What is the Future of Dentistry?
I like that question. I like it because it demonstrates a possibilities-based brand of forward thinking. And I like it because it gives me a chance to look into my crystal ball and give my predictions:
- I see a future that is much more mouth-based than tooth-based, and that will change the standards of treatment planning. At the same time, the technology you use will become so powerful it will revolutionize how you do everything from the simplest dentistry to full mouth rehabs.
- I see much more seamless integration in the technology you use. That will be true of life in general. For life in the practice, it will mean no more piecemeal, incremental add-ons. Your dental facility will be technologically integrated in a natural way to optimize workflow and the patient experience.
- I see a much tighter synergy between GPs and Specialists. Some people are already case-conferencing in a digital way. I see a future where on-the-spot multidisciplinary virtual conferences are taking place with files being shared and advice given with the patient right there in the chair.
- I see the explosion of social media revolutionizing word-of-mouth referrals. In a world where everyone carries a smartphone and updates are shared instantly, every dentist has the opportunity to “go viral.”
- I see a trend toward smaller practices, with fewer operatories, but they will be optimized more efficiently. With the trend toward more female dentists, who tend to value lifestyle considerations highly, you’ll see more dentists doing smart schedule sharing to maximize the value of each chair and keep overhead down.
- I see the business model of the practice evolving, with a move away from traditional job role thinking and toward a focus on team “value roles.”
I see the future including more integration, greater connectivity, a deeper reach into patients’ lives and a more flexible calendar.