A Blog for Dentists & Other Healthcare Professionals

What’s Trending in Dentistry for 2020?

Are you prepared for dental industry changes in 2020? 

This post was originally published August 13, 2015, and updated December 17, 2019.

At Titan Web Agency, we work with some of the country’s leading dental professionals. We have a front-row seat to witness what’s happening in the health care and dental industries, so naturally, we’ve seen dental trends come and go. It is part of the work we do, and it helps us help our dental clients.

For dentists to maximize their patient retention and attract new patients, it’s important for them to use the latest and most relevant information to drive decisions they make about marketing their practices.  You know that staying ahead of the competition is tough, but when you initiate changes based on what patients and consumers want, you are more likely to come out on top.

To help you get ahead of the curve, we’ve put together 8 dental industry trends that are influencing the way dentists do business in 2020 and how these changing times will impact your dental office now and in the future.

1. Creating and Maintaining a Trustworthy Persona

One of the biggest trends in the United States that will inevitably have an impact on dentistry is the erosion of trust. Many people now mistrust authority figures in the media and politics, and some of that mistrust may trickle down to affect healthcare providers and dentists.

A Pew Research study shows that politics play an important role in the way people view scientists and how much they trust or do not trust them. That lack of trust may translate into difficulty attracting new patients and this can prove to be a real challenge for dental practices in 2020.

Education will increase new patient registration efforts

Many adults avoid seeing a dentist because they are worried about their ability to pay or unsure whether their insurance will cover the treatments they receive. Others avoid dental care out of fear of pain. Part of attracting new patients is finding ways to demonstrate your trustworthiness and expertise through any fear or reservations potential clients may have.

why adults avoid going to the dentist

Why adults avoid going to the dentist

A new year means new opportunities to promote services and products to adults who have been avoiding making a dental appointment. It’s not uncommon for adults to postpone dental treatments due to an inability to pay or a belief that they don’t need treatment. Parents who couldn’t afford to pay for dental care for themselves when they had CHIP for their kids, may need catch-up care in 2020.

A new and robust content marketing campaign can help you get in touch with patients who haven’t seen you in a while and help you attract new dental patients to your practice. You may decide to use a combination of email marketing, blogging, social media marketing, and search engine advertising to build authority and trust with your patients.

2. Online Review Management

Referrals and reviews are one of the most powerful marketing tools you have. You need to be utilizing your online review system to its maximum potential and ensuring that patients have the ability to give you an online review. Reviews are important because they help you build authority and trust.

Let’s start with some statistics. Here’s what you need to know about what your patients think about online reviews.

86% of all consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses. Out of that 86%, 95% of that consumers are in the coveted 18-34 age bracket. Review ratings are the single largest driver of clicks on any search engine results page (SERP). 91% of consumers under the age of 34 say that they trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend.

Review Management - Dental Industry Trend 2018

Some dentists don’t bother monitoring online reviews because they think if a patient has a problem, they’ll personally hear about it. But in today’s business world, you need to be vigilant about how you treat your patients or else they will just end up complaining online.

First, 94% of consumers say that a negative online review has convinced them not to visit a business or service provider. There are no statistics available specific to dental practices, but it’s a safe bet that having negative online reviews could be driving patients to your competitors.

The same survey found that 53% of consumers expect business to respond to negative reviews, but that 63% say that no business has ever responded to a negative review they left. In 2020, it’s important for dentists to think not only about negative reviews, but about how it will be perceived if patients see they haven’t respond when they receive negative feedback online. 43% of all those surveyed say they are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative review than one that doesn’t.

The takeaway here is that reviews matter and your engagement with those reviews into 2020 will impact the success of your dentistry business. More patients are leaving reviews of medical providers than ever before, and you can take advantage of that by monitoring your reviews.

For this reason, online review management for dentists is continuing to be something that you need to include in your marketing strategy.

You should monitor your online reviews. Some of the most popular review sites are Google, Facebook, and Yelp. For dental reviews, you should also check out 1-800 Dentist, CareDash, and Dentists.com.

You can even get ahead of the trend by getting in the habit of asking patients to review your practice when they come in for their appointment. Training your staff to ask this of patients can increase your positive reviews and help you monitor and improve patient satisfaction.

Free Download:
Ultimate Guide to Get More Patient Reviews

Our downloadable guide teaches you everything you need to know about online reviews.

Learn how to encourage your patients to leave five star reviews on all major review sites. Then, we teach you how to use those reviews to boost your new patient numbers. 

3. The Rising Value of Convenience

As healthcare providers increasingly treat patients like consumers, it’s undeniable that the biggest trend in healthcare in general, and dentistry in particular, is convenience. Today’s patients expect to be able to access services around the clock, get help when they need it, and communicate directly with dentists. That’s why convenience is one of several hot topics in dentistry and one of the latest trends in dentistry.

Convenience in dentistry could mean any of the following things:

  • An online portal that allows patients to schedule appointments online, ask questions, and fill out intake paperwork at their leisure
  • Expanded office hours to allow patients to come in at the times that work best for them, including evenings and weekends
  • Allowing patients to pay online or from their mobile devices
  • Adding additional services to give patients an all-in-one stop for their dental and oral health care needs

We recognize that convenience for patients may come at the expense of convenience for you, but the reality is that there’s a reason that convenience is one of the latest trends in dentistry. The chances are good that your competitors are addressing convenience as the 800-pound gorilla in the room and you’ll need to do the same if you want to keep up.

Some of the keys to providing convenience include call tracking and website maintenance because both of these things relate to empowering patients to manage their dental health.

4. The Continued Use of 3D Printing in Dentistry

Not only is 3D printing still on the rise in the dental industry, but it’s also up and coming in the technology sectors and business world alike.

2019 saw an increase in the use of 3D printing by dentists and that’s a dental industry trend we expect to continue throughout 2020. 3D printing uses innovative materials such as resins, and also increases the speeds of creation for custom dentures, crowns, and more. With 3D printing, these can now be made in minutes instead of in days or weeks.

While 3D printing has been around for years, the possible applications are still coming to light in the dental industry. What started out as a lab tool has blossomed into something that can be used in all aspects of general dentistry, implantology, prosthodontics, and even to create custom devices to help patients with sleep apnea.

When it comes to 3D printing, a resin is commonly used in dental practices because it:

  • Provides an excellent finish with the capability to produce the fine feature details that are required for dental devices
  • Has the potential to be used for both short-term and long-term dental solutions

If you don’t have a 3D printer in your practice, now may be the time to think about investing in one. Before long, dental patients will expect quick delivery of prosthetics made with 3D printers and you will ll be better served once you embrace this technology in your dental practice.

Social Media Marketing

5. Staying on Top of Changes in Social Media

Dentists are not the only professionals seeing a downturn in their social media marketing efforts. In 2017, changes were made to several social media platforms that caused businesses to suffer the consequences. Looking ahead, many dentists are still trying to recover from those changes. With Facebook, for example, focusing on family and friends instead of advertising and news, your business may not get the online traffic it once did.

On top of that, some people are feeling overloaded by social media and have either reduced their use of it or deleted their accounts altogether as a “detox.” That means that the dental marketing trends in 2020 include warnings and tips about the best way to use social media.

Use Facebook the Right Way

The biggest and most persistent change that continues for dental professionals is that more money will probably have to be spent in order to get the same content engagement as you did in 2017 before Facebook changed its algorithm. You can still maximize your reach on Facebook by taking some time to analyze the performance of your past posts and figure out who your true target market really is. Choosing the right content to boost and pay for and the right days and times to boost it, can help you make the most of your Facebook marketing budget going forward.

Take Advantage of Stories

More and more dental practices are using Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories to connect with their target audiences. So-called ephemeral content is useful for marketing because it encourages potential patients to engage with your content as quickly as possible, since it won’t be around forever.

Social media stories can be used to announce changes in your practice, promote new technology, or provide information about you and your staff.

Exclusive Free Download:
How to Get More Patients on Social Media

Our Social Media Prospecting ebook is a step by step manual to getting more patients online, and using social media to increase patient retention.

6. Optimize for Voice Search

The dental industry is quick to embrace technology when it can be used in treatments – 3D printers are an example – but notoriously slow in staying on top of digital trends. One of the most important new trends in dentistry in 2020 is optimizing for voice search.

The research shows that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020. With the increasing popularity of virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, that number is only expected to rise in the upcoming year. This means that dentists must embrace voice search and find ways to optimize for it.

Some of the key things you can do to get your website voice search ready include:

  • Focus on natural-sounding language
  • Assume that most queries will be questions
  • Optimize for long-tail keywords, including questions
  • Answer questions clearly and concisely on your website
  • Think about user intent and provide the best user experience possible

Remember that web users are notoriously impatient. When they ask a question, they expect to be able to find the answer quickly and easily. If your site doesn’t provide this, they’ll move on to one of your competitors’ sites.

7. Personalized Content

Personalization is a big trend in marketing in general. 98% of marketers believe that personalization is a key driver of success. There are few “products” that people feel more of a personal connection to than healthcare, so it’s not surprising that dental practices are embracing both automation and the personalization options that come with it.

Personalization can take many different forms. You might personalize content by:

  • Using subscribers’ first names in email greetings
  • Allowing visitors to your website to choose content (another word for this is adaptive content)
  • Targeting potential patients with specific ads based on their behavior on your website or on their location, age, or past visits
  • Creating groups on Facebook and sharing targeted content that’s tailored to the preferences of the group’s members

The more your target audience feels that you understand their needs when it comes to dental care, the more likely they are to choose your practice the next time they need a dentist.

8. Focus on the Patient Experience

Personalization isn’t the only way to make your patients feel special. Even though there is a need to fill dental health gaps in North America, dental competition can be fierce. Overcrowding and population issues is certain areas mean that dentists must see many patients in a day. So with the knowledge that consumers are picky about which health care providers they choose,  some dental practices are becoming hyper-focused on creating a special experience for their patients in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Last year, we mentioned that offering spa services is one way to pamper your patients and make them feel valued. It might seem odd to think of a visit to the dentist as being luxurious, but there is a growing trend toward things such as concierge service and massages to make patients feel comfortable.

You may also decide to try some of the following ideas to help patients look forward to visiting your practice:

Patient Experience - Dental trends
  • Adding video content in your waiting area, including a mix of entertainment and educational content for patients of all ages.
  • Allowing patients extra with their dentist to talk about their dental history, treatment, and future, at an additional cost. (This option could be part of a larger concierge service package that you offer to patients).
  • Creating a system to contact patients when you’re running behind – something that can minimize their time in your waiting room

These are just a few examples. The key is to find ways to make your practice stand out from others in your area. The additional services and perks you order should be tailored to your patients. For example, a family dentist might focus on making the waiting area kid-friendly and providing services to help parents prioritize their kids’ oral hygiene.

Offering luxury services can help you increase patient loyalty and attract patients who are willing to spend money on optional cosmetic treatments.

Is Your Dental Practice Ready for 2020?

Whether you want to get more first-time dental patients in the door or you struggle to retain patients, it’s important that you are aware of the trends that shape the dental industry for the coming year. As an experienced marketer serving dentists, I see that the practices who are willing to change things up in terms of their marketing and other areas are the ones who are most successful at attracting and retaining patients.

Ready to take your dental practice to the next level? Do you need help keeping your website and other current dental marketing materials to reflect and capitalize on industry trends? Click the button below for a free, no-pressure consultation to help you figure out how to modernize your dental marketing strategy and start expanding your patient base.

About the Author

Tyson Downs, the owner of Titan Web Agency, has years of experience working with small businesses and helping them meet their revenues goals. Prior to starting Titan Web Agency, he freelanced in SEO and Web Design while working in the corporate world. Tyson is a graduate of Brigham Young University, the father of 5, and a passionate bodybuilder.

Leave a Reply 0 comments