We had another interesting thought experiment today. We imagined that we wanted to go into business selling a product (tangible good) to orthodontists and thought about what that would be. It was tougher than we thought because most of the things we wanted to sell were services not products. To come up with more than one item we had to think seriously about things that most orthodontists find cool and attractive and thus would sell well instead of thinking only of products we like or we would use. Here’s what we came up with, ranked in order of salability for our theoretical business:

Intraoral Scanners

3D Printers

Practice Management Software

CBCT Machines

Sales for scanners and printers are red hot these days and it seems every orthodontist wants or needs one. PM software still pulls down big bucks despite the rise of cloud-based platforms and we assume this has not changed due to the small size of the orthodontic market and the high cost of creating an innovoative PM software platform from scratch. (As an aside it would be awesome to see a PM software that was not based on or derived from OPMS as almost all the available PM software are basically digital versions of a paper chart instead of native digital formats). CBCT are still all the rage despite questions about their application and we don’t see that changing soon.

Where are the brackets or orthodontic appliances or even the curing lights? Why aren’t they on this list? Would they even make a list of the top 5? Probably not because of the influx of inexpensive brandless alternatives that have reshaped the orthodontic supply business. It is becoming acceptable in orthodontic circles to save money and this is having a significant impact on stakeholders in the orthodontic space. We are curious to see how this will impact other products, including those on this list. How long until these relatively expensive items are in competition with much lower cost competitors from overseas? Will “quality” and brand be able to overcome significant price difference? Something to think about. The only constant is change.

Marc Ackerman

Ben Burris

4 thoughts on “If We Were Selling to Orthodontists…

  1. I remember buying 3M MBT brackets for $6 per bracket in australia in 2013 and i went to lecture at the indian orthodontic meeting, the same brackets manufactured at the same factory with same labelling was selling for $1 per bracket!

    I think Asia will define (in the future possibly Africa) the right price and the appropriate technological advancement due to its population size and the respective growth trajectories of its economy putting more and more people accessing orthodontics.
    I don’t think we would need to pay super $$$’s for PM which as you said is moving to cloud and the interface will be practice driven.
    Great article.

  2. You’re spot on as always Vas. I need to come visit you and learn some stuff!

  3. We have a new software platform for orthodontists, and were considering hiring our own salesforce. Are there alternatives? Are there such things as manufacturers reps who serve the industry but carry multiple lines and brands?

  4. Not that I know of but if you want to give the orthodontic industry a look at your new software TheMKSforum.com is a great place to do that. See you in Dallas!

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