Customers are…

Mill Town Agriculture is renovating and repurposing the Riverside Paper Co. building in Holyoke, MA for cannabis cultivation. An exciting project and Metatooth is grateful to be involved.

One fascinating aspect is the remnants left behind by previous tenants. Lots of old equipment, plenty of useful scrap, workplace posters and signs. This poster caught our attention immediately. A little heavy-handed but definitely not wrong.

Customer-centered or outward-looking reflection is a vital part of any business, regardless of industry. Identifying your customer and their needs are essential in understanding what to offer and how to sell. What is their need? It is not always what they say. Many customers can’t articulate their need as they don’t know how your product or service provides value. In regulated markets, a customer need document — also known as user need — is the beginning of the product development process. Contact us to learn about Metatooth’s consulting services.


Yankee Dental 2022

The Congress and Exhibition returned in-person this year after going virtual for 2021. There were a few empty booths on Friday ahead of the nor’easter and the Congress was closed on Saturday because of the weather. The target customer for this exhibition is the clinician and other members of a dental practice.

New Products

These were new to Metatooth, if not the world.

First up is the Virtua Vivo intraoral scanner from Straumann. It gets the form factor right. Are the days of the dedicated cart over? Also on display were handsets from 3Shape and Medit.

Bioclear demonstrated it’s restorative method, which has been around since 2007. This observer is more familiar with prosthetic dentistry, but patient care is a spectrum. The clinician selects a form or matrix from a kit of stock components (sound familiar?) and then uses injection molding techniques to apply and set the restorative material. The procedure takes about one hour. If an optical scan was taken beforehand, a custom matrix could provide value to the clinician and patient.

Practice Management Software

A survey of software vendors that interface with practice management software consider the following as the market leaders.

Dental Laboratory Services

Ten or so dental labs had a presence at the exhibition. Many of the “traditional” labs had samples on display, for example, study models, crowns, splints. A smaller number focused their displays on technology — equipment and services. Newcomer Dandy was enticing practitioners with a free intraoral scanner. This business had up-to-date marketing and was drawing the largest interest from the floor.

In-house Production

This author has heard estimates that 10% of dental practices employ a lab technician. If so, then in-house or chair-side production is a small but important market segment. Formlabs seemed to be drawing more interest than it’s competitors in 3D printing equipment.

Artificial Intelligence

Articial Intelligence (AI) increases it’s presence in this industry. The most common application is radiographic analysis, offered by Pearl and Overjet. Claims analysis for insurance companies appears to be another use case.

Looking for products delivered using AI technology? Then 3D Predict has clear aligners for you.

Some other eye catchers…

Wesper presented an FDA-cleared device for at-home sleep testing. It feels like we are just starting to see what mobile computers and wearable devices can deliver in the dental space.

Software provider Referral Ease reminded this author of a time when the conventional wisdom was that web-based software was considered “too modern” for that era’s dentists.

At a recent cleaning, the author’s hygienist described the difficulty of periodontal charting with enhanced infection protocols. Florida Probe has the solution.

Thank you, Nancy

This banner for Rosen Summit Dental caught our attention. A good reminder that at the end of the day dental practices are businesses where the bottom-line remains priority one. This small business owner knows that revenue enables everything else to happen.

What did you see at Yankee Dental this year? Tell us about it in the comments!

3d-printing dentistry marketresearch product

Yankee Dental 2020

Metatooth went to Yankee Dental 2020 and here’s what we found.

3D Printing

Micron Dental was showing their P305 printer. This printer uses LCD technology as the light source. Micron claims less lens distortion issues with this technology over the SLA and DLP types. It is being sold as a bundle only, which includes a wash & cure station.

The P305 lacks the design flair of the Formlabs Form 3B  or SprintRay Pro. The exterior design would not effect performance, but it does limit access to the print plate, with a side door of just 18 inches. Compare this to the “hatch” approach provided by the other two vendors. Does this effect usability? Micron users please comment below!

Formlabs was present as well, showing the Form 3B. No new materials were shown. The hunt is still on for a printable clear aligner tray. Everyone seems happy to be selling model resin! Formlab’s PreForm software is free to download and use, which was news to Metatooth.

Finally, Great Lakes Dental Technologies showed an economy desktop LCD printer the UNIZ Slash Plus.

Dental CAD

Metatooth watched a demonstration of 3Shape‘s Bite Splint and Indirect Bonding modules. 3Shape’s design software is available stand-alone, at prices comparable to other stand-alone software. However, the yearly maintenance fees are required for the software to operate.

Look for 3Shape to support Polygon File Format (*.ply) in the near future. This will enable non-3Shape users of this data to receive the color information collected by TRIOS scanners. This would be a welcome addition to those supporting open standards and protocols in the dental industry.

Practice Management Software

There were a number of companies offering software products that worked with the leaders in practice management software. Hopefully more of these offerings will keep coming. Metatooth recommends software products that integrate using the vendor’s API, not via an understanding of the vendor’s database schema.

This market is quite regional, so for the Northeast, Metatooth considers these the market leaders.

  1. EagleSoft from Patterson Dental
  2. Dentrix from Henry Schein
  3. OpenDental

Relative newcomer carestack might be one to watch.


Artificial Intelligence vendors were centered around perio-charting assistance and some other voice-to-text tasks. BOLA.AI offered the most functionality. This area will continue to grow, especially as practice management systems (see above) move to the cloud and add API support.


Direct-to-consumer companies looking to add a clinical channel were present. quip was the most well known to Metatooth, but another toothbrush service — BURST — was also on the scene. Colgate, Oral-B, and the like had throngs at their booths. When does quip or BURST become an acquisition target?

There was also an anti-snoring device from Zyppah. This self-molding thermoform device is available directly from the company. A “dentist only” channel was being presented.

Metatooth had a great time at the vendor exhibition of Yankee Dental 2020. What did Metatooth miss? Tell us about it in the comments!

Yankee Dental 2020

Clear Aligners

Everyone’s heard of Invisalign(r) and SmileDirectClub(tm) by now.  That I can list both of these clear aligner manufacturers in the same sentence is amazing by itself.  Invisalign created this product category almost 20 years ago. SmileDirectClub has brought the idea of #teledentistry to the market.

SmileDirectClub may have led the charge, but now they have a few imitators:

There are other product categories moving in this direction too. I’ve seen direct-to-consumer custom night guards from Cheeky(r) and at-home veneers from TruSmile Veneers.

Any other surprising direct-to-consumer dental products out there? Tell me about it in the comments.





Custom night guard survey results

Custom night guard survey results are in! The survey ran from Feb 15 – Mar 15, 2019. Sign up to the e-mail list to learn more about this survey.

Custom night guard survey results.
What could be improved about your custom night guard?

Are you a night guard user? Order your impression kit for a custom night guard today.

1. How often do you replace your night guard?
Every couple years19%
Once a year19%
2. Where did you go for a new one?
My dentist75%
Online shop13%
3. What did you enjoy about it?
The fit71%
The price36%
The fitting process14%
4. What could be improved?
Better fit31%
The price69%
Convenient fitting process31%
Easier to replace38%
5. How much did you pay for your night guard?
< $10031%
> $20063%
The take away

User needs an at-home impression kit. Availability of a replacement night guard on short-notice is appreciated. There are few options in the $100-$200 price range.

Thanks for checking out the custom night guard survey results. Did you come to a different conclusion? Tell me about it in the comments.