We have been restricted for the past 20 years in the field of clear aligners to generate income by selling more plastic aligners. Could we make the same or more income by decreasing plastic?
Sounds counterintuitive, huh?! yet I believe it is possible.
I have highlighted in my previous blogs how 4D dynamic clear aligners and wires would represent the future of orthodontics. Actually, I see 4D orthodontics inevitable for a multitude of reasons.
Since the inception of clear aligners, the main focus was mainly on software and affordability. We have seen many advances in the treatment planning software as well as services providing mainstream manufacturing approaches for labs and in-house in clinics. Furthermore, we have also seen the market sliding towards more fragmentation after a monopoly for over a decade.
4D clear aligners or named here ClearX are dynamic and could exhibit shape-changing whenever an adequate stimulus is applied to the aligner triggering the aligner to change its shape to the next shape in sequence.
Here comes an essential role for the aligner booster. The aligner booster is a device that is designed to be used at home by the patient or at the doctor’s office. The aligner booster is used to boost the aligner material to change its shape from one shape to another.
So the patient would use the booster on specific intervals during the treatment i.e. usually every week, to boost the aligner. When the aligner is boosted, it takes over the shape of the next aligner accordingly. This method replaces the use of many aligners and could decrease the use of plastic drastically.
The aligner booster software is very easy to use. The patient connects the booster to the mobile phone through the mobile app by Bluetooth. The patient has access to his/her account (Aligner Booster App- available on Google play and Apple store starting November 2019). The patient’s account includes all necessary data about dates of boosting every aligner and sends reminders for boosting sessions.
But why design and build a device that has a singular function when it is sitting there at home or at the doctor’s office?
I see a much wider application that could serve the treatments and make it much smarter. Let’s consider the booster the doctor’s assistant at home and see what it could do.
The new functions of the booster coming soon comprise:
Adjusting the magnitude and time of boosting sessions automatically according to the teeth movement.Adjusting the magnitude and dates of aligner boosting automatically according to patient input as pressure on teeth, aligner fitting and etc..Scanning the aligner barcode to set the criteria for boosting automatically.
Artificial intelligence algorithms will take over, adjusting the treatment path and bringer faster results.
All these functions and more create a more comprehensive treatment while creates more compliance by the patients.
All data gathered, from magnitude, scheduled aligner wearing and boosting is shared on the doctor’s portal.
Summary, there is much more to develop in this field than just the planning software for treatments or developing affordability criteria. The aligner booster will certainly play a big role in aligner treatments to provide a smarter treatment path while also an eco-friendly approach when we need it most.