Good oral health is all about consistency. Dental professionals encourage regular brushing, flossing, and biannual appointments. There’s a reason the best dental advice is usually that which is “tried and true.”
But have you looked around the world lately? Things are INSANE. Information is moving at hyperspeed, virtual reality is starting to feel more like real reality, people walk around with little white buds in their ears, there are two NFL teams in Los Angeles, and straws have been culturally canceled.
Although dental care evolves with prudence, it doesn’t exist in a silo. So here are five dental trends to expect in the next decade:
We’ve all gotten used to the idea of robots doing human jobs. As the quality and technology of AI evolves, even manual practices like dentistry are set to join this rollercoaster ride of innovation.
In the coming decade, AI will be able to review x-rays and scans for findings, crown margins, and establish aligners more accurately and efficiently, which will save dentists time and provide more accuracy to patients.
With the ability to potentially identify wider ranges of oral pathologies while maintaining more electronic organization, dentists will be able to better offer comprehensive solutions that won’t leave their patients returning to “the chair” for problems that could have been dealt with in one visit. It could even eventually connect to your healthcare!
The Rise of Group Dentistry
With so many different plans and providers, healthcare in the U.S. is nothing short of chaos. It’s hard for people to know how to maximize their benefits, let alone ensure that they’re covered properly. And that doesn’t even include dental and vision!
Looking into the future, dental offices are hoping to join forces to provide better, more affordable services and standardized systems for patients. Dentists will have the chance to experience improved training opportunities and have access to more competitive jobs.
Patients may be able to look forward to dental chains becoming local household names, and making it easier than ever to get consistent care.
More Hygienist Responsibility
Hygienists are to dentists what nurses are to doctors. Like nurses, hygienists account for a lot of the dental experience. As smiles grow in 2020, so might the role your everyday dental hygienist.
Depending on the state, overall general supervision laws may broaden, meaning hygienists will be able to focus more on Phase 1 / 2 of dentistry, allowing dentists to spend more time on the second and third phases (crowns, implants) as well as specialty procedures (aligners). A more present hygienist could also mean taking on more preventative, diagnostic, and restorative care for patients.
Payment Models // Purchasing Patterns
Cash is fading, and in some ways, so are credit cards. A growing audience of patients are expecting streamlined payment models that complement their always-online lifestyles.
In the next decade, dentists can expect to find new ways to offer discovery, booking, payment, and pre-authorization for patients. Dental will become integrated into systemic healthcare systems online in a manner that helps dentists drive practice growth.
Patients will be able to track their dental data more easily, and to pay in more streamlined manners. Payment will be more transparent on both ends, allowing patients the freedom and security to feel more confident in their coverage.
Tele // Mobile Dentistry and Retail
Dental will meet people where they are — out on the world, and on their phones. Expect practices to move deeper within digital communities.
For dentists, this means the opportunity to expand beyond their usual offices. They’ll have the potential to meet new patients, and engage with them more often.
For patients, this means quicker and more readily available access to dental services. Pop-ups, office visits, mobile clinics, and digital services will make going to the dentist more and more integrative. In the next decade, dental visits will become easier for patients to schedule into their day-to-days, giving them more opportunities and choices, making it easier to get the right care they need.