Jun 03, 2022

Andrew Lee, RDH MBA, Founder & CEO of OTIS Dental: What we're doing is trying to put the care back in oral care. We're on a mission to bridge the gap between oral and mental health. In fact, 70% of the reason why we're doing this in the first place is due to various forms of stress. So this can be everyday life stress, personal stress, work, stress, mental health conditions, like anxiety, depression, and even PTSD.

I, myself, suffer with bruxism. I survived a hate crime a year right out of dental school. Working in the dental industry for over 13 years now, I've worked with thousands of patients. And when I would do my oral health assessment, I would notice that pretty much 99% of all of them showed some kind of symptomatic wear. They report pain in their jaw and their teeth. But what really bothered me was also feeling like I was a disservice to the industry when I'm seeing this. They're expressing their pain and I'm then telling them that there's a product that could easily resolve this but it is so significantly out of reach because of the inaccessibility and the high excessive pricing.

From a professional and personal perspective, I just felt like something really needed to be done. And so that's why bruxism is the passion, the theme of what we're doing, and how we're trying to do our part into preventative dentistry.

Otis Redding is actually one of our family's favorite artists. And then I found that there was an article that talks about Otis Redding's past history with mental health. And so that really hit hard with me, especially considering my mental health condition and just what we've all been going through during the pandemic. So I think that was a really profound facet of what helped me decide on the name of the company.

I'm pouring the stone models, letting them set, cutting it, polishing it, trimming it. I'm there every step of the way. When I first saw the product go on shelf, and I knew that this was about to start, I was scared because we had entered a new year in 2020 in the same month the pandemic started. And when you invested your sweat, your tears, your life savings into a company, it takes a toll on you, but you grin and bear it and you wear your night guard every night.

I do believe that Walgreens has the platform and provides the supportive culture to really empower startup entrepreneurs like myself, to really disrupt the market. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today.

It took a long while for me to gain the strength to become independent enough to decide to be a survivor. And I found that even into adulthood, when you choose to become a survivor and you take on that strength, things actually start to follow. I found that my support system started to grow. My family became more accepting of who I was, and what I wanted to do with my life. Then that trickled over into a support group of the community that I was in being an Asian, being a part of the LGBTQ community. And I think all of that, just really the domino effect of that really helped me to find my way. And that's where I drew the strength to create OTIS Dental.

I'm Andrew Lee, the founder and CEO of OTIS Dental, and this is my Shelf Life.