DLP 2020 By the Numbers

December 3, 2020
Noah Levine

Dental Lab Products, Dental Lab Products December 2020, Volume 42, Issue 4

This year brought more than its share of surprises to the dental industry, and as dental practices shut down and saw fewer patients, dental labs experienced a drop in business, as well.

3/16 – On March 16, 2020 the American Dental Association issued its recommendation that dental practices across the country cease all elective and nonessential patient care due to the onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As these shutdowns hit practices, the lack of patients being treated meant a corresponding reduction in the number of cases being sent to dental labs.

4 – The ranking of dental lab technicians in a report from Business Insider on the jobs at the greatest risk for contracting infectious diseases.1

97% – of US dental offices were closed to all but emergency appointments for at least part of April, according to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. Although some labs followed suit, most reduced staff and pivoted to 3D printing personal protective equipment or finding other ways to help their local communities.2

503,000 – dental jobs were lost during the month of April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This represented the hardest-hit segment of the health care sector of the economy, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.3 Many of these jobs did eventually return over the summer as practices reopened.

73% – of dental labs with employees laid off or furloughed employees as a result of the pandemic, and although 81% of those employees were back to work by August, that leaves almost a fifth of that cohort of technicians out of work.4

53.9% – of dental practices reported seeing 85% or less of their pre-COVID-19 patient volume during the week of November 2.5 This shows that while the industry is recovering, most practices remain far from returning to normal.


  1. Kiersz A, Gillett R, Hoff M. 47 jobs that will always be bad for your health, and how much they pay. Business Insider. July 14, 2020. Accessed November 11, 2020 https://www.businessinsider.com/most-unhealthy-jobs-in-america-2017-4
  2. COVID-19: economic impact on dental practices, week of April 20 results. Health Policy Institute. Accessed November 11, 2020 https://surveys.ada.org/reports/RC/public/YWRhc3VydmV5cy01ZTlkYjFlMTRlZDkxOTAwMTU4NTU4ZmItVVJfNWlJWDFFU01IdmNDUlVO
  3. The employment situation—April 2020. News release. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 8, 2020. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_05082020.pdf
  4. Fessel Carr, K. Strategic recovery: uncertainty, solidarity continue. LMT. September 16, 2020. Accessed November 23, 2020. https://lmtmag.com/articles/strategic-recovery-uncertainty-solidarity-continue
  5. COVID-19: economic impact on dental practices, week of November 2 results. Health Policy Institute. Accessed November 11, 2020. https://surveys.ada.org/reports/RC/public/YWRhc3VydmV5cy01ZmEyYzBjMmNhZThkNzAwMGViZTExNTMtVVJfM3BaeGhzWm12TnNMdjB4
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