The Future of Dentistry

What does the future of dentistry look like? Dental students share their predictions of what lies ahead

Let’s spend some time speculating about what the future’s likely to hold for dental professionals.

According to 2017 Eurostat’s data, the two countries in the EU with the most practicing dentists are Germany and Italy. We’ve asked some recent dentistry graduates from these two countries to tell us what expectations they have of their future profession. 

Our aim is to encourage and deepen debate between students of different universities and professionals in order to highlight these themes and gain a better understanding of what our future will actually be.

Curaden cares about students

What lies ahead for dentistry? And how does the youngest generation of dentists feel about their profession?

We like to talk to dentistry students and young professionals to find out more about the future of dentistry. At Curaden, we know that highly educated dental students means a future of great coaching, lifelong tooth preservation and improved overall health for all patients. It’s part of our mission to support the next generations of dental professionals with a series of year-round international student events across the globe.

We approached sixteen students from universities in Germany and Italy and asked them one question: How do you envision the future of dentistry in ten years?

Giulia Nitsch, University of Foggia

“I anticipate increasing specialization, where there will no longer be just one dentist taking care of all aspects. Rather, he or she will invite the patient to address another colleague who is more specialized on a specific subject. This will happen thanks to better availability and collaboration, as well as through a more structured network.”

Alexander Frenzel, University of Hamburg

“As I see it, there’s a shift in dentistry already. People are keeping their own teeth longer, and they want to keep them, so the focus is turning from therapy to prevention. I think that the future of dentistry will be mostly about prevention and about working in an interdisciplinary way. I guess there are many disciplines in medicine that will increasingly be asked to work together in the future.”

“The future of dentistry will be mostly about prevention and about working in an interdisciplinary way.”

Margherita Minoli, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan

“I believe, within ten years, dentistry will have wider recognition, both at the academical level and among people who are giving more and more weight to prevention and to their oral hygiene; they are more aware of its importance for keeping the whole body healthy. Thanks to this broader debate, I expect that there will also be more knowledge and information to share, not only in Italy but at a global level, too.”

Lena Otto, University of Hamburg

“Most people don’t realize that complete health is affected by teeth and oral health. And when your mouth is unhealthy, it can influence other diseases like diabetes; it can impact pregnancy or can even cause a miscarriage. I hope there will be more support to help the public maintain a better focus on dental health in relation to the health of the whole body. So dentists and their treatments will no longer be considered as separate from the rest of healthcare to such an extent. ”

Matteo Cafasso, University of Naples Federico II

“There will be a lot of improvements in the future, especially thanks to new technologies. Today we talk about augmented reality visors, so I imagine that there will be many new discoveries in future which could help professionals in this sector.”

Dominik Fildebrandt, University of Hamburg

“It’s a hot topic now. In my opinion periodontal problems will increase in the future. I still think that there will also be a lot of prosthetics work to do, because people will lose their teeth more often due to periodontal problems, not because of their caries.”

Alessandra Sassi, University of Pavia

“In ten years, I hope there will be more collaboration, not only between dentists, but also between doctors from different branches of medicine, in order to create a network and a better service for patients.”

“In ten years, I hope there will be more collaboration, not only between dentists, but also between doctors from different branches of medicine.”

Francesco Fanelli, University of Foggia

“There will certainly be an evolution in the profession – especially from the technological point of view – and I am sure that this will be a great help for scientific research also. Today, for example, we are already hearing of advances in the field of digital prints and, for this reason, I see a very interactive, smart and connected future, both between professionals and patients.”

Mattia Dalla Pozza, University of Trieste

“I expect that there will be a lot of technological innovation, especially regarding images and 3D printers. I am just attending the third year, but I have already been able to see a lot of potential in terms of digitalization in this job, advances that I believe could make several tasks easier and more stimulating.”

Giuseppe Scelza, University of Salerno

“Dentistry is a constantly evolving subject. It is fundamental to always stay up to date, because what’s written in books and manuals is not enough. In the future, there will be increasing specialization. In fact, we moved from a general dental practice course to several specialized ones (e.g. orthodontics and oral surgery).

“In addition, another change will affect new technologies which, through the implementation of new software, already allows us to do things today that 10 years ago were unimaginable.”

Simon Chmiel, University of Hamburg

“The future of dentistry is a mixture of prophylaxis and prosthetic dentistry. Both will be important in the future. Caries won’t be such a great problem anymore.”

Marco Farronato, University of Milan

“The advent of digital dentistry is introducing a gust of innovation and freshness to modern technologies. I think that new generations are motivated to experiment on the digital flow as the use of Augmented Reality, to establish new standards and to define our role in a new way.”

“New generations are motivated to create something new, to establish new standards and to define our role in a new way.”

Klara Plath, University of Hamburg

“I honestly believe that people will keep their natural teeth in their mouths for a very long time. Caries are not such a problem anymore; we should focus more on what happens when people keep their teeth in their mouths for longer as they get older. In that case, periodontitis will become a much bigger problem. Also, people don’t want to have prostheses, so maybe implants and restorations will be requested more often.” 

“And another key topic that comes to my mind is aesthetics. Because younger people are influenced by the world of social media, they care more about their appearance and will long for white and beautiful teeth more than previous generations.”

Sara Parato, University of Pavia

“I think that, in the future, dentistry will consist more of shared surgeries, where several dentists specialized in different fields – from surgery to orthodontics – will work together. Specialization will be a key element in this job. Of course, techniques and machines will evolve over time, but I am sure that the role of the dentist will not be replaceable.”

Niccolò Armogida, University of Naples Federico II

“Nowadays, patients are more informed and have more resources available than in the past for evaluating the roles of various professionals. For these reasons, specialization will become the keystone of dentistry. We students don’t like to be referred to generically as ‘dentists’; we would prefer to be identified by our area of specialization. I think there will also be several innovations from the technological point of view – just think about scanners and lasers, which will revolutionize this sector.”

“We students don’t like to be referred to generically as ‘dentists’; we would prefer to be identified by our area of specialization.”

Christopher Davies, University of Hamburg

“Digitalization will also take place in dentistry. I hope that bureaucracy will decline a bit. Maybe through the new technologies, we will be able to collect data faster. 

“I would say that the treatment of periodontitis will have a much greater impact in the future, and this disease will draw a deeper focus than it has in the past. So I think that the future of dentistry, in general, lies in the treatment of periodontitis.”

Photography by Welin Nagyová