For decades, Orthodontists had only one option to help clear aligner patients seat their trays: chewies. But my patients said they made them gag and complained about their funky taste and smile, so I decided to create something better. After years of tinkering in my makeshift lab, developing prototypes and filing patent paperwork, I successfully launched Movemints®, the world's first commercially available Invisalign chewies alternative.
Why Did I Create An Alternative to Chewies?
Chewies had become somewhat of an enigma in orthodontic circles. We appreciated their utility in helping patients practice the chewing exercises necessary to seat trays when their Invisalign is not tracking, but we lamented the high cost of such a simple foam device.
Plus, many of my colleagues were growing tired of giving them to their patients. Invisalign as a treatment is incredibly sophisticated with its 3D scans and practically invisible aligners. I wondered why we didn't have something more suitable for such an elegant way to straighten teeth. While others resorted to MacGyver-like alternatives (the ends of disposable toothbrushes, surgical suction tips, and other repurposed dental supplies), I took the challenge personally and wanted to create something useful for seating trays that could also improve the patient experience.
The Quest For Better Chewies
With clear aligner treatment an already enormous and rapidly growing market, I saw an opportunity to innovate, to create an alternative to chewies for Invisalign that would make the smile journey more comfortable for millions of people around the world. And so it began, the Movemints story.
In a lab, hidden somewhere in the hills of East Pittsburgh, I took to the grinding wheel determined to reshape the Chewie. I successfully created some pretty cool shapes, but I was still gagging on unappealing foam rubber. So I thought to myself, why not create something edible that my patients could enjoy while seating their trays? I sculpted anything I could find, from my kids' play dough, jolly ranchers, anything I could find in the checkout section of my local grocery store.
But then it hit me: why reinvent the wheel by creating a new chewie, when I could create something entirely new, different, and better than the original?
An Edible, Hands-Free Alternative to Chewies
One of the least appealing aspects of aligner chewies is holding on to one end of during use. This cannot be concealed, which is counter to Invisalign's promise of discrete teeth straightening treatment. It's also unsanitary, and a real threat to patient health especially during cold and flu season.
In order for the innovation to be hands-free, I wanted something that could fit between the teeth and also be edible so patients could consume it after use. And in order for it to help seat trays, it had to be firm enough to support the gentle chewing exercises that justified the need for Invisalign chewies in the first place. So my partner and I started to think about what an ideal shape might look like. Something with grooves that could fit comfortably between the trays, so that the object wouldn't be at risk of flying out of (or back into) the patient's mouth.
We eventually exhausted our abilities and hired a local sculptor who took our crude designs to an incredible new level. He loved the challenge of crafting an object that could conform to the plastic Invisalign trays, and we loved what he was able to deliver.
With the shape developed, it was time to solve the second part of the equation: a chewies alternative that would also be edible and enjoyable for patients to consume. And that's what ultimately led me to design a mint with special grooves that could fit my patient's clear aligners. It took us a few formulations (you'd never guess how difficult it actually is to create and bring a new mint to market, but we did it!) but with hard work and determination we proudly introduced Movemints Clear Aligner Mints to the world in early 2016.
Introducing Movemints®, the Mint that Fits Clear Aligners!
After several product iterations, a design and utility patent, trademark applications and years of hard work, we've been able to deliver over 1 million Movemints to clear aligner patients all over the world. Patients can buy them on Amazon or our online store. Orthodontists and Invisalign providers can buy sample packs to provide their patients and differentiate their practice, and we've even been featured in the 61st Annual GRAMMY Gift Bag!
It's been an incredible ride, but it's enabled us to deliver on our mission to make clear aligner treatment more comfortable and enjoyable for Invisalign patients everywhere. In a world of high-technology, Movemints are simply the best alternative to Invisalign chewies.
If you're a patient, check out our Smile Journey collection. If you're a provider, check out how you can differentiate your practice with our convenient "daily dose" sample packages, perfect for patient thank you bags.
Have you tried the Mint That Fits®?