State of Dental

State of Dental
Year of the Patient

It’s no secret that the past two years have disrupted the healthcare industry. Waiting rooms sat empty. The number of appointments dropped. People stopped coming for bi-annual cleanings. Pandemic driven disruptions altered almost every institution, but perhaps none more than healthcare.

Since COVID-19
29% of Americans moved
or plan to within 12 months, according to an Investor Business Daily poll
That’s more than
3x the patients on the move
since before the pandemic and the most since population tracking began in the 1940s
The competition is gearing up
94% of dental practices said
they expect to have similar or greater patient volume than pre-pandemic levels

Every single person on the move will be looking for a new dentist

This is The Year of the Patient

We surveyed nearly 1,300 dental professionals

to understand their 2022 priorities

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Throughout the State of Dental 2022, we’ll examine:

  • 2022 Priorities for dentists, owners, and office managers
  • How practices are prioritizing growth objectives and spending
  • How dental practices are leveraging technology to connect with patients

After reading the report, you’ll have an understanding of:

  • Why dentists are so optimistic about increased patient volume
  • The differences in strategies for high-patient-volume (HPV)and low-patient-volume (LPV) practices
  • A framework for evaluating dental software
  • Where you’ll see the best returns on tech and marketing investments

This is The Year of the Patient

1,271 responses informed the survey

The survey was completed by dentists, practice owners, office managers, operations, marketing, and others.

Office managers
58% Dentists
Practice owners

Daily patient volume by practice

Throughout the report, we’ll be breaking out trends by Low Patient Volume (LPV) and High Patient Volume (HPV), so you can compare the difference in strategies deployed by practices on the opposite spectrums of daily patient volume.

51% APV
daily patient volume by practice chart
24% LPV
25% HPV
Low Patient Volume
15 or fewer patients
Average Patient Volume
16-35 patients
High Patient Volume
35 or more patients
of respondents represented a single dental office location
of responses were from a multi-location dental practice or part of a larger dental organization

Dental practices are optimistic

When asked “What is your expectation for patient volume in 2022?"


expect to have similar or greater patient volume than pre-pandemic levels


believe their patient volume will continue to be less than it was pre-pandemic

Customer satisfaction is priority


Survey respondents were given a list of objectives for 2022 and asked to assign a score from least to most important.  The #1 response by a wide margin was:

Improving customer satisfaction
Faster collection of payments
Automating insurance and verification
Increasing number of appointments
Hiring more office workers

Online booking will become the norm

Online booking was seen in our survey as
the second most impactful method for growing a business.

chart showing 26% of practices accept online booking but all practices accept calls
Virtually all practices accept calls
but only 26% of practices accept online booking
of high patient volume practices use automated communication to manage patient engagement
only 36% of HPV practices rely on office staff for communications

Scheduling is one of the most time intensive areas of the dental office

More than 40% of dental practices spend 3+ hours managing the schedule per day.

Four “dealbreakers” of dental software evaluation

When given a set of criteria to rank priorities in dental software purchasing decisions, these four criteria scored a 4.3/5.0 or higher in importance:

Secure and Reliable
Easy to Implement and Manage
Excellent customer service
Works with Existing Integrations
Recognizes the brand and trusts it

Patient experience software lags in adoption

Low patient volume practices can get away with manual processes, but the highest performing practices are making increased investments on marketing spend and process automation.

Only 50% of practices use patient experience software to help manage time intensive tasks

chart showing 50% of practices use patient experience software
What ranked ahead of brand recognition? For more juicy details:
Get the full report

Poor customer service and support is the #1 reason why dentists change software providers

When asked “What would cause you to change your dental software partner?”  The #1 response by a wide margin was:

Lack of quality service and support
Cost of software is too high
Patients find system difficult to use
Office team dislikes user experience
Better software may be available

Social media is the top way practices plan to grow in 2022

When asked “How do you plan to grow your practice in 2022?” respondents signaled out Social Media, using online scheduling, and adding more services or products.

Social media
Online scheduling
Adding more
services or products
Click to celebrate

Read the full report

For an in-depth look at all the rankings and results, be sure to check out the full State of Dental '22 report.

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Additional topics included in the full report:

  • Breakouts of responses by High Patient volume and Low Patient Volume practices
  • Full scores and stack rankings for each category
  • Marketing budgets by patient volume and where spend is being allocated
  • Top PMS systems used by practices
  • Cancellation rate averages and strategies for improving seat occupancy
NexHealth State of Dental 2022 report