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As an orthodontist, I suspected that (and took advantage of) ALGN's heavy marketing campain pre IPO for a one day position. However,I am not currently in this stock, and encourage caution with my newfound fellow fools. The concept certainly has mass market appeal, but they have some serious hurdles ahead.

Although they can market directly to the public, Dr.'s are the true market, since the technique must be performed by a licensed orthodontist. There aren't that many of us out there, and ALGN has very few finished results. The company indicates that over half of the orthodontists have taken their training course, yet they rarely discuss how many of these orthodontists are submitting multiple cases to the company. Most of us who straighten teeth for a living are taking a wait and see attitude.

An orthodontist's expense for the technique is double that of conventional braces, thus it has to be passed on. If you pass that kind of expense on to a consumer, the technique had better work, and so far we aren't sure.

More importantly, even the company agrees that this technique will only work for a very limited amount of correction, in very specific patients. I estimate that only 10% of my patients would qualify using the company's case selection criteria. Of that percentage, how many can afford a current price tag that probably will exceed the national average of $3850 for conventional braces.

In fairness to the company, I have not taken their training course yet, but I certainly plan to in the near future. If it turns out that invisalign's work, and there are patients that want to shell out the extra expense to avoid braces, I am as enthused as any to offer the technique. But for the forseable future, I won't be putting my money in this company, they certainly won't be replacing braces.
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