Based in Massachusetts, LightForce Orthodontics has developed what is said to be the first first fully customized braces enabled by 3D printing.
Using a light-based additive manufacturing system and cloud-based CAD software, each bracket is 3D printed and personalized to its patient for effective teeth-straightening treatments.
Having raised over $6.5 million in September 2018 with Matrix Partners, the company has received FDA clearance for its braces and will enter the market this fall.
3D printed customized braces
Founded in 2015 by Alfred Griffin, LightForce Orthodontics aimed to tackle the inflexibility of orthodontic prescriptions, that is, inflexible bracket manufacturing and the imprecision of analog treatment planning. In its early growth, Griffin, who is also CEO of the company, added Dr. Lou Shuman – a key member of the Invisalign executive team, as co-founder.
Despite the disruption on the dental sector from integrating 3D printing for clear aligners like Invisalign, together, the partners recognized that such products only cover 15% of orthodontics case starts. Thus, LightForce 3D Technology was developed to address the 85% of practices that still call for treatments using bracket and tubes.
Presently, the start-up comprises of 22 employees including biomechanical and hardware engineers, and software developers with a history of building advanced dental systems.
“The future of orthodontics”
From scanning a patients teeth, LightForce’s software creates a simple and intuitive on-line interface designed for fast and efficient treatment planning. Within this, a 3D model is created of braces from patient-specific data to be used with a bracket programming which maintains straight wire principles.
LightForce Othodontics’ 3D printing Stereolithography (SLA) is said to meet mass customization demands within the dental sector.
The company states, “By offering orthodontists the ability to scan a patients teeth, [we] do all the work of using 3D printing to produce fully customized brackets. And applying the braces with ease with our indirect bonding trays… it really cannot get that much better. That is exactly why LightForce is the future of orthodontics.”
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Featured image shows a 3D printed brace from LightForce Orthodontics. Photo via LightForce Orthodontics.