It is said that if patients could see as deeply into their mouths as their dentists do, they would be more eager to act.
“If you could see in the mirror some plaque buildup, you’d clean it up,” said Brant Herman, chief executive of startup MouthWatch.
The company he co-founded with two colleagues makes intraoral, or mouth, cameras that are marketed to dental practices, but are cheap enough to give to patients.
His firm has used the cameras to convince patients of needed work, and prescreen adult patients before a visit.
“A lot of offices experience a telephone triage,” Herman said. “The patient is describing something they can’t see, and automatically the dentist gives them an hour, which, depending on the issue, could be too much or too little.”
About 600 private practices nationwide use the cameras, he said, which are priced at $199 apiece, with volume discounts. In comparison, competing products run $2,000 to $4,000.
MouthWatch has recently became a StartUp Health company, and has managed to bring down the price on its products by removing features many customers told them were problematic to begin with. Among these was autofocus feature, which is often slow to respond to the camera’s movement, as we’ll as a metal housing for the device.
Mr. Herman hopes to use the company’s capabilities to expand into tele-dentistry, a field he admits is “not a crowded space.”