3Shape has launched the Straight Talk Dental Coalition, an online platform to give dental professionals a voice in the wake of Align Technology’s termination of interoperability between its Invisalign clear aligners and 3Shape’s TRIOS scanners. The platform provides a petition for dentists to sign calling on Align to reinstate interoperability, along with letters to other stakeholders.
According to the organization, dentists say their patients and practices have been negatively impacted since Align ended interoperability in January 2018. An online survey of Invisalign providers using TRIOS scanners conducted shows that the termination created unnecessary and unexpected costs and practice disruption, the coalition reports. For example:
- 72% believe Align made this decision without considering its customers’ best interests.
- 85% believe Align’s action will have a negative impact on their business.
- 67% agree that the termination will increase dental costs and force dentists to spend significant amounts of time creating models to send to Align, which is a cumbersome and time-consuming step that TRIOS eliminated.
- While 4% of dentists have lost trust in 3Shape, 46% have lost trust in Align.
“This is a dynamic time for the industry as more high-quality clear aligners come to market, increasing competition and reducing costs. That’s why we designed our TRIOS scanner as an open system, enabling dentists to use TRIOS with Invisalign or another aligner of their choice,” said Lars Christian Lund, vice president of corporate business development and marketing at 3Shape.
“3Shape has always endeavored to be the company that empowers dental professionals to advance their business, not stifle it. Today, we are proud that our TRIPS scanners connect to over 40 high-value orthodontic treatment providers,” Lund said.
Align has stated that it terminated the interoperability as a result of ongoing patent litigation.
“We believe that Align can assert its patents without harming dentists and patients, and 3Shape can defend itself without holding anyone hostage. We encourage dentists who have been affected by the termination to make their voices heard,” Lund said.
Without interoperability, the coalition says, many dental professionals who were offering Invisalign with their TRIOS have been left with fewer choices and are experiencing challenges that force them to suffer unforeseen business consequences. On the coalition’s website, dental professionals who have been affected by the termination can:
- Sign a petition demanding Align reinstate interoperability between Invisalign and 3Shape;
- Sign a letter to their professional society asking it to take a stand;
- Invite their colleagues to join the coalition;
- Share their view with their networks.
In November 2017, Align filed suit against 3Shape claiming patent infringement. Despite this action, the coalition says, Align informed 3Shape that it had no plans to end interoperability. But in December 2017, Align alerted dentists that it would terminate interoperability, effective the end of January 2018, and informed 3Shape of the same.
Since TRIOS is an open system, 3Shape then arranged short-term special offers with ClearCorrect, Orametrix, and other companies. 3Shape also announced its intention to work with 3M to advance digital workflows supporting indirect bonding and clear aligners and other emerging digital orthodontic workflows. 3Shape’s TRIOS scanners now work with more than 40 orthodontic treatment providers.