The arrival of COVID-19 created an unpredictable couple of years for the field of dentistry. Many dental offices are now struggling to return to their pre-pandemic billing levels. Everyone in the field of dentistry is worried and wondering just what is ahead in 2022. The ADA Health Policy Institute projects dental spending to be $123.9 billion in 2021, only 80% of its pre-pandemic level. According to these numbers, health concerns and labor shortages have taken a toll on dental practices. In order to help the decreased spending and changing patient needs, the dental industry is adopting new technologies and offering more services and staff to increase patient visits and revenue.
Expand Your Services
By expanding services offered in your dental practice with endodontics, periodontics, tooth extractions, dental implants, and orthodontic cases, new revenue streams can be provided from the patients you already have; and you may attract new patients for the additional services you now offer. Your own patient base may use the new multiple services you provide if they have confidence in you and your staff and are already comfortable there. This would increase income without adding additional patients, as you would not have to refer them to other dentists for the procedures.
One thing to consider is adding a specialist to work in your dental practice for at least one day a week to perform certain procedures. Also, you may want to encourage or provide opportunities for your current dental team to develop additional skills in endodontics and other areas.
Adopt New Technologies
One thing to help adapt to the new decreased spending on dental procedures is the adoption of new technologies. Some of the trending technologies impacting the dental industry in 2022 and beyond include 3D printing, laser dentistry, teledentistry, and automated practice management.
The 3D printing market is expected to increase at a rate of 21 percent from 2021 to 2028. Approximately 9,500 3D printers are set to be shipped for dental applications this year according to SmarTech. Dental products that can be 3D printed include:
- Clear teeth aligners
- Dental crown substructures
- Dental models
- Surgical guides
Laser dentistry is expected to grow 11 percent from 2021 to 2025. There is a range of dental care applications for which laser technology can be used. Occasionally, they can be used to replace the need for the traditional dental drill. They can be used to remove or reshape tissue, repair fillings, remove cavities, and accelerate whitening procedures. Lasers can reduce pain and speed post-op healing while reducing bleeding. Diode lasers have recently shown a 100% reduction in long-term bacteria while just 58.4% of those treated with the usual hydrogen peroxide laser showed improvement.
According to Vyne’s State of the Dental Industry Report 2021, 23 percent of dental practices are considering teledentistry in 2022. Telehealth visits increased in the first week of the pandemic and remained elevated throughout the year. Nearly a third of all healthcare visits were conducted virtually. Teledentistry can not only provide a substitution for in-person care, but it can improve healthcare by increasing frequency and improving access. It can make it easier for Americans who live in rural areas without easy access to dentists and medical services to get care. Teledentistry has been shown to be equally effective as an in-person visit to diagnose cavities and assess treatment.
Automated Practice Management Options
Automation will become the norm for many dental practices in the coming years for appointment setting, customer service, and more management functions. The market for healthcare chatbots is expected to increase 23 percent through 2025. Use of the Emergency Dental Virtual Assistant can screen emergency patients before they arrive for dental care. Smartbot360 can answer questions about services, make appointments or leave a message for someone. ChatCompose can ask questions about symptoms and refer patients to a particular dentist. Appointment confirmation software can automatically send reminders via email, text, or phone to patients to remind them and confirm their upcoming appointments.
These are just a few dental trends for 2022. Many of the dental trends for the upcoming year focus on improving patient care. The dental industry is on its way to incorporating many new modern conveniences in the years to come.
Your dental staff will make or break your office. Staffing is a serious issue facing today’s health industry. Every practitioner is vying for the same patients in their relative location. So how can your dental office improve its patient experience and get and keep its patients? Build a great dental team and help your practice thrive! SPS Staffing talent acquisition group offers a variety of solutions to your dental practice to help you identify and locate the top talent for your team. They can help provide temporary or permanent talent for your dental office. Click on their dental staffing recruiting portal today!