Dentistry is on the cusp of profound transformation, driven by a generational shift and the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and clinical automation. The intersecting dynamics of retiring dentists, emerging providers, and innovative technologies are reshaping the dental industry, and together these forces are unlocking new opportunities, driving efficiency, and enhancing patient care.
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The generational divide: Old versus new mindsets
Dentistry has been rooted in long-standing practices with dentists who adhere to manual methods and resist change. However, a new wave of tech-native dentists is challenging these old norms, seeing untapped potential in legacy practices and the power of AI to revolutionize patient care.
Retiring dentists seek to sell their practices, which are often undervalued due to outdated methods of valuation and brokerage. Young dentists, recognizing the opportunity, are purchasing these practices at low prices, with a vision of transforming them into more efficient and profitable operations. This economic interplay presents a unique chance to bridge the generational gap and unlock hidden value.
The decreasing cost of advanced tools and technologies is revolutionizing the economics of dentistry, enabling small players to compete. This fosters healthy competition, benefiting dentists and patients alike.
The AI-powered platform Dental Practice AI Assistant was built as an open-sourced codebase to demonstrate the ability of modern tools to streamline financial operations, reduce production costs, and enable dentists to focus on patient-centered care. The Dental Practice AI Assistant includes a free app to evaluate the financial health of a practice, make data-driven decisions, and identify roadmaps for increasing practice health. View the private beta release.
Anticipating challenges and future directions
The convergence of retiring dentists, financial firms, and emerging dental professionals offers a fertile ground for cooperation and advancement. This promising transition does come with potential challenges, including adoption barriers, training needs, and regulatory compliance. Ethical issues, such as privacy concerns and data security, also require careful attention.
The future of dentistry will undoubtedly be shaped by the integration of technology and human expertise. While we anticipate lower costs and better outcomes, it is crucial to maintain the balance between technological progress and the inherent human element of patient care. With mindful integration of AI and automation, the dental industry is well-poised for growth.
Editor's note: This article appeared in the August 2023 print edition of Dental Economics magazine. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.