The ADA Estimates Dental Spending Growth Through 2021

The ADA Estimates Dental Spending Growth Through 2021According to the American Dental Association, dental care spending is projected to increase at an average annual rate of 5% through 2021.

Total health spending is projected to grow at a slightly higher 5.7% annually or 0.9% point faster than the expected growth in the gross domestic product (GDP).

The growth rate accelerates in 2014 with expanded coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

However, the ACA will add just 0.1% point to overall and dental spending through 2020, with aging baby boomers seen as a greater contributor to spending growth.

This year alone, over 4 million Americans will turn 65.

Dentistry’s share of all personal healthcare spending has slipped in the past 25 years by about one percentage point to 5.1% in 2007; this trend is expected to continue through the year 2018, the latest year for which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made projections, to about 4.4%. (Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services).

But even with the dip in healthcare spending and factoring out the projected impact of the Affordable Care Act, steady gains in dental healthcare spending is projected through this decade.

The dental share of total health expenditures is projected at 3.7% in 2011 and 2021 with or without the Affordable Care Act expansions.

The ADA further projects that the annual dental services growth rate throughout this decade is slightly higher when the projections include ACA impacts.

Dental spending is projected to increase by 5.4% in 2015 over the previous year when the ACA is included and 4.4% without the ACA. The annual growth rate in dental spending accelerates after 2013 to as high as 6.6% in 2019 with the ACA and 6.4% without the ACA.

Do you think the aging boomer demographic will increase growth in the dental sector, or do you see other factors negatively influencing dental spending growth in the near future?

To read more see: Dental spending growth projected through 2021

Dentists Split Over BPA

Dentists split over dental BPA (bisphenol A)One of every two dentists is so worried about bisphenol A (BPA) that they think the American Dental Association (ADA) should issue a warning about the chemical’s dangers.

On the other hand, half think we still need more research. “The ADA must respond only to true science,” one dentist declared.

BPA, an ingredient in some dental sealants and dental composites, has been getting a lot of bad press… this could be a serious dental management issue for cosmetic dentistry in the not-too-distant future.

When asked if the ADA should take a stand against dental bisphenol A, here’s what dentists had to say:

  • “The ADA should conduct a thorough Scientific Study so we do not have another ‘amalgam controversy.'” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Whatever the studies show, the ADA needs to get that PR out to the public… If we say nothing, then the only voice the public hears will be other voices.” (General dentist)
  • “Look into this more fairly before alarming everyone, perhaps unnecessarily.” (New York dentist)
  • “I think that we need all appropriate in vivo experimental and clinical studies in order for the proper authorities to rule one way or the other.”
  • “BPA is linked to female issues. We need to be preemptive, even if there is a doubt. What are they waiting for, a return to amalgams?” (Michigan dentist)
  • “I have a one year old and we make sure never to have him use bottles or other items made of BPA. Most companies that produce products placed in babies mouths are removing BPA from them (bottles, pacifiers, etc). Therefore, why should dentists continue to use dental sealants with BPA? It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.” (Ohio prosthodontist)
  • “It is my understanding that BPA itself is not an ingredient in composite materials, but bis-GMA, which is made from BPA. The amount of unconverted BPA in dental materials is almost undetectable and has not been shown to be a health threat. There is also no better alternative material for long-term restoration of the dentition.”

Read more: Dental BPA: ADA Stance on Bisphenol-A Divides Dentists

Survey: General Dentists Alienated From ADA?

In our most recent survey, we asked: Is the American Dental Association dominated by specialists who are trying to promote their own agendas and not necessarily the welfare of the general dentist?

Wow – this is certainly a divisive issue!

Nearly two-thirds of our respondents said, “Yes! Specialists and their associations are using the ADA so they can make more money – at the expense of general dentists, of course.” On the other hand, 38% said, “No! The ADA has not allowed special interests to compromise its service to the dental profession as a whole.”


To see how polarizing this issue is, just look at the responses of general dentists as compared to specialists. General dentists were 8 times more likely to criticize the ADA than were specialists! While it’s not surprising that the two groups responded differently to a question about the ADA’s relationship with specialists, the difference between the two is particularly dramatic.

Many readers commented on the troubled relationship between generalists and specialists – two closely related groups of dentists who have to cooperate but also can’t avoid competing. Whew! – passions run high where the ADA is concerned!


Here are just a few of the many comments we received on this hot-button issue.

  • “The general dentist is king!!!” (New Hampshire periodontist)

Some felt we were just trying to stir up controversy:

  • “This question is an attempt to stir up contempt between specialists and GPs. Nice try.” (New York dentist)
  • “This is such a loaded question that you should be embarrassed to ask it.” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “It is a shame that you wish to hang out the dirty laundry of the dental profession with these questions.” (Oregon periodontist)

Some directly questioned the value of the ADA:

  • “The ADA is a dinosaur.” (Mississippi dentist)
  • “They have actually become the enemy of the general dentist.” (Missouri dentist)
  • “It is controlled by the staff who have their own agenda.” (Massachusetts oral surgeon)
  • “The ADA is taking the same approach as the AMA. Politicking and special interests.” (Missouri dentist)
  • “What is so disturbing is the alliances with manufacturers and the conflicts of interest in research.” (Nebraska dentist)

Others defended the ADA:

  • “If you answer yes to this question, I’d submit you’ve never attended a leadership meeting of the ADA.” (Virginia oral surgeon)
  • “This is a ridiculous notion. They are concerned with all of dentistry.” (Ohio periodontist)

Some criticized (some) specialists:

  • “The specialists are paranoid that we general dentists are a threat… Orthodontists are the worst.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Periodontists are out of control!!” (Georgia dentist)

Others criticized (some) general dentists:

  • “General dentists are generally a paranoid group of individuals who sacrifice proper patient care for fear of losing extra income.” (Pennsylvania periodontist)
  • “Too many general dentists are offering themselves to the public with non-recognized credentials.” (Alaska dentist)
  • “This sounds like sour grapes from some general dentists with penis envy!” (California dentist)

Some mourned the new sedation guidelines:

  • “Oral Conscious Sedation Dentistry: 2 million cases done, 0 Morbidity, 0 Mortality. Do they do that well with IV sedation?” (Maryland dentist)
  • “This whole situation with the new effort to restrict the scope and practice of GP’s in regards to conscious sedation is pure dollars-driven territorialism.” (California dentist)


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