Thanks to new technologies and practices, the dental industry is experiencing some major changes. From financing to patient experience and equipment, here are six dental industry trends to watch this year.
1. Customized Financing
Patients without dental coverage are either paying for their treatments out of pocket, or not going to the dentist at all. To assist these patients in getting the treatment they need, dental practices are employing customized payment plans. Others are offering separate yearly rates or other unique financing options.
Many practices are adopting new financing policies to keep up with the competition and improve patient retention.
2. Laser Dentistry
Laser technology is quickly becoming an integral part of the dental industry because it offers such a wide array of uses, including:
- Teeth whitening
- Preparing enamel for a filling
- Removing tooth decay
- Removing bacteria during a root canal
- Reshaping the gums
- Eliminating lesions
Laser dentistry can also help with the removal of plaque, which according to Antoine Dental Center, a Houston dentist, can cause “serious periodontal problems if it isn’t removed both above and below the gum line.”
Laser technology offers a number of benefits to patients and dentists. In many cases, anesthesia is not necessary, and the use of the laser sterilizes the gum to reduce the chance of infection. Less gum damage shortens the healing time, and patients are less likely to require sutures.
3. Group Practices
Group dental practices are quickly replacing individual practices. Group practices allow patients to be treated in an efficient and timely manner. They also cut down on the costs of running a practice and allow dentists to better meet the challenges of running an office.
Adding a partner or two into the mix can help the practice grow faster, which will result in more patients and more appointments.
4. Automated Patient Management Software
Digital automation solutions allow practices to streamline patient management tasks while improving organization and reducing daily processes.
Automated patient management solutions can include:
- Online patient portals
- Text appointment confirmations
- Scheduled social media posts
- Pre-recorded follow-up voicemails
- Digital data collection and organization
5. Enhanced Patient Experience
The patient experience is always the most important aspect of running a dental practice. A practice can have the most advanced technologies, but if patients have bad experiences, the practice will have a hard time staying open.
Find ways to optimize your patient experience strategy from the moment they visit your website to when they make an appointment, visit the office, pay their bill and leave.
Loyalty programs and special promotions emphasize patient value. Making it easier to check in and check out, process payments and schedule appointments can further help improve the patient’s experience.
With the help of artificial intelligence and robotics, robo-dentists are being created to perform minimally invasive procedures, such as teeth cleaning, cavity filling, tooth extractions and cap applications.
Dental robotics have already been a success in China, so this is a good indication that AI dentistry may become mainstream by the end of 2019.