Survey provides insight into the incredible growth in cosmetic dentistry

Madison, WI–Fueled by television makeover shows, patient inquiries, and doctors’ desires to better serve patients while growing their practices, cosmetic dentistry has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Dentists queried in a recent American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey of 9,000 U.S. practices stated the aesthetic/cosmetic services provided in their offices grew an average of 12.5 percent in the past five years, with some doctors experiencing close to a 40 percent increase. Whitening remains the most-requested cosmetic dental service.

Is the cosmetic sector really booming? Absolutely. 48.3 percent of dental practices reported annual production of more than US$700,000 each year, with an average at US$661,000 annually. At the same time, a third of all practices report they have more than 2,000 active patients who spend on average more than US$400 per visit. In the past five years, nearly 40 percent of responding practices report growth of over 15 percent in the number of cosmetic dental procedures performed.

Is there any difference in what procedures are requested by patients and which ones are actually performed by dentists? Yes – and a pretty big one. While whitening was the most common requested procedure by patients (29 percent), it makes up only 6.5 percent of procedures performed in the cosmetic dental practice. A key: 25.1 percent of procedures performed in a cosmetic dental practice are classified as ‘preventative,’ underscoring the important role cosmetic dentistry plays in overall oral health.

One third of respondents list cost is the key factor keeping people away from cosmetic dentistry.