Innovators special feature: Lise Slack

Lise Slack, inventor of iDontix
Lise Slack, inventor of iDontix

Whenever dental hygienist and entrepreneur Lise Slack takes on a complex task, she draws inspiration from an unlikely source—award-winning actor Ed Harris. She recalls the scene in Apollo 13 where the moon flight went horribly wrong. “Gentleman, failure is not an option,” uttered Harris. It’s this determination, fearlessness and grit that gave Slack real motivation when producing her innovative range of dental products—X-Ribbon, X-Threaders and X-Floss. After two years of development through her iDontix company, the dental floss range went on the market in mid-2011 and it’s been an over-the-moon success. “Dental restorations—implants, crowns, bridges—have developed into more complex pieces of art,” says the Sunshine Coast hygienist. “That’s why I designed X-Floss and X-Ribbon. Patients find X-Floss easy to use and X-Ribbon is a wide gauze strip for cleaning long perio teeth.” Developing, manufacturing and distributing the iDontix range was a steep learning curve for Slack, the daughter of a Cape Town dentist. “When you are passionate about a big idea, it puts steel in your bones, and demands commitment for the long haul,” she says. “Fortunately, my husband Sam is a mechanical engineer and he was the perfect person to develop the products, source the specific materials, design the machines that manufacture the products and handle the world of patent applications. It’s extremely costly and time consuming.” X-Floss, X-Ribbon and X-Threaders are now available in 20 countries— “and counting”, she notes. Slack also became a speaker at dental conferences, so far lecturing in Beirut, Dublin, Cape Town and New Zealand. “I’m in the unique position of being both an innovator and dental hygienist which gives me clinical authority to speak and teach on implant maintenance and stabilising patients with periodontitis.”

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