LightForce Orthodontics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, a digital platform specialising in orthodontics and the developer of what it states is the world’s first fully customisable additively manufactured bracket system, has raised $14 million in a Series B funding round led by Tyche Partners with follow-on investment from Matrix Partners and AM Ventures.
Founded in 2015 by Dr Alfred Griffin, DMD, PhD, MMSc along with Dr Lou Shuman, DMD, LightForce enables orthodontists to utilise its Additive Manufacturing technology to create custom braces for each individual patient, significantly reducing the number of adjustment visits needed. The company explains that it will use the new funds to further develop its technology and product offerings, as well as to scale operations to meet the recent surge in demand for more efficient dental technologies.
Weiji Yun, Managing Partner at Tyche Partners, stated, “We’re always looking for visionary entrepreneurs utilising the latest cutting-edge technologies to transform and revolutionise industries. Alfred and Lou’s inspirational vision offered us an opportunity to expand our 3D-printing investment portfolio and the company’s rapid growth is proof that the industry is primed for a solution that improves the orthodontic experience for patients and doctors alike. We are pleased to partner with such an impressive team of doctors and engineers and contribute to LightForce’s success.”
Currently, a vast majority of orthodontic cases are treated with the same “one-size-fits-all” braces that have been used for decades, states the company. LightForce’s platform enables mass-customisation to better treat each individual patient through a highly integrated platform that helps orthodontists determine the best treatment plans and create each patient’s unique bracket system.
Orthodontists who treat patients with LightForce technology begin the process by sending LightForce technicians a scan of the patient’s teeth and their treatment plan. The LightForce team then creates the fully-customised brackets and trays and sends it directly to the practice for the orthodontist to efficiently bond to the patient’s teeth via trays.
LightForce technology uses ceramic material which is said to be virtually identical to familiar injection moulded brackets, but is specially formulated for Additive Manufacturing. The technology elevates the standard for precision and efficiency for current orthodontic appliances, while also offering patients a new aesthetic option, notes LightForce.
Dr Alfred Griffin, LightForce CEO and co-founder, stated, “Braces haven’t changed in fifty years yet are by far the most common treatment tool; aligners are esthetic and patient-specific, but because of patient compliance and biomechanical limitations, they only serve a small fraction of our patients today.”
“This opportunity to help patients and orthodontists was why we applied modern 3D software and ‘mass-customisation’ to what we know today as ‘braces’, he continued. “We’ve seen LightForce provide shorter treatment times, fewer appointments, and an overall more efficient experience for patients and doctors. In the last year our business has doubled every quarter, and that tells me that LightForce has pinpointed a true need within the orthodontic space. We look forward to growing with our investors, partners and the orthodontic community to provide the best experience and outcomes for our patients.”
Dr Mazyar Moshiri, DMD, MS, a LightForce customer and renowned pioneer in digital orthodontics, reported, “From the initial patient scan to devising a custom treatment plan, LightForce’s platform allows our practice to scale predictably, while improving outcomes for our patients. With LightForce’s technology, we are able to offer fully customised, fixed appliances for each individual’s specific needs in order to provide the best treatment option for every patient.”
LightForce offers a variety of products which include:
- LightPlan (Treatment Software by LightForce) – With complete control of every aspect of the treatment plan and a simple cloud-based interface for adjustments and approvals
- Cloud Brackets (Braces by LightForce) – LightForce’s Cloud brackets are white, patient-specific additively manufactured ceramic polycrystalline alumina brackets
- LightTray (Indirect Bonding Trays by LightForce) – The LightTray is a patient-specific indirect bonding (IDB) tray additively manufactured from a proprietary material. The tray design is the result of seven 3D algorithms unique to LightForce that are all intended to optimise the clinical user experience and bonding accuracy
- TurboTrays (Bite Turbos by LightForce) – LightForce TurboTrays are additively manufactured to aid in the patient’s bite correction.