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The Fascinating History of Clear Aligners

A History of Braces

Did you know that metal braces date back as far as 1819?

Did you know that metal braces date back as far as 1819? The early forms of braces were a far cry from the clear aligners of today. The term “braces” was not used until the 1900s, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that braces came to resemble their modern form. According to News Medical, “Until the mid-1970s dental braces wrapped around the teeth to secure the teeth and apply a force to move them as required in the mouth. At this time, direct bonding to the teeth became a real possibility due to the introduction of the adhesive for dental uses.”

Over the decades, several breakthroughs made getting braces less cumbersome. Dental adhesive and stainless steel made them significantly less painful and damaging. These advancements also cut down on how long patients had to wear braces. After that, braces remained largely the same for decades, until Invisalign® treatment revolutionized the teeth-straightening experience.

Invisalign® Treatment Emerges

In 1997, Zia Chisti, a Stanford graduate with no dental background, created Invisalign®. According to 123dentist, “He used the same technology for the clear aligners that the ancient Egyptians used 5000 years before, and figured out how to use it to straighten teeth, rather than just keep teeth straight that already were.”

After his initial concept and design, Zia took the idea to another Stanford graduate named Kelsey Wirth. Together they implemented the use of 3D imaging software, allowing them to map out a patient’s mouth and create a custom aligner that is unique to each patient. Thus, the Invisalign® treatment was born.

After three years of testing, Invisalign® was introduced to the public in 2000.

Invisalign® Treatment Rises

Even though Invisalign® products were first released in 2000, it didn’t become popular right away. Most orthodontists and dentists were wary of clear aligners and Invisalign® treatment. Professionals wanted to stick with methods that were proven to work.

The popularity of Invisalign® treatment started with the consumer.

There was also some initial bias among professionals towards Invisalign® since its creator didn’t have any formal dental training.

The popularity of Invisalign® treatment started with the consumer. Current and prospective patients were looking for an alternate method to teeth straightening that wasn’t so intrusive. As more consumers started to ask for Invisalign®, it started to gain traction with orthodontic professionals as well.

By 2004, more than 175,000 patients were using the revolutionary clear aligners, with high rates of customer satisfaction. Invisalign® was then be introduced into the Asian market, first landing in Japan.

According to Orthodontics unlimited, “Universities like Harvard began to require their students in the Dental Medicine program to complete an Invisalign® certification before they were allowed to graduate. In between 2008 and 2012, the number of Invisalign® patients grew to over two million, with those numbers continually increasing.”

Since going mainstream, Invisalign® treatment has seen tremendous success. The design hasn’t changed much, as each aligner is custom-made for each patient’s teeth. Due to its ease of access and unobtrusive application Invisalign® treatment continues to grow in popularity. Now, over 7 million people use Invisalign® every day. 

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Invisalign® with Integrity Clear Braces

Ready to start your own Invisalign® journey? For questions regarding Invisalign® clear aligners, or to arrange a complimentary consultation, contact us at 360.628.8713 or To schedule an appointment for Invisalign® treatment today, visit

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