Dental Practices

Industry Profile Report

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

Industry Overview Industry Structure, How Firms Opertate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

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

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

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 136,500 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. Three out of four 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 136,500 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

                              Coronavirus Update

                              May 4, 2022 - Education Of Dentists Impacted By Pandemic
                              • Education of dentists has been negatively impacted during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published in the medical journal Cureus. Dental schools' income was reduced due to reduced patient flow during and after the epidemic. A greater financial burden placed has been placed on dental students, since some of them may be in debt, and this may result in a higher student drop-out rate in dental schools, leading to a reduction in the future dental healthcare workforce and creating a great impact on the future scope of dentistry. Students who apply for advanced dental programs also face an economic burden and there will be a delay in processing their applications. Most of the dental students experienced greater levels of stress during the pandemic and felt that their clinical education suffered considerably.
                              • Two-thirds of dentists required patients to wear a mask in the waiting area in March, according to the latest wave of the ADA Health Policy Institute’s Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry poll. Most dentists also required both clinical and non-clinical staff, 70% and 62% respectively, to mask continually throughout the workday. The poll also found that masking requirements for patients in waiting areas and for clinical and nonclinical staff in the practice were more common in urban than in rural settings.
                              • The Department of Labor has concluded that dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants have the highest exposure to the coronavirus, ranking alongside respiratory therapy technicians and oral surgeons. The instruments used by dental practices create aerosol clouds that can hold germs for up to three hours, increasing the odds of exposure for staff if a patient has the coronavirus.
                              • Some pediatric dentists are worried that many kids aren't keeping up with their dental hygiene during the pandemic. "There have been a lot of virtual schools and jobs and everything. With the kitchen right down the hall, there's been constant snacking and so it's not always been healthy," said Dr. Jeanie Beauchamp, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
                              • An Illinois dental practice is among a group of insurance policyholders not entitled to coverage for pandemic losses, a three-judge Seventh Circuit panel ruled. The Seventh Circuit is now the fifth appeals court to side with insurers in a pandemic coverage suit.
                              • Many dentists say that incidence of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, known as bruxism, has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. "Since the pandemic, patients have been coming to me with new complaints of jaw pain, tooth pain, broken or chipped teeth or just because their partners are telling them they’re grinding -- in numbers that I’ve never seen before," Dr. Saul Pressner, a family dentist in New York City, said. Clenching and grinding is a common problem, but Pressner said he has even treated adults whose teeth clenching issues are brand new. "I’m really seeing both -- people who were pre-disposed to clenching and grinding, who already had appliances made for them, and some who had no evidence to show they were ever clenching or grinding before," Pressner said.
                              • The New York State Department of Financial Services, which regulates insurance firms, published guidelines directing medical, dental, and vision insurers to combat personal protective equipment (PPE) surcharges. Some dentists in New York State and elsewhere are adding a COVID-19 surcharge to help cover the cost of upgraded PPE that they say is essential for keeping employees safe during the pandemic. Insurance companies can't allow dentists in their network to charge members PPE fees and must get previously paid surcharges reimbursed, state regulators said. The American Dental Association has urged dental health plans to begin reimbursing a new fee to cover the expense. Some health plans have done so, but others haven’t, which can leave patients paying the bills.
                              • Some insurance providers subsidize PPE costs, and other contracts don’t allow for customers to be held liable for additional fees tacked on later. The rules vary from state to state and provider to provider, depending on whether the fee is disclosed upfront and what a client’s insurance policy covers.
                              • Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh has issued an advisory warning dentists charging PPE fees that they may be violating the Consumer Protection Act. Insurance laws typically prohibit participating providers from charging fees to insured consumers. Fees may be acceptable when patients see an out-of-network provider or don’t have insurance, according to Kimberly Cammarata, Assistant Attorney General and director of the state Health Education and Advocacy Unit. The American Dental Association has said that it’s unethical to only charge uninsured patients or only seek reimbursement for these fees from insured patients.
                              • The World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidance advising people to delay routine dental cleanings "...until there has been a significant reduction in covid-19 transmission rates, or according to official recommendations at national, subnational, or local levels.” WHO cited the role of aerosols in the “rapid contamination of surfaces and potential for the infection to spread” and called for more research into common dentistry practices that produce the tiny floating particles that might cause infection if inhaled, Reuters reported. “The likelihood of COVID-19 being transmitted through aerosol, micro-particles or airborne particles ... today I think is unknown. It’s open to question at least. This means that more research is needed,” Benoit Varenne, a WHO dental officer, said during a news briefing.
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