New and Emerging Trends in the Dental Industry in 2022
The dental industry is currently in a stage of rapid growth. Dentistry was a $15 billion industry in 2020, and this is actually predicted to double by 2027. Dental care is a fast-growing industry, with several new trends and innovations emerging in the past few years.
Keep reading to find out more about what is in store for dental care in the new year.
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Dental Industry
When predicting the latest trends, it’s important to take note of the past trends and the impact they had. During the initial stages of the pandemic, dental practices were expected to face many challenges. In fact, the Health Policy Institute predicted that dental spending would drop by 20% in 2020.
That said, the reality was much smoother, with revenue only going down by 6%. In fact, as of October 2021, the American Dental Association (ADA) reported that over 60% of practices were open—and busy! Although the pandemic was a roadblock, these new trends show that the dental industry is going to enjoy a lot more growth in 2022.
Top 7 Trends in Dentistry
Here are the top trends you should be on the lookout for.
Although not a breakthrough in technology, the rising value of convenience needs to be taken note of. There has been a significant focus on the comfort and convenience of patients in healthcare recently, and dentistry is no exception. Patients nowadays have several options when choosing healthcare providers, so it stands to reason that they will pick the easiest and most comfortable option.
For example, online portals to book appointments and fill out forms, expanded office hours, online payments, and additional services are always to improve the experience for patients.
2. Emotional Dentistry
On a similar note to convenience is emotional dentistry—one of the more interesting trends to come up of late. As the term suggests, emotional dentistry focuses on the emotional and mental aspects of dentistry, not just the physical parts. Emotional dentistry uses new techniques and technology to create virtual images of the patient’s appearance once the procedure is over. This can also help patients decide which procedure will be best for them.
Emotional dentistry has shown remarkable effects in improving the patient experience, especially in cosmetic dentistry, emergency dentistry, and orthodontics. When used properly, it can help calm their nerves, and give them the confidence that they are making the right choice.
Telehealth is one of the bigger trends to come out of the pandemic, and it looks like it's here to stay. While there might be some limitations with teledentistry—the lack of direct care, for example—it also provides several benefits.
Teledentistry allows ease of access for the 20% of Americans who live in rural areas and can’t easily obtain care. Teledentistry has also been found to be as effective as in-person consultations when it comes to diagnosing cavities and providing treatment plans.
4. 3D Printing
The global 3D market is expected to expand by 21% from 2021 to 2028. 3D printing is on its way to becoming more mainstream, which will allow it to play a much bigger role in dental practices due to accessibility and lower costs. 3D printing uses materials like resins and greatly speeds up the process of creating custom dentures, crowns, clear teeth aligners, and more.
More possible applications are even coming to light as 3D technology advances, with general dentistry, implantology, and prosthodontics all standing to benefit.
5. Laser Dentistry
Like 3D printing, laser dentistry is also one of the biggest trends in dentistry. Before laser dentistry, procedures like filling cavities and repairing damaged gums required invasive and often painful treatments. In some cases, laser technology can even replace dental drills to remove or reshape tissue, remove cavities, repair fillings, and more.
Laser dentistry allows for minimally invasive oral surgery, reducing the need for sutures. It also allows for less bleeding, little to no pain, faster healing, and a reduced risk of infection.
6. Subscription-Based Coverage
The dental industry has a high level of financial barriers, causing many people to avoid care. In fact, 69% of people who don’t receive dental care do so because they can’t afford it. Even for those with dental insurance, it can be difficult to find a practice covered by their insurance plan.
That’s where subscription dental plans come in. Subscription services offer an annual or monthly rate that can cover cleanings, x-rays, and even fillings and surgery. Studies show that 83% of consumers prefer practices with a membership plan, making it beneficial to both patients and dental clinics.
7. Consolidated Practices
Fewer and fewer dentists are working as solo practitioners, with only 50% currently being solo practices. One reason for this could be the amount of student loan debt carried by the average dental school graduate—roughly around $300,000.
Additionally, the costs of opening and managing a dental practice can be difficult for individual dentists to afford. Group dentistry can help solve these problems while ensuring a well-equipped dental practice.
The majority of these trends focus on improving patient care and the overall patient experience—including comfort, accessibility, affordability, and advanced treatments. In addition, there are a lot of technological developments making their way into the dental field. Although dentistry isn’t the first field to adopt new technologies, it’s gearing up to be full of cutting-edge treatments soon.
If you're looking for a quality family dental clinic in Fort Dodge, drop by Clay & Associates DDS, PLC! We provide a range of dental services for all your dental needs, including emergency dental care at all times. Whether you require state-of-the-art technology or expert cosmetic treatment, we’ve got you covered.
Call us at 515-573-760, or book an appointment today to get started!