Eight leaders and executives in the dental industry shared their predictions for dentistry in 2023. Leading ideas include a continued adoption of artificial intelligence to drive better patient outcomes and a renewed focus on the patient experience to justify rising costs.
2023 is the year of artificial intelligence.
Dr. Lou Shuman, founder and CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group -- This year everywhere you turned artificial intelligence (AI) companies were announcing major funding, entering into major strategic relationships, and winning awards. In this space, let's call 2023 "The Year of the AI Dentist," a time in which the practitioner community receives the necessary education around why AI belongs in one's practice, the benefits it brings to everyday dentistry, the return on investment of AI, and why practices should purchase AI software.
Dr. Margaret Scarlett, CEO of Scarlett Consulting International and chief science officer for Digital Transformation Partners -- In the new year, AI will not yet be standard of practice as a diagnostic aid for caries and periodontal disease, absent real-world data. However, AI adoption will continue to gain momentum in oral health, with many dental practices and dental service organizations (DSOs) using AI routinely on every new patient. The reason is that there is greater accuracy in assessing radiographs than visual examination alone. What does this mean? It means that earlier detection of caries and periodontal disease can shift more towards a primary prevention focus, with objective assessments of radiographs. Rather than only repairing the damage of these diseases, a personalized focus on disease can be made for each new patient.
The patient experience will become the top priority.
Dr. Robert Martino, CEO of Wilmar Management and Oracare -- 2023 will be the year to get back to taking care of the patient. As dentists, we have been overwhelmed with the COVID-19 pandemic, staff shortages, DSO takeovers, and new technologies. In order to succeed in 2023, you will need to return to the fundamentals of caring for our team and patients. Give your team every opportunity to care for your patients as effectively as possible. Look for goods and services that make it simpler for your personnel to provide exceptional care to your patients. How can you improve their home care, their cosmetics, and their overall health? Treat your team and patients like gold and you will reach all your goals.
Bjarne Bergheim, CEO and president of Sonendo -- With dental costs expected to increase in 2023, practices will be forced to continuously differentiate themselves to attract and retain talent who will deliver an exceptional patient experience. A patient will be more likely to pay a premium if they have pleasant experiences with practice staff and office. This journey starts before the patient even enters your practice. With this, in 2023 and beyond, it's important that all social channels, marketing materials, and verbal/written communications from your practice prioritize the patient. This includes a sense of urgency in response times, friendliness, follow-through, advanced offerings, and precise information. The practices that are most successful now and in the future will not be those with the largest waiting rooms or entertainment but those that enable a great patient experience with minimal interaction.
Dental marketing will reach the next level.
Michael Ventriello, owner of Ventriello Communications -- With more and more venture capital money being invested in dental companies, there will be more of a Silicon Valley approach to marketing. This will be evident in aggressive PR-forward strategies and conceptual branding and advertising campaigns. This will raise the bar for traditional dental companies, which is a good thing. At the same time, old-school direct mail will see a resurgence as marketers strive to cut through the digital noise and overcome email list fatigue and social media algorithm restrictions that have increased since the pandemic.
Job seekers will want more flexibility.
Darius Somekhian, head of business development for Cloud Dentistry -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, the dental labor market was particularly impacted by the pandemic. Flexibility and lifestyle became the priority for most dental professionals searching for new positions. In about one year, the dental job market became a sellers' market with the emergence of a robust "gig economy." This will continue to grow in the upcoming year. Another new development that will continue to expand in 2023 is a hybrid work model where hygienists are temping in combination with a permanent "anchor" position which employs them two days per week on average, per office.
There will be stable demand for teen orthodontics.
Dr. Alfred Griffin, founder of LightForce Orthodontics -- A trend we expect to see is that demand for teen orthodontic treatment is not as susceptible to consumer demand as it will be for adult treatment. This is because: (1) Physiologically, orthodontists have more options in treating teens, such as upper jaw expansion, which aren't options later. This means the cost of delaying treatment is often higher for teen patients than adult patients. (2) Generally, parents are willing to spend money on healthcare for their children before themselves. This was evidenced in the last recession in 2009.
The laser dentistry renaissance will continue.
Gail Siminovsky, executive director of the Academy of Laser Dentistry -- We are witnessing a dental laser renaissance. Private practice owners and DSOs alike are realizing the importance of the market differentiation, increased treatment plan acceptance, improved workflow, and the kinder, gentler patient experience that lasers deliver -- all of which boost the practice bottom line. In recent years, laser benefits such as increased affordability, oral-systemic relevance, quicker procedures, and new pain relief applications, along with better certification and training, are helping the Academy of Laser Dentistry increase laser awareness and adoption.
Practices will continue to use teledentistry.
Brant Herman, CEO and founder of MouthWatch -- During the COVID-19 pandemic, teledentistry platforms ascended to the forefront of dental technology as a safe way to connect providers to patients for virtual consultations and emergency triage. Today, practitioners and patients alike are rediscovering the full potential of teledentistry. In 2023 and the foreseeable future, teledentistry innovation will be driven by the users of the technology who are pushing the boundaries of virtual care and developing new examples of how teledentistry can improve the oral and systemic health of the communities that they serve.
About the authors
Bjarne Bergheim has served as the CEO and president ofSonendo since 2008. Bergheim was Sonendo's first employee and previously served as chief operating officer from 2006 to 2008. Prior to joining Sonendo, Bergheim was a co-founder and a member of the management team of Fjord Ventures, a life science accelerator located in Laguna Hills, CA, focused on building and operating companies in the medical device, diagnostic, and biopharmaceutical sectors.
Dr. Alfred Griffin, PhD, founded LightForce Orthodontics in 2015. He received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of Virginia, after which he completed a DMD and PhD at the Medical University of South Carolina while lecturing internationally in craniofacial biology. Griffin also has a master's degree in Medical Science and Certificate in Orthodontics from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, where he currently serves as faculty, and he is an ABO-certified practicing orthodontist.
Brant Herman, CEO and founder of MouthWatch, grew his passion for building companies during the first Silicon Valley technology boom. He is widely known in the teledentistry world and is a frequent public speaker and author of articles in leading oral health-related publications. You can contact him at Brant@MouthWatch.com.
Dr. Robert Martino is the CEO of Wilmar Management, which owns and manages seven dental practices. Martino is also CEO of the fast-growing professional rinse, Oracare.
Dr. Margaret Scarlett is a dentist, futurist, CEO of Scarlett Consulting International, and chief science officer for Digital Transformation Partners. Scarlett frequently consults with health systems, large DSOs, DenTech companies, and organizations on artificial intelligence to advance the digital transformation of dentistry. Contact her at email@example.com.
Dr. Lou Shuman, CAGS, is the founder and CEO of Cellerant Consulting Group, dentistry's leading corporate incubator and accelerator. With a focus and passion for new technologies, he has monthly national columns in leading dental publications. Recently, he was awarded the American Mobile & Teledental Alliance's highest honor, the Denobi Pinnacle Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual whose leadership and ongoing contributions have dramatically impacted the dental profession.
Gail Siminovsky, CAE, is a leadership professional and has served as executive director of the Academy of Laser Dentistry since 1999. She is focused on raising awareness of the role of lasers as beneficial tools that dentists and hygienists have for treating dental disease. Contact her at Siminovsky@LaserDentistry.org.
Darius Somekhian is the head of business development for Cloud Dentistry, a digital marketplace for dental practices & professionals to connect for work hire. He is also the co-founder of Pair Dental, the agency which pioneered the dental specialists traveling model. Contact Darius at Darius@CloudDentistry.com.
Michael Ventriello is the owner of Ventriello Communications and is widely recognized as the "Dental Launch Expert." He specializes in developing strategic marketing and public relations programs needed to launch game-changing dental companies and products. Ventriello is also a dental industry pundit and author. Contact him at Michael@Ventriello.com
The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.