New AACD Survey Data: Cosmetic Dentistry Revenues Rebound

Cosmetic dentistry is making a comeback, after the industry was hampered by a struggling economy beginning in 2008. New figures from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry’s (AACD) 2013 State of the Cosmetic Dentistry Industry Survey show that the percentage of practices reporting revenues of more than $2 million has expanded five percentage points since 2011 to 13%.

The survey also showed that the lowest category level of revenues—less than $500,000—has shrunk five points since 2011 to 13%.

“Patients are spending more on cosmetic dentistry procedures,” said Dr. Jack Ringer, AACD President. “They want more than just a functional smile—they also want a beautiful smile, which is great news for cosmetic dentists!”

More than one-third of respondents (36%) indicated that their practice’s average production per scheduled cosmetic dentistry patient visit in the past year is $2,500 or more, an 11-point jump since AACD’s previous industry survey in 2011.

When asked to indicate how much the average cosmetic dentistry patient spent on services at their practices in the past year, 48% selected the top five tiers ($2,500 to $20,000), which is up three points since 2011.

“Consumers’ priorities are changing,” Ringer adds. “Recent AACD research shows that consumers consider a smile an important social asset. Most believe a beautiful smile is more important to them than having a fit body, or a stylish wardrobe.”

When looking at specific cosmetic dentistry procedures, survey participants overwhelmingly believe that revenues generated from all procedure types have either increased or stayed the same year over year, and the expectation is that revenues will continue to increase or stay the same into next year.

Other survey highlights:

  • The most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures are bonding (29%) and whitening (28%), with veneers closely behind at 26%.
  • Implants and orthodontics—while still not the most common of cosmetic procedures—continue to show the largest increases over previous surveys.
  •  Eighty-nine percent of patients elect cosmetic treatments to improve physical attractiveness and self-esteem. Other reasons cited: 54% said for restorative or health reasons (like accident or injury); to fix a previous failed cosmetic treatment (51%); and to look and feel younger (50%). Upcoming events, like a wedding, also cause patients to seek cosmetic treatments (49%).
  • When asked how most patients find them, 88% of respondents report that patients find them via word of mouth and Internet search, with word of mouth leading the way by a wide margin (63%).
  • Respondents indicated that demand for cosmetic dentistry procedures was primarily driven by referrals from others who have had a positive experience (91%) followed by a big boomer generation with expendable income (78%).
  • While it’s clear that the entire dental team is involved in initiating dialogue about cosmetic dentistry and recommending procedures, the instigation of new business is overwhelmingly driven by the dentist (85%) while the hygienist seems to be playing a larger role in treatment conversations, jumping 17 points since 2011.

To read the full survey report, click here.

About the AACD
The AACD is the world’s largest non-profit member organization dedicated to advancing excellence in comprehensive oral care that combines art and science to optimally improve dental health, esthetics, and function. Comprised of more than 6,600 cosmetic dental professionals in 80 countries worldwide, the AACD fulfills its mission by offering superior educational opportunities, promoting and supporting a respected Accreditation credential, serving as a user-friendly and inviting forum for the creative exchange of knowledge and ideas, and providing accurate and useful information to the public and the profession.