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Endodontists Rising: New Report Shows More Patients Seeking Endodontists

In the ever-evolving world of dentistry, the role of endodontists remains steadfast and vital. Recently, an AAE-commissioned report unveiled a trove of data to us based on insurance claims data analyzed by Fluent, shedding light on a remarkable trend that has been playing out in the industry since 2019. General practitioners (GPs) have been gaining patient and treatment share across various dental specialties, except one – endodontics. This data not only showcases the resilience of endodontists but also highlights emerging opportunities in the field.

Endodontists Outshine the General Practitioners

Fluent’s comprehensive analysis reveals a fascinating narrative. While GPs have been expanding their patient and treatment share in categories like periodontics, implants, oral surgery, and orthodontics, they have not made significant inroads into the domain of endodontics. This phenomenon underscores the enduring importance of endodontists in dental care.

In contrast, endodontists have shown consistent year-over-year growth in both patient share and treatment share for endodontic procedures. This resilience in the face of increasing competition from GPs demonstrates the enduring value that endodontists bring to the field of dentistry.

To Drop or Not to Drop a Network

The data analysis offers a sobering perspective on the landscape of dental networks. Nationally, a staggering 79% of treatments are performed within these networks, underlining their pivotal role in patient care access. For endodontists and other dental professionals contemplating the possibility of exiting network agreements, Fluent’s data sounds a cautionary note. While rising practice expenses, labor challenges, and stagnant or declining in-network fees may prompt dentists to consider dropping networks, the consequences deserve careful consideration. The data vividly illustrates that patients are highly inclined to seek in-network care, challenging the assumption that patients will remain loyal regardless of network status. In the evolving dental ecosystem, the decision to terminate insurance contracts should be made with a full understanding of the potential impact on patient retention and practice sustainability.

Geography Matters: Opportunity Varies by Location

Location plays a critical role in these trends. While the data showcases the overall resilience of endodontists, it’s essential to recognize that opportunities vary by geography. Factors such as population density, demographics, and the presence of dental service organizations (DSOs) influence the dynamics of the dental industry. Therefore, endodontists should be mindful of local variations and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Endodontics and Age Demographics

One striking insight from Fluent’s data is the influence of age demographics on endodontics. The analysis reveals that endodontic treatment volume in patients over 65 is steadily increasing, primarily due to Medicare Advantage. Both endodontists and GPs are witnessing an uptick in older patients seeking endodontic care.

Interestingly, nearly three-quarters of retreatments are performed by a different provider than the one who conducted the initial endodontic therapy. Approximately two-thirds of the time, GPs perform the initial treatment, while endodontists handle the retreatment. This data underscores the importance of endodontists gaining patient share over general dentists, as patients often turn to specialists for complex cases or retreatments.

The Case for Endodontists

In a rapidly changing dental landscape, the role of endodontists shines brightly. The data compiled by Fluent reinforces the notion that endodontists are not only holding their ground but also thriving amidst evolving dental practices. Their ability to secure patient share and treatment share, even in the face of increased competition, is a testament to their expertise and the value they bring to dentistry.

As the population continues to age and Medicare Advantage as well as the original Medicare product expand, endodontists have an opportunity to further cement their position in the dental industry. However, it’s crucial to remain adaptable and attuned to local dynamics. By doing so, endodontists can continue to preserve and protect one of the most vital aspects of human health—the natural teeth.

Download the full Dental Trends slide deck here.

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About Fluent™

Fluent™ is a technology-enabled company with unrivaled data capabilities in the dental industry. It is the only dental source that combines comprehensive historical and current dental procedure data with technology, analytics, research and dental domain expertise to address the questions and business concerns of dental stakeholders. With over 25 years of trusted expertise, Fluent delivers unique insight into how the oral healthcare ecosystem operates. Fluent harnesses that experience and combines it with the power of DentaBase®, their multi-payer dental claims database of commercially insured members, primary research and data management best practices. Learn more at