US Pat. No. 9,491,863

MOUNTING SYSTEM THAT MAINTAINS STABILITY OF OPTICS AS TEMPERATURE CHANGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A scanner comprising:
a light source to generate light;
a microlens array to split the light into an array of light beams;
a base;
a detector, mounted to the base, comprising an array of sensors, wherein each sensor of the array of sensors determines an
intensity of light impinging on the sensor; and

a beam splitter to transmit the array of light beams towards a target and redirect a reflected array of light beams from the
target towards the detector along a detection axis in a first direction,

wherein the beam splitter is coupled to the base by three or more flexures, and wherein thermal expansion or contraction of
the beam splitter with respect to at least one of the detector or the base bends each flexure of the three or more flexures
in a second direction radiating from the detection axis without bending the flexure in a third direction perpendicular to
the first direction and the second direction, wherein the three or more flexures maintain an alignment of the microlens array
to the detector to a sub-micron level of accuracy.

US Pat. No. 9,152,145

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SORTING ITEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A sorting and sequencing system for mass-produced, customized objects, each of the objects being marked with a code that
includes group data and sequence data indicating a sequence within a group, the system comprising:
a code-reading mechanism operable to read the code on each of the objects and to associate each of the objects with the group
data and the sequence data for that object;

a plurality of object carriers;
a placement mechanism operable to place one of the objects on an object carrier;
a sorting mechanism responsive to the code-reading mechanism and operable to direct each of the objects into an assigned one
of a plurality of buffer locations based on the group data of the object, thereby sorting the objects into a plurality of
groups, each group of objects being held in an assigned buffer location, wherein the sorting mechanism is operable to direct
each of the object carriers carrying an object into one of the plurality of buffer locations based on the group data of the
object carried thereon, thereby sorting the object carriers into the plurality of groups, each group of object carriers being
held in an assigned buffer location; and

a sequencing mechanism responsive to the code-reading mechanism and operable to receive each group of objects from its assigned
buffer location and to place each of the objects in each of the groups into a sequence based only on the sequence data of
the objects, wherein the sequencing mechanism is operable to receive each group of object carriers from its assigned buffer
location and to place each of the object carriers in each of the groups into a sequence based on the sequence data of the
object carried thereon.

US Pat. No. 9,431,887

LENS POSITIONING SYSTEM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A positioning system comprising:
an actuator comprising:
an inner element comprising a permanent magnet with a first pole and a second pole that define a magnetic axis parallel to
a longitudinal axis;

an outer element comprising a first coil wound in a first direction around the first pole and a second coil wound in a second
direction around the second pole, wherein the outer element is coupled to a body of a scanner; and

a linear-motion bearing that couples the inner element to the outer element, the linear-motion bearing providing a single
degree of translational movement of the inner element with respect to the outer element along the longitudinal axis; and

a controller to induce a current through the first coil and second coil to move the inner element with respect to the outer
element along the longitudinal axis.

US Pat. No. 9,375,300

IDENTIFYING FORCES ON A TOOTH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method of virtually identifying force placed on a tooth, comprising:
receiving initial orthodontic data (IOD) including teeth data;
creating a virtual set of teeth from the IOD;
receiving dental appliance information including at least one of dental appliance material properties and characteristics;
virtually placing a dental appliance, formed from the dental appliance information, onto the virtual set of teeth; and
computing one or more desired force parameters of a dental appliance based on information from the IOD and dental appliance
information to achieve a particular position of a particular segment of a treatment plan; and

estimating one or more forces generated by the virtually placed dental appliance as applied to one or more teeth based on
information from the IOD and dental appliance information and verifying that the virtually created dental appliance is applying
a desired force parameter to the one or more teeth based on a comparison of the desired force and the one or more estimated
forces.

US Pat. No. 9,277,972

DENTAL WIRE ATTACHMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A wire attachment appliance, comprising:
a shell formed of a material having a plurality of cavities formed therein;
at least two wire attachment members located within at least two of the plurality of cavities;
at least one attachment material reservoir formed with the shell and located on an interior surface of at least one other
of the plurality of cavities, the at least one attachment material reservoir having an aperture through an exterior surface
to the interior surface of the at least one other of the plurality of cavities for reception of attachment material to attach
a wire to a tooth adjacent to the at least one attachment material reservoir, wherein the wire is external to the material
from which the shell is formed; and

the wire having portions simultaneously located in the at least two wire attachment members and other portions located within
the at least one attachment material reservoir; and

wherein the shell and the at least two wire attachment members are removable from placement onto one or more teeth while the
wire remains attached to the tooth.

US Pat. No. 9,161,823

ORTHODONTIC SYSTEMS AND METHODS INCLUDING PARAMETRIC ATTACHMENTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for designing a customized tooth movement system for eliciting a selected movement of a patient's tooth, the method
comprising:
receiving, on a computer, a digital model of the patient's tooth;
quantifying, using the computer, a desired force system for eliciting the selected tooth movement when applied to the patient's
tooth;

selecting, using the computer, a first non-custom attachment configured to engage an orthodontic appliance when worn by a
patient, wherein the orthodontic appliance comprises a shell aligner;

determining, using the computer, a first force system for application to a tooth having the first non-custom attachment and
engaged with an orthodontic appliance; and

designing, using the computer, a second custom attachment by modifying a configuration of the first non-custom attachment
based on one or more patient-specific characteristics comprising tooth morphology, tooth or tooth surface orientation, or
a prescribed tooth movement path, such that a second force system would be applied to a tooth having the second custom attachment
and engaged with an orthodontic appliance, the second force system more closely corresponding to the desired force system
than the first force system.

US Pat. No. 9,439,568

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR MEASURING SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY OPTICALLY

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. An apparatus for determining surface topography of a three-dimensional structure, the apparatus comprising:
a probe sized to be inserted into an intraoral cavity of a patient;
an illumination unit configured to output a plurality of light beams;
a light focusing assembly to receive and focus each of the plurality of light beams to a respective external focal point external
to the probe in order to generate illuminated spots on the structure, the light focusing assembly including one or more image
space lenses and one or more object space lenses and being configured to overlap the plurality of light beams within a focus
changing assembly, the focus changing assembly being located along an optical path between the one or more image space lenses
and the one or more object space lenses, in order to move the external focal points along a direction of propagation of the
plurality of light beams;

a detector having an array of sensing elements configured to measure a characteristic of each of a plurality of light beams
returning from the illuminated spots; and

a processor coupled to the detector and configured to generate data representative of topography of the structure based on
the measured characteristic of each of the plurality of light beams returning from the illuminated spots.

US Pat. No. 9,403,238

LASER CUTTING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A laser cutting system, comprising:
a laser generating component;
an optical component;
a fixture for holding a support with a part positioned on the support and wherein the part and support are made from different
materials that are each capable of being cut by a laser from the laser generating component and the support material is capable
of mixing in with material associated with the part; and

at least one control mechanism for adjusting at least one of the laser generating component, the optical component, and the
fixture such that a ratio of a laser energy applied to the part is maintained within a predetermined acceptable range at each
point along a cut path to cut through the part thickness such that the different materials do not mix.

US Pat. No. 9,271,809

TRACKING TEETH MOVEMENT CORRECTION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computer readable medium, having instructions, which when executed by a processor, cause a device to:
create a virtual teeth model corresponding to a number of physical teeth;
position a number of virtual markers on at least one of a number of virtual teeth of the virtual teeth model, where the number
of virtual markers are positioned on the at least one of the number of virtual teeth corresponding to positioning of a number
of physical markers on at least one of a number of physical teeth;

create a virtual expected teeth arrangement model from the virtual teeth model including a number of successive stages of
arrangements of the virtual teeth model and the virtual markers;

design a set of positioning appliances shaped to move the number of physical teeth through the number of successive stages
where each stage corresponds to a particular positioning appliance;

detect, at a particular stage, a position of the at least one of the number of physical markers based on an image taken of
the at least one of the number of physical markers;

compare the position of the at least one of the number of physical markers with a position of the corresponding at least one
of the number of virtual markers at the particular stage; and

determine whether midcourse correction is needed.

US Pat. No. 9,433,477

AUTOMATIC PLACEMENT OF PRECISION CUTS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A computer-implemented method of trimming an orthodontic positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities, the method
comprising:
receiving material including a portion having the shape of an orthodontic positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities;
receiving a digital representation of trimming instructions, the trimming instructions including an elastic band receiving
member cutout line or a hook cutout line, wherein the elastic band receiving member cutout line or the hook cutout line defines
a gingival-facing surface of the orthodontic positioning appliance; and

cutting the material along the elastic band receiving member cutout line or the hook cutout line with a cutting element.

US Pat. No. 9,161,824

COMPUTER AUTOMATED DEVELOPMENT OF AN ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT PLAN AND APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A fabrication system for producing orthodontic appliances configured to reposition a patient's teeth, the system comprising:
one or more processors;
a tangible computer readable medium operatively coupled with the one or more processors and storing non-transitory instructions
that, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the system to:

receive an initial digital data set representing the teeth at an initial arrangement, and
generate a treatment plan comprising a plurality of three-dimensional digital data sets defining a series of arrangements
for the teeth including one or more intermediate arrangements toward which the teeth will move while moving from the initial
arrangement toward a final arrangement;

a mold producing machine configured to produce a series of positive tooth model molds corresponding to the series of arrangements
for the teeth; and

a molding machine configured to at least partially form each of a series of orthodontic appliances configured to move the
teeth from the initial arrangement toward the final arrangement by forming a dental appliance material over a respective one
of the positive tooth model molds,

wherein the system is configured to produce the series of orthodontic appliances at a stage of treatment prior to the patient
wearing any appliance of the series of orthodontic appliances so as to reposition the teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,364,296

FILLING UNDERCUT AREAS OF TEETH RELATIVE TO AXES OF APPLIANCE PLACEMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computing device readable medium having executable instructions that can be executed by a processor to
cause a computing device to perform a method, comprising:
calculating an undercut area of a tooth relative to an axis of placement of a part of a dental appliance over a number of
teeth and a height of contour that is defined based on the axis of placement; and

filling in a part of the undercut area with a virtual filler wherein the undercut area is filled to within a threshold distance
from the tooth that is defined relative to the axis of placement and the height of contour.

US Pat. No. 9,393,087

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR GENERATING COLOR IMAGES

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for generating a focused color image of an object, the system comprising:
a light source that produces light comprising a first wavelength and light comprising a second wavelength different from the
first wavelength;

an optics system optically coupled to the light source and operable to:
focus the first wavelength to a first wavelength focal length and scan the first wavelength focal length through a plurality
of different first wavelength focal lengths; and

focus the second wavelength to a second wavelength focal length and scan the second wavelength focal length through a plurality
of different second wavelength focal lengths;

a detector configured to collect first wavelength image data corresponding to the first wavelength of light reflected from
the object for the plurality of first wavelength focal lengths and second wavelength image data corresponding to the second
wavelength of light reflected from the object for the plurality of second wavelength focal lengths; and

a processor configured to, for each of a plurality of different locations in the focused color image:
select one of the first wavelength focal lengths for which the first wavelength is focused relative to the object at the respective
location;

select one of the second wavelength focal lengths for which the second wavelength is focused relative to the object at the
respective location; and

combine the first wavelength image data corresponding to the selected first wavelength focal length for the respective location
and the second wavelength image data corresponding to the selected second wavelength focal length for the respective location,
thereby generating focused color image data for the respective image location for the focused color image of the object.

US Pat. No. 9,211,166

INDIVIDUALIZED ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT INDEX

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method of using an individualized orthodontic treatment index, comprising:
receiving an initial virtual dental model from a first scan of a patient's dentition;
modifying the initial virtual dental model to create a target virtual dental model according to a limited treatment target
goal of a dentition that is not ideal with respect to an ideal dentition defined according to a non-individualized treatment
index;

assigning a number of dental references to the target virtual dental model;
receiving a treatment outcome virtual dental model from a second scan of the patient's dentition;
mapping the number of dental references from the target virtual dental model to the treatment outcome virtual dental model;
and

calculating an individualized treatment index score for the treatment outcome virtual dental model according to one or more
differences between the target virtual dental model and the treatment outcome virtual dental model based on the mapped number
of dental references, wherein the individualized treatment index score characterizes the treatment outcome virtual dental
model relative to the limited treatment target goal;

wherein the method is performed by the computing device.

US Pat. No. 9,186,228

METHOD FOR MANIPULATING A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL, METHOD FOR CREATING PHYSICAL ENTITIES BASED ON A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL THUS MANIPULATED, AND DENTAL MODELS THUS CREATED

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, the system comprising:
a computer having instructions that, when executed, cause the computer to:
receive a 3D virtual model of a dental site comprising dental surfaces, wherein a portion of the dental site is obscured by
a material, and

manipulate the 3D virtual model to create an auxiliary 3D virtual model that includes a virtual representation of the portion
of the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material; and

a physical dental model of the dental site, wherein the physical dental model comprises a representation corresponding to
the virtual representation of the portion of the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material.

US Pat. No. 9,125,709

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR TRACKING TEETH MOVEMENT DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of tracking orthodontic treatment in a patient wearing at least one affixed appliance by attachment to at least
one of a plurality of teeth for a wire and affixed appliance treatment, the method comprising:
providing a tracking template comprising a shell portion defining a plurality of tooth-receiving cavities shaped to fit over
at least a portion of the plurality of teeth in a planned intermediate tooth arrangement;

applying the tracking template to at least some of the plurality of teeth;
determining whether the tracking template fits a current tooth arrangement;
if the tracking template does not fit the current tooth arrangement, continuing the wire and affixed appliance treatment;
and

if the tracking template fits the current tooth arrangement, applying at least one patient-removable orthodontic tooth positioning
appliance for repositioning the plurality of teeth from the planned intermediate tooth arrangement towards a planned final
tooth arrangement.

US Pat. No. 9,107,722

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR OPTIMIZING DENTAL ALIGNER GEOMETRY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for modeling a dental appliance and positioning of one or more attachment devices for moving a tooth, comprising:
a data storage unit; and
a processing unit coupled to the data storage unit, wherein the processing unit is configured to:
determine a first position of a tooth in a treatment plan;
determine a second position for the tooth in the treatment plan;
calculate a movement vector associated with a sweep geometric path to move the tooth from the first position to the second
position; and

determine a geometry for a cavity of a polymeric shell of the dental appliance, the cavity accommodating movement of the tooth
from the first position to the second position along the movement vector, wherein the polymeric shell comprises at least one
polymeric cavity wall of the cavity, the at least one polymeric cavity wall directly contacting one or more attachment devices
affixed to the tooth to urge the tooth to move along the movement vector and produce rotational and translational movement
of the tooth, and wherein the rotational and translational movement of the tooth is elicited only by the at least one polymeric
cavity wall.

US Pat. No. 9,084,657

DENTAL APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental appliance comprising:
a shell having a number of cavities to receive and reposition one or more teeth, each cavity having an inner surface; and
where at least a first portion of a particular cavity is scaled-up in size by a first selected uniform percentage over one
or more dimensions of a corresponding tooth to provide a first space for the at least first portion of the particular cavity
between the cavity inner surface and the corresponding tooth, where the particular cavity contains a chemical to treat the
corresponding tooth, wherein the at least first portion of the particular cavity covers the corresponding tooth;

where at least a second portion of the particular cavity is scaled-up in size by a second uniform scaled-up percentage over
one or more dimensions of a corresponding gingival outer surface adjacent to the corresponding tooth to provide a second space,
the second space being contiguous with the first space, wherein the second scaled-up percentage is different than the first
selected percentage, wherein the at least second portion of the particular cavity covers the corresponding gingival outer
surface;

where the inner surface of the particular cavity has scaled-up proportions of the dimensions relative to the corresponding
tooth; and

where the first selected percentage is based on one or more properties of the chemical used to treat the corresponding tooth.

US Pat. No. 9,589,329

MOTION COMPENSATION IN A THREE DIMENSIONAL SCAN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, comprising:
a non-transitory memory having computer-readable instructions stored thereon; and
a processor coupled to the memory and configured to execute the computer-readable instructions to:
receive a plurality of three-dimensional (3D) scans of a dentition;
estimate a motion trajectory from a particular one of the plurality of scans of a dentition to a subsequent scan, wherein
the estimation includes one or more of:

using data from a plurality of two-dimensional (2D) images of the dentition taken during the particular scan of the dentition,
determining an optical flow based on a local motion vector between consecutive images of the plurality of 2D images based
on a change of position of a point in the consecutive images and a change in time between the consecutive images;

estimating a motion trajectory of the point in the particular scan by estimating a global velocity vector for each consecutive
image, improving the estimated motion trajectory using the optical flow to estimate a correctness of the estimated motion
trajectory; and

estimating an amount of motion during the particular scan as a rigid body transformation based on input from at least one
position tracking device; and

calculate a corrected scan by compensating for the estimated motion trajectory.

US Pat. No. 9,420,939

AUTOMATIC SELECTION AND LOCKING OF INTRAORAL IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method, comprising:
receiving an intraoral image of a first intraoral site;
determining an identity of the first intraoral site;
algorithmically performing the following by a processing device:
locking the intraoral image; and
selecting, based at least in part on the identity of the first intraoral site, a portion of the intraoral image depicting
a portion of the first intraoral site; and

generating a model comprising the first intraoral site based at least in part on the locked intraoral image, wherein the portion
of the locked intraoral image is used for a first region of the model, and wherein data from one or more additional intraoral
images that also depict the portion of the first intraoral site is not used for the first region of the model.

US Pat. No. 9,375,298

DENTAL MODELS AND RELATED METHODS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A dental model comprising:
a first component configured to represent a portion of a patient's jaw and defining a socket;
at least one second component that is demountably attachable to the first component and configured to represent at least one
dental structure in the portion of the patient's jaw, the at least one second component including a shaft shaped to be inserted
into the socket of the first component along an insertion direction;

a plurality of locally protruding portions located in the socket and extending laterally to the insertion direction of the
shaft so as to form an interface between the first and second components; and

a spring feature positioned in the socket so as to push the shaft against the plurality of locally protruding portions.

US Pat. No. 9,261,356

CONFOCAL SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY MEASUREMENT WITH FIXED FOCAL POSITIONS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for measuring surface topography of a three-dimensional structure, the apparatus comprising:
an optical probe configured to be moved relative to the three-dimensional structure;
an illumination unit configured to generate a plurality of incident light beams, each of the incident light beams comprising
a first wavelength component;

an optical system configured to focus the first wavelength component of each of the plurality of incident light beams to a
respective fixed focal position relative to the optical probe during the measuring of the surface topography;

a detector unit configured to measure a characteristic of each of a plurality of returned light beams that are generated by
illuminating the three-dimensional structure with the incident light beams; and,

a processing unit coupled with the detector unit and configured to determine surface topography of the three-dimensional structure
based at least in part on the measured characteristic of the plurality of returned light beams for a plurality of different
relative positions and/or orientations between the optical probe and the three-dimensional structure.

US Pat. No. 9,451,873

AUTOMATIC SELECTION AND LOCKING OF INTRAORAL IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method, comprising:
receiving an intraoral image of a first intraoral site;
determining an identity of the first intraoral site;
algorithmically performing the following by a processing device:
locking the intraoral image; and
selecting, based at least in part on the identity of the first intraoral site, a portion of the intraoral image depicting
a portion of the first intraoral site; and

generating a model comprising the first intraoral site based at least in part on the locked intraoral image, wherein the portion
of the locked intraoral image is used for a first region of the model, and wherein data from one or more additional intraoral
images that also depict the portion of the first intraoral site is not used for the first region of the model.

US Pat. No. 9,101,433

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COLOUR IMAGING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for determining surface topology and associated color of at least a portion of a three-dimensional structure,
the system comprising:
an apparatus comprising an image gathering member to generate depth data of the structure portion corresponding to a two-dimensional
reference array substantially orthogonal to a depth direction; and

one or more processors operably coupled to the apparatus, the one or more processors configured to cause the system to:
receive, from the apparatus, the depth data of the structure portion corresponding to the two-dimensional reference array
substantially orthogonal to the depth direction;

receive, from the apparatus, two-dimensional first image data of the structure portion associated with the two-dimensional
reference array;

receive, from the apparatus, two-dimensional second image data of the structure portion associated with the two-dimensional
reference array, the second image data being different from the first image data;

generate two-dimensional estimated image data based on the first image data and the second image data so as to account for
when the first image data and the second image data were generated relative to when the depth data was generated so that the
estimated image data corresponds to when the depth data was generated; and

map the estimated image data to the depth data for the two-dimensional reference array.

US Pat. No. 9,427,916

METHOD FOR PREPARING A PHYSICAL PLASTER MODEL

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for use in fabricating dental appliances, said system comprising:
a processor operably coupled to a computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that, when executed, cause the
processor to:

receive a virtual three dimensional (3D) representation of a patient's lower arch, the patient's upper arch, and an occlusion
alignment between the upper and lower arches, and

modify the virtual 3D representation by adding a first virtual alignment structure to the lower arch and a second virtual
alignment structure to the upper arch, the first and second virtual alignment structures shaped to engage each other to produce
the occlusion alignment between the upper and lower arches; and

a physical model of the dentition comprising,
a lower arch model having lower teeth and an upper arch model having upper teeth, said physical model based on the modified
virtual 3D representation,

a first single continuous piece comprising the lower arch model and a first alignment structure extending from and integrally
formed with the lower arch model, the first alignment structure shaped according to the first virtual alignment structure,
and

a second single continuous piece comprising the upper arch model and a second alignment structure extending from and integrally
formed with the upper arch model, the second alignment structure shaped according to the second virtual alignment structure,

wherein one or more of a first plurality of first positioning reference components or a second plurality of second positioning
reference components are formed to allow the first plurality of first positioning reference components to come into reversible
contact with the second plurality of second positioning reference components in a fixed spatial relationship to thereby provide
the occlusion alignment between the lower teeth of the lower arch model and the upper teeth of the upper arch model based
on said modified virtual 3D representation.

US Pat. No. 9,404,740

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COLOUR IMAGING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for determining surface topology and associated color of a structure portion of a three-dimensional structure,
the system comprising:
an imaging device configured to generate three-dimensional depth data and two-dimensional color data of the structure portion;
and

one or more processors operably coupled to the imaging device, the one or more processors configured to cause the system to:
generate the three-dimensional depth data of the structure portion using the imaging device when the imaging device is at
a first spatial disposition relative to the structure portion,

generate the two-dimensional color data of the structure portion using the imaging device when the imaging device is at a
second spatial disposition relative to the structure portion,

determine a spatial transformation between the three-dimensional depth data and the two-dimensional color data, and
map the two-dimensional color data to the three-dimensional depth data using the determined spatial transformation.

US Pat. No. 9,192,305

ESTIMATING A SURFACE TEXTURE OF A TOOTH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method for estimating a surface texture of a tooth, comprising:
collecting a sequence of images utilizing multiple light conditions using an intra-oral imaging device, wherein the multiple
light conditions include different light sources and captures different pixel intensities;

comparing the pixel intensities from at least two of the images within the sequence of images to one another; and
estimating the surface texture of the tooth based on the comparison of the pixel intensities from the at least two images
within the sequence of images.

US Pat. No. 9,492,245

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING DYNAMIC ORTHODONTIC ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT PROFILES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for classifying an orthodontic condition by a computer, the method comprising:
displaying an orthodontic related image including a plurality of teeth, wherein the orthodontic related image is a first orthodontic
condition of the plurality of teeth, wherein the plurality of teeth are displayed simultaneously;

displaying a plurality of movement indicators, each associated with a different respective one of the plurality of teeth,
wherein the plurality of movement indicators are displayed simultaneously with the simultaneous display of the plurality of
teeth;

receiving a selection of one of the plurality of movement indicators and repositioning or moving the associated tooth in a
direction indicated by the selected one of the plurality of movement indicators;

dynamically displaying a modified orthodontic related image for pre-treatment assessment of the patient based on the selected
one of the plurality of movement indicators, wherein the modified orthodontic related image is a second orthodontic condition
for the plurality of teeth; and

determining a classification of the second orthodontic condition based upon the plurality of movement indicators and the modified
orthodontic related image.

US Pat. No. 9,408,679

METHOD, APPARATUS AND SYSTEM FOR USE IN DENTAL PROCEDURES

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for providing a spatial relationship of at least part of a dental structure of a patient
with respect to a sagittal plane of the patient, comprising:
(a) receiving digital scan data representing a virtual model of a composite of at least a part of a dental structure coupled
with a geometric structure that is aligned with a sagittal plane of a patient, thereby providing a composite virtual model,
wherein the digital scan data is generated by scanning the part of the dental structure coupled with the geometric structure
with a suitable optical scanner; and

(b) determining, using a computer system, a spatial relationship between the part of the dental structure and the sagittal
plane of the patient based on the coupling between at least part of the dental structure and the geometric structure and the
alignment of the geometric structure with the sagittal plane of the patient.

US Pat. No. 9,168,113

TOOTH MOVEMENT MEASUREMENT BY AUTOMATIC IMPRESSION MATCHING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

8. A method for detecting deviations from an orthodontic treatment plan, the method comprising:
receiving a tracking model comprising a digital representation of an actual arrangement of a patient's teeth after an orthodontic
treatment plan has begun for the patient for comparison to a plurality of plan models, each plan model comprising a respective
pre-determined planned arrangement of the patient's teeth;

performing an alignment between each plan model and the tracking model using a partial region beyond a tooth crown of the
respective plan model and a partial region beyond a tooth crown of the tracking model such that stationary elements of each
of the respective plan model and the tracking model are aligned with one another, the alignment including detecting the partial
region of each of the tracking model and the respective plan model based on a polygon formed from predetermined points on
at least some of the teeth in the respective plan model and a polygon formed from predetermined points on at least some of
the teeth in the tracking model;

selecting one of the respective plan models in which the planned arrangement of the patient's teeth best matches the actual
arrangement of the patient's teeth; and

detecting one or more positional differences between the actual arrangement of the patient's teeth and the planned arrangement
of the patient's teeth in the selected plan model.

US Pat. No. 9,414,897

ADJUSTMENT OF TOOTH POSITION IN A VIRTUAL DENTAL MODEL

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method, comprising:
detecting space and/or collision between a number of posterior teeth of an upper jaw and a number of posterior teeth of a
lower jaw in a virtual dental model that has been set in a preliminary target position;

defining an energy function including the space and/or collision, tooth root movement, and align points;
assigning weights for each variable in the energy function;
adjusting a position of the number of posterior teeth of the upper jaw and the number of posterior teeth of the lower jaw
in six degrees of freedom to minimize the energy function;

repeating the detection, definition, assignment, and adjustment until the energy function converges;
adjusting the weights to reduce the space and/or collision;
defining a number of treatment steps between the preliminary target position and a final target position for each of the upper
jaw and the lower jaw based on the converged energy function, wherein each of the number of treatment steps corresponds to
an amount of adjustment to be performed by a respective orthodontic appliance; and

creating the respective orthodontic appliances.

US Pat. No. 9,333,052

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR TREATING TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for generating treatment plans for repositioning a patient's teeth, the method comprising:
generating, using a computer, a first treatment plan comprising successively placing a first plurality of polymeric shell
appliances on the patient's teeth, the first plurality of polymeric shell appliances having tooth receiving cavities with
different geometries selected to reposition the teeth towards a target arrangement;

receiving, using a computer, evaluation data indicating whether repositioning of the teeth is progressing in a satisfactory
fashion after the patient has been administered at least one polymeric shell appliance of the first plurality of polymeric
shell appliances; and

generating, using a computer, a second treatment plan in response to the evaluation data, the second treatment plan comprising
a first phase and a second phase administered to the patient in a pre-selected order, wherein the first phase comprises placing
a wire and bracket system on the teeth and the second phase comprises successively placing a second plurality of polymeric
shell appliances on the teeth, the second plurality of polymeric shell appliances having tooth receiving cavities with different
geometries selected to reposition the teeth towards a target arrangement.

US Pat. No. 9,301,814

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DIGITAL TOOTH IMAGING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for building a digital model of a patient's jaw with a reconstructed tooth occlusal surface image, comprising:
(a) creating a digitized jaw image from a scan of at least a portion of the patient's jaw, the digitized jaw image including
a first digitized image of the tooth occlusal surface;

(b) creating a digitized bite image from a scan of at least a portion of the patient's jaw in a bite configuration, the digitized
bite image including a second digitized image of the tooth occlusal surface;

(c) matching the digitized jaw image with the digitized bite image;
(d) comparing the first and second digitized images of the tooth occlusal surface; and
(e) if the comparison of the first and second digitized images of the tooth occlusal surface indicates at least one of missing
image data and distortion in the first digitized image of the tooth occlusal surface, digitally correcting the first digitized
image of the tooth occlusal surface by reconstructing any missing image data and reducing any distortion in the first digitized
image of the tooth occlusal surface using image data from the second digitized image of the tooth occlusal surface.

US Pat. No. 9,220,579

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR POSITIONING TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of generating shell appliances configured to resiliently reposition a patient's teeth, the method comprising:
receiving a first digital data set representing a first arrangement of the patient's teeth;
generating a final position digital data set representing the patient's teeth in a desired or prescribed final arrangement;
generating a plurality of intermediate digital data sets representing different intermediate arrangements of the patient's
teeth, wherein at least some of the intermediate tooth arrangements represent different orthodontic treatment stages as the
patient's teeth are moved from the first arrangement toward the final arrangement; and

after generating the plurality of intermediate digital data sets, generating a plurality of shell appliances based on the
plurality of intermediate digital data sets, the plurality of shell appliances each having cavities shaped to receive and
resiliently reposition teeth along respective movement paths for the teeth between the first arrangement and the final arrangement.

US Pat. No. 9,214,014

MOTION COMPENSATION IN A THREE DIMENSIONAL SCAN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computing device readable medium having instructions that can be executed by a processor to cause a computing
device to:
receive a plurality of three-dimensional (3D) scans of a dentition;
register a distorted one of the plurality of scans to at least one of a previous scan and a subsequent scan;
determine whether an amount of movement between the distorted scan and at least one of the previous scan and the subsequent
scan is within a registration threshold;

estimate a motion trajectory during a scanning time of the distorted scan; and
calculate a corrected scan for the distorted scan by compensating for the motion trajectory during the scanning time of the
distorted scan.

US Pat. No. 9,943,382

PREVENTING INTERFERENCE BETWEEN TOOTH MODELS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for determining and preventing interference between two or more tooth models to be mounted to a dental arch model, the method comprising:receiving a digital representation of a dental arch model, wherein the digital representation of the dental arch model comprises one or more receiving features;
receiving digital representations of two or more tooth models, wherein each of the digital representations of two or more tooth models comprises one or more registration features that interface with the one or more receiving features;
digitally mounting the digital representations of the two or more tooth models to the digital representation of the dental arch model in a first configuration;
determining an interference between the digital representations of two or more tooth models when mounted to the digital representation of the dental arch model in the first configuration; and
modifying the first configuration to a second different configuration so as to prevent interference between the digital representations of the two or more tooth models when mounted to the digital representation of the dental arch model by modifying at least one of the one or more registration features of at least one of the digital representations of the two or more tooth models.

US Pat. No. 9,855,701

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR VARYING ELASTIC MODULUS APPLIANCES

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for producing an orthodontic appliance, the method comprising:
providing a mold of patient's dentition;
forming a first material layer over the mold;
removing one or more portions of the first material layer after forming the first material layer to form a remaining portion
and one or more removed portions of the first material layer, at least one of the one or more removed portions spanning a
group of two or more teeth of the patient's dentition; and

forming a second material layer over the remaining portion of the first material layer so as to produce the orthodontic appliance.

US Pat. No. 9,660,418

VCSEL BASED LOW COHERENCE EMITTER FOR CONFOCAL 3D SCANNER

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. An apparatus to measure an object, the apparatus comprising:
a plurality of light sources arranged to generate a plurality of light beams; and
a plurality of spot generating lenses to focus the plurality of beams to a plurality of focused spots, each of the plurality
of focused spots comprising a focused portion of each of the plurality of light beams, said focused portion of each of the
plurality of beams overlapping with other focused portions of other beams in order to define said each of the plurality of
focused spots and inhibit noise, wherein the plurality of spot generating lenses is separated from the plurality of light
sources with a separation distance sufficient to overlap the plurality of light beams at each of the spot generating lenses.

US Pat. No. 9,566,132

SMILE DESIGNER

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method for designing a smile, the method comprising:
receiving scan data of a patient's teeth;
developing a digital model of the patient's teeth via the computing device, where the model represents the patient's teeth
based upon the scan data;

receiving image data of a smile of the patient including at least a frontal image of a patient's lips defining the smile and
teeth of the patient that are visible between the lips in the smile data;

mapping a number of reference points in the image data of the smile and creating a line that intersects the reference points
that defines an inner lip line of the smile;

creating a dental treatment plan for the digital model of the patient's teeth to move one or more of the patient's teeth from
an initial condition through a number of successive conditions to a final condition; and

combining the digital model of the patient's teeth with the image data of the smile of the patient including the inner lip
line of the smile to provide the smile as it would appear in the final condition according to the inner lip line and the digital
model in the final condition.

US Pat. No. 9,492,243

DENTAL IMPLANT POSITIONING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for positioning an implant, the method comprising:
determining an implant location based on a virtual model of an optimized dental occlusion according to a treatment plan;
moving one or more teeth of a plurality of teeth from a first orientation to a different second orientation according to the
treatment plan using a number of appliances of a series of dental appliances formed to enable movement of the one or more
teeth from the first orientation to the different second orientation, the second orientation exposing the implant location;

placing the implant at the exposed implant location using a particular one of the series of dental appliances comprising a
shell that includes a plurality of cavities shaped to receive the plurality of teeth and having a landmark formed in the shell
positioned to provide a guide for placing the implant at the exposed implant location; and

moving the one or more teeth from the second orientation to a third orientation, that is different than the first and second
orientations after the placement of the implant using the particular one of the series of dental appliances.

US Pat. No. 9,433,476

INTERPROXIMAL REDUCTION PLANNING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method for interproximal reduction (IPR) planning, comprising:
identifying a first tooth and a second tooth within a set of teeth representing one dental arch of a patient in a digital
dental model wherein the first and second tooth are adjacent on the arch and overlap at a target position of each tooth during
a treatment plan;

identifying a mesial-distal reference line of the first tooth and a mesial-distal reference line of the second tooth;
calculating an angle between the mesial-distal reference line of the first tooth and the mesial-distal reference line of the
second tooth at a provided stage of the treatment plan;

revising the treatment plan using a computing device to provide an intermediate position for the first and second tooth, wherein:
the mesial-distal reference line of the first tooth and the mesial-distal reference line of the second tooth are aligned sufficiently
for IPR to be performed based on the calculated angle between the mesial-distal reference line of the first tooth and the
mesial-distal reference line of the second tooth being within a specified threshold; and wherein

the first and second tooth are not overlapping such that IPR can be performed on at least one of the first and second tooth.

US Pat. No. 9,375,293

VIRTUAL ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for virtual orthodontic treatment using a computer system, comprising:
(a) providing a first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image indicative of a 3D model of all teeth of at least one jaw, the
model being manipulable so as to allow the viewing of the model from a desired direction;

(b) selecting a virtual set of orthodontic components, comprising (i) brackets, one for each tooth in said first virtual three-dimensional
(3D) image, for attachment to teeth of said first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image, each of said brackets having a slot
for engaging a wire, and (ii) one or two archwires;

(c) associating the brackets with the teeth of said first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image so to obtain a second image
of said virtual 3D model with the brackets associated with the teeth of the model, one bracket on each tooth in said model;

(d) using a set of rules, including a rule that requires each slot to engage the wire, computing the manner of movement of
each tooth with the bracket associated therewith, so as to obtain a third image comprising the teeth model following the virtual
treatment;

(e) changing at least one bracket or the manner of associating a bracket with a tooth and repeating steps (c) and (d) one
or more times until the teeth model of said third image represents a desired outcome of the orthodontic treatment; and

(f) outputting at least the third image from the computer system.

US Pat. No. 9,241,774

PATTERNED DENTAL POSITIONING APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of forming a removable dental positioning appliance, comprising:
applying a pattern to a portion of a dental mold of a patient's dentition corresponding to one or more of the patient's teeth,
wherein applying the pattern to the portion of the dental mold includes applying a pre-patterned material to the dental mold;

applying a material to the dental mold including the portion having the pattern to form the removable dental positioning appliance,
comprising a shell including a plurality of inner cavities to contact the patient's teeth, such that the appliance includes
either the pattern or an inverse thereof on a surface of the inner cavities, the pattern or the inverse thereof being designed
to affect application of a force from the removable dental positioning appliance directly on a tooth of the patient; and

releasing the pre-patterned material from the removable dental positioning appliance after the material forming the dental
positioning appliance is applied to the dental mold.

US Pat. No. 9,069,914

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FABRICATING A WAX MODEL OF A DENTAL COPING CONFIGURED TO FIT A TOOTH PREPARATION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for providing fabrication data useful in the fabrication of a wax model of a dental coping
configured to fit a tooth preparation, the method comprising:
receiving a three-dimensional (3D) virtual model of a patient's intraoral cavity comprising the tooth preparation;
receiving a user input command to define a finish line on the 3D virtual model of the tooth preparation;
generating a 3D virtual model of a dental coping based on the finish line and having an inner surface and an external surface
offset from the inner surface, the inner surface being configured to fit over at least a portion of the tooth preparation,
the external surface of the dental coping being disposed between the inner surface of the dental coping and an external surface
of a tooth prosthesis;

generating a computerized numerical control (CNC) set of wax fabrication instructions based on the 3D virtual model of the
dental coping;

outputting fabrication data comprising the CNC set of wax fabrication instructions for fabricating the wax model of the dental
coping by a milling machine; and

fabricating the wax model based on the fabrication data.

US Pat. No. 10,080,627

ORTHODONTIC TOOTH MOVEMENT DEVICE, SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An orthodontic appliance for positioning a patient's teeth, the appliance comprising:a shell comprising a plurality of cavities shaped to receive and apply a resilient positioning force to the patient's teeth; and
a spring-loaded tooth movement device at least partially disposed in a cavity of the shell, wherein the spring-loaded tooth movement device is arranged so as to engage an attachment mounted on a surface of a tooth in order to produce vertical movement of the tooth relative to the cavity, the vertical movement of the tooth relative to the cavity being greater than buccal or lingual movement of the tooth relative to the cavity.

US Pat. No. 9,610,141

ARCH EXPANDING APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An appliance comprising:
a removable shell formed of a first material having a number of cavities formed therein, wherein the number of cavities are
shaped to receive teeth of a patient; and

an arch element extending from the removable shell in a lingual direction and continuing uninterrupted across the arch width
of the removable shell from a first side of the removable shell to a second side of the removable shell, wherein the arch
element is formed of the first material and a second material that is different in at least one material property than the
first material, and designed to expand an arch of the teeth of the patient, wherein the arch element has a width specific
to a stage of a treatment plan.

US Pat. No. 9,549,794

METHOD FOR MANIPULATING A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL, METHOD FOR CREATING PHYSICAL ENTITIES BASED ON A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL THUS MANIPULATED, AND DENTAL MODELS THUS CREATED

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, the system comprising:
a computer having instructions that, when executed, cause the computer to:
receive a virtual model of a dental site comprising dental surfaces, wherein a portion of the dental site is obscured by a
material, and

manipulate the virtual model to create an auxiliary virtual model that includes a virtual representation of the portion of
the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material; and

a physical dental model of the dental site, wherein the physical dental model comprises a representation corresponding to
the virtual representation of the portion of the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material.

US Pat. No. 9,536,020

PREVENTING INTERFERENCE BETWEEN TOOTH MODELS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for determining and preventing interference between two or more physical tooth models to be mounted to a physical
dental arch model, the method comprising:
receiving digital representations of the physical dental arch model and the two or more physical tooth models, wherein the
physical dental arch model comprises one or more receiving features and wherein each of the two or more physical tooth models
comprises one or more registration features that interface with the one or more receiving features when the two or more physical
tooth models are mounted to the physical dental arch model;

determining, based on the digital representations, an interference between the two or more physical tooth models when mounted
to the physical dental arch model caused by a first configuration of one or more of: (1) the one or more registration features
of at least one of the two or more physical tooth models, or (2) the one or more receiving features of the physical dental
arch model; and

modifying the first configuration to a second different configuration so as to prevent the interference between the two or
more physical tooth models when mounted to the physical dental arch model.

US Pat. No. 9,408,675

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR IMPROVED ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN ALIGNERS AND TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for repositioning teeth, comprising:
a force-receiving component for bonding to at least one of a patient's teeth; and
a polymeric shell repositioning appliance, having at least one force-transmitting component, for placement over the patient's
teeth, the force-transmitting component structured so that the force-transmitting component engages the force-receiving component
on the at least one tooth at a contact point within a locus of engagement, wherein a position of the contact point adjusts
within the locus of engagement as the tooth is repositioned so that the force transmitted to said tooth increases if the tooth
lags its intended position.

US Pat. No. 9,326,830

AUTOMATED TREATMENT STAGING FOR TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for staging movement of a plurality of dental objects, the method comprising:
receiving, at a host computer, an electronic representation of each dental object of the plurality of dental objects in relation
to one another, the electronic representation comprising each dental object in a respective initial position;

receiving, by the host computer, an electronic representation of a corrected position for each respective dental object;
measuring, by the host computer, a movement distance between the electronic representation of the initial position and the
electronic representation of the corrected position of at least one dental object of the plurality of dental objects;

using the measured movement distance as a basis for selecting, by the host computer, a movement pattern from a plurality of
movement patterns for moving the plurality of dental objects towards their corrected positions; and

modifying, by the host computer, the computer-selected movement pattern at least by staggering or round-tripping at least
one dental object of the plurality of dental objects so as to avoid collision or obstruction of the plurality of dental objects
on their respective routes to their corrected positions.

US Pat. No. 9,320,575

SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING FINAL POSITION OF TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer-implemented apparatus for defining a fit between a set of upper and lower teeth in a masticatory system of a
patient, the apparatus comprising a non-transitory computer-readable storage medium comprising instructions operable to cause
a programmable processor to:
generate a computer representation of the masticatory system of the patient, wherein the computer representation utilizes
a library of simulated jaw motions;

determine a functional occlusion from the computer representation of the masticatory system;
digitally model the set of teeth, based on the determined functional occlusion, in a plurality of different arrangements representing
successive repositioning of the patient's teeth from a first arrangement toward a desired arrangement; and

generate a patient removable appliance for each of a plurality of the digitally-modeled arrangements, the patient removable
appliances having teeth receiving cavities, the cavities of successive appliances having different geometries shaped to receive
and resiliently reposition the teeth from one arrangement to a successive arrangement, wherein the plurality of appliances
is generated prior to the patient wearing an appliance of the plurality so as to reposition the teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,220,580

DETERMINING A DENTAL TREATMENT DIFFICULTY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method of determining a dental treatment difficulty, comprising: using a computing device
to perform: receiving an initial and subsequent position of each of a first tooth and a second tooth;
calculating a change in position of a point on each of the first tooth and the second tooth at the initial position and a
point on each of the first tooth and the second tooth at the subsequent position;

projecting the changes in position of each of the first tooth and the second tooth from the initial to the subsequent position
onto a reference line;

calculating an average change in position on the reference line for the first tooth and the second tooth;
and determining the dental treatment difficulty of the initial to subsequent position based on the average change in position
on the reference line.

US Pat. No. 10,004,578

SYSTEM FOR POST-PROCESSING ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCE MOLDS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for processing items made of a polymeric resin, wherein the items, in an uncured state, have excess polymeric resin in liquid or semi-liquid form disposed thereon, the method comprising:washing the items in the uncured state by spraying water on the items to remove at least some of the excess polymeric resin from the items;
drying the items with pressurized air;
rinsing the items by spraying water on the items to remove any remaining excess polymeric resin from the items;
receiving a mixture of water and polymeric resin removed from the items in the washing and rinsing steps, wherein a part of the polymeric resin in the mixture comprises resin foam;
allowing the polymeric resin other than the resin foam to settle out of the mixture;
distilling the mixture of water and resin foam to obtain distilled water; and
using at least some of the distilled water to spray the items in the washing and rinsing steps.

US Pat. No. 9,597,165

METHOD, SYSTEM AND MODEL FOR INDIRECT BONDING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental model for facilitating placement of an orthodontic appliance at a desired location, the model comprising:
a positive physical model of at least a portion of a patient's dentition, the positive physical model comprising at least
one target, the at least one target comprising a recessed mechanical stop shaped to receive at least a portion of the orthodontic
appliance and constrain movement thereof without a need for an adhesive in order to facilitate the placement of the orthodontic
appliance at the desired location on the positive physical model.

US Pat. No. 9,522,750

APPARATUS FOR BAGGING MASS-CUSTOMIZED ITEMS, SUCH AS DENTAL APPLIANCES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. Apparatus for inserting mass-customized items into bags, comprising:
a computer system having a database;
a puck conveyor configured to carry a plurality of pucks, each of the pucks carrying at least one mass-customized item associated
with the puck by item-specific information stored in the database;

a bag conveyor configured to receive a plurality of bags, each of the bags having an opening defined between opposed side
walls, each of the bags being associated by the computer system with the item-specific identification information identifying
at least one of the mass-customized items;

a pick and place mechanism operable to move each of the mass-customized items from its associated puck on the puck conveyor
to an item conveyor;

a bag opening mechanism configured to receive the plurality of bags from the bag conveyor and to open each of the bags; and
an insertion mechanism operably associated with the bag-opening mechanism and configured to receive the mass-customized items
from the item conveyor and to insert each individual mass-customized item into an open bag associated by the computer system
with the individual mass-customized item using the item-specific identification information in the database identifying the
individual mass-customized item.

US Pat. No. 9,510,757

IDENTIFICATION OF AREAS OF INTEREST DURING INTRAORAL SCANS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:
receiving a first intraoral image of a dental site during an intraoral scan session;
identifying, by a processing device, a first candidate intraoral area of interest from the first intraoral image;
receiving a second intraoral image of the dental site during the intraoral scan session;
verifying, by the processing device, the first candidate intraoral area of interest as an intraoral area of interest based
on comparison of the second intraoral image to the first intraoral image; and

providing, during the intraoral scan session, an indication of the intraoral area of interest.

US Pat. No. 9,345,562

METHODS, SYSTEMS AND ACCESSORIES USEFUL FOR PROCEDURES RELATING TO DENTAL IMPLANTS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for modifying a physical dental model, the method comprising:
(a) providing a physical dental model representative of at least a part of an intra-oral cavity that includes at least one
dental implant implanted therein, said physical dental model comprising a physical portion representative of the at least
one dental implant;

(b) providing a first virtual model representative of said at least a part of the intraoral cavity including said at least
one dental implant implanted therein, said first virtual model comprising a virtual portion representative of a respective
said physical portion of a respective said at least one dental implant, each said virtual portion being at a respective virtual
spatial disposition with respect to said first virtual model;

(c) providing an implant spatial disposition of at least one of said at least one dental implant with respect to said part
of the intra oral cavity based on the respective said virtual spatial disposition; and

(d) modifying said physical dental model of said portion of the intra-oral cavity by including therein a physical analog corresponding
to one of said at least one dental implant, said physical analog being at a respective analog spatial disposition with respect
to said physical dental model corresponding to the respective said implant spatial disposition of the respective dental implant
with respect to said part of the intra oral cavity provided in step (c), wherein the physical analog is embedded in a jacket
structure by applying a layer of material on the physical analog and machining the layer of material such that the jacket
structure is shaped to removably couple to a cavity structure formed in the physical dental model.

US Pat. No. 9,299,192

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR CREATING AND INTERACTING WITH THREE DIMENSIONAL VIRTUAL MODELS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for generating a modified virtual model of a physical structure, comprising:
(A) displaying an image of a first virtual model on a display operatively connected to a computer system, wherein the first
virtual model is generated from first 3D scan data of the physical structure, and wherein said first virtual model fails to
properly represent a first physical part of the physical structure;

(B) receiving user input identifying at least a portion of the first virtual model that is desired to be modified, wherein
the user input is generated by user interaction with the image on the display;

(C) receiving a second virtual model of the physical structure with the computer system, the second virtual model generated
from second 3D scan data of the physical structure; and

(D) modifying the first virtual model with the computer system by replacing at least said identified portion of the first
virtual model with a corresponding portion of the second virtual model, thereby generating the modified virtual model.

US Pat. No. 9,108,338

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR THERMAL FORMING AN OBJECT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for thermal forming an object, comprising:
providing a mold;
receiving a mold identifier identifying the mold;
determining mold process information for forming the object based on the mold identifier, the mold process information comprising
material information and heating information;

inserting a material into a heating area, the material having a geometry selected based on the material information;
heating the material using a plurality of independently controllable heat sources that heat different areas of the material,
wherein the heat sources are controlled based on the heating information; and

disposing the heated material over or into at least a portion of the mold.

US Pat. No. 9,060,829

SYSTEMS AND METHOD FOR MANAGEMENT AND DELIVERY OF ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of managing delivery of an orthodontic treatment plan, comprising:
generating, by one or more processing devices, a treatment plan for a patient, the plan comprising digital models of teeth
of the patient, each model corresponding to each of a plurality of planned successive tooth arrangements for moving the teeth
along a treatment path from an initial arrangement toward a selected final arrangement, the plan further comprising a series
of one or more treatment phases to move the teeth along the treatment path using a set of orthodontic shell appliances shaped
to move the teeth at least partially along the treatment path;

generating, by the one or more processing devices, a set of customized treatment guidelines corresponding to a phase of the
treatment plan prior to administering the phase of treatment to the patient, the guidelines comprising one or more recommended
appointments for treating the patient and a list of recommended tasks to be completed at the one or more appointments, the
guidelines comprising computer readable instructions embodied in a tangible medium that, when executed, cause a computer to:

generate a graphical representation of a projected arrangement of the patient's teeth corresponding to one of the plurality
of planned successive tooth arrangements;

output recommended timing for scheduling the one or more recommended appointments, wherein the recommended timing coincides
with administration of at least one orthodontic shell appliance of the set of orthodontic shell appliances corresponding to
the projected arrangement; and

output the list of recommended tasks, the list including the administration of the at least one orthodontic shell appliance
of the set of orthodontic shell appliances;

providing the set of customized treatment guidelines to the practitioner; and
providing the set of orthodontic shell appliances to the practitioner, the set of appliances comprising a plurality of appliances
shaped to move teeth at least partially along the treatment path.

US Pat. No. 9,782,238

METHODS, SYSTEMS AND ACCESSORIES USEFUL FOR PROCEDURES RELATING TO DENTAL IMPLANTS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for manufacturing a physical dental model of an intra-oral cavity, comprising:
a computer system configured for providing a first virtual model representative of at least a part of the intra-oral cavity
including at least one dental implant implanted therein, said first virtual model comprising a virtual portion representative
of a respective physical portion of a said at least one dental implant, said virtual portion being at a virtual spatial disposition
with respect to said first virtual model, and for providing an implant spatial disposition of the said at least one dental
implant with respect to said part of the intra oral cavity based on said virtual spatial disposition;

a physical analog corresponding to said at least one dental implant; and
a manufacturing system configured for manufacturing the physical dental model, corresponding to said part of the intra-oral
cavity, based on said first virtual model, said physical dental model including a physical analog corresponding to said at
least one dental implant, said physical analog being at an analog spatial disposition with respect to said physical dental
model corresponding to said implant spatial disposition of said at least one dental implant with respect to said part of the
intra oral cavity provided by said computer system, the manufacturing system configured for manufacturing the physical analog
embedded in a jacket structure by applying a layer of material on the physical analog and machining the layer of material
such that the jacket structure is shaped to removably couple to a cavity structure formed in the physical dental model.

US Pat. No. 9,433,479

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FABRICATING A DENTAL TEMPLATE

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for fabricating a template for positioning orthodontic objects on a patient's teeth, the system comprising:
one or more processors; and
memory comprising program code that, when executed by the one or more processors, cause the system to:
receive a digital teeth model representing a patient's teeth;
display one or more virtual orthodontic objects placed at respective locations and orientations on the digital teeth model;
determine a geometry for a template adapted for placement over the patient's teeth and comprising one or more openings defining
one or more object support edges, wherein the one or more object support edges are shaped to receive and position one or more
orthodontic objects at respective locations and orientations on the patient's teeth corresponding to the respective locations
and orientations of the one or more virtual orthodontic objects on the digital teeth model, and wherein the one or more openings
each comprise a cut-out open to a gingival side of the template; and

output fabrication data for fabricating the template having the determined geometry.

US Pat. No. 9,939,999

TREATMENT OF TEETH BY ALIGNERS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A non-transitory computer readable storage medium having stored thereon, computer-executable instructions that, when executed by a computer, cause said computer to perform a method for treating a subject's teeth, comprising:simultaneously presenting, in a same directional view, a first digital representation at a first display window and a second digital representation at a second display window, wherein said first digital representation comprises one of a pre-modified tooth arch of a patient and a post-modified tooth arch of said patient, and wherein said second digital representation comprises the other of said pre-modified tooth arch and said post-modified tooth arch;
in response to a receipt of tooth rotation instructions, executing a first rotation, wherein said executing said first rotation comprises:
rotating said first digital representation presented at said first display window; and
simultaneously with said executing said first rotation, executing a second rotation, wherein said executing said second rotation comprises:
rotating said second digital representation presented at said second display window, wherein said first rotation and said second rotation are executed in a same direction and in a same amount.

US Pat. No. 9,801,698

ESTIMATING A SURFACE TEXTURE OF A TOOTH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method for estimating a surface texture of a tooth, comprising:
collecting a sequence of images utilizing multiple light conditions using an intra-oral imaging device, wherein the multiple
light conditions include capturing different light intensities from multiple light sources, and wherein each light source
from the multiple light sources generate light having a different light intensity than each of the other light sources;

comparing the light intensities from at least two of the images within the sequence of images to one another; and
estimating the surface texture of the tooth based on the comparison of the light intensities from the at least two images
within the sequence of images, wherein the estimated surface texture is added to a dental model providing dental detail.

US Pat. No. 9,744,002

REDUCED REGISTRATION BONDING TEMPLATE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental template for positioning an object on teeth of a patient, the template comprising:
a polymeric shell shaped to fit over a portion of an arch of the teeth of the patient, the shell comprising a first portion
shaped to receive a first subset of the teeth of the arch and a second portion shaped to receive a second subset of the teeth
of the arch, the first portion comprising one or more tooth receiving cavities having occlusal or incisal geometries corresponding
to occlusal or incisal tooth geometries of the first subset of the teeth, and the second portion comprising a planar occlusion
portion spanning the second subset of the teeth, the planar occlusion portion having a continuous planar geometry comprising
a reduced number of occlusal features relative to a number of occlusal features of the second subset of the teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,539,071

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DESIGNING AND PRODUCING DENTAL PROSTHESES AND APPLIANCES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for manufacturing a dental prosthesis, the method comprising:
receiving three dimensional data indicative of a patient's oral cavity;
generating, based on the three dimensional data, a dentition model that includes a prosthesis preparation and external surface
shape geometry of a prosthesis coupling portion of the preparation;

generating, based on the dentition model, prosthesis data comprising three dimensional shape data of a first portion of the
dental prosthesis, the first portion being an internal part of the dental prosthesis and including an inner surface of the
dental prosthesis, the three dimensional shape data of the first portion including a preparation coupling portion of the dental
prosthesis that is configured for coupling the first portion of the dental prosthesis and the preparation, the prosthesis
data further comprising three dimensional shape data of an outer surface of the first portion of the dental prosthesis;

fabricating the first portion of the dental prosthesis based on the prosthesis data; and
transmitting data for manufacture of a second portion of the dental prosthesis, the second portion being configured to couple
with the first portion, the transmitted data including at least one of: 1) three dimensional shape data of the outer surface
of the first portion, and 2) three dimensional shape data of an inner surface of the second portion that is configured for
coupling the second portion and the first portion.

US Pat. No. 9,351,809

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR VARYING ELASTIC MODULUS APPLIANCES

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for moving one or more of a patient's teeth, the method comprising:
providing a first shell appliance for placement in the patient's mouth, the first shell appliance having cavities shaped to
receive the patient's teeth; and

providing a second shell appliance for placement in the patient's mouth in place of the first shell appliance, the second
shell appliance having cavities shaped to receive the patient's teeth,

wherein at least one of the first shell appliance or the second shell appliance comprises:
a first reinforcement mesh embedded in a first layer of the at least one shell appliance;
a second reinforcement mesh embedded in a second layer of the at least one shell appliance; and
an overlapping portion comprising the first layer overlapped with the second layer, wherein the overlapping portion comprises
a stiffness greater than a stiffness of the first layer and a stiffness of the second layer.

US Pat. No. 9,119,691

ORTHODONTIC TOOTH MOVEMENT DEVICE, SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental positioning appliance, comprising:
a removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities having an incisal side and a gingival
side and shaped to receive and apply a resilient positioning force to a patient's teeth, the removable appliance further comprising
a spring-loaded tooth movement device at least partially disposed in one of the teeth receiving cavities so as to engage an
attachment mounted on a surface of a patient's tooth in order to apply force to move the tooth in a desired direction so as
to elicit an extrusive movement of the tooth toward the incisal side of the cavity in which the tooth movement device is at
least partially disposed, wherein the removable tooth positioning appliance is shaped to engage the attachment in order to
move the tooth with the extrusive movement relative to the cavity greater than a buccal or lingual movement of the tooth relative
to the cavity, and wherein the cavity in which the tooth movement device is at least partially disposed comprises a relief
that includes a space therewithin configured to accommodate movement of the attachment relative to the cavity in which the
tooth movement device is at least partially disposed.

US Pat. No. 9,089,277

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR IMAGING THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for determining surface topology of at least a portion of a three-dimensional structure, the apparatus comprising:
a probing member having an end face;
an illumination unit configured to transmit a parent light beam along an optical path in the probing member;
a module positioned in the optical path and configured to generate a plurality of incident light beams;
an optical system configured to focus the plurality of incident light beams at a focal plane forward of the end face;
a detector unit configured to measure a characteristic of a plurality of returned light beams that are generated from illuminating
the portion of the three-dimensional structure with the plurality of incident light beams; and

a processor coupled to the detector unit and configured to determine a surface topology of the three-dimensional structure
based at least in part on the measured characteristic of the plurality of returned light beams.

US Pat. No. 10,148,066

VCSEL BASED LOW COHERENCE EMITTER FOR CONFOCAL 3D SCANNER

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A light source for illuminating an optical system, comprising:an array of VCSELs operatively connectable to a power source; and
a homogenizing lens array comprising a plurality of homogenizing lenses, each VCSEL emitter having a respective homogenizing lens of the plurality in registry therewith, the homogenizing lens array and array of VCSELs configured to generate a far field homogenized pattern of overlapping light beams at a spot generator microlens array.

US Pat. No. 10,052,176

MULTILAYER DENTAL APPLIANCES AND RELATED METHODS AND SYSTEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities shaped to directly receive at least some of a patient's teeth and apply a resilient positioning force to the patient's teeth, the appliance comprising:a first soft outer polymer layer comprising a first soft polymeric material and a second soft outer polymer layer comprising a second soft polymeric material, each of the first and second soft polymer layers having a flexural modulus of greater than about 35,000 psi, a hardness of about 60 A to about 85 D, and a thickness in a range from 25 ?m to 100 ?m; and
a hard inner polymer layer comprising a co-polyester disposed between the first soft outer polymer layer and the second soft outer polymer layer so as to reduce degradation of the resilient positioning force applied to the teeth when the appliance is worn.

US Pat. No. 9,937,021

DENTAL IMAGING INSTRUMENT HAVING AN AIR STREAM AUXILIARY

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A dental instrument for determining three dimensional (3D) topography of one or more teeth, said instrument comprising:a probe for scanning the one or more teeth so as to capture an image of surfaces of the one or more teeth in order to determine 3D topography of the surfaces of the one or more teeth by processing the image, said probe comprising a light source to generate an array of light beams, confocal optics to focus the array of light beams, a detector to detect light from the array of light beams that is reflected by the one or more teeth, so as to capture the image of the surfaces or the one or more teeth, and an external optical surface of the probe between the confocal optics and the one or more teeth; and
an auxiliary coupled to the probe so as to direct a first stream of only gas over the teeth surfaces while also directing a second stream of only gas over the external optical surface of the probe, the auxiliary being coupled to the probe such that gas from the first stream is provided to the one or more teeth while scanning to clear material from the teeth surfaces and dry the teeth surfaces, so as to improve the image.

US Pat. No. 9,844,429

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR FABRICATING A DENTAL COPING, AND A COPING FABRICATED THEREBY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for fabricating a wax model of a dental coping shaped to fit over a tooth preparation in a patient's intraoral
cavity, the system comprising:
a wax material configured to be fabricated into the wax model of the dental coping;
a milling machine configured to fabricate the wax model of the dental coping from the wax material; and
one or more computer-readable storage media comprising instructions that, when executed by a processor, cause the processor
to:

receive 3D digital data of the patient's intraoral cavity comprising the tooth preparation, the 3D digital data comprising
an enamel thickness of the tooth preparation,

generate, in response to the 3D digital data, a 3D virtual model of a dental coping based on the enamel thickness comprising
an inner surface shaped to fit over at least a portion of the tooth preparation and an outer surface disposed between the
inner surface and an outer surface of a tooth prosthesis, wherein the 3D virtual model of the dental coping is generated based
on the enamel thickness of the tooth preparation,

generate a computerized numerical control (CNC) set of wax fabrication instructions for fabricating the wax model of the dental
coping based on the 3D virtual model of the dental coping, and

transmit the CNC set of wax fabrication instructions to the milling machine, wherein the CNC set of wax fabrication instructions
is configured to cause the milling machine to fabricate the wax model of the dental coping from the wax material.

US Pat. No. 9,597,164

TACTILE OBJECTS FOR ORTHODONTICS, SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for orthodontically positioning a patient's tooth, the system comprising:
an attachment;
a patient removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities shaped to receive and apply a
resilient positioning force to the patient's teeth, at least one of the teeth receiving cavities comprising an attachment
receiving well having a cross sectional shape that conforms to a cross sectional shape of the attachment and being configured
to engage with and receive therein the attachment when the orthodontic appliance is worn by the patient and a force is being
applied to the attachment;

a tactile object disposed between the attachment receiving well and the attachment so as to modulate engagement between the
attachment and the attachment receiving well when the orthodontic appliance is worn by the patient; and

a base disposed in the attachment receiving well, at least part of the tactile object being physically coupled to the base,
and at least one of the base and the tactile object being made from a material having an elastic modulus less than an elastic
modulus of a material from which the appliance is formed.

US Pat. No. 9,364,297

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DETECTING DEVIATIONS DURING THE COURSE OF AN ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT TO GRADUALLY REPOSITION TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for detecting deviation in a patient's teeth during a planned orthodontic treatment for the patient, the system
comprising:
a computer comprising a display, processor, and storage media comprising instructions that, when executed, cause the computer
to:

receive an un-segmented current teeth image representing a patient's teeth after the planned orthodontic treatment has begun
and before the planned orthodontic treatment ends;

pre-process the un-segmented current teeth image so as to assign each of a plurality of teeth in the un-segmented current
teeth image with a unique current teeth image identifier selected based on an anatomical feature of the respective tooth;

perform an initial comparison of the un-segmented current teeth image with a previously segmented teeth model by aligning
each unique current teeth image identifier of the un-segmented current teeth image with a corresponding unique previously
segmented model identifier assigned to a tooth of the previously segmented teeth model;

after performing the initial comparison of the un-segmented current teeth image with the previously segmented teeth model,
determine a positional deviation between the un-segmented current teeth image and the previously segmented teeth model for
each of one or more teeth in the previously segmented teeth model; and

generate a corrected stage model by using the determined one or more positional deviations to modify the previously segmented
teeth model to reposition each of the one or more teeth in the previously segmented teeth model to match the un-segmented
current teeth image.

US Pat. No. 9,326,831

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR POSITIONING THREE-DIMENSIONAL BRACKETS ON TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for positioning a virtual bracket on a patient's teeth with a computer, comprising:
a) receiving, using the computer, an electronic three-dimensional data representation of the patient's teeth in desired target
positions;

b) generating, on a display, a plane or surface passing through a crown of each of a plurality of teeth in an arch of the
patient's teeth in the desired target positions, the generated plane or surface on the display defined at least in part by
at least one of a curve of Spee or an Andrew's plane corresponding to the received three-dimensional data representation;

c) generating, using the computer, a graphical representation of the generated plane or surface that is manipulable on the
display by a user so as to modify the generated plane or surface; and

d) determining, using the computer, an initial position for the virtual bracket on the patient's teeth in the desired target
positions based on the graphical representation of the generated plane or surface shown on the display, wherein a slot of
the virtual bracket is aligned with the graphical representation of the generated plane or surface shown on the display, and
the virtual bracket is aligned with a facial axis of the clinical crown (FACC) of a tooth of the patient's teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,707,054

SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING FINAL POSITION OF TEETH

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for determining appliance geometries for orthodontic treatment of a patient's masticatory system, the method comprising:
generating, with aid of a processor, a computer representation of the masticatory system of the patient;
determining, with aid of the processor, an arch curve corresponding to a desired arrangement for a set of teeth of the masticatory
system;

digitally modelling, with aid of the processor, the set of teeth in a plurality of different arrangements representing successive
repositioning of the set of teeth from an initial arrangement toward the desired arrangement; and

generating, with aid of the processor, a plurality of appliances corresponding to the plurality of different arrangements,
the plurality of appliances each having teeth receiving cavities, wherein the teeth receiving cavities of successive appliances
have different geometries shaped to receive and resiliently reposition the set of teeth from one arrangement to a successive
arrangement, and wherein the plurality of appliances is generated prior to the patient wearing an appliance of the plurality
so as to reposition the set of teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,693,839

PROBE HEAD AND APPARATUS FOR INTRAORAL CONFOCAL IMAGING USING POLARIZATION-RETARDING COATINGS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for dental imaging, the apparatus comprising:
an illumination module for generating a light beam travelling an optical path, the light beam having a wavelength;
a probe head comprising a light-guiding part having,
an entrance face,
an exit face,
a coated sidewall comprising a retardance coating to reflect the light beam along the optical path with a first total internal
reflection having a first retardance of a non-integer multiple of a quarter of the wavelength, said first retardance comprising
a retardance from the retardance coating, and

an uncoated sidewall without a retardance coating to reflect the light beam along the optical path with a second total internal
reflection having a second retardance of a non-integer multiple of a quarter of the wavelength; and

an optics system to direct the light beam along the optical path to enter the light guiding part via the entrance face, travel
along the optical path extending between the entrance face and the exit face, and exits the light-guiding part via the exit
face,

said first and second retardances being in amounts such that the light-guiding part provides a total retardance of an odd
multiple of the quarter of the wavelength along the optical path extending from the entrance face to the exit face,

wherein each of the first retardance, the second retardance, and the total retardance is a retardance to a first polarization
component relative to a second polarization component of the light beam traveling along the optical path.

US Pat. No. 9,261,358

CHROMATIC CONFOCAL SYSTEM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for measuring surface topography of a three-dimensional structure, the system comprising:
an illumination unit configured to output a two-dimensional array of light beams each comprising a plurality of wavelengths;
an optical assembly operatively coupled to the illumination unit and configured to focus the plurality of wavelengths of each
light beam to a plurality of focal lengths relative to the optical assembly so as to simultaneously illuminate the structure
over a two-dimensional field of view;

wherein the plurality of focal lengths is fixed relative to the optical assembly during the measuring of the surface topography;
a detector configured to measure a characteristic of light reflected from the structure for each of a plurality of locations
distributed in two dimensions over the field of view; and,

a processor coupled with the detector and configured to generate data representative of the surface topography of the structure
based on the measured characteristics of the light reflected from the structure.

US Pat. No. 10,085,823

ORTHODONTIC REPOSITIONING APPLIANCES HAVING IMPROVED GEOMETRY, METHODS AND SYSTEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An orthodontic appliance, comprising:a shell having teeth receiving cavities shaped to receive and position a patient's teeth, one or more of the cavities shaped to apply a resiliently repositioning force to move the patient's teeth from the current arrangement toward the target arrangement, the shell comprising a cavity having a ridge, the ridge having a length and a width, the length being greater than the width, the ridge configured to apply a repositioning force to a patient's tooth corresponding to a selected tooth movement, the cavity further comprising a modification to a portion of the shell selected to compensate for a contact of the portion of the shell with the patient's tooth due to positioning of the ridge in the cavity.

US Pat. No. 9,987,108

VIEWFINDER WITH REAL-TIME TRACKING FOR INTRAORAL SCANNING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for guiding scanning of an intraoral cavity of a patient, the method comprising:capturing a first two-dimensional viewfinder image of a first portion of the intraoral cavity of the patient, the first viewfinder image corresponding to a field of view of an intraoral scanner using imaging optics;
generating a first topography scan of the first portion of the intraoral cavity by propagating incident light beams through the imaging optics to illuminate the first portion of the intraoral cavity and measuring one or more characteristics of returning light beams generated by illuminating the first portion of the intraoral cavity with the incident light beams, the first topography scan corresponding to the first viewfinder image and the returning light beams passing through the imaging optics;
capturing a second two-dimensional viewfinder image of a second portion of the intraoral cavity, the second viewfinder image overlapping with the first viewfinder image;
determining an area of overlap of the second viewfinder image with the first viewfinder image; and
displaying one or more indicators of the area of overlap on one or more locations of a display.

US Pat. No. 9,939,258

CONFOCAL SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY MEASUREMENT WITH FIXED FOCAL POSITIONS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. An apparatus for measuring surface topography of a three-dimensional structure, the apparatus comprising:an optical probe moveable relative to the three-dimensional structure;
an illumination unit configured to generate a plurality of incident light beams, each of the plurality of incident light beams comprising a first wavelength component;
an optical system configured to focus the first wavelength component of each of the plurality of incident light beams to a respective fixed focal position relative to the optical probe while measuring the surface topography; and
a detector unit configured to measure a plurality of returned light beams that are generated by illuminating the three-dimensional structure with the plurality of incident light beams in order to measure the surface topography.

US Pat. No. 9,844,427

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR MEASURING SURFACE TOPOGRAPHY OPTICALLY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for determining surface topography of a structure, the apparatus comprising:
a probe;
an illumination unit configured to output a plurality of light beams;
a light focusing assembly comprising an image space lens and an object space lens;
a focus changing assembly located along an optical path between the image space lens and the object space lens, a portion
of the focus changing assembly located at a back focal length of the object space lens and comprising a variable optical power
element or a divergent and a convergent lens;

a detector having an array of sensing elements configured to measure a characteristic of each of a plurality of light beams
returning from the illuminated spots; and

a processor coupled to the detector and configured to generate data representative of topography of the structure based on
the measured characteristic of each of the plurality of light beams returning from the illuminated spots,

wherein the light focusing assembly is configured to:
receive each of the plurality of light beams;
overlap the plurality of light beams within a focus changing assembly; and
focus each of the plurality of light beams to a respective focal point external to the probe in order to generate illuminated
spots on the structure, and

wherein the focus changing assembly is configured to move the respective focal points along a direction of propagation of
the plurality of light beams.

US Pat. No. 9,744,001

DENTAL APPLIANCE WITH CAVITY FOR AN UNERUPTED OR ERUPTING TOOTH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental appliance system, comprising:
a first appliance of a series of appliances designed to incrementally implement a treatment plan, comprising a first shell
having a plurality of cavities therein designed to receive teeth of a jaw in a first stage of the treatment plan with at least
one of the plurality of cavities being a cavity configured to accommodate virtual maximum dimensions, in three dimensions
above the gingival line, of an unerupted or erupting tooth therein; and

a second appliance of the series of appliances, comprising a second shell having a plurality of cavities therein designed
to receive teeth of the jaw in a second stage of the treatment plan the second shell having a cavity that corresponds with
the cavity configured to accommodate virtual maximum dimensions of an unerupted or erupting tooth of the first shell and wherein
the virtual maximum dimensions are calculated by taking the maximum dimensions of two or more virtual tooth geometry data
sets of the same type of tooth.

US Pat. No. 9,724,177

VIEWFINDER WITH REAL-TIME TRACKING FOR INTRAORAL SCANNING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for guiding scanning of an intraoral cavity of a patient, the method comprising:
capturing one or more two-dimensional viewfinder images of one or more portions of the intraoral cavity of the patient, each
of said one or more viewfinder images corresponding to a field of view of an intraoral scanner;

scanning the one or more portions of the intraoral cavity with the intraoral scanner to generate one or more topography scans
of the one or more portions of the intraoral cavity, the one or more topography scans corresponding to the one or more viewfinder
images;

capturing a two-dimensional viewfinder image of a portion of the intraoral cavity, the viewfinder image overlapping with the
one or more viewfinder images;

determining an area of overlap of the viewfinder image with the one or more viewfinder images; and
displaying one or more indicators of the area of overlap on one or more locations of a display in order to provide guidance
for positioning the field of view of the intraoral scanner,

wherein said scanning the one or more portions of the intraoral cavity comprises focusing light onto the surface of the one
or more portions of the intraoral cavity with confocal imaging optics and scanning the focused light through a range of focal
depths, and

wherein said confocal imaging optics share an optical path with viewfinder imaging optics for capturing said one or more two-dimensional
viewfinder images.

US Pat. No. 9,691,110

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING AUTOMATED HIGH SCALE FABRICATION OF CUSTOM ITEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for manufacturing a plurality of unique items on a fabrication tray, comprising the steps of:
(a) receiving, by a processing unit, a data batch including manufacturing data associated with a plurality of stages of a
treatment profile, each of the plurality of stages of the treatment profile corresponding to one of the plurality of unique
items; and

(b) operating the processing unit to:
(1) convert the manufacturing data of the data batch into a plurality of object data files, each of the object data files
including three-dimensional object data associated with one of the plurality of stages of the treatment profile; and

(2) generate a tray data file based on the object data files, the tray data file including optimized layout information representing
an optimized spacing and orientation of the plurality of unique items to be manufactured on the fabrication tray; and

(c) manufacturing and holding the plurality of unique items on the fabrication tray in accordance with the optimized layout
information and the three-dimensional object data in each of the object data files.

US Pat. No. 10,111,714

ADHESIVE OBJECTS FOR IMPROVING IMAGE REGISTRATION OF INTRAORAL IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:receiving, by a processing device, data from an intraoral scan of a patient responsive to performance of the intraoral scan being performed by an intraoral scanner, the data comprising a plurality of intraoral images of a dental site;
receiving, by the processing device, an indication that at least two intraoral images of the plurality of intraoral images comprise a representation of less than an entirety of a non-rigid adhesive object that was affixed to the dental site at a target area, wherein the non-rigid adhesive object has known properties comprising a known two-dimensional (2D) surface pattern and at least one of a known thickness, a known size, a known shape or a known color, wherein the non-rigid adhesive object provides a reference point for image registration, wherein the at least two intraoral images comprise a first intraoral image comprising a representation of a first portion of the known 2D surface pattern that is not shown in a second intraoral image and the second intraoral image comprising a representation of a second portion of the known 2D surface pattern that is not shown in the first intraoral image, the first intraoral image being non-contiguous with the second intraoral image, and wherein the non-rigid adhesive object partially deforms based on a shape of the target area, wherein partial deformation of the non-rigid adhesive object deforms at least one of the known shape or the known 2D surface pattern;
performing, by the processing device, pattern recognition to identify the non-rigid adhesive object having the known 2D surface pattern in the at least two intraoral images;
extrapolating a shape and orientation of the non-rigid adhesive object in the first intraoral image based on the representation of the first portion;
performing, by the processing device, image registration between the at least two intraoral images using the non-rigid adhesive object identified in the at least two intraoral images, wherein the image registration between the first intraoral image and the second intraoral image is performed using the extrapolated shape and orientation of the non-rigid adhesive object in the first intraoral image;
generating a three-dimensional model of the dental site based on the image registration;
determining a surface of a base of the non-rigid adhesive object that has been partially deformed based on the known properties of the non-rigid adhesive object and the partial deformation of the non-rigid adhesive object;
subtracting the representation of the non-rigid adhesive object from the three-dimensional model based on the known properties of the non-rigid adhesive object; and
interpolating a surface of a portion of the dental site where the non-rigid adhesive object was located based on a) data for other portions of the dental site and b) the surface of the base of the non-rigid adhesive object.

US Pat. No. 9,956,061

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR GENERATING COLOR IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

28. A computer-implemented method for generating a focused color image of an object in low-light conditions, the method comprising:processing red wavelength image signals corresponding to a red wavelength of light of a plurality of different focal lengths that is reflected from the object so as to generate red wavelength image data;
processing green wavelength image signals corresponding to a green wavelength of light of a plurality of different focal lengths that is reflected from the object so as to generate green wavelength image data;
processing blue wavelength image signals corresponding to a blue wavelength of light of a plurality of different focal lengths that is reflected from the object so as to generate blue wavelength image data; and
for each of a plurality of different locations in the focused color image:
selecting a red focal length of the plurality of red wavelength focal lengths for which the red wavelength is focused relative to the object at the respective location;
selecting a green focal length of the plurality of green wavelength focal lengths for which the green wavelength is focused relative to the object at the respective location;
selecting a blue focal length of the plurality of blue wavelength focal lengths for which the blue wavelength is focused relative to the object at the respective location; and
combining the red wavelength image data corresponding to the selected red wavelength focal length for the respective location, the green wavelength image data corresponding to the selected green wavelength focal length for the respective location, and the blue wavelength data corresponding to the selected blue wavelength focal length for the respective location, thereby generating the focused color image data for the respective image location for the focused color image of the object.

US Pat. No. 9,848,958

GENERATING A DYNAMIC THREE-DIMENSIONAL OCCLUSOGRAM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computing device readable medium having executable instructions which can be executed by a processor to
cause a computing device to perform a method, comprising:
determining a plurality of data sets associated with a set of occlusal information for at least one tooth of a patient, wherein
determining a data set includes calculating an average occlusal distance of at least one triangle of a three dimensional (3D)
mesh of the at least one tooth using at least one of a height map and a distance field of the at least one tooth;

determining a virtual 3D mesh model object of the at least one tooth using the plurality of data sets; and
displaying the determined virtual 3D mesh model object of the at least one tooth of a patient.

US Pat. No. 9,844,421

TABBED DENTAL APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental appliance for use with a tooth that is not fully erupted, comprising a shell including:
a number of tooth apertures configured to receive and apply force to reposition teeth of a jaw of a patient from one arrangement
to a successive arrangement, wherein the number of tooth apertures include side surfaces that are configured to extend substantially
to the patient's gumline; and

a tab having a length to span across at least a portion of a coronal surface of the tooth, in a distal direction, when fully
erupted, wherein the tab includes:

a tooth contact surface shaped to mate with the portion of the coronal surface of the tooth and positioned to receive the
coronal surface of the tooth when the tooth is fully erupted;

a surface opposite the tooth contact surface shaped to mate with an outer surface of a second appliance or a coronal surface
of one or more teeth on an opposite jaw of the patient; and

side surfaces that are configured not to extend substantially to the patient's gumline when the tooth has fully erupted.

US Pat. No. 9,844,426

DIGITAL DENTAL TRAY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system comprising:
a dental tray shaped to at least partially surround a plurality of teeth;
a first plurality of three-dimensional (3D) optical imaging elements attached to the dental tray, wherein each of the first
plurality of 3D optical imaging elements comprises:

an illumination device to project light onto one or more teeth of the plurality of teeth; and
a camera to capture an image of the one or more teeth;
a first thermal sensor to detect a first temperature of the dental tray;
a second thermal sensor to detect a second temperature of an oral cavity; and
a controller to:
determine that the first temperature of the dental tray is lower than the second temperature of the oral cavity;
activate the illumination device for one or more of the first plurality of 3D optical imaging elements, and
adjust the first temperature of the dental tray to cause the first temperature of the dental tray to approximately match the
second temperature of the oral cavity based on optical heating caused by the illumination device for the one or more of the
first plurality of 3D optical imaging elements.

US Pat. No. 9,204,942

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR FABRICATING A DENTAL TEMPLATE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for positioning a plurality of orthodontic objects on a patient's teeth, comprising:
a computer system; and
a template adapted for placement over the teeth so as to fit on and span a plurality of the patient's teeth, the template
comprising an inner teeth facing surface adapted to be positioned adjacent to the patient's teeth and an outer surface away
from the inner teeth facing surface, the inner teeth facing surface defining a plurality of teeth receiving cavities, each
cavity shaped based on a digital teeth model of the patient's teeth made using the computer system, such that each received
tooth geometrically fits within one of the plurality of teeth receiving cavities;

wherein the computer system is configured with instructions to display a plurality of virtual orthodontic objects placed at
specific locations and orientations on the digital teeth model, the template further comprising one or more openings, each
comprising a cut-out that is open to a gingival side of the template, the cut-out defining an orthodontic object support edge
shaped to allow an orthodontic object base to fit directly into the opening to position an orthodontic object in the template
and wherein the template comprises a plurality of orthodontic objects placed at the specific locations and orientations of
the plurality of virtual orthodontic objects on the digital teeth model.

US Pat. No. 10,143,541

METHOD FOR MANIPULATING A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL, METHOD FOR CREATING PHYSICAL ENTITIES BASED ON A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL THUS MANIPULATED, AND DENTAL MODELS THUS CREATED

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for manufacturing a physical dental model, the method comprising:receiving, at a computer, a virtual model of a dental site comprising dental surfaces, wherein a portion of the dental site is obscured by a material,
manipulating, with the computer, the virtual model to create an auxiliary virtual model that includes a virtual representation of the portion of the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material; and
outputting, by the computer, instructions to a manufacturing machine for creating a physical dental model of the dental site, wherein the physical dental model comprises a representation corresponding to the virtual representation of the portion of the dental site in which the portion is not obscured by the material.

US Pat. No. 9,943,991

MOLD WITH SEPARABLE FEATURES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:forming a shell over a mold comprising a separable feature, wherein the separable feature of the mold is joined to a main body of the mold by one or more first weakened regions, wherein the main body comprises a first section joined to a second section by one or more second weakened regions;
separating the separable feature from the main body of the mold at the one or more first weakened regions;
at least partially separating the first section from the second section at the one or more second weakened regions;
removing the separable feature of the mold from the shell;
separately removing the first section of the main body of the mold from the shell; and
separately removing the second section of the main body of the mold from the shell.

US Pat. No. 9,844,428

DENTAL ARTICULATOR

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental articulator comprising:
a first arm hingedly joined to a second arm about a pivot axis, each one of the first arm and the second arm configured to
mount a dental model, wherein at least one of the first arm and the second arm comprises:

a bracket member having a distal portion adapted to mount the respective dental model and having a proximal portion,
a base member having a distal portion and a proximal portion adapted to hingedly join the first arm and the second arm, respectively,
about the pivot axis, and

a coupling arrangement configured to affix the proximal portion of the bracket member to the distal portion of the base member
so as to allow the bracket member to rotate with respect to the base member about at least two rotational axes,

wherein the coupling arrangement is provided in a mount having a first mount part coupled to the base member and a second
mount part coupled to the bracket member, and wherein the mount is configured to provide, at least during operation of the
articulator, relative movement between the respective bracket member and the respective base member with respect to a datum
alignment position, said coupling between the first mount part and second mount part defining a plurality of contact points
at a plurality of spaced apart locations therebetween in the datum alignment position, and wherein said plurality of contact
points at said plurality of spaced apart locations is configured to disengage from mutual contact to provide said relative
movement.

US Pat. No. 9,830,688

MOTION COMPENSATION IN A THREE DIMENSIONAL SCAN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, comprising:
a non-transitory memory having computer-readable instructions stored thereon; and
a processor coupled to the memory and configured to execute the computer-readable instructions to:
register a particular three-dimensional (3D) scan of a plurality of 3D scans of a dentition to at least one of a previous
scan of the plurality of 3D scans and a subsequent scan of the plurality of 3D scans by:

aligning the previous scan with respect to the particular scan;
determining an overlapping portion of the previous scan with respect to the particular scan based on the alignment; and
determining an amount of movement between the previous scan and the particular scan based on at least one of the overlapping
portion and a non-overlapping portion;

estimate a motion trajectory during a scanning time of the particular scan; and
calculate a corrected scan for the particular scan by compensating for the motion trajectory during the scanning time of the
particular scan.

US Pat. No. 9,709,803

LENS POSITIONING SYSTEM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A scanner comprising:
a lens assembly comprising a lens having a lens axis; and
a positioning system to adjust a focal plane of the lens assembly, the positioning system comprising:
an outer element;
an inner element disposed within the outer element, wherein the lens assembly is housed in the inner element; and
a linear-motion bearing that couples the inner element to the outer element, the linear-motion bearing providing a single
degree of translational movement of the inner element along the lens axis, the linear-motion bearing comprising:

a first element coupling comprising a first inner element region coupled to the inner element, a first outer element region
coupled to the outer element, and one or more first flexures that connect the first inner element region to the first outer
element region of the first element coupling; and

a second element coupling comprising a second inner element region coupled to the inner element, a second outer element region
coupled to the outer element, and one or more second flexures that connect the second inner element region to the second outer
element region of the second element coupling.

US Pat. No. 10,099,256

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SORTING ITEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A sorting and sequencing system for mass-produced, customized objects, each of the objects being marked with a unique machine-readable code, wherein the code for each of the objects includes group data and sequence data indicating a sequence position within a group, the system comprising:a plurality of object carriers, each having a unique identity that associates each of the plurality of object carriers with one of the objects;
a code-reading mechanism operable to read the code on each of the objects;
a computer operative with the code-reading mechanism so as to map the code of each of the objects to the identity of an associated one of the plurality of object carriers;
a placement mechanism operatively associated with the computer and operable to place each of the objects on its associated object carrier using the code of each object and the identity of its associated object carrier;
a sorting mechanism responsive to the code-reading mechanism and operable to direct each of the object carriers into an assigned one of a plurality of buffer locations based on the group data of the object placed thereon, thereby sorting the objects into a plurality of groups, each group of objects being held in an assigned buffer location, wherein the sorting mechanism is operable to direct each of the object carriers carrying an object into one of the plurality of buffer locations based on the group data of the object carried thereon, thereby sorting the object carriers into the plurality of groups, each group of object carriers being held in an assigned buffer location; and
a sequencing mechanism responsive to the code-reading mechanism and operable to receive each group of objects from its assigned buffer location and to place each of the objects in each of the groups into a sequence based only on the sequence data of the objects, wherein the sequencing mechanism is operable to receive each group of object carriers from its assigned buffer location and to place each of the object carriers in each of the groups into a sequence based on the sequence data of the object carried thereon.

US Pat. No. 10,045,835

VARIABLE DIRECTION TOOTH ATTACHMENTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An orthodontic system for repositioning a patient's teeth, the system comprising:an attachment device configured to be coupled to a tooth of the patient and comprising a convex surface having a radius of curvature of at least 10mm; and
a plurality of appliance shells each including a plurality of tooth receiving cavities shaped to receive the patient's teeth and at least one of the plurality of appliances comprising a receptacle extending from one of the plurality of tooth receiving cavities, the receptacle having a planar engagement portion positioned to engage the convex surface of the attachment device so as to apply a repositioning force to the tooth,
wherein the engagement portions of at least some of the plurality of appliance shells are each arranged to contact the convex surface at a different respective location so as to apply different respective repositioning forces to the tooth.

US Pat. No. 10,022,204

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR POSITIONING THREE-DIMENSIONAL BRACKETS ON TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for positioning virtual brackets on a virtual representation of a patient's teeth, the method comprising:receiving an electronic representation of the patient's teeth;outputting the virtual representation of the patient's teeth to a display;determining facial axis points of the patient's teeth from the received electronic representation of the patient's teeth;
determining a reference plane relative to the received electronic representation of the patient's teeth for aligning virtual brackets on the virtual representation of the patient's teeth;
outputting, with the display, the reference plane relative to the virtual representation of the patient's teeth;
outputting, with the display, control points relative to the reference plane, wherein the control points are manipulable by a user for modifying the anatomic reference plane;
locating suitable sites for placement of virtual brackets on the virtual representation of the patient's teeth based on at least the determined facial axis points of the patient's teeth;
outputting, with the display, the virtual brackets on the virtual representation of the patient's teeth in an initial position, the virtual brackets aligned on the virtual representation of the patient's teeth according to the reference plane; and
manufacturing a dental template for positioning brackets on the patient's teeth by outputting instructions for manufacturing the dental template, the dental template to facilitate positioning of real brackets on the patient's teeth according to the placement of virtual brackets on the virtual representation of the patient's teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,844,424

DENTAL APPLIANCE WITH REPOSITIONING JAW ELEMENTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computing device readable medium storing instructions executable by a processor to cause a computing device
to perform a method, comprising:
identifying a misaligned jaw of a patient from a virtual image of the patient's jaw;
providing a treatment plan for the patient comprising a plurality of stages, each stage of the plurality of stages including
a virtual model of a dental appliance having a first shell and a second shell configured to reposition at least one tooth
of the patient, the virtual model of the dental appliance including repositioning jaw elements on the first shell and the
second shell configured to move a position of the misaligned jaw of the patient;

virtually testing movement of the jaw and movement of the at least one tooth to occur by the patient wearing the dental appliances
for each of the plurality of stages of the treatment plan; and

adjusting positions of the virtual repositioning jaw elements with respect to the first shell and the second shell in incremental
distances in response to changes in position of the patient's jaw from an initial jaw position to subsequent positions and
movement of the at least one tooth from an initial tooth position to subsequent tooth positions associated with the plurality
of stages of the treatment plan, each subsequent position determined based on a positions the jaw and of the at least one
tooth in a previous step of the treatment plan and the virtual testing of the movement of the jaw and the at least one tooth
in the previous step of the treatment plan.

US Pat. No. 9,820,829

DENTAL POSITIONING APPLIANCE HAVING METALLIC PORTION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of forming a dental positioning appliance, the method comprising:
forming one or more dies based upon a machine readable three dimensional model of at least one physical tooth to be moved;
applying at least a first wire and a second wire onto at least one of the dies;
shaping at least the first wire and the second wire via interaction with each of the dies to form a mesh of a dental positioning
appliance conforming to an inside, outside, and biting surface of the at least one physical tooth to be moved; and

after the shaping, coating at least portions of the first wire and portions of the second wire including at least one junction
thereof where at least the first wire and the second wire cross.

US Pat. No. 9,730,769

RELEASE AGENT RECEPTACLE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental release agent receptacle, comprising:
an outer portion including a bottom surface configured to be coupled to an outer surface of an individual tooth aperture of
an appliance, the bottom surface configured to have a perimeter smaller than a perimeter of the outer surface of the individual
tooth aperture, the bottom surface of the outer portion shaped to fit against the outer surface of the individual tooth aperture;

an inner portion encapsulated within the outer portion; and
an aperture through a top surface of the outer portion of the release agent receptacle allowing for fluid communication from
the inner portion and out of the dental release agent receptacle, wherein the top surface is smaller than the bottom surface,
and wherein the inner portion and the outer portion are in fluid communication by the aperture only.

US Pat. No. 9,752,867

CHROMATIC CONFOCAL SYSTEM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for measuring surface topography of a three-dimensional structure, the system comprising:
an illumination unit configured to output a two-dimensional array of light beams each comprising a plurality of wavelengths;
an optical assembly operatively coupled to the illumination unit and configured to focus the plurality of wavelengths of each
light beam to a plurality of focal lengths relative to the optical assembly so as to simultaneously illuminate the three-dimensional
structure over a two-dimensional field of view, wherein the plurality of focal lengths is fixed relative to the optical assembly
during the measuring of the surface topography; and

a detector configured to measure a characteristic of light reflected from the three-dimensional structure for each of a plurality
of locations distributed in two dimensions over the two-dimensional field of view.

US Pat. No. 9,717,402

CONFOCAL IMAGING USING ASTIGMATISM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method, comprising:
receiving an image of a portion of an object captured by a confocal imaging device having a predetermined astigmatic character
created by a particular astigmatic aberration in a light path of the confocal imaging device, wherein the particular astigmatic
aberration is created by a lens adjacent to an image sensor, the image sensor including a plurality of pixels;

determining an image pattern associated with the image;
determining an intensity of the image pattern by determining an electric charge produced by the plurality of pixels of the
image sensor in response to receiving the image;

determining whether the intensity of the image pattern exceeds a particular threshold; and
determining, in response to the intensity of the image pattern exceeding the particular threshold, a distance between a focus
plane of the confocal imaging device and the portion of the object based, at least in part, on the plurality of pixels of
the image sensor and the intensity of the image pattern.

US Pat. No. 9,655,693

MULTILAYER DENTAL APPLIANCES AND RELATED METHODS AND SYSTEMS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. An orthodontic appliance for repositioning a patient's teeth, the appliance comprising:
a shell having a plurality of teeth receiving cavities shaped to apply a repositioning force to the patient's teeth, wherein
the shell is formed from a multilayer material configured to reduce degradation of the repositioning force over time when
the shell is worn on the patient's teeth, the multilayer material comprising:

a first soft polymer layer and a second soft polymer layer each having a thickness in a range from 25 ?m to 100 ?m and a compression
set greater than 40% after 24 hours at 70° C., wherein the first and second soft polymer layer each comprise a thermoplastic
polyurethane elastomer; and

a hard polymer layer disposed between the first and second soft polymer layers and having a thickness in a range from 400
?m to 1100 ?m, a tensile modulus greater than 150,000 psi, and a tensile strength at yield between 4000 psi and 6500 psi,
wherein the hard polymer layer comprises a co-polyester.

US Pat. No. 9,668,829

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR DENTAL PROCEDURES

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A device for use in dental scanning procedures of a patient, the device comprising:
an occlusal portion and a non-occlusal portion coupled to the occlusal portion, the occlusal portion comprising a bite plate
for securing the device positioned in a mouth of the patient during an optical scan of exposed teeth, the non-occlusal portion
comprising a ring structure having a coded pattern for aligning scanned optical images of the patient, the occlusal portion
and the non-occlusal portion being coupled together and arranged at an angle in order to capture the coded pattern in the
optical scan of the exposed teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,615,901

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR IMAGING THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for determining surface topology of a portion of a three-dimensional structure, the apparatus comprising:
a probing member;
an illumination unit configured to generate a plurality of incident light beams;
an optical system configured to focus the plurality of incident light beams to a focal plane external to the probing member
so as to illuminate the portion of the three-dimensional structure;

a detector unit configured to measure a characteristic of a plurality of returned light beams generated from illuminating
the portion of the three-dimensional structure with the plurality of incident light beams; and

a processor coupled to the detector unit and configured to determine a surface topology of the portion of the three-dimensional
structure based at least in part on the measured characteristic of the plurality of returned light beams.

US Pat. No. 10,123,852

FILLING UNDERCUT AREAS OF TEETH RELATIVE TO AXES OF APPLIANCE PLACEMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computing device readable medium having executable instructions that are executed by a processor to cause a computing device to perform a method, comprising:calculating an undercut area of a tooth relative to an axis of placement of a part of a dental appliance over a number of teeth and a height of contour that is defined based on the axis of placement;
determining whether the undercut area is greater than a maximum threshold distance from the axis of placement, wherein the maximum threshold distance is greater than a threshold distance from the tooth, the threshold distance defined relative to the axis of placement and the height of contour;
filling in a part of the undercut area with a virtual filler to within the threshold distance in response to the undercut area being greater than the threshold distance; and
creating, based on the undercut area having the virtual filler, a physical dental appliance for the number of teeth.

US Pat. No. 9,956,058

METHOD, SYSTEM AND MODEL FOR INDIRECT BONDING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental model for facilitating placement of an orthodontic appliance at a desired location, the model comprising:a positive physical model of at least a portion of a patient's dentition, the positive physical model comprising at least one target, the at least one target comprising a recessed mechanical stop is shaped to receive at least a portion of the orthodontic appliance and constrain movement thereof, in order to facilitate the placement of the orthodontic appliance at the desired location on the positive physical model, the mechanical stop including at least one recess edge to which at least one perimeter edge of the orthodontic appliance is abutted to constrain the movement of the orthodontic appliance.

US Pat. No. 9,839,494

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DIGITAL TOOTH IMAGING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for managing multiple impressions of a patient's jaw for an orthodontic treatment, comprising:
scanning a first impression and a second impression of the patient's jaw to create a first digital image of the first impression
and a second digital image of the second impression;

digitally processing the first digital image into a first plurality of digital objects, each representing a single tooth in
the jaw, and digitally processing the second digital image into a second plurality of digital objects, each of the second
plurality of digital objects corresponding to one of the first plurality of digital objects;

storing each of the first and second pluralities of digital objects obtained by digitally processing the first and second
digital images;

determining if the first jaw impression and the second jaw impression have distortion in non-corresponding ones of the first
and second pluralities of digital objects;

if the first and second jaw impressions have distortion in non-corresponding ones of the first and second pluralities of digital
objects, selecting a base impression and a non-base impression from the first jaw impression and the second jaw impression;
and

correcting a distorted digital object from the base impression using a corresponding digital object from the non-base impression.

US Pat. No. 9,592,103

VIRTUAL ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for virtual orthodontic treatment using a computer system, comprising:
(a) providing a first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image indicative of a 3D model of all teeth of at least one jaw;
(b) selecting a virtual set of orthodontic components, comprising (i) brackets, one for each tooth in said first virtual three-dimensional
(3D) image, for attachment to teeth of said first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image, each of said brackets having a slot
for engaging a wire, and (ii) one or two archwires;

(c) associating the brackets with the teeth of said first virtual three-dimensional (3D) image so to obtain a second image
of said virtual 3D model with the brackets associated with the teeth of the model, one bracket on each tooth in said model;

(d) using a set of rules, including a rule that requires each slot to engage the archwire, computing the manner of movement
of each tooth with the bracket associated therewith, so as to obtain a third image comprising the teeth model following the
virtual treatment;

(e) changing at least one bracket or the manner of associating a bracket with a tooth and repeating steps (c) and (d) one
or more times until the teeth model of said third image represents a desired outcome of the orthodontic treatment; and

(f) outputting at least the third image from the computer system.

US Pat. No. 10,143,537

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DIGITAL TOOTH IMAGING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for building a digital model of a patient's jaw with a reconstructed tooth occlusal surface image, comprising:(a) obtaining a first digitized jaw image of a portion of the patient's jaw, the first digitized jaw image including a first image of the tooth occlusal surface;
(b) obtaining a second digitized jaw image of the portion of the patient's jaw, the second digitized jaw image including a second image of the tooth occlusal surface;
(c) matching the first digitized jaw image with the second digitized jaw image;
(d) comparing the first and second images of the tooth occlusal surface; and
(e) if the comparison of the first and second images of the tooth occlusal surface indicates at least one of missing image data and distortion in the first image of the tooth occlusal surface, digitally correcting the first image of the tooth occlusal surface by reconstructing any missing image data and reducing any distortion in the first image of the tooth occlusal surface using digitized image data from the second image of the tooth occlusal surface.

US Pat. No. 10,111,581

THERMAL DEFOGGING SYSTEM AND METHOD

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An optical scanning device comprising:an optical element for transmission of optical signals;
a primary housing that houses the optical element, the primary housing comprising a head configured for insertion into a patient oral cavity, the head of the primary housing defining an aperture for transmission of the optical signals; and
a defogging element coupled to the primary housing, the defogging element comprising:
a transparent element positioned within the aperture, at least one side of the transparent element facing an external environment; and
a transparent conductive layer covering an area on a surface of the transparent element, the area of the transparent conductive layer having a size that at least partially covers an optical footprint of the transparent element for the optical signals to be transmitted through the transparent element; and
a disposable sleeve coupled to and covering the head of the primary housing, wherein the disposable sleeve protects the optical scanning device from contact with the patient oral cavity, the disposable sleeve comprising:
an additional aperture that aligns with the aperture; and
an additional transparent element in the additional aperture, the additional transparent element lacking a conductive layer;
wherein an air gap separates the additional transparent element from the transparent element, and wherein responsive to application of electrical power to the transparent conductive layer, the transparent conductive layer generates heat that is thermally communicated across the air gap to the additional transparent element to defog the additional transparent element of the disposable sleeve.

US Pat. No. 10,105,199

MOUNTING SYSTEM THAT MAINTAINS STABILITY OF OPTICS AS TEMPERATURE CHANGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A scanner comprising:a light source to generate light;
a microlens array to split the light into an array of light beams;
a base;
a detector, mounted to the base, comprising an array of sensors, wherein each sensor of the array of sensors determines an intensity of light impinging on the sensor;
a beam splitter to transmit the array of light beams towards a target and redirect a reflected array of light beams from the target towards the detector along a detection axis in a first direction; and
three or more flexures that couple the beam splitter to the base, wherein thermal expansion or contraction of the beam splitter with respect to at least one of the detector or the base bends each flexure of the three or more flexures in a respective second direction without bending the flexure in a respective third direction approximately perpendicular to the first direction and the respective second direction, wherein the three or more flexures maintain an alignment of the microlens array to the detector with changes in temperature.

US Pat. No. 10,001,771

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR TRACKING TEETH MOVEMENT DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of fabricating a tracking template for a patient wearing at least one affixed appliance attached to at least one tooth of a plurality of teeth, the method comprising:receiving a digital representation of the plurality of teeth in a planned intermediate tooth arrangement, the digital representation including a digital representation of the at least one affixed appliance, the at least one fixed appliance comprising at least one bracket mounted on the at least one tooth and a wire coupled to the at least one bracket; and
forming a tracking template using the received digital representation, the tracking template comprising a shell defining a plurality of tooth-receiving cavities shaped to fit over at least a portion of the plurality of teeth in the planned intermediate tooth arrangement without applying a tooth-moving force to the plurality of teeth or the at least one affixed appliance, a first shell portion of the tracking template extending from a cusp of the at least one tooth and ends at a surface of the at least one affixed appliance closest to the cusp of the at least one tooth, a second shell portion extends at least partially over the wire.

US Pat. No. 9,922,170

TREATMENT ANALYSIS SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for dental treatment planning, comprising:
receiving, by one or more computers, a set of diagnostic data comprising one or more malocclusions and a current arrangement
of a patient's teeth;

prior to determining an initial desired arrangement of the patient's teeth, executing, by the one or more computers, a first
evaluation routine for the set of diagnostic data comprising validating the set of diagnostic data at least against one or
more case selection criteria for a desired treatment system, wherein successful validation indicates that the patient's teeth
are acceptable for treatment using the desired treatment system;

determining the initial desired arrangement of the patient's teeth;
after successful validation by the first evaluation routine and determination of the initial desired arrangement, executing,
by the one or more computers, a second evaluation routine that evaluates the distance the teeth move between the current arrangement
and the initial desired arrangement against a magnitude of movement included in the one or more case selection criteria, wherein
the magnitude of movement being less than a maximum permitted for treatment using the desired treatment system indicates that
the second evaluation routine is successful and the treatment system may be utilized for treatment of the patient;

after successful evaluation by the second evaluation routine, generating, by the one or more computers, a treatment plan for
moving the patient's teeth from the current arrangement toward the initial desired arrangement of the patient's teeth using
the desired treatment system, the treatment plan formulated using the set of diagnostic data according to parameters of the
desired treatment system, wherein the treatment plan includes data sets corresponding to the shape of a plurality of appliances;

outputting the data sets corresponding to the shape of the plurality of appliances for treating the patients to a fabrication
machine; and

controlling, by the one or more computers, the fabrication machine to produce the plurality of appliances for treating the
patient according to the outputted data sets.

US Pat. No. 9,730,779

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING FEEDBACK DATA USEFUL IN PROSTHODONTIC PROCEDURES ASSOCIATED WITH THE INTRA ORAL CAVITY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for providing feedback useful in at least one prosthodontic procedure associated with an intraoral cavity, the
system comprising:
one or more processors; and
memory, including instructions executable by the one or more processors to cause the system to at least:
(a) obtain desired data relating to a first procedure comprising mounting of a dental prosthesis to a dental preparation in
the intraoral cavity, wherein the desired data comprises information regarding a geometry of at least a portion of the dental
preparation,

(b) determine, based on the desired data and the first procedure, external surfaces of a virtual model of the dental prosthesis
that would interfere or collide with one or more teeth adjacent to the dental preparation during an insertion of the dental
prosthesis onto the dental preparation, and

(c) generate feedback data based on the determination of step (b) comprising one or more suggested changes to the dental preparation
to enable mounting of the dental prosthesis to the dental preparation without interference between external surfaces of the
dental prosthesis and the one or more teeth adjacent to the dental preparation.

US Pat. No. 9,642,678

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR DENTAL VISUALIZATION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for creating a visualization of results corresponding to a dental treatment including a first orthodontic treatment
process, a second orthodontic treatment process, and a third orthodontic process, wherein said visualization of results is
created prior to implementation of said first orthodontic treatment process, said second orthodontic treatment process, or
said third orthodontic process dental treatment on a patient, said method comprising:
receiving digital representations of initial teeth parameters of a dentition, wherein the digital representations comprise
a digital set that is digitally cut to represent individual tooth crowns;

simulating a first orthodontic treatment process on the digital representations of the initial teeth parameters, wherein the
simulating the first orthodontic treatment process comprises:

virtually applying a first chosen treatment to the initial teeth parameters of the dentition;
displaying a set of output results from the simulation of the first orthodontic treatment process;
simulating a second orthodontic treatment process on the set of output results from the simulation of the first orthodontic
treatment process, wherein the set of output results comprises supplementary initial teeth parameters, and wherein the simulating
the second orthodontic treatment process comprises:

virtually applying a second chosen treatment to the supplementary initial teeth parameters, wherein the first chosen treatment
is a different treatment type than the second chosen treatment, wherein the first chosen treatment and second chosen treatment
that are virtually applied to, respectively, the initial teeth parameters of the dentition and the supplementary initial teeth
parameters of the dentition, comprise virtual geometric representations of forces that are applied to the dentition via the
first and second chosen treatment;

simulating a third orthodontic treatment process on the set of output results from the simulation of the second orthodontic
treatment process, wherein the set of output results comprises third initial teeth parameters, and wherein the simulating
the third orthodontic treatment process comprises:

virtually applying a third chosen treatment to the supplementary initial teeth parameters, wherein the first chosen treatment
is a different treatment type than the second chosen treatment and the third chosen treatment, wherein the first chosen treatment,
second chosen treatment and third chosen treatment that are virtually applied to, respectively, the initial teeth parameters
of the dentition, the supplementary initial teeth parameters of the dentition, and the third initial teeth parameters comprise
virtual geometric representations of forces that are applied to the dentition via the first chosen treatment, second chosen
treatment and third chosen treatment;

iteratively altering the first orthodontic treatment process, the second orthodontic treatment process, and the third treatment
process until compatibility between each of the first, second, and third orthodontic treatment processes occurs towards a
planned teeth movement; and

displaying a set of output results from the simulation of the third orthodontic treatment, and the second orthodontic treatment
process simultaneously with the displaying of the set of output results from the simulation of the first orthodontic treatment
process, such that said visualization of results corresponding to said dental treatment is available to a treating professional
prior to implementation on said patient of said first orthodontic treatment process, said second orthodontic treatment process,
or said third orthodontic treatment process.

US Pat. No. 10,130,445

ARCH EXPANDING APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An appliance comprising:a removable shell formed of a first material having a first rigidity, the removable shell having a number of cavities formed therein, wherein the number of cavities are shaped to receive teeth of a patient; and
an arch element formed at least in part of a second material having a second rigidity, the second rigidity greater than the first rigidity, and the arch element extending from the removable shell in a lingual direction and continuing across an arch width of the removable shell from a first side of the removable shell to a second side of the removable shell.

US Pat. No. 10,108,269

INTRAORAL SCANNER WITH TOUCH SENSITIVE INPUT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method, comprising:receiving user input to enable a touch sensor of a medical scanning device;
detecting an object in a field of view of a scanner head of the medical scanning device and within a threshold distance of the scanner head;
responsive to the detecting of the object within the threshold distance and in the field of view of the scanner head, disabling the touch sensor and activating one or more lights of the medical scanning device to illuminate the field of view of the scanner head;
receiving one or more images generated while the one or more lights are activated and the touch sensor is disabled;
receiving input from at least one button of the medical scanning device to activate the touch sensor after the one or more medical images have been generated;
activating the touch sensor;
receiving, by a computing device executing a medical scan application, a touch input from the touch sensor;
determining whether the touch input comprises at least one of a hold gesture or a swipe gesture;
performing a first function to control a user interface of the medical scan application by the computing device responsive to determining that the touch input comprises the hold gesture;
performing a second function to control the user interface of the medical scan application by the computing device responsive to determining that the touch input comprises the swipe gesture;
detecting a change of the medical scanning device from a first orientation to a second orientation based on data output by an inertial measurement device; and
changing from a first view comprising a third orientation of a three-dimensional model generated based on a scan performed by the medical scanning device to a second view comprising a fourth orientation of the three-dimensional model, wherein the change from the first view to the second view corresponds to the change from the first orientation to the second orientation.

US Pat. No. 9,975,294

METHOD FOR PREPARING A PHYSICAL PLASTER MODEL

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A computer system for generating a virtual model of teeth, comprising:a processor operably coupled to a computer readable storage medium comprising instructions which, when executed, cause the processor to:
receive a virtual model of a patient's dentition including a virtual upper jaw member and a virtual lower jaw member respectively corresponding to at least a part of each upper and lower jaw of the patient's dentition;
receive data representative of at least a spatial relationship between the upper and lower jaws in occlusion; and
incorporate in the virtual model a virtual alignment arrangement configured to provide virtual occlusion alignment between the virtual upper and lower jaw members according to the spatial relationship, the virtual alignment arrangement comprising a first virtual alignment structure of the virtual upper jaw member that receives a second virtual alignment structure of the virtual lower jaw member or the virtual alignment arrangement comprises a first virtual alignment structure of the virtual lower jaw member that receives a second virtual alignment structure of the virtual upper jaw member, thereby defining an updated virtual model,
wherein the first virtual alignment structure comprises a first plurality of virtual positioning reference components and the second virtual alignment structure comprises a second plurality of virtual positioning reference components, the first plurality of virtual positioning reference components configured to fit with the second plurality of virtual positioning reference components in order to yield proper occlusion alignment of the virtual upper and lower jaw members.

US Pat. No. 9,844,420

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR POSITIONING THREE-DIMENSIONAL BRACKETS ON TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for positioning a virtual bracket on a patient's tooth, the method comprising:
receiving, using a computer, a digital data set representing a patient's teeth;
generating, on a display, a graphical representation of a reference surface passing through a crown of each of the patient's
teeth, the reference surface defined at least in part by one or more of a curve of Spee or an Andrew's plane corresponding
to the digital data set, wherein the graphical representation is manipulable on the display by a user so as to modify the
reference surface; and

determining, using the computer, an initial position for the virtual bracket on the patient's tooth, wherein the virtual bracket
is aligned with the graphical representation of the reference surface generated on the display.

US Pat. No. 10,136,964

AUTOMATIC PLACEMENT OF PRECISION CUTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An orthodontic system for positioning a patient's teeth, comprising:a first patient removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities shaped to receive and apply a resilient positioning force to a patient's teeth provided in one of an upper jaw and a lower jaw, the appliance comprising a hook configured to receive an orthodontic elastic band; and
a second patient removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities shaped to receive and apply a resilient positioning force to a patient's teeth provided in the other of the upper jaw and the lower jaw, the appliance comprising a cutout operable to expose an orthodontic elastic band receiving member wherein the cutout is operable to be disposed over a tooth, is shaped to extend between a first point of a gingival line of the tooth and a second point of the gingival line of the tooth, and has a gingival-facing surface arrangeable between the elastic band receiving member and an occlusal surface of the tooth.

US Pat. No. 10,117,581

IDENTIFICATION OF AREAS OF INTEREST DURING INTRAORAL SCANS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer readable storage medium comprising instructions that, when executed by a processing device, cause the processing device to perform operations comprising:receiving a plurality of intraoral images, the plurality of intraoral images comprising a first intraoral image of a dental site;
performing image registration between the plurality of intraoral images;
identifying, by the processing device, a first candidate intraoral area of interest from the first intraoral image;
determining a value associated with the first candidate intraoral area of interest;
selecting a threshold based on one or more patient case details, wherein the one or more patient case details comprise a procedure for the dental site;
receiving a second intraoral image of the dental site;
comparing the first intraoral image to the second intraoral image;
verifying, by the processing device, the first candidate intraoral area of interest as an intraoral area of interest responsive to determining that a) the second intraoral image confirms the first candidate intraoral area of interest and b) the value is above the threshold; and
providing an indication of the intraoral area of interest, wherein the intraoral area of interest is hidden in one or more views of the dental site, and wherein the indication of the intraoral area of interest is visible in the one or more views.

US Pat. No. 10,059,059

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING A DENTAL PROSTHESIS AND A DENTAL PROSTHESIS MANUFACTURED THEREBY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for producing a dental prosthesis on a dental coping, comprising:receiving fabrication instructions for the dental prosthesis, the fabrication instructions being generated based on a three-dimensional virtual model of the dental prosthesis comprising a plurality of virtual model layers; and
producing the dental prosthesis on the dental coping based on the fabrication instructions by:
forming a plurality of wax layers corresponding to the plurality of virtual model layers; and
casting a plurality of prosthesis layers from the plurality of wax layers, wherein at least one wax layer of the plurality of wax layers is formed on a previously cast prosthesis layer in order to form at least one prosthesis layer of the plurality of prosthesis layers on the previously cast prosthesis layer.

US Pat. No. 10,016,262

UNITARY DENTAL MODEL

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A unitary dental model of an intraoral cavity of a patient having a dental implant, the model comprising:a physical surface representative of gingival tissue of the patient; and
a channel extending through the unitary dental model and shaped and oriented to receive an abutment corresponding to a physical abutment to be connected to the dental implant, wherein the channel extends to an opening in the physical surface, the channel comprising a first portion and a second portion, the first portion shaped to receive and constrain a corresponding structure of the abutment to a position and orientation using only a plurality of mechanical stops and having a shape complementary to the shape of the abutment, the second portion shaped to receive a fastener to couple the abutment to the unitary dental model;
wherein the first portion comprises a shoulder shaped to receive the corresponding structure of the abutment in order to position the abutment along the channel, the shoulder extending from a surface of the first portion and to a surface of the second portion, and
wherein the shape of the first portion constrains the corresponding structure of the abutment to the position and orientation while the shoulder is in contact with said corresponding structure of the abutment.

US Pat. No. 9,962,238

DIGITAL DENTAL MODELING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for digital dental modeling, comprising:receiving a three-dimensional data set including an upper jaw and a lower jaw of a three-dimensional digital dental model;
receiving a plurality of two-dimensional data sets each corresponding to at least a portion of the upper jaw and the lower jaw;
mapping two-dimensional data of the plurality of two-dimensional data sets to the three-dimensional digital dental model by transforming a coordinate system of the two-dimensional data to a coordinate system of the three-dimensional data set; and
simulating anatomical movement of the lower jaw with respect to the upper jaw based on the two-dimensional data mapped to the three-dimensional data set in the three-dimensional digital dental model in response to applying simulated forces to the lower jaw including an axial force, a number of photo attraction forces, and a number of reaction forces from interaction of the upper jaw and the lower jaw.

US Pat. No. 9,655,691

MULTILAYER DENTAL APPLIANCES AND RELATED METHODS AND SYSTEMS

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A removable orthodontic tooth positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities shaped to directly receive at least
some of a patient's teeth and apply a resilient positioning force to the patient's teeth, the appliance comprising:
a hard inner polymer layer comprising a co-polyester and having a hard polymer layer elastic modulus; and
a first soft outer polymer layer and a second soft outer polymer layer each comprising a thermoplastic polyurethane elastomer
and each having a soft polymer elastic modulus less than the hard polymer layer elastic modulus, a flexural modulus of greater
than about 35,000 psi, a hardness of about 60A to about 85D, and a thickness in a range from 25 ?m to 100 ?m,

wherein the hard inner polymer layer is disposed between the first soft outer polymer layer and the second soft outer polymer
layer so as to reduce degradation of the resilient positioning force applied to the teeth when the appliance is worn.

US Pat. No. 10,507,088

IMAGING APPARATUS WITH SIMPLIFIED OPTICAL DESIGN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An imaging apparatus for performing intraoral scans, comprising:a light source to provide light;
an optical system comprising a plurality of lenses disposed along an optical path of the light, wherein the optical system comprises a non-flat focal surface, and wherein the optical system comprises focusing optics to perform focusing of the light onto the non-flat focal surface and to direct the light toward a three dimensional object to be imaged in an oral cavity;
a translation mechanism to adjust a location of at least one lens of the plurality of lenses to thereby adjust a focusing setting of the optical system and displace the non-flat focal surface along an imaging axis defined by the optical path, wherein the at least one lens is a lens of the focusing optics, and wherein at least one of a shape or a magnification of the non-flat focal surface changes with changes in the focusing setting; and
a detector to measure intensities of returning light that is reflected off of the three dimensional object and directed back through the focusing optics, wherein the intensities of the returning light are to be measured for a plurality of locations of the at least one lens for determination of positions on the imaging axis of a plurality of points of the three dimensional object, wherein detected positions of one or more of the plurality of points are to be adjusted to compensate for the non-flat focal surface using one or more compensation models that provide different adjustments for different focusing settings of the optical system.

US Pat. No. 10,123,853

TABBED DENTAL APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A dental appliance for use with a tooth that is not fully erupted, comprising a shell including:a number of tooth apertures configured to receive and apply force to reposition teeth of a jaw of a patient from one arrangement to a successive arrangement, wherein the number of tooth apertures include side surfaces that are configured to extend substantially to the patient's gumline; and
a tab having a length to span across only a portion of a coronal surface of the tooth that has not fully erupted, in a distal direction, and wherein the tab includes a surface that is shaped to mate with contact a surface of a tooth on an opposite jaw or a second appliance to be positioned thereon, in use, and wherein the tab includes side surfaces that are configured not to extend substantially to the patient's gumline, adjacent to the surface of the tab.

US Pat. No. 10,098,714

APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR OPTICALLY SCANNING AN OBJECT IN REGISTRATION WITH A REFERENCE PATTERN

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A system for use in the orthodontic and/or prosthodontic treatment of a dental arch of a patient, the system comprising:an intra-oral reference element configured to be inserted into a patient's oral cavity and having a surface with a reference pattern thereon;
a reference element holding device operable from outside the oral cavity to hold the reference element in the oral cavity in a position in which the reference element is spaced from an occlusal surface of the dental arch;
wherein the reference element holding device includes (a) a position-adjustable element defining a plurality of selectable detented positions for the reference element relative to the dental arch, and (b) a position adjustment mechanism operable to move the reference element to a selected one of the plurality of detented positions defined by the position-adjustable element, wherein the reference element, in the selected one of the plurality of selectable detented positions, is spaced from the occlusal surface of the dental arch;
an input device configured to receive input representing a set of position settings corresponding to the selected one of the selectable detented positions of the intra-oral reference element relative to the dental arch;
an intra-oral scanner configured for insertion into the oral cavity to scan intra-orally at least a portion of the dental arch simultaneously with an adjacent portion of the reference pattern of the reference element to obtain a scanned image comprising a scanned portion of the dental arch and a scanned portion of the reference pattern;
a converter configured to create a digitized representation of the scanned image; and
a processor, operatively associated with the input device and the converter, configured to (a) receive the input, (b) create an input data set corresponding to the set of position settings, (c) match the input data set with the digitized representation of the scanned image, and (d) produce a combined data file that includes the digitized representation of the scanned image and the input data set.

US Pat. No. 9,795,461

ARCH EXPANDING APPLIANCE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An appliance comprising:
a removable shell having a number of cavities formed therein, wherein the number of cavities are shaped to receive teeth of
a patient; and

a first arch element extending from the removable shell in a lingual direction and continuing uninterrupted across the arch
width of the removable shell from a first side of the removable shell to a second side of the removable shell and designed
to expand an arch of the teeth of the patient, wherein the first arch element has a width specific to a stage of a treatment
plan and includes at least one raised reinforcement feature that extends from the removable shell in a lingual direction and
continuing uninterrupted across the arch width of the removable shell from the first side of the removable shell to the second
side of the removable shell.

US Pat. No. 9,763,758

VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL DENTAL MODELS OF DENTAL SURFACES AND ANALOG SOCKET STRUCTURE OF A DENTAL IMPLANT AND RELATED PROCEDURES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for creating a virtual model usable for making a physical model of a physical dental structure that includes a
dental implant at an implant site, the method comprising:
(a) receiving, on a computer system, a virtual representation of dental surfaces of the physical dental structure and dental
implant data representing a location and orientation of the dental implant with respect to the dental surfaces;

(b) receiving, on the computer system, a virtual analog structure, the virtual analog structure being based on said dental
implant; and

(c) creating, on the computer system, the virtual model based on:
said virtual representation of dental surfaces; and
a virtual analog socket structure based on said virtual analog structure and said dental implant data, said virtual analog
socket structure having a coronal opening and a virtual analog insertion opening on respective ends thereof, wherein:

the coronal opening corresponds to an interface between the dental implant and exposed dental surfaces of the dental structure
in contact therewith,

the virtual analog insertion opening is spaced apart from the coronal opening and parts of the virtual model corresponding
to dental surfaces and the implant site, and

the virtual analog socket structure is shaped to virtually receive therein said virtual analog structure along an insertion
path entering into said virtual analog socket structure via said virtual analog insertion opening,

wherein the analog socket structure comprises a coronal portion, an apical portion, and a shoulder at an interface between
the coronal portion and the apical portion, the coronal portion extending from the coronal opening to the shoulder and the
apical portion extending from the virtual analog insertion opening to the shoulder, the shoulder being orientated away from
the coronal opening and complementary to a face of the virtual analog structure.

US Pat. No. 10,123,706

INTRAORAL SCANNER WITH DENTAL DIAGNOSTICS CAPABILITIES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for generating a three-dimensional (3D) volumetric model of a subject's teeth using an intraoral scanner, the method comprising:taking surface images of the subject's teeth and forming a 3D surface model of at least a portion of the subject's teeth using the intraoral scanner as the intraoral scanner is moved over the teeth;
taking a plurality of images into the teeth using a near-infrared (near-IR) wavelength with the intraoral scanner as the intraoral scanner is moved over the teeth, so that multiple images of a same internal region of the teeth are imaged, wherein taking the plurality of images into the teeth comprises emitting a near-IR light from the intraoral scanner in a first polarization, and detecting, in an image sensor in the intraoral scanner, the near-IR light returning to the intraoral scanner, wherein the near-IR light returning to the intraoral scanner is filtered to remove specular reflection by filtering near-IR light in the first polarization from the near-IR light returning to the intraoral scanner before it reaches the image sensor;
constructing grid points for an inner volume of the 3D surface model;
determining, for each of the plurality of images into the teeth, a position of the intraoral scanner relative to the subject's teeth using the 3D surface model data; using the position of the intraoral scanner to project the grid points on each of the plurality of images into the teeth;
determine a minimum scattering coefficient for the projected grid points from all of the plurality of images into the teeth; and
forming the 3D volumetric model of the subject's teeth including internal features using the minimum scattering coefficient for the projected grid points.

US Pat. No. 10,111,730

ORTHODONTIC ALIGNER WITH ISOLATED SEGMENTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:forming a first segment of a plastic orthodontic aligner for moving a first set of teeth of a patient;
forming a second segment of the plastic orthodontic aligner; and
joining the first segment of the plastic orthodontic aligner to the second segment of the plastic orthodontic aligner using a connector configured to minimize force transmission between the first segment and the second segment;
wherein the connector is configured to be disposed along one or more additional teeth of the patient without exerting a clinically significant force on the one or more additional teeth, wherein the connector spans a gap between the first segment and the second segment, the gap corresponding to the one or more additional teeth that are not to receive the clinically significant force, wherein the connector comprises a flexible material that will perform at least one of flex, move or change shape responsive to applied forces, wherein the connector is configured to isolate first forces applied to the first set of teeth covered by the first segment from separate and distinct second forces applied to a second set of teeth covered by the second segment, and wherein isolation of the first forces from the second forces enables a) the first forces to be applied to the first set of teeth without substantial interference from the second forces applied to the second set of teeth and b) the second forces to be applied to the second set of teeth without substantial interference from the first forces applied to the first set of teeth.

US Pat. No. 10,004,572

SELECTION AND LOCKING OF INTRAORAL IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method, comprising:receiving a first intraoral image of a first intraoral site;
determining a portion of the first intraoral image depicting a portion of the first intraoral site;
locking, by a processing device, at least the portion of the first intraoral image; and
generating, by the processing device, a model comprising the first intraoral site based at least in part on the first intraoral image, wherein the portion of the first intraoral image is used for a first region of the model, and wherein data from one or more additional intraoral images that also depict the portion of the first intraoral site is not used for the first region of the model.

US Pat. No. 9,943,386

MOLD WITH WEAKENED AREAS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:forming a shell over a breakable mold of a dental arch for a patient, wherein a first section of the breakable mold is joined to a second section of the breakable mold by one or more weakened regions, wherein the first section is a first mold of at least a portion of one or more first teeth of the dental arch and the second section is a second mold of at least a portion of one or more second teeth of the dental arch;
breaking the breakable mold at the one or more weakened regions to enable the first section of the breakable mold to at least partially separate from the second section of the breakable mold;
removing the first section of the breakable mold from the shell; and
separately removing the second section of the breakable mold from the shell.

US Pat. No. 10,231,801

TRACKING TEETH MOVEMENT CORRECTION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A non-transitory computer readable medium, having instructions, which when executed by a processor, cause a device to:create a virtual teeth model corresponding to a number of physical teeth of a particular patient;
create a virtual expected teeth arrangement model from the virtual teeth model including a number of successive stages of arrangements of the virtual teeth model;
receive one or more images taken of the number of physical teeth at a particular point in time that corresponds to one of the number of successive stages;
compare the position of at least one of the number of physical teeth with a position of the corresponding at least one of the number of virtual teeth at the particular stage to determine a difference between the position of the at least one of the number of physical teeth with a position of the corresponding at least one of the number of virtual teeth; and
determine whether midcourse correction is needed.

US Pat. No. 10,058,404

PROBE HEAD AND APPARATUS FOR INTRAORAL CONFOCAL IMAGING USING POLARIZATION-RETARDING COATINGS USING A SECOND SIDEWALL

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for dental imaging, the apparatus comprising:an illumination module for generating a light beam travelling an optical path, the light beam having a wavelength;
a probe head comprising a light-guiding part having,
an entrance face,
an exit face,
a first sidewall comprising a retardance coating to reflect the light beam along the optical path with a first total internal reflection having a first retardance of a non-integer multiple of a quarter of the wavelength, said first retardance comprising a retardance from the retardance coating, and
a second sidewall to reflect the light beam along the optical path with a second total internal reflection having a second retardance of a non-integer multiple of a quarter of the wavelength; and
an optics system to direct the light beam along the optical path to enter the light guiding part via the entrance face, travel along an the optical path extending between the entrance face and the exit face, and exits the light-guiding part via the exit face,
said first and second retardances being in amounts such that the light-guiding part provides a total retardance of an odd multiple of the quarter of the wavelength along the optical path extending from the entrance face to the exit face,
wherein each of the first retardance, the second retardance, and the total retardance is a retardance to a first polarization component relative to a second polarization component of the light beam traveling along the optical path.

US Pat. No. 9,683,835

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SCANNING AN INTRAORAL CAVITY

ALIGN TECHNOLOGY, INC., ...

1. A method for providing scanning guidance for a scanning device, comprising:
(a) receiving, at a computer system, user input selecting target parts of an intraoral cavity to be subsequently scanned by
said scanning device;

(b) determining, using the computer system, spatial relationships between the scanning device and said target parts of the
intraoral cavity suitable for enabling said target parts to be subsequently scanned by said scanning device, wherein visual
guide instructions for positioning and orienting said scanning device are generated by the computer system based on said spatial
relationships; and

(c) displaying, with the computer system on a display, said visual guide instructions for positioning and orienting said scanning
device relative to the intraoral cavity in a manner substantially conforming to said spatial relationships, thereby providing
the scanning guidance for subsequent scanning of said target parts by said scanning device;

wherein said scanning device scans the target parts of the intraoral cavity in a manner substantially corresponding to said
spatial relationships;

wherein said visual guide instructions comprise a symbol representative of a profile corresponding to an expected view of
said target parts or of ancillary parts in said intraoral cavity associated with said target parts, the expected view corresponding
to the determined spatial relationships, and the symbol comprising a line defining an interface between a plurality of image
zones.

US Pat. No. 10,172,693

DENTAL WIRE ATTACHMENT

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A wire attachment appliance, comprising:a shell formed of a material having a plurality of cavities formed therein;
two wire attachment members located within two of the plurality of cavities;
an attachment material reservoir formed with the shell and located on an interior surface of another of the plurality of cavities, the attachment material reservoir configured to receive attachment material while the attachment material reservoir is worn over a tooth to attach a wire to the tooth, wherein the wire is external to the material from which the shell is formed;
wherein the two wire attachment members are separate from the material forming the shell and the attachment material; and
the wire having portions simultaneously located in the two wire attachment members and other positions located within the attachment material reservoir;
wherein the shell and the two wire attachment members are removable from placement onto teeth; and
wherein each wire attachment member comprises an insert placed inside a respective cavity comprising a slot on a tooth-facing surface thereof to directly engage and hold the wire in position while the wire remains attached to the tooth.

US Pat. No. 10,380,212

METHODS AND APPARATUSES FOR FORMING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL VOLUMETRIC MODEL OF A SUBJECT'S TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of reconstructing a volumetric structure from a tooth, wherein the tooth is semi-transparent in a range of radiation wavelengths, the method comprising:receiving, in a processor, a digital representation of a surface of the tooth, a plurality of images of the tooth taken by a camera in the range of radiation wavelengths, the plurality of images taken with lighting projected substantially from a direction of the camera, and location data representing a location of the camera for each of the plurality of images;
projecting a plurality of points of a grid of points corresponding to a volume within the surface of the tooth onto each of the plurality of images using a first calibration, wherein the grid of points are inside the tooth;
producing a list of intensity values for each projected point;
converting the intensity values on the list of intensity values into scattering coefficients according to a volume response; and
storing a minimum scattering coefficient for each point into a list of minimum scattering coefficients; and
outputting a volumetric model of the tooth produced from the list of minimum scattering coefficients.

US Pat. No. 10,327,878

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING FEEDBACK DATA USEFUL IN PROSTHODONTIC PROCEDURES ASSOCIATED WITH THE INTRA ORAL CAVITY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for providing feedback useful in at least one prosthodontic procedure associated with an intraoral cavity, the system comprising:one or more processors; and
memory, including instructions for execution by the one or more processors to cause the system to at least:
(a) obtain data relating to a first procedure comprising mounting of a dental prosthesis to a dental preparation in the intraoral cavity, wherein the data comprises information regarding a geometry of at least a portion of the dental preparation,
(b) determine, based on the data and the first procedure, that a finish line of the dental preparation is not continuously defined about a periphery of the dental preparation, and
(c) output feedback comprising finish line data, based on the determination of the not continuously defined finish line in step (b), comprising one or more areas of the finish line of the dental preparation about the periphery of the dental preparation missing from the data, by superimposing the finish line data on the data.

US Pat. No. 10,299,899

DENTAL MODELS AND RELATED METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of fabricating a dental model, the method comprising:fabricating a first component configured to represent a portion of a patient's jaw and defining at least one socket;
fabricating at least one second component that is demountably attachable to the first component and configured to represent at least one dental structure in the portion of the patient's jaw, the at least one second component comprising a shaft shaped to be inserted into the at least one socket of the first component;
fabricating a plurality of locally protruding portions located in the socket, and extending laterally to the insertion direction of the shaft so as to form an interface between the first and second components; and
fabricating a spring feature positioned in the socket so as to push the shaft against the plurality of locally protruding portions.

US Pat. No. 10,271,923

REINFORCED ALIGNER HOOKS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for manufacturing an orthodontic positioning appliance having teeth receiving cavities, the method comprising:receiving, by a processor, a digital representation of a patient's teeth in a selected arrangement;
modeling, by the processor, an appliance based on the received digital representation, the appliance comprising teeth receiving cavities shaped to receive and apply a resilient positioning force to the patient's teeth, the appliance comprising a hook disposed on a sidewall of the appliance and configured to interface with an orthodontic elastic member so as to react a force from the orthodontic elastic member into the appliance, the hook configured to be offset from a surface of a tooth when the appliance is coupled with the patient's teeth and no orthodontic elastic member is coupled with the hook; and
fabricating an orthodontic appliance from the modified digital representation, wherein the hook is monolithic with a sidewall of the orthodontic appliance.

US Pat. No. 10,485,415

CONFOCAL IMAGING USING ASTIGMATISM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An intraoral scanning device, comprising:a hand-held housing;
a confocal imaging device disposed in the hand-held housing, the confocal imaging device having a predetermined astigmatic aberration disposed in a light path thereof to asymmetrically focus light in a predetermined manner, wherein the light is associated with an image of a portion of an object captured by the confocal imaging device;
an image sensor disposed within the hand-held housing, the image sensor comprising a plurality of pixels, wherein the plurality of pixels are to receive the light associated with the image of the portion of the object, the light having a circularly asymmetric image pattern; and
a computing device configured to determine a positional relationship between the portion of the object and a focus plane of the confocal imaging device based on a diffraction pattern over a portion of the plurality of pixels, wherein the diffraction pattern is associated with the circularly asymmetric image pattern.

US Pat. No. 10,363,116

DIRECT FABRICATION OF POWER ARMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An appliance for placement on teeth of a patient, the appliance comprising:a plurality of power arms comprising a first power arm having a first connection point for connecting to a shell or tooth and a second power arm having a second connection point for connecting to a shell or tooth;
a connecting structure coupled to the first and second power arms to apply a first force to each of the first and second power arms; and
a counter-force connector coupled to the first power arm and extending toward the second power arm to apply a second force to each of the first and second power arms opposing the first force when engaging the second power arm,
wherein the connecting structure and the counter-force connector are coupled to the first power arm at respective locations separate from the first connection point, the connecting structure is coupled to the second power arm at a location separate from the second connection point, and the counter-force connector, when engaging the second power arm, contacts the second power arm at a location separate from the second connection point.

US Pat. No. 10,342,638

TREATMENT PLANNING AND PROGRESS TRACKING SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of managing delivery of an orthodontic treatment plan, comprising:generating a treatment plan for a patient using a computer processor, the plan comprising a plurality of digital models of successive tooth arrangements for moving teeth along a treatment path from an initial arrangement toward a selected final arrangement, the treatment plan further comprising a scheduled treatment-progress tracking event timed to correspond to the patient wearing at least one retention appliance and embodied in a tangible medium;
providing a set of orthodontic shell appliances to the patient, the set of orthodontic shell appliances shaped based on the plurality of digital models of successive tooth arrangements and including the at least one retention appliance, the at least one retention appliance being a duplicate orthodontic shell appliance having the same geometries with respect to tooth receiving cavities as another appliance of the set of orthodontic shell appliances;
tracking progression of the patient's teeth along the treatment path after administration of the set of orthodontic shell appliances to the patient, the tracking comprising comparing a digital model of a current arrangement of the patient's teeth to a digital model of a planned arrangement of the teeth, wherein the tracking is timed to correspond to the patient wearing the at least one retention appliance according to the treatment plan;
generating a revised treatment plan where it is determined that treatment has progressed substantially off-track.

US Pat. No. 10,342,434

METHODS FOR DENTAL DIAGNOSTICS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:receiving data associated with an intraoral scan of a subject, wherein the data comprises a plurality of sets of both tooth surface and infrared (IR) images, each set corresponding to a position relative to the subject's teeth;
determining, from the received data, a first plurality of voxels describing at least a portion of a first internal feature of a tooth of the subject;
determining, from the received data, a second plurality of voxels describing at least a portion of a second internal feature of the tooth of the subject, the first internal feature differing from the second internal feature; and
outputting a three-dimensional (3D) volumetric model in which the first and second plurality of voxels are aligned and merged, the 3D volumetric model including the first internal feature and the second internal feature.

US Pat. No. 10,327,872

FIELD CURVATURE MODEL FOR CONFOCAL IMAGING APPARATUS WITH CURVED FOCAL SURFACE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system comprising:a computing device comprising a memory to store a field curvature model that is calibrated to a confocal imaging apparatus, and a processor, coupled to the memory, the processor to:
receive intensity measurements generated by a plurality of pixels of a detector of the confocal imaging apparatus, wherein each pixel of the plurality of pixels provides intensity measurements for an associated returning light beam from an array of returning light beams that have been reflected off of an imaged three dimensional object, and wherein each returning light beam of the array of returning light beams is associated with a point of the three dimensional object;
determine, for each pixel of the plurality of pixels, a focusing setting of the confocal imaging apparatus that provides a maximum measured intensity;
determine, for each pixel of the plurality of pixels, a depth of a point of the three dimensional object associated with the pixel that corresponds to the determined focusing setting;
adjust the depth of at least one point of the three dimensional object based on applying the determined focusing setting for the pixel associated with the at least one point to the field curvature model to compensate for a non-flat focal surface of the confocal imaging apparatus; and
determine a shape of the three dimensional object based at least in part on the adjusted depth.

US Pat. No. 10,299,894

TREATMENT PLAN SPECIFIC BITE ADJUSTMENT STRUCTURES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, comprising:a first appliance of a series of appliances to incrementally implement a treatment plan for a patient having a first jaw and a second jaw, comprising a first shell having a plurality of cavities therein to receive teeth of the first jaw;
a first bite adjustment structure formed of a same material as the first shell and extending therefrom and having a first location with respect to a cavity of the plurality of cavities of the first shell and a first shape, said first shape comprising a first planar surface oriented at first and second angles to an occlusal plane defined by the cavities of the first shell, the first angle being about a mesial-distal axis and the second angle being about a facial-lingual axis, thereby allowing a contacting tooth of a second jaw to slide along the surface;
a second appliance of the series of appliances, comprising a second shell having a plurality of cavities therein to receive teeth of the first jaw; and
a second bite adjustment structure formed of a same material as the second shell and extending therefrom and having a second location with respect to a cavity of the plurality of cavities of the second shell, the second location being different than the first location, a second shape, said second shape different than the first shape.

US Pat. No. 10,255,407

METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR PROVIDING AUTOMATED HIGH SCALE FABRICATION OF CUSTOM ITEMS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for manufacturing a plurality of unique items on a fabrication tray, comprising the steps of:(a) receiving, by a processing unit, a data batch including manufacturing data associated with a plurality of stages of a treatment profile, each of the plurality of stages of the treatment profile corresponding to one of the plurality of unique items; and
(b) operating the processing unit, in accordance programmed instructions, to:
(1) convert the manufacturing data of the data batch into a plurality of object data files, each of the object data files including three-dimensional object data associated with one of the plurality of stages of the treatment profile;
(2) generate a tray data file based on the object data files, the tray data file including optimized layout information representing an optimized spacing and orientation of the plurality of unique items to be manufactured on the fabrication tray; and
(3) determine an orientation and location on the fabrication tray for each of the plurality of unique items in accordance with the optimized layout information and the three-dimensional object data in each of the object data files; and
(c) manufacturing each of the plurality of unique items in its determined orientation and location on the fabrication tray.

US Pat. No. 10,288,875

LENS POSITIONING SYSTEM

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A device comprising:an outer element;
an inner element disposed within the outer element; and
a linear-motion bearing that couples the inner element to the outer element, the linear-motion bearing providing a single degree of translational movement of the inner element along a longitudinal axis, the linear-motion bearing comprising at least a first element coupling comprising:
a first inner element region coupled to the inner element;
a first outer element region coupled to the outer element; and
one or more first flexures that connect the first inner element region to the first outer element region of the first element coupling, wherein the one or more first flexures have a rotationally symmetric pattern, and wherein the first inner element region of the first element coupling rotates in a direction in accordance with the rotationally symmetric pattern in response to movement of the inner element along the longitudinal axis.

US Pat. No. 10,265,141

DENTAL APPLIANCE WITH SIMULATED TEETH AND METHOD FOR MAKING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for fabricating at least one modified teeth moving appliance, the method comprising:receiving a digital representation of a patient's teeth for a plurality of stages of treatment of a treatment plan from an initial arrangement of the patient's teeth to a target arrangement of the patient's teeth;
receiving a digital representation of teeth in a selected arrangement, the selected arrangement being different than an actual arrangement of the patient's teeth, wherein the selected arrangement represents one or more of the target arrangement and a desired outcome of the treatment plan;
creating an appliance main body digital representation of a plurality of appliance main bodies, each of the plurality of appliance main bodies for moving the patient's teeth between two stages of the plurality of stages of treatment, each appliance main body having teeth receiving cavity geometries shaped to receive and resiliently reposition the patient's teeth between the two stages of treatment;
modifying the appliance main body digital representation to create a digital representation of a modified teeth moving appliance comprising an inner component configured to receive the patient's teeth and apply a tooth-moving force to move the patient's teeth when worn and an outer component having an outer surface and is configured to couple with the inner component, the outer surface having an outer surface geometry shaped to depict the teeth in the selected arrangement and to mask the actual arrangement of the patient's teeth when worn while producing the same movement of the patient's teeth by the appliance as would be produced by the inner appliance alone; and
fabricating, using the modified appliance main body digital representation, at least one modified teeth moving appliance for moving the patient's teeth in accordance with the treatment plan.

US Pat. No. 10,238,472

ESTIMATING A SURFACE TEXTURE OF A TOOTH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computing device implemented method for estimating a surface texture of a tooth, comprising:collecting a sequence of images utilizing multiple light conditions using an intra-oral imaging device;
comparing at least two of the images within the sequence of images to one another;
estimating the surface texture of the tooth based on the comparison of the at least two images within the sequence of images; and
converting the estimated surface texture of the tooth into a surface normal vector for each pixel of at least one of the two images.

US Pat. No. 10,201,409

DENTAL APPLIANCE HAVING ORNAMENTAL DESIGN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of providing a design on a dental appliance having a geometry configured to receive teeth, the method comprising:providing the appliance comprising a plurality of layers, wherein each of the plurality of layers is associated with a color; and
altering an appearance of at least a portion of the appliance to provide the design on the appliance by directing an etching device, heat, or light energy to at least a portion of the appliance to alter a material property of the at least a portion of the appliance, wherein altering the material property further comprises removing at least a portion of one of the plurality of layers from the appliance to reveal the color associated with an underlying layer of the appliance.

US Pat. No. 10,188,490

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR DENTAL PROCEDURES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for digitally aligning a patient's teeth with a reference portion of the patient, the method comprising:acquiring, using a scanner, a first image of at least a portion of the patient's teeth;
positioning a device in a patient's mouth to align the device with a reference portion of the patient, the device comprising an occlusal portion and a non-occlusal portion, the occlusal portion comprising a bite plate held between the patient's teeth so as to secure the device in a position during a scanning procedure and the non-occlusal portion comprising a coded pattern for aligning scanned images of the patient, the occlusal portion and the non-occlusal portion being coupled together at an angle such that the coded pattern is outwardly oriented from the patient's mouth when the bite plate is positioned between the patient's teeth, so that the coded pattern is presented to permit scanning of the coded pattern simultaneously when scanning at least the portion of the patient's teeth;
acquiring, using the scanner, a second image of at least a portion of the coded pattern and at least the portion of the patient's teeth: and
processing the first image and the second image to determine a spatial relationship between at least the portion of the patient's teeth and the reference portion by calculating a first spatial relationship between at least the portion of the coded pattern and at least the portion of the patient's teeth and the alignment between the device and the reference portion.

US Pat. No. 10,159,546

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SCANNING AN INTRAORAL CAVITY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for providing scanning guidance for a scanning device, comprising:(a) receiving, at a computer system, user input selecting target parts of an intraoral cavity to be subsequently scanned by said scanning device;
(b) determining, using the computer system, spatial relationships between the scanning device and said target parts of the intraoral cavity suitable for enabling said target parts to be subsequently scanned by said scanning device, wherein visual guide instructions for positioning and orienting said scanning device are generated by the computer system based on said spatial relationships; and
(c) displaying, with the computer system on a display, said visual guide instructions for positioning and orienting said scanning device relative to the intraoral cavity in a manner substantially conforming to said spatial relationships;
wherein said visual guide instructions comprise a symbol representative of a profile corresponding to an expected view of said target parts or of ancillary parts in said intraoral cavity associated with said target parts, the expected view corresponding to the determined spatial relationships, and the symbol comprising a line defining an interface between a plurality of image zones.

US Pat. No. 10,405,951

METHOD FOR MANIPULATING A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL, METHOD FOR CREATING PHYSICAL ENTITIES BASED ON A DENTAL VIRTUAL MODEL THUS MANIPULATED, AND DENTAL MODELS THUS CREATED

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for manipulating a virtual dental model, the system comprising:a hand-held scanner; and
a computer having instructions that, when executed, cause the system to:
identify on a 3D virtual model of a dental site, a first 3D virtual model portion comprising data representing an obscuring material over a first portion of a tooth;
trim the 3D virtual model based on the identified first 3D virtual model portion;
generate an auxiliary 3D virtual model that includes a representation of the first portion of the tooth representing dental surfaces of the first portion of the tooth; and
combine the auxiliary 3D virtual model with the trimmed 3D virtual model to create a completed trimmed 3D virtual model including data representative of the dental surfaces of the first portion of the tooth.

US Pat. No. 10,363,118

METHODS AND SYSTEMS FOR GENERATING COLOR IMAGES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for generating focused color image data of an object, the system comprising:a polychromatic light source that produces light comprising a first range of wavelengths, a second range of wavelengths, and a third range of wavelengths;
an optics system optically coupled to the polychromatic light source and operable to focus each of the first, second, and third ranges of wavelengths to a corresponding plurality of respective focal lengths;
a detector configured to collect color intensity data for each of the first, second, and third ranges of wavelengths at each corresponding plurality of respective focal lengths, the detector comprising first pixels sensitive to the first range of wavelength, second pixels sensitive to the second range of wavelengths, and third pixels sensitive to the third range of wavelengths; and
a processor configured to, for a location in the color intensity data:
determine, for each of the first, second, and third ranges of wavelengths, a focal length for which the respective range of wavelengths is focused relative to an object at the location in the color intensity data; and
combine the color intensity data for each of the first, second, and third ranges of wavelengths at the determined focal length, thereby generating focused color image data for the location in the color intensity data.

US Pat. No. 10,357,340

MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT AND RETRACTION VIA BONE ANCHORING DEVICES

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. An apparatus for treating a patient via mandibular advancement or retraction, the apparatus comprising:a plurality of anchoring devices positioned in the patient's intraoral cavity, wherein each of the plurality of anchoring devices is positioned in bone of the patient's upper jaw or bone of the patient's lower jaw; and
one or more connecting structures removably coupled to and extending between the plurality of anchoring devices in order to displace the lower jaw anteriorly or posteriorly relative to the upper jaw,
wherein the one or more connecting structures and the plurality of anchoring devices are arranged to constrain vertical displacement of the lower jaw relative to the upper jaw in order to inhibit contact between teeth of the lower jaw and teeth of the upper jaw wherein the one or more connecting structures are arranged to produce an anterior-posterior force component that displaces the lower jaw anteriorly or posteriorly relative to the upper jaw.

US Pat. No. 10,350,107

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR POSITIONING A PATIENT'S MANDIBLE IN RESPONSE TO SLEEP APNEA STATUS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for monitoring and treating a sleep apnea condition in a patient, the method comprising:receiving first sensor data from one or more sensors configured to monitor the patient for symptoms associated with a first state of the sleep apnea condition;
detecting, using a first comparison of historical data or predicted data with the first state of the sleep apnea condition executed by one or more processors, a first sleep apnea event corresponding to the sleep apnea condition; and
transmitting a control signal to a wearable intraoral appliance worn by the patient to instruct an actuator on the wearable intraoral appliance to provide a first displacement force to displace a lower jaw of the patient from a first position to a second position in order to treat the sleep apnea condition; wherein the first position is a habitual jaw position and the second position is an advanced jaw position, and displacing the lower jaw comprises advancing the lower jaw from the habitual jaw position to the advanced jaw position.

US Pat. No. 10,307,222

ORTHODONTIC SYSTEMS AND METHODS INCLUDING PARAMETRIC ATTACHMENTS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A computer-implemented method for designing a customized tooth movement system for eliciting a selected movement of a patient's tooth, the method executed by a physical processor of a computer, the method comprising:determining, using instructions executed by the physical processor, a targeted force system configured to elicit the selected movement when applied to the patient's tooth;
selecting, using instructions executed by the physical processor, a digital model of a generic tooth attachment configured to engage an orthodontic shell appliance;
determining, using instructions executed by the physical processor, a first force system that would be applied to the patient's tooth by engagement of the generic tooth attachment with the orthodontic shell appliance; and
modifying, using instructions executed by the physical processor, one or more parameters of the generic tooth attachment to form a custom tooth attachment, wherein the custom tooth attachment is configured to engage the orthodontic shell appliance so as to apply a second force system to the patient's tooth, the second force system more closely corresponding to the targeted force system than the first force system.

US Pat. No. 10,230,936

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR COLOUR IMAGING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for determining surface topology and associated color of an intraoral structure, the system comprising:a confocal imaging device comprising an image sensor configured to capture confocal depth image data and color image data of the intraoral structure, wherein a time interval between capture of the confocal depth image data and the color image data is within an interval between about 0 to about 100 milliseconds; and
one or more processors operably coupled to the imaging device, the one or more processors configured to cause the system to:
generate depth data of the intraoral structure portion using the confocal depth image data from the imaging device corresponding to a first spatial disposition relative to the intraoral structure,
generate color data of the intraoral structure using the color image data from the imaging device corresponding to a second spatial disposition relative to the intraoral structure, and
map the color data to the depth data.

US Pat. No. 10,213,277

DENTAL APPLIANCE BINDING STRUCTURE

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A removable dental appliance system, comprising:a first shell including:
a number of tooth apertures configured to receive a number of teeth of a patient's first jaw, at least one tooth aperture of the number of tooth apertures having an interior surface configured to apply an orthodontic repositioning force to reposition one or more teeth of the number of teeth; and
a first binding structure integrally formed with the first shell, the first binding structure including:
a first binding surface on the outer occlusal surface of the appliance, the first binding surface configured to mate with a first portion of an attachment surface of a first mandibular advancement feature; and
a second binding surface on the outer buccal surface of the appliance, the second binding surface configured to mate with a second portion of the attachment surface of the first mandibular advancement feature, wherein the first mandibular advancement feature is adhesively coupled to the first binding surface and the second binding surface with a flexible adhesive that substantially allows movement of the first mandibular advancement feature relative to the first binding surface and the second binding surface.

US Pat. No. 10,195,690

LASER CUTTING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method of laser cutting, comprising:creating, via a computing device, a virtual version of a mold and a specialized part formed on the mold;
defining, via a computing device, a virtual cut path at which a laser will direct energy to cut the specialized part formed on the mold;
determining, via a computing device, multiple part material thickness estimates for multiple points along the virtual cut path;
defining a set of adjustment instructions for adjusting at least one of the laser, at least one of a mirror or lens, and a fixture that holds the mold with the specialized part formed thereon;
executing the instructions via a computing device, such that a ratio of a laser energy applied to the specialized part and a part material thickness based on the part material thickness estimates is maintained within a predetermined acceptable range at each point along an actual cut path to cut through the part while maintaining the integrity of the mold;
blowing gas, via a gas dispensing nozzle, at a point at which the laser contacts the specialized part to blow debris of the specialized part from the cut path; and
removing the debris via a suction tube located proximate to the point at which the laser contacts the specialized part.

US Pat. No. 10,052,174

TREATMENT PROGRESS TRACKING AND RECALIBRATION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for identifying and correcting deviations of a patient's teeth from an orthodontic treatment plan, the method comprising:scanning a patient's teeth with a scanner to form an unsegmented three-dimensional (3D) model of a current tooth arrangement of the patient;
comparing, using one or more processors, a previously segmented 3D digital model of a target tooth arrangement specified by the orthodontic treatment plan to the unsegmented 3D digital model of a current tooth arrangement of the patient;
identifying, using one or more processors, a discrepancy between the current tooth arrangement and the target tooth arrangement based on the comparing; and
generating, using one or more processors, a modified orthodontic treatment plan in response to the identified discrepancy.

US Pat. No. 10,509,838

METHODS AND APPARATUSES FOR FORMING A THREE-DIMENSIONAL VOLUMETRIC MODEL OF A SUBJECT'S TEETH

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A sleeve device for an intraoral scanner, the device comprising:a sleeve body configured to couple with a wand of an intraoral scanner, the sleeve body comprising a light-passing region at a distal end of the sleeve body configured to allow near-infrared (near-IR) light to pass;
a first wing extending from the distal end of the sleeve body adjacent to the light-passing region;
a second wing extending from the distal end of the sleeve body adjacent to the light-passing region;
one or more near-IR light sources in the first wing configured to emit near-IR light; and
one or more electrical contacts within the sleeve and configured to make an electrical contact with the wand to receive energy from the wand to power the one or more near-IR light sources.

US Pat. No. 10,433,934

ADJUSTING A TOOTH POSITION

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for moving at least one tooth within a number of teeth, comprising:receiving, from a treatment professional, an initial position of a number of teeth of a patient and a target position of the at least one tooth within the number of teeth;
determining an amount and a direction of force to place on the at least one tooth based on the initial position and the target position; and
creating a dental appliance configured to adjust the at least one tooth from the received initial position to the target position, the dental appliance comprising:
a plurality of cavities shaped to receive the number of teeth, wherein the plurality of cavities include a first and second side wall;
a guide slot formed in the first side wall and configured to accommodate an attachment on the at least one tooth; and
a hook located on the first side wall and configured to accommodate an adjustment band.

US Pat. No. 10,406,753

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR MANUFACTURING A DENTAL PROSTHESIS AND A DENTAL PROSTHESIS MANUFACTURED THEREBY

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for producing a dental prosthesis on a dental coping, comprising:receiving a three-dimensional virtual model of the dental prosthesis;
generating a plurality of virtual model layers based on the three-dimensional virtual model of the dental prosthesis;
forming a plurality of wax layers corresponding to the plurality of virtual model layers; and
casting a plurality of prosthesis layers from the plurality of wax layers, wherein at least one wax layer of the plurality of wax layers is formed on a previously cast prosthesis layer in order to form at least one prosthesis layer of the plurality of prosthesis layers on the previously cast prosthesis layer.

US Pat. No. 10,390,913

DIAGNOSTIC INTRAORAL SCANNING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method comprising:displaying a three-dimensional (3D) model of a patient's dental arch;
displaying a viewing window over at least a portion of the 3D model of the patient's dental arch;
receiving, from a user, a change in a relative position between the viewing window and the 3D model of the patient's dental arch;
identifying, from both the 3D model of the patient's dental arch and a plurality of images of a patient's dental arch taken from different angles and positions relative to the patient's dental arch, a near-infrared (near-IR) image taken at an angle and position that approximates a relative angle and position between the viewing window relative to the 3D model of the patient's dental arch; and
displaying the identified near-IR image taken at the angle and position that approximates the angle and position between the viewing window relative to the 3D model of the patient's dental arch.

US Pat. No. 10,335,252

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DIGITAL TOOTH IMAGING

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A method for combining digital data from at least first and second scanned impressions of a jaw of a patient to form a combined digital jaw impression of the jaw for use in a customized dental treatment of the patient, the method comprising:receiving a first scanned impression of one jaw of the patient, the first scanned impression having distorted digital tooth data for a first tooth of the patient;
receiving a second scanned impression of the one jaw of the patient, the second scanned impression having non-distorted digital tooth data for the first tooth of the patient, wherein the first scanned impression and the second scanned impression are scanned impressions of the same jaw of the patient; and
creating a combined digital jaw impression by replacing the distorted digital tooth data for the first tooth of the first scanned impression with the non-distorted digital tooth data for the first tooth from the second scanned impression.

US Pat. No. 10,332,164

HEALTH-CARE E-COMMERCE SYSTEMS AND METHODS

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system for manufacturing orthodontic appliances, the system comprising:a server comprising storage media having one or more instructions that when executed cause the server to:
receive digitized data representing the patient's teeth and case type data for the patient;
process the digitized data and the case type data so as to generate one or more manipulable three-dimensional computer models of the patient's teeth, the one or more manipulable three-dimensional computer models representing a sequential treatment plan for the patient's teeth;
transmit the one or more manipulable three-dimensional computer models representing the sequential treatment plan to a computer associated with one or more treating professionals;
receive, from the computer associated with the one or more treating professionals, feedback data including either one of: (a) an adjustment to a tooth position in at least one of the one or more manipulable three-dimensional computer models of the patient's teeth, or (b) an approval of the sequential treatment plan; and
process the feedback data so as to generate a plurality of digital data sets for manufacturing a plurality of sequential orthodontic appliances; and
a fabrication machine configured to:
receive at least one of the plurality of digital data sets; and
manufacture at least one of the plurality of sequential orthodontic appliances based on the digital data sets.

US Pat. No. 10,275,862

MOTION COMPENSATION IN A THREE DIMENSIONAL SCAN

Align Technology, Inc., ...

1. A system, comprising:a non-transitory memory having computer-readable instructions stored thereon; and
a processor coupled to the memory and configured to execute the computer-readable instructions to:
register a particular three-dimensional (3D) scan of a plurality of 3D scans of a dentition, captured via a 3D scanner, to at least one of a previous scan of the plurality of 3D scans and a subsequent scan of the plurality of 3D scans;
determine whether an amount of movement between the previous scan, the particular 3D scan, and the subsequent scan is within a registration threshold;
estimate a motion trajectory of a point in the particular 3D scan to the previous scan or the subsequent scan in response to the amount of movement being within the registration threshold; and
calculate a corrected scan for the particular 3D scan by compensating for the motion trajectory of the point in the particular 3D scan.