most cost effective. Leave that decision to the experts- the dentists who use them! Be assured that I will always be concerned for the health of your mouth AND of your pocketbook.