Interview: “The Middle East dental market is very important for Align Technology…”
Having gone through the most unprecedented three months in recent history; the global lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dental Tribune MEA finally had the immense pleasure to interview Mawlid Chaoui, General Manager of Align Technology Middle East & Africa.
Dental Tribune MEA: Mr. Chaoui, could you share your personal experience becoming involved with Invisalign and how you came to Dubai, UAE?
Mawlid Chaoui: Having been with Align Technology for over nine years, I have spent the past three years in Dubai, responsible for the Middle East and Africa region. Working for the company with the Invisalign system in its portfolio means helping people through our digital and virtual tools that help changing people’s lives by transforming their smiles. On a personal level, this is why I have been with Align Technology for such a long time, as this complements my passion for helping people, and being able to do so with the tools provided by Invisalign treatment and iTero scanners, is, in my opinion, an excellent match.
How has Align Technology Middle East experienced the past 3 months throughout the turbulence of the global pandemic?
Over the last several years, we have invested in building a strong local presence in the Middle East & Africa and we are very proud of what we have built so far. We have introduced intraoral scanner, the iTero Element 2, in the Middle East earlier this year, and have built a very capable local team of sales professionals, clinical dental professionals and local marketeers who have really helped our Invisalign doctors to adapt to the digitization sweeping the region. In the past three months, our top priority has been to support the Invisalign providers as well as ensure the safety of our employees. In line with the government guidelines, our offices were closed for a couple of months. Yet, our team has been helping our Invisalign doctors remotely, in addition to having to shift several of our events such as the Invisalign Scientific Symposium from a physical to a virtual format and thus successfully adjusting to today’s new way of operating. In the coming period, we will continue to focus on the safety of our staff, doctors and patients as we continue to support and empower them remotely through virtual and digital solutions to ensure their business continuity, too.
How is Align Technology supporting the dental professionals during these challenging times?
During the past few months, we launched several digital tools, enabling our doctors to schedule appointments remotely such as Invisalign Virtual Appointment tool, SmileView tool or MyInvisalignSmile patient app. All three are now available across MEA region.
We also created a comprehensive microsite that helps doctors to continue their treatments and offer seamless support to their patients. We are planning to launch speedy recovery measures, which are currently in demand by the doctors as well as commercial measures that can help them recover faster.
We also launched our new ClinCheck software for digital treatment planning, which Invisalign doctors leverage in their practice to create 3D models of planned tooth movements throughout the Invisalign treatment. ClinCheck Pro 6.0 moves Invisalign digital treatment planning to the cloud, making its robust ClinCheck treatment planning tools and features available to doctors anytime, anywhere, on laptops, personal computers or tablets.
Align’s recent pan-European event, Invisalign Scientific Symposium was a forced reaction to the current situation, one that proved to be very successful in the “new world”. Did you see interest here in the MEA region to attend, and what are some of the takeaways looking back at the digital event?
We’re proud to have hosted the second edition of Invisalign Scientific Symposium in an all new, virtual format. The whole EMEA team did a fantastic job transitioning what has always been a physical event, to an online format, and it was very successful indeed. We had invited Invisalign orthodontists from the region to attend it and interact with their peers from other European markets.
Around 1,000 orthodontists, 400 university students from 75 countries joined us in this event. It was very much appreciated by the doctors not only from Middle East but also from all over the world. With the launch of Digital Academy, they can choose from a number of dedicated webinars, discuss case studies with other doctors and learn more about the benefits of digital practice.
How important is the Middle East dental market to Align Technology? And for which reasons?
The Middle East is an important market for Align Technology and I am proud to lead a very dedicated team of professionals here locally to support Invisalign doctors and grow our presence in the region. Additionally, the Middle Eastern Orthodontics market has grown over the last three years and the importance of oral health in general has increased significantly. This is an agenda we actively want to participate in and contribute towards and have already taken several strides forward in this region. Align Technology is committed to continuing to build a doctor-supported channel regionally. We are working closely with the doctors here to grow with them, so Invisalign becomes the first treatment of choice. Opportunities in the Middle East, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are vast and we look forward to helping the local authorities and population towards achieving better oral, and overall health for all.
Recently Align Technology announced its latest treatment planning software, will we see it soon in the Middle East?
As mentioned, we have just launched ClinCheck the new digital treatment planning software which provides doctors a leverage to create 3D models, and planned tooth movements of the Invisalign treatment even before the treatment begins. This cloud-based solution allows doctors to plan their treatments with flexibility across devices and ensures that they have the latest version of the software.
Looking back over the years as a company, we have been continuously investing into our technology, bringing new products, product updates and innovations to the orthodontic market. Currently in MEA, we have Invisalign treatment solutions for young patients, teenagers and adults. We have also introduced iTero Element 2 intraoral scanners, which are crucial for digital practice for many doctors in the region.
Could you tell us about Align Technology’s history in the region?
We have been present in Middle East through direct operations since 2017, when we moved our office to Dubai. Invisalign DMCC is a direct subsidiary of Align Technology Inc. and we launched our first regional office in Dubai in February 2018. We have invested in being present in the region (local offices) as well as a commercial team of sales, marketing, clinical, customer success and logistics. We have a broad local support system to assist our Invisalign doctors. We have seen a dynamic growth in this region, especially in the adoption of digital solutions, more so in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. I am passionate about helping and supporting people and ensuring that Invisalign will become the leading system for our doctors and patients in the region.
What products do you offer for patients in the United Arab Emirates?
We offer clear aligners and intraoral scanners. We have launched the i-Tero Element 2 intraoral scanner which is designed to deliver great performance and quality of scans. Through this scanner, we cater to the needs of the patients to get them scanned and provide a fully digital experience, as opposed to traditional impressions. Our products can be used by Invisalign doctors to treat adults, teens and younger patients, addressing their unique needs.
Are there any final remarks you would like to share with our dental tribune readers?
As mentioned before – our main concern and priority is to support the Invisalign doctors, their staff, patients, and our own team. During these unprecedented and turbulent times, we are here to listen to help them with their needs. The Middle East region is of utmost importance for Invisalign and since last three years, we have invested in a very capable local team and I am very proud to be leading this group in the region.