The utilization of dental care increased significantly during the early part of the 2000s and held strong until 2011. This increase in usage among children was mainly driven by gains from the lower income groups. Among the elderly, dental care utilization increased steadily from 2000 and this may be associated with an increase in the number of the elderly who have private dental benefits. However, among the group of non-elderly adults utilization of dental care declined. One of the reasons for this decline seems to be a decrease in private dental coverage among those in this age group.
You may be wondering what all of this means to you. When it comes down to it, dental health care is extremely important and these increases in care for the elderly and children combined with a decrease among young and middle aged adults simply shows the cost of dental health care is a concern among the masses.
There are some trends in the dental industry to consider when looking at the financial aspect of quality dental care.
In a Patient’s’ Path to Dental Care Purchases study that was conducted, there were several trends found among dental patients. Some of the findings to consider include:
- 67% of dental patients researched and asked about the cost of dental procedures and different financing options. This percentage is more than the number who researched the procedures for themselves, which was 58%.
- 52% of dental patients did not know that there was a financing payment option available.
- 47% of respondents stated they would consider financing through a health care type credit card if it would allow them to receive the care that they needed right away.
- 29% of the respondents stated they were likely to apply for a healthcare credit card if the fees were low enough.
- 39% of the respondents stated that without financing they would not be able to have dentist services completed at all.
Other Trends in the Dental Industry to Consider
When it comes to finances in the dental industry, not only the patients are affected. There are several trends that are being seen throughout the industry as well and these trends affect the cost of dental care as well.
One trend is an increase in the number of group and corporate dental practices. This means that more and more often patients are going to find that seeking out a solo dental practice is becoming increasingly more difficult.
One of the benefits of a larger practice for consumers is that more treatment options are available in house such as oral maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, orthodontics, etc. In the past these procedures would have to be referred to a specialist.
A larger practice has more money to front larger business expenses including equipment, real estate, and the expenses associated with having a specialist available in the practice. This can benefit the patient as they only have to go to one place to have all of their oral health care needs met.
When it comes down to it, the trends of the dental healthcare industry are showing signs of making quality dental care more affordable. Larger practices can lower costs as they can see more patients. In addition, dentists are teaming up with financial institutes in order to offer patients a way to finance their dental health care needs.
Birkbeck Dentistry in Kent has done just that. The practice offers their patients a number of different financing options for paying for their dental services. These plans include interest free credit for all of their patients.