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Four Trends Changing the Landscape of Dentistry

Posted November 13, 2013

Tonya Lanthier

iStock_000002851066XSmallSo the ADA meeting in New Orleans on Halloween was quite fitting with all the scary things going on that are changing the landscape of Dentistry.

What This Means

Many of today’s shifts are more prevalent than ever. Below is a brief introduction to the changes that are happening in dentistry today that may affect the way dentistry is conducted tomorrow.

  1. The Arrival of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
    • The US Government will bring millions of children into the dental care system
    • Oral care is one of the ACAs essential health benefits
    • Millions of adults will qualify for Medicaid, but many states have cut or reduced dental Medicaid coverage for adults
    • Prepaid insurance is declining, leading to the possibility of direct reimbursement
  2. Cost of Dental School Skyrocketing
    • Bloomberg reports that college tuition and fees have increased 1,120 percent since records began in 1978
    • The cost of dental college has far outpaced the price inflation of consumer goods and food
    • Total dental tuition for all four years averages $129,407 for residents and $192,193 for non-residents (ADA Survey of Dental Education)
  3. The Growth of Dental Corporations Buying up Dental Practices
    • 19 percent of dental practices are owned by corporations
    • New dentists are drawn to the appeal of regular work hours, time spent with family and personal ventures
    • Dentists are choosing to work for corporations because they are increasingly seeking to avoid financial risk and the responsibilities of running a practice
  4. Dentistry Post-recession
    • The latest reports by the ADA indicate the average amount a person spends on dental care has flattened and not recovered since the recession
    • While consumer out-of-pocket spending increased from 2008-2011, the percentage of dental spending of total health care spending dropped from 5.1 to 4.8 percent
    • The dental economy seems to be growing in step with the general health economy

I hope this article helps you understand how the dental industry is changing. If you have any comments about this article or have a suggestion about a future article, please email me at tonyardh@dentalpost.net.


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