March 5, 2020

Align Technology, the parent company behind the popular Invisalign system and the Itero range of intraoral scanners has just acquired exocad for a reported $419 million. Wow. 


For those who do not know, exocad develops 3rd party computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) software. It is a fantastic and extremely powerful software for fabricating a range of different prosthetics and restorations both in-house and for laboratories. It is a software we regularly use in our practices for digital full mouth rehabs, digital smile design etc, and find it to be one of the best compared to software by CEREC, TRIOS etc. 

Globally, more and more labs are using exocad.


An example of a digital full mouth rehabilitation case I completed using the exocad software 

The Press Release

This acquisition is a natural next step in the collaboration between Align and exocad that started in 2017 with the seamless integration of Align’s iTero intraoral scanners and exocad chairside CAD software. By acquiring exocad, this will without a doubt greatly strengthen the Align digital platform. 

The acquisition brings exocad's expertise in restorative dentistry, implantology, guided surgery, and smile design to the Align technology portfolio, extending Align's Invisalign and iTero digital solutions and paving the way for new, seamless cross-discipline dentistry in lab and at chairside. This is something we covered in our review of the Itero Element 5D (read here), that in our opinion, was greatly needed to make it a more complete CAD/CAM package. 

It is said that "exocad will continue to operate as it exists today, enabling it to support a broad ecosystem of partners and end-users and continue to deliver hardware-independent software solutions. exocad co-founders Tillmann Steinbrecher and Maik Gerth, along with their team, are expected to remain at the head of the company and report into John Morici, Align Technology, senior vice president and CFO".
Read more here:

What does this mean for the future?

The question becomes what does this mean long term for other scanner companies that use exocad? Is there a chance that Align close off the chairside aspect of exocad to be exclusive to their own scanners? The press release sounds like it will be "business as usual" but going by Align's track record this may change in the future. 

Only time will tell what this means for the Itero range of IOS scanners and the future of exocad.

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 also the Director of The Institute of Digital Dentistry (iDD), which is 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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