Demand for dental equipment (excluding supplies) in the U.S. is forecast to rise 3.8 percent per year to $2.85 billion in 2011, aided by favorable economic conditions and population trends, as well as a strong interest in technology updates among professionals and consumers alike. Solid growth in the over 50 population will provide opportunities as older individuals are more likely to require dental procedures than other segments of the population. An increase in dental procedures will expand the need for equipment, particularly those items that require relatively frequent replacement such as hand instruments and tools used with hand pieces. These and other trends are presented in "Dental Equipment," a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
In general, equipment that features advanced technology, such as lasers, intra-oral cameras, digital radiography and CAD/CAM systems, will provide the most rapid gains. Dentists are seeking higher tech equipment to improve office productivity; expand their procedure capabilities; and attract new patients with a state-of-the-art office appearance.
Furniture and lighting are expected to achieve moderate growth, due to the lengthy useful lifespan of these items. Nevertheless, this product category will benefit from dental chair purchases, as dentists attempt to create comfortable settings for their patients. Lighting will benefit from a technology shift to higher value-added technologies, such as LED and fiber optics.
In the consumer market, gains will be sluggish due to the market maturity of toothbrushes, the dominant product. Outside of toothbrushes, penetration rates for other consumer dental equipment (e.g., tongue cleaners and oral irrigation tools) are much lower, providing opportunities for growth. Nevertheless, consumer use of equipment other than toothbrushes will remain negligible.