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Transforming orthodontic care for growing patients: Insights from Align Technology's latest whitepaper

Align Technology, Inc. - Middle East

Angelo Maura, General Manager Middle East, Align Technology
Dental Tribune Middle East

Dental Tribune Middle East

Tue. 9 April 2024


Angelo Maura, General Manager Middle East at Align Technology, unveils key findings from the recent research whitepaper published by Align. Discover how Align Technology’s research sheds light on the evolving landscape of orthodontic treatment in the Middle East for growing patients, emphasising personalised care, patient compliance, and the future of clear aligner solutions. Maura sheds light on the intersection of technology and patient-centric approaches, and shares how Align Technology is empowering dental professionals to optimise treatment for growing patients.

Why did Align Technology conduct this research, and what specifically about the demographic of growing patients was an important factor to consider?

We conducted this research to gain deeper insights into the evolving landscape of orthodontic care in the Middle East region. Our goal was to detail how orthodontists administering clear aligner treatment ensure patients' core needs remain at the forefront of dental care, alongside the most efficient treatment methods. The dental industry is undergoing a transformative era in orthodontic care, and with the advances in technology, it is essential to fully understand the preferences, challenges, and opportunities in the growing patient demographic, alongside specific regional nuances. That way we can provide valuable information to dental professionals, empowering them to guide parents through informed decision-making for their children's orthodontic care.

Can you elaborate on the key findings of the white paper regarding the preferences of parents and growing patients in choosing between clear aligners and traditional metal braces?

The key findings of the white paper, based on research conducted by YouGov and the Centre for Advanced Professional Practices (CAPP), highlight some important insights into the dental market, particularly in the UAE and KSA regions. The research focused on two main groups: parents of dental patients and dental professionals, including orthodontists and dentists.

From the responses of orthodontists and dentists in the UAE and KSA, we learned about the significant scale of the dental market in these areas and the variety of treatment options available. A notable finding is that a large majority of dental services, about 90.5%, are offered in private sector clinics. Additionally, these professionals emphasized their focus on treating teenagers, who represent a substantial portion of their patients – 63.3% in KSA and 58.3% in the UAE. This focus aligns with the demographic data showing a young population in these countries, with those under 19 years old comprising 39% in KSA and 30% in UAE.

Another key insight is that the decision on the type of dental treatment for growing patients depends not just on the dental issue itself, but also on various factors like the child’s age, their readiness for treatment, and the preferences of the patient or their parents. This underscores the importance of orthodontists providing comprehensive consultations. These consultations are crucial in helping parents understand the range of treatment options available, including the costs, benefits, and considerations such as the patient’s lifestyle and treatment compliance.

"Our goal was to detail how orthodontists administering clear aligner treatment ensure patients' core needs remain at the forefront of dental care, alongside the most efficient treatment methods."

The research suggests a strong market presence for clear aligners in private clinics. How does Align Technology support orthodontists in these settings to optimize treatment for growing patients?

The Align Digital Platform (ADP) - our digital suite of tools and solutions that doctors can access, in addition to the clear aligners or digital scanners they use - has been built to do just that. The ADP is the foundation of how we’re revolutionizing the practice of dentistry, delivering interconnected, interdisciplinary workflows and treatment solutions that move all aspects of treatment forward. Through the end-to-end practice workflow suite that provides orthodontists with the necessary tools and technologies, including the Invisalign® system, iTero™ intraoral scanners, and exocad CAD/CAM software, which allows for the entire patient journey to be enhanced, we’re able to provide practitioners with a much more engaging patient experience. This empowers orthodontists to offer personalized and efficient treatment plans that align with growing patients’ specific needs and nuances. By championing patient-centric approaches and technological advancements, Align Technology aims to enhance the orthodontic experience for teenage patients in private clinic settings.

Personalized care is emphasized as a significant aspect of modern orthodontics. How do clear aligners facilitate this individualized approach compared to traditional metal braces?

Advancements allow for a product or service to continually evolve to adapt to consumers’ changing needs or preferences - which is a crucial component of orthodontic treatment. The Invisalign® system provides a personalized solution that effectively address malocclusions while enabling the patient to maintain their current lifestyle, eating habits, and hobbies. Unlike traditional metal braces, clear aligners offer a more visually pleasing option for comprehensive dental treatment, which can significantly impact confidence. The comprehensive consultation process provided by expert orthodontists empowers both parents and growing patients with a clear and complete understanding of treatment options and their benefits, as well as addressing any concerns or queries, leading to a more individualized approach to orthodontic care, which is never a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Compliance with clear aligner treatment is crucial. What tools or support does Align Technology provide to help ensure that young patients adhere to their treatment plans?

Compliance is, of course, a key factor in orthodontic treatment success, and it’s important to ensure proper guidance throughout the entire patient journey to support parents and young patients in adhering to their treatment plans. Our research emphasized that parental concerns over their child's responsibility and adherence to treatment plans emerged as an important consideration when deciding about clear aligner treatment.

To support the orthodontists and parents through the clear aligner treatment process, Align sets out to provide resources to help address parental concerns about compliance. Software such as the My Invisalign app provides patients with a user-friendly interface at their fingertips, which can help treatment compliance through time tracking and appointment reminders, as well as photo uploads, which enable visible progress tracking. By offering guidance and educational materials, we aim to enhance adherence to clear aligner treatment plans, ultimately ensuring a smooth patient journey.

Looking towards the future, how does Align Technology envision the evolution of orthodontic treatment for growing patients, and what innovations might we expect to see?

The dental care market in the Middle East is expected to reach US$ 2.54 billion by 2030, up from the current US$ 1.44 billion. Leveraging advancements and insights from research like the whitepaper, we will continue to enhance the orthodontic experience for all patients, including teenagers, focusing on treatment efficiency, comfort, and aesthetics. Our approach is to blend these technological innovations with a patient-centric strategy, ensuring that Invisalign clear aligners, the most advanced clear aligner system in the world continue to lead in innovation.

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