Where to Invest in the Dental Space?
As an orthodontist, a dental space pundit and blogger, and the “mama” of the DTC aligner movement, I am often asked to predict future trends. Given my unprecedented experience within this space, I am uniquely qualified to answer these key questions:
Would I invest in SmileDirectClub?
Yes, I did, but I was smart and bought my shares at $9 and change. I still think SDC has some key changes to make in order to succeed. If I don’t see things changing soon, I’ll sell. They are an incredibly innovative team, so I am sure they will make smart decisions soon.
2. Would I invest in Invisalign?
Maybe, I’ve given their exec team directly last month a few key tips. If I start to see implementation and a change in market strategy, I will.
3. What do I think of “all the others” in the doctor-facing channel (eg: Spark/envista, ClearCorrect, 3M Unitek..etc)
I don’t think about them. Negligible. Many will be gone soon. Nothing special there. No innovation.
4. What do I think about the copy-cat DTC companies (eg: Candid, Byte)?
Same answer as above, unless their strategy changes. Given some of the new legislation, there’s a better way to scale and they are doing it wrong.
What are SmileDirectClub and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Aligners?
SmileDirectClub is disrupting the orthodontics industry by providing a generic version of the Invisalign teeth aligned that’s direct-to-consumer. In 2018, the first round of Invisalign® patents expired. SmileDirectClub uses the same clear aligners, but it cuts out the in-person, orthodontist middleman by selling straight to customers. The company relies on teledentistry, which means a dentist looks at your teeth via cyberspace. This makes the process a lot cheaper but also, at times, less reliable and ideal. SmileDirectClub charges $1,895 for its service, versus $5,000 to $8,000 for existing alternatives. SmileDirectClub also has incredible financing that is really unmatched in an orthodontist’s office. You just make a down payment of $250 and monthly payments of $85.
What are Invisalign and Doctor-Directed Aligners (DDA)?
These are braces made of plastic which is fabricated by 3D printed models which are generated from a digital treatment plan. Nothing has to be glued on your teeth or “tightened” which saves time at a doctor’s office. Keep in mind that the average Invisalign case (ASP), according to the most recent Invisalign Q3 report, is $1260. Orthodontists and dentists have to raise that price to cover their own overhead and expenses beyond that lab fee. Most doctors I know are selling Invisalign for $4000-$5500. That is significantly higher than SDC for very similar technology.
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Nov 10th, 2019 7:55 am
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