Sedation Dentistry: Less Demand for the Sleep Dentist?

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Sedation dentistry: less demand in recession economyBecause of this recession, two out of three dentists (69%)say they've seen a decline in demand for sedation dentistry.

Of the dentists who noted less demand, 73% say they have seen a decrease oral conscious sedation, and 43% a decline in IV sedation.

"The recession is causing patients to defer anything except what they perceive to be critical care. It might be cosmetically critical or functionally critical, but more than ever, their treatment choices are being driven by their own perceptions of need," observed one dentist, noting the issue is not just limited to sleep dentistry.

Less demand across the board

  • “There’s also been a decrease in demand for dental implants and cosmetic dentistry." (General dentist)
  • “We have seen a decline in everything.” (Florida dentist)
  • “People are trying to save wherever they can.” (Periodontist)

Patients delay treatment

  • “All of dentistry is elective excluding a simple extraction. When times are bad and money is tight, dentistry can be delayed, including broken fillings, cleanings, crowns, etc.” (Indiana dentist)
  • "Dental treatment in general has decreased and mostly for elective procedures. If it ain't broke or hurting…don't fix it. If it costs more for sedation dentistry…or anything else…patients would rather not do it or delay treatment.” (General dentist)
  • “People are just not coming in and putting things off.” (Kansas dentist)

Critical care only

  • “The recession is causing patients to defer anything except what they perceive to be critical care. It might be cosmetically critical or functionally critical, but more than ever, their treatment choices are being driven by their own perceptions of need.” (Maine dentist)

Some are doing better

  • "Demand has stayed the same or slightly INCREASED!” (Indiana dentist)

Some have held steady

  • "All aspects are getting affected to some degree. Fortunately, as GPs, we have the opportunity to retool our mix of services – so by in large my bottom line has remained the same.” (Massachusetts dentist)

Dental financing is harder to come by

  • “Case sizes are smaller as financing is not as readily available.” (Tennessee dentist)
  • “With sedation, the full treatment cost is paid up front. Less and less people are qualifying for financing, and the financing companies are giving out less $$$, so there are less cases for us to do.” (Florida dentist)

Further thoughts on the economy

  • “This is the first time an economic slowdown/recession has ever affected our practice.” (California dentist)
  • "The media make the well-off feel poor.” (General dentist)

Note: Survey sample included 54 respondents.

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