Expert opinions, TECHNOLOGY

Digital trends in Russian orthodontics

According to recent data from the business intelligence platform Statista, global profits from medtech products are projected to soar to nearly $600 billion by 2024. In Russia, the medtech sector recorded a revenue of 10.23 billion rubles in the third quarter of 2023. Telemedicine services dominate the market, with online healthcare services, laboratories, and equipment manufacturers leading the segment, as indicated by the Smart Ranking. Additionally, an increasing number of companies are opting to invest in startups, with orthodontic firms being particularly favored. Looking ahead, which sectors are poised to continue attracting investment funds’ attention?

Technologies for clinics


In the past, dentists frequently relied on visually evident signs of disease or X-rays. However, both methods have significant error margins. Moreover, X-rays only offer a two-dimensional image, making it difficult to assess pathologies comprehensively in all dimensions. What advanced tools are already available to dentists and are being increasingly adopted?

3D CT scans

Prescribed for surgeries, bite corrections, and other procedures, three-dimensional imaging facilitates the examination of bone tissue from various angles, enabling the detection of features or pathologies.

Digital 3D scanning

Digital 3D scanning technology enables the creation of precise digital models of the jaw. These models serve as the basis for virtual impressions of teeth necessary for producing dentures, implants, crowns, braces, and aligners. Unlike hand-made plaster casts, which are prone to errors and involve a multi-step process susceptible to human error, digital scans can be sent to the laboratory digitally within 10 minutes. The hand-made plaster casts process typically involves: placing a spoon with plaster in the patient’s mouth for approximately 5 minutes, sending the spoons to the laboratory, pouring and drying the plaster, and then digitizing the cast.

Intraoral 3D scanners also offer the option of remote diagnostics, particularly beneficial for initial examinations when patients cannot visit a doctor in person. These devices connect to computers or tablets to transmit detailed images of the entire mouth to specialists.

Skeptics may wonder how dental professionals managed without 3D technology in the past. Today, new technologies play a crucial role in formulating effective treatment plans and preparing precise treatment details, akin to architectural blueprints. By ensuring treatment accuracy and reducing diagnostic errors, these technologies enhance the quality of care.


In Russia, the demand for aligners from domestic manufacturers has surged following the departure of foreign brands. Domestic technologies now rival those of international brands, leading to increased revenue for large Russian manufacturers.


Aligners offer an alternative to traditional braces with fewer restrictions for users. Made from biocompatible materials, transparent aligners correct malocclusion with shorter treatment durations, typically averaging 10–12 months compared to braces’ 18 months.

Process automation enables the production of aligners tailored to specific clinical cases, leveraging three-dimensional imaging, 3D modeling, and 3D printing technologies for precise customization.

AR and VR technologies

These technologies are yet to become commonly used at Russian dental clinics, but VR and AR glasses manufacturers claim them to eventually be in demand at medical universities and hospitals. VR and AR will allow doctors to perform test surgeries prior to the actual ones, studying complicated cases in advance. So far, such practice is observed mostly abroad.

CAD/CAM software

Dental prosthetics require advanced solutions. Scanning the oral cavity with CAD/CAM software takes only a minute; the system will use a special program to model implants, aligners and other orthodontic devices.

Service digitalization

A trend of recent years is the use of innovative technologies not only in physical examination but also in further treatment, as well as rehabilitation. Remote monitoring becomes particularly beneficial for residents in remote areas that often lack personalized medical services.

Healthcare information systems (HIS) provide a scope of new functions, such as booking online appointments and web chats. HIS also help doctors minimize the work on documenting data, saving more time for an actual appointment.

A more expensive emerging solution involves smart devices for chronic disease monitoring with an option of contacting a doctor urgently, aimed to reduce surgery risks and complications. In the dental industry, such special devices are already used to remotely examine a patient and send images to the doctor via smartphone.

AI to predict treatment outcomes

In 2017, future developers of the Diagnocat, while seeking ways to minimize human factor and reduce diagnostic errors, chose to transfer this function to AI and train the model using tens of thousands of de-identified CT scans. The tests show that AI-powered diagnostic tools reduce error rates by 30%. Today, the system is used in four countries: Russia, USA, Italy, and China. The service has also proven useful for patients, who can get an independent opinion after a doctor’s diagnosis.

In the coming years, Star Smile plans to introduce AI to properly predict and present the occlusal adjustment results. It has become a common practice to show patients before & after photos of similar cases. Another option is the use of AI-generated images to show approximate treatment results for a specific person, which takes only a few minutes. Such images can be shown to a patient at the initial appointment. So far, introducing such equipment is problematic due to restricted use of foreign software. This has prompted Russian companies to develop alternatives.

While AI needs to be controlled during the diagnostics and treatment development stage, it flawlessly processes massive amounts of data. Collecting data into a unified system will also be efficient for creating statistics and evaluating treatment options. An AI-powered system will write a prognosis for each patient based on treatment history and collected data such as treatment duration, possible complications, and disease prevention.

Market developments

Medical companies receive increasing investments from private and public companies to develop fundamentally new treatment systems. Healthcare has always been strictly regulated by the government, and rightfully so. But such control imposes certain obligations. Applications and websites are subjected to particular certification requirements, and online consultation, despite being common, cannot yet fully replace regular in-person doctor’s appointments. A doctor’s online diagnosis cannot be valid.

Russian dental medtech developments are on par with their foreign equivalents; we can basically see similar technologies extensively used both in Russia and abroad. This should prompt investors to invest in the advancement of Russian medtech manufacturers that develop innovative materials, services and tools. Currently, they nearly fully cover the demand for dental products, offering them at lower prices than foreign producers.

By Vladimir Lutsenko, CEO and owner, Star Smile

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