Shane Matt, DDS
Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Shane Matt is a dentist in downtown Austin, and founder of the medical device company AnatoMotion, whose introductory technology is a groundbreaking solution at the confluence of dentistry and sleep medicine. AnatoMotion’s 3D visualization system is a combination of 3D scanning, MEMS/IoT, and artificial intelligence to help dentists provide exceptional care.
HTA - Tell us about your personal/professional background?
I grew up in Louisiana with family lineages in dentistry and farming. I took the scenic route through college on the 5-year plan with majors in both biology and chemistry followed by a year of graduate school in evolutionary ecology. During this time, I was a swamp guide for scientific research in the Atchafalaya Basin following Hurricane Andrew evaluating the impact of damage on populations of cavity nesting birds. I moved to Austin in 1999 after dental school at LSU in New Orleans. I came to Austin for the music and found myself on the front end of establishing care for Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. In 2008, I moved my dental practice to what was then the edge of downtown Austin. Crushed by the influx of SXSW for two weeks our first two years downtown and following on the success of creating the Holiday HAAM Jam Vol 1 album, I came up with Mouth by MouthWest as a joke. MXMW is a HAAM benefit concert series that has now gone on for 8 years. That creative fuel helped spawn the conception of AnatoMotion.
HTA - What inspired you to create AnatoMotion?
Necessity! Treating sleep apnea and TMJ problems is a time consuming, trial and error process. It can take months and many visits to get right. I was driven to find a way to predict who can be treated with a dental mouthpiece, where the best bite position is for treatment and I wanted to see it all in 3D. The most influential guide for me though was my dentist grandfather who succumbed to sleep apnea.
HTA - How can dentistry integrate into a comprehensive healthcare model?
It seems logical that dentistry would be a part of comprehensive health, but it is not. Disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain, that correlate dental conditions to medical conditions will produce a more comprehensive healthcare model improving patient outcomes with greater efficiency and the quality of care doctors can provide.
HTA - Sleep apnea and other sleep related breathing disorders are having a significant impact on health. How are these related to dental health?
Dentistry is more than just cavities and gum disease. The biggest emerging market in dentistry is sleep medicine. The airway is key to survival with an intimate relationship between the nose and the mouth. Airway problems are typically evident on the teeth, leading to treatment of snoring and sleep apnea with a custom-made mouthpiece. A recent dental article was titled “Dentists’ Treatment of Sleep Disorders- An Awakening Market” is validated by the American Dental Association recently passing a resolution establishing a standard of care for dentists to evaluate for sleep breathing disorders. Your dentist may be the one who saves your life.
HTA - What are the most exciting innovations in dental technology?
Anything to do with the digitization of health is hot right now. I am biased so AnatoMotion is at the top of my list! We are digitizing the bite and the motion of the jaw. Can you imagine a system that predicts your ideal bite position in 3D? Next to that, how about seeing through the teeth without radiation? S-Ray is an ultrasound-based visualization system that can help a dentist find cavities even beneath crowns and fillings. On the research horizon: at Tufts University, success at growing teeth from stem cells and at USC, a gel to re-mineralize and grow enamel.
HTA - How will blockchain and AI be utilized to improve health through dentistry?
There are many known medical conditions that are related to dental problems. As new devices are developed, and data applied to blockchain systems, more efficient diagnostic and treatment processes will yield better healthcare. AnatoMotion’s sensors render positional data of the jaw that can be correlated to other data like blood oxygen levels and heart rate. In a single individual, an ideal bite treatment position can be chosen. Untold discoveries are yet to be identified when considering the evaluation of this data in populations at large.
HTA - Are you involved in any partnerships to help scale development?
Our proof of concept is complete, patents have been filed and initial FDA work has begun. We just closed an exciting partnership deal to complete our UI development that will be announced in the coming weeks. Now, we are focused on raising a $10 million Series A round to bring AnatoMotion’s introductory product, Phi-Bite, to market.
HTA - How do you see the future of dentistry with AnatoMotion?
Recognized as the most disruptive dental technology since the toothbrush! Seriously! 3D scanning is the hottest dental technology being sold today. It is our goal to have sensors on the teeth of every patient who is being tested for sleep breathing disorders and an array of other bite related disorders. No more stone models! No more stone age dentistry!
HTA - How do you learn? What are you reading?
I think we all learn through the trial and error of our life experiences, however, keeping an inquisitive open mind and having mentors to impart their wisdom have been invaluable to me. I have been an avid reader since childhood with an interest in biographies, history, National Geographic and favorite authors being London, Angelou, Frost, Chopin, Twain, Hemingway, Abbey, Grisham and E.O. Wilson. These days my reading has been limited to scientific journals, business publications, patent filings, Texas Music Magazine and Rolling Stone.