Orthodontic treatment of teeth misalignment typically requires wearing braces or aligners for a considerable amount of time. The number of treatment options available for teeth misalignment has increased over the years as dentistry continues to innovate.
Clear aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic treatments available today. Historically, orthodontists have contracted with a third-party provider to deliver clear aligner treatments. Outsourcing to a provider offers several disadvantages for both the dentist and the client. It can take up to a month to manufacture and supply an aligner set, and the vendor charges a significant service fee, reducing possible revenues.
Advances in 3D printing are boosting the creation of transparent aligners. 3D printing is already available to dental laboratories and private practices. It is now possible for orthodontics to choose between aligners produced within the laboratory or manufactured in-house.
In-house Aligner Process
A new class of orthodontic solutions has emerged due to the growing demand from patients for aligner treatment choices. Smaller regional producers are putting the market leader, Invisalign, under pressure. Orthodontists and dentists interested in using clear aligners have numerous options. A growing number of offices are developing their brand and marketing it directly to patients.
If you are wondering what is involved in our in-house aligner manufacturing process, let Dr. Kumra provide you with some details.
The following are involved in the process:
- An intraoral scanner
- A 3D printer
- Photopolymer dental resins
- Thermoforming equipment for adapting aligner material to the created models
- A computerized workflow
Owners of practices must invest in material and technical resources to assist their personnel in adopting a 3D printing process.
Invisalign vs. In-house Aligners
In-House Aligners, like Invisalign and ClearCorrect, gently reposition teeth over time. Aligners, like braces, work by applying consistent pressure to the teeth. Instead of brackets, they utilize a series of custom-made trays for each patient based on impressions. Aligners are removable to clean the teeth and are nearly unnoticeable, making them a discreet treatment option.
The only real difference is that we construct your aligner trays in-house.
Initially, aligners were manufactured using physical impressions that had to be transported from the dental practice to a processing site. Due to limited computing capability, treatment planning was delegated to specialized design centers. Additionally, 3D printers were prohibitively expensive, heavy, and hard to support, which meant businesses could only accommodate and maintain them.
Between 2011 and 2013, the first significant advancement in this field occurred with the launch of the first intraoral scanners. For the first time, no impressions had to be shipped, enabling clinicians from all around the world to give aligner therapy in their practices.
The benefits of making its aligners in-house include a lower treatment cost for patients due to the ease of making 3D-printed retainers. For example, a lifetime retainer policy is offered to patients, which lowers the overall cost of treatment. Additionally, the practice notes that many patients nowadays are concerned about the impact of their treatment on the environment and that its in-house aligners have a lower environmental impact due to the absence of shipping and handling.
If the orthodontist creates their digital setup, the clinic will not send an assessment process or revisions that must be examined again. Another significant downside of collaborating with businesses is that the physician has no control over when the digital setup is ready for a submitted case.
Even if the company has a message system that notifies clinicians when the digital setup plan is ready for evaluation, the clinician may not be available at the time. Additionally, the provider cannot ensure that the digital setup treatment plan it sends will be the final one. When an in-house aligner system is employed, the doctor has complete control over the procedure’s duration.
If you’re considering Invisalign or ClearCorrect, make sure to visit our orthodontist office for more information. We provide in-house aligners customized and constructed by us on the premises of your local Kumra Orthodontics location. You can contact us today at (540) 602-7251 for our Stafford office or (202) 785-8672 for our DC office with any questions about availability, scheduling an appointment, or even getting started – we’re happy to walk you through how it all works!