Employment of dentists is expected to grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations.
Many members of the baby-boom generation will need complicated dental work. In addition, because each generation is more likely to keep their teeth than past generations, more dental care will be needed in the years to come. Dentists will continue to see an increase in public demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health.
Employment of dentists is not expected to keep pace with the increased demand for dental services. There are still areas of the country where patients have little access to dental care. Whether patients seek care is largely dependent on their insurance coverage. People with new or expanded dental insurance coverage will be more likely to visit a dentist than in the past. Cosmetic dental services, such as teeth-whitening treatments, will become increasingly popular. This trend is expected to continue as new technologies allow for less invasive, faster procedures.
Dentists are likely to hire more hygienists and dental assistants to handle routine services. Productivity increases from new technology should allow dentists to reduce the time needed to see each patient. These factors allow the dentist to see more patients when their practices expand.
Dentists will continue to provide care and instruction aimed at promoting good oral hygiene, rather than just providing treatments such as fillings.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition