Align Technology Inc, Santa Clara, Calif, has dropped its requirement that orthodontists and dentists begin at least 10 Invisalign cases per year to maintain their active provider status. The requirement was introduced last June.

According to a [removed]statement[/removed] on Align’s Web site, "Numerous state and national dental organizations oppose the case requirement—these are groups with whom we’ve always had good working relationships. Industry organizations’ opposition to the proficiency program was far more intense than we anticipated. … Many organizations, including the AAO and ADA, have recommended that Align focus on continuing education, rather than case requirements, as a means of encouraging product proficiency."

In a recent survey by The Wealthy Dentist, a dental practice marketing and management blog, 79% of orthodontists and 83% of dentists reported being unhappy with the case requirement. In the survey of 260 respondents, several orthodontists criticized the case requirement as an attempt by Align to dictate patient treatment options. Others complained that the current economic climate would make meeting the requirement difficult as case submissions are down because many patients have decided to forgo what is often considered an elective treatment or have opted for cheaper alternatives.

"Currently [I] offer Invisalign, but [I] don’t know for how much longer as I am on the ‘bubble.’ In this economy it is not as easy to sell Invisalign when other aligner options are cheaper and full braces treatment is more comprehensive," said a Wisconsin orthodontist.

While dropping the minimum case requirement, Align will still require Invisalign providers to complete 10 Invisalign CE hours per year. Also, orthodontists and dentists who start 10 or more cases each year will be given Invisalign Preferred Provider status.

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