Where is Dentistry Headed in 2015? We Ask Dental Economics

To understand what dentists should look for in 2015, we asked a number of experts about their opinions on this year’s trends. This is what Zachary Kulsrud, managing editor of Dental Economics, had to say:

When asked to write this blog post, I knew I was not the ideal person to answer this question: “Where is dentistry going in 2015?” That question would be best answered by a CEO of a major dental manufacturer, a key opinion leader in the prime of his/her career, or an prophet from ancient Greek mythology … you take your choice. However, as someone who works in dental media, I can answer that question from a different angle. Each day – and I do mean every day – my colleagues and I look at what dental professionals are reading. More truthfully, we look at what they are clicking. With each mouse click on one of our stories, our audience tells us what they know, what they don’t know, and whether or not we’re doing our jobs.

As a part of the team who oversees Dental Economics, DentistryIQ.com, RDH Magazine, Surgical-Restorative Resource, and Apex360, I’ve developed an intuitive idea of what people want to know about the future of modern dentistry … in 2015 and beyond. Without giving away any trade secrets, here are my three best guesses at what will keep us busy this year.

  1. We’ll debate what the “normal” dental practice looks like. This question, which has been kicked around for the past 20 years, will continue to inspire us. Note I said “inspire” instead of “distract” – the debate, I think, is very healthy and forces us to think about what is important about our profession. It’s a curious thing: As more practices take on different shapes (Individual? Group? Corporate? Retail-based? Expanded medical services? Specialists in-house?), the more vociferous we are to pass judgment. The reality is that dentistry is just one part of medicine, and medicine is just a profession, and professions are extensions of what society demands. As society’s demands change, which they are faster than ever in the digital age, so too will the modern dental practice.
  1. We’ll see a demand for dental industry news to be placed in meaningful context. For some time, dental industry news has been in the shadows. Not anymore. That news is finding its way out through social media, specialty websites, and, well, just one dentist emailing another. What dental practices know about a manufacturer or distributor will affect their purchasing decisions … and, oh yes, it’s already happening in other industries. (I bet some of you thought seriously about Apple’s sweatshop accusations at some point before buying a Mac or iPhone.) Now, the interesting question here is, “Will we see the dental industry respond to the new exposure?” My money is on “big time.”
  1. We’ll see Millennials shaping the dental industry in ways we weren’t prepared for. I am a Gen-Xer. (Flannel shirts, Nirvana, all that.) Until recently I worked in an office of Boomers. Not anymore. We’ve hired two Millennials, and in less than a year they’ve made me feel – on bad days – obsolete. I’m exaggerating, of course, but it’s no secret that just when I feel like things are settling in to a “new normal,” the Millennials say, “Well … we can actually do that another way … a better way …” I’m seeing it all the time in the stories we cover, too. Millennials are introducing new products and getting them into the market faster. They don’t seem to care about traditional definitions of dental. And despite the growing pains the other generations are feeling, I think they are making things better because of it.

Good luck to the rest of you as you peer in to the future. Hope it is full of prosperity and happiness in 2015!

Zac

(PS – Read our mags!)

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