The evolution of inflation and what it means for dentists

The dental industry has not been immune to the suffocating effects of inflation.

The annual inflation rate in 2022 was 6.5 percent, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2021, making 2022 the year with the second-highest annual inflation rate of the 2000s.

These numbers combined with obstacles such as declining reimbursement create a particular challenge for dentists.

"The reimbursement fees are not catching up with the inflation nor with the staff members' pay increases," Abrahim Setoodeh, DDS, a dentist at Peoria (Ariz.) Dental Center, told Becker's. "We had to increase our hygienist pay by 40 percent and other staff by almost 20 percent just to keep him happy. The lab and supplies cost have all gone up by almost 5 percent."

More than 40 percent of dentists cited inflation, overhead, and rising costs as a challenge they anticipate facing within the next six months, according to a January poll from the American Dental Association's Health Policy Institute.

Recent inflation rates are unprecedented compared with those the U.S. economy has seen over the past two decades.

Here is the annual inflation rate for every year since 2000, using consumer price index data:

2000: 3.4 percent

2001: 1.6 percent

2002: 2.4 percent

2003: 1.9 percent

2004: 3.3 percent

2005: 3.4 percent

2006: 2.5 percent

2007: 4.1 percent

2008: 0.1 percent

2009: 2.7 percent

2010: 1.5 percent

2011: 3.0 percent

2012: 1.7 percent

2013: 1.5 percent

2014: 0.8 percent

2015: 0.7 percent

2016: 2.1 percent

2017: 2.1 percent

2018: 1.9 percent

2019: 2.3 percent

2020: 1.4 percent

2021: 7 percent

2022: 6.5 percent

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