Best Dental Product Reviews

Review the best dental care startups

Best Dental Care Brands

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Related Reviews

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From luxury toothpaste subscriptions to invisible teeth aligners and smartphone-powered LED teeth whitening devices, there are literally hundreds of venture-backed brands trying to disrupt dental care. A few like Smile Direct Club and Quip have become household names, raising impressive sums of capital to cut out the middle-man — i.e. licensed dentists and orthodontists.Β 

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Read on to discover the fastest-growing direct to consumer brands in dental care, strivingΒ to improve the wellness of your mouth.



What's behind the rise of D2C dental care?

Underserved Patients

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According to the U.S. department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 108 million Americans do not have dental insurance. Since programs like Medicare and Medicaid don’t cover adult dental services, and only about 2% of dental insurance plans in the U.S. cover orthodontia, there’s a large portion ofΒ  the population that don’t have access to affordable dental care.

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Affordable is the keyword, because orthodontic treatment can cost upwards of $7,000 out of pocket. Even among those that might be able to afford it, more than 49 million people in the U.S. do not have access to dental or orthodontia care as a result of dentist shortages, further compounding the difficulty to receive care.

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These systemic problems have made consumers hungry for care and opened the door for startups who can figure out how to provide dental services with less friction, and at a much lower cost.

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Focus on Preventative Care

For the majority of Americans, oral hygiene is perceived as a critical daily practice. The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice and using floss once daily. In addition, the ADA has maintained the importance of replacing the toothbrush head every 3 months.

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These widely accepted oral care guidelines encourage recurring product use, which is key to success for any subscription. This opportunityΒ  for recurring revenue, coupled with the fact that only 40%Β  of work-age adults in the U.S. see a dentist every year, has caused investors and founders to shift focus toward preventative oral care solutions.

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We’ve been watching the dental care space closely and publishing many in-depth reviews that compare brands head to head. For instance, I recommend checking out our comparison of LED teeth whiteners from Laughland vs Smile Direct Club, or get a feel for online clear aligner providers with our Candid vs Byte bake off, which includes before and after photos.

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If you’re in the market for a newΒ toothbrush, evaluate your subscription options with our Quip vs Goby vs Bruush vs Sonicare post. Or if you have bad breath, find out why with an oral microbiome test from Bristle.

What product lines and services are dental care startups disrupting?

While dental care is a general term that we are using to bucket a lot of product and service categories. Here are a few of the hottest markets where VCs have invested heavily, and modern dental care startups are shaking things up:

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As more startups sell dental services directly to consumers, people like dentists, orthodontists, supermarkets, and insurance brokers may see their share of the overall pie shrink.

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Regardless, it’s an exciting time to watch the dental industry evolve. Hopefully direct-to-consumer dental startups begin to tackle larger systemic healthcare problems beyond just cheaper cosmetic treatments, but overall they have already delivered a ton of value to patients.

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As always, we’d love to hear from you, especially if you work in dental care or at a direct-to-consumer company, or if you’ve been a customer of any dental / oral care startups. Don’t hesitate to reach out anytime or subscribe to our newsletter to stayΒ  informed about top wellness brands cuttingΒ  out the middleman and selling directly to consumers.

Why are teledentistry startups so appealing to consumers?

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Greater Convenience

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Now, patients receiving orthodontia treatments can do so from the comfort of their own home as their aligners are mailed directly to them and communication with an orthodontist and/or a dentist can be done through video chat. Those patients that do not have access to a dentist or the time to visit a dentist in person can still receive treatments through teledentristy. Likewise, customers no longer need to remember to buy new toothbrush heads, more floss, or toothpaste because they can sign up for a reoccurring delivery every few months to make sure they are keeping up with their oral care.

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Lower Price

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Historically, the dental care industry has been heavily consolidated with a few large key players that have strong brand awareness for their products. Direct to consumer oral care startups are making cheap alternatives to classic oral care products. For example, Quip sells an electric toothbrush for $25, compared to other larger brands that sell electric toothbrushes for over $100 each. In addition, 40 of Invisalign’s patents expired in October 2017, allowing direct to consumer startups to enter the clear aligner space with a cheaper product and orthodontic services using teledentistry. The cost of treatment through Smile Direct Club is $1895, compared to upwards of $7,000 for treatment through a traditional orthodontist. The direct to consumer model creates savings for the company that is then passed on to the consumer through cheaper products.Β 



What's allowing such rapid growth among dental care startups?

Besides better pricing and more convenience, there are several key factors driving the growth of dental care startups:

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Advertising, New and Old

Most D2C brands start with a social media advertising strategy. However, as social media is inundated with digitally native brands vying for consumers’ attention, more and more DTC brands are investing in TV advertising. TV advertising reaches a broader consumer base, increasing brand awareness.

Additionally, the storytelling nature of TV ads invites consumers to engage with the brand on a deeper level. For brands that offer services such as teeth straightening and whitening, TV advertising reaches a target consumer base that is less active online. Smile Direct Club, Candid, and Quip are brands that have invested heavily in TV advertising to reach a broader consumer base. Β 

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Product Line Expansion

Like many other D2C brands, oral care startups are expanding their product lines beyond one oral care product or service and are becoming larger lifestyle brands. With fierce competition and VC pressures, D2C brands are expanding into new markets and services in order to build an empire. Quip started out selling electric toothbrushes and replacement heads and has recently expanded into dental insurance through its latest offering Quipcare.

On the flip side, Smile Direct Club is expanding beyond teeth aligners and is launching an oral care line that includes products such as toothpastes, a water flosser, and an electric toothbrush. Β 

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Retail Partnerships

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Another way D2C brands that are looking to scale grow their customer base is by expanding into retail, and oral care brands are no different. Many oral care brands are exploring retail partnerships as a way to keep growing. For instance, like many direct-to-consumer brands before it, Quip now sells its toothbrush base in Target stores across the nation. Quip is focused on giving people access to oral care products and services so it’s a natural move to be in retail stores where more people will have more access to their products.

Likewise, Smile Direct Club opened up SmileShops inside CVS stores and recently announced that its new oral care product line will be sold in Walmart. The expansion into retail is a tried and true growth strategy for many DTC brands and as competition in the oral care space continues to grow, brands will continue to enter the retail channel.Β Β 

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