Top 5 dental business stories of 2023

Changing economic conditions, dealing with burnout, and the choices of the next generations of dentists were some of’s most popular practice management stories of 2023, which were based on reader views.

The following are our top five dental business stories of 2023.

1. Dentists’ wages projected to take major hit in 10 years 

Dentist Latina Woman

Research indicates that by 2033, dentists, while remaining high earners, are projected to experience a significant reduction in their average hourly wages due to inflation, surpassing declines anticipated in other occupations.

The analysis further revealed that, by 2023, dentists are expected to undergo the most substantial earnings reduction compared to other professions, falling below their income levels in 2013. 

2. Where U.S. dental students plan to work after graduation

In 2023, a notable increase was observed among U.S. senior predoctoral dental students planning to enter private practice or join a dental service organization (DSO) after graduation. The preference for joining a DSO emerged as a prominent choice for those intending to enter private practice immediately after graduation, with this trend being equally significant among students from historically underrepresented race and ethnicity groups. 

3. Passing of the torch? Why more young dentists are selling their practice 

Troy Jones.Troy Jones.

A recent trend indicated a decline in the average age of dentists selling their practices, primarily attributed to a growing awareness of opportunities in a consolidating industry, according to an article by Troy Jones.

Younger dentists, burdened by higher student debt and seeking alternatives to traditional partnerships, are increasingly tempted to consider exiting, with DSOs backed by private equity offering a viable path to navigate the challenges and administrative hassles they face. 

4. Proposed U.S. law aims to address dental workforce shortage 

Bipartisan legislation was introduced by U.S. lawmakers to reauthorize and boost funding for a program aimed at tackling medical and dental workforce shortages in both rural and urban areas. If passed, the program's funding is set to rise from $310 million to $625 million in fiscal year 2024 and further increase to $825 million in fiscal year 2026. 

5. 1 in 10 dentists experience burnout

Tired Dentist

Approximately 1 in 10 dentists face burnout syndrome, with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization being the most reported symptoms. Policymakers are urged to acknowledge burnout as a substantial concern and allocate resources towards strategies such as mindfulness training and flexible work arrangements to assist dentists in managing stress and alleviating emotional exhaustion. 

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