Health and Beauty

Invisalign Zurich

Two experts don't quite buy the 3D-printing hype

Meboldt: I could point to the invisible “aligners” offered by Invisalign, a company founded in San Jose, California in 1999 that now has sales exceeding 1.3 billion dollars. The founding principle of alignment treatment, the patent, goes all the way back to 1945. However, it was only with the advent of 3D printing and digital technology that it actually became efficient to produce the aligners.

Today, treatment begins with a mold of the patient’s teeth, which is subsequently scanned and digitalized. The orthodontist can then digitally manipulate how they want the teeth to shift over the course of the treatment. An exactly fitted aligner is printed for each stage of the treatment—12 in all, and all for a cheaper price than one traditional set of braces—and a much better match with what the customer needs.

Another example is the Swiss start-up Tailord Fits. They’ve just brought out the first tailor-made 3D printed ski boot.