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Today, dentists in over 100 countries around the world use the Invisalign system and iTero scanners to improve the smile of every patient. From simple tooth alignment to more complex corrections, Align Technology has helped almost seven million patients gain an improved smile. (Photograph: Align Technology)

Align Technology hosts second annual European Growth Summit

By Monique Mehler, Dental Tribune International
July 11, 2019

BERLIN, Germany: These days, moving a dental practice forward takes more than excellent clinical capabilities. Networking skills, marketing strategies and the newest cutting-edge technology have a huge impact on its economic success. To cater for the needs of today’s modern practice and to arm practitioners with success-orientated knowledge, US company Align Technology hosted its second Growth Summit. On 5 and 6 July, the clear aligner industry’s most forward-looking growth event brought together leading Invisalign-trained dentists from around Europe in the German capital of Berlin to build on the success of its inaugural meeting in Copenhagen in Denmark in 2018.

As one of the leading global players in digital orthodontics, Align Technology is committed to helping Invisalign dentist partners to better understand the opportunities that this field offers. Hence, a progressive programme covered many in-demand topics, which were presented by an elite team of 20 international speakers to 175 congress attendees. The dramatically lit ballroom at the Pullmann Hotel Berlin Schweizerhof, situated near the central district of Tiergarten, provided a large modern stage and was the perfect setting for two days of lectures. The presentations centred around marketing practices, inspirational leadership skills, the adaption of new technologies, the power of digital storytelling and the elevation of patient experiences.

The first day began with a welcome message by Markus Sebastian, Align Technology’s new senior vice president and managing director for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Sebastian, who joined the company a year ago and who has had 25 years of experience in the medical industry, outlined the aims and focal points of the event. Sebastian also paid kudos to the former vice president, Simon Beard, who has now moved on to leading the American market. “We want to help you make the switch from analogue to digital,” he said to the dental professionals in the audience. Align Technology focuses on general practitioners because they have the closest relationship to potential patients who could benefit from minimally invasive clear aligner treatment, he explained. Sebastian also told attendees that this week Invisalign launches its first pop-up at the Westfield London shopping centre where customers can connect with the brand and be referred to a dentist near them.

Later in the morning, medical futurist Dr Bertalan Meskótook to the stage and presented his view on new technologies and how incorporating them can generate necessary change in a dentist’s service delivery in order to optimise care. As an example, he explained that virtual reality may help ease pain during procedures. The following speaker was Ken Hughes, a leading shopping and consumer behaviourist, who investigated the concept of modern-day consumerism and how digital influences are shaping patient expectations and values, not just online but also in the real world—with immediacy, efficiency and hyper-personalisation as three major considerations for every big and small business owner.

During the lunch and coffee breaks, attendees had the opportunity to see at first hand the latest Align Technology innovations, including the iTero Element 5D scanner and the SmileView tool, and to learn how these two products are key to the development of any forward-thinking dental practice. The new intra-oral scanner is designed for in-house treatment and delivers speed, reliability and powerful visualisation for general dentists and orthodontists.

SmileView is a software tool that instantly shows what Invisalign treatment can do for a patient and simulates his or her new smile. In one of the morning lectures, Dr Rhona Eskander, a dentist from London, presented the software and showed examples of how she uses it in her daily practice in the form of patient reaction videos. Eskander has a strong presence on Instagram and likes to connect with her patients in the real and virtual world. “The digital word of mouth is contagious,” she declared and emphasised how important social media is in this day and age. “Millennials are having a huge impact on digital dentistry and, whether we like it or not, they are the future,” she added.

The second half of the day commenced with a lecture by Julius van de Laar. He was one of Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaign strategists and delivered an inspiring insight into how marketing strategies are crafted and executed. The bottom line and takeaway message for everyone in the room was that, for a business owner, authenticity is the most important thing. “If you want people to choose your business,” he said, “you have to be relatable. People want to be part of something. It cannot be all about you.”

Furthermore, leading practitioners Drs Elaine Halley, Edouard Nègre, Giuseppe Marano and Michaela Sehnert offered guidance on the practical tools and techniques to help attendees maximise the benefits of the digital workflow using Align’s iTero technology. In the afternoon, a round-table discussion provided an opportunity to engage with leading Invisalign providers Drs Raman Aulakh and Chris Orr. Dr Hannu Vesanen finished the first day with a comprehensive overview of minimally invasive intervention for maximum results.

Saturday, 6 July, began with Dr Christian Coachman, who looked at the new era of digital smile design by discussing the recently announced collaboration between Align Technology and the digital smile design protocols. Two hands-on workshops followed and explored the latest iTero Element scanner advances, with a focus on its capabilities. Focal points were the integration of the iTero scanner as part of comprehensive and multidisciplinary dentistry, and the benefit of scanning at every patient visit to optimise workflows. Dr Olivier Boujenah’s workshop addressed “Maximising iTero: Embracing digital expansion” and Dr Tim Nolting demonstrated the need to “Stop guessing, start scanning: Digital dentistry starts with iTero Element 2”. Wrapping up this year’s Growth Summit, TV entertainer and now expert on psychology, human behaviour and communication Ruby Wax, OBE, explained how technology can aid mindfulness and shared her experience of the practice in her address on a “sane new world”.

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