Dental Practices

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 136,400 dental practices in the US are in the business of providing “oral health,” including hygiene or preventative care, restorative treatments, and oral surgery. 78% of dentists are in general dentistry, while orthodontists represent 5% and oral surgeons and pediatric dentists each represent 4%. The rest are specialty practices, such endodontists or periodontists. About half of dentists are in solo practices.

Weak Economy Lowers Demand

Demand for dental services had been thought to be “recession-proof,” but the past recession and recent pandemic saw a drop in dental appointments and billings.

New Treatment Technologies

Technological advances continue to increase quality, enhance patient comfort, and speed the delivery of dental treatments.

Industry size & Structure

The average dental practice employs about 6-7 workers and generates about $1 million in annual revenue.

    • There are about 136,400 dental practices in the US that employ 895,500 workers and generate annual revenue of $138 billion.
    • Dentists must be licensed by their State to practice. This requires a bachelor's degree, 4 years of dental school, and passing written and practical exams. Specialty licenses typically require another 2-4 years of postgraduate education and up to 2 years of a residency program. These licensing requirements create a significant barrier to entry for the industry.
    • 78% of dentists are in general dentistry. Orthodontists represent 5% and oral surgeons and pediatric dentists each represent 4%, with the rest in other specialties (endodontists, periodontists, etc.).
    • The average practice has 1-2 dentists and about 2 dental hygienists and 3 dental assistants for each dentist.
                              Industry Forecast
                              Dental Practices Industry Growth
                              Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                              Recent Developments

                              Dec 1, 2022 - “Click-by” Lawsuits Are Increasing
                              • The Dentists Insurance Company (TDIC) has noted an increase in calls to its Risk Management Advice Line from dentists who are facing Americans With Disabilities Act (AwDA) digital accessibility lawsuits. A steadily rising wave of litigation based on infractions against the AwDA has impacted all types of businesses. Many of these suits are grounded in physical barriers to access, but “click by” lawsuits are being filed in increasing numbers against businesses for digital violations. Click-by lawsuits are initiated when prospective plaintiffs and their lawyers scan websites in search of site designs that violate AwDA rules. The aim in nearly all cases is to reach a cash settlement with the business owner in lieu of going to court. Experts say that the practice has led to numerous cases filed by super-litigious groups of plaintiffs and law firms. AwDA compliance can be complicated, and small business websites are low-hanging fruit for predatory litigation. Minimum damages for a first offense in California are $4,000 and can multiply for every site revisit.
                              • Antibiotic prescribing in the dental setting requires updated guidelines and patient management strategies, according to research presented at the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Dentists are the third highest prescribers of antibiotics in the outpatient setting, with “suboptimal” prescribing rates between 30% and 85%. Current American Dental Association guidelines, published in 2019, provide guidance for antibiotic use based on the presence of dental pain or swelling, and “whether definitive conservative dental treatment is immediately available.” Antibiotics were prescribed for treatment rather than prophylaxis in 96% of the 120 cases randomly selected by investigators for detailed review. Antibiotics were indicated in only 14% of patients.
                              • Refurbished equipment is becoming a more attractive option for dental practices, according to some industry experts. Refurbished dental equipment is typically older models that have been returned to the manufacturer or an authorized dealer. The equipment has been tested and certified to meet all original factory specifications. It is in demand because it offers many upgraded features at a fraction of the price of purchasing new equipment. It is also a way to upgrade an existing practice without spending a lot of money. If a practice is using an old X-ray machine, for example, it may be able to purchase a refurbished X-ray machine that is newer and has more features.
                              • Labor shortages that delay routine care for some patients are being amplified by what dentists describe as higher-than-normal patient demand because of care that was deferred early in the coronavirus pandemic. Roughly 40% of dental practices nationwide report having open positions, according to the American Dental Association. About 90% of practices with openings report that it is extremely difficult to find workers.
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