California-based Glidewell, a provider of custom dental solutions, has acquired ORB Innovations, a UK company that has developed patented technology to measure a wearer’s physiological and biomechanical activities within an oral appliance.

While Glidewell has a record of technological innovation, with 94 US patents awarded and 68 more pending, this acquisition marks the company’s first investment in smart dental products. Glidewell will incorporate the performance-and-wellness tracking technology from the UK startup into its patient-specific appliances.

“We see the platform the ORB team has developed as an exciting evolution for the sports market,” says Glidewell CEO Stephenie Goddard in a release. “And it’s easy to envision application in other wellness-related areas, in line with Glidewell’s mission to bring innovative solutions to dentists and their patients throughout the world.”

In 2010, Robert Paterson, CEO and co-founder of ORB Innovations, suffered a severe head injury during a rugby game. The injury was misdiagnosed, and his health deteriorated, leaving him bed-bound for weeks. Wanting to prevent others from experiencing the same fate, Paterson teamed with Thomas Quinn, CTO, to found ORB Innovations in 2017. Based in London, England, ORB’s value offering later expanded to enable both performance and wellness monitoring with its patented technology.

“We are thrilled to join the Glidewell family,” says Paterson in a release. “As one of the largest dental companies in the world, with a 50-year track record of pioneering new technology, we feel we have found a natural home. The acquisition will allow us to accelerate the launch of our unique platform in the US and to increase the pace of our research and development in other areas. Together, ORB Innovations and Glidewell will bring to market a whole range of smart oral products that will provide flexible new options for health-conscious consumers.”

Specific products and timelines have yet to be announced, but athletes and their dental providers can join a waitlist.

Photo caption: ORB Innovations’ smart oral appliance.

Photo credit: Glidewell