Digital Equipment Markets Booming
The growth of dental merchandise and small equipment sales has slowed significantly in the past 3 years, according to a Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) report, but the markets for equipment such as 3D printers, intraoral scanners, and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) units are expected to grow rapidly.
The global dental 3D printing market was estimated at $903 million in 2016 by Transparency Market Research, but that number is expected to more than triple by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 16.5% to $3.4 billion.
One reason for this growth undoubtedly is the rapid pace of development in this market. In a poll of 27 Inside Dentistry Editorial Advisory Board members, 19 said milling/3D printing has seen the most significant advancements in the past year, versus lasers, imaging, diagnostics, and practice management software.
"Additive manufacturing is rapidly improving with a plethora of low-cost printers that claim accuracy and precision," says David Gratton, DDS, MS. "The material options are the limiting factor. FDA approval, physical property testing, color stability, etc, are areas of uncertainty."
Intraoral scanners are projected to grow at a double-digit CAGR from 2017 to 2023 as well: 10.7% to $557 million, according to Allied Market Research.
"CAD/CAM technology is sweeping through the profession and the laboratory industry," says Inside Dentistry board member V. Kim Kutsch, DMD. "This is disruptive change. It now takes less than a couple of minutes to take a final impression, bite registration, opposing impression, and shade determination."
Growing nearly as fast is the global CBCT dental imaging market, which was at $381.2 million in 2016 and has been estimated to reach $817.5 million by 2023 (9.8% CAGR) by Wise Guy Reports.
"Imaging devices and software have had improvements to provide for better ease of use, higher-quality resolution, and multiple digital platform uses from diagnosis and planning to guided techniques to achieve high levels of clinical results," says Inside Dentistry board member Howard E. Strassler, DMD, FADM, FAGD.
Meanwhile, the DTA Market Data Committee reports US sales of dental merchandise and small equipment were $2.05 billion in the second half of 2017, with only a modest year-on-year growth of 0.8% and 1.3% in the third and fourth quarters, respectively. Those numbers are down from quarterly year-on-year growth of 5.1%, 4.0%, 3.1%, and 4.5% in 2015.