The Latest Dental Industry News and Trends

Throughout the year we try to keep our readers up-to-date on trends within the dental and medical products industry. A lot happened over the summer, so here are three trends or news items that caught our attention.

The Action for Dental Health Act of 2017

Written by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.), this recently passed the House Subcommittee on Health and is designed to set aside $18 million annually (from 2018-2022) “to fund oral health promotion and disease awareness programs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” Also known as H.R. 2422, the goal is "to amend the Public Health Service Act to improve essential oral healthcare for low-income and other underserved individuals by breaking down barriers to care, and for other purposes.”

181 million Americans don’t visit the dentist—though half of the adult population over 30 has some form of gum disease. 25% of children under the age of five have cavities. Over $2.1 billion in dental-related emergency room visits occurred in 2010. Needless to say, H.R. 2422 has the potential to positively impact many Americans.

How Much Is a New Patient Worth to a Dental Practice?

A recent DentistryIQ article used data from Sikka Software to “reflect average gross production per patient,” which translates to how much a new patient might be worth to a dental practice. The data used was compiled over a seven-year period, and reflects 12,500 dental practices from across the country:

2010: $4,190.34

2011: $4,100.45

2012: $4,118.59

2013: $4,091.02

2014: $4,016.19

2015: $4,051.23

2016: $4,220.25

These numbers were calculated from a ratio of average gross production to unique patients receiving comprehensive exams in the six months prior to the most current month. The DentistryIQ article’s analysis of these numbers says the potential lies in keeping these new patients, and that the best way to do so is through communicating with the patient before, during, and after an office visit.

The Current Trend for Crown Procedures

A similar DentistryIQ article tackled crowns, and the data offered from Sikka Software uncovered a surprising trend: though it’s one of the most important dental procedures, it’s not happening as often as it used to. Here’s how the article broke down the numbers:

Average number of single crowns placed per dental practice per month:

2010: 12.83

2011: 12.58

2012: 12.5

2013: 12.25

2014: 12.42

2015: 12.83

2016: 13.00

Total number of days worked per month by the average dental practice:

2010: 17.33

2011: 18.42

2012: 21.75

2013: 21.75

2014: 21.75

2015: 21.75

2016: 21.42

Average number of single crowns placed per working day:

2010: 0.741

2011: 0.683

2012: 0.575

2013: 0.563

2014: 0.571

2015: 0.590

2016: 0.607

So, do Americans have healthier teeth all of a sudden? With sugar consumption on the rise in the U.S. population, that’s doubtful. The article suggests that “a more likely explanation is that dentists are becoming less effective at presenting the need for a crown, especially in situations where the tooth is asymptomatic.” Ultimately, if dentists are willing to hone their case presentation skills, these numbers could change dramatically.