3 trends dental leaders should watch

Here are three major trends dentals leader should be watching:

Artificial intelligence: Several DSOs and dental practices have started to implement AI into their practices. AI-focused dental companies such as Overjet and Pearl have tapped into this market as the demand for such technology increases. The use of AI has become a priority not only for practice owners and DSOs, but for patients as well. A survey from Pearl found that 71 percent of patients are more likely to trust dentists using AI.

Consolidation: High student debt after receiving a dental education makes opening independent practices difficult for dentists entering the industry. This makes consolidating or joining a DSO a more attractive option for new dentists with large amounts of debt. The cost of dental education at public and private universities has more than tripled in the last 50 years, according to data from the American Dental Association. As long as the cost of education remains high, so will rates of consolidation.

Staffing issues: The beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic propelled a shift in the U.S. workforce — the "great resignation." The dental industry was not immune to this movement. Dental hygienists are now the hardest position to recruit in dental, with 77.6 percent of those surveyed saying that recruiting for the position is "extremely challenging," according to September data from the American Dental Association. Reasons why dental hygienists are leaving the workforce or working part time include early retirement, finding careers outside of dentistry or staying home with their children.

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