For OSO/DSO Orthodontists, “May the Force Be with You!”

Dr. Lou Shuman on LightForce, the only fully customized 3D-printed bracket system, that brings finish quality and efficiencies not seen until now.

There is a reason why an orthodontic startup was born out of Dr. Alfred Griffin’s brilliant mind and the Harvard Innovation Lab.

There is a reason why, out of hundreds of technologies, LightForce was one of the winners of the coveted Mass Challenge Incubator Award sponsored by companies like Oracle, IBM, Dell, and Invidia.

To be able to create an orthodontic system that provides ceramic brackets where each one perfectly fits the anatomy of each tooth in the patient’s dentition is a first.

With all the clear aligner companies erupting in the orthodontic space, you would think one can treat most cases in plastic. Not true. Ask most orthodontists today, and they will tell you that at least 70% of all cases treated are still in brackets and wires.

And that’s why LightForce’s entry into orthodontics is not evolutionary…it’s revolutionary. This article will share the reasons why this technology brings such benefits to the orthodontic service organization (OSO)/DSO environment.

Modern patients seek both personalized care and an exemplary experience. Standard, traditional treatment certainly does not cater to their need to feel unique. With patients scouring the internet, social media, or asking their friends about their orthodontic experience, describing a one-size-fits-all approach with mass-produced stock brackets does not bring the wow factor. OSO/DSOs that want to differentiate their practices from others need to evaluate the technology they offer and identify ones that bring efficiency and a superior experience.

Some bracket systems strive for customization, but none offer fully custom 3D-printed ceramic braces. You can’t get any more personalized than 100% customization for children, teens, and adults than with LightForce, which can provide fully custom digital treatment plans for every orthodontic patient.

An article called “Introduction to LightForce: Part 1 3D-Printing the Next Generation of Fixed Appliances,” by Waldman, et al, notes that “The capability of fabricating digitally designed, 3D-printed brackets with anatomically unique bases and individualized prescriptions marks the beginning of a new generation of customized labial appliances.”1

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The Digital Workflow That Pays for Itself

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Like any true digital technology, the process starts with a scan. LightForce uses the STL files to develop a digital treatment plan based on the clinicians’ treatment goals and preferences. With the end result in mind and based on the orthodontist’s goals for the patient, LightForce technicians create a virtual treatment plan in LightPlan. LightPlan is a proprietary, cloud-based platform that allows each practitioner to create, adjust, and approve treatment plans quickly and easily, with complete control over every aspect of the treatment plan.

Patient-specific indirect bonding (IBD) trays called LightTrays are printed from a proprietary material, creating an exact fit to each tooth. Brackets are preloaded in the indirect bonding trays and sent to the practice, ready for bonding. This fit to the exact shape of each tooth reduces the need for doctor time because it empowers the clinical team to be able to bond each bracket quickly and accurately. With the clinical team doing initial bonding, the clinician can tackle other activities like treatment planning more LightPlans, digital detailing, or new patient exams.


Slide2-1Fully customized bracket base to fit each individual tooth morphology.

The efficiency and precision of the LightForce System reduces chair time for the patient and recaptures chair time for the orthodontist. A 2024 study called “Clinical Efficiency of LightForce 3D-Printed Custom Brackets in Diverse Practice Settings,”2 published in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics (JCO) included four practices with different experiential levels of doctors, demographics of patients, and management styles. The study noted, “In all four practices mean treatment times were consistently and significantly shorter for the LightForce group than for the group treated with conventional brackets. The average treatment time for the LightForce patients ranged from 15 to 17 months, whereas the conventional bracket patients averaged about 24 months of treatment; thus, treatment time was about 30% shorter for the LightForce group.”

The number of scheduled appointments also followed the same trend, with LightForce patients averaging 8-11 visits in comparison with conventional bracket patients averaging 12-15 visits (30% fewer appointments). Because the brackets were designed by the software to achieve the clinician’s intended tooth movements, shorter appointments were scheduled.

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With multiple offices, maintaining treatment consistency is imperative. The study noted, “The results were consistent across all four practices, despite substantial differences in demographics, practitioner experience, treatment philosophies, and practice-management models.”2 With the LightForce System, it didn’t matter if the clinician is just out of school, very experienced, in solo practice, in a multi-office practice, or anywhere in between.

LightForce contributes to continuity and the standardization of care, even with multiple providers. If a clinician changes offices or leaves, the next provider can seamlessly continue treatment, without affecting the planned outcome.

LightPlan web-based platformcomplete control over every aspect
of the treatment plan.

In addition to the clinical benefits for OSOs/DSOs, there are also many management-focused advantages. First, inventory challenges are eliminated. Fully custom brackets that are 3D-printed for each patient mean not keeping an expensive and unnecessary inventory of multi-sized brackets. Fewer arch wires are also needed. Reduced inventory will translate to higher profit per visit. Add that to 30% shorter treatment times and 30% fewer appointments and it all translates to increased productivity for the orthodontist and the OSO/DSO.

So, if you are an OSO/DSO, looking for efficiency, consistency, productivity, and an orthodontic system that exudes high-quality state-of-the-art orthodontics reach out to LightForce's OSO/DSOs leadership team: Sr. Director of Special Markets John Missey. Orthodontists interested in learning more can visit

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  1. Waldman A, Moshiri M, Bonebreak-Jackson C. Introduction to LightForce: Part 1 3D-printing the next generation of fixed appliances. J Clin Orthod. 2023;57(9):500-510.
  2. Wheeler TT, Garvan CS, Waldman A, Ford J. Clinical efficiency of LightForce 3D-printed custom brackets in diverse practice settings. J Clin Orthod. 2024;58(5):273-282.
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About Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS


Lou Shuman, DMD, CAGS, the CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, is known for bringing new technologies into dentistry from all over the world. He is also Co-founder of LightForce Orthodontics, the first company to create a fully customized 3D printed ceramic orthodontic bracket, and recently launched DSO Technology Solutions providing valuable technologies to DSOs.  

Cellerant Consulting Group

Cellerant Consulting is a highly acclaimed full-service boutique consulting firm for dental companies from early stage to well-established companies that seek to accelerate their growth.

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