Spark, Invisalign, Ulab…. Clear aligners? What does it mean?

In my office I am using Spark clear aligners.  This is confusing because most patients are used to seeing Invisalign.  Invisalign is sort of like the Kleenex of clear aligners.  When you are walking around asking for Kleenex, you really mean tissue.  This is the same for clear aligners and Invisalign.  You may even go to an office that uses Spark or 3m Clarity aligners, but they still call it Invisalign because patients know it as that.  I typically say clear aligner, because there are so many options.  I am not one that tries to hide something from my patients, and I am really happy with the product that Ormco has offered with Spark.  I am writing this article to help you see why this product is being used here and in so many orthodontic offices that I know.  I am confident this product will be extremely popular in the next year or two as more people discover how great it is!

Ormco is a very well-established orthodontic company (over 50 years) that has been extremely successful with the Damon bracket.  You may be familiar with this bracket because Ormco somehow marketed the bracket beyond just orthodontists.  In fact, I have patients that come into the office and ask specifically for Damon braces.  This has always been so interesting to me.  There are MANY different brands of braces and orthodontists all have their own preference.  In the end it’s a tool and as long as you have a quality bracket you can get a great result! I did a lot of research for just about every material and machine in my office.  I don’t want a “cheap” option, I want something efficient and reliable.  So here we are with Ormco Spark clear aligners, and American Empower braces.  Two trusted, reliable, and well-made products that I am proud to use in my office.

Why is Invisalign that big name?  Invisalign was the first AND ONLY clear aligner on the market for many years.  This is because they had a patent that prevented other companies from coming on the market with another clear aligner.  What’s that called again… oh yea, monopoly.  That was until the patent ran out.  Since then, most orthodontic companies have attempted to mimic what Invisalign has.  Some have done it better than others, some have completely failed.  But when we sit back and really evaluate the good and the bad, we can realize that competition is the best for everyone!  By having more products on the market, we get better products.  Everyone is always working to improve.   It also creates an environment where we can get better pricing which equates to savings for the patient!  Some offices will have an “upcharge” for clear aligner treatment.  I prefer to offer both at the same price, which is based on complexity of treatment.

A point that I want to be clear, the orthodontist does the treatment plan.  While the software is programmed with certain codes, a well-trained orthodontist plans the tooth movement and takes into account biology, facial esthetics and more.   The primary purpose of these companies is providing the software (which is great with both Invisalign and spark) and manufacturing aligners.

Which brings me to my next point, I also have uLab software and a 3d printer, which allows me to make clear aligners in my office.  This is a great option for someone who lost retainers and needs a small movement and just a small amount of trays.  By doing this we can avoid paying a large lab fee to the big box companies, which allows me to pass savings on to my patients.

If you are interested in learning more about spark aligners you can visit their website.  You can also come in for a complimentary consultation where we can go over the best option for you.  At the end of the day, it’s a tool for me to use.  I wouldn’t choose any crummy aligner, that would make my life more complicated!  I am confident that with Spark aligners and excellent wear we are going to get you the best results possible!

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