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Dental Implants in Canada: A Growing Opportunity

August 1, 2006
by Milton Tosto Jr., PhD


This article is based on a detailed and comprehensive research on the Canadian Market for Dental Implants conducted at iData Research Inc. The company is an incorporated international market research and consulting group focused on providing market intelligence for companies, investors, and market participants around the world. This article is intended to supply general information — including trends and forecast — about the market for dental implants in Canada to those interested in the development and economic opportunities of this relatively new dental practice.

Dental implant is a term used to describe an artificial device that replaces the original root of a tooth. This specific definition leaves out more traditional forms of dental implants such as removable prosthetic fixtures and other non-root-form implants. Nowadays, because root-form implants completely dominate the industry, the term dental implant is directly associated with the titanium-alloy anchors used to replace damaged roots. The root supports the tooth, and when the root is damaged beyond treatment, the whole tooth needs to be extracted. Dental implant is the first step in a permanent tooth-replacement process.

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Dental implants are used in conjunction with dental prostheses to replace missing teeth. Depending on the application and the need of the patient, dental implants can be used to support a crown, a bridge, or even a full-arch denture.

MARKET DRIVERS

Changing demographics have been exerting a strong push on the Canadian dental implant market. The demand for dental implants will grow with ageing population, because elderly people tend to have more missing teeth than the younger generations. A century ago, approximately five percent of the Canadian population was comprised of people over 65 years of age. This rate doubled during the 1950s, and now 17 percent, or approximately 5.5 million Canadians, are over 65. This age group is expected to include 19 percent of the Canadian population by 2020 and 22 percent by 2050.

Despite this demographic trend, some dentists are still reluctant to adopt the technology. The main reason why some Canadian doctors have refused to learn how to place dental implants is that they think the procedure is too complex. Companies are developing easier systems in order to decrease procedure time and to convince general practitioners that dental implants are not much different than any other dental procedure. The increasing popularity of single-unit and immediate-load implants attests to the fact that the technology is becoming more user-friendly and predictable.

In addition to demographics and technological developments, long-term cost efficiency has a strong effect in Canada. Dental implants are an economical alternative, which can put an end to other dental health costs such as denture replacement, tooth extraction, and bone-loss treatment. Canadians are not used to pay for health care, and when they do pay, they tend to base their choice on cost. This explains in particular why the demand for aesthetics is not as yet a strong driving force in Canada.

IMPLANTS IN DENTAL PRACTICES

The impact caused by dental implantation technology on dental practices is two-fold. Doctors who spend time and resources learning and practicing the new technology tend to offer better diagnosis to their patients and have more lucrative practices. This is due to the fact that the cost of dental implants is higher than other dental procedures. Doctors who are reluctant to work with dental implants or are intimidated by this new technology also tend to avoid referring their patients to a specialist, as this may undermine their clientele. Therefore, these doctors have yet to take full advantage of dental implantation technology and make the benefits of dental implants more widely spread. At the same time, dental implant companies are working hard to make this new technology more user-friendly and thus more accessible to general practitioners.

Oral/maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, and general practitioners can place dental implants. Placements of dental implants are very common amongst oral/maxillofacial surgeons and periodontists; around 80 percent of these specialists are involved in dental implant placements. However, their impact on the market is limited, as only around 20 percent of dentists are oral/maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and prosthodontists. In other words, general practitioners have a larger impact on the market than specialists.

PROCEDURE GROWTH, MARKET SIZE, AND PLAYERS

In 2005, the number of implant procedures in Canada was estimated at 90,000, growing at a rate of 14.2 percent compared to the previous year. By the end of 2006, the number of procedures performed is expected to exceed 100,000 and reach to well over 200,000 by 2012. However, the growth rate of the number of implant procedures will decline as the market approaches maturity (Fig. 1).

The Canadian market for dental implants is expected to experience double-digit growth rates during the forecast period. In 2005, the Canadian market for dental implants — accounting the implants themselves and not other costs involved in the procedure — was valued at C$29.4 million, representing an 18 percent increase over 2004. This market is estimated to grow to well over C$80 million by 2012 (Fig. 2).

The global dental-implant leader, Nobel Biocare, is also the major competitor in the Canadian market. This leading position is attributed to Nobel’s brand name, marketing strategy, and sales force. Straumann, 3i, Zimmer, and Astra Tech are the following competitors with low double-digit market shares. These companies together account for more than 70 percent of the market, showing that dentists continue to favor well-established brands. This is a consequence of the direct involvement of these companies in the popularization and training of implantation technology in Canada.

Milton Tosto Jr., PhD is a research analyst at iData Research Inc. He has disclosed that he holds no interests or securities in any company mentioned herein. He may be reached at milton@idataresearch.net.

The information contained in this article is an excerpt from a much more detailed and comprehensive report on the Canadian Market for Dental Implants, 2006, which is available for purchase from iData Research Inc. For more information about this and other reports on the dental industry, please contact: info@idataresearch.net, tel: 866-964-3282.

Oral Health welcomes this original article.


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1 Comment » for Dental Implants in Canada: A Growing Opportunity
  1. Laurinn says:

    Thanks for sharing the article it really helpful for those who looking for the dental implant treatment in Canada.

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