LightForce Orthodontics, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company responsible for developing the world’s first customizable 3D printed bracket system, has raised $14 million in a Series B financing round. The investment round, led by Tyche Partners and saw participation from Matrix Partners and AM Ventures, will enable the company to further develop its 3D printing orthodontic solution and scale its business to meet the growing demand for efficient dental technologies.
LightForce has pioneered a 3D printing technology that enables the production of patient-specific braces. One of the key benefits of its product offering is that it reduces the amount of face time needed between orthodontists and patients because the custom brackets require fewer adjustment sessions. In the context of the pandemic, this advantage is amplified, as minimizing in-person dental visits (without sacrificing quality of care) is critical to mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“We’re always looking for visionary entrepreneurs utilizing the latest cutting-edge technologies to transform and revolutionize industries,” said Weiji Yun, Managing Partner at Tyche Partners. “[LightForce founders] 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.”
Using LightForce’s technology, orthodontists can provide their patients with braces that are customized to their jaws and teeth. The process, like most dental AM solutions, begins with a scan of the patient’s mouth and teeth. This scan is sent to the LightForce technician team, which creates the customized brackets and trays and ships them directly to the orthodontic office, where they can be bonded to the patient’s teeth. The LightForce brackets are 3D printed from a ceramic material that is nearly identical to the material used in injection-molded brackets.
“Braces haven’t changed in fifty years and are by far the most common treatment tool; aligners are [aesthetic] and patient-specific, but because of a lack of patient compliance and biomechanical limitations, they can only serve a small fraction of our patients,” said Dr. Alfred Griffin III, DMD, PhD, MMDc, Co-Founder and CEO of LightForce. “These limitations are why we applied modern 3D software and brought ‘mass customization’ to orthodontics.
“LightForce provides shorter treatment times, fewer appointments and an overall more efficient experience for patients and doctors. In the last year, we have seen our business double 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.”
Today, LightForce offers a range of custom orthodontic solutions, including Cloud Brackets, its 3D printed braces made from ceramic polycrystalline alumina; LightTray customized indirect bonding trays, 3D printed from a proprietary material; and TurboTrays, 3D printed bite turbos that help correct bites. All three products are supported by the company’s LightPlan treatment software, which offers clinicians control over each step of the treatment plan.
Dr. Mazyar Moshiri, DMD, MS, a LightForce customer and pioneer in modern orthodontics, said of the company’s unique offering: “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 customized, fixed appliances for each individual’s specific needs in order to provide the best treatment option for every patient.”