With augmented reality and orthodontia by mail, disruption comes to dentistry

By Jonah Comstock
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While telemedicine has a broad range of applications, some specialties certainly seem better suited then others, and teledentistry -- or, more specifically, teleorthodontia -- seems on the surface to be a poor fit. But Candid, a new startup that launched today, is aiming to do exactly that.

The startup will send users a kit by mail that they can use to take impressions of their teeth and complete a remote evaluation with an orthodontist. A team of orthodontists will design clear aligners based on the impressions and send them to users along with a treatment plan. The cost is $1900 upfront or 24 monthly payments as low as $88 -- 65 percent less than traditional braces, according to the company. And the company takes insurance "whenever possible". 

“The technology’s reached a point where, for the vast majority of patients, it doesn’t make sense to drag yourself into the orthodontist’s office anymore," ​Chief Orthodontia Officer Lynn Hurst said in a statement. "Candid offers the latest in orthodontia, without the markup and the inconvenience.”

The company provides complimentary teeth whitening along with its teeth straightening services. If Candid determines that a person isn't a fit for remote treatment, the cost of their modeling kit will be refunded. 

Candid isn't the only tech company disrupting dentistry. TechCrunch reported today on Kapanu, a Swiss startup using augmented reality to help dental patients envision how their teeth will look after different treatments. 

The software overlays healthy teeth on a 3D scan of the user's teeth in realtime, creating a "magic mirror" that shows a user what their mouth could look like after reconstructive surgery. The user can tweak the final result, and those changes will inform the manufacture of replacement teeth.