In the past decade, approximately half of United States-based dental labs have closed due to much lower prices for implants, crowns, bridges and molars from countries such as China and Mexico. These discounted prices have led to a great demand for imported dental implants in the United States – in fact, they now comprise approximately forty percent of the market. Lower prices have also allowed group practices and private-equity backed dental groups to enjoy greater profits.
President Trump has promised to renegotiate trade deals with countries such as China and Mexico and create trade barriers on importing foreign goods. These trade policies could greatly impact the dental restoration market, resulting in higher prices for dental practices and negatively impacting their profits.
Dental group practices and organizations backed by private-equity firms tend to purchase imported dental restorations as they cost less and are widely considered to be the same or better quality than American-made restorations. Purchasing dental restorations at a decreased price allows dental offices to maximize their profits while fees for dental visits remain reasonable. Unfortunately, eliminating the ability to purchase imported dental restorations could negatively impact practices and patients as it would likely drive up the fees that dental offices must be charge for a regular dental visit.
This is a developing issue that MWA is closely tracking, and we will continue to provide updates. For any questions related to dental practice management, please contact your MWA Advisor.