Align, Inc announced today that it will supply clear aligners for the industry leading, at home tooth alignment solution SmileDirectClub. In an email to Invisalign providers, Align CEO Joe Hogan says the product supplied to SmileDirectClub will not be labeled as Invisalign and will not include attachments or IPR. The setups Align provides to SmileDirectClub will be limited to 20 aligners or less and Align CEO Joe Hogan also said, “This is not Invisalign. We will not use Invisalign clear aligners or Invisalign technology for this type of at-home treatment model. What can be accomplished with SmileDirectClub aligners and protocols is not the same or equal to what doctors can accomplish with Invisalign aligners, features, and protocols.”
I have long predicted a partnership between Align and SmileDirectClub and I will not hide my excitement at the possibilities this deal opens up for massively increased access to orthodontic care in the United States. The world is changing and technology is revolutionizing how we do everything. Non-invasive services will continue to be decentralized and become more convenient for the consumer. I welcome this change and encourage other dental healthcare providers to exchange their protectionist stance for one of embracing increased access to care. More access to dental care is good. Period.
I can also tell you with certainty that patient acquisition is and will be the driving force in the modern orthodontic office and the Doctor Referral Program created by this deal will be a serious market force. This deal between Align and SmileDirectClub is just a sign of the times and a hint of things to come. Those of you who are Invisalign providers and SmileDirectClub ELPs are sitting pretty and can pat yourselves on the back for understanding the world we live in. Change is good!