Oral Health Group

Down but not out: Implant makers navigate economic storm


October 7, 2011
by ken

From DrBicuspid.com – Rob Goszkowski – 

October 3, 2011 — The placing of a titanium dental implant by Per-Ingvar Brånemark into the mouth of a volunteer in Sweden in 1965 was a turning point in restorative dentistry. Over the past 40 years, dental implants have become a preferred means of treatment for missing teeth for many clinicians and patients while growing into a $3 billion market worldwide by 2009.

By 1988, some 300,000 implants had been placed throughout the world, according to Kai Klimek, DDS, PhD, global manager market communication at Nobel Biocare. Today the number of new implants placed annually now exceeds that figure by a considerable margin, with estimates ranging from 1.3 million to 2 million annually in the U.S., which accounts for 30% of the worldwide market.

“At a recent conference, I heard several speakers say the same thing: For their practice and in the industry, implant treatment is the biggest breakthrough technology in the last 10 years,” Jim Frontero, president and head of sales at Straumann USA, told DrBicuspid.com.

In fact, until the economic downturn, the implant market was growing at a rate of about 15% year over year. But that growth has slowed considerably in the last few years, creating new challenges in an increasingly competitive segment of the dental market.

“In 2009, the implant market was essentially flat to slightly negative; in 2010, there was a bit of a recovery to low, single-digit growth,” Frontero said. “Today, eight to nine months into 2011, it’s still in single-digit growth.”

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