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4 key dental industry trends in 2023 and beyond

Dec. 21, 2022
Andrew Smith, executive director of the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ASDO), summarizes what the organization says are 4 trends that will impact the industry in 2023 and beyond.

Owing to unprecedented factors such as impacts from COVID-19, rapid technological innovation, increasing inflation, a tightening labor market, and an aging population in need of more dental services, the dental industry is going through a period of significant transformation. This transformation is the focus of a new white paper released by the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO), which identifies four key trends we believe are likely to impact the dental industry in 2023 and the years beyond.

Importance of oral-systemic health

In a recent webinar hosted by the ADSO,“A Conversation on Wages, Workforce and the Economy,” panelists discussed the growing understanding that oral health has a strong impact on overall health. Recent studies show links between poor oral health and chronic diseases like diabetes. Ensuring that they stay on top of this trend and do what they can to integrate dental care into the overall health care picture will help dental practitioners—and indeed all health practitioners—remain on the cutting edge of patient care.

Technology as a driver of resiliency and growth

ADSO is expecting the wave of technological advances, in part spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, to continue to impact and transform dental care in 2023. These technological advances will improve efficiencies, enhance patient care, and broaden accessibility. And a recent survey by the American Dental Association shows that dentists are integrating these advances into their practices and patient care protocols. The survey further showed 49% of dentists plan to spend more money on technology over the next two years. Practitioners should continue to do their part to assess where technology can streamline processes and improve care within their organizations.

Staffing and retention challenges in an unprecedented labor market

In a labor market still recovering from COVID-19, attracting and maintaining a high-quality workforce is more important, and difficult, than ever. We expect this challenge to continue. Quite simply, we need more dentists, more dental hygienists, and more dental assistants to meet the growing demand for dental care. Overcoming hiring challenges will be key for practices to continue delivery top quality care moving forward.

DSOs as a partner for new dentists

As dentists struggle to manage responsibilities like marketing, compliance, and finance, we expect to see more practitioners turn to DSOs to help alleviate these burdens. Partnering with DSOs can be particularly helpful to new dentists, who often struggle with high startup costs due to challenges like high student loan debt and an overflow of non-clinical administrative tasks. By continuing this trend, new dentists will be able to focus more on the health of their patients and less on the operations that can distract them from care.