Align Technology’s first Digital Innovations Forum held

30 December 2020
4 min read

Align Technology has reported that the inaugural edition of its virtual Digital Innovations Forum was attended by over 900 dentists and orthodontists.

The event showcased the latest digital innovations and demonstrated how they can help clinicians provide improved and more efficient treatment experiences for patients. Delegates learnt more about integrating the latest technologies into the practice and ways to maximise workflow efficiencies. The speakers shared best-in-class techniques and digital workflow case studies, to inspire their peers to elevate their practices beyond their current position, and to future-proof their businesses and the profession.

The forum was opened by Align Technology’s senior vice president and managing director, EMEA, Markus Sebastian, who explained that innovation is at the heart of everything that the company does, making continued investment to enhance its products, introducing new solutions to make digital orthodontics available for a broader range of patients.

He welcomed Edward J. Zuckerberg, a pioneer in the integration of technology in the dental practice from the US, who shared his opinions about the importance of technological innovation in a dental practice. His talk drew on tangible and practical examples from both inside and outside dentistry and advised that, “Doctors have the freedom to turn down technology. However, patients will increasingly perceive that the adoption of technology makes you a better dentist. You are never too old to buy into technology.” In parallel, he championed the importance of adopting social media marketing and online reputation management for dental professional.

His keynote was followed by a session about the ‘Biomechanics of the Invisalign System in 2020’ from John Morton, director of research and technology at Align Technology, whose presentation focused on what the Align products are able to achieve, and the advantages of moving teeth with SmartTrack material, SmartStage movements, SmartForce aligner activation, and new G8 features, which were presented at the forum.

He was joined by director of global clinical product development at Align Technology in North America, David Lopes, who looked at the challenges and opportunities of practice workflow, clinical confidence and practice integration, and explained how doctors can enhance both every day and comprehensive dentistry, providing predictable treatments with the Invisalign Go and Invisalign Go Plus systems, developed specifically to address the needs of general dentists.

Marcos Hiroce from Brazil specifically focused on SmartForce aligner activation and advised that the prospect of treating challenging cases is now exciting him, as innovations such as this have given him peace of mind and confidence to be a better orthodontist.

A series of sessions presented by experienced European dental practitioners was convened to help delegates consider how they could adopt methodologies to apply in practice immediately after the forum. According to Michaela Sehnert, Align offers doctors the opportunity to take steps into digitalisation by providing the right tools to suit their practice configuration and team setup, “The technology is so flexible that every practitioner can select digital tools they wish to utilise and create their own digital system to suit their own workflow”.

Digital workflow best practices were explored by orthodontists Silvia Caruso and Ahmad Hagar. They delved into the benefits of digitalisation in clinical practice enhancement, looking at the role that the iTero scanner plays in treatment planning and education. They singled out benefits of Outcome Simulation and In-Face Visualisation, which allow practitioners to combine the face with the occlusion putting a human face behind the smile. This makes the treatment start point and projected end point on the screen more tangible and relatable for prospective patients.

They were followed by award-winning Spanish orthodontist Martin Pedernera who described what made him a more effective clinician and how powerful the iTero progress assessment tool was to work more collaboratively with patients throughout the course of their treatment. Whilst Alessandro Greco talked about the move from conventional to digital dentistry means shifting from a reactive model to a proactive model.

Winner of the Best Young Dentist Award, George Cheetham from the UK delivered a talk on ‘Comprehensive dentistry, a changing mind-set’ in which he opined about the long term health of the patient and the value in incorporating all the tools in the Align armoury to provide the best patient care. In his view, the iTero scanner provides a great patient experience, whilst clinicians can use it for both the Invisalign system and for its restorative capabilities, as it helps provide more accurate treatment outcomes and communication with the labs is enhanced.

Affan Saghir, who is passionate about ethical minimal invasive dentistry, focused on ‘Broader Patient Access with the Invisalign Go Plus system’, explaining how the new Invisalign Go Plus system is going to expand the scope of treatment he can offer.

Also from the UK, Mohsen Tehranian focused on complex minimally invasive dentistry using a combination of Invisalign treatment and restorative techniques. He talked about the best restorative alignment position rather than a great orthodontic alignment position and explained how he integrates orthodontic treatment as part of his comprehensive treatment, “Learning all the features on the Invisalign ClinCheck software means you can be so much more efficient in treatment planning. Occasionally on a restorative case you don’t want the teeth to be in a perfect orthodontic position as you want to create a bit of space.”

According to Peter Schicker from Germany, “Digital planning was my game changer. It helped me reduce appointments by increasing treatment predictability as well as patients’ experiences. Today we treat more patients with less staff members in four days a week and I finish early. My practice sales profit ratio is better, too.”

Business development was also the theme adopted by Emmanuel Dumu, who has increased his Invisalign patient base from four per cent to 100 per cent in just over three years, “Thanks to ADAPT programme, we went from 100 to 600 Invisalign cases in one year, we increased revenues by 30 per cent, my team is more motivated than ever and my practice truly has a differentiator and the wow factor”.

Future proofing will be all the more important in 2021. Align Technology is running two new events in the UK/I for general dentists and orthodontists: