DentalMonitoring has been recognized as one of the 20 Fastest Growing Companies to Work in 2021 by The Executive Headlines
Meet the leader behind the success of DentalMonitoring
Philippe Salah, our CEO and co-founder, once described himself as simply a “guy with lots of ambition.” A graduate of the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, he received a masters in bioinformatics and a Phd in biophysics at the institution before making an industry leap. Shortly after graduation he crossed paths with an orthodontist, and so began his love story with the dental world. From there, he co-founded Harmony, which was later purchased by American Orthodontics, the world’s largest manufacturer of orthodontic treatment materials, and from that success Salah started DentalMonitoring. With this venture, he sought to answer one question: How can you continue to see your patient and provide good care when the patient is not at the office?
Below are the highlights of the interview with Philippe Salah, CEO and co-founder of DentalMonitoring
When was DentalMonitoring started? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
Our company was founded in 2014. It’s the first AI-based company to target the needs of dental professionals. Our suite of patented software solutions are designed to help practitioners all along the patient journey: from initial virtual consultations to patient engagement and remote monitoring of all types of treatments. Our mission is to improve the quality of care provided by doctors and to monitor the evolution of treatment over time through connected solutions. This is how we bring more efficiency to practices and bridge the communication gap between in-clinic appointments. We have been able to expand our offerings with constant improvement of our AI technology. Since inception, we’ve worked with clinical advisors to ensure a perfect match with the needs of practitioners. We were excited in 2020 to celebrate more than 500,000 patients on the platform. Our expansion has continued with our acquisition of European startup Loum, a digital assistant for patients and practitioners. Most recently, we’ve announced a partnership with Gaidge, a practice management and data science firm that will allow practitioners to measure the success of our software with even more precision.
What are your company’s values? What is DentalMonitoring’s operating philosophy?
We have four guiding values at DentalMonitoring: Excellence, Boldness, Humility and Collaboration. We believe in working hard on our software solutions so practitioners can work less. We have the audacity to disrupt traditional methods in oral care with our advanced AI-powered technology, but we’ve humbly consulted clinical advisers since our founding to fine-tune our solutions to best fit the needs of practitioners.
As for our operating philosophy, we believe in adopting, optimizing, shaping, and leading. We’ve adopted a unique product to meet a common need: remote monitoring to ensure treatment progression outside the practice. We’ve optimized our products and continue to by consulting world class clinicians. We shape the conversation by breaking with tradition in the oral care industry and we lead by pioneering the virtual practice market with long-term strategic goals in mind.
What factors influenced or motivated you to start this venture?
Discussing with dental professionals, we came across the conclusion that the gap that exists when the patient is not in the chair was something AI could bridge. And this would lead to more efficiency for doctors and better treatment outcomes with more compliance from patients.
We created this technology when no one else could do it, thanks to a team of experts and based on a bank of over 500 million patients’ photographs. We were indeed motivated by the great results of AI in other medical fields that were starting to make noise back in 2014. If the technology was powerful enough to detect breast cancer, for example, why wouldn’t it be as efficient when applied to oral care?
What attracts doctors and patients to your solutions? What problem does DentalMonitoring solutions solve for clients?
DentalMonitoring’s solutions were designed to give doctors and patients what everyone is searching for in the 21st century: convenience. Instead of 6- to 8- week intervals between appointments in which doctors are left in the dark, unable to control treatment progression, they can count on our solutions for consistent remote monitoring outside of the office. For patients, instead of driving a half-hour in traffic for a visit that might only last half the time of the commute, an in-depth scan can provide the doctor with all of the information they needed at a distance. There are problems at both ends of the spectrum our solutions can solve. From a doctor’s standpoint, remote monitoring can encourage compliance from patients. From the patient’s standpoint, remote monitoring can ensure they have better communication with their health care provider and have a better smile, in a more convenient way.
What are the value propositions for your solutions, SmileMate and DentalMonitoring? How does it work exactly?
In concrete terms, we offer a platform that can be adapted to the needs and preferences of each dental professional.
This platform offers multiple advantages, primarily:
-The possibility to conduct a first intra-oral assessment remotely with SmileMate. Using a few photos taken by the patient with their smartphone and submitted via our artificial intelligence engine, the practitioner is able to detect 96 common observations and automate a number of alerts. This makes it easier to detect emergencies, reassure patients, and attract new ones. General practitioners and orthodontists can offer orthodontic treatments for any interested patients.
-The ability to remotely monitor the progress of patients' treatments. Often used by orthodontists, DentalMonitoring also has its place in oral hygiene follow-up. It allows practitioners to intervene at the right time, making the care path more efficient and comfortable.
How do you help dental professionals to integrate AI into dentistry?
Our expert teams are dedicated to providing the right solution at the right time for each of our customer’s digital journeys. Every new collaboration starts with a consulting session where we listen to our clients and help them design their own virtual practice. We listen to their expectations and help set their goals. This is a crucial step. Then our implementation specialist spends as much time as needed with the doctor and their clinical staff to assist with the onboarding of our solutions. With this level of support, they quickly see the benefits to their practice’s efficiency. We also launched a self-training platform, where both the practitioner and the clinical staff can learn everything about our solutions, at their own pace. Of course, once our solutions are implemented, we keep a close eye on all our clients and remain available to help them throughout their journey with us.
What are the biggest challenges you faced in the initial years?
Changing one’s habits is never easy. Especially when a process is already in place and works well. But the increasing demand for convenience from patients and the need to gain efficiency are good reasons to go digital. In a few years’ time, practices that have not yet shifted to digital technologies might be left behind. We believe that our mission, on top of bringing unmatched technology to all practices, is to accompany dental professionals in their transition, allowing for a smooth and seamless shift.
We don’t intend to change the organization of the practice. Rather, our technology adapts to each and every practitioner, following their preferences and treatment philosophy.
What do you feel are the reasons behind your company’s reputation?
Among the 7,000 practitioners who already trust us worldwide, we are fortunate to work with highly-recognized professionals who naturally take to spreading the word about our solutions. They enjoy demonstrating how, thanks to DentalMonitoring, they have already transformed their practices, in both clinical and financial aspects. The support of these doctors is very precious, and helps us reinforce our communication and promotional campaigns with concrete examples. These professionals often participate in question-and-answer sessions during our virtual and face-to-face events. Our solutions also meet a real need: Most doctors who are interested in our technology are now well aware that we are offering them "the future of orthodontics.” In other words, our connected platform will be essential for any practitioner who wants to digitize their patient care. From an ROI point of view, the calculation is simple. The time saved, the patient comfort, the efficiency of appointment scheduling, compared to the investment in our platform, leaves no room for doubt: It’s a winning bet.
What’s so different about DentalMonitoring and why opt for it?
We love to highlight the DM difference.
There are several factors that set our solutions apart. First and foremost, our AI-based software is unmatched. That’s because we’re constantly validating and training our AI to build new neural networks thanks to our team of over 170 developers, scientists, dentists and orthodontists across the world. Next, we have a database with hundreds of millions of dental images — the largest the industry has ever known. And on top of that, we’ve pioneered innovation in oral care, with more than 175 patents on our technology and hardware.
Why do dental professionals need to consider integrating AI technologies into their daily workflows?
Our AI solutions help doctors streamline their workflow to become more efficient, more productive and deliver outstanding patient experience. The software goes beyond simple photo sharing, allowing for image cropping, labeling, information processing and advanced detection capabilities of different clinical parameters in the mouth. Our AI-powered automation notifies doctors as soon as a problem occurs so that they can take swift action. AI completely streamlines the analysis process. Instead of self-assessment of photos by the dental professional, which would be a cumbersome process that could lead to information overload, AI can scan numerous parameters undetectable to the human eye, occurs instantly on your time frame and constantly improves via deep machine learning.
What gets you most excited about DentalMonitoring’s future? What is the long-term strategy for DentalMonitoring?
DentalMonitoring is constantly evolving to best fit the needs of practitioners and patients. The most exciting aspect is knowing we are at the helm of the virtual practice transformation. As a pioneer in the industry, we have the unique opportunity to set the pace and apply a new and improved standard for patient care. Our long-term strategy is to continue to redefine oral care by constantly disrupting traditional methods. It’s why we prioritize R&D and collaboration at DentalMonitoring. We have several developments in the works. Keep a look out for our latest innovations.
What is DentalMonitoring’s secret strength?
Out of 350 "DMers" – that’s what we call our employees – more than 170 focus on the development of our platform. R&D and innovation are at the heart of our model, and we have managed to maintain a spirit of collaboration in which everyone, regardless of their position, can come up with the idea that will be developed tomorrow. We count on the involvement of all our teams to design solutions that have real, positive impacts for our customers.
What is the USP of your brand? What makes DentalMonitoring different from its competition?
Our USP can be boiled down to two letters: AI. Our advanced AI-powered database has the largest number of dental images in the industry, with over 500 million photographs. We have more than 175 patented projects, including the DM ScanBox, which allows patients to take in-depth, impressive scans on the first try. But that’s not all, our remote monitoring solutions are applicable to all brands and all appliances, both fixed and removable. Our solutions were designed to streamline the practice workflow from patient engagement to remote monitoring of treatments. And we provide a personal touch with excellent customer support, from implementation to ongoing consulting from our experts.
Do you have any new products or services ready to be/getting ready to be launched?
We have recently unveiled a new facet of our solution, allowing orthodontists to remotely monitor patients receiving braces treatment. This is a big step forward. Until now, our technology was quickly adopted for aligner treatments because it allowed for very accurate monitoring of aligner fitting while alerting practitioners to any problems encountered in the treatment plan. In addition to these alerts, we have added the ability to customize treatment monitoring for each patient by activating notifications for certain very specific clinical parameters, including arch wire and auxiliaries passivity, which paves the way for more individualized and dynamic management of orthodontic patients. We are keeping a tight lid on future innovations and will not reveal the projects we are currently working on, but rest assured that we continue to feed the market with truly disruptive products!