The clear aligner boom continues for dentistry

Several companies in recent months have begun offering clear aligner services as the demand for more discrete teeth straightening treatment grows among patients. 

The clear aligner market is expected to reach a valuation of $30.2 billion by 2030 worldwide, according to a January report from Grand View Research. While adults represented the largest consumer segment in 2021, the teenage market is growing due to the discreet and comfortable wear of clear aligners. Standalone practitioners held the largest market share in 2021, with North America dominating the market because of increased demand, the high number of key market players, the rising prevalence of dental disorders and advanced healthcare infrastructure.

OraPharma unveiled their custom clear aligner system, OraFit, in February that is made with crack-resistant materials meant to stay clearer longer. New York City based dental startup Tend announced May 11 that it began offering clear aligner therapy with Align Technology's Invisalign across its 21 locations. The new service was added to supplement Breezy Braces, InBrace's behind-the-teeth braces, which Tend said has become one of its most popular services.

"Since launching our orthodontic program with Breezy Braces, we've helped thousands of our members straighten their smiles. But we've also heard their feedback that they want more options," Doug Hudson, co-founder and CEO of Tend, said May 11. "By adding aligners to our service offerings, we're providing them with another convenient way to straighten their teeth, in the comfort of a dental studio they know and trust."

In April, a new clear aligner startup company launched its services nationwide. Str8, established in 2021, aims to educate customers on dental health and encourage regular visits by covering the cost of a patient's initial dental examination and rewarding them with a $100 discount if they have received a dental cleaning within the last 12 months.

ULab Systems, the manufacturer of uSmile clear aligners, completed a $20 million convertible note financing round in March it said would be used to advance the distribution and development of its products. 

Not only are clear aligners seen as beneficial additions for the patient outcome and experience, but they have also become a good source of revenue for practices. Matthew Riley, DMD, owner at Riley Dental Group in Glasgow, Ky., told Becker's that one dentist alone has brought in more than $250,000 in collections from SureSmile since the clear aligners were added in September 2021.

The heavy investment in these treatments are not expected to let up anytime soon, since several companies have gained new funding and landed partnerships to expand their services.

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