Dental specialty businesses have been under attack from various forces in recent years, and they are facing more attacks from the health care industry.
But one thing is clear: dentists have been losing ground.
Dentists have fallen behind in their ability to diagnose and treat conditions such as chronic dental pain, which is one of the leading causes of preventable death, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund.
“Dentists have seen a significant decline in their productivity over the past several years,” said Mark Z. Zucman, co-author of the report, who has worked in the industry for the past 25 years.
Zuccman is president of the American Dental Association and chair of the group’s task force on dentistry.
The report finds that dentists are less able to diagnose a variety of chronic conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, cancer and arthritis.
“We have seen this shift in the specialty because of the growth of digital technologies and advances in diagnostic technologies,” said Zucma, who also heads the American Medical Association’s Institute for Dentistry and Oral Surgery.
“There’s a lot of data to support this.”
The report also finds that the number of dentists who are employed has declined over the last several years.
The average dental assistant salary for a dentist has decreased from $70,000 in 2005 to $58,000 last year.
The percentage of dentist positions that are filled by people who are either minorities or women has also declined, as has the percentage of people who have degrees.
The number of dental assistants and dental assistants’ assistants has also decreased, with the number in the two professions dropping from 6.3 percent in 2005, to 6.1 percent in 2016.
Dentist pay has also dropped over the same time period.
Dentistry’s median salary is $80,000, and dental assistant salaries are up from $58.2 million in 2005.
But while the industry has seen declining wages and pay, the dental profession is also seeing a steep decline in health care access and quality, the report finds.
For example, in 2015, the percentage who were covered by private insurance increased from 19.6 percent to 24.6 percentage points.
Meanwhile, health care expenditures have also declined in the United States, with health care spending per capita rising from $10,936 in 2000 to $14,569 in 2020.
The study also finds the number and percent of Americans who have experienced dental problems has also gone down in recent decades.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 2.3 million Americans have had cavities and fillings.
More than 8 million Americans were treated for dental problems in 2016, with more than 4.3% of Americans in the survey suffering from dental problems.
Zuckerman said that while dental care is a key part of the U.S. health care system, dentists and other healthcare professionals have a critical role to play.
“The dental profession has to make it more accessible,” he said.
“They need to be more accountable and more responsive to their patients.”