The growing Canadian dental equipment and supplies market is satisfied primarily by U.S. imports, and with the rate of increase in Canadian oral health care, Canada is an excellent market for U.S. dental suppliers. The strong regard and presence of good quality U.S. products is just one example of the many advantages U.S. exporters have within the Canadian market as U.S. imports play a dominant role in the Canadian dental equipment and supplies industry. The demand for dental equipment and supplies is projected to grow over the next four years, with an emphasis on innovative technologically advanced equipment such as laser instruments, computerized systems linked to camera and other diagnostic equipment including x-ray machines as well as emerging technologies like digital imaging.
The Canadian dental equipment and supplies market is valued at US$442 million with an average total annual growth rate estimated to reach eight percent by the end of 2010. Dental care is seeing an increase in utilization, at a rate of 5.56 compared to last year’s increase of 4.98 percent. The combination of the utilization factor and the increase in Provincial Fee Guides has important repercussions in many provinces. As organizations work through the toughest economic decline and uncertainty in decades, many employees are opting to get dental treatment done now that they may have put off in prior years, while they still have the employer coverage, through group health insurance. Added to that is a continuing trend in the use of orthodontics that is growing year after year. With the growing baby boom population, the medical and dental industry is in the middle of a growth cycle that is expected to continue to progress in the future. This particular sector produces everything from implants, prosthetics and orthotics to highly specialized surgical simulation tools and systems that deliver pharmaceuticals.
The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), in conjunction with other agencies oversees the practice of dentistry in Canada. Unlike medicine, the provincial governments do not fund dentistry. With approximately 19,000 practicing dentists in Canada, this sector is one of the fastest growing to date.
Canadian dentistry is essentially a private sector market, as only four percent of the cost of professional dental care is publicly funded. In 2009, Canadians spent over US$12 billion through out-of-pocket and insurance plan coverage to obtain professional dental care. Individual insurance premiums and employers' programs cover approximately 65 percent of the cost of dental care. Canadians who do not have dental insurance coverage or are only partially covered by their insurers pay for the remaining 30 percent directly.
In 2006, 55 percent of all private spending on dental care was from insurance sources. Statistics have shown that patients with dental coverage will seek out required care on a regular basis. As a result, employer- provided dental benefit plans have played a major role in the growth of the Canadian dental industry. Recently employers have started to become concerned about the costs of providing their employees with health and dental benefit packages. This uncertainty in future coverage has driven patients to receive care now rather than putting it off. Although over 80 percent of Canadians have dentists, only 42 percent of them know all the benefits in their health insurance plans.
More and more Canadians of all ages are taking a closer look at their health and a big segment of that is oral health. Therefore, dentistry has become a very competitive environment, as dentists must be able to provide not only the latest technologies to their patients, but also replace equipment on a regular basis while continually monitoring new product techniques and applications. Canadians are more likely to be critical of the care received because of the out-of-pocket expense for their dental care. Approximately 85.7 percent of Canadians visit a dentist within a two-year period. Among adolescents aged 12-19 years old, 84 percent make an annual dental visit, while 79.3 percent of adults make an annual dental visit.
The demand for software-based equipment within dentistry is growing in Canada. This is fueled by the fact that Canadians are becoming more aware of some of the advantages provided by advanced dental equipment. Technological advances including laser instruments, computerized systems, digital imaging, computer modeling, clinical patient record systems and software-based equipment are just some of the sub-sectors that are growing continually in the field of dentistry.
All products related to cosmetic, aesthetic and restorative dentistry are also growing traditional sectors; the elderly segment in particular is expected to increase the demand in this sector. Among the other requested products there are computerized autoclaves and sterilizing equipment, materials such as composites, alloys, amalgams and cements, intra-oral cameras and screens.