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The History of Invisalign


At Stormberg Orthodontics, we’re proud to provide expert orthodontic care to patients of all ages in La Mesa, CA. While we still provide metal or ceramic braces for many patients, Invisalign has become a favorite for eligible individual treatment plans – and we’ve helped everyone from teenagers to busy adult professionals achieve a new smile conveniently through Invisalign. You probably already know about Invisalign clear aligners, but there’s a history behind this revolutionary alternative to braces. So how did Invisalign get started? It all began with an adult orthodontic patient.

Who Invented Invisalign?

Invisalign can trace its roots back to two students at Stanford University – Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth. Chishti was an adult orthodontic patient himself at the time, but he struggled with the inconvenience of treatment. Chishti realized that retainers, which were previously used only as a way to hold the teeth in place after treatment, could potentially be used for the entirety of the treatment process – an option that may prove more convenient than traditional orthodontic braces. Chishti teamed up with fellow student Kelsey Wirth, and the two found Apostolos Lerios and Brian Freyburger, also students at Stanford, as technical co-founders. Together, they created Align Technology, the company that would bring Invisalign to market.

How Was Invisalign Developed?

Freyburger and Lerios worked with fellow graduate student Marc Levoy to develop the technological underpinnings of the Invisalign system. They conducted intensive research in CAD modeling, using advanced computer imaging and 3D printing technology to craft a new type of orthodontic retainer. Through the innovative system of “incremental retainers,” they created the revolutionary sequence of aligners that became Invisalign’s hallmark. After much testing and an FDA approval, Invisalign was ready to go to market.

What Did Orthodontists Think of Invisalign?

When Invisalign first hit the market, however, orthodontists were skeptical. After all, braces had been the dominant orthodontic treatment for decades – how could this new system, made from flimsy plastic, effectively straighten teeth?

But Align Technology persisted. They launched an unprecedented $31 million TV campaign in 2000, bringing Invisalign thoroughly into the public eye. The spotlight generated massive demand for Invisalign, prompting orthodontists to take the treatment seriously and quickly making it an accepted, common treatment. In 2000 alone, 75% of orthodontists in the US received Invisalign training.

In addition, Invisalign Teen has been launched, allowing orthodontics during the later transition of deciduous (baby teeth) to permanent teeth with all the self confidence during the process.  Also, a compliance indicator is built in to ensure the prescribed amount of cooperation is achieved.

How Successful Is Invisalign?

Today, Invisalign is a standard, accepted treatment for orthodontic malocclusions, and Align Technology is a thriving company. Align boasts more than 3,000 employees and some $560 million in annual revenue, demonstrating how the public and orthodontists alike have embraced Invisalign as a treatment method. And if you’d like to see what makes Invisalign such a popular treatment, Stormberg Orthodontics would love to show you!

What are you waiting for?

Smile Brighter Today!

We have treatments to bring out the best in any smile. Learn about your options at your complimentary visit.

What are you waiting for?

Smile Brighter Today!

We have treatments to bring out the best in any smile. Learn about your options at your complimentary visit.