The dental industry changes both more rapidly and more frequently than many people think. 2017 saw many changes, and 2018 will see many more. From more convenient dental payment plans to dental practices that focus more on patient comfort, one of the major trends facing the industry is the need to improve the patient experience. Here are a few ways in which the dental industry stands to change in big ways throughout the coming year.
1: A Smaller Gender Gap
While the dental industry remains predominantly male, the demographics have been changing rapidly recently. Dental students graduating college and entering the workforce for the first time in 2018 are at a 50/50 gender split. This means that younger dentists will likely be more mindful of women’s needs overall. 2018 will probably see the smallest gender gap in the industry’s history. As the older generation of dentists retires, the gap will grow smaller still. For the immediate future, you can expect practices that traditionally have mostly male doctors hiring on more women. There hasn’t been a conscious bias against women in the industry, so many practices are simply embracing the changing times.
2: Better Finance Options
Dental practices have looked for ways to enhance patient financing for years, and 2018 will provide more dental finance options than ever before. Many of these finance options focus on improved patient payment plans that provide more flexibility and lots of ways to pay online or via a mobile device. Medical financing companies will do their part to try to compete in the market, with the most successful dental financing plans trending toward options like Ajeva.com, which offer no credit check, 0% financing options. Such payment plans offer patients a chance to take control of their dental health without hurting their long-term financing prospects.
3: More Group Practices
The traditional image of a dental practice is a small office that consists of one dentist or perhaps a partnership of two. Times have moved away from the solo practice, and 2018 will likely see more group practices formed than in any year prior. Group practices offer many advantages, including the ability for younger dentists who are just starting out in the industry to work with other trained professionals while they manage the burden of student loan debt. Having multiple professionals together in one practice also provides a way to utilize multiple strengths. For example, it means that one person doesn’t have to be responsible for marketing, outreach, social media, and other non-dental business procedures.
The upcoming trends in the dental industry have been brewing for some time, but 2018 will see a marked shift in terms of those hints becoming reality. The future is now, in more ways than one. The faces behind the dental masks are changing, the business models are shifting, and even dental financing options are becoming more flexible and favorable to the patient. As a whole, the industry is ready to enter an exciting new future that many are eager to be a part of.