This feature is part of our 100 Most Dynamic Leaders of 2023. Check out the entire issue and listing by clicking on this link.
In the world of orthodontics and technology, Khamzat Asabaev is making positive waves. As the Founder and CEO of SoftSmile, Khamzat is on a mission to democratize orthodontic care and break down the barriers that prevent many from achieving the perfect smile.
SoftSmile provides AI-driven orthodontic aligner treatment planning software that allows doctors to oversee all stages of the process in one beautifully designed and easy-to-use platform.
What according to you makes one a dynamic leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your journey?
Learning how to step away, remove yourself from the nitty gritty details of the day-to-day and let the expert team you’ve assembled do their jobs.
As an entrepreneur, founder, and CEO it is nearly impossible to remove yourself completely from something you’ve poured your heart and soul into. As a leader you are responsible for the product, profitability, fostering strategic partnerships, and most of all your employees depend on you – making it hard to imagine being completely detached from day-to-day business.
But that’s why learning how to step away and remember to trust in the team you’ve developed is one of the hardest, yet most important skills to master. No single individual can carry the full weight of a company on their own – leaders need to remember that you’ve built a team of people who are smarter than you in their area of expertise and it is okay to step away sometimes to let them step up.
Trust that the team you’ve assembled is as equally dedicated and committed to the company’s growth as you are, which can help you alleviate some of the pressures that come with leadership.
Talk to us about the gap in the orthodontics space that inspired you to start your entrepreneurial journey.
Far too many people can’t access orthodontic care because of the extremely high price point, with clear aligners costing anywhere from $1,800-10,000 in the United States. The high price is attributed to one company having a monopoly on the market. As a result, this giant has been able to charge whatever they want per case.
In reality, with today’s technology and advancements in manufacturing, clear aligners only cost a mere 100s of dollars to produce, yet they continue to charge thousands of dollars. I’ve made it my mission to change this.
I believe that access to orthodontic care should be a commodity and I became an entrepreneur with the goal of significantly reducing the cost of a perfect smile. My educational background is in law, but my passion for science and math fueled my interest in founding and leading a technology business that positively impacts the entire world.
SoftSmile is built on the vision to democratize and reshape the orthodontic industry and we promise to deliver economical and attainable care by driving innovation and prioritizing efficiency across its offerings. At the heart of the company I’ve built, we prioritize patients over profit.
Brief us about SoftSmile and its innovative treatment planning software – VISION.
SoftSmile is a New York-based technology and software company that equips orthodontists to deliver custom, high-quality, and affordable clear aligner treatment to patients. Established in 2020, SoftSmile provides AI-driven orthodontic aligner treatment planning software that allows doctors to oversee all stages of the process in one beautifully designed and easy-to-use platform.
The company’s mission is to transform the clear aligner creation workflow, diversify the orthodontic and dental industry, and provide doctors around the world with state-of-the-art treatment planning tools. SoftSmile’s first product, VISION, is the most advanced digital treatment planner available on the market. It allows orthodontists and aligner manufacturers to increase patient acceptance rates and improve patient outcomes at a lower price than traditional digital treatment planners.
VISION is disrupting how people achieve perfect smiles. VISION is an innovative solution backed by proprietary algorithms to achieve unparalleled speed and precision, making it the most advanced digital treatment planner available. It gives orthodontists the ability to design treatment plans in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional aligner companies. Its proprietary algorithms significantly reduce the time and cost associated with aligners, giving people of all socioeconomic levels access to beautiful smiles.
Combining advanced mathematics and geometry principles to build a new approach to teeth restoration, gingiva movement and automated segmentation, VISION has one of the largest IP portfolios on the market, with over 70 US patents granted and is one of the very few AI-based digital treatment planning solutions that has secured 510(k) clearance from the FDA.
The result is software that offers doctors unprecedented control of treatment planning with the highest accuracy possible. It is designed with aesthetics and ease of use in mind – providing the most realistic graphics and step-by-step instructions all in one place, eliminating the need for multiple solutions.
What do you think is one of the biggest myths or preconceived notions when it comes to the orthodontics space?
That robust orthodontic technology means it is overly complicated or hard to learn. With the latest technological advancement and with a growing focus on UI/UX design, the fact is that many features in new orthodontic tech help with the complexities of treatment planning to make harder cases easier.
It is also a myth that embracing new technology is too time-consuming or will cost you too much money. Historically, this may have been true with older technologies, but now, with AI-driven technology like VISION that has lifelike graphics and is easy to learn, it practically pays for itself.
While yes, it is true that deploying a robust technology comes with a few growing pains, overall embracing a new technology is one of the best ways orthodontists can make their lives easier and improve the quality of patient care. The biggest takeaway is to not be afraid of technology.
Finally, what is your vision going forward for SoftSmile? What are you most excited about?
Our goal for SoftSmile is to establish it as a widely recognized name. When people hear SoftSmile, they should immediately associate it with top-tier quality, optimal treatment, and unparalleled efficiency. We aim to ensure excellence and credibility in every aspect of treatment planning and execution.
Although we initially got our start as a treatment planning company, we want to evolve to encompass design and manufacturing – our vision is to cover all three major pillars of orthodontic treatment. Apart from lowering costs and breaking access barriers, we are excited to continue to build SoftSmile as a brand that stands as a synonym for credibility and reliability.