• Dr. Tanner

The Invisalign Story

Many people are curious about the origin of Invisalign and clear aligners. Most assume that moving teeth with plastic is a relatively new treatment option—one born of the 21st century. Surprisingly, orthodontists have been performing minor tooth movement with simple plastic splints since the 1960s. By the eighties, tooth movement up to 3mm was being accomplished with silicon elastomer devices. In the early 1990s, an orthodontist by the name of John Sheridan, developed the first true aligner system called the Essix retainer. It was customizable and designed for moving the anterior teeth.

The real breakthrough in clear aligner therapy came from a very unlikely source. In the late '90s, two Stanford grad students, Zia Chiisti and Kelsey Worth, determined that there had to be a better way to move teeth other than braces. They posited that a multiple series of clear aligners, over an extended period of time, could effect a significant amount of tooth movement—similar to what could be achieved with fixed appliances. After raising a large amount of venture capitol, Align Technology was born. In 1999, Invisalign was launched to the public after being approved by the FDA the prior year. At first, orthodontists were very resistant to adopting Invisalign because the founders had no orthodontic credentials or expertise. However, Invisalign quickly became popular with consumers and the dental community had to take notice.

In the early 2000s, Align technology began to pivot and become more science based. The original founders left the company and Align hired orthodontists, scientists and engineers to improve the quality of their product. Align realized that in order to stay relevant as a highly regarded and efficient “tooth moving” system, that continual improvements would need to be made. As new protocols and design modifications became available, more and more challenging malocclusions were being successfully treated with Invisalign. Over the past 10 years, Invisalign has introduced a series of important upgrades to the materials, force systems and sequenced movements, which has enhanced treatment outcomes. The end goal for Invisalign was to create a system whereby any malocclusion that is treated with braces could be treated with clear aligners. And in some cases, even more effectively!

Why are there so many clear aligner companies now on the market? Especially when the only name you heard for years was Invisalign? In 2017, Align Technology had hundreds of patents expire that opened the door for a multitude of companies to jump into a billion dollar industry. A Google search for clear aligners comes up with several DIY companies like Smile Direct Club, Byte, Candid along with clinician provided aligners like Reveal, Tune Clear, and Clarity. Even with all the new competition, Invisalign is the worldwide leader in clear aligner therapy and still dominates the market share amongst its competitors.

Bottom line, why choose Invisalign when there is so many choices and when several of those choices are less expensive? It all comes down to the quality of the product and the outcome of the service. Everyone knows the saying, “You get what you pay for” and it is so true when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Invisalign’s success is backed by 11 million+ treated patients, years of research and development, a commitment to stay ahead of the competition via innovation and the loyalty of some of the best orthodontists in the world who believe in the quality and superiority of the product. Why choose the rest when you can have the best! Don’t take a chance with your teeth and smile—Invisalign is the right choice!!

If you have questions about the benefits of Invisalign treatment, please call Visage Orthodontics at 505-670-6145 or visit our appointment page to schedule a complimentary consultation with me, Dr. Tanner, your Santa Fe Invisalign specialist. I will review everything in detail and develop a customized treatment plan to fit your lifestyle and budget.

A confident and beautiful smile is right around the corner!