Mis-Aligning with Groupon

Guess what? If you’ve ever signed on to participate in a Groupon-type social marketing coupon you may be convicted of Dirty Dancing with the Devil, otherwise known as fee-splitting. And Align Technologies will have none of it. Just to make sure you know that they’re watching you, this memo was sent out to all Invisalign providers today:

December 5, 2011

Dear Doctor,

A small number of Invisalign practices have recently elected to offer their dental services and Invisalign treatment specifically through social coupons such as Groupon and Living Social. In response to this marketing practice, Align has received a number of complaints from other Invisalign customers who highlight that Invisalign is a rigorously regulated class II medical device which requires specialized medical training and a doctor’s prescription. As neither Invisalign nor the associated dental services are generic commodities, these Invisalign customers feel the use of social coupons is not in the patient’s best interests, and is unethical and demeaning to the dental profession.

We agree. In fact, Align does not endorse the arbitrary sale of dental services and Invisalign treatment through social coupons and is not a party to any such offerings. Align believes that the interests of both prospective patients and the practitioner are best protected by requiring a patient examination to confirm a patient`s suitability for Invisalign treatment before extending an offer to treat. Because both your services and each Invisalign treatment are unique (like the needs of each patient), we do not believe that either are appropriate for the web-based, group-buying social coupon process.

You should also be aware that the laws of most States prohibit practitioners from splitting fees with third-parties or non-practitioners. In response to the increase in the sale of medical services through social coupons, there is a growing sentiment that the sharing of fees between a doctor and social coupon sponsor may constitute such an illegal fee splitting arrangement. As a result, we encourage all Invisalign practitioners who may be considering participation in the social coupon process to consult with their attorney to evaluate the legal risks associated with such a transaction.

We hope you find information on these issues helpful. Because the dental services environment is evolving almost as rapidly as the technology itself, we intend to keep you current with our assessment of the latest trends so you can better achieve your practice goals. If you have any questions or comments, please contact your Invisalign representative or email us at customersupport@aligntech.com.

Best Regards,

Dan Ellis
Vice President, North America Sales
Align Technology, Inc.


So dude, if you’re going to try and get new customers with Groupons, just don’t promise to do any actual dentistry! Offer patients something unique that you don’t need a license for, like this suggestion that was offered here at DentalBuzz a few months back!

If not, you’re probably better off using this method of get-‘em-in-the-door marketing:







Hey, it’s your choice!


  1. Ross Colomsky says

    Are they still running these specials? I would love to purchase one and save over a thousand dollars! Since I am protected by Mass law and I am sure not any fool can just open a dental practice I’m pretty confident the dentists will be competent if not my lawyer will handle it. Please send me a link to reach these dental offices if you can get over the blockbusting mind set of keeping your own and other prices sky high! Thanks!

    • buzzadmin says

      Hi Ross, These dentists have (Invis)aligned with Groupon in the past, are in the Boston area, and probably would also appreciate it if your lawyer would reduce her hourly sky-high fees when you suspect dental incompetence and they have to meet her.
      Hanover Orthodontics in Hanover.
      Reichheld Ting Orthodontics, with locations in Billerica, Lowell, and Westford.
      Glick, Starr, and Meola Orthodontics with locations in Medfield and at the Dental Associates of New England in Boston and Waltham.
      Koglin Orthodontics in Newburyport.
      Dr. Brian H. Miller, DDS Orthodontics, with locations in Newton Center and Concord.
      Carvalho & Roth Orthodontics, with locations in Marlborough and Northborough.
      Dental Associates of Walpole in Walpole.
      Drs. Kane, Tesini, Soporowski and Associates in Natick.
      Orthodontic Associates in South Portland.
      Caulfield Orthodontics, with locations in Winchester and Cambridge.
      Sam Alkhoury DMD, with locations in Holliston, Webster, and Worcester.
      George Family Orthodontics, with locations in South Attleboro, Seekonk, and Vineyard Haven.
      Bebrin and Cugine with locations in Gloucester, Peabody, Tewksbury, and Middleton.

      Please don’t tell them we sent you.


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