Dentistry Management: How to Run a Successful Dental Practice
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As a practicing dental professional, you are all too aware of the losses most practices took due to the pandemic. According to the Health Policy Institute, the pandemic led to a near 18% income drop for general dentists in 2020 compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic earnings, with specialty dentists experiencing a similar decline.
Fortunately, all indications are that the dental industry is bouncing back from this decline as practices ramp up COVID-19 protocols. According to a recent national survey of dental professionals, most dentists are optimistic about dental industry trends, with 94% expecting to see the same or an increase in patient volume — and dental market size — in 2022.
As you look forward to a continuing rise in demand for dental services, the following offers 20 important trends and statistics every dental practice manager and practitioner should follow and know. Included is information about some of the most profitable dental procedures, new technology that is changing how dental practices operate, and how changes in practice size and makeup are impacting the industry.
Globally, the dental services market is poised to reach $700 billion by 2030. Experts are estimating that the dental industry’s compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is at a healthy 6.4%. It would seem that the dental industry has not only survived the shutdowns caused by the COVID pandemic, but is continuing to thrive.
One of the most solid trends in the dental industry is in cosmetic dentistry, which is expected to experience the fastest growth over the next few years. Patients are showing increasing interest in seeking providers offering teeth whitening procedures to remove staining and discolorations, as well as other smile-enhancements like crowns, inlays and onlays, composite bonding, and veneers in efforts to improve their physical appearance.
The Global dentist insurance market, valued at $182.7 billion in 2021 is expected to reach $313 billion by 2027. The more patients with dental insurance, the more that will seek regular dental care, a win-win for practitioners and patients.
Currently, more than 73 million Americans don’t have dental insurance and even those who do have insurance can have a hard time finding a practice that takes their policy. As a result, many of these potential dental patients avoid going to the dentist because of the cost. Add the fact that declining insurance reimbursement is turning many dental practices off to taking insurance, and it’s easy to see why dental subscription services provide an attractive option for both providers and patients. By offering certain services — such as regular cleanings, X-rays, and even fillings — at a monthly or annual rate, dentists can capture a new patient population in need of their services.
Dentist employment prospects will remain at a steady 8% growth between 2020 and 2030, with an average of 5,000 new dentists joining the workforce each year.
It is projected that between 2018 and 2028, the number of dental hygienists will grow by 11%, indicating a steady increase in demand for routine dental services.
There are 61 dentists for every 100,000 people in the U.S. About 45% of all dentists are between 35 and 54 years old, with about 17% less than 35 and the rest 55 and older.
With an expectation that the global 3D printing market will expand at a rate of 21% from 2021 to 2028, 3D printing will become increasingly mainstream in individual dental practices. Lower costs for 3D printing means more dentists will use 3D printing to produce new dental products like dentures, clear teeth aligners, dental crown substructures, dental models, and surgical guides.
Globally, the dental lasers market expects to enjoy 11% growth in the next few years. This increase reflects the growing popularity of medical lasers, which dentists are increasingly using in general practice to remove or reshape tissue, repair fillings, remove cavities, and accelerate whitening procedures.
Participation in Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) and Dental Management Service Organizations (DMSOs) is on the rise. From 2017 to 2020 the number of dental practices affiliated with a DSO grew 40%. As of 2020, more than 10% of all practicing dentists had affiliated their practices with a DSO.
Only one in four dentists under 35 is in solo practice. This is not surprising given that the average dental school graduate owes more than $300,000 in student loan and other education-related debt, and the cost of starting and running a practice can be prohibitive. Younger dentists will continue to seek positions that offer security and benefits to combat their debt and rising costs. Many will end up in larger groups since they are in a better place to provide these graduates financial security.
One in five adults in the U.S. experiences high to moderate anxiety and fear when they go to the dentist. To mitigate stressful factors like pain and uncertain outcomes and stay competitive, many dentists are incorporating modalities like sedation dentistry, simple audio-visual distraction, and even some forms of virtual reality (VR) into their practice modalities.
A reported 23% of dental practices have considered venturing into teledentistry. According to the American TeleDentistry Association, the demand for telehealth services in dentistry is increasing. Seventy percent of patients are reported to be comfortable communicating with their dental healthcare providers through text messaging, email, or video chat.
An estimated 50% of dental treatments related to extractions and implant cases are expected to be performed in the private practices of general dentists within the next ten years.
Experts predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will become an integral part of dentistry by 2030. According to AI experts, this technology can be a huge asset to clinical decision-making as it has the potential to unlock clinically relevant information hidden in relatively massive amounts of data. AI will support clinicians by autonomously learning from data to improve decision-making accuracy. But it can also be used as an assessment tool to track performance and determine associate pay.
With the global healthcare chatbot market expected to grow into a $703 million industry by 2025, dental offices are continuing to incorporate chatbots into their websites and apps. This trend — dental and other providers are already incorporating chatbots in large numbers — mirrors advancements in AI and an increase in demand for virtual health assistance as patient demand for 24-hour healthcare access grows. Dental chatbots are being used to screen patients in emergency situations, make appointments, answer questions about services, triage symptoms, and refer patients to a particular provider.
Seventy-two percent of patients read online reviews and check out online ratings of healthcare providers before booking an appointment. According to a recent survey, most would-be patients won’t even consider a provider unless they have at least a four out of five star rating on platforms like Google and Yelp.
Given the fact that green dentistry is good for the planet, saves money, and attracts environmentally-conscious new patients, it should come as no surprise that going green is trending in dental offices across the country. The ADA has compiled a list of 80 ways to make your dental practice green, including simple steps like using natural cleaning products, reducing or eliminating aerosols, and using organic scrubs.
General and specialty dental practices of all sizes are turning to cloud-based practice management software to improve staff productivity, increase user efficiency, and minimize workflow stages. With market estimates for 2021 at $642.8 Million, the industry expects exponential growth as more dental professionals and dental practice managers realize the many cost-saving and patient-retention benefits of SaaS solutions for their busy practices.
As dental providers continue to bounce back from the financial fallout of the global pandemic, it’s never been more critical to keep up with current issues in dentistry as you bring your A-game to patients, staff, and partners. While keeping abreast of dental industry statistics and dental trends is essential, you need an efficient and affordable way to stay on top of what’s trending in your practice.
Cloud 9 Software’s cloud-based dental practice management software is suited for orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, group practices, dental service organizations (DSOs), and orthodontic service organizations (OSOs). Our platform was designed to improve staff productivity, increase user efficiency, and minimize workflow stages — all important elements to ensure your practice will continue to grow and flourish.
We are the leading provider of orthodontic cloud solutions and can help you navigate opening a dental practice and managing it. Request a free demo today to learn more about how Cloud 9 can help you make your practice all it can be.