Align Technology Inc, San Jose, Calif, has announced awards totaling $270,000 in new research funding to eight universities in North America and six international universities for projects seeking to better understand orthodontic treatment and use of orthodontic scanners.

“This is the fifth consecutive year Align has provided this funding opportunity to universities to conduct research to advance the industry’s understanding of orthodontic treatment,” said John Morton, Align Technology director, research and technology. “The independent academic committee which reviewed each research request this year was very impressed by the quality of the applications received and the range of valuable topics they represent. We are pleased to help discover the future of orthodontic care by enabling university research that can benefit the entire industry.”

The North America research award recipients for 2014 are:

  • Dr Peter H. Buschang, Dr Helder B. Jacob, Dr Phillip M. Campbell, and Dr Katie Julien at Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, $25,000;
  • Dr Serge Dibart and Dr Leslie Will at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, $25,000;
  • Dr Joel Gluck, Dr Marion L. Messersmith, and Dr Megan Crabtree at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn, $25,000;
  • Dr Ki Beom Kim and Dr Mazyar Moshiri at Saint Louis University Center for Advanced Dental Education, St Louis, $25,000.

The International research award recipients for 2014 are:

  • Dr Tommaso Castroflorio, Professor Cesare Lorenzo Debernardi, Dr Maria Grazia Faggiano, and Dr Francesco Garino at University of Torino C.I.R. Dental School, Torino, Italy, $25,000;
  • Dr Christina Erbe and Dr Thomas Drechsler at University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany, $25,000;
  • Dr Nils Hunselar and Dr Paul-Georg Jost-Brinkmann at Charite — Universitaetsmedizin, Berlin, Germany, $25,000;
  • Dr Britta A. Jung, Mareike Simon, and Dr Joerg Schwarze at University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany, $25,000;
  • Professor Wenli Lai, Dr Hu Long, Dr Renhuan Huang, Dr Lina Liao, Yafen Zhu, Jingyi Zhu, Meiya Gao at Sichuan University, Chengdu, China, $25,000;
  • Dr Hashmat Popat, Dr Graham Gardner, Dr Darren Stone, and Dr Mohsen Tehranian at Cardiff University School of Dentistry, Cardiff, United Kingdom, $25,000.

“Increased EMEA and APAC adoption of clear aligner therapy continues to drive interest in developing a greater understanding of the scientific processes behind the therapy and its potential treatment advantages,” said Mitra Derakhshan, DDS, MS, Align’s director, clinical international. “Through this program, we hope to gain further insights into complex treatment therapy, the value of clear aligner therapy, and broader orthodontic and dental treatment issues by working with these prestigious universities around the world.”

The research study proposals approved for funding in 2014 include an evaluation of the rate of tooth movement of Invisalign® aligner trays after piezocision; comparisons between ClinCheck® treatment plans and tooth movements; a comparison of induced bone remodeling of Invisalign aligners and self-ligating appliances; multiple studies evaluating white spot lesions, caries and enamel loss during treatments with Invisalign versus fixed appliances; a prospective study on the influences of Invisalign appliances on oral bacterial community; a comparison of Invisalign aligners to fixed appliances in treating Class I adult patients; and an evaluation of how closely Invisalign optimized attachments are placed and reproduced from the doctor’s prescription.

In 2013 Align introduced a new scanner research award component in recognition of the rapid increase in utilization of intraoral scanning technology. The following are the scanner award recipients for 2014:

  • Dr Toru Deguchi, Dr Allen Firestone, and Dr Henry W. Fields at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, Columbus, Ohio, $5,000;
  • Dr Serge Dibart and Dr Leslie Will at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, Boston, $5,000;
  • Dr Greg Huang and Dr Weitao Liu at University of Washington School of Dentistry, Seattle, $5,000;
  • Dr Glenn T. Sameshima at University of Southern California Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, $5,000.

The four scanner award proposals consist of a comparison of the accuracy of digital models derived from different intraoral scanning devices; an evaluation of tooth movements, using the iTero® scanner, following piezocision-assisted Invisalign treatments; a comparison of digital models created by intraoral scanning and plaster models; and a comparison of progress assessments using iTero scanning and plaster models.

All proposals received were reviewed and prioritized by an independent academic committee in a blind evaluation. The 2014 academic committee is comprised of six members: Dr Sunil Wadhwa (chair), director of the Division of Orthodontics at the Columbia University; Professor Donald Burden, director of the Centre for Dentistry at the Queen’s University at Belfast, Ireland; Dr Emile Rossouw, chairman of the Department of Orthodontics at University of North Carolina; Dr Glenn Sameshima, chairman of the Advanced Orthodontic Program at University of Southern California; and Dr Timothy Wheeler, professor of orthodontics at University of Florida, previous academic committee chair, and committee advisor.

The 2015 Align Research Award Program submission details will be announced later this year.