News from the latest Invisalign Orthodontic Summit

Invisalign conferenceSheila Chauhan discusses her impressions of the recent Invisalign Orthodontic Summit and the community it is creating.

I miss face to face events and I miss my peers. But I have to admit that attending the Align Technology’s first Virtual Orthodontic Summit (on 26 and 27 March) was a wonderful reminder that we orthodontists are not alone.

I felt an immense sense of pride to be part of such a wonderful community and be one of the specialists who has harnessed cutting-edge technology to treat a staggering nine million people across the world.

Starting with Invisalign

My journey started with the Invisalign system in 2001. Back then, we were a heavily brace-orientated practice with only 30% of Invisalign clear aligner treatment share-of-chair.

However, in 2020 we became 90% Invisalign-focused after signing up for the Align Digital and Practice Transformation (ADAPT) consulting service, a UK pilot developed by Align Technology.

So naturally the presentation at the Summit on the ADAPT programme by Vikki Young and Rachael Hart was really close to my heart.

The programme statistics mirrored what I had experienced in terms of increased efficiency, increased capacity, increased revenue and more time to focus on the things that were most important to me.

One of the most impressive parts of the Orthodontic Summit had to be the lecture by senior technical fellow from Align Technology John Morton, with his talk on biomechanics.

It really brought home the evolution of the aligners themselves with their Smartforce, Smarttrack, and Smartstaging features. It highlighted the fact there is stronger and more predictable force application with aligners than with fixed braces.

He also presented the latest Invisalign G8 features. This is an exciting prospect as they will ensure an optimal force application for improved predictability.

Invisalign First

Susana Palma and Willy Dayan also elevated orthodontics to new levels. Susana is an Invisalign goddess and her clinical presentation was mind-blowing.

Dr Dayan was also very inspirational going through his 20-year journey. He explained what he can do with aligners, which we cannot achieve with fixed braces.

Graham Gardner’s monitoring, tracking and troubleshooting guidance was also very pertinent. I agree with him that digital tools not only protect us from a compliance and consent point of view, but also enhance communication throughout the whole patient journey. Before, during and after, thanks to digital scanning, simulation, planning, and remote monitoring. Especially in the last 12 months. These digital tools, and being able to troubleshoot early, have changed the game changer revolutionising the way we practise.

Dr Catherine McCanny quoted evidence from the Align 2020 Scientific Symposium. She started with research from Dr Bothag, an orthodontist from Germany. The research looked at the effect of Invisalign versus FA in non-extraction cases. It highlighted that treatment with the Invisalign system was 40% faster.

Another piece of research came from Dr Sandy Tai who looked at TBA versus Invisalign with MA. It showed that Invisalign aligners with MA allowed significantly better control of the lower incisors.

Catherine also quoted Dr Regina Blevins from the JCO February 2019. She found an increase of 35% in practice growth using Invisalign First aligners.

I also use Invisalign First. I have seen some phenomenal results even within nine months in COVID times.

Lastly, Catherine showed her practice growth figures, which reflected a general trend. They include a 30% upwards growth in teen treatments, which was so reassuring.

Not just aligners and digital tools

Brooke Radich, who is director of consumer marketing for Align Technology also looked at trends. She said that the COVID pandemic has been a catalyst for the healthcare sector to take a 10-year leap forward. It really pivoted the change for digital acceleration.

Thanks to Align, consumers are directing the way the market is growing. They know what they want before coming to us. After treatment, they love sharing their positive stories, which has a ripple effect.

During a break in lectures I visited the Itero lounge. That was a lovely touch from Align Technology. It gave me an opportunity to ask specific questions about the Itero scanning system, and have real interaction with digital scanning advisers. Rather than figuring things for myself.

Align Technology is not just a company providing aligners and digital tools.

The company is invested in helping our growth in clinical confidence. And this Summit was another example. It was a great opportunity to learn from high level speakers who imparted their knowledge and shared their own personal journeys, showing their mistakes along the way, and providing advice about troubleshooting.

Two years ago, I could not have envisaged being where I am today. My team and I are aiming for Diamond status this year and we are already two thirds of the way there.

I am just immensely grateful.

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