As the year winds down, this is the time to look forward to the trends in dentistry in 2022 and how they will impact your dental practice. The best way to navigate the contemporary dental landscape is to consult with an experienced dental lawyer.
Covid-19: Dental Practices Meet the Challenge
Before we take a deep dive into the current trends in dentistry, the impact of Covid-19 cannot be overlooked. While dental practices around the country experienced brief shutdowns when the pandemic hit, many were able to quickly open because they already had significant safeguards in place.
Dental practices have customarily used personal protective equipment and maintained sterile conditions and that preparation has paid off. The American Dental Association (ADA) recently reported low infection rates among dentists and dental staff after nearly two years of the pandemic. The bottom line is that dental revenue remains strong. A recent study shows that revenue only declined by 6 percent in 2020 and is anticipated to grow by 7.5 percent in 2021.
Top 5 Dental Industry Trends in 2022
While Covid-9 continues to pose challenges, and the impact of the omicron variant is not yet known, let’s take a look at the current trends driving the dental industry.
1. Establishing Patient Trust
Creating and maintaining trust with patients over time has always been crucial for dental professionals. Attracting new patients requires dentists to demonstrate their expertise and trustworthiness by informing patients about the services they can expect to receive. One way for dental practices to increase new patient registration is to implement a digital marketing plan and create educational website content (e.g. blogs, videos) that will encourage potential patients to enlist the dentist’s services.
2. Convenience Matters
Dental patients are essentially consumers with numerous healthcare options, which makes prioritizing convenience for patients essential. Patients expect 24/7 access to services, treatment when they need it, and direct communication with their dentists. Some ways to provide convenience in dentistry include:
- Having an online portal that allows patients to schedule appointments online, ask questions, and fill out intake forms
- Expanding office hours to provide appointments at convenient times, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends
- Allowing patients to pay online or with their mobile devices
- Utilizing teledentistry and live video
3. The Rise of 3D Printing
The use of 3D printing by dentists increased in 2021 and is expected to continue in the coming year. In short, 3D printing increases the speed of creating custom dentures, crowns, and more which can now be made in minutes instead of in days or weeks. This technological breakthrough uses resins that (1) produce the fine feature details that are required for dental devices and (2) have the potential to be used for both short-term and long-term dental solutions.
4. Laser Technology
The rise of laser technology is transforming dentistry. Laser dentistry can eliminate cavities with little or no pain, reduce the risk of infection, lessen bleeding, decrease the need for sutures, and lead to faster healing.
5. Emotional Dentistry
Emotional dentistry encourages patients to directly participate in their treatment and foresee the outcome. Patients can envision their final restorations and try different smiles through digital photos and virtual mockups and choose the most appealing one. This approach can improve patient trust, improve the patient experience, and make the process of receiving dental care less intimidating than it would be otherwise.
As dentists continue to serve patients in the face of the ongoing pandemic, embracing technology and improving the patient experience can help dental professionals grow their practices. As always, protecting your interests and navigating the new normal requires having trustworthy advice and guidance from an experienced dental lawyer.