Written by
Luc Ord

Dental Industry Trends to Look Forward to in 2022!

Published on
June 27, 2022

The last couple of years have changed many things, to say the least. These unprecedented changes are also influencing the key dental industry trends coming in 2022.

The single most significant development dentists and dental health official can look forward to is the iThe single most significant development dentists and dental health official can look forward to is the increasing push toward digitalization. While you can’t make dental care completely remote (not yet at least), we’ll see many advanced technologies making their way into dentists’ offices this year.

On the top of the pile are different 3D-based technologies. You can expect dental 3D printers and 3D scanners to become standard equipment for many dentists.

Let’s take a closer look at what the key dental industry trends will be in 2022, and how you can prepare for them.

1) Dental 3D Printing

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Dental 3D printing is one the most important rising dental industry trends at the moment. These machines — like Formlabs Form 3B+ — present a great opportunity to make dental care faster, cheaper, and more effective.

Dental 3D printers can print with biocompatible, medical-grade materials at a high level of accuracy to create appliances for dentistry. The most common 3D printing technology for dental operations is stereolithography (SLA), which uses a laser to cure liquid resins into solid objects.

By incorporating a dental 3D printer in your office or lab, you can streamline your appliance production and provide better care for your patients. Some of the most significant benefits of dental 3D printers include:

  • Cost Savings: You can create professional-quality appliances at a much lower price point for you and the patient by using 3D printers instead of traditional methods.
  • Time Savings: With dental 3D printing, you can build appliances in a matter of hours. This is infinitely faster than traditional methods, which can take days or even weeks.
  • Higher Accuracy: As long as your 3D printer uses the right settings, 3D printed appliances can create extremely accurate appliances. Additionally, due to relying on a machine, you remove human error from the equation.
  • Customisability: Dental 3D printing relies on lightweight and easily modifiable 3D model files. You can quickly adjust implants and other objects in case the fit isn’t quite right.

everything medical models, dentures, and retainers to implants, surgical guides, whole teeth, and medical tools.

2) Intraoral Dental 3D Scanning

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Going hand in hand with 3D printing is dental 3D scanning. Although 3D scanners have already found their way into many offices in 2021, this dental industry trend is expected to become even more prevalent in the coming year.

Leading the way for dental 3D scanners are intraoral scanners. These lightweight and easy-to-use appliances make dental imaging a breeze compared to manual methods.

An intraoral dental 3D scanner resembles a small want with a light-equipped rotating camera at the tip. The dentist inserts the camera into a patient’s mouth, where it will create an accurate 3D model of their jaws and teeth.

Simply put, dentistry 3D scanning is faster, more comfortable and efficient in every way compared to traditional imaging. Its benefits include:

  • Higher Patient Comfort: No one likes biting onto a tray to make an imprint. Intraoral 3D scanners are non-invasive and don’t rely on radiation, making them more comfortable and safer.
  • Improved Imaging Accuracy and Detail: Dental 3D scanners can create extremely high-accuracy 3D models. Combined with a 3D printer, this enables you to produce perfectly fitting appliances.
  • Time and Cost Savings: Intraoral dental 3D scanners are relatively cheap and very fast.
  • Better Dentist-Patient Communication: You can better explain different issues and treatments to patients when you can show them exactly what the problem is on an accurate 3D model of the patient’s teeth.

According to experts, up to 35% of dentists are already using intraoral scanners. In 2022, we’re likely to see that percentage grow while dental 3D scanning will keep developing as a technology.

3) Teledentistry

Although we may have said that you can’t provide dental care remotely, teledentistry is nonetheless emerging as a driving dental industry trend this year. The term is a new, but it should become standardized dental lexicon over the next months.

It’s not difficult to see why teledentistry has cropped relatively quickly. Due to the pandemic, there’s been an increased emphasis on health and safety — not to mention patients simply being uncomfortable going out with the COVID-19 still raging.

A CareQuest report showed that 34% of dental providers at least considered using telehealth appointments in the last couple of years. In 2022, we can safely expect this number to rise significantly.

Naturally, teledentistry can replace physical visits if the patient needs fillings, implants, or other procedures. However, more and more dentists are turning to online appointments for consultations, post-op checks, and making preliminary diagnoses based on symptoms.

Teledentistry is simply a good idea. It can make providing care to patients faster when you already know what you’re dealing with when they come in.

In addition, you can cut down on the number of people sitting in your waiting room who don’t necessarily even need to be there. You might also be able to increase your revenue by taking teledentistry appointments between patients or after hours.

4) Digital Patient Experience

On top of teledentistry, we can expect to see many other digital technologies among the key dental industry trends this year. These technologies all share one goal — to make the patient experience easier and smoother.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly but surely making its way into dental care. In 2022, we should start seeing an increasing number of applications harnessing this powerful technology.

Machine learning and AI will help dentists distinguish patterns and anomalies in large data sets. AI can aid dentists determine the best possible treatment quicker, identify at-risk patients by comparing their symptoms with existing libraries, and optimize appliance design for dental 3D printing.

Another technology connected to AI are chatbots. Placed on practice websites, chatbots can help patients find the information they need quickly without the need for a call or face-to-face meeting with a dentist. They can help practices save time and money, when patients can determine for themselves whether they need to see a dentist.

5) Subscription Dentistry

As the last but not least 2022 dental industry trend, we’ll start seeing the emergency of subscription dentistry. Many services today have moved to a subscription model, so it only makes sense that dental care would follow suit.

Subscription services offer definite benefits for both patients and dentists. Depending on the country, up to more than half of dental patients avoid seeing a dentist due to the associated cost. This can result in developing long-term dental problems.

An annual or monthly subscription plan can cover regular dental care, like cleanings, fillings, and more. This can help patients keep expenses in check and still get the treatments they need. At the same time, dentists can get a steadier revenue stream, which can help them plan their finances more effectively.

Studies show that 83% of consumers are likely to stick with a practice offering a subscription plan. You should definitely consider implementing this service model in 2022.

Implement the Latest Dental Industry Trends at Your Practice

The year is well on its way. If you haven’t done so already, you should start making sure your dental practice is following the latest dental industry trends. The good news is that it’s easier than you’d think.

Professional-quality dental 3D printers — such as Formlabs Form 3B+ — are affordable and easy to use. Even if you’re completely new to 3D printing, you’ll quickly learn how to offer custom-made, cheap dental appliances to your patients.

To get the most out of your dental 3D printer, consider also purchasing an intraoral dental 3D scanner. They are becoming the industry standard — you don’t want to be late in adopting them.

Good scanners, such as 3DISC Heron IOS, are somewhat more expensive than 3D printers. However, the improved speed and quality of care you can provide will quickly return your investment.

Teledentistry and other digital services can be more challenging to implement, but luckily help is available. More and more IT companies are expanding their service catalogues to include these technologies.

This year is promising to be exciting for dentists. Embrace new technology and find out what 2022 has in store for your practice.

If you’d like to learn more about dental 3D printing, scanners, or other dental industry trends, contact our friendly Solid Print Dental team. Call us on 01926 333 777 or email us at info@solidprint3d.co.uk.

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