Note: The opinions presented below are that of the author and have not been verified by Align Technology®.
As some celebrate the one-year anniversary of the flagship Invisalign Store® in San Francisco, I encourage you to look to the future and prepare for next steps. By the end of 2018, Align Technology® plans to have launched twelve pilot stores across the United States.
As an orthodontic consultant and the CEO of StraightSmile Solutions®, I am frequently asked to forecast Align Technology’s® next strategic move.
At the webinar on September 14th, they announced that they will be partnering with thirty doctors at each new store. These doctors can be general dentists or orthodontists, and priority is given to doctors who are high-ranking on the regional doctor locator. This is an abrupt change from the referral philosophy announced last year, which was clearly orthocentric. The albeit “low margin” referrals and financing flexibility are certainly a huge perk if you are chosen as one of these coveted doctors.
Ultimately, these “beta” stores are one more step in the direction of corporate cannibalization and will likely push many doctors toward 3D printing their own aligners.
Trying to compete with the $2,499–$3,499 price for a mild-to-moderate Invisalign case is very challenging. The biomechanical features provided in the Signature® or Signature Plus® cases are virtually identical to what you could do in-house anyway.
By 3D printing your own aligners, your overhead can be as low as $100 per case once you’ve purchased the initial equipment, which ranges from $25,000–$50,000. Depending on your volume, you can be in the black in just a month or two. You can also scan and deliver your aligners in just a few hours as opposed to waiting two–six weeks for shipping. If you are planning to do volume, this is the right direction to go.
If you are hesitant about purchasing the equipment outright or staging your own treatment plans, connect with me and the StraightSmile Solutions® team because there are many hybrid options.
If you have questions, visit my YouTube video library at or connect with our team for a 20-minute complimentary consultation and a review of your orthodontic overhead and process flow.