The dental implant industry is a fairly seasoned one. The development of implantable medical devices dates back to the early civilizations including the Mayans and Incas in Central and South America.
Since then tinkerers and dentists have created and experimented quite a bit. Materials such as lead, rubber, acrylic, gold, and even cows teeth have been used to fashion implantable devices that can be surgically implanted to help rehabilitate a missing tooth.
Once titanium was introduced as an implantable material, and CNC machines began to be used to fabricate screw-type dental implants—a quantum leap occurred. In the 1990s, implants were mass produced and in the decades since, they have become the gold standard for tooth replacement, with implants achieving a success rate in the high 90%.
Now, the industry is dominated by industry giants. The whales in the market have market capitalizations of several billion dollars and they own handfuls of implant companies. And the market is consolidating, leading to something of an oligopoly in the industry.
Now, implant designs are largely all the same. They are a titanium screw with some design principles that are largely agreed upon by the academic literature. Without the quantum leaps in improvements that have been made in the past, the incumbents in the industry are left to vie over who can market their specific features best. In an effort to maintain and gain a marketplace, the incumbents saturate the market with conflicting information about what implant designs are best. The result is that the consumer, the dentist, can become lost in a sea of information and sometimes misinformation.
A new company, Implant Club, has plans to change all of that. This startup is betting that the dental implant industry does not need new features and benefits as much as it needs simplicity, predictability, and convenience. By offering a subscription model for dentists, they eliminate the large investment that dentists typically have to make in order to start offering dental implants to their patients.
Rather than using the typical tactics of features and benefits employed by the incumbents, Implant Club uses quality parts that are largely universal to make it easy for dentists to utilize.
As they are a start-up, not to mention one that is based in Stockton, California, their budget is nothing in comparison to the war chests of the industry. They are not even a blip on the radar. However, their early user tests have been promising. With the right vision and execution, we might just see disruption in an industry that has been quite comfortable for a few decades. Implant Club opens to the public in spring of 2023. You can check them out at theimplantclub.com