I just got back from the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) meeting. This is a group of the leading manufacturers, distributors, and labs in the dental industry. The key question they were asking is “What’s Next?” That is to say, what are the major changes that will impact dentistry and as such the businesses that support the profession.
The keynote speaker was Clayton Christensen. He is a professor at the Harvard Business School and the author of several best selling business books. The most recent is called “Seeing What’s Next”
He presented several compelling examples to demonstrate his theories. To simply summarize the most significant finding for dentistry it is this:
There is a very large segment of the population who are non consumers of dentistry as it is currently delivered. (Most studies show that over half the population does not seek regular care.) Some new technology and/or business model will be introduced that will provide service to this non consuming group.
As time goes on (and this could take many decades) the new models and even newer technology will erode the current roles of the dentist.