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Weighing the options of an in-office versus an outsourced aligner manufacturing approach

  • Jason B. Cope
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: 7015 Snider Plaza, Suite 200 Dallas TX 75205, United States.
    Affiliations
    Dept. of Orthodontics, Kung Hee University School of Dentistry, Seoul, South Korea

    Dept. of Graduate Orthodontics, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, United States

    Private Practice of Orthodontics, Dallas, TX, United States
    Search for articles by this author
  • Christian Groth
    Affiliations
    Dept. of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, University of Michigan, and in Private Practice of Orthodontics, Birmingham, MI, United States
    Search for articles by this author
Published:September 08, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.sodo.2021.09.003
      Since Align Technology, Inc., introduced their Invisalign product in 1999, the clear aligner market has grown steadily. Currently, most orthodontic manufacturers offer an aligner product. In essence, all 3rd party aligner manufacturers function as an orthodontic lab by providing aligners to orthodontists based on a prescription for individual patients. There are several benefits to this relationship. The orthodontist can outsource much of their lab work, which frees up staff to handle other tasks or allows the orthodontist to have fewer staff. The orthodontist can also leverage the marketing dollars that these large companies invest in product promotion and brand awareness. There are downsides to this relationship, however. Turnaround times from prescription submission to aligner delivery can be 3-6 weeks, which may not be acceptable to patients. Part of the delay can be a result of the interaction between the clinician submitting the case initially, the subsequent setting up of the case by the technician, and the final acceptance of the digital setup by the clinician. The experience and communication skills of both parties can enhance or detract from this interaction. The time required for manufacturing, packaging, and shipping must also be considered. And the cost for this lab service is not inexpensive either.
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      References

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