Fueled by television makeover shows, patient inquiries, and doctors' desires to better serve patients while growing their practices, cosmetic dentistry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Dentists queried in a recent American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) survey of 9,000 U.S. practices stated the aesthetic/cosmetic services provided in their offices grew an average of 12.5% in the past five years, with some doctors experiencing close to a 40% increase. Whitening remains the most-requested cosmetic dental service.
Who is the typical cosmetic dental patient?
70.2% of those inquiring about cosmetic dentistry aren't 'the young and the beautiful' or even the 'baby boomers' with all that disposable income. They're everyone in-between: 31-50 year olds. That means they're people in the workforce or stay-at-home parents who just want to look and feel better for their themselves, and by association, their jobs and personal lives.
What is the typical cosmetic dental practice?
They're not just in The Village (Manhattan), or Beverly Hills, or on South Beach, either. 56.6% of cosmetic dental practices are found in suburban America. That ties in with those busy 31-50 year olds who often live in the suburbs and commute in to the city every morning.
Is cosmetic dentistry really booming?
Absolutely. 48.3% of dental practices reported annual production of more than $700,000 each year, with an avg. at $661,000 annually. At the same time, a third of all practices report they have more than 2000 active patients who spend on average more than $400 per visit. In the past five years, nearly 40% of responding practices report growth of over 15% in the number of cosmetic dental procedures performed.
Is there any difference in what procedures are requested by patients and which ones are actually performed by dentists?
Yes - and a pretty big one. While whitening was the most common requested procedure by patients (29%), it makes up only 6.5% of procedures performed in the cosmetic dental practice. A key: 25.1% of procedures performed in a cosmetic dental practice are classified as 'preventative,' underscoring the important role cosmetic dentistry plays in overall oral health.
Are there any factors keeping people away from cosmetic dentistry?
Cost is the key. A third of all respondents list cost as keeping patients away from a full smile makeover. But, never fear - Patient Financing is here! Over 3/4's of respondents combat the cost issue with open communication with the patient and info on how to finance that new smile (just like that Lexus!) 81.1% of respondents do indeed offer outside financing services.
Why the boom?
41.1% list media coverage of cosmetic dentistry as the engine behind the boom. 31.1% said it was 'baby boomers wanting to look better.'
About the Survey
The AACD commissioned Levin Group to conduct and summarize this survey. The resulting 33-page survey report covers areas ranging from demographics and perceptions of cosmetic patients to dentists' views of trends in cosmetic dentistry, and just about everything in between. The data gathered in the survey leads to optimistic conclusions that there are distinct opportunities for patients and practices alike to benefit from advances in cosmetic dentistry.