Everyone wants a better smile and whiter teeth, but they know it usually comes at a cost: Lots of dentist visits and typically the expensive wiry, metal braces that makes the feat possible.
But soon, you may be able to ditch both with the growing dental startup Straight Teeth Direct.
The Europe-based company leverages 3D printer-designed, invisible straightening aligners that customers can get fitted for and obtain all through a cell phone app and in the comfort of one’s home.
The company is currently serving customers around the world, mainly in Europe, but also in Asia, Australia and Canada and is looking to expand further by entering the U.S. market. In January, the Straight Teeth Direct team presented at an MIT Enterprise Forum event in Cambridge to an audience of entrepreneurs and investors.
“The existing cosmetic orthodontic market is worth about $3.6 billion, and its growing very fast,” Straight Teeth Direct™ co-Founder Aalok Shukla said during the event. “It’s really driven by the shift from analog, metal and glue, to digital, clear aligners.”
“Our goal is to make the teeth straightening experience completely mobile,” added co-Founder Lucie Marchelot Shukla.
First, potential customers upload photos to the app to figure out if aligner therapy is a good option for them. They then receive a dental mold kit from the company, take the molds at their house and send them, along with their medical and dental records, back to the company.
Straight Teeth Direct licensed orthodontists and technicians then work together to create a 3D simulation of the person’s new and improved smile so the potential customer can see if they would like to go ahead with the full plan.
If satisfied, the customer receives the aligners in stages so the company’s dentists can monitor the progress. At the end, the customer receives retainers to ensure their new smile stays in place.
According to Lucie, Straight Teeth Direct can do all of this at about 70 percent less than the standard orthodontist treatment.
To get the home impression kit, a customer must pay $58 (47 euros), but once they commit to the full plan, the cost is $1,860 (1,500 Euros), which can be paid in full or through a payment plan.
The Shukla’s project that Straight Teeth Direct™, which already has a team of 20 to 25 is growing revenue by 20 percent per month, can do $200 million in sales by 2025.
Investors at the event really liked the model, but had some concern with the regulatory hurdles that stand in between the company and the U.S. market, as well as how the dental industry might react.
But Aalok and Lucie said they have already faced some similar challenges in Europe and are willing to work with the dental industry as they have a hybrid solution that can give dentists a second income flexibly without the cost of opening a second clinic.
The two put the cost of scaling their global digital orthodontist business at $1.5 million to $2.5 million, whereas they said the cost of setting up one standard orthodontist practice is a $1 million investment alone. If interested in investing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.