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    The future of dental practices

    Experts say the field of dentistry is shifting and new advancements will accompany the change. What will your dental practice look like five years from today?

    Times are changing, and the dental industry is, too. With shifts toward the dental service organization model, as well as exciting technology advancements, many dental practices will look very different in the coming years. But how will the changes affect your practice—and what will they mean for the long term?

    As I spoke with expert dentists—those who have been in the game for a while or are in touch with the goings-on in the industry—about the future of dentistry, most echoed what their colleagues were saying: Practices themselves will undergo a huge shift, leading to advancements in technology and the presence of multiple specialists in a single location. That shift will facilitate an increase in diagnostics and patient education. 

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    The pendulum is still swinging, and practices are still trending toward the dental service organization model (DSOs). As the model keeps growing, its wake will leave space only for certain kinds of private practice: the Neiman Marcus/Wal-Mart model, as one doctor says, and the solo-group practice model, as another doctor says. 

    The good news is that the space dentists will find themselves in will facilitate investment in technology. If dentists can adapt to the new frontier, they can be rewarded greatly. The same holds true for patients—at least for those who can afford the treatment. 

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    A lot will change in the next five years, if not in market availability, at least in ideas. In forecasting the future, there’s a lot we could talk about. The rise of minimally invasive dentistry, 3D printing or the increasing acceptance of sleep specialists are all going to change dentistry—but this article is not long enough to venture down every rabbit hole! Instead, let’s focus on two particular aspects of technology: imaging and artificial intelligence. 

     

    Next: What will change for the practice?

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