Dentistry and technology go together very well. Advances in pain-killing anesthetics took the practice out of the medieval era, and preventive dentistry ushered in Dentistry 3.0. New advances in body imaging technology and on-demand 3-D printing will completely revolutionize dentistry in a very short time. Blockchain has a role to play in this next step as well.
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Dentistry 4.0 will be very different from the dental industry today. It will provide better care for the most severe dental problems and better preventive care. Best of all, thanks to the highly automated processes and digitized flows, it will provide the benefits of improved oral health at a much lower cost than patients pay today.
State of the Dental Industry
Dentistry is expensive, and this starts with the cost to start a practice. One estimate put the cost at $500,000 USD, with a large part of this money consumed by equipment. This expense is in addition to the cost of attending dental school. In economics, a large cost to enter an industry is defined as a barrier to entry.
Industries with a barrier to entry have less competition and high prices to the consumers. This generally means those in the industry, dentists in this case, make large incomes. The median income for dentists in the United States is about $150,000 USD. That is over 3 times the national median income in America, and puts dentists in the top 10% of all households ranked by income.
In addition, dentistry is a highly fragmented industry, which means that there are many small practitioners. According to the American Dental Association over 81% of dental firms employ less than 10 people. Over 40% employ less than 5 people. Economic studies show highly fragmented industries are easily disrupted by new technologies. This opens the doors to Dentistry 4.0.
Dentistry 4.0 lowers the cost of the most extensive dental procedures. A clinic in London using this technology can replace missing teeth at a cost 15% lower than comparable treatment in Hungary. One reason for this lower cost is the ability to create and implant new customized dental structures in a single visit, thanks to the fully digitized workflow – from diagnostics, through planning and dental lab production, to performing the treatment.
Dentistry 4.0 will also lower the cost of routine care. Dentacoin is a new concept with its custom cryptocurrency that is designed to bring the financial interests of the dentists and patients into alignment through the Dentacoin Assurance program and many complementary tools, as well as concepts for 2 innovative dental clinics, which will be available for the global dental industry. The Dentacoin tools, as well as the 2 high-tech, fully digitalized clinic concepts all have Blockchain integrated functionalities. This is one of the ways in which blockchain technology plays a part in the new dental practice.
Dentistry 4.0 may even lower the barriers to entry by reducing the capital expenditures required to open a new practice. By creating a global industry-centric currency, Dentacoin has the potential to increase competition and lower prices for dental equipment, supplies and material. This will result in lower prices for patients, and will make high quality dental treatments available to more people, despite their income. In addition to that, Dentacoin tools reward users with the custom currency for their value-generating activities and contributing to the mission of the concept. This currency can be spent at dental clinics, which accept the new currency, it can be traded against other currencies or it can be saved, as store of value.
People working in the transportation industry when railroads got started could not imagine what their industry would look like in just a few years. Some probably scoffed because a horse-drawn wagon can go anywhere while a train must stay on the tracks. Of course, railroads disrupted that industry, and were in turn disrupted by the development of large trucks.
The same thing is happening with blockchain and technology in general. Dentistry 4.0 is just an example of how these developments impact one industry. Some probably scoff at the idea of applying blockchain to dentistry. Those with this mindset would be well advised to go to their local grocery store and ask how many of the items were delivered by horse-drawn wagon.