What does the sharp decline in dental labs REALLY mean

August 7, 2015

Those numbers are from new market research compiled for the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) by Valmont Research, which includes data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

From 2006-2017 the number of dental laboratories in the U.S. is predicted to decline by 39 percent. 

Those numbers are from new market research compiled for the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL) by Valmont Research, which includes data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. “If we look back 10 years ago, there were already discussions about this process taking place, just with natural attrition,” says Bennett Napier, Chief Staff Executive at the NADL, told DLP in an interview this week (see the whole interview below). “Looking at the general age of smaller owner-operators in the lab industry and the 2008 recession in collaboration with what we already thought was going to happen, to some extent it sped up the process.”

https://youtu.be/RXV3jvu_-Xw

Above: Don't miss our entire conversation with Bennett Napier

As with any study, the numbers are important to view in context. “One thing we’ve seen based on the research is that all of these labs that have supposedly left the market maybe didn’t leave completely,” Napier says. “They have been acquired and are now working for somebody else they were competing against before, and now they’re an employee. The good news is that some of the talent that is there didn’t leave [the profession] completely, just where they are and what they’re doing has changed.”

Additionally, Napier tells DLP that not all of the news is necessarily bad. “The bottom line is, there is an overall supply-and-demand issue. As the demand for dental services grows, there is certainly going to be an issue on the supply side of how many labs are left in the market to provide that service.”

Related: The latest salary data for dental labs

The NADL hopes to encourage labs to fill that demand via education, certification and an embracing of a more digital mindset. A part of that, they’re continuing to emphasize their “What’s in Your Mouth?” campaign, designed to give patients, dentists and the dental laboratory community the information necessary to make informed decisions about their dental needs.

“U.S. dental laboratories that adhere to dental laboratory standards not only protect the health of the patient, but they also protect the dentist,” says Gary Iocco, co-chair of the NADL Public Awareness Committee, in a press release. “With the reduction of labs, it is important now more than ever that dentists make sure that the dental restorations they use meet minimum dental laboratory standards.”  

For information on the campaign, please visit whatsinyourmouth.us/.

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