The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals, and access to digital therapies, as well as the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Healthcare: Computer-aided dental prostheses.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, smart helmets, body temperature sensors, and software as a medical device (SaMD) are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, point-of-care molecular diagnostics, and automated immunoassay analysers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart contact lenses and GPS integrated fitness monitors, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the healthcare industry

Computer-aided dental prostheses is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Dental prostheses and restorations are designed and created using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) in the field of digital dentistry. CAM systems employ models and assemblies made in CAD software to print 3D models of intended parts, whereas CAD involves the use of computer technology for design documentation. Custom dental prostheses are made for each patient, specifically using CAD/CAM materials. Various CAD/CAM technologies have been used throughout the fabrication process for restorations. Based on the digital data as a virtual wax-up, restorations are created on a computer screen using CAD software.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of computer-aided dental prostheses.

Key players in computer-aided dental prostheses – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to computer-aided dental prostheses

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Dentsply Sirona 269 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 258 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 187 Unlock company profile
3Shape 183 Unlock company profile
Mitsui Chemicals 67 Unlock company profile
Envista Holdings 63 Unlock company profile
Shofu 62 Unlock company profile
Straumann Holding 56 Unlock company profile
Ivoclar Vivadent 47 Unlock company profile
3M 42 Unlock company profile
Amann Girrbach 40 Unlock company profile
Glidewell Laboratories 35 Unlock company profile
Dental Smartmirror 23 Unlock company profile
Osstem Implant 21 Unlock company profile
Materialise Dental 21 Unlock company profile
Viax Dental Technologies 18 Unlock company profile
Global Dental Science 17 Unlock company profile
D4D Technologies 17 Unlock company profile
Dental Monitoring 16 Unlock company profile
VITA Zahnfabrik H Rauter 16 Unlock company profile
Natural Dental Implants 16 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 15 Unlock company profile
ULab Systems 13 Unlock company profile
ProSomnus Sleep Technologies 13 Unlock company profile
Meiji Holdings 12 Unlock company profile
Den-Mat Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
Danaher 11 Unlock company profile
BioCad Medical 10 Unlock company profile
Pou Chen 9 Unlock company profile
Cerberus Capital Management 9 Unlock company profile
MegaGen Implant 8 Unlock company profile
Neocis 8 Unlock company profile
Modjaw 6 Unlock company profile
Novartis 6 Unlock company profile
GSK 6 Unlock company profile
DIO 5 Unlock company profile
SICAT 5 Unlock company profile
Cagenix 5 Unlock company profile
Nazca Capital 5 Unlock company profile
Centre De Recherche Medico Dentaire AM 5 Unlock company profile
CA Digital 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Dentsply Sirona is one of the leading patent filers in the field of computer-aided dental prostheses. Some other key patent filers in the field include Align Technology, Zimmer Biomet, 3Shape, and Mitsui Chemicals.

In terms of application diversity, Dental Smartmirror leads the pack, followed by MegaGen Implant and Novartis. By means of geographic reach, Viax Dental Technologies held the top position, followed by Den-Mat and ULab Systems in second and third spots, respectively.

Using computer-aided design and production, dental CAD/CAM systems improve the quality of dental restorations, such as crowns, bridges, and prostheses including dental implants. CAD/CAM technologies complement earlier dental treatment technologies by speeding up design and production, as well as improving the applicability and ease of their creation, building, and placement procedures. Some of the key reasons expected to propel the growth of the dental CAD/CAM market worldwide are the rising incidence of dental problems, growing knowledge of the newest technologies for the precise designing of dental prostheses, and rising usage of chair-side dental CAD/CAM systems. 

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things in Healthcare.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.