Align Technology has been granted a patent for an apparatus that treats patients by advancing or retracting the lower jaw. The apparatus includes anchoring devices that can be positioned in the upper or lower jaw, and connecting structures that displace the lower jaw anteriorly or posteriorly relative to the upper jaw. The apparatus produces a greater anterior-posterior force component than a vertical force component. GlobalData’s report on Align Technology gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Align Technology, Digital intra-oral scanning was a key innovation area identified from patents. Align Technology's grant share as of September 2023 was 58%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Mandibular advancement/retraction apparatus with bone anchoring devices
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11771531B2) describes an apparatus and method for treating patients using mandibular advancement or retraction. The apparatus consists of multiple anchoring devices that can be placed in the upper or lower jawbone of the patient. These anchoring devices are connected by removable connecting structures, which exert a greater anterior-posterior force component than a vertical force component. This displacement of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw helps in the treatment process.
The patent claims specify various features of the apparatus and method. The connecting structures can be removably coupled to the anchoring devices using mechanisms such as snap-fit coupling, magnetic coupling, interference fit, locking surface, adhesive, removable fastener, cam lock, interlocking mechanical coupling, or fastening feature. Additionally, the connecting structures can be elastic or stiff in nature. Elastic structures are designed to exert anterior-posterior forces without applying vertical forces, while stiff structures exhibit minimal deformation under load.
The method for treating a patient involves positioning the anchoring devices in the upper or lower jawbone and then removably coupling the connecting structures to produce the desired anterior-posterior force component. The vertical force component is specified to be zero in the claims. The connecting structures can be coupled to the anchoring devices using the same mechanisms mentioned earlier. The connecting structures can be elastic or stiff, and they can have plate structures with various geometries such as circular, elliptical, triangular, or rectangular.
This patent provides a novel apparatus and method for treating patients using mandibular advancement or retraction. The use of anchoring devices and connecting structures allows for targeted displacement of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw, with a focus on the anterior-posterior force component. The ability to use different coupling mechanisms and structures adds versatility to the treatment process. The patent's claims provide specific details about the various features and options available in the apparatus and method, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the invention.