Bringing more smiles to teen patients and their doctors through the Align Special Markets Program

Sponsored Content: Align Technology

Teenagers are the largest and most critical cohort of patients for orthodontic practices. They can also be powerful influencers and drivers of practice growth. While straighter teeth and the benefits of increased self-confidence, self-esteem and overall oral health are the ultimate goals, the patient experience is also important to many teenagers. They expect technology driven care and trust the influencers they follow for brand and product recommendations. Almost half of consumers – 49% – rely on product recommendations from influencers for their purchases.1 Delivering the digital treatment and experiences they want helps capture teen patients and can help grow a practice’s business. 

The Align Special Markets program was created to support doctors in dental service organizations in transforming smiles and changing the lives of their patients by providing access to digital technology that can help doctors create the experiences that teens desire.

Through the Align Special Markets program, dental service organizations and their member doctors gain access to a dedicated Align Business Development Manager and Team to help them define goals and set KPIs. From there, the Align team helps doctors unlock the full potential of Align’s Digital Platform of products, services, and resources including support to streamline processes and provide customized reporting and analytics around Invisalign and iTero system usage in their orthodontic practice. Doctor and staff education on the Invisalign system and iTero intraoral scanner are core components of the program as this can help increase patient conversion and drive overall practice growth. 

Kent Underwood

Kent Underwood, DDS, is an orthodontist in Powell, Ohio, with Smile Doctors, a dental service organization in the Align Special Markets Program. Dr. Underwood has been in practice for 23 years, with expertise in all aspects of orthodontics and a particular interest in craniofacial and interdisciplinary care. Dr. Underwood has been using Align Technology’s iTero Element intraoral scanner, to treat teen and adult patients with Invisalign clear aligners and more. “Teens love it,” said Dr. Underwood. “Aligners must be part of the plan to grow your business. Align Technology and Smile Doctors have a strong partnership, which allows me to easily expand our aligner growth.”  

iTero digital scanning with Invisalign treatment increases case volume and drives practice growth. According to a study of orthodontic practices worldwide, an orthodontic practice can see an additional 12-plus Invisalign cases across the first 12 months following the introduction of the iTero Element scanner2 – a $66,000 increase in Invisalign case revenue.3 On this basis, the iTero scanner can pay for itself in about six months. 

Dr. Underwood’s orthodontics office consists of 12 team members and more than 1,200 patients. Teenagers make up 64% of Dr. Underwood’s Invisalign patients over the past 12 months and his patient percentage between Invisalign and traditional braces has flipped. Over 50% of Dr. Underwood’s patients now choose Invisalign treatment. “We now have more Invisalign patients than traditional braces. Although 2020 presented us with challenges, we surpassed our goals.” 

An iTero scanner boosts efficiency and helps get more out of chair time. It optimizes practice workflow and treatment accuracy through 3D visuals to better engage with patients. “The iTero training provided to my assistants and clinical team allows them to adjust with ease,” said Dr. Underwood. “The iTero Element scanner is patient friendly, and the IT support is great.” 

Engaging parents and teenagers with a 3D visualization on screen increases case acceptance as patients get to see the outcome. A survey with doctors showed that an average of 60% of patients who were shown an Invisalign Outcome Simulation with the iTero scanner started Invisalign treatment.4

“Digital dentistry captures the market,” said Dr. Underwood. “It attracts teens and their parents. They recognize the value and benefits to the Invisalign product.”

1 Google research: Align Technology Consumer Marketing Guide

2 Retrospective data evaluation and quantitative analysis completed by Dr. MacKay, University of Memphis. 495 Orthodontic practices worldwide. Study sponsored by Align Technology.

3 Valuation based on $5,500 Invisalign Case Fee. Median case fee Invisalign treatment often $3,000 to $8,000 in the United States per website.

4 Based on a survey of n=101 Orthodontists and General Dentists (from U.S., Canada and U.K, in July 2018; GP=60, Ortho=41) who used the Invisalign Outcome Simulator in the past year and were asked, “For the patients who were presented the option of Invisalign treatment in the past 12 months, and for whom you have used the Invisalign Outcome Simulator, what percentage of these patients started Invisalign treatment?”