The clear aligners market is worth an estimated $3.2 billion and this is only expected to grow by a further 15-20% over the next few years. Invisalign was introduced to the dental industry in 1998 and, since then, the market has grown exponentially, thanks to the evolution of dental technology and an increase in the interest in cosmetic dentistry.
Invisalign completely changed the orthodontics industry at a time when traditional metal braces were the only treatment on offer and offered something new and more aesthetically pleasing for patients. Let’s take a look at a few of the ways in which Invisalign created a consumer experience in dentistry.
Invisalign’s business model is reliant upon advanced dental technology which, at the time, was still very new, and now includes 3D intraoral scanning, data modelling using AI, digital visualisation and state-of-the-art 3D printing technology. Invisalign is administered by orthodontists and dentists directly to patients, but during its inception, the brand was looking at ways in which it could bring such a complicated, technology-reliant experience to life.
Invisalign is also a private dental treatment and is not currently offered on the NHS, so it had to navigate the private dentistry market by providing an alternative to a treatment which is free for many patients. For example, if you wanted Invisalign in Leamington Spa, then chances are that you would visit a private dentist as opposed to an NHS one.
Invisalign is recognisable through its use of clear dental aligners, which are, as is expected, almost invisible and the product, or which the consumer actually sees, is a small and transparent device. But, the more important thing is what the product can do for the patient. By using clear plastic aligners, which can be removed for eating and drinking, Invisalign gives the patient more confidence to smile and show their teeth for the duration of their treatment.
Invisalign, as set out when launched, is heavily reliant upon technology. The first step to getting Invisalign braces is having a scan at your chosen dentist or orthodontist. Then, using Invisalign’s software and AI platform, a preview of the patient’s smile after treatment can be created. Based on patient feedback, the dentist or orthodontist can adjust areas where needed and the results are signed off by the patient. Then, once approved, 3D printing is used to create custom sets of aligners, often creating new ones for each week of the treatment. This prior visualisation of Invisalign treatment is a huge part of the process and something that they used to revolutionise traditional orthodontics.
Invisalign uses a Doctor-led business model, in that in order to get Invisalign treatment, you first need to go through a trusted dentist or orthodontist. Invisalign holds around 64% of the doctor-led market share. However, in recent years, this has been challenged by the direct-to-consumer (D2C) market, which offers treatment similar to Invisalign, but without the need to visit a dentist or orthodontic altogether. Instead, it can be done online in the comfort of the patient’s home, or at a nearby location, with customers receiving their aligners within 48 hours, on average.
The D2C model allows companies offering these aligners to significantly cut the cost of treatment, which has opened up the treatment to around 500 million people across the globe. However, D2C models are missing one vital element – the experience and trust that comes from having treatment with a trusted dentist or orthodontist. As a result, there have been many complaints and cases against D2C aligner companies, filed by dental organisations, customers and dentists
The evolution of the clear aligner market has shown that having a professional’s involvement in a treatment such as Invisalign is vital when it comes to long-term success. Invisalign is likely to remain one of the biggest names in the dental industry well into the future, even as competition intensifies. If you are interested in Invisalign treatment or would like to visit a local dentist for Leamington Spa orthodontics, be sure to read about the pros and cons of traditional orthodontics and Invisalign to see which treatment would be best for you.