Dentistry.co.uk spoke to Dr Sonia Szamocki, 32Co founder, after bumping into her after her talk at Dentistry Show London.
Sonia has built a growing clear aligner company focused on serving dentists properly.
Their mission? Fix a broken industry suffering from insufficient high-quality training and mentorship, minimal support, unfair aligner prices and high refinement rates.
The average case requires more than double the initially anticipated number of aligners – frustrating for patients and dentists.
Dentists often wait months to spend thousands on clinical training, requiring several patients to be lined up beforehand. And afterwards, they still feel left in the dark when it comes to planning, diagnoses, assessments, tricky cases, and ongoing support.
Enter 32Co, a rapidly-growing start-up which has halved refinement rates by supporting dentists and making the industry more transparent.
They’ve created free, comprehensive training courses. Their educational content uses patent-pending technology to personalise learning for each dentist.
Clinicians can work with a specialist orthodontist hand-in- hand on cases where they require more support, utilising the most comprehensive, integrated treatment mentorship on the market.
Their custom-built online platform includes the world’s first curated clear aligner marketplace, with well-known brands and vetted materials available.
Competition between these brands on the marketplace means better prices for dentists. And they’re all integrated into 32Co’s intuitive workflow, instead of having to learn a new process for every option. We asked Sonia why 32Co has been such a revelation for its users.
‘I’m a doctor, and I’m driven by the potential for healthtech to improve patient outcomes at scale.’ Sonia previously built the world’s biggest app for haemophilia patients.
She said: ‘I’ve seen frontline clinicians miss out on the latest innovations.
‘Across healthcare, a lack of training in new techniques and inadequate ongoing support for clinicians is becoming a barrier to patients accessing high-quality, modern treatment.’
Ultimate experience for dentists
Nowhere is this more true than in clear aligner care; a treatment which requires specialist orthodontic knowledge which many dentists feel they have never been given.
Competition in the clear aligner market has increased in recent years. Prices should have gone down, but Sonia believes most dentists still face artificially inflated high costs, with little clinical support.
When discussing traditional clear aligner manufacturers, Sonia emphasises that these brands’ core focus will never be on the clinician’s continual development.
32Co was founded on the belief that building the ultimate experience for dentists should be at the centre of their platform. 32Co works with hundreds of dentists who have borne the brunt of this – patients left with unrealistic treatment plans, unexpected delays and, in the worst cases, nightmare results.
Sonia founded 32Co to tackle these issues. They are now a team of 40 technologists, educators, and a clinical team led by orthodontic heavyweight Professor Ama Johal.
The big bet – providing personalised support for every case
‘Our platform is built to provide clear aligner providers with a level of support they just can’t get anywhere else,’ Sonia explains. ‘Dentists choose between two workflows for every case.’
‘Our “Solo” workflow is designed for cases where dentists don’t need mentorship. We offer this at an unbeatable price – usually cheaper than traditional systems.
Providers get top-notch, comprehensive support throughout their treatment. ‘And our “Duo” workflow gives providers access to a top UK specialist orthodontist. This is a 1:1 mentorship, where providers can get specialist support on every aspect of treatment using our instant messaging platform.’
‘We built these two workflows to fix the problems dentists repeatedly complained to us about,’ Sonia added.
The team has seen a huge response to this. ‘Most of our new users come through personal referrals from dentists’ positive experiences. We’ve seen that providers use 32Co both to get started and feel more confident during treatment. We’re quickly building an active, international community.’
Free training and a patent-pending educational system
32Co has built a patent-pending educational system, designed to provide help at specific stages of treatment.
Content is contextual to the case dentists are currently working on, taking into account their skill level, treatment stage, and case complexity.
Sonia explained: ‘We think this is the future of training in healthcare.’ But that’s not all. ‘We understood that clear aligners can be intimidating, especially for those who are new to it,’ Sonia said.
32Co launched the free four-week Clear Aligner Starter Course for providers to upskill in treatment planning, patient communication and practical skills.
Led by specialist orthodontists and practice growth experts, it uses a ground-breaking blend of practical and written assessments, articles, and live webinars.
‘We’ve asked each cohort to submit a review, and the feedback has been amazing. Everyone has said they’d recommend it, and they’re now over twice as confident.’
In January, they’re launching their free four-week Stretch Course, designed for experienced clear aligner providers who want to take their ability to the next level.
A revolution for orthodontists too
Orthodontists are joining 32Co monthly to mentor dentists. 32Co clinical lead Professor Ama Johal saw the potential to improve the dentist experience at scale. ‘We’re providing support to colleagues to help them deliver reliable, effective treatment,’ he said. Johal continued: ‘It’s so rewarding to be part of a company making a positive impact on the lives of both patients and clinicians.’
Besides day-to-day support, Johal’s team is engaged in research. ‘We’re working with training participants to understand their relationship with clear aligner provision, and are publishing our learnings soon.’
With hundreds of dentists signing up every month from all over the world, the future looks bright. 32Co is supported by top tech – they’ve backed industry changing companies like Revolut, Citymapper, and Depop.
They think 32Co has the potential to revolutionise healthcare at large. Sonia closed with: ‘We have big plans for our platform, and are delighted with the traction we’re seeing.
‘We’re building the future of clear aligner care, and we’re excited to share it.’
For more information visit www.32co.com.