SANTA CLARA, California--Align Technology, Inc., has announced an update regarding its Patients First Program for providing no-charge Invisalign treatment to former OrthoClear patients.
Align Technology is the inventor of Invisalign, a proprietary method of straightening teeth without wires or brackets.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Align launched the Patients First Program to provide no-charge Invisalign treatment to doctors and patients impacted by competitor OrthoClear, Inc.'s decision to cease business operations as part of a legal settlement with Align. Doctors who wished to take advantage of the program were required to register their OrthoClear patients with Align by Dec. 15.
Between the Oct. 30 registration start date and the Dec. 15 registration deadline, approximately 30,500 former OrthoClear patients were registered for Invisalign treatment. Align received case submissions for 16,200 of those registered patients and expects to ship 20 to 25 percent of received cases in Q4.
As a result of the influx of Patients First Program cases and a high number of regular Invisalign case submissions in Q4, Align expects to process all Patients First Program cases by late May 2007 at a total cost of $8-10 million. Processing time for Patients First Program cases may take 12 to 16 weeks due to manufacturing constraints, primarily for ClinCheck set-ups, which require highly skilled, specially trained dental technicians.
Align has hired and is currently training 100 new technicians. The company is also continuing to increase customer call center capabilities to handle the 40 percent increase in calls since the Patients First Program launch.
"Our initial plan for implementing the Patients First Program allowed us to help former OrthoClear patients without impact to our existing customers or new, paid Invisalign cases," said Thomas M. Prescott, Align president and CEO.
"Based on higher than anticipated demand from the Patients First Program and from regular new patients, we have to re-set expectations going forward. Invisalign customers may see longer customer service hold times and slight delays in ClinCheck processing times for the next few months. The entire Align team is working to get all Invisalign patients started in treatment quickly and to minimize these temporary service delays for our customers. We appreciate the support and patience our customers have demonstrated in the last few weeks."
Invisalign doctors may experience temporary delays in customer service response times and ClinCheck preparation time for some new cases may be extended approximately 10 days. Once the ClinCheck is approved by the doctor, normal manufacturing times will apply. Doctors can always get accurate, up to date information on submitted cases through their Invisalign VIP account.
More information on the Patients First Program is available to doctors and patients at www.invisalign.com.