The orthodontics market is expected to realize significant growth in the coming years with projected growth to $9.72 billion by 2026 ($4.06 billion in 2018). Technology advancement in the industry has largely been driven by invisible, clear aligners that can be removed for eating and cleaning. Aligners progressively reposition teeth through controlled force without the tightening required with traditional metal braces.
Despite aesthetics and ease of use, an estimated 80% of patients have alignment problems that still require braces for treatment, restricting the market share that leading aligner solutions, like Invisalign, can capture. In a majority of cases “one-size-fits-all” metal braces continue to be the go-to option for orthodontists.
Bringing a new approach to the industry is LightForce Orthodontics, makers of the first 3D-printed bracket (or braces) system. Using material similar to typical injection molded ceramic brackets, LightForce’s approach allows for strength and customization, meaning that each bracket is designed to fit each tooth’s unique morphology.
Dr. Alfred Griffin III, Founder of LightForce Orthodontics
According to Dr. Alfred Griffin III, founder of LightForce, the high degree of personalization also leads to a reduced treatment duration of roughly six months compared to 12 to 24 months for most metal braces.
To achieve such a high level of precision, the company develops its own cloud-based CAD software to assess patients’ teeth and predict how they will shift over time. LightForce’s products also come with a treatment plan and strategy.
Commenting on the opportunity LightForce is tackling, Dr. Griffin shares, “There is a huge opportunity, and we are the first to combine this leading-edge technology into digital manufacturing to make a real application for the space.”
Following a $5.2 million Series A round of funding led by Matrix Partners, LightForce secured FDA clearance in 2019 and today has shipped over 50,000 3D-printed parts. Last week, the company announced a $14 million Series B round of funding led by Tyche Partners and including follow-on investment from Matrix Partners and AM Ventures. The Series B funding will be used to further scale LightForce, which doubled in size to 70 individuals earlier this year, and invest in product development.
“Raising the Series A was about proving product market fit,” commented Dr. Griffin in the recent announcement. “We are now turning from research and development into being focused on selling something. There is a lot of demand for this, and the next challenge is going to be manufacturing because it is a complex medical device.”
Link: LightForce Orthodontics…