How Long Has Invisalign Been Used

April 6th, 2017

If you’ve just started researching alternatives to metal braces, Invisalign clear aligners might seem like a new concept to you.

With its state-of-the-art digital scanning and 3D printing technology, you may wonder if this advanced way to straighten teeth is time-tested.

What may surprise you is that Invisalign was introduced nearly 20 years ago and, since that time, has helped over 4 million patients patients.

If you’re considering straightening your teeth with clear aligners, you’ll want to understand more about Align Technology (the company behind Invisalign),where it has been and where it is going.

Here are a few must-know facts about the technology that has revolutionised the smiles of countless happy patients.

Silicon Valley Startup

As Dr. Luis Piedade explains, the idea of using a series of custom aligners (instead of metal braces) to straighten teeth had been around since the 1940’s, but the technology of the time made the concept too expensive and time-consuming to pursue.

In 1997, Stanford University students Zia Chisti and Kelsey Wirth saw the opportunity that 3D printing and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) brought to the idea, and they founded Align Technology. According to the New York Times, these two visionaries were able to secure investment funding for their concept, receive FDA approval in 1998 and make their first sale via an orthodontist in 1999.

It was the beginning of a technology that would empower millions of individuals to escape the embarrassment and self-consciousness of metal braces with a nearly invisible alternative for achieving that elusive straight smile.

Experience and Growth of Align Technology

Align Technology grew quickly as both patients and orthodontists discovered the tremendous benefits of Invisalign.

By 2003, Invisalign technology had been integrated into the NYU Dental School program, with other schools following suit over the next few years.

If you’re wondering how quickly other orthodontic patients with malocclusions discovered the benefits of clear aligners, check out these stats.

  • Invisalign had treated 1 million patients by 2009, then hit the 2 million mark in 2012 and the 3 million mark just 3 years later.
  • In 2016, the company shipped over 700,000 aligners to patients in over 90 countries, and there are over 50,000 active doctors offering Invisalign treatment.

Improving Patient Care and Comfort

Throughout the years of change, Align Technology’s goal stayed the same—helping you find an easier path toward a straight smile. Invisalign continues to build on its success with new innovations that improve comfort and lead to better outcomes for patients just like you.

In 2013, Align Technology introduced an innovative new material for the Invisalign clear aligners. The new technology is called SmartTrack, and it allows Invisalign aligners to exert more consistent, even pressure. Made of elastic plastic material, SmartTrack works to improve your comfort level whilst helping your orthodontist adjust your teeth more efficiently.

That same year, Align Technology introduced chairside 3D scanning of patients’ teeth. This technology, called iTero, creates an accurate digital model of the teeth (without the putty required to make traditional casts). When the iTero scans your teeth, your doctor can make a complete treatment plan right from the computer.

At the end of 2016, after a clinical analysis of actual patients using Invisalign, Align Technology introduced a new protocol of switching aligners every week (from every 2 weeks). By taking advantage of the iTero 3D models and SmartTrack’s advanced material, changing aligners once a week shortens treatment time by up to 50%!

The difference between innovative Invisalign clear aligners and old-school metal braces is stark.

If you’re wondering which orthodontic treatment you should choose, the advantages of Invisalign become even clearer when you consider the benefits of...

  • A nearly invisible aligner you can wear with confidence in business and social circles.

Taking the first step toward getting the smile you’ve always dreamed of is simple: make an appointment with a MiSmile provider near you for a no-obligation Smile Evaluation so you can enjoy Invisalign for yourself.

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