This 3D-Printing Startup is Putting a New Twist on Orthodontics
Say goodbye to crooked teeth.
Orthodontists can now 3D-print retainers and other teeth aligners thanks to a newly developed software. ArchForm is an Aligner software that enables orthodontists to develop and design 3D printed retainers from the comfort of their offices. The idea is to provide orthodontists with a way to better compete against some direct-to-consumer teeth-aligner startups and cut down on the cost of Invisalign.
Traditionally, braces and retainers can cost as much as $7,000 for adults. According to Ibis World research, the orthodontics market in the US was worth $11 billion in 2017.
Practitioners could drastically reduce costs by using the ArchForm software coupled to a 3D printer. As of right now, companies such as Invisalign are currently charging a fee of $1,700 per patient. Patients then carry these costs. Whereas, ArchForm charges just $50 per patient.
“I was inspired to start the company because I worked in my father’s orthodontic office,” ArchForm founder Andrew Martz told TechCrunch in an email. “I saw that 3D printers had advanced far enough to make these devices in dental offices, and knew from experience that easy-to-use software to virtually move the teeth was the missing piece to allow every orthodontist to 3D print their own aligners.”
“We believe that orthodontists do a better job of treating most patients when they can physically be there to treat them,” Martz said. “To make clear aligners work, raised buttons/attachments are placed on teeth as a way for the aligner to grip the teeth and make them fully straight. Tele-dentistry companies don’t have these — which are a very fundamental part of orthodontic treatment.”
In ArchForm’s current customer base, 75 percent of orthodontists who sign up to use the software already have 3D printers.
For the orthodontists who would rather not invest in their own 3D printer, they can send the design to orthodontic laboratories that are equipped with 3D printers and powered by ArchForm’s software.