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Demand for Cosmetic Dentistry Expected to Increase in Coming Years

Cosmetic dentistry is one of the fastest-growing areas of the dental industry. Studies suggest it will continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Sarah Handzel, BSN, RN
PUBLISHED: Friday, September 23, 2016

The employment outlook for dentists is good: according to the United Stated Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for licensed dentists is expected to increase by a whopping 18% between now and 2024, with an expected 26,700 new dentists welcomed into the profession. What’s driving this need? While there are several factors affecting this growth, one of the biggest is the increase in global demand for cosmetic dentistry.

Recent reports forecasting the growth of cosmetic dentistry show that the demand for cosmetic services is trending upward. A study conducted by Grand View Research, Inc. showed that the global cosmetic dentistry market is expected to reach $27.95 billion dollars by 2024. Another study forecast that the global oral hygiene market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4% through the year 2020.

There are several factors driving the worldwide growth of cosmetic dentistry. These services are in high demand partially because consumers around the world have more disposable income to spend on their appearance. This is important: right here at home, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry estimates that around 99% of people think that their smile is their most important social asset.

The growth of wages, and therefore disposable income, in developing countries has helped to drive the demand for cosmetic dentistry internationally. In fact, dental tourism, similar to medical tourism, is becoming a popular option for patients who don’t mind traveling to save money in order to obtain cosmetic dental procedures, or who don’t have access to these services at home.

Some of the most frequent cosmetic procedures patients want are teeth whitening and correction of the alignment of teeth. From a cosmetic standpoint, many people already use over-the-counter products designed to whiten teeth by removing stains and treating discoloration, but many are beginning to recognize the need for professional teeth whitening by a licensed dentist. Consumers also care about the placement and function of their teeth, and many receive veneers, crowns, inlays, or onlays as part of the effort to improve their appearance and function.

Even though the demand for cosmetic dentistry services is expected to increase over the next several years, there are some factors that could inhibit growth in this sector. Many insurance companies don’t reimburse for cosmetic procedures, and some procedures require expensive dental imaging that is also not covered by insurance plans. But increased marketing of products and services, through online and in person contact with patients and consumers, is helping to increased consumer awareness of all cosmetic dentistry has to offer. This could mean that the growth in this field is unaffected by insurance reimbursement factors as more people seek out treatment to improve their appearance.





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