The agreement builds on the company’s sponsorships with the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers, and expands the Invisalign brand’s “official smile’’ status to 11 teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs.
The tie-up may also help the league in its attempt to reduce concussions, which has become one of the NFL’s principle health and safety issues in recent seasons.
A spokeswoman for Align said the deal makes its iTero scanners available to individual teams to support players’ dental health.
According to a person with knowledge of the matter, the scanning process may also lead to players using custom mouth guards and, eventually, custom helmets aimed at reducing concussion risk and better protecting teeth.
The spokeswoman said the scanners are used to support dental health only.
“Anything further would be rumor and speculation,’’ she said.
The NFL has taken myriad steps, including rules changes, to reduce the risk of concussions among its players. Align has for at least a year been scanning the teeth of players, said the person, who was granted anonymity because no one is authorized to discuss the project.
The long-term effects of head trauma have become a focal point for NFL players.
There were 224 reported concussions in the preseason and regular season in 2019, up 4.7% from the year before but 20.3% lower than 2017. NFL clubs reported 39 concussions from practices in both the preseason and regular season last year, down from 53 in 2018.
The Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams are among the teams whose players’ teeth have been scanned, and the New York Giants were scheduled for last week, the person said.
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said the team is part of a pilot project that started last year. He didn’t provide details.
As part of the deal, financial terms of which weren’t disclosed, the Invisalign brand will connect with doctors, patients and consumers through NFL-sponsored channels. The brand will also support a variety of the NFL’s youth-focused initiatives.
Invisalign will be featured in advertising during the NFL season, including marketing placed in doctors’ offices. There will also be NFL club-branded cases.