Western Dental enters clear aligner market
ORANGE, Calif., U.S.: Western Dental & Orthodontics has launched a proprietary clear aligner system that will only be available at its chain of dental offices. The company says that orthodontic treatment with its new ClearArc aligner will be planned and led by trained orthodontists and will still cost 40% less than treatment with the leading competitor’s brand.
ClearArc is being made available at Western Dental’s 233 offices in California in January, and a rollout of the clear aligner system to its dental offices in Arizona, Nevada and Texas is slated for February. In a note to the press, the company said that the aligner is the result of extensive research and testing that aimed to develop a clear aligner system that was both superior and affordable.
“As the leading provider of orthodontics in the country, we’re in a unique position,” Western Dental Chief Dental Officer Dr. John Luther said in the press release. “Every ClearArc patient is evaluated for treatment in a personal exam by an orthodontist, which isn’t the case with leading competitors. This quality control measure helps ensure that patients are suitable candidates for aligners before spending their hard-earned dollars.”
ClearArc is different from other clear aligners because it requires fewer or no attachments
The company says ClearArc is different from other clear aligners because it requires fewer or no attachments—these can reportedly detract from the benefits offered by clear aligners. It adds that its new system uses a trademarked technology called ClearWear that makes the aligners effective with fewer attachments or none at all. ClearArc aligners are also stain-resistant and “virtually invisible,” the company says.
Western Dental’s entry into the clear aligner market follows a protracted backlash on the part of dental professionals and health regulators against do-it-yourself orthodontics—specifically, companies selling remote clear aligner therapy where treatment is not sufficiently planned and supervised by an experienced orthodontist.
A Western Dental spokesperson told Dental Tribune International that ClearArc had not been designed to strip sales from teledentistry providers, but rather to emphasize the importance of safe oral care.
“Our message is more about educating consumers regarding aligners. Our goal is to make sure that patients understand that it is best to have a professional review their case, take radiographs, evaluate to make sure they’re appropriate candidates for aligners and monitor their treatment with in-person visits during the treatment period,” the spokesperson explained.
Under pressure from the industry, Western Dental’s home state of California passed new rules in October that make it compulsory for all providers of orthodontic treatment to review a patient’s radiographs before the movement of teeth. California’s Assembly Bill 1519, which was supported by the California Dental Association, came into effect this month. The states of Georgia and Alabama also adopted new rules last year to cement the involvement of orthodontists in the treatment of malocclusion.
Western Dental offices receive around 3 million patient visits annually in its 324 offices throughout California, Texas, Nevada and Alabama. Offered at its practices are orthodontics, oral surgery, pediatric surgery, endodontics, periodontics and general dentistry.