Top 29 Dental Industry Trends & State of Dental in 2024

This post was originally published on August 13, 2015, and updated on February 13, 2024.

Table of Contents

Top 27 Dental Industry Trends & State of Dental in 2023


At Titan Web Agency, we work with some of the nation's
top dental practices. We consider it our responsibility to stay abreast of the latest dental industry trends and what they mean for our clients.

As the new year has already begun, it is time to review the current trends in dentistry for 2024 and how they’ll impact your marketing.

State of Dental 2023

NexHealth conducted its annual survey and released a report about the state of dentistry. Here are some key takeaways that we feel are relevant to what dentists and dental practices can expect this year.

Economic Optimism

While the economy's overall state is still skeptical, NexHealth’s survey has revealed that most dentists and dental practice owners feel optimistic that they will grow in 2024, attracting more patients and earning more profits than in 2023. 

While some practices are still recovering from the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many report that they have rebounded.

  • 78% of all practices surveyed say they feel optimistic about 2024 being a year of growth. That’s up from 63% last year.
  • 62% of practices said they experienced revenue growth in 2023, up from just 50% in 2022.
  • 11% of practices say their revenue grew by 20% or more in 2023.

These numbers reveal a significantly optimistic outlook within the industry regardless of the overall economic predictions.

The Role of Staff Retention in Growth

Staff retention continues to be a major focus. Dentists feel more optimistic about practice growth than a year ago, but 74% are concerned about staff retention.

The biggest increase in optimism is from practices that use high-retention strategies to retain staff members. 87% of practices using those tactics say they’re optimistic about practice growth, while only 57% of practices struggling with staff retention feel the same way.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that staff turnover can also lead to patient turnover. Dental patients want to feel comfortable and appreciate seeing familiar faces when they arrive for an appointment.

The biggest hiring needs for 2024 are dental assistants, dental hygienists, and office managers. The two top reasons dental practice employees gave for leaving were salary (58%) and burnout (42%).

Survey Demographics

To help you interpret the survey results, here’s a breakdown of the demographics of those who responded:

  • 35% dentists and practice owners
  • 46% office managers
  • 19% other (hygienists, assistants, patient coordinators, etc.)

What Practices Do to Minimize Turnover

In the report, these trends emerged to identify what dental practices can do to minimize employee turnover and maximize growth.

  • Minimize cancellations. 58% of respondents said that cancellations and no-shows were their biggest stressors.
  • Streamline work. Many respondents said that repetitive, manual work is an issue for them. They want to feel productive and valued.
  • Train for technology. Many of the survey respondents said that a lack of training on new technology was an issue. High-retention practices prioritize training.
  • Staff recognition. People want to feel valued and recognized for their work. 71% of high-retention practices said they had staff recognition programs, and 61% gave regular performance reviews.
  • Compensation adjustments. 44% of high-retention practices said they would consider compensation adjustments to help retain staff, while only 27% of low-retention practices said the same.

It’s worth noting that dental practice management software can address repetitive tasks like rescheduling, appointment reminders, and paperwork.

The Number One Patient Complaint in 2023

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention patient complaints, which can hinder practice growth if they aren't addressed.

According to NexHealth, the top patient complaint in 2023 was that it was too difficult to reschedule appointments when necessary. That’s the same complaint they had in 2022, so it’s clear that not much has been done to address it.

The numbers indicate that patients want the same level of freedom and flexibility in dentistry that they find in other areas of their lives.

The other top complaints were as follows:

  • Too much paperwork to complete.
  • The cost of dental services is too high.
  • Lack of appointment reminders.
  • Too much time in the waiting room.
  • Outdated dental office or equipment.

Again, dental practice management software can address issues like rescheduling, appointment reminders, and paperwork.

How Dental Software Can Transform Your Practice

Choosing the right dental software can transform your practice by allowing patients to book or change appointments easily, make on-time payments, and help your staff work efficiently.

Patients want to book online, so choosing software that will allow them to do so is only sensible. The same is true of streamlining the payment process. Automating processes can make your office more efficient and free you to treat more patients.

The Four “Deal Breakers” for New Dental Software

The right dental software can help any practice attract new patients, but what features do dentists consider deal-breakers? Four features, if absent, would rule out software.

  • Security and reliability: The survey respondents prioritized security and reliability. Patient information must be protected, and the software must work reliably and with minimal problems.
  • Ease of implementation and management: Adopting new software requires time and effort, so dentists are more likely to choose software that makes onboarding and management easy. 
  • Excellent customer service: At a time when the consensus is that focusing on patients is essential, it’s not surprising that dentists expect top-notch customer service from software companies. Dentists can’t support their patients if they aren’t supported.
  • Integrations: Many dental offices use software and tools for various purposes. Respondents clarified that they prioritize dental software that integrates seamlessly with the tools they already use.

Items further down on the list included cost, new features, and brand recognition.

How to Emulate High-Retention Practices in 2024

How can your practice become high-retention with a welcoming work culture that helps employees avoid burnout? Here are some suggestions from the survey.

  • Prioritizing online booking and rescheduling. Scheduling and rescheduling appointments can be time-consuming. 
  • Identify your staff’s biggest stressors. The top stressors identified in the survey were cancellations & no-shows, excessive paperwork, inadequate compensation, outdated technology, and patient complaints.
  • Create a staff recognition system. Acknowledging your staff’s hard work can go a long way toward preventing burnout.
  • Update your tech. Providing adequate training can alleviate stress if it’s been a while since you updated your technology.
  • Review compensation. Many dental practices weren’t able to increase compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic. At a time of renewed optimism, it’s necessary to consider your staff and pay them more for their work.

Dental workers want to love their jobs. Practice owners can do a lot to make that a reality, and the strategies listed here are a step in the right direction.

Dental Industry Statistics

Now, let’s look at some statistics about the dental industry in 2023 that may help us understand what’s coming in 2024. According to Dentistry Today, the dental services market was $154.96 billion and is expected to increase to $254.09 billion by 2032.

The biggest drivers of growth are:

  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dental implants
  • New dental technology

The US also has an aging population, so there’s more demand for dental services. Here are some other statistics to remember as we head into 2023.

  • The cosmetic dentistry market in the US was $30 billion as of 2022 and is expected to increase to $106.3 billion by 2032.
  • The dental implant market in the US was $1.4 billion as of 2022. Globally, it’s worth $4.99 billion. The US market is expected to increase to $2.2 billion by 2029.
  • According to the CDC, only 64.1% of adults and 86.9% of children saw a dentist in 2022, the last year for which numbers are available.

These statistics show there’s room to grow for any dental practice in the United States.

Marketing Trends for Dental Practices

Now, let’s look ahead and review the top 29 dental industry trends for the coming year.

1. Creating and Maintaining a Trustworthy Persona

A Pew Research study from 2019 revealed that the tendency to trust medical and scientific experts is often affected by politics. Certainly, the intervening years have proven that to be true, and we expect it'll continue to impact dentistry as we head into 2024.

Dental practices must establish and maintain trust with patients over time. Without trust, practices have difficulty attracting new patients. While the dental industry has rebounded from its losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, dentists must cultivate trust to attract new patients in 2024.

Education Will Increase New Patient Registration

Many adults avoid seeing a dentist because they’re worried about their ability to pay or unsure whether their insurance will cover the dental and orthodontic treatments they receive. Others avoid dental care because they fear pain. According to a survey from Byte, the most common reason why people avoid going, is cost related.

Part of attracting new patients is finding ways to demonstrate your trustworthiness and expertise through any fear or reservations that potential patients may have. Some ways to do that include creating videos, blogs, and other educational content to inform patients about what to expect if they choose your practice.

byte procrastinating the dentist

Why Adults Avoid Going to the Dentist

A new year means new opportunities to promote services and products to adults who have been avoiding making dental appointments. It’s not uncommon for adults to postpone treatments due to an inability to pay or a belief that they don't need treatment. In addition to needing routine care, these patients may require catch-up care.

A new and robust content marketing campaign can help you reconnect with patients who have not seen you in a while and attract new dental patients to your practice. You may use dental SEO marketing, email marketing, blogging, social media marketing, and search engine advertising to build authority and trust with your patients.

2. Online Reviews Will Continue to Impact How Patients Choose Dentists

Patient referrals and reviews are some of your most powerful marketing tools. You must use your online review system to its maximum potential and encourage patients to leave online reviews. Reviews are important because they help you build authority and trust.

Let’s start with some statistics. Here’s what you need to know about what your patients think about online reviews:

  • 77% of consumers read online reviews before choosing a healthcare provider.
  • 84% also said they preferred providers who received at least four out of five stars in their reviews.
  • Most patients read between one and six reviews before choosing a provider.

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65% of healthcare providers have zero online reviews. Encouraging and responding to reviews can give you a leg up on your local competitors.

Most patients would like to be able to message a provider or schedule an appointment directly from the provider’s Google Business Profile.

Some dentists don’t bother monitoring online reviews because they think if a patient has a problem, they’ll hear about it. But in today’s business world, you need to be vigilant about how you treat your patients, or else they will end up complaining online.

Having negative reviews can drive patients away. 94% of consumers say that a negative online review has convinced them not to choose a business, and four out of five say that reading negative reviews has made them change their minds about a business. No statistics specific to dental practices are available, but it’s a safe bet that negative online reviews could drive patients to your competitors.

In 2024, dentists need to think about negative reviews and how they’ll be perceived if patients see no response to negative feedback online.

The takeaway here is that reviews matter, and your engagement with those reviews during 2024 will impact the success of your dentistry business. Patients are leaving reviews for medical providers now more than ever before, and you can take advantage of that by monitoring your reviews.

The bottom line is that you should monitor your online reviews. Some of the most popular review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. You should also check out 1-800 Dentist, Healthgrades, and Dentists.com for dental reviews.

You can be proactive by getting in the habit of asking patients to review your practice when they check out after an appointment. Training your staff to ask this of patients can increase your positive reviews and help you monitor and improve patient satisfaction.

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3. The Rising Value of Convenience

We have seen a burgeoning movement to treat dental patients like consumers. It’s a recognition that, in most cases, patients have many options when they choose healthcare providers. This was a trend in 2023 and we anticipate that 2024 will continue the trend toward prioritizing convenience for patients.

Today’s patients expect to access services around the clock, get help when needed, and communicate directly with dentists. Patients want access to same-day dentistry and will be more likely to choose your practice if you can provide it.

Convenience in dentistry could mean any of the following things:

  • An online portal that allows patients to schedule appointments online, ask questions, and fill out intake paperwork at their leisure.
  • Expanded office hours to allow patients to come in at the best times, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
  • Allowing patients to pay online or from their mobile devices.
  • Adding additional services to give patients an all-in-one stop for their dental and oral health care needs.

We recognize that convenience for patients may come at the expense of convenience for you. Still, the reality is that there’s a reason that convenience is one of the ongoing trends in dentistry. Your competitors are likely addressing convenience as the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and you’ll need to do the same if you want to keep up.

Remember that convenience for patients may also translate to less repetitive work for your staff and higher staff retention. 

Some conveniences for your office include call tracking and website maintenance. Why are they conveniences for you? Call and lead tracking allows you to optimize your marketing initiatives, and website maintenance allows you to offload web work to somebody more proficient.

4. 3D Printing: The New Normal in Dentistry

Not only is 3D printing still on the rise in the dental industry, but it’s also up and coming in technological and business sectors.

2023 saw an increase in the use of 3D printing by dentists, and that’s a dental industry trend we expect to continue throughout 2024. 3D printing uses innovative materials such as resins and increases the creation speed for custom dentures, crowns, and more. With 3D printing, these can now be made in minutes instead of in days or weeks.

While 3D printing has existed for years, possible applications are still coming to light in the dental industry. What started as a lab tool has blossomed into something that can be used in all aspects of general dentistry, implantology, and prosthodontics, and even to create custom devices to help patients with sleep apnea.

As of 2023, 3D printing was responsible for $3.2 billion in revenue in the dental industry. That number is expected to increase to $4 billion in 2024 and quadruple by 2032.

2023 saw a significant increase in the use of metals in 3D printing, with the two most common being cobalt-chrome and titanium. Resin is also a common material because it:

  • Provides an excellent finish with the capability to produce the fine feature details required for dental devices.
  • Has the potential to be used for both short-term and long-term dental solutions.
  • If your practice doesn’t have a 3D printer, now is the time to consider investing in one.

As the use of 3D printing becomes more prevalent, dental patients will expect quick delivery of prosthetics made with 3D printers. You’ll be better served once you embrace this technology in your dental practice.

Dental Social Media Marketing

5. Digital Patient Engagement

Patients look for dentists online. That means that if you want your practice to be successful, you’ll need to meet them where they are. That might mean a lot of different things, including the following.

  • Maintaining a consistent social media presence. You’ll need to stay on top of social media changes and trends. For example, TikTok is the only platform that continues to see steady growth, but YouTube is the most dominant overall.
  • Embracing digital solutions for patients. Things like an online patient portal, online scheduling, and teledentistry aren’t optional anymore. Patients expect them, and they’ll find a practice that offers them if yours doesn’t.
  • Provide digital resources on your website. Patients want self-service options. Providing explainer videos for your most requested procedures, a detailed FAQ, and a blog you update regularly can go a long way toward attracting new patients.
  • Embracing AI. We’ll go into more detail about the impact of AI on the dental industry in the next two sections, but for now, remember that patients are aware of AI and will expect you to use it where it’s appropriate.

Smart dental practice owners will carefully consider the digital patient experience and do whatever they can to improve it by 2024.

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6. Patient Support Chatbots

It wasn't that long ago that chatbots seemed as futuristic as flying cars. While final numbers for 2023 are not yet available, estimates are that 75% and 90% of all healthcare queries during the year happened without a human agent. 74% of consumers prefer using a chatbot to get answers to routine questions.

Many dentists have been slow to use chatbots because of concerns over patient privacy and HIPAA regulations. However, technology has kept up with the demands, and it’s now possible for dentists to launch a dental chatbot while still preserving their patients' privacy. Estimates are that the global healthcare chatbot market was worth $314.3 million in 2023 and will continue to grow at about 20% annually.

Dentists can use chatbots in a variety of ways, including:

  • Appointment scheduling and handling patient cancellations
  • Symptom reporting and early diagnostics
  • Medication assistance
  • Oral health guidance

Chatbots may be installed on your website, and some patient portals come with chatbots included. You may also want to include a chatbot on your social media sites, especially on Facebook, where Messaging plays an important role in patient support. They provide a safe way to enhance dental care and a quality patient experience. Of course, you’ll need to ensure that any chatbot you use is HIPAA compliant.

7. AI in Dentistry

There’s no denying that artificial intelligence is impacting the world every day. Dentists are using it in various ways. 

One of the liveliest debates in dentistry is about how to use AI properly and safely. We’ll use ChatGPT as an example. OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, has specifically warned that people should not use ChatGPT to create content in two areas: finance and medicine. They refer to these forbidden areas as “your money or your life.”

Why is ChatGPT use not recommended for these areas? There’s a two-part answer to that question.

  1. ChatGPT can get up-to-date information from the web, but what it can’t and doesn’t do is verify the accuracy of what it finds. In other words, it will not differentiate between good information from the ADA website and bad information from a person who knows nothing about dentistry.
  2. ChatGPT may manufacture “facts.” Forbes wrote about this phenomenon, pointing out that fake studies created by ChatGPT fooled scientists about a third of the time.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use ChatGPT to assist in content. It does mean that you’ll need to be meticulous about fact-checking what it creates.

AI Trends in Dentistry

Artificial intelligence can do more than create blog outlines or social media content. It’s also powering tools that can help dentists provide better patient care. Here are some examples.

  • AI can analyze images and see things that the human eye might miss.
  • AI’s advanced capabilities can help dentists detect early signs of disease and make an early diagnosis.
  • With help from AI, dentists can create detailed patient treatment plans.
  • Patients may benefit directly from AI by getting personalized treatment options.

The takeaway is that AI can improve dentistry when used properly by an experienced dentist. Patients may need a bit of education to understand how you’re helping them by using AI-powered tools in your practice.

8. Optimize for Voice Search

The dental industry is quick to embrace technology when it can be used in treatments–3D printers are an example–but dental practices can also be notoriously slow in staying on top of digital trends. One of the most important ongoing trends in dentistry in 2024 is continuing to optimize for voice search.

It’s worth noting that the predictions about voice search from the past few years may have been ahead of consumers’ readiness to use voice search. Research shows that 62% of Americans use a voice assistant, 36% own smart speakers, and 50% say they use voice search every day.

These statistics indicate that dentists must embrace voice search and find ways to optimize for it. Some key things you can do to get your website voice search ready include:

  • Focus on natural-sounding language
  • Assume that most queries will be questions
  • Optimize for long-tail keywords, including questions
  • Answer questions clearly and concisely on your website
  • Think about user intent and provide the best user experience possible

Remember that web users can be impatient. They expect to find the answer quickly and easily when they ask a question. If your site doesn’t provide the answers, they’ll move on to one of your competitors’ sites.

On a related note, many consumers use questions in non-voice searches. Including questions as headers in your blog posts and expanding your FAQ can help you attract more patients.

9. Personalized Content

Personalization is a big trend in marketing in general, and it’s particularly important in healthcare marketing. Marketing personalization is a way of connecting with your target audience in a way that feels relevant to them.

There are few services that people feel more of a personal connection to than healthcare, so it’s not surprising that dental practices are embracing both automation and the personalization options that come with it.

Personalization can take many different forms. You might personalize content by:

  • Using subscribers’ first names in email greetings,
  • Allowing visitors to your website to choose the content (another term for this is adaptive content).
  • Targeting potential patients with specific ads based on their behavior on your website or their location, age, or past visits.
  • Creating groups on Facebook and sharing targeted content that’s tailored to the preferences of the group’s members.

The more your target audience feels that you understand their needs regarding dental care, the more likely they are to choose your practice the next time they need a dentist.

10. Focus on the Patient's Experience

Patient Experience - Dental trends

Personalization isn’t the only way to make your patients feel special. Even though there is a need to fill dental health gaps in North America, dental competition can be fierce. Overcrowding and population issues in certain areas mean dentists must see many patients daily. With the knowledge that consumers are particular about which healthcare providers they choose, some dental practices are becoming hyper-focused on creating a special experience for their patients to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Offering spa services is one way to pamper your patients and make them feel valued. This trend continued into 2023, and we expect it to continue. It might seem odd to think of a visit to the dentist as luxurious, but there’s a growing trend toward concierge service and massages to make patients feel comfortable.

You may also try some of the following dental marketing ideas to help patients look forward to visiting your practice.

  • Add video content in your waiting area, including entertainment and educational content for patients of all ages.
  • Allow patients extra time with their dentist to discuss their dental history, treatment, and future at an additional cost. (This option could be part of a larger concierge service package you offer patients.)
  • Create a system to contact patients when you are running behind. This can improve their experience by minimizing their time in your waiting room.
  • Learn about and invest in painless dentistry.

These are just a few examples to consider. The key is to find ways to make your practice stand out from others in your area. The additional services and perks you offer should be tailored to your patients. For example, a family dentist might focus on making the waiting area kid-friendly and providing services to help parents prioritize their kids’ oral hygiene.

Offering luxury services can help you increase patient loyalty and attract patients willing to spend money on optional cosmetic treatments.

11. Rise of the Dental Simulator

One of the most exciting technological developments in dentistry is the increased use of dental simulators in diagnosis and patient education. 

Simulators may be used to replicate hard and soft tissue and aid dentists in providing a more accurate diagnosis for their patients.

One example of the potential uses of a dental simulator is illustrated by Align Technology’s launch of the Invisalign Outcome Simulator Pro, which can show patients what their new smiles will look like if they use Invisalign.

Dental Smile Simulator Invisalign® Outcome Simulator Pro

Dental simulators are also useful in creating a virtual reality environment where dental students can learn remotely. It can create a clinical diagnosis and treatment environment that provides a high level of realism.

12. Laser Dentistry

One of the most exciting patient care trends in the dental industry is the rise of laser technology. Before laser dentistry, routine dental care, such as filling cavities and repairing damaged gums, required invasive and often painful treatment. The potential of experiencing pain is a deterrent to patients who are nervous about visiting the dentist and can cause them to delay care.

Laser dentistry is in intense growth, expected to continue for several years. Globally, laser dentistry was a $331.7 million market in 2022 and is expected to be $589 million by 2032. The most used laser technology is the diode laser, a portable and cost-efficient option for minimally invasive oral surgery.

Technologies are best when they address problems that can hold dental practices back; laser technology is no exception. Laser dentistry can eliminate cavities with little or no pain. It can also kill bacteria in the cavity, making it less likely that a patient will experience complications because of tooth decay.

Usage of Laser Technology in Dentistry: Dental Trend

The advantages of laser dentistry in patient care are:

  • Decreased need for sutures
  • Less bleeding
  • Little to no pain
  • Reduced risk of infection
  • Faster healing

If your practice uses laser dentistry for routine dental procedures, you should mention it on your website and on your social platforms. This is an especially good tactic to attract new patients since the promise of painless dental treatments can help reluctant patients overcome their fear of going to the dentist. Understand that you may have to educate patients on laser dentistry. Likely, many of your patients or potential patients aren’t familiar with it.

13. Interest in Teledentistry Continues to Grow

One dental trend that was useful during the COVID-19 pandemic is telehealth. Dentists and other healthcare providers have turned to technology to help them interact with patients when the patient cannot safely see the dentist in person. While many patients have returned to in-person visits, teledentistry continues to be a trend.

The increase in teledentistry prompted the ADA to issue a complete policy on both teledentistry and live video. Some patients may prefer virtual appointments; if you decide to see patients virtually, it’s your responsibility to provide a consistent level of care, properly document procedures, and protect patients' privacy using HIPAA-compliant video conferencing software.

There are a couple of trends for 2024 that relate to teledentistry.

  • Dental apps such as Grin may be used to remotely assess patients' teeth using a smartphone camera.
  • Schools and school districts use teledentistry to evaluate children’s teeth and identify issues, particularly in remote areas where access to dental care may be limited.
  • Patients may be more likely to schedule dental appointments when teledentistry is available, particularly since the ADA reports that teledentistry costs about 10% less than an office visit.

Compared to other trends in dental industry technology, there’s a limit to what you can do with teledentistry. For obvious reasons, you can’t provide direct care remotely. You can, however, offer consultations, give self-care advice, and ascertain whether an in-person visit for treatment might be necessary.

Telehealth can also be useful for evaluating new patients and minimizing the time they spend in your office.

Teledentistry isn’t for everyone. As I was doing some research for this article, several dentists mentioned how they aren’t fans of it.

14. Nontraditional Diversified Services

While dental hygiene and dental treatments are still and will remain the primary focus of most dental practices, there’s a dental industry trend toward offering nontraditional diversified services to patients. Some examples include Botox and dermal fillers to smooth wrinkles and even small stitches to tighten skin.

As many as 18% to 20% of all dentists in the United States may have received some training in these nontraditional cosmetic procedures, but they’re not a good fit for every practice. If you specialize in family dentistry, for example, your cosmetic offerings might begin and end with tooth whitening.

However, dental practices that offer a wide range of cosmetic dentistry procedures might find nontraditional services to be one of the most appealing trends in dentistry in 2024 and beyond. They could also mesh well with personalized and concierge services.

15. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a dental industry trend that offers a new way to connect with patients on social media. A social media influencer is someone with a large following who, in return for payment, will mention and recommend your practice to their followers. While most influencer marketing happens on Instagram, it may also be used on Facebook and TikTok.

Here are some facts and figures to help you see the potential you could unlock with influencer marketing:

  • Influencer marketing is now a $21.1 billion industry
  • 30% of marketers say they get the highest ROI from influencer marketing on Instagram, while Facebook and YouTube tied for second at 20%.
  • TikTok’s ROI lags, with only 14% saying it offered the biggest bang for their buck. However, TikTok leads in terms of engagement.
  • Over 80% of marketers have allocated a portion of their budget to influencer marketing.
  • 31% of social media users discover new products or services through influencers.

The key to effectively using influencer marketing is knowing which influencers are suited to speak to your target audience. In general, you should look for influencers knowledgeable about dentistry and who have a high degree of likeability and trust with their followers.

Another trend in 2024 is the emphasis on diversity, equality, and inclusion in influencer marketing, so keep that in mind when choosing influencers to promote your practice.

16. SNACKABLE Short Video Content

Video marketing continues to be impactful and essential for dental practices and will continue to be so into 2024. One change that has become increasingly popular is the rise of “snackable” short video content.

On Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, there’s a growing demand for video shorts that last a minute or less. These videos are highly consumable because viewers can simply swipe through to see the next video; that’s why we call them “snackable.”

In 2024, video content is expected to make up 82% of all internet traffic. 55% of all web users watch at least one video per day. Videos that were short, specifically 90 seconds or shorter, had the highest retention rate.

If you’re not already making marketing videos, 2024 is the year to start. You’ll get more engagement, especially with younger patients, and that’s one of the keys to sustainable practice growth.

17. Text Message Marketing

Text marketing was one of our dental industry trends for 2023, and it continues to be popular thanks to its convenience and high ROI. Text messages are far more likely to be opened than emails, with 98% of smartphone users reporting opening marketing texts.

One dental industry trend we suggest you implement is using text messaging to send appointment reminders. Although most patients prefer to confirm appointments via text, only about half of dental practices use text messaging.

Considering that one of the biggest headaches for dentists is canceled or missed appointments, it’s surprising that more practices haven't adopted SMS marketing. You can capitalize on this dental industry trend by:

  • Collecting mobile numbers from new and existing patients.
  • Add a field on your intake form to allow new patients to opt in for text messaging.
  • Implementing appointment confirmations and reminders via SMS messaging.

Services such as Switchbird allow you to build your text list and let patients and potential patients text you. You can also set up a chatbot to answer their most frequently asked questions. Another popular option is Podium.

Considering the number of dental patients and dental practices that rely on technology, it’s surprising that more dentists aren't incorporating text messaging into their digital marketing strategies.

18. Dental Group Practices

I know this is a hot point. However, it needs to be addressed as it is a trend we are seeing more and more of.

The average dental school graduate carries $293,900 in student loan debt. That’s a huge amount and a huge burden, and it’s also a clear indication of why group practices are one of the latest trends in dentistry.

It’s expensive for new or established dentists to open independent practices. Commercial rent prices are always high, and it can be out of reach for an individual dentist to afford to pay rent, buy and maintain equipment, and pay their staff.

That’s where group dentistry comes in as an ongoing dental trend. Banding together with other dentists makes it more affordable to open a practice, attract new patients, and maintain an attractive and welcoming dental office equipped with the latest technology.

While final numbers for 2023 are not yet available, estimates are that dentists recouped tens of billions of dollars by selling private practices and creating dental group practices.

If you are considering selling or purchasing a dental practice, read our blog post: Dental Practice Transitions: A Guide for Successful Dental Office Transitions.

19. Tap into the Power of Nostalgia Marketing

There’s no denying the collective spending power and economic impact of Millennials, and one thing that they’re moved by is nostalgia. In a world fraught with uncertainty, looking to the past and remembering it can be intensely comforting.

Nostalgia has always had power because it relates to emotion, but nostalgia marketing started trending during the COVID-19 shutdown when the use of nostalgic keywords increased by 88%. People were craving comfort and security, and using these words helped companies connect with consumers by providing what they wanted.

The key to using nostalgia marketing is to research to ensure you’re getting the period right for your chosen audience. Then, create content that reflects the colors, designs, and, most importantly, the feeling of the era you’re trying to capture.

20. Going Green in Dentistry

Dentists and other healthcare professionals are as concerned about the environment as anybody else. Green dentistry is one of the dental trends that gained momentum in 2023 and is expected to continue throughout 2024 and beyond. Green dentistry is the use of natural products that have a minimal impact on the environment.

The ADA has created a list of ways that dentists can make their practices more environmentally friendly. This list includes:

  • Using organic or environmentally friendly scrubs
  • Reducing or eliminating the use of aerosols
  • Designing practice layouts to maximize natural light and ventilation
  • Use a dimmer lighting system to conserve power
  • Using eco-friendly sterilization products and procedures
  • Using natural cleaning products in the office
  • Stocking all-natural oral care products and encouraging patients to use them
  • Put indoor plants in your office

Many patients, particularly Millennials and Generation Y & Z, are likely to prioritize businesses that align with their beliefs. Making your practice green can help you attract new dental patients to your office.

21. Augmented Reality Experiences

Many adult and young patients dread a visit to the dental office. As a dentist, you naturally want to create a soothing and welcoming atmosphere for all patients, particularly those who are anxious.

One of the dental trends that can help with the issue of patient anxiety is the use of augmented or virtual reality. Research indicates that using VR can reduce pain and anxiety in patients. Sometimes, it may even eliminate the need for pain medication or sedation.
Augmented Reality Dental Trend

Source

Just as some dentists have found that offering sedation dentistry is a good way to attract patients who might have anxiety related to dental care, virtual reality can be a tool to help patients overcome their fears and engage in better oral hygiene. We anticipate that the use of VR in dentistry will continue to increase in 2024.

22. Emergence of Dentistry Apps

You already know that your dental website is the hub of your online presence, and no trends can change that. However, consumers increasingly expect the businesses they frequent- including dentists- to incorporate mobile apps into their dental web marketing.

There are many reasons to create a mobile app for your patients. An app can help you do the following things:

  • Provide information about oral health and dental care to your patients.
  • Offer loyalty programs that incentivize patients to try new services or refer their friends to you.
  • Inform your patients about new technology, including 3D printers and laser technology, that can help them receive better care.
  • Streamline the process of booking appointments or rescheduling.
  • Provide better overall service to new and long-term patients.
  • Keep patients in the know about trends and other information that may be useful.

Creating a mobile app can help you connect with patients between visits, provide better care in and out of the office, and create an experience convenient to your patients' needs.

23. Explosion of User-Generated Content

One of the biggest ongoing trends in social media marketing is the explosion of user-generated content. User-generated content encourages your social media followers to share images and information about themselves related to your practice and services.

The following numbers will give you an idea of how impactful user-generated content can be.

  • 90% of people say they prefer referrals from people they know over any other source.
  • Consumers trust user-generated content 9.8 times as much as they do influencer content.
  • 79% of people say that their purchasing decisions are highly influenced by user-generated content.
  • User-generated content gets 73% more positive comments on social media than traditional marketing content.
  • Brand engagement increases by 31% when user-generated content is incorporated into the marketing mix.
  • More than 30% of Millennials have unfollowed a brand because of inauthentic content.

The numbers make the importance of user-generated content clear. You can encourage your patients to share before and after photos of themselves. This strategy is most effective with cosmetic dentistry since people are usually excited to share the results of whitening and straightening procedures.

24. Use of Gamification to Improve Patient Engagement

The use of gamification in education is growing, and with good reason. There’s plenty of research showing that students who participate in gamified learning are more engaged and active than those who learn without gamification. While you might not think of your dental patients as students, they’re students of oral hygiene (or at least, they should be).

A 2020 study examined the effect of gamification on the oral health and hygiene of children who used dental care mobile apps. The researchers concluded that gamification did lead to improvement in oral hygiene, although they noted that more research and app development would be required to fully capitalize on the potential of gamification.

The gamification market in the US is expected to be worth $22.5 billion in 2024. The opportunity for dental practices is clear. Creating an app that allows your patients to earn points and rewards for things like brushing their teeth, flossing, making a new appointment, and so on can encourage good oral hygiene and increase patient retention.

One example of gamification in dentistry is the MyTeeth app, which encourages kids between the ages of one and nine to brush their teeth regularly and well.

Gamification Dental Trend

The good news is that creating an app doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Also, as we noted above, today’s patients expect businesses to have mobile apps, so incorporating gamification into your app is a smart move as we progress into 2024.

25. Social Responsibility Marketing Goes Mainstream

Another trend that has grown in importance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic is social responsibility marketing. Increasingly, consumers, particularly Millennials and younger generations, emphasize choosing brands that take a stand on social issues. The statistics support that conclusion: 43% of Millennials say they have made purchasing decisions based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Brands that do social responsibility marketing correctly choose issues that are relevant to both their brand and their audience. For example, Tom’s is a shoe company that donates one pair of shoes for every pair their customers buy.

Dental practices can do the same by highlighting the importance of getting vaccinated and, as noted above, using green products. Speaking out about an issue that affects the health and well-being of everyone in the world is something that dentists can do with great authority.

26. Growth of Geofencing

Geofencing uses mobile and GPS technology to push notifications, offers, and text messages to people based on their physical location and proximity to a business. With smartphones and tablets outpacing older mobile technology, it’s easier now more than ever to reach out to patients where they are – and specifically when they are in your area.

Here are some marketing statistics that are relevant to the rise of geofencing.

  • Geofencing is compatible with 92% of all mobile devices.
  • 90% of people prefer to receive offers via text.
  • Response rates from texts are 295% higher than for phone calls.
  • Texts have a 99% open rate.

Geofencing can be useful for dental practices as a way of reminding people that they’re due for a cleaning or advising them of new services that you offer at your practice.

27. Representation and Inclusive Marketing Matters

Thanks to massive protests in 2020 and 2021, the rise of inclusive marketing is a trend that will continue into 2024. People are eager to support diverse businesses. Here are some statistics to show why the rise in inclusive marketing has been so significant.

  • 70% of consumers expect brands to be socially aware, including inclusive marketing. 46% pay close attention to social issues when researching companies and service providers.
  • 42.5 million Americans live with a disability
  • The percentage of the US population that identifies as non-white has been steadily increasing.
  • According to Microsoft Advertising, 70% of Gen Z consumers prefer to do business with inclusive marketing brands. A Facebook survey revealed that 54% of users don’t feel culturally represented by advertising, and 71% expect to be represented.

Diversity and Inclusion in Dental IndustrySource: ADEA

The chances are good that you have seen changes in the representation within your practice. According to the Oral Health Workforce Research Center, the number of women in dentistry increased by nearly one-third from 2013 to 2018. As of 2020, women only make up 32% of working dentists in the United States, so there’s still room for improvement.

In 2022, Google announced the addition of an Asian-owned attribute to its business search function. They have already incorporated attributes for women-owned and Black-owned businesses, and other attributes will likely follow.

Even if your dental practice isn’t owned by a woman or person of color, you still need to consider inclusive marketing. That means choosing images that reflect the diversity of your patients and directing your marketing efforts at specific groups that are underserved in dentistry.

28. Regenerative Dentistry

Regenerative dentistry is an emerging field. It combines elements of cellular biology, tissue engineering, and material science.

While this field is still in its early stages, the possibility exists that we’ll see a future where dentists can provide treatments that will allow patients to regenerate teeth.

It’s worth pointing out that dentistry isn’t a field where there are tons of advances in treatment. Dentistry has stayed largely the same for the past four decades. Of course, there are advanced technologies and treatments, but the field is due for a big breakthrough, and regenerative dentistry could be it.

29. Genomics & Personalized Medicine

The more we know about dental and oral health, the more individualized treatments have become. One trend that’s picking up in 2024 is the rise of genomics and personalized medicine.

Some dental issues are universal and can be treated the same way. But as we learn more about the human genome, it becomes possible to tailor treatments to a patient’s DNA.

We’ve already seen it happening in cancer treatment and it’s probable that such findings will impact dentistry eventually. It’s unclear at this point how dentists might market personalized treatments, but it’s a trend to keep your eyes on.

Challenges Experienced by Dental Practices

All dental practices face challenges, and running one is the biggest challenge of all. Of course, your primary concern is your patients' oral health. Still, you also need to consider managing your staff, staying updated on changes in the dental profession, and dealing with dental insurance companies. It’s a lot for anybody to do, and it shines a light on the challenges facing every dental practice in 2024.

For dental practices in the United States to succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace, they must provide best-in-class care to their patients. That means not letting the issues they face get in the way of optimizing the patient experience to ensure that current patients return and new patients find their way to your door.

We make it a priority at Titan Web Agency to understand potential problems in the dental industry and how they impact our clients.

With that in mind, let's review some of the challenges that American dental practices are likely to face throughout 2024.

Staffing Shortages & Recruitment Challenges

Staffing shortages have been an issue throughout 2023 and are related to the staffing challenges being experienced by many dental practices.

The ADA reported that staffing shortages caused an 11% reduction in practice capacity in 2022. There’s been some rebounding as the COVID-19 pandemic has faded into the background. That said, The State of Dentistry report we’ve referenced identified staff turnover and shortages as the biggest issues facing dental practices.

Recruitment has been challenging in many industries and has become increasingly difficult in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the ADA, more than 90% of all dentists have reported that recruiting new dental hygienists has been extremely challenging, and the numbers are nearly as high for dental assistants.

In 2024, dental practices need to prioritize creating a positive work environment for employees and reviewing compensation to be competitive with other practices.

Insurance Billing Management

Insurance billing can be time-consuming and expensive and take precious time away from providing health care to your patients. This makes it one of the largest issues that most dental practices face. Part of the problem is that most dental offices need to manage bills for multiple insurance carriers.

The challenge of insurance billing management can be overcome by:

  • Creating detailed claims processing guidelines.
  • Staying updated with coding changes for dental procedures.
  • Collecting full copays from patients when they visit.
  • Creating detailed claims processing guidelines.

Dental practice management software can help you manage insurance billing efficiently. Some dentists employ a dental billing specialist whose sole job is to manage insurance billing and claims.

Corporate Dentistry

Your practice needs to retain existing patients and attract new ones. The rise of corporate dentistry can make both jobs difficult as nationwide dental chains are making it more difficult for local dentists to stay afloat.

The dental profession has historically operated on a local basis, but new corporate business models provide a challenge to small providers. Here are some ways you can help your practice stand out against corporate competitors:

  • Use social media posts to underscore your local ties by connecting with people in your area.
  • Encourage patient reviews and collect testimonials to boost your online reputation.
  • Emphasize your ability to connect with people on a personal level.
  • Use word-of-mouth advertising to increase your dental practice name recognition in the community.

You may not be able to compete with corporate dentistry when it comes to prices, but you can offer a level of personalized service that they cannot.

Impact of Inflation on Dentistry

Preliminary research indicates that people are more wary of potential pandemics in the future than they were before COVID-19. Therefore, you need to be prepared to accept elevated operating costs as COVID-inspired sanitation and protection procedures become the norm.

It’s worth noting that price increases in the dental industry have lagged behind inflation. For example, from 2022 to 2023, the overall inflation rate was 8%, but dental prices increased by only 4.1%. While your prices are not required to keep pace with inflation month-to-month, it is worth reviewing your Dental Fee Schedule in 2024 and implementing at least incremental increases to make up the difference.

To prepare for increased operating costs, you can:

  • Collect information about dental pricing in your area and prepare to raise your prices as needed.
  • Look for ways to reduce spending where possible.
  • Implement energy-saving procedures to reduce your utility bills.
  • Focus your marketing budget on retaining existing patients and attracting new patients to increase your profits.
  • Offer new services, such as cosmetic procedures or concierge services, to attract high-value patients.

The dental industry is still recovering from its losses during COVID-19, so it may take some time to see your revenue back where it was.

The Proliferation of Offshore Dental Laboratories

Nearly every industry has had to cope with the availability of less expensive goods with overseas labor, and the dental industry is no exception. One of the cost-cutting trends in the dental industry is the proliferation of offshore dental laboratories.

As a practice owner, you need to balance your desire to support local and American businesses with the ability to reduce costs by partnering with offshore dental labs. It’s important to remember that you may get better service and more accurate products working with someone locally for needed laboratory services.

We suggest evaluating labs carefully and choosing the option that allows you to provide the best possible dental care to your patients.

Third-Party Dictation of Fees and Treatment Plans

Insurance billing isn't the only challenge dentists face from carriers. While this isn't exactly a trend, a lot of insurance providers get involved in dental care in the following ways:

  • Dictating fees and reimbursement percentages for procedures, including non-covered procedures.
  • Specifying treatment plans for certain conditions.
  • Limiting dentists' ability to pursue the courses of treatment they deem best for their patients.

There’s generally not much that dentists can do to impact the way that insurance carriers set prices and fee schedules. For example, it can be difficult for solo practitioners to negotiate with insurance companies. Still, there are negotiation and optimization companies that can negotiate on your behalf for more favorable rates.

The ADA has been lobbying for new laws that will increase transparency and minimize the ability of insurance companies to financially harm dentists by setting unreasonably low prices. We will keep an eye on the legislation and update this post if anything changes.

The Key to Balancing Oral Health Care with Business Concerns

Operating a dental practice has its challenges, and the issue for most dentists is determining the best way to balance high-quality dental care with profitability. When patients visit the dentist, they expect X-rays and treatments for tooth decay combined with compassionate patient care and a high level of professionalism.

Dental imaging software is an essential tool for modern dental practices. It allows you to capture high-quality images of your patients' teeth and gums, making it easier to diagnose and treat a variety of dental conditions. In this review, we compare the top nine dental imaging software solution options on the market to help you find the right one for your practice.

The current issues in dentistry we have identified here will help practice owners and others in the dental field keep up with the times, meet new problems as they arise, and stay on top of trends that can help them run a successful dental office in 2024 and beyond.

Is Your Dental Practice Ready for 2024?

If you want to achieve your dental practice growth goals in 2024, using the 29 dental industry trends listed here will help you reach a wider audience and attract new patients.

Do you need to fine-tune your marketing strategy for 2024? Titan Web Agency is here to help. We can help with local SEO to attract new patients, content, social media marketing, and more. We'd love to hear from you!

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