Dental practices under the microscope

What makes dentists tick? How much do they earn? What are the most commonly performed procedures? What's the scoop on professional associations? These and other questions are answered in a spate of research reports recently released by Research and Markets, an Ireland-based market research firm. The studies cover a wide range of American dental subjects, from surveys of dental services rendered, to in-depth analysis of dental practices, to reports scrutinizing dental education in the U.S. Most of the reports are packed with dozens of detailed tables.

The reports aren't cheap, ranging from $150 to $550, since they're largely aimed at vendors, marketers, insurance companies, and others that serve the dental industry. But if you want to see what other dentists are up to, there are nearly a dozen reports that dissect the dental market.

Several reports that might appeal to DDSes include "2005 Survey of Dental Practice: Employment of Dental Practice Personne." The study details employment practices, with breakdowns by job, hourly and weekly salaries by employee, number of patients seen weekly by hygienists, and much more. For an overview of private practitioners, "1999 Survey of Dental Services Rendered" covers the overall number of procedures performed by dentists, patient age and gender, how many dental hygienist and chair side assistants worked on the day the patient care log was completed, patients’ insurance coverage, and three most common procedures by dental specialty.

For statisticians, educators, and those serving (and selling to) the dental industry, there are a number of specialized reports that examine changes in the dental workforce, dentist markets by region, dental education analysis and trends, and more. For example, information on ADA recognized dental specialties and two advanced general dentistry programs annually accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation is laid bare in "2005-06 Survey of Advanced Dental Education." The report contains data on programs, application deadlines, stipends and tuition, total enrollment, and graduates by citizenship.

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