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News / March 4, 2021

A valuable tool for all

by Elaine Halley

Elaine Halley talks about Align Technology’s virtual solutions and the difference they have made to her practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Could you describe how you have used Invisalign Virtual Care in your dental practice?

We have used Invisalign Virtual Care in a couple of ways. Some patients had to move away from the area, especially during lockdown. We have used Invisalign Virtual Care to help finish cases.

Two patients had to go back to China as their student visas ran out and they were not quite finished. So, we are in the process of using it for that, albeit with limitations.

It helps us keep in touch and provide the very end of their treatment. I took all the attachments off before they went, so that they could finish their aligner treatment.

We also used Invisalign Virtual Care for people with similar circumstances in the UK we need to adapt to. For example, a young chef who is leaving for a job in Cornwall and has recently started his Invisalign treatment. He will be able to come back, but in the meantime, I can keep an eye on him (using the tool).

We have also used Invisalign Virtual Care for people who wanted to minimise their trips to the practice.

I am thinking of a few teachers who expressed that they would rather come in towards the end of treatment.

I have seen some practices use Invisalign Virtual Care for all patients. For us, it is more patient-selective. If it is not an issue for people to come in, then I would like to see them. But for the others, we have the option and that gives us an enormous amount of flexibility, which we embrace in these challenging times.

In terms of the workflow, we give the patients some retractors to take away with them.

The Virtual Care tab on Invisalign Doctor Site gives you a list of all the patients enrolled with their compliance as a percentage and an alert when they upload new pictures and videos. You can then have a look and send them instructions to keep going or to wear aligners for longer or to make an appointment.

How have your patients reacted to and complied with the tool?

The compliance level is great once they understand what to do. We have found that they need a bit of prompting. The younger ones take to it a bit more easily.

What difference has it made to your practice?

It does cut down the number of visits for certain patients and it also means that, regardless of circumstances, patients can keep going with their treatments rather than being stuck on a specific aligner until we can see them again. From a treatment supervision point of view, it is also very helpful to know that you have actually seen the patient and been able to keep the record in the clinical notes as regular supervision without taking up chair time.

How do you feel about the support Align Technology has given providers since the first lockdown?

It has truly been excellent. I think the company has definitely worked very hard to try and be creative with how it could help during lockdown. From the beginning, I used the Invisalign Virtual Appointments – before the launch of Invisalign Virtual Care. It is like a Zoom appointment system to make virtual consultation appointments through the Invisalign Doctor Site.

How do you feel these new services will help you during the second wave?

I think it helps us being more prepared and we can also reassure patients that even if they cannot see us, we can still keep in touch and we can still progress with their treatments.

Why should other practices move towards this way of working?

It gives flexibility instead of seeing patients at every set interval. It helps tailor the treatment to the patient’s needs. If patients can see you, that’s fine but if for any reason it is difficult to do so, it makes it easier for the patient without necessarily taking up chair time.

If you had one thing to recommend to your peers about adopting Invisalign Virtual Care, what would it be?

I would recommend that they should learn about Invisalign Virtual Care, and consider discussing it with their patients. Invisalign Virtual Care can be valuable for all practices. I think it is important to know that it is available and an option for patients in circumstances where their treatment may get stuck and find the whole situation quite challenging. There is no need for it, as Invisalign Virtual Care can make such a huge difference to the progress of the treatment.

Are you planning to continue to use of Invisalign Virtual Care this year?

Yes, absolutely, it is definitely a valuable tool.

Visit for more information. For additional information about the Invisalign system, visit For additional information about the Itero digital scanning system, visit More details about Exocad dental CAD/CAM offerings and a list of Exocad reseller partners, can be found on

This article first appeared in Irish Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.