Still facing the long-lasting effects of 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, 2022 has been a year of slow growth for many industries. Though the dental industry is not immune from the harsh effects of fragile economies and global health crises, there have been many areas in which the industry has seen significant activity.
At The Dental SEO Experts, we believe that understanding your industry is key to creating successful digital marketing campaigns. Why? Industry trends often reflect consumer expectations, giving you an insight into your patient’s ever-changing requirements.
Keep reading to find out the top dental practice trends in the tumultuous year of 2022.
Dentistry by the Numbers
Before discussing this year’s most impactful trends, here’s a breakdown of the American dental industry in 2022 by the numbers:
- Estimated industry worth: $50.42 billion +
- Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR): 7.32 percent
- 67 percent of Americans visited the dentist in the last year
- There are now 61 dentists per 100,000 people
- The US ranks 9th for oral health worldwide
So far, 2022 has seen impressive growth for the dental industry with little sign of slowing down over the next five years. This is likely due to more Americans becoming health conscious and increasingly concerned about their oral hygiene. In fact, 75 percent of adults are planning on attending a dental checkup in the next year.
Trends to Watch
Since the pandemic and state-wide lockdowns plunged the country into inactivity, working from home has embedded itself into our culture. In fact, almost six in ten Americans now work remotely. With everyone stuck indoors during 2020 and 2021, many healthcare providers began providing online services, and dentistry was no exception. Now, as we move on from COVID-19, that trend continues.
Though teledentistry has been around for a while, the last year has seen a sharp rise in patients opting for remote consultations and teledentistry services. The teledentistry market is now projected to reach a value of over $2.6 million by 2027, equating to a growth of 17 percent. This rise in preference for at-home, remote dental care is likely a result of a shift in patient attitudes due to COVID-19 lockdowns and technological advancements.
For instance, Virtual Reality (VR) is increasingly used to alleviate patient anxiety by enabling them to visit practices virtually before their appointments. This allows dental patients to be prepared upon entering clinics, knowing what to expect.
3D Printing Use
As the global 3D printing market expands and 3D printing becomes more accessible, many dentists will likely adopt the technology as well. This is due to several factors, including:
- Rapid prosthetic delivery: Using 3D printing technology, dentists can print dentures, implants, and other prosthetics almost instantly instead of leaving patients waiting weeks for traditional molds and lab-made implants.
- Low-cost prosthetics: After the initial investment of a 3D printer and the necessary materials, it can save practices, and therefore patients, a substantial amount of money. For instance, a 3D printed denture set costs roughly $30 to create, whereas traditionally made dentures can cost hundreds to produce.
- High versatility: 3D printers can be used to manufacture many different prosthetics in-house. This includes dentures, implants, clear teeth aligners, dental crows substructures, and surgical guides.
It’s expected that the 3D printing industry will grow 20 percent by 2027, with millions of investments coming from the dental industry. For example, last year alone, $728 million was spent on manufacturing dental models, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dental investment in the 3D printing market equated to over $2.7 billion in 2021. That trend is well positioned to continue.
More Digital Marketing Investment
The dental industry currently sits at a worth of $145.50 billion and is expected to reach $196.18 by 2027. With a hefty market worth and 60 dentists per 100,000 Americans, the dental industry is growing increasingly competitive, leading many clinics to invest in digital marketing. 1 in 3 dentists now say they could not go without Facebook marketing, and 92percent are projected to employ social media marketing considerations.
This increased use of digital marketing is positively impacting many clinics, with 52 percent of practices not engaging in online marketing tactics generally reporting less revenue. So, what digital marketing methods can dental practices use to increase their profits and generate patient leads? Here are some of the top marketing services dentists are using provided by The Dental SEO Experts:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search engine optimization is the process of positioning a dental website to appear highly on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s an excellent way to generate highly targeted traffic.
- Local SEO: Like SEO, Local SEO is concerned with attracting website traffic through SERPs. However, Local SEO marketing focuses on generating leads from users in your local area.
- Google My Business Management (GMB): Setting up your Google My Business profile is a crucial component of Local SEO and often requires its own management consideration as a specialist digital marketing method.
- Link Building: Link building is an essential part of any solid digital marketing strategy and is a major ranking factor set out by search engines. Link building is the practice of generating external links that point to your website and boosts your credibility.
Natural Hygiene Product Growth
With the climate crisis well underway, 81 percent of consumers now prefer to buy sustainable products. This growing attitude toward environmentally friendly products also extends to the dental industry. Now, more than ever, dental patients are choosing to use natural and sustainable oral healthcare products like bamboo toothbrushes and herbal toothpaste.
Some patients are even going as far as ditching their toothbrush and paste in favor of almost waste-free probiotic lozenges. These work by creating a microenvironment in the mouth that works to destroy bacteria, which helps to prevent a variety of oral conditions, including bad breath and cavities. This trend has disrupted the industry, causing major brands like Colgate to produce sugar-free vegan toothpaste in the spirit of sustainability.
More Subscription Models
Many patients know the burden of dental costs all too well. In fact, up to 69 percent of Americans say they cannot afford dental care, and opt to delay or avoid treatment instead. With such a substantial portion of the population avoiding dental treatment, this results in a considerable loss of revenue for dental clinics and a reduction in American oral health. However, many dental practices are attempting to combat this issue by offering subscription-based dental care.
Subscription plans give patients an alternative to expensive dental health insurance. These plans typically cover the most essential dental services, such as checkups, x-rays, and fillings, and can be paid at a monthly or annual rate. Not only do subscription plans benefit patients, but they’re also likely to increase dental clinic revenue. In fact, 83 percent of patients prefer practices that offer monthly or annual subscription plans, with existing customers likely to spend 31 percent more on services than new patients.
Putting Patient Comfort First
Despite all these above trends, enough emphasis cannot be put on the value of excellent customer service and patient comfort now more than ever. This is because dental clinics saw a large downtick in business during the pandemic, which means they now need to win patients back. The best and simplest way to win back lapsed patients is by creating an outstanding customer experience, as studies show that positive experiences result in long-term loyalty for 86 percent of customers.
So, how can you create an exceptional patient experience? First and foremost, you should work towards offering the services that patients want. For example, if your customer-base requests more aesthetic or oral hygiene options, adding these services to your roster would be useful. That way, patients would feel valued and have more demand for your practices.
Another way to improve your customer service is to build a dental website. A website acts as a digital business card that allows patients to learn about your practice and understand the nature of your services before joining your practice. This helps them decide whether your clinic is right for them while also giving patients a convenient way to get in contact with you.
Keep Informed with The Dental SEO Experts
The dental industry is always growing and changing in many ways and can be challenging to keep up with. At The Dental SEO Experts, we pride ourselves on offering up-to-date digital marketing services to keep your dental practice ahead of the competition. We have a team of dedicated SEO specialists ready to help you achieve your marketing goals. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more.