The use of braces to straighten and correct misalignments of the teeth goes back thousands of years – even Cleopatra wore them! The modern system of brackets, bonding material, arch wire, and ligature elastic is at least a century old, with traditional orthodontic techniques usually requiring years of wearing braces, with frequent visits to the orthodontist, painful adjustments, extensive cleaning after every meal, not to mention the occasional swallowed spring or bracket.
Now, Align Technology has introduced Invisalign aligners, which are nearly transparent medical-grade plastic aligners that are painless, clean, and comfortable.
“The company was started 20 years ago to create as a braces alternative.” says Andy Tang, Commercial Director for Align Technology B.V. Taiwan Branch. Instead of using metal to pull teeth into alignment, we sought to use aligners to push them. “It took 10 years and over US$1 billion in research and development to get the actual product right.”
With Invisalign, the San Jose-based company brings the latest advances not only in orthodontics but also in material science, 3D printing, Big Data, cloud computing, and scanning technology to create a system of teeth alignment that has successfully treated over 4.7 million patients in the United States and more than 100 other countries. As one of the 2017 Fortune 100 Fastest Growing Companies (NASDAQ:ALGN); our patented Invisalign system including the materials and clinical software are US and Taiwan Food and Drug Administration Class II licensed. You can rest assure that you will receive a safe and comfortable treatment from our Invisalign trained doctors.
Now the Invisalign system is available in Taiwan, offering a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing choice of treatment. It is estimated that up to 60% of people in Taiwan suffer from misalignments, malocclusions and narrow airway problem, but only 6% actually seek treatment.
“Asian cases are more difficult to treat,” explains Tang, noting that Asian people tend to have smaller mouths but the same number of teeth, causing more crowding of the arches and greater prevalence of malocclusions. “We want to share this technology with people in Taiwan for healthier teeth and more attractive smiles.”
What is Invisalign?
The Invisalign system consists of a series of easy to install and remove medical-grade plastic aligners that gradually achieve the ultimate goal. Each aligner is slightly different, and when worn for 20 hour a day gradually produce the desired effect. Using Align Technology’s patented iTero scanning system, a 3D scan of the patient’s teeth is generated by the orthodontist, who then works with Invisalign’s computer database of millions of previous patients as well as utilizing his or her own expertise to form a diagnosis and course of treatment. The computer diagnosis and treatment plan is uploaded onto Invisalign’s database for transmission to the company’s state-of-the-art 3D printing manufacturing facility to produce the entire series of aligners for the duration of treatment. Each aligner is about 2.5 millimeters different from the next in sequence, and the total treatment time ranges from six months to two years.
The success of Invisalign hinges on three scientific breakthroughs.
The first is SmartTrack, a proprietary Align Technology multilayer material specifically designed and clinically proven to improve orthodontic movement. Many of Align Technology’s more than 800 patents are related to this material. Invisalign is the only plastic dental aligners to receive dual certification by the U.S. and Taiwan FDA as a class-II medical device.
The second is SmartStage technology, an advanced algorithm that determines the optimal path of tooth movement and the shape of the aligner at every stage of the Invisalign treatment. SmartStage technology helps generate the desired force systems necessary for more predictable treatment outcomes.
SmartForce features, meanwhile, are attachments and features that together allow for treatment of both simple and complex cases and precisely control both the root and crown. “Invisalign aligner can even be used on tooth extraction and major realignment of serious malocclusion treatments,” says Tang.
Why is Invisalign right for Taiwanese?
- Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible, making them popular among flight attendants, public relations specialists, and anyone who can’t risk a smile revealing unsightly wires and metal brackets.
- Invisalign aligners also promote oral hygiene. With Invisalign, all you do is pop it out, brush your teeth, and put it back in – no special cleaning tools or effort required!
- The Invisalign treatment also reduces the amount of time and fuss required. Instead of weekly visits to the orthodontist, with Invisalign you can get several months of aligners in advance, and see the orthodontist only infrequently to check progress. And as the difference from one sequential aligner to another is so small, the amount of discomfort is comparatively low.
Invisalign has proven highly popular in China and Hong Kong, and the level of use in Taiwan has been steadily increasingly. Invisalign has class-II medical device license by the FDA in both the U.S. and Taiwan, and are backed by a comprehensive database, state-of-the-art 3D manufacturing system, and a network of hundreds of thousands of Invisalign trained doctors who are dedicated to providing the best treatment for their patients.