14 Sep 2018 Interview with Mark Moore
Our founder, Mark Moore recently sat down and shared his insights on the technology used, the success of Toothpic to date, and what the future holds. Read all about it;
What exactly is Toothpic?
Toothpic is an app that give you the dental advice you need, when you need it. It’s revolutionizing the way dental care is delivered by connecting consumers with dentists in their area through their smartphones, anytime and anywhere. Toothpic’s technology enables the user to share high quality images of their teeth with the dentist who can then perform a visual consultation, as they would in an office setting.
In addition, Toothpic users get tips on home care, recommendations for good dentists in their area, and a cost estimate for any treatments they need – all within the app. We’ve partnered with leading dental insurers and oral care companies to deliver consumer-focused dental care for everyone and the response has been fantastic.
Teledentistry is a relatively new phenomenon. How does the app work?
When you take a picture on your phone and upload it to Facebook or send it on Whatsapp much of the image quality is lost, because these systems compress the file. Our technology does the opposite. After a user answers the in-app questions about the concern they have, they are guided to capture images which we upload to our server in full quality.
Images are then sent to Toothpic dentists in the same area as the user. When the next available dentist logs in, they visually assess the case. The dentist will then share a detailed report and can highlight areas for the user’s attention, include annotations, and provide personalised information and advice for home and professional care.
What inspired the idea behind Toothpic?
I graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2010 with a Bachelor’s in Nanoscience, but always had a passion for tech and entrepreneurship. I also used to create apps for businesses with Jack Berrill, the co-founder of Toothpic, so I’ve always had app ideas in the back of my mind.
My dad is a dentist, and while working late one night, I was concerned about a gap I’d noticed in my lower gum, so I called him to ask what I should do. Of course he couldn’t help over the phone but suggested I send him a photo. On doing so, he called straight back with a diagnosis and recommendation and mentioned how the quality of the photo was as good as those taken by professional dental cameras. That’s when I realised how much technology could help dentists and consumers. The original Toothpic was born.
There are more and more dental apps coming on the market. Why do you think this is? How does Toothpic stand out?
Currently dental care doesn’t provide a great customer experience, it’s seen as expensive, uncomfortable and incredibly complicated. Taking care of the worry and the confusion and simply connecting you with an expert who can answer the questions that matter to you is our main focus. Toothpic stands out because our service is so intuitive for consumers to use, and so effective at catching and preventing dental problems, it makes quality dental care as easy as ordering a pizza.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing patients today?
The way dental care is accessed, delivered and paid for hasn’t changed much in 50 years but now patients have radically different expectations to what their parents and grandparents had. We expect to be informed, empowered and in control some health services have been slow to change how they operate. Now is the time to bridge that gap, and make dental care as easy as possible.
How does teledentistry differ around the world?
Teledentistry is relatively new and is popular in the US, but there are still other areas where dentists have not used teledentistry services at all. As the industry grows, there are different views of how we can improve dentistry. Some people are of the view that teledentistry technologies should solve very specific issues, but we aim to create an all encompassing platform that makes it as easy as possible for consumers to access dental care.
How has the app been received in Ireland? What has been the reaction amongst patients and dentists so far (in Ireland and in general)?
When we started out in Ireland we were a little too early for the market, dentists weren’t ready for the change and insurance companies were just coming to terms with telemedicine. We focused on the US initially as the need for accessible and affordable dental care is more obvious due to higher health care costs. However, there has been a shift in the last 12 months in Europe, as consumers have continued to demand better and new ways to manage their health. Ireland and the UK are now both firmly on the radar as our footprint grows across Europe, so it will be great to bring Toothpic home soon as well.
For more information download the Toothpic App on iOS or Android.