As a dentist with patients that includes infants to teens, even if they’re not your only patients, pediatric dentistry trends and news may help you retain an edge in this important niche.
Pediatric Dentistry Trends That Could Impact 2021
Growth within the Industry
There has been an immense growth within pediatric dentistry and evidence to prove that it will continue to expand. The National Library of Medicine published an expected increase in demand for pediatric dentists, in addition to a likely increase in pediatric dentists as well. Overall, the publication implies that access to pediatric dentists should increase and barriers to access should gradually disappear, if the projections are correct.
Here’s more about what it means.
Another positive improvement within the pediatric dentistry field is an increase in accessibility for kids who previously were unable to have access to such services. This is made possible because the number of pediatric dentists is increasing overall, freeing up more professionals to help in underserved communities.
Pediatric dentists are also helping underprivileged children gain access to needed dental care by accepting Medicaid at a greater rate than any other dental specialty. In fact, according to numbers from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) study, some 70% of all pediatric dentists accept Medicaid as a form of payment from their low-income pediatric patients.
Addressing Low Population Areas
Pediatric dentists may be able to safely set up locations in remote areas that have previously been underserved. This is again possible because there are more dental professionals choosing to enter the niche industry, which means there will be more pediatric dentists available to reach isolated locations.
In rural populations, where dental care might not be as easy to come by, it may be particularly important for dentists to educate parents of young children on oral health. The industry can then address the issues facing low population areas by providing services and offering important prevention via oral health literacy for parents of young children.
Addressing Special Needs
Although pediatric dentists treat children, pediatric dentistry also reaches a good number of special needs individuals who might be older than their typical patients. In addition to specialized training to treat children and adolescents, Pediatric dentists also receive training in the care of special needs patients.
Referrals May Become More Important
Another anticipated trend in pediatric dentistry will involve more primary care physicians and/or pediatricians issuing referrals to pediatric dentists. The number of referrals could improve simply by creating initiatives to encourage them.
The Industry May Remain Steady
One way to predict if pediatric dentistry will continue to thrive throughout 2021 and beyond is to consider current dental care patterns. If all stays the same, the demand for pediatric dentistry would only increase by 2%, consistent with projected population growth.
It is an increase in demand within certain populations that will be the most notable area of growth. Policy changes meant to address underserved population groups may help to further increase the demand for pediatric dentists serving those areas.
It Remains a Vastly Important Specialty
According to the president of AAPD Dr. Kevin Donly, pediatric dentistry is a crucial health service that needs to continue to remain at the forefront of consideration. He said the following about the industry:
“Pediatric dentists provide crucial oral health services to our nation’s most vulnerable populations--the very young, children from low-income families and those with special healthcare needs.”
He went on to add: “More pediatric dentists mean more access to high-quality oral health care for children and more opportunities to prevent dental disease.”
Pediatric Residency Still Matters
According to the study mentioned above, residency programs are consequential to the industry overall, allowing pediatric dentists to spend time in areas where the population is generally underserved. This could encourage pediatric dentists to start their practice in these unreached areas. It could also educate them on various programs that exist to help them as they get started in the industry, especially if they want to serve in a geographical area where there aren’t many pediatric dentists.
It Could Change
While the information listed above is gathered from reputable sources and through a comprehensive study, there are no guarantees. The industry is thriving right now, and changes in various government programs or more education for parents of young children could improve the outcome of the pediatric dentistry industry overall.
The industry could see an increase of dentists specializing in the field at even greater rates than predicted. Specialty dentists willing to serve the under-reached population groups continue to be in high demand including those who will take Medicaid, treat those with special needs and work in communities where there is generally no dental services available.
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As a pediatric dentist, you have chosen a noble career, stepping up to the plate by providing needed care to the most vulnerable among us. Our team may be able to help you protect that career with our comprehensive advice and financial services.
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This content is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.