Dental laboratories are an amalgamation of art, science, and technology required for designing and manufacturing of products as a replacement of natural teeth. The scope of the research encompasses development of products such as crowns, bridges, caps, veneers, and other orthodontic splints and appliances essential to protect and straighten teeth. Similar to other areas/domains of the health care industry, the dentistry segment has witnessed significant growth over the past few years. Introduction of novel technologies and innovative materials have also attributed to the evolution of the dental laboratories market.
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Geographically, the global dental laboratories market has been segmented into four major regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. Each region has been further analyzed and estimated for major contributing countries. For instance, North America includes the U.S. and Canada. Europe has been sub-categorized into the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Rest of Europe. Asia Pacific includes China, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific. Rest of the World has been studied and segmented into Latin America and Middle East & Africa.
Europe accounted for the lion’s share of the global dental laboratories market in 2014, followed by North America. A number of community-based oral health programs are conducted across the European Union that focus on delivery of preventive treatment, increase awareness, and enhance patient education toward various procedures and artificial dental products, which over the past few years have contributed to the growth of the dental laboratory industry. However, Asia Pacific is expected to outperform the two major contributing regions during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023. Growth of the market in Asia Pacific is primarily driven by rising trend of dental tourism and increase in the number of laboratories established in the last five years. Moreover, the market is projected to expand at a substantial growth rate due to increase in export demand for dental orthodontic, periodontics, crowns, bridges, and implants from emerging markets such as India and China. Health care provision in Africa is challenged by the burden of poverty and underdevelopment, with 80% of the population falling into the lowest socioeconomic category. Lack of financial and technical resources, shortage of health personnel, and insufficient primary health care delivery make it hard for most of the population of Africa to access basic health services. Shortage of oral health personnel is a common problem in Africa, as the average dentist to population ratio is approximately 1:150000 compared to 1:2000 in most developed economic countries.
Lack of proper reimbursement and high operational cost are the major restraints of the global dental laboratory industry. To operate a dental laboratory, around 40% to 60% of what a dentist pays goes toward the expense of running a modern dental practice. Additionally, pay for rent or mortgage payments on their office space, payroll for hygienists, office managers and receptionists, health insurance, taxes, supplies, business insurance, and technology are the other expense burdens on laboratory owners. High operational cost, intense competition, and restricted geographical reach are among the primary reasons for closure of large number of dental laboratories in the past few years that is common in both developed and emerging markets.
Advent of CAD/CAM technology has significantly reduced the design and manufacturing time for dental prosthesis such as crowns and bridges. 3D imaging techniques have improved patient diagnosis and procedure planning; hence are considered to be other factors driving sustained growth and demand for dental laboratories and services offered to dentists. Rising costs and declining insurance reimbursements have created high demand for outsourced dental laboratories work. Currently, approximately 40% to 50% dental laboratories in the U.S. use off-shore laboratory services to produce components and/or complete dental laboratory services such as crowns, bridges, single porcelain fused to gold, complete dentures, partials, and frameworks.