ALIGN Technology, the company that makes Invisalign orthodontic aligners, has not yet made any indication that they will be reversing their decision on June 1st to require dentists and orthodontists to do a minimum of 10 cases each year and complete 10 hours of their Continuing Education courses each year. The backlash among dentists and orthodontists, however, continues to get stronger, as this is a fairly blatant move by a for-profit corporation to intrude on a doctor’s autonomy and decision-making rights as to which cases are appropriate for Invisalign and which are not. Several professional organizations, including the Academy of General Dentistry and the New York State Dental Association, are already responding with letters to ALIGN Technology’s Board of Directors and President, stating that there is simply no evidence that the so-called “proficiency requirements” have any basis in science, and unless they can come up with something to substantiate the claims the company is making, they should immediately withdraw the requirements. If ALIGN Technology continues on this course, patients should fully expect to see an enormous drop in the availability of Invisalign as more and more dentists and orthodontists simply drop their service.
The good news is that there are alternatives to Invisalign, and they work as well or better, AND they’re even less expensive! For some info and examples, check out our Six-Month Smiles in Charlotte! Then you can Request a Complimentary Consultation to see how fast you can feel good about your smile again with straight, white teeth! And if you’re concerned about cost, if you sign up for our Dental Discount Plan or choose Interest-Free Payment Plans with Care Credit, you can save some real money, too.
It has been an interesting couple of weeks when it comes to Six-Month Braces and Short-Term Ortho in general in our office……
We had planned on attending InvisAlign certification in Raleigh on Friday, June 12th so that we could start offering this service to our patients. Personally, I”m not that big a fan of those clear aligners at all, because they cost more (we have to pay a hefty lab fee, which is why your fee is higher than for brackets), they don’t work in as many cases (quite a few limitations), and they take longer – ESPECIALLY if you lose 1 or more aligners and have to get some remade. However, so many people are interested, we figured…..why not? We can offer it for the situations in which it is a good option and offer the “invisible brackets” for everyone else.
On June 1st, Align Technologies (the company that actually runs the operation) sent an email to all of it’s providers in conjunction with a Press Release to the public with some major news. Since we had just signed up, we weren’t even on the list of people who received the emails, so fortunately I found out about this through an online forum for dentists, and oooooooh boy, looks like they stepped in it this time!
Here is the link to the Press Release: InvisAlign Makes a Huge Mistake in Doctor Relations! (BTW – that’s not what they call it, that’s what most of us dentists think)
Simply put, by the end of this year, an enormous percentage of dentists will no longer be “qualified” (HA!) to offer InvisAlign to their patients simply because they don’t do 10 cases per year. Heck, even Board-certified Orthodontists who don’t do 10 cases per year won’t be “qualified” according to Align Technology. An Orthodontist wouldn’t be “qualified?” Hmmmmmm, can you tell what I think of this scenario? And what about all the dentists who have done 5-9 cases per year for many years and have other extensive orthodontic training? If all of those doctors have been qualified for all these years, what makes them suddenly “unqualified?” It’s not like quantity automatically equals quality.
Let’s see…..last year we did a total of about 15 cases of Six-Month Braces. Only 4 of them would have been good candidates for Invisalign – if that many. This year, with the current economy, we’ve only started 4 cases total. So do I think it likely I’d be doing 10 cases by the end of this yea – unless I suddenly started “pushing” it on my patients? NO, I DON’T THINK SO! That’s not the way I treat patients though – they trust me to make the best recommendation for them, not to toe some arbitrary company line.
But did Invisalign actually inform me of this when I signed up for the course or even bother calling me after they sent out the Press Release? Does that sound ethical to you? To take someone’s money and then tell them afterwards that I might not even be able to offer the service in 6 months? Through professional Internet forums, I know that many doctors who recently took the certification course are so upset that there is talk of a class-action lawsuit for breach of contract.
If you haven’t noticed, there has been a sudden and steep decline in Align’s stock price over the last 2 weeks, too. Probably not a coincidence, as there are rumors that as many as 10,000 dentists and orthodontists will no longer be able to offer Invisalign after Dec. 31st, 2009. Many are already quitting on their own, and we are looking for alternatives, and the good news is that there are alternatives!
Look for more announcements on options we offer for Adult, Cosmetic Braces for Smile Makeovers with no drilling!
Needless to say, I am only 1 of MANY dentists who has cancelled our “certification” course reservations, who are calling for refunds of our money, and who have decided, “Hey, there are other options to InvisAlign for my patients, and they’re less expensive and work better, too!”