The options for straightening teeth through a dentist or orthodontist have been expanded.
As the country’s boom in transparent aligners continues, the tooth straightening company SmileDirectClub announced Tuesday that it will compete directly with rival Align Technology, owner of Invisalign, as it begins selling its aligners to dentists and orthodontists. The treatment usually takes between five and 10 months with costs starting at $ 1,895.
SmileDirectClub, which was made public in September, had previously sold its brake alternative only directly to patients online and through outlets such as CVS stores. His model has been criticized by orthodontists who say that a doctor in the place should monitor the progress of a patient. SmileDirectClub says that its treatment, which is generally thousands of dollars cheaper than braces, is safe and allows more people to straighten their teeth.
Invisalign had largely cornered the market for the sale of removable aligners to patients through dentists and orthodontists, who then administered and monitored the treatment plan. Invisalign has not sold its products directly to consumers.
Transparent aligners are an increasingly popular alternative to metal wire clamps because they can be temporarily removed for eating and drinking.
As SmileDirectClub begins to partner with orthodontists and dentists, the price will not increase in the “initial pilot program,” said SmileDirectClub spokesman Kirby Franzese.
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The company’s announcement continues to expire on December 31 of what amounted to a non-competition agreement between Align and SmileDirectClub. That agreement included an exclusive supply agreement in which Align made aligners for SmileDirectClub, but the companies agreed not to infringe each other’s territory.
The companies have discussed their agreement before, with Align He was forced to close a dozen newly opened stores last year after losing an arbitration case.
With their agreement terminated, any appearance of relaxation between the two companies is history.
SmileDirectClub will also continue to sell its products directly to customers through what it calls teledentistry, in which patients send a series of photos of their teeth to remote doctors who monitor progress and can adjust the treatment plan accordingly.
“We have seen a growing demand for dentists and orthodontists in our network who want to provide SmileDirectClub transparent aligners to their patients in the office,” SmileDirectClub co-founder Alex Fenkell said in a statement.
SmileDirectClub shares increased 13% to $ 11.53 at 2:16 p.m. Tuesday. Align shares fell 2.8% to $ 289.61.
Align said that treating more than 7.5 million patients with Invisalign makes their service “unmatched” and “has helped us create a global brand that millions of consumers and thousands of doctors ask for by name.”
“As the company that virtually invented the clear aligners business over 20 years ago, Align Technology has seen a good share of the competition in the market,” he said.
SmileDirectClub aligners can usually straighten slightly crooked teeth. Invisalign aligners can handle more complex cases because they are often combined with tooth accessories.
It was not immediately clear if SmileDirectClub intends to treat more complex cases through its new association with dentists and orthodontists in situ.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.