UK dental 2021+ market trends
January 14, 2021
The link between good oral health and overall body health has helped dentistry services across the UK maintain encouraging levels of activity despite the pandemic limiting treatment capacities.
As we look ahead, COVID-19, Brexit, ever-changing population demographics and global innovations, will be among the forces that shape the UK dental industry – for better or for worse. With the future of dentistry in the UK guided by a number of themes, how the industry utilises positive developments will play a crucial role in determining how it overcomes the challenges it faces.
Theme #1: Evolving demographics
An ageing population and increased interest in personal health and well-being across all ages will lead to a continued demand for oral hygiene services, especially in the areas of preventive, restorative and cosmetic dentistry.
Theme #2: NHS reforms and Brexit
Changing regulations, contracts and the limitation of EU resources in the UK due to Brexit could lead to a decline in NHS services. Difficulties filling dentist vacancies, longer patient waiting times and the reduction of public services in certain locations are likely to deepen, furthering the rise in private dentistry.
Theme #3: COVID-19
The time needed for dental services to recover from the impact of COVID-19 will be significant. Uncertainty about what services are available to patients will linger, while many providers will continue to struggle with a drastic decline in income due to a fall in patient numbers and the increased costs associated with infection control. With some sections of the population either unwilling or unable to access oral health care services, inequalities among patients look set to widen.
Theme #4: Dental innovations on the rise
Along with the challenges the dental industry faces, there are also many opportunities. While the dental industry we have today looks very different than it did 100 years ago, some of the changes we’ll see within the next 10 years could be the most significant yet. Below is a snapshot of the latest dental innovations.
- Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to enhance dental teaching and learning.
- Computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D printing to produce crowns, dentures and porcelain teeth.
- Dental regeneration and the possibilities of stem cell technology.
- Intra-oral cameras to improve examinations.
- Teledentistry to allow differently-abled people, children, elderly and busy employees to access online dental screening.
- CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) DNA sequencing to revise faulty genes.
It is clear that innovation and new technology will facilitate a slew of changes, leading patients to greater choice in their treatment.
While the combined system of public and private services has led to disparities in care due to funding shortfalls and the affordability of private providers, more of us are recognising the importance of maintaining good oral health and accessing dentistry services.
In this rapidly evolving environment, Cigna understands the importance of providing reliable and easy access to quality health care through choice, predictability and affordability. As your trusted partner, Cigna is committed to connecting you to the latest innovations in oral health, and through our integrated capabilities and personalised solutions, we ensure healthier futures for those we serve.