Getting access to quality dental care can be difficult and expensive for those who live in rural or suburban settings – or even third-world countries. Most people do not mind embarking on long-distance journeys to access good oral care services such as general dentist consultations, dental surgeries, orthodontics, root canals, dental x-rays, tooth bridges and crowns, dentures, and other allied services. However, a significant limiting factor for most is the arbitrary cost of obtaining such dental care services, particularly orthodontics. Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry practice that averts and corrects teeth irregularities, malocclusion, and similar issues that affect facial features.
There is no doubt about the newfound confidence having a perfect teeth symmetry inspires. Complete dental assessment and treatment are essential for mouth health and, by extension, the whole body. Keeping the teeth appropriately aligned helps ensure healthy and comfortable chewing. Additionally, the teeth are easier to clean and maintain with the proper alignment, and this helps prevent teeth vulnerability to cavities, bacteria buildups, and plaque. The benefits attached to having a proper and clean set of teeth as established by the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) asserts that sixty-five percent of the American populace could use proper orthodontic treatment; albeit currently, only high-income earners can afford orthodontic treatments.
Teeth treatments can cost thousands of dollars. Therefore, it is not surprising that a lot of Dental Tech Startups are springing up in a bid to bridge the gap and make dental care easily accessible to all classes of income earners. As people from different backgrounds take entrepreneurship dives across various sectors, the health sector is not left out of this trend given that the past year has witnessed startups in different sectors reaching high valuations. Based on the trends from last year, it is expected that there will be more advancements and this is already evident in the tech startups being established to ease the accessibility and affordability of dental care to a lot of people.
As mentioned earlier, a lot of people do not take the necessary moves to keep their teeth healthy, and according to the American Dental Association, the reasons why a lot of people do not bother about dental care are the inability to access and afford dental care. Also, some people in first world countries have a fear of visiting dentists because some dental procedures involve drilling into the teeth. In a bid to change the status quo, some companies have been established to introduce modern and less painful practices to dental care. As it is now, some dental startups can help make sure people achieve optimal dental health without going through the hassles associated with regular medicine.
Dental Tech Startups like Carbon, ED USA, Orthly, Neosis, Candid, Bio Horizons and Uniform Teeth are great options for people who cannot afford teeth alignment treatments like Invisalign or braces. These startups offer these treatments at lower costs while reducing the need for physical visits to an orthodontist. A large-scale prevalence of Dental Tech Startups can help eliminate the significant limiting factors of accessibility and affordability – two major reasons why a large percentage of people prefer to forgo dental care. Discussed below are different Dental Tech Startups and the value that they add to the orthodontics practice.
The company was launched in the first week of January 2018 and all the treatment that a patient will receive costs a total of $3,500. Although the treatment process is almost similar to that of traditional dental treatment, the patient will have sessions with an orthodontist through a mobile app except for the first and last session, where the patient will be required to see the orthodontist physically. The physical session is so that the patient can get dental scans, health examinations, and X-rays.
As the title implies, Emergency Dentist USA helps people find dental service immediately. If you have a dental emergency, they will find 24/7 dentist near you in seconds. More importantly, Emergency Dentist USA successfully operates in all 50 states, so even if you’re on vacation or a business trip, they will find the closest dentist to your current location.
Candid is another dental tech startup that links patients with orthodontists within their locality so that the patients can get direct prescription of aligners. Launched last September, Candid brought with its launch 3D-printed aligners. Patients will have to spend up to an estimated $1,900 0r $88 per month for two years. This cost arrangement is quite affordable compared to braces and Invisalign which can cost about $7,000 and $8,000 respectively. Candid is a company that offers easy availability and cost-effectiveness compared to what is currently obtainable in the world of dental medicine. Candid’s treatment process involves three steps. The first step involves sending the patient a modeling kit so that the patient can take teeth impressions. The patient then sends the impressions to Candid for review to determine whether their case can be handled. If the case is severe beyond what Candid can take care of, the patient will be referred to an Orthodontist.
Orthly’s process is similar to Uniform Teeth, but instead of having its Orthodontists, Orthly links patients with orthodontists in their locality to get their aligners prescription.
Neocis is one dental tech startup that uses robots for dental surgeries. Neocis’ robot is named Yomi, and it assists with dental implants. Yomi works by doing a CT scan of the jaw to know which part of the teeth needs an implant; then, it displays all the parts of the teeth on a screen to aid the surgery. The dentist is able to carry out surgeries with the help of the attached robotic arm so that the treatment plan is followed. Using a robotic surgery is less invasive and thus ensures a quicker recovery.
Carbon was founded in 2013, and its specialty is in 3D-printing. It makes 3D-printed implants available at lesser cost. The company claims that its technology reduces costs by up to 25% for patients and it continues to build strategic partnerships with other dental companies to manufacture other dental accessories.
Bio Horizons is a dental tech startup that provides patients with longer lasting dental implants. Since its launch in 1994, Bio Horizons has been able to raise $64 million to develop longer-lasting dental implants made from titanium. This is a much better alternative to traditional methods of dental implants as there is zero occurrence of gum down-growth and loss of bones. The surface of the titanium implant is also treated with a laser so that the body can take in the implants.
Making a Choice
These dental tech startups, as much as they are tech startups, are also licensed. They work with licensed orthodontists and dentists. We have established how expensive and difficult-to-access dental care can be; these startups intend to bridge the gap between people who cannot afford or/and access traditional methods of dental care and getting quality dental treatment.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.
Published August 18, 2018