• genna38

DIY Orthodontics

Updated: May 18, 2018

‘Candid’, a US startup has landed $17 million in venture and investment capital. The company offers remote DIY Orthodontics

There’s a new wave on the horizon …. if you’re alert you will surf it for a while ….. but thereafter …… be prepared for the wipeout….

No doubt all of you clued up Millennials out there know all about this and have figured out your strategy for the rest of your careers.  If thats your thinking ‘May the force be with you’ - you’re going to need it….

‘Candid’, a US startup has landed $17 million in venture and investment capital. The company offers remote DIY Orthodontics.

Essentially Candid will mail you an impression kit, you return the impressions together with multiple pics of your teeth. Candid then has an Orthodontist view the models, pics and questionnaire    

Candid offers remote Orthodontics for $1900 or $88 per month over two years. If Candid finds that you’re a candidate they will mail you a set of aligners with instructions. You will be monitored remotely by an Orthodontist.

Orthly, Smile Direct Club and uniform teeth are other US companies offering remote orthodontics.

An Orthodontist friend of mine recently bought a scanner and 3D printer. He takes a 3D scan, sends this and a few instructions off to a Tech guy on another continent, who will produce a file for the 3D printer. The aligners are then printed in-office and given to the patient. The software was purchased, there is no Invisalign involved and each aligner costs a pittance to print. The tech guy earns an reasonable hourly fee.

The shift to clear aligners has powered Align Technology (ALGN), the company behind Invisalign, to a record year. Align's value has nearly tripled, making it the top performer on the S&P 500. It's worth close to $20 billion. (CNN Money Dec 2017)

Yes  - that was £20 Billion !!!

Invisalign is now opening Direct to Consumer ‘Invisalign Stores’ - chew on that !!!

Many of the core patents for Invisalign began to expire in October 2017, and many more of their patents will be expiring over the next few years. This is opening the field up to a new wave of innovation no longer hampered by these patents. And by the way Invisalign owns around 19% of Smile Direct Club.

What does all this mean for you?

For one thing sell Align stock. The stock seems to me to be valued on future earnings that are in peril.

For another, there seems to be a conflict of interest with Align selling Invisalign through Dentists/Orthodontists while at the same time having a very substantial interest in the DIY model.

The cost of 3D printers are plummeting, and the software necessary to design and manufacture the aligners is opening up to intense competition. Scanners will either plummet in price or will be used to scan many cast models at very small amortised unit cost.

The most important takeaway is that the Dental environment is changing very quickly and that rate of change is increasing. There is both opportunity and threat, the certainty is that ‘business as usual’ will be a high risk strategy.

Be sure that there will soon be some other area of Dentistry being disrupted .. watch this space.

The Grumpy Dentist


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