From hygiene to dental products: How one hygienist took the bull by the horns
After 14 years of practicing dental hygiene in cosmetic and general offices in New York City, I decided it was time to start my own company. I worked mostly in practices where we treated celebrities and other high-profile patients.
I created my first prototype with the help of a chemist and gave it to a university for clinical testing. My mission was to open a new oral care category for the cosmetic patient, since it’s an untapped market. According to the ADA and AACD, there are approximately 22 million people in the U.S. alone with porcelain veneers and 50 million with porcelain crowns and bonding. They all use regular, abrasive toothpaste. I was determined to create the first toothpaste specifically formulated for post-care maintenance for the cosmetic patient. I wanted to be like Rembrandt, the first to create teeth whitening products.
We conducted research studies with Dr. Franklin Garcia-Godoy at The University of Tennessee in which all results were found favorable. We presented research at The International Association for Dental Research Meeting in 2013 titled “Brushing with a Novel Dentifrice Testing with Roughness and Gloss.” Diamynt demonstrated more gloss and less roughness on porcelain and ceramics than conventional toothpastes. In 2012 at The American Association for Dental Research meeting we presented “Experimental Dentifrices Containing Xylitol.” Diamynt demonstrated to have a lesion depth reduction of 27 percent on carious lesions than other toothpastes tested. We then did additional testing with Dr. Heffron to check toothpaste abrasion. Diamynt had a value of 52 RDA (relative dentin abrasivity). Most commercially available toothpastes range from 180 to 200.
After studies were completed and confirmed, I filed for patent and trademark. I then did my first production run at a factory in New York and hired designers, lawyers, and consultants. I registered Diamynt’s formula with the FDA. I then started going to dental shows and distributing Myntsmile in dental practices, educating dentists and hygienists on a solution for their patients. In addition I set up a website for my customers to order online.
Since creating Diamynt, I have met the founder of Rembrandt and several celebrities, taking the opportunity each time to distribute my product.
Of course, having my own company comes with its challenges. So far, I have funded everything myself and I am looking for investor opportunities for growth. I would like to see Myntsmile expand and go worldwide. I want to develop more innovative products. This is my passion and what I love to do.
Rewards when starting a business in the world of dentistry? Finding a solution for your patients and colleagues. I love research and making the world of oral hygiene a better place!
Lisa Marie Kao, RDH, BS, has 17 years of clinical experience in cosmetic, prosthodontic, periodontal, and general dental procedures. She is an active member of the International Association for Dental Research and American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. She is currently doing more research and development on new innovative products. Diamynt is sold at dental practices and www.myntsmile.com.