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Dental technology

National health insurance to cover dental startup AIOBIO’s QLF device

QLF device is the world’s first dental device to diagnose first-stage tooth decay

By May 31, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Dr. Yoon Hong-cheol, AIOBIO's CEO, holding the company's representative product Qraypen C
Dr. Yoon Hong-cheol, AIOBIO's CEO, holding the company's representative product Qraypen C

AIOBIO’s dental diagnostic devices will be covered by South Korea’s national health insurance from June 1.

AIOBIO is the country’s leading dental-tech startup specializing in preventive care and early diagnosis of tooth decay, a common oral disease for which more than 6 million patients were treated in 2019 alone.

The startup said on May 31 that its Q-ray devices such as Qraypen C are applicable for public health insurance benefits from next month, following the health ministry’s administrative notice on May 11 to expand coverage to include tooth decay diagnoses that use quantitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF™) devices.

AIOBIO’s Q-ray devices, based on its trademarked QLF™ technology, are the world’s first dental devices for hospitals and clinics able to diagnose tooth decay even during the first of the four stages of decay. 

The first stage of tooth decay is enamel decay, during which only the outer surface of the tooth is decayed. While the decay from the second stage onwards is visually easy to determine, the first stage decay is difficult to identify with naked-eye observations even for dentists.

The four stages of tooth decay
The four stages of tooth decay

The QLF™ technology uses the simple physics principle of wavelength difference to identify the first-stage tooth decay.

When the device shoots blue light on teeth, healthy enamel and damaged enamel reflect the light at different wavelengths. Looking at the examined teeth with special film, the healthy part displays white light, whereas the damaged part shows bright red light.

Korea's national health insurance to cover dental check-ups using Q-ray devices. 
Korea's national health insurance to cover dental check-ups using Q-ray devices. 


The expansion of national insurance coverage to include the company’s products comes 12 years after the company’s founder and CEO Yoon Hong-cheol started developing the Q-ray devices. Yoon is a dentist with a doctorate in dental medicine.

The recent change in the country’s health insurance coverage allows South Korean children aged between five and 12 to receive relevant benefits once every six months.   

“The patients only have to pay around 4,000 won ($3.59) per dental visit to check whether they have tooth decay,” said AIOBIO CEO.

AIOBIO also came up with a personalized dental healthcare device for use at home. AIOBIO said that it will be adding a camera to the at-home device to obtain the oral data of the patients staying at home.

Qray M is a Q-ray device for at-home dental check-ups
Qray M is a Q-ray device for at-home dental check-ups

The company also plans to expand globally. AIOBIO’s Q-ray devices have applied for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) certification and Europe’s CE marking.


Write to Ju-hyun Lee at deep@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.

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