Dr Anand Tuteja, Country Head, India, ClearPath Orthodontics, in conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN talks through the state-of-the-art invisible aligners that are all the rage in orthodontics
When was ClearPath aligner developed and how does it differ from conventional braces? ClearPath was incorporated in the year 2008 in USA after 8 years of Research and Development. In India, it was introduced for the first time in the year 2012. The common issue that detracts people from the smile they want is crowded teeth. It worsens even more with clunky metals on their teeth like metal braces which are worn to correct the condition. Whereas, Clear- Path aligners are transparent, i.e., made from medical grade plastic that cannot be seen easily. In other words, they are virtually invisible. Another benefit is that it is removable. At the time of brushing teeth or while cleaning these plastic trays, one can easily remove them as and when required. This is however difficult with the metal braces which can be removed by the dentist only. As a result, the oral hygiene deteriorates. However, aligners effectively eliminate any chance of developing gum problems. Braces are unsightly and uncomfortable, but dental aligners are just the opposite. With aligners, one’s desire of a beautiful smile and healthy teeth becomes a reality without making it obvious to the world and without even affecting the daily routine. ClearPath provides comfortable, easy-to-use and most importantly the affordable orthodontist appliances like Invisible aligners that take care of your teeth. This dental aligner is flexible in design and is suitable to be used by all age groups and can be customized as per individual’s need.
What technology goes into the making of ClearPath aligners? Is it patented and FDA approved? The latest technology that is being used in the processing of ClearPath aligners is through CAD/CAM technique which is computerised designing and automated production of aligners is done through specialised software that results in the fabrication of custom-made appliance to suit your unique requirement. The automated system increases the predictability and accuracy of the treatment adds to the preciseness of the whole procedure as it becomes possible to ascertain the number of aligners that a patient will require during the whole treatment. The plastic used in the manufacturing is FDA approved and the aligners have smooth edges that prevent your gums and cheeks from unwanted irritation. This computerised and digital clinical system is used in hundreds of clinics in the USA, India, Jordan, UAE, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Syria, Egypt and across the Middle East.
When was ClearPath launched in India and how do you foresee it in the Indian market? ClearPath is about this breakthrough technology which revolutionizes the way we treat malocclusion (straightening the teeth). The venture was started on a pilot scale in Dec 2010 and after its grand success, we launched in Jan 2012. We have seen a 250 percent growth year-on-year for the past two years. We anticipate the same growth for the next four to five years also. The Orthodontic market in India is vastly untapped and there is acute paucity of convenient and aesthetic treatment measures.
What challenges did you face in initial years? The biggest challenge we faced was to convince the doctors for using this technology. Since they have been using wires and brackets for years, this idea of wireless dentistry moved at a snail’s pace. However, gradually, we have been able to convince most of the top practitioners in all the cities. Today, we have a good pool 1,000 plus doctors in India prescribing ClearPath.
What is your market presence in India and how easily is the ClearPath aligner available? Our 1,000 plus doctors are located across five to seven Indian cities. It is easily available even in smaller cities. If someone needs to find a ClearPath practitioner, he can also visit our website and check ‘Find Your Doctor’ section. Our market presence is 100 percent market share in India as we are the only company in India and one of the only two in the world.
“Unlike metal braces, ClearPath Aligner is virtually invisible. Hardly anyone gets to know you’re straightening your teeth”
What other teeth problems are addressed by ClearPath aligners? None, straightening of teeth is the only indication for ClearPath Aligners. It does have certain side benefits like it relaxes the jaw joint and gives relief from traumatic occlusion and bruxism. Also act as habit breakers.
How prevalent is malocclusion in India? Thirty-five percent of India’s population have visible deforming malocclusion.
How many dental visits are required for ClearPath aligner’s procedure? As few as one visit is required for the entire procedure. However, we recommend follow-ups every three months.
Please explain the modus operandi? The dentist takes precise impressions of the patient’s teeth and customises the aligners for his teeth. The impression is sent to the ClearPath. The digital set up is shown and approval is sought. Aligners are then dispatched to the dentist. The patient starts wearing the aligners set by set (two weeks each). The treatment concludes, retention follows.
Who can use ClearPath aligners? Any dentist registered with the Dental Council of India can prescribe ClearPath. And among patients groups, anyone above 14 years of age is eligible for its usage.
How do you ensure that the ClearPath aligners are perfect and the dentist has done his job as expected? The physical intervention required by the dentist is minimal. He has to make a perfect set of impressions and do some optional procedures like IPR (Inter Proximal Reduction) or Extractions etc. The dentist gives his treatment plan, which is evaluated by ClearPath experts for feasibility. If anything is off the track, a detailed discussion takes place through the portal between production experts in the backend and doctor.
Do you keep a tab on the treatment process? Is it easy to procure a replacement in case of loss or damage to the aligner? The subsequent aligner fitting properly onto teeth is itself an indication that treatment is progressing smoothly. It will fit only when previous aligner in series has done its job. Each aligner moves the teeth bit by bit in a series fashion.