Michael Florman, DDS, a practicing orthodontist in Los Angeles, is considered one of the top Invisalign providers in the country. But heâ€™s not satisfied with that achievement alone. As the founder and CEO of EverSmile, he continues to develop products that solve problems while helping adults and children develop good oral hygiene habits.
"Everything I’ve ever done has been a solution to a problem that existed" says Michael Florman, DDS
Dentistry runs in Michael Florman’s family. His grandfather was a dentist, his uncle was an orthodontist, and his brother is a dentist. In fact, his uncle was often quite vocal about his feelings for the profession.
“He preached to us about what an incredible profession it is,” Florman recalls. “And how orthodontics is one of the greatest dental specialties.”
“I used to be in the publishing business,” says Florman, discussing how he started publishing Dental Therapeutic Digest in 1991, a PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) for dentistry that was mailed to every dentist and hygienist in the country. Eight years later, recognizing a need for continuing education, he spun off The Academy of Dental Therapeutics and Stomatology before selling the enterprise in 2006, shortly after graduating from his orthodontic residency.
“I decided to pretty much be a full-time orthodontist,” Florman says. “So I had a career change.”
But the entrepreneurial spirit never declined.
Florman says he was always an inventor; always trying to figure out how to solve problems.
“Everything I’ve ever done has been a solution to a problem that existed,” he says.
That’s how his EverSmile venture came about. As an orthodontist doing a lot of Invisalign, one of the biggest complaints from patients was how to keep their aligners clean. They would remove them when drinking coffee, for example, and they were dirty and smelly. With his background in the dental pharmaceutical world, Florman recognized a need, and an opportunity.
“I came up with an idea for what would work and went to a friend of mine who was an oral care pharmaceutical formulator, and a bunch of orthodontist friends of mine from New York University, and they invested in it,” Florman explains. “That’s how the company was launched.”
That idea became WhiteFoam (https://eversmilewhite.com/products/whitefoam-2-pack#product-directions), a patented cleaning formula designed to clean and freshen orthodontic aligners and clear retainers on the go—a huge plus compared to having to remove aligners and soak them while at work.
“That’s very unpractical,” says Florman, noting how satisfying it is to develop a product people love and continue to purchase. “It’s an unbelievable feeling that you’ve created something that really helps people.”
But launching a company and bringing new products to market is challenging, Florman says. Much time goes into prepping the company, and working long hours without being paid. But the reward, he says, is the hope; the potential that you will build something that will become successful.
“I’ve never started a business that was easy,” Florman explains. “I’ve always had to go into debt to bring the company up to a level where we could at least say that we’re even a company. But the rewards, when it happens, it’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Florman was heavily involved with continuing education for dentists earlier in his career. Lecturing and education, however, took a backseat to running a practice and launching EverSmile. But education, he says, is a huge part of his past.
“If I ever free up some time I will probably get back into it, because I really do enjoy it,” he says.
For now, spare time is spent closer to home. Florman and his wife recently celebrated the arrival of twins, a boy and a girl, so life, he says, has totally changed.
“It’s a whole new transition from what I used to do,” Florman says. “I pretty much have a whole different life with the kids, and I’m still practicing orthodontics full time. So, I have a busy life, but not a lot of free time outside of family and work.”
Florman’s focus now is to do things with friends and family that keep them involved in all parts of his life. Of course, that means continuing to develop innovative products that help people. Doing so requires finding new problems to solve, and Florman says there is no shortage of those.
“We’ve got a list of about six new products EverSmile is working on,” he says. “One of them, OrthoFoam, has been launched.”
The new product is similar to WhiteFoam, Florman explains, but it’s designed for children with braces.
“That product is going to help patients and orthodontists all over the world who have kids who just don’t brush enough, or brush properly,” he says. “One of the biggest problems in orthodontics is children’s hygiene.”
OrthoFoam was on display at the recent 2018 Annual Session of the American Association of Orthodontists held in Washington, DC. It’s just part of Florman’s continued efforts to address orthodontic issues.
“We keep slowly bringing out some products that have great performance reviews in terms of patient profiles,” he says, “and actually help doctors and patients together get the job done.”
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