Did you know the first orthodontics weren’t invented until 1900?
Even then, it wasn’t until after World War II that improving one’s smile became a mainstream idea. For decades, traditional metal braces were the go-to option for straightening teeth.
Fast forward to 2018, when 1.3 million people started treatment with Invisalign. Experts estimate that more than 300 million people worldwide could benefit from this innovative treatment.
How did we make the jump from metal braces to Invisalign? And is it the right option for you or your family members?
Read on to learn the fascinating history of Invisalign.
A Brief History of Invisalign
To start, let’s travel back in time to 1997 in San Jose, California.
The Initial Idea
The idea for Invisalign began with two Stanford students, Kelsey Wirth and Zia Chisti.
Interestingly, neither had a background in dentistry or orthodontics. Wirth studied American history and literature, while Chisti majored in computer science and economics.
As an adult, Chisti was in the middle of the retainer phase in the normal orthodontic treatment. One day, he wondered if this same approach could be used during the entire teeth straightening process.
After discussing his idea with Wirth, the two began looking for developers in their area.
Making It Happen
Luckily enough, the pair just happened to live in the booming tech area of San Francisco. In a very short time, they teamed up with fellow students Brian Freyburger and Apostolos Lerios.
Starting in a garage in Menlo Park (like many other startup success stories), the four founded Align Technology. They did their initial research in CAD modeling and used 3D printers to produce early concept models. Access to the lab at Stanford also helped the process move along.
Then, in 1998, their hard work paid off. The company received $140 million worth of capital funding and FDA approval to move forward with their concept.
The earliest version of Invisalign could only correct minor defects. Many orthodontists were skeptical at first since none of its inventors had a background in dentistry.
Once word got out about “invisible” braces, though, public demand grew exponentially. In 2000, the company launched a $31 million TV campaign advertising their new alternative to metal braces.
By the end of the year, orthodontists and dentists all across the country were jumping on the Invisalign bandwagon. After going public in 2001, Align company generated another $130 million in funding.
Today, the company employs over 3,000 people. In 2017, its worldwide sales amounted to an impressive $1.47 billion. Millions of people have benefited from the incremental retainer technology, with more satisfied clients every year.
Final Thoughts on Invisalign
In a nutshell, the history of Invisalign is an incredible success story. What began as an idea in a garage in California has completely revolutionized the world of orthodontics.
While traditional metal braces are still an option, more and more people are choosing Invisalign to straighten their smiles.
The results are clear: Invisalign is worth the investment.
Are you ready to find out more? If you live in the San Diego area, contact us today for more information about Invisalign.
Your beautiful new smile awaits you!