The post is dedicated to the recent opening of Invisalign shops and the new advertising company Invisalign.
The introduction of aligners by Invisalign has been one of the most significant developments in orthodontics. As a result, Invisalign has become a major orthodontic company supplying aligners to orthodontists and dentists. Invisalign recently acquired a large stake in Smile Direct Club (SDC). Smile Direct Club delivers aligners directly to patients, bypassing dentists.I have already written about this earlier.
It is now clear that Invisalign has decided to adopt this business model by opening Invisalign stores in California. The scheme of work is as follows:
A person interested in orthodontic treatment comes to the store.
Store employees, who may not have a dental education, discuss treatment and scan his teeth.
Technician makes a ClinCheck and discusses it with the patient.
The patient then selects a dentist / orthodontist to “oversee” the treatment.
Invisalign sends data to the “observing” dentist / orthodontist. He, in turn, decides whether he accepts the patient and makes changes to the treatment plan if necessary.
After that, the patient is transferred to the dentist / orthodontist for alignment fittings and “observation”.
Invisalign has also launched an ad campaign claiming that braces are an obsolete technology. Here is a screenshot of an advertising banner.
Interestingly, to this day, I have not seen a single qualitative study that proves that Invisalign aligners are as effective as braces. The image in the ad for dental extractors is also odd. Is this a hint that treatment with braces must necessarily be with the removal or enhancement of the effect of the words “tightening”, “twisting”, “twisting”? (tightening, cranking, twisting)
In connection with the publication of this advertisement, AAO and CAO contacted Invisalign, after which the latter wrote an open letter of apology… However, in his letter of apology, the CEO of Invisalign writes:
“We know that doctors and clients are free to make their own decisions about the method of treatment, and although we believe that aligners are the best and most modern method of treatment, we decided to take our claims back so as not to harm our brand.”
Invisalign appears to advertise aligners as superior to fixed devices.
Is there a problem with this?
I will only evaluate the actions of Invisalign from the point of view of the British Dental Care Regulatory System. I think there are some nuances here. I have concerns about the qualifications of the people doing the examinations at the Invisalign shops.
I’ve sent emails to Invisalign but they haven’t responded. However, visits to Invisalign shops indicate that non-dentists work there.
Dental health assessment
The first step in any dental intervention is to assess the patient’s dental health. Such an assessment can only be carried out by a professional with appropriate training and qualifications. I do not know how this requirement can be met in Invisalign shops, because patients are not directly examined by dentists. This is a serious problem.
The informed consent must be signed by the patient prior to starting treatment. The only person who is entitled to obtain consent from the patient is the dentist. Therefore, the patient cannot give consent directly in the Ivisalign shop. And if the patient signs the consent in the store before receiving the aligners from the “observing” dentist, then this will be a retrospective consent. In this case, there are potential risks. However, if the “observing” dentist again conducts his own examination and then again gives the patient consent for signing, the risks can be eliminated.
Illegal dental practice
I’m not 100% sure, but my assumptions are: dental scans are performed by unregistered dentists. And since these scans are later used for treatment planning and aligner production, the scanning process can be considered a dental practice. In the UK, only registered dentists are allowed to practice dental practice. As a result, in the UK, such a business model could be regarded as illegal dental practice, and employees of Invisalign shops were prosecuted.
Who is responsible for the treatment?
Everything is obvious. The dentist “overseeing” the treatment. The shop workers who planned the treatment are not responsible. As a result, in case of problems with treatment, the responsibility will lie with the “observing” dentist.
I don’t know about the regulation of dental care in the United States. Probably the rules are different in different states?