Dental Tribune Middle East & Africa

Invisalign Q&A with Simon Beard, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Align Technology EMEA

By Align Technology
June 02, 2019

Almost 6 million people have successfully straightened their teeth using Invisalign® clear aligners, treated by Invisalign trained doctors. Tell us more about this market for straighter teeth. Can you give us a breakdown on demographics?

The Invisalign clear aligners are an alternative to traditional brackets and wires, and Align Technology has been driving the transformation in digital dentistry for 21 years now, offering a modern end-to-end approach to straightening teeth. Increasingly, more and more people see the many benefits of clear aligner therapy that can deliver aesthetic and orthodontic solutions without the need for using traditional, fixed braces.

One of the benefits of the Invisalign solution is that it can be used by both younger people, ever conscious of their looks, as well as adults, who may otherwise have refused conventional orthodontic treatment. As a result, we see strong interest from both groups also here in the UAE and Middle East. The interest is reflected in the overall market dynamics – it is estimated that the dental devices market will grow 6.58 per cent through 2021.

We can observe it in the Middle East as well as in other markets: there has never been more demand for a beautiful smile than these days. Thanks to the Millenial or “selfie” generation, we can clearly see more and more consumers proactively looking for a treatment option that will allow them to straighten their teeth and get that camera-ready smile they always wanted. The Invisalign system offers this opportunity.

This new trend presents a great opportunity for the doctors to leverage growing demand from consumers and embrace digital technology, such as clear aligner therapy or intraoral patient scan. A more digital practice will allow them to see and treat more prospective patients visiting their clinic and asking for a treatment of their choice, but also to mirror more closely consumer buying behaviour and capture new patient interest and untapped segments.

Innovation in dental technology has prompted major growth in the dental health industry lately. Could you tell us more about how you use 3D technology to make the aligners?
As a pioneer in the industry of clear aligner orthodontics and digital dentistry, we were one of the earliest adopters of 3D printing.  We are the largest 3D print manufacturer worldwide, and our priority is to ensure the highest quality of our manufacturing process. Currently, as many as 359.000 aligners are manufactured every single day, using stereolithography (SLA) to 3D print the molds. That means each patient receives their own, unique set of clear aligners to wear.

It`s worth pointing out how Invisalign clear aligners differ from the other market offering. The Invisalign system is a unique combination of patented SmartTrack material that applies constant force and improves control of tooth movements, SmartForce attachments engineered to make complex tooth movements possible without braces and wires, as well as SmartStage technology, which optimizes tooth movements and aligner activation for greater predictability, while utilizing data from almost 6 million cases. Currently, we offer custom-made solutions for younger patients with early mixed dentition, teenagers and adults alike, and the Invisalign system can be applied to treat approximately 80% orthodontic case starts.

Tell us about the orthodontics market globally and how is it different to the region in terms or growth.
The global orthodontic supplies market is expected to reach USD 6.63 billion by 2023 from USD 4.32 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 8.9%, according to a recent report.

These market trends correspond to our business growth. In Q3 2018, we saw an increase in the number of Invisalign cases shipped internationally in EMEA by 36,2% compared to the corresponding quarter last year. That said, there is definitely a growing appetite for the clear aligner treatment.

The potential to grow the market for teeth straightening is enormous - according to our estimates, as many as 100 million patients in EMEA region could benefit from some type of teeth straightening. We would like to tap into this opportunity and make clear aligner therapy accessible to as many patients as possible, helping doctors create new, beautiful smiles.  To make this happen, we are working closely with a growing network of Invisalign trained doctors - general dentists and orthodontists alike – to make clear aligner therapy widely available to patients in the region.

What are your plans for growth in the region? Who do you compete with in our region?
As a pioneer in the field of digital dentistry, our focus is very much on expanding our presence in the region– which is still a relatively new market for our technology.  We will continue drive innovation in the dental industry – as we have done for the past 21 years - by offering doctors and patients cutting-edge solutions to respond to their ever-changing needs. Our technology as well as commercial setup we have built in EMEA to support the Invisalign trained doctors gives us great, competitive advantage over other orthodontic solutions, available on the market.

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