Dental Health Trends in Canada

Every year has its defining trends – even in the dental industry. From treatment popularity to the implementation of specific technologies in the dental office, there is always something new and exciting emerging in dental offices across the country. While some changes are a reactive to patient demand, others are a response to changes in practice management protocols and needs within the dental office itself. Although it is impossible to predict exactly how the dental market will evolve in the coming months and years, there are certain trends that seem to be gaining steam in dental offices across the country. Continue reading to learn more about trends in Canadian dentistry.

Braces

Invisible teeth-straightening methods continue to grow in popularity, both for younger patients and adults. The advantages, other than avoiding the appearance of metal braces, include the simplicity of using the aligners to straighten teeth, with no need to avoid certain types of foods. These invisible aligners are not appropriate for every patient, whether due to cost or the degree of straightening needed, but dentists that offer this option are attracting more patients.

Cosmetic Treatments on the Rise

Cosmetic treatments are becoming more popular in Canada, and many patients are seeking that perfect smile. Dentists that offer a range of cosmetic dentistry procedures, including veneers, dental implants, and advanced teeth whitening are finding these treatments to continue to rise in popularity. Many dentists who offer in-clinic whitening procedures are attracting new patients, who then become loyal patients; these introductory services are proving to be a powerful way to get new patients in the door.

Tech-Savvy Patients

Younger patients are particularly tech-savvy and appreciate the most advanced treatment options. They expect digital X-rays, and are attracted to technological amenities such as screens at every dental chair, advancements that allow for same day crowns, and other high-tech options. This segment of society relies on review sites to choose a dentist, and practitioners who manage their online reviews and offer a better patient experience are seeing an increase in new patients, as positive reviews are shared other happy patients on social media and review sites.

Digital Systems: Better, Faster Treatments

Dentists that use digital impressions, 3-D printers, smart sterilizers, or practice holistic dentistry are seeing an upsurge in new patients. Dentists who stay ahead of the curve and provide patients with these new options not only provide a better patient experience, these technologies make dental appointments shorter and allow more patients to be treated within the same time frame – a worthy investment.

The Selfie Generation

Canadian dentists who take advantage of the current obsession with selfies can win new patients by offering cosmetic treatments that are more affordable for the younger working public. These treatments, such as teeth whitening and instant veneers, appeal to those in this demographic, particularly young women.

Dental Implants

Dentists have easier, better technology in dental implants. Earlier methods required dentists to use bone augmentation for many patients, but newer options make it possible to better preserve natural tissue and bone. One-step implants make it possible to restore a tooth faster, for less cost, while providing the full function and aesthetic appearance that meet the demands of modern patients.

Ride the Wave of Technology and
Increase New Patients

Dentists who take advantage of the rising interest in new technology and offer patients the most advanced treatments are on the right track. While staying ahead of the curve in technological systems makes treating patients easier, faster, and more efficient, the hidden advantage is found online. Patients share their experiences, and many millennials will only go to a dental practice that has the maximum number of stars and positive reviews from other patients, as these reviews are believed to be truthful. Many dentists have implemented an instant patient feedback system to identify a dissatisfied patient directly after treatment so they can resolve any problem before the patient is inspired to post a complaint online.

Dental Implant Trends in Canada

Dental implants are artificial tooth roots usually made of a titanium alloy that anchor a crown, bridge, or denture prosthetic to the gums. They are used to replace damaged or missing tooth roots, often after a tooth has been removed by a dentist, lost to decay, or damaged by a traumatic injury. Although not all patients are candidates for dental implants, those who are can enjoy many decades of use without the frustration and complications associated with traditional dentures.

Although adults of any age may qualify for dental implants, most completely edentulous patients are older. Whereas only 1 in 20 Canadians were over age 65 a century ago, today the number is nearly 1 in 5 and expected to grow to nearly 1 in 4 by the year 2050. This is driving a massive shift in the dental market toward the use of dental implant technology in practices all over the country.

It is true that dental implant procedures are complex, multi-step processes that often require many months of treatment, but many companies are developing emerging technology that is drastically reducing the time it takes to carry out the procedure. In fact, many dentists and the companies behind dental implantology feel that the placement of dental implants will soon become as routine as any other dental procedure.

It is worth noting that routine dental healthcare is generally excluded from coverage through Canada’s government health system. Neither dental checkups nor dental implants fall under that umbrella, meaning Canadians tend to spend more on dental care than they may be used to paying for other health services. While dental implants tend to cost more than alternative solutions, investing in them could actually prevent the need for additional dental services in the future, from tooth extractions and denture replacement to treatment for bone loss.

Right now, the majority ofperiodontists and oral/maxillofacial surgeons in Canada are already placing dental implants, but they represent only 1 in 5 dentists in the country. The other 80 percent of dentists are general practitioners, and far fewer of them are working with implant technology. With time, their influence on the market is expected to make dental implants a much more mainstream solution for Canadians suffering from permanent tooth loss.

At the end of the day, dental implants are a well-established technology with more than a 95 percent success rate – far higher than root canal therapy, which has been around much longer. They have been proven an effective solution for tooth loss replacement, and their influence is only expected to grow in coming years – especially as implantology companies create more user-friendly options for general practitioners who may otherwise be intimidated by the technology. It behooves today’s dentists to jump ahead of Canadian dental implant trends and consider investing in the technology now. Eventually, the continued success and better public education of dental implants will make this form of tooth loss replacement a standard of dental care – not just a luxury.

Digital Dentistry

Digital dentistry is expected to accelerate over the next few years in Canada in an answer to patient demand, government requirements, and the need for efficient practice management. Recently, the Canadian government made updates to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) that require the organizations subject to PIPEDA to provide notifications to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, as well as individuals affected when a data breach potentially leads to the compromise of personal information. In response, dentists in Canada are implementing better data security measures, including the use of secured email and patient account portals.

Communications Technology

Digital dentistry in Canada is also seeing a surge in the use of technology for patient-provider communications. Since many patients no longer have landline phones and may not check email frequently, some practices are staying ahead of the curve with the use of custom mobile applications that provide push notifications, including appointment reminders, bill reminders, and more.

Digital Management

In the front office, technology is all about efficiency. More and more offices – especially new start-ups – are opting or converting to digital storage and practice management. Instead of maintaining extensive filing systems full of years of patient data, files are being stores in secured servers instead.

Treatment Technology

Canada is seeing perhaps the greatest dental technology advancements in the diagnostic and treatment realms, where lasers, ‘smart’ equipment, and three-dimensional treatment planning technology is transforming the way dentists and patients approach oral care. With the massive drop in the cost of dental lasers and their increased maneuverability, patients should expect to see greater integration of dental lasers in practices all over Canada – not just high-end practices in major metropolitan areas

Dentists are also expected to integrate more grafting and scanning technology into practices. These state-of-the-art services are making it possible for more and more people to qualify for dental implants as opposed to older, less efficient prosthetics like dentures. As cone beam three dimensional and CAD/CAM technology progresses, there will also be a greater emphasis on 3-D treatment planning and even in-office printing of prosthetics.

Finally, we expect to see the ‘Internet of Things’ migrate towards dental offices, with an emphasis on cloud-based equipment. This should allow for communication between devices, as well as cloud-based troubleshooting when equipment interacts with manufacturers and service technicians.

Source:
iData Research Inc.: Canadian Market for Dental Implants, 2006