In 2017, there were an estimated 1.2 million family dentist practices in the United States, according to the Association of American Dental Associations (AADAA).
While that number is higher than the previous year, the majority of these practices are small to mid-sized operations, according a new report by the National Association of Family Dentists (NAFD).
Although the vast majority of family dentist practitioners are affiliated with one or two families, they still account for the majority (53%) of dental practices in this country.
That number also is up from 20% in 2015.
A small handful of large and mid-size dentists, however, account for more than half of the family dental practices.
The report also found that family dentist practice ranks as the most common type of dental practice in the U.S. by age, with more than 80% of Americans under the age of 30 using a family practice.
As you can imagine, family dentists are more likely to be practicing in the most populated parts of the country.
While the majority are in urban areas, the report also shows that some of the biggest areas of growth for family dentistry in the last decade have been in rural areas.
The U.K., for example, is home to about one-third of all family dentist residents, with a total of 8.6 million.
In the United Kingdom, the number of dentists is expected to grow by nearly half over the next decade, according the AADAA, with the number expected to increase by a whopping 20% over the same period.
Other factors driving the growth of family dentys are the increasing number of dental procedures and increased demand for specialized services, said NAFD Executive Director John Hirsch.
Hirsch said that the increasing demand for specialty services is driving some of these growth.
Harsher standards and greater transparency from practitioners are also helping, as well as increased competition in the industry, he said.
For example, the NAFD report shows that the number and number of specialty dental procedures has increased in the past decade.
However, that growth is not as large as it once was in some regions, including California, the District of Columbia and New York.
The NAFD also found a decrease in the number, size and practice types of specialty procedures in 2016.
While some of that was due to fewer specialty procedures, it was also due to a decrease of dental schools and the number that practice in more rural areas, according Hirsch, who said the trend could continue.
While most of the changes in specialty procedures were due to the increased demand from patients, there is still a large number of patients that do not want to receive specialized treatment, said Hirsch who also added that more patients are opting to get preventive care at home instead.
Hines, the family dentist who runs the family practice in Middletown, said that he is also seeing an increase in his patients who are older, who are younger, and those who are from lower income families.
He said he is seeing a decrease from the age group 30-44 years old.
While he expects to see a decrease across the board, he is still seeing a higher number of those patients who need to have an appointment at home and a higher percentage of those with dental issues.
While a lot of the patients that need to be seen by a family physician are younger than 40 years old, the average age for a patient who is a member of a low income family is about 46 years old and for those with lower incomes, it is about 43.
Hins also noted that some patients do not have insurance or Medicaid.
While Hines said he has seen a lot more patients in the age range of 60-74 years old in the first few years of his practice, he has also seen a decrease over time.
Hens is also optimistic that the quality of care will continue to improve over time as the number continues to increase.
He noted that the more people who are seeing their families, the more the practice will need to increase their services.
He believes that it is important for patients to have a positive experience with the dental care they are getting.
For Hins, the positive experience of dental care is not limited to the patient.
It can be for family members who are working in their community, and it can also be for patients who have been through some difficult times in their lives.
Hys experience at Hines family practice is also something he shares with his patients.
“I try to be honest with them,” he said, “and I try to say things that they can take home with them that are positive and meaningful.”
For the most part, Hines hopes to see the quality improve over the long term, but he also said that there are many areas where he hopes to improve.
He is also encouraging patients to contact his practice so that he can continue to expand his practice.
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