Like many areas of the healthcare industry, the field of dentistry is evolving at a rapid pace. This is due to a number of influential factors, with social, technological and economic changes all having a noticeable impact on the industries course. The most noticeable of these relates to wider economic depression, which is creating intense competition within the market and damaging the once vibrant graduate job market. With high levels of graduate unemployment and cumulative student debt close to exceeding $1 trillion in the U.S. alone, for example, it is clear that those who qualify as practicing dentists are finding it increasingly difficult to find work or establish their own independent venture.
Student Debt, Economic Decline and the Dental Job Market: Striking a Delicate Imbalance
With this in mind, which exact economic factors are impacting on the dental industry and creating a less than ideal marketplace? Consider the following: –
The Rise of Competitive Market Pressure: In recent times, the level of competitive market pressure within the dental industry has reached unprecedented heights. This has led to considerable market saturation, with the majority of dental practices seeing an estimated 30% fewer patients on an annual basis. This situation has been primarily triggered by a slight imbalance between supply and demand, as healthcare budget cuts have forced some patients to prioritize alternative costs. This has forced less experienced practitioners to compete for a dwindling number of patients, intensifying market competition and impacting heavily on future job creation.
The Lack of Graduate Job Opportunities and Rising Student Debt: Although the U.S. economy is beginning to stabilize and expected to consolidate over the next 5 to 7 years, it will take time for the dental industry to return to its pre-recession levels of growth. At present, the market is well populated with recently qualified graduates who are unable to secure work in their chosen field, as they struggle with significant financial liability and a cumulative debt level of just under $1 trillion. This means that the industry may lose out on considerable talent in the short term, while future students may be persuaded to pursue an alternative academic course.
The Bottom Line in the Dental Industry
While these economic issues are having a definitive impact on the dental industry, however, there are also considerable positives that may be drawn from the current market. The pace of technological advancement has had a particularly constructive influence, for example, with the scope and efficiency of treatments now far more impressive than in previous generations. With practitioners such Dr. Dan Matthews applying both innovation and research to develop purposeful sleep apnea and cosmetic treatments, modern patients can enjoy the benefits of wide and far reaching evolution.
This suggests that the current economic climate will have only a short term impact on the dental industry, as increased patient awareness, technological innovation and the connection between general and oral health will eventually prevail. Although it may take several years of sustained economic growth and improved job creation to ease the financial burden carried by existing practices and students, this will at least guarantee a more prosperous long term future for the dental industry.