The Dental Products Report® 2022 Tech Census got a good look at what dental professionals choose for the technology in their practice, and what they see for the future.
As technology advances in the dental field, understanding what works for a specific practice can help give clinicians an edge over the competition. Whether it’s an intraoral camera to better visualize treatment planning or an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to detect caries, technology can be a huge boon for dental practices regardless of size.
New technology not only makes clinical treatments more effective and efficient, but it can also be a great marketing tool for attracting patients. When a practice keeps ahead of the curve, it demonstrates a clear commitment to patient well-being and best practices.
To get a good idea of what dental professionals are considering for their practices, Dental Products Report® surveyed dental professionals all over the United States in the Dental Products Report® 2022 Tech Census. Their answers can offer vital insight on incorporation of new technologies into daily practice across the nation. Demographically, about 80% of respondents were practice owners with more than 20 years’ experience. Read on to see their insight and answers to get a robust idea of what technologies work best for dental professionals. Answers were rounded up or down to the nearest 1.
Asked about incorporating new technologies in the practice, more than half of respondents said they typically conduct research first, including demos, studies, and proof that a specific technology will be a clinical boost. Only about 5% of respondents replied that they would buy a new technology on impulse, which is unsurprising because new technologies can be a big purchase and deliberation may be key in many practices.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged through a variety of industries, dentistry is no stranger to the effects of the virus. When asked whether the turbulence of the past 2 years has had any effect on clinicians’ interest in certain technologies, nearly half of respondents said they had an increased interest in aerosol mitigation systems and infection control equipment. Because of increased infection control protocol during the pandemic, it makes sense that more clinicians might be hoping to expand their technology in these departments.
While most of these answers may reflect what we regularly see in dental practices (ie, curing lights, infection control, and intraoral x-rays), there were a few technologies that were less popularly used or owned in a dental practice. AI and CBCT imaging systems were less popular among the answers, perhaps due to their higher price point or newer entry in the dental industry. It remains to be seen whether these numbers will tick upward as more dental practices begin to adopt these technologies.
When asked whether a variety of technologies provided a good ROI for dental practices, answers varied. Technologies such as practice management software and digital intraoral x-ray systems had most respondents strongly agreeing, whereas around 22% of respondents declared that a digital shade matching system didn’t have the best ROI. Although this remains a relatively low number in comparison, it was still the most strongly disagreed upon technology listed.
When asked whether any of these technologies encouraged patients to spread the good word about the dental practice, respondents seemed to agree that intraoral scanners and cameras were 2 big draws for patient-initiated marketing. This stands to reason; patients can visualize and see what occurs in their mouths with the help of intraoral scanners and cameras.
Respondents seemed to agree that these technologies all had some value to patients and dentists, with most technologies being agreed or strongly agreed upon in this category. Standouts in the “strongly agree” category include intraoral x-ray systems, infection control equipment, and curing lights.
As technology advances, clinicians get a good picture of where they hope to see the most change in the dental industry. Respondents were split evenly between 3 different technologies for this question, answering that 3D printing, antimicrobial materials, and AI are all technologies that have the biggest potential impact on dentistry’s future. It remains to be seen what these technologies have in store for the future of this industry.