photo of some of the products offered by Sporting Smiles.
The Waukesha-based business sells dental guards, retainers
and whitening supplies. This month marks 10 years in
— When Evan McCarthy was in 8th grade, he was accidentally hit
with a wayward baseball bat during gym class.
lost four of his front teeth.
father was a dentist and was able to patch him up, but from then
on he had the care of replacement teeth to manage. Little did
McCarthy know it was the beginning of a journey that would lead to
a successful business.
the accident, McCarthy took care to wear mouth guards when playing
sports. But he found that over-the-counter guards were
“uncomfortable and boring,” according to a press release.
asked his father to teach him how to make custom guards and began
producing some with different colors, patterns and graphics,
drawing interest from family and friends.
got to be a hobby of mine,” he said, of creating his own dental
guards, in an interview with The Freeman
saw a gap in the market and began selling the guards online as a
side job. But as McCarthy’s side business took more and more of
his time, he decided it was “time to take the plunge” into
working on his own operation.
May of 2009, Sporting Smiles was launched. The company started by
offering custom dental guards and later expanded into offering
retainers and whitening solutions.
interest was well timed. It coincided with the boom of the
Internet and a growing comfort among consumers with ordering
Waukesha business Sporting
Smiles offers 3-D scanning and printing of most of its
dental models. Business owner Evan McCarthy said he believes
the company will continue to expand its digital technology
in the future.
also was a generation of people who had orthodontic work done and
therefore were in need of post-braces retainers, along with a
growing segment in the market for cosmetic products like whitening
now “look for everything online,” McCarthy said. “This is
the natural thing.”
as it marks 10 years in business, Sporting Smiles has 14 full-time
employees, as well as a few part-time workers.
year-and-a-half ago, the business moved to a 10,000square-foot
warehouse on Doral Road in Waukesha and converted the space into a
new headquarters. The space allows Sporting Smiles to house a 3D
printer for filling orders “Everything is made here in house,”
are sent a kit, where they take an impression and return it to
Sporting Smiles for a custom product. McCarthy said the business
has customers all over the U.S., and fills international orders as
the dental guards line, McCarthy said the business customizes
orders and also has models in stock that are available.
do a lot with jiujitsu,” he said, adding that those guards have
become so popular that they are now kept in stock.
A shipment of dental stone
arriving at Sporting Smiles in Waukesha last month. The
business prints 3-D models, but also pours them, producing
products on site at its Waukesha headquarters.
athletes are wearing mouth guards in a growing number of sporting
activities and marital arts, like jiu-jitsu, said McCarthy,
catching up to European countries where he said guard use has
historically been more widespread.
are the latest offering by Sporting Smiles, and McCarthy said
there is increased interest as the orthodontic process has become
less invasive and more utilized.
are doing clear orthodontics,” he said, referencing products
like Invisalign. “They make straightening your teeth easy
Smiles does not accept insurance payments; however, McCarthy said
some of his consumers pay for products out of flex spending
the business moves into a new decade of operation, McCarthy said he
envisions developing the technology related to the 3D printing
of products. The operation is “transitioning to full
digital so we can keep everyone’s mold on file forever,” he
the outset, McCarthy said he didn’t imagine the business growing
into such a large operation.
never saw ourselves having this big building and all these
employees. It will be interesting to see where it goes in the
future,” he said.
accident that started it all was a difficult experience, and
McCarthy said he will probably spend the rest of his life having
his teeth fixed. And yet, when he considers the success of
Sporting Smiles, McCarthy said he wouldn’t go back in time and
would have it happen again in a second,” he said.