According to the latest study conducted by iData Research, the United States digital dentistry market size was valued at $871.7 million in 2020 and is estimated to reach nearly $1.4 billion by 2027. While COVID-19 caused a decrease in inpatient volumes, dental spending, and laboratory revenues, the market will likely continue a return to normal growth forecast throughout 2021. As the digital dentistry market continues to recover, key insights surrounding growth, market share, and COVID-19 have been derived and are as follows:
- Growth is limited by intense pricing competition
- CAD/CAM technology is revolutionizing the dental prosthetic and dental implant markets
- Dental 3D printers are the most rapidly growing technology in all digital dentistry
- Dentsply Sirona and Align Technology are the leaders within the market
- COVID-19 has temporarily accelerated the closure of some laboratories
1. Growth is limited by intense pricing competition
The main cause of the limited growth within the digital dentistry market is low-cost procedures of equipment and materials, particularly within the zirconia segments. Foreign zirconia producers have driven prices down through their low-cost zirconia which have now caused pricing pressure across the entire digital dentistry market. Additionally, this effect is also becoming more prevalent in the capital equipment space, and average selling prices are declining across all CAD/CAM device segments as a result.
2. CAD/CAM TECHNOLOGY IS REVOLUTIONIZING THE DENTAL PROSTHETIC AND DENTAL IMPLANT MARKETS
Since the 1950s and 1960s, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM) technology has existed in some form despite the limited applications. However, as technology advanced, CAD/CAM became more powerful and has dramatically changed the landscape of the dental laboratory market. With CAD/CAM technology, dentists can take intraoral scans of a patient’s mouth and transmit them almost instantly to dental laboratories. Traditional impressions may be scanned at the laboratory which can then be transformed to CAD software and transferred to CAM software. This process is significantly faster than the time it would take for a technician to manually prepare one, increasing efficiency while decreasing the risk of error.
3. DENTAL 3D PRINTERS ARE THE MOST RAPIDLY GROWING TECHNOLOGY IN ALL OF DIGITAL DENTISTRY
Dental 3D printing is a very powerful and useful technology for the production of models, surgical guides, temporary crowns and bridges, dentures, and many more. Because dental 3D printers are available at a relatively low cost, they allow for a significant return on investment for dental laboratories and clinics. Alongside this, they are fully integrable with the leading CAD software options in the market and as a result, can be integrated into existing CAD/CAM workflows. Because of this, they have grown rapidly and increased in popularity.
4. DENTSPLY SIRONA AND ALIGN TECHNOLOGY ARE THE LEADERS WITHIN THE MARKET
Dentsply Sirona continued to be a market leader in the United States digital dentistry market. The company led the competitive CAD/CAM device market and was a major player in the material market. Overall, the companies brand recognition and strong market presence have allowed it to continue maintaining a leading position. Headlining this companies’ product portfolio is the CEREC® chairside systems including its CEREC® Zirconia, Cercon®, and Celtra® Duo products, among others. Competing with Dentsply Sirona, Align Technology is well poised and expected to continue making strategic moves that will grow its share of the overall market. In terms of products, the company offers their Invisalign® clear aligners along with their iTero® intraoral scanners in which have become increasingly popular in recent years. In 2020, Align Technology acquired a software producer who’s a leading producer of open-architecture CAD/CAM software. This will further strengthen its dominant position within the U.S. digital dentistry market.
5. COVID-19 HAS TEMPORARILY ACCELERATED THE CLOSURE OF SOME LABORATORIES
According to survey data from the National Association of Dental Laboratories (NADL), many lab owners are near retirement age, and, for some of them, the pandemic was the push needed to close their laboratories and retire. As a result, some larger laboratories experienced growth in 2020, despite the pandemic. As larger laboratories are already more likely to invest in CAD/CAM technology, and more likely to invest in multiple systems, this consolidation effect further offsets the decline in spending on capital equipment in the laboratory market.
UNITED STATES DIGITAL DENTISTRY MARKET FORECAST
As a result of COVID-19, cash flow was reduced in dental offices and laboratories which impacted spending on capital equipment. Similarly, the market experienced a decrease in demand for dental prosthetics which impacted the material market. Following the closure of non-essential businesses in the U.S. in the first and second quarters of 2020, dental patient volumes and overall spending began to show strong signs of recovery in the third quarter as dentists began working through pent-up demand for services. As such, the market will likely continue a return to normal growth forecast throughout 2021. If current vaccination targets are met, markets may fully recover by 2022.