Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Toronto Invisalign Braces Specialist Provides Trip Report from Costa Rica Study Club

Outside Align Technologies in Costa Rica

At Markham Centre Orthodontics, we strive to be at the forefront of all aspects of care for our patients. As a Premier Provider of Richmond Hill Invisalign braces and Markham Invisalign Teen, Dr. Tam was fortunate to be invited to attend the Invisalign Study Club in Costa Rica for Top Invisalign doctors. This experience included a tour of the Invisalign tech centre, special lectures about Invsalign 1.5, details of the manufacturing and ClinCheck process, as well as clinical discussions with some of the top Invisalign providers in Canada and America. This entry will detail Dr. Tam's trip to the Invisalign centre.

Invisalign Reception Area

Prior to going into the facility, Dr. Tam was asked to sign a non-disclosure regarding proprietary information. Therefore, as much detail will be provided as possible, without infringing upon this agreement.

The tour began with an informational session about Invisalign in their impressive 63,000 sq ft facility, housing around 730 employees, including 543 different techs, 49 team leaders, 65 customer service reps, 48 in finance and IT, as well as 26 doctors, of which 6 are orthodontists. Any patient information is sent digitally from Mexico, and there is no physical data present in Costa Rica. All employees are eligible for complimentary Invisalign treatment in the Invisalign clinic, allowing them to straighten their teeth, while gaining a deeper understanding of the product they work with.

Invisalign on-site employee clinic

Invisalign has chosen Heredia, Costa Rica for its tech plant because of its political stability, solid IT infrastructure, high literacy rate of 96%, high level of education, and quality of dental schools. With no army, the country is able to provide free medical care, basic dental care, and college education for its citizens. Techs are selected from a large pool of applicants and if chosen, undergo 15 weeks of training before being allowed to work on patient cases. This training is known as “Treat University”, and involves using the “Treat” software, developed in Russia, to learn how to receive data, segment the teeth, set the bite, produce a tooth set up, and figure out the location of the gingival margins. There is some training about basic orthodontic principles and the new techs work with new Invisalign doctors, with the assumption that their cases are less complicated. This becomes a problem when these new doctors send in cases that are beyond the scope of a less experienced provider, and has lead to the development of Invisalign proficiency requirements.

One of the two rooms of Invisalign Techs

There is also a team of experienced techs who work with Premier Providers. They work with fewer different doctors, but tend to work with a higher volume of more challenging cases. These techs are supervised by a team leader, who has previously worked as a tech. Dr. Tam’s particular team leader works with with the top doctors from Canada, New York, and Texas. The team leaders are in turn supervised by a staff dentist who may or may not be an orthodontist. Important to note is that the techs have an understanding of basic English, but may rely on their team leaders to provide further clarification. This makes it even more important that the tech understand the preferences of the doctor.

Our Invisalign Technician Auxi working on one of our ClinChecks

Dr. Tam was very excited to meet his dedicated Invisalign technician, Auxi, and her team leader, Alex. They were able to sit down to talk about his preferences, facilitating a better understanding of Dr. Tam’s Invisalign treatment goals. This minimizes the amount of time required to approve a ClinCheck, provides more optimum treatment, and leads to an expedited production of the aligners. Together, they spent a few hours working with Dr. Tam on some new and existing ClinCheck simulations.

L-R: Team leader Alex, Dr. Tam, Invisalign Tech Auxi

Both Auxi and Alex are extremely talented at their work and were extremely friendly. However, they made a point to state that they are not allowed to make treatment decisions, and rely on the doctor’s expertise, prescription, and modifications to produce optimal treatment. This reinforces the concept that successful treatment requires an experienced provider who understands how to move teeth with Invisalign.

Overall, it was an extremely valuable experience to see how Invisalign works behind the scenes. Their software is constantly being developed, the employees are hard-working, and are in a world-class facility. Dr. Tam would like to thank Align Technology for selecting him for this elite Invisalign meeting.

Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in getting started on the way to a straighter smile without braces.

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