Why 1 CEO believes 2024 holds 'great promise' for dentistry

Advancements in technology and patient care will have a positive impact on the dental industry in 2024, according to Heather Foster, CEO of Dallas-based DSO Heritage Dental Group.

Ms. Foster recently spoke with Becker's to share what she thinks dental professionals and industry execs can expect in 2024. 

Editor's note: This response was lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What changes do you expect to see in the dental industry in 2024?

Heather Foster: In the realm of dentistry, the year 2024 holds great promise for a multitude of advancements and transformations. Here are some key developments that we can expect to witness: 

1. Technological innovations: With rapid advancements in technology, the dental industry is poised to witness a surge in innovative tools and techniques. Cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and virtual reality will revolutionize various aspects of dentistry. These advancements will enhance precision, efficiency and patient comfort. 

 2. Digital dentistry: The digital revolution will continue to reshape the dental landscape in 2024. Digital dentistry, including digital imaging, CAD/CAM systems and intraoral scanners, will become more prevalent. This will streamline workflows, improve diagnostics and enable more accurate treatment planning. 

 3. Personalized treatment: The dental industry will increasingly focus on personalized treatment plans tailored to individual patients. Advancements in genetic testing and biomaterials will enable dentists to provide customized treatments that are more effective and long-lasting. This personalized approach will enhance patient outcomes and satisfaction. 

 4. Minimally invasive techniques: In 2024, there will be a greater emphasis on minimally invasive techniques in dentistry. This approach aims to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible while achieving optimal results. Minimally invasive procedures will reduce patient discomfort, promote faster healing and minimize the need for extensive interventions. 

 5. Teledentistry: The rise of telemedicine will extend to dentistry, allowing patients to receive remote consultations and follow-ups. Virtual appointments will become more common, enabling dentists to provide guidance, monitor progress and offer preventive care remotely. This will improve access to dental services, particularly for patients in remote areas. 

6. Focus on preventive care: In 2024, there will be a shift toward a preventive care model in dentistry. Dentists will increasingly emphasize education, early detection and proactive measures to maintain oral health. This approach will help reduce the prevalence of dental diseases and promote overall well-being. 

7. Integration of oral health and overall health: The connection between oral health and overall health will be further recognized and integrated into dental practice. Dentists will collaborate more closely with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care that addresses the interplay between oral health and systemic conditions. 

8. Sustainability and eco-friendly practices: The dental industry will also embrace sustainability and eco-friendly practices in 2024. Dental practices will adopt environmentally conscious measures, such as reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials and implementing energy-efficient technologies. This commitment to sustainability will contribute to a greener future. 

Overall, the dental industry in 2024 will witness a convergence of technology, personalized care and a holistic approach to oral health. These advancements will enhance patient experiences, improve treatment outcomes and pave the way for a more sustainable and patient-centric future in dentistry.

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