Dental implants and other aesthetic dentistry services have become increasingly popular over the past few years. In 2019 alone, the U.S. market for dental implants reached an all-time high of $1.1 trillion, which can be attributed to the growing geriatric population, technological advancements, and prevalent tooth-related diseases.
This influx of dental restorations led to the rise in demand for dental laboratories. They are now a potentially lucrative business for those already in the field. If you’re interested in entering the industry, we’ve prepared a guide on how to become a dental lab owner to help you get started.
Cosmetic Dentistry and Dental Lab Statistics
- The year 2021 saw an increase of 47% in teeth whitening and teeth straightening services as pandemic restrictions eased.
Last year saw things gradually getting back to normal, with vaccine rollouts helping the world recover from the pandemic. Thus, more and more people became aware of oral care, preparing for the day they can show off their pearly whites when masks become a thing of the past.
According to 99.7% of respondents, smiles are a vital social asset. These are one of the most noticeable features you first see in a person. The influx of social media influencers and celebrities showcasing their perfect smiles has also paved the rise in demand for orthodontic treatment among celebrities and adults.
- By 2028, the market value for global cosmetic dentistry is predicted to reach $27.4 billion, growing at a CAGR of 4.99% from 2021 to 2028.
In 2020, the elderly aged 65 years and above accounted for 9.3% of the population. This led to a growth in the market as older people are more prone to receding gums due to periodontal disease. Aside from that, the increase in disposable income in developing countries has also made these procedures affordable for others, including teeth whitening, dental appearance changes, and such.
- Overall global dental market value will reach $45.68 billion in 2028 with a CAGR of 6.4% from 2021 to 2028.
Dental caries and periodontal disease afflict many people. In fact, about 20 to 50% of the global population suffers from some kind of periodontal disease, and over 530 million children are suffering from dental caries of primary teeth. This spurred governments and various organizations into action to improve the oral care of their citizens, leading to the growth of the global dental market.
How to Become a Dental Lab Owner
- Decide on a niche
Specializing in a dental product or service can help differentiate your lab from the competition. You can choose from various dental services, including crowns and bridges, veneers, occlusal appliances, dental sleep medicine, implants and removables, and provisionals. Learn what particular services are high in demand and which ones lack providers in your area to know what market you can best cater to.
- Assess the level of competition
Once you’ve decided on a niche, it’s time to know who you’re competing against. Your competition comes from two levels: niche and physical location. First, check the available dental labs in your area. Then, know their niche so you can strategize on how to set yourself apart from them.
- Determine possible threats and challenges
The industry has grown over the past few years; even before that, different dental labs and manufacturers have been in operation. These well-established businesses may be one of the major challenges you’ll have to face. Positioning yourself as a trusted brand through your high-quality products, marketing, and specializations is important to make your lab stand out.
On top of that, unexpected crises like a pandemic are a permanent threat. In these times, most states close their dental practices for safety measures, except for emergency visits. You’ll have to develop contingency plans to help you prepare and overcome these challenges.
- Choose the most suitable legal entity
There are three main types of legal entity status your lab can apply for: general partnerships, limited liability (LLC), or sole proprietorship. An LLC is the safest as it can protect you from personal liabilities. For example, your finances and ownership won’t be affected if anything goes wrong with the business; of course, the money you invested would be at risk.
- Get the necessary professional certification
Dental labs are a high niche area of the healthcare industry as it dabbles with dental procedures and materials. Thus, acquiring a professional certification such as a Certified Dental Laboratory (CDL) will help you become a credible name. While getting this is not compulsory, it will help you become a trusted brand in your specific market.
- Build a team of experts
On top of getting certified, having a team of dental experts and professionals can help you create high-quality products. Choose team members with experience and qualifications, like those with degrees in dentistry and dentist services.
- Invest in the right equipment
Quality products come from quality dental lab equipment. Invest in the best dental lab equipment that does the specific job or product you’re manufacturing. Aside from that, you’ll have to keep it well maintained so your lab can produce quality products and meet the demand for removable or fixed dental prosthetic items.
Essential Equipment for Dental Labs
- Dental Die and Casting Machine: Most dental laboratories prefer metal-based restoration treatments, which may require properly cast components. Dental die and casting machines are perfect for this as they provide automation for several labor-intensive processes for fabrication. On top of this, you can use them to monitor time and temperature accurately.
- Dental Muffle Furnace: Dental muffle furnaces are used for processes that require pressure and heat, such as the firing, sintering, binding, and burnout of the metals used to build dental prostheses.
- Dental Scanner: Dental scanners are a popular choice for a quick and efficient exchange of patient information. It enables orthodontists to provide diagnoses and quickly formulate patient treatment plans with minimal to no delays.
- Model-building Equipment: 3D printing technology has undoubtedly advanced the dentistry industry by effortlessly making products on demand. These are used for clinics to create splints, clear aligner models, biocompatible surgical guides, fixed models, and complete dentures promptly.
- Electric Waxer: An electric waxer works by heating the metal tip, making it simpler and easier to shape and carve dental waxes. These are especially important for lab offices specializing in designing burnouts or repairing before casting.
- Lighting Equipment: Many processes require good lighting and proper magnification to carry out more accurately. In this case, your lab must have the proper lightweight lighting with high brightness and reduced heat.
Starting a Dental Lab Business
As the cosmetic dentistry industry grows globally, the demand for dental labs grows, as well. But just like any business, a dental lab requires initial investment to get off the ground. Not only will you need space for your lab, but also the right equipment. Take the proper steps and carefully plan your moves to increase your chances of business success.
Check out dental lab furnaces from AI Furnaces and jumpstart your dental lab business today!