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June 27, 2019

With Align Technology aggressively marketing its own iTero intraoral scanners and in the US no longer accepting TRIOS scans for Invisalign treatment, many dentists worldwide are wondering what the future holds for Invisalign and competing intraoral scanners. 

Now there has been a counter lawsuits raised by 3shape which just got a second favourable Initial Determination. So it's definitely not over but it shows we need to think about our aligner options going forward. If you're really interested you can read all about it at the bottom of this article.

Many of the latest intraoral scanners are yet to be approved for invisalign treatment including CEREC Primescan and Medit i500. The new TRIOS 4 will not be supported for invisalign treatment worldwide. 

In what appears to be an answer to this, for CEREC at least, at IDS 2019 Dentsply Sirona’s Orthodontic software SureSmile Ortho was showcased quite extensively.

What is SureSmile Ortho?

It is a web browser-based service that is stand alone to CEREC by Dentsply Sirona. Although not new and has been around for a few years, previously known as Elemetrix, it now seems to be getting exposure as we saw by all the Dentsply Sirona stalls at IDS talking about it.

Sure Smile Ortho

SureSmile Ortho is essentially very similar to other competing aligner platforms such as Invisalign or Clear Correct but with some key distinguishing features such as proudly accepting all STL files from ALL scanner sources. It is a completely open system.

What is interesting about SureSmile Ortho is the range of DIY options you have.

After submitting your STL files, much like its competitors, an aligner treatment plan will be done for you by the digital lab service team. Once you are happy with the plan, it is at that point you can either

- Receive SureSmile Aligners fabricated for you (much like every other company)

- Receive STL files of Staged Models for fabricating your own aligners in-house by 3D printing and vacuum pressure machines.

Sure Smile Ortho Features

There are also some interesting payment options including paying for the entire treatment plan and all the aligners or selectively paying for only the aligners/stages you need for instance in hybrid cases were fixed appliances will also be used. There seems to be a decent range of DIY options in this system.

Apart from aligners SureSmile also offers Indirect Bonding jigs for fixed braces. With the ability to define the bracket preferences, an automated simulation of an ideal set up is produced including placement of brackets. A 3D printed jig can then be produced to aid in fixed orthodontic bond ups. These come at a one-off cost with free STL export.

Furthermore, the software also offers diagnostic solutions including automated Bolton analysis, occlusion assessment and automated measurements of tooth width, arch width, inter-proximal contact points and clipping planes.

Other major CAD/CAM companies such as TRIOS have also released their own aligner and orthodontic software. It will be very interesting to see if this takes off and what this means for Invisalign and its relationship with the multitude of intraoral scanners now on the market.

If you're interested in following all the twists and turns of Align Technology and 3Shape Lawsuits and their respective press releases then enjoy reading them below, here's how it unfolded. FYI Align Technology is blue and 3Shape is red

Nov 14, 2017 - Align Technology files six patent infringement lawsuits asserting 26 patents against 3shape.

Nov 15, 2017 - 3Shape responds to Align Technology Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Dec 18, 2017 - ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigations Based on Align Technology Claims of Scanner-Related 3Shape Patent Infringement

Dec 19, 2017 - 3Shape responds to Align Technology punishing dentists and orthodontists by termination of Invisalign interoperability

Dec 20, 2017 - Align Technology to Discontinue Acceptance of Digital Scan Submissions From 3Shape TRIOS Scanners in the United States

May 09, 2018 - 3Shape Files US Patent Infringement Complaint Against Align Technology

August 28, 2018 - 3Shape Files Lawsuit Against Align Technology for Alleged Abuse of Monopoly Power

Dec 11, 2018 - Align Technology Asserts Ten Additional Patents Against 3Shape

Mar 04, 2019 - ITC Institutes Section 337 Investigation Based on Align Technology Claims of Scanner Related 3Shape Patent Infringement

March 05, 2019 - ITC judge’s initial determination rejects Align Technology claims against 3Shape

Mar 07, 2019 - Administrative Law Judge Determines 3Shape Infringes Three Align Patents; Initial Determination Declines to Find Section 337 Violation

May 03, 2019 - Align Provides Update on Patent Infringement Case Against 3Shape

May 22, 2019 - 3Shape receives favorable Initial Determination in the Second ITC case Once Again Rejecting Align Technology Claims against 3Shape

About the author 

Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny

Dr Ahmad is a global leader in digital dentistry and intraoral scanners, carrying out lectures as a KOL for many companies and industry. He is one of the few in the world who owns and has tested all mainstream scanners and CAD/CAM systems in his clinic. Dr Ahmad Al-Hassiny is a full-time private dentist in New Zealand and the Director of The Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), a world-leading digital dentistry education provider. iDD offers live courses, masterclasses, and an online training platform, with a mission to ensure dentists globally have easy and affordable access to the best digital dentistry training possible.

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