On The Horizon

On The Horizon

On The Horizon

What Do Leading Dental Professionals Forecast for 2021?

January 2021

Lee Ann Brady
Lee Ann Brady

DMD, Private Practice and President and Chief Executive Officer & Director of Education, The Pankey Insitute


"It is difficult to look out into 2021 and predict what changes I think will affect dentistry. The challenge is the immense changes we experienced in 2020, and the uncertainty that still envelopes us all. When I do think out to more certain times, I imagine that we will see the result of pent-up demand for education, technology, and innovation. I also believe that the development of a more whole systems health mindset and the integration of medicine and dentistry will accelerate over the next few years."

Sabiha S. Bunek
Sabiha S. Bunek

DDS, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, Dental Advisor


"The pandemic forced us to take a hard look at the way we practice dentistry and the best way to mitigate potential cross-contamination and infection of our patients and teams. Until the vaccine is widely distributed and we see cases decline, operations will have to continue to be streamlined, using new and existing technology wherever possible to be as efficient as possible. And all that means we need to step-up proper evaluation of new products and techniques—warp speed is good, but warp speed with proper evaluation and research is what will move us ahead in 2021."

Gordon J. Christensen
Gordon J. Christensen

DDS, MSD, PhD, CEO Clinicians Report Foundation and Practical Clinical Courses


"COVID-19 is still very active in some parts of the USA. However, recovery is coming in the next several months! Most health practitioners will be vaccinated soon allowing a cautious return to more live interaction. Dentistry is already recovering from the pandemic very well, and dental professionals have not caused the anticipated transfer of COVID as some predicted. CE is returning to LIVE, but some virtual courses will continue to be provided post-COVID. The majority of patients continue to be pleased to return to their regular essential oral care practitioners. Manufacturers, distributors, and laboratories are back in business and getting closer to normal activity. The COVID disaster is showing signs of dying—BUT continue to use every known precaution!"

Rella Christensen
Rella Christensen

PhD, Director, TRAC Research


"2021 brings several important changes to dentistry. Attention to AIR PURIFICATION will continue to be an important change we will see, not only in dentistry, but in hospitals and assisted living centers, restaurants, bars, cruise ships, hotel rooms, theaters, school rooms, day care centers, etc. Also, I believe a significant change in 2021 will be the incorporation of ANTI-MICROBIAL RESIN-BASED COMPOSITES into a practices' armamentarium, providing a long-needed therapeutic esthetic restorative solution!"

Yooson E. Kim
Yooson E. Kim

DMD, Family Dentistry Group


"2021 is a great year to reorganize, reinvent, and grow in Dentistry. The 2020 Pandemic has moved and motivated our profession to recognize the opportunities to renew our commitment as essential medical community members to provide comprehensive oral health care by taking full advantage of innovative technology integration. Robust software platforms, digital flow in patient care including all tissue lasers, digital acquisition of data with IO scanners, sensors, extraoral imaging units, 3D printing and milling of restorative cases onsite to provide efficiency and quality must be in the standard of care in dentistry moving forward."

Jonathan Ng
Jonathan Ng

BMedSc, DDS, Dip. Pros. Prosthodontist


"The coming 12 months in dentistry will really see a major shift in the way clinicians address the changes the pandemic has caused as digital technology in digital impressions and digital design is allowing for greater leaps in what can be provided in a shorter amount of time. 3D printing has come to the forefront and is providing offices with greater control of various steps of patient care. We have already seen the introduction of digital technology in the years before, but this coming year will give us advances in efficiency and accuracy of the technologies that already exist, making patient care better."

Rico D. Short
Rico D. Short

DMD, BCE, FICD, Microsurgical Root Canal Specialist


"We are in an unprecedented time as dental clinicians. Yes, we are in a global pandemic and yes, we are challenged with diversity/inclusion issues in America. However, where there is challenge there is also the potential for change. This is where our true heart beats for unity and innovation. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to give vaccines as dentists to help combat flu and Covid-19 in the future. In addition, we can utilize technology to have a real 4D hands-on/online CE course to teach dentistry around the globe. Let's utilize research and technology to create a better society."

Sherry Stevens (Gutiérrez)
Sherry Stevens (Gutiérrez)

DDS, Tulsa, Oklahoma


"The last year has provided us and our patients with a lot of time for reflection and a hard reality check. I think that for many of us, the luxuries we realize we used to take for granted, things like being able to smile and shake a new patient's hand, a hug after helping a patient transform their oral health, meeting in person for education and socializing amongst peers, will highly motivate us to get back to doing those things as conditions allow. For some of us, the potential roles and advantages of technology, both as a means of communicating with patients and peers as well as a means of providing efficient, comprehensive care for patients, have become much more readily apparent thanks to the pandemic. I expect as we return to "normal" that many of these changes and insights will accelerate the adoption and use of these tools. Hopefully the challenges we've faced and the lessons we've learned will allow us to connect in a more meaningful way with each other and our patients, and translate into what matters most: better outcomes for our patients."

David H. Wong
David H. Wong

DDS, Periodontist, Private Practice, Tulsa, Oklahoma


"Looking out over the next 12 months, the biggest changes I see happening in the oral health profession is the continued focus on safety and technology. With COVID-19 still maintaining a presence, dentists like myself will continue to be challenged to provide a safe environment for our staff and patients. Technology is also quickly being adopted and utilized to provide maximum patient care. This can be seen in telecommunications, diagnostics/imaging, and of course, digital dentistry. Although negative in many ways, the pandemic has given many of us a common enemy to rally against, and we're feeling empathy and caring for one another despite the chaos around us."