The second-wave of digitization in orthodontics

More people need orthodontic treatment than not - only 35 percent of adults have properly-aligned teeth. This is a reality that Kleiner Perkins is quite familiar with, having invested in the first digital revolution of orthodontics decades ago with Align Technology. Yet we also know that clear aligners are not a solution for everyone. The overwhelming majority of orthodontic treatment cases still use metal braces, but until now, there has been very little innovation on this front.

Braces use mass-produced hardware and an analog workflow created generations ago, and innovations haven’t kept pace with our digital world. Orthodontists prescribe the same set of one-size-fits-all brackets to every patient, regardless of teeth shape, mouth/gum morphology, and dental layout. They then create a treatment plan based on what they can see, guided by their own experiences and training.

As an early partner to Align Technology, Kleiner Perkins saw how personalized treatment plans based on 3D-scans of patients mouths can provide both a customized solution that’s more comfortable for the patient, while requiring less intervention by the orthodontist.

When we met Dr. Alfred Griffin III, he was applying 3D printing to create clinically-acceptable, custom-printed brackets for braces - something that had never been successfully done at scale before. He joined forces with Dr. Lou Shuman, an early member of the Invisalign® team that helped pioneer their software-simulated treatment plans. Together, the two founders are leading a team of biomechanics experts, hardware engineers, and software developers to drive - a long overdue - advancement in braces — Lightforce Orthodontics.

We believe that Lightforce Orthodontics is the second-wave of orthodontics digitization. The company is creating mass-customized braces that enables orthodontists to combine the digital benefits of aligner therapy with the tooth-moving efficiency and quality outcomes seen with braces.

We’re proud to lead Lightforce Orthodontics’ Series C financing, and to partner with the Alfred, Lou and their team to deliver a digital revolution for braces.

— Wen & Haomiao