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Start-up breaks barriers to straight teeth

An innovative Kiwi start-up is putting teeth-straightening treatment within reach for more New Zealanders.

Smilii is the first New Zealand brand of clear aligners - invisible plastic covers that click over your teeth and gently move them into line.

Similar technology is sold around the world but the market is dominated by two American brands at opposite ends of the price and quality spectrum.

Smilii founder Neil Fitzpatrick says the expense of quality treatment provided by an orthodontist or dentist means three quarters of people who could benefit are missing out.

Alternatives that sell aligners direct-to-consumer carry potential risk because they cut out of the process dental professionals and essential orthodontic x-rays.

“Most Kiwis have never heard of clear aligner treatment but its popularity is quickly growing in America and Europe. It’s widely touted to be the main form of orthodontic therapy in a few years’ time.

“There’s a small window of opportunity for a New Zealand company to claim territory and offer New Zealanders a fair option that is on par with the best aligner brand in the market, but at a price that is much more affordable and - importantly - safe.”

Smilii has achieved affordability and expertise through a hybrid model that combines its own dental team and an exclusive partnership with a specialised medical 3D printing company based in India. It specialises in manufacturing clear aligners for the Indian market and provides Smilii with its own team of orthodontists, plus computer and lab technicians who will work closely with the New Zealand crew.

Client safety and comfort will be assured through treatment plans that include a dental check-up, full set of dental x-rays, a hygiene clean and regular in-person and app-based contact with a Smilii dentist and dental support team.

“As a minimum, we believe treatment should be led by a qualified dental professional, planned by an orthodontist, with the safety net of being able to see our professionals in person,” Neil says.

Dr Julian Leigh, long-time member of the Australian Dental Association and consultant dentist to Smilii, says it’s critical that a general check-up and special orthodontic x-rays are taken and analysed by an orthodontist before clear aligner treatment.

“Your teeth and gums must be in good shape before any aligner treatment - to be safe and ultimately successful,” he says. “Otherwise you could risk permanent damage or embark on unsuitable aligner treatment.

“That’s the difference with Smilii and why I’m delighted to be part of it.”

Smilii is on its way. Visit to reserve a place for a no-cost, obligation-free appointment, or complete an online suitability check to find out Smilii is right for you.

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