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Survey of Dental Practice Series

The Survey of Dental Practice is a series of annual reports on private dentistry in U.S. Based on a random sample of active, private practitioners, the reports are valuable in gauging the economic health of the profession. All data are collected and analyzed on a national level with regional breakdowns where available.

Reports are available from the 1950's through present. The series includes an annual three-volume core set categorized by year, plus special editions published periodically. Choose from the listing below for descriptions of the individual volumes.

Individual Annual Volumes

  • Income from the Private Practice of Dentistry
    Report analyzes net income and gross billings of independent (owner) dentists by age, years since graduation, hours worked, employment status, and region. Practice expenses are also covered and some analyses of net income for employed dentists. 
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Employment of Dental Practice Personnel
    A very popular report which summarizes private practitioner employment practices. This report presents information by type of dentist, and includes total number of staff and breakdowns by job category; percentages of dentists employing full- and part-time staff; and, average hourly and weekly salaries of dental hygienists and chairside assistants. Every third year, average salary information is provided for all positions.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Characteristics of Dentists in Private Practice and Their Patients
    Provides general characteristics, weekly/yearly hours spent in practice and how practice time is spent. Includes size of practice, age of dentist/year of graduation, census data by region, tables by independent, solo, independent nonsolo, employed dentists, and new graduates and patient populations and characteristics, with average patients-per-dentist by age, gender and dental insurance.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.

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Survey of Dental Practice Special Editions

  • Annual Expenses of Operating a Private Practice
    Provides average annual expenses for dental practices, percentage of gross income for each associated expense, data for categories of dentists such as independent, solo and non-solo, and data for both general practitioners and specialists. Volumes available for 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Dentists' Retirement and Investment
    This report contains information on retirement age and expected source of retirement income. In addition, the report includes statistics on total retirement assets, years spent saving for retirement and dollar amounts saved in various types of investments. Available for 2003.
  • Endodontists in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for endodontists. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1998, 2002, and 2006.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopedists in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedists. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1999, 2002, 2006, and 2010.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Pediatric Dentists in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for pediatric dentists. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1999, 2002, 2006, and 2010.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Periodontists in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for periodontists. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1998, 2002, and 2006.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.
  • Prosthodontists in Private Practice
    Report contains information on net income, gross billings, practice expenses, dentist characteristics, practice characteristics, patient characteristics, and employment of dental practice personnel for prosthodonists. Based on surveys of specialists who were engaged in the private practice of dentistry as a primary occupation and who had been in their current practice for at least one year. Available for 1999, 2002, and 2006.
    Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.

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Survey of Dental Fees

National summary statistics of fees most often charged by dentists. Not a fee schedule. Separate sections for general practitioners and each dental specialty. Reports available from the 1950s through present. Specific dental procedures identified by nomenclature code. Features include procedures grouped by category of dental service, with code number and nomenclature; the average fee for each procedure, with median, mode and standard deviation; percentile breakdown of fees; and number of dentists reporting data for each procedure. Regional fees are updated for general practitioners.

Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.

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Survey of Dental Services Rendered

Provides statistical information on the patients treated by dentists in private practice and national annual estimates on the dental services they received. Information is given for commonly performed procedures by CDT code and by specialty.

Reports available for 1990, 1999, and 2005-06.

Latest edition available as a free download to ADA members.

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Quarterly Survey of Dental Practice Special Topics Series

1997

  • 1st Quarter
    Electronic Claims Submission.
    Data on the frequency of electronic claims submission by private practicing dentists is covered in this report, which also details the cost of submitting claims electronically to various types of processors.

    Credit Card Use. Report examines the acceptance of credit cards for payment of dental services by private practicing dentists. Methods of processing credit card payments and types of cards most commonly used are also discussed.
  • 2nd Quarter
    Medicaid Patients.
    Treatment of Medicaid patients by private practicing dentists is the focus of this report which includes the percentage of dentists treating Medicaid patients, number of Medicaid patients treated, and number of Medicaid patients that were “no shows.” 

    ADA ONLINE Awareness.
    Addresses dentists’ ability to access the Internet and awareness of the ADA’s web site. Frequency of dentists’ access to the web site is also examined. 
      
  • 3rd Quarter
    Treatment and Payment Options.
    Discusses various financial aspects of running a practice such as assessment of interest to outstanding balances and providing fee quotes over the phone.

1996

  • 1st Quarter
    Private Practitioners Report of Tobacco Use by Minor Patients. Report addresses the use of tobacco by minors and private practitioners' cessation-related activities. Data is also included on the number of oral, perioral or pharyngeal lesions in their minor patients that were either biopsied or referred for diagnosis by private practitioners.
  • 2nd Quarter
    Amount of Time Spent by Dentists and Staff in Completing Seven Common Dental Procedures. Provides Data on the Time Spent by Private Practitioners and Staff to Complete Seven Common Dental Procedures. Data from 1989 Are Also Presented for Comparison Purposes.
  • 3rd Quarter
    Practice Management Consultants. Current use of practice management consultants by private practitioners is detailed. An overview of dental practice marketing activities is presented.

    Financial Issues. Various financial issues affecting dental practices are covered including compensation of associate dentists, debt collection policy, and extension of financing to patients. the report also includes data on the average amount of accounts receivable owed to the dental practice as well as an estimation of the amount of revenue generated by new adult and new juvenile patients.

  • 4th Quarter
    Third Party Payers and Dental Practices. Reimbursement to dental practices from third party payers is reviewed in this report. Among topics covered are: length of time for reimbursements to be made by third parties, frequency of fee adjustments by dental practices, and percentage of practices hiring staff to deal exclusively with handling insurance claims.

1995

  • 1st Quarter
    Radiographic Equipment. Presents data on the use and testing of radiographic equipment in dental offices. Includes information on the frequency of use of such equipment as well as its age.
  • 2nd Quarter
    Reimbursement from Third Party Carriers. Compares average fees received from Service Benefit Plans, PPOs, Medicaid, and uninsured patients for 10 commonly performed dental procedures. General trends in dental fees since 1985 are also discussed.
  • 3rd Quarter
    Sterilization Assistants. Describes the prevalence of sterilization assistants in dental practices as well as a description of their duties.
  • 4th Quarter
    Hospital Patient Care by Private Practitioners. Provides data on the percentage and number of private practitioners providing dental care in hospitals. Includes information on the hospital privileges held by private practitioners.

1994

  • 1st Quarter
    Professional Liability Insurance. Reports data on insurance premiums, coverage, risk management seminar attendance, coverage for dental team members and incidence of lawsuits.
  • 2nd Quarter
    Infection Control and Handpiece Sterilization. Presents information on methods of informing patients about infection control, dentists' perceptions of barrier technique effectiveness in preventing transmission of disease, and the prevalence of handpiece sterilization.
  • 3rd Quarter
    Contractual Agreements. Includes current and historical data on dentist and patient participation in various types of managed care plans. Includes dentists' reasons for joining plans, frequency of solicitations for dentists to join. Regional tables highlight dentists participation in capitation, PPO, fee schedule agreement, and straight risk pool plans during third quarter 1994.

    Nitrous Oxide Usage.
    Provides data on the frequency of the use of nitrous oxide in dental practices and the frequency of the testing of nitrous oxide delivery equipment.
  • 4th Quarter
    Computers in the Dental Practice. Describes current and historical trends in how dental offices use computers. Focuses on primary user in dental office, functions performed by computers and the use of modems.

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Member Advantage Survey
Conducted in conjunction with ADA Business Enterprises, the survey was designed to collect information about dentists' knowledge of the ADA Member Advantage program. As part of this survey, dentists were asked about their practice financing, acceptance of credit cards for payment, use of fee recovery firms, and methods used to process their office payroll.

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Dental Profile Survey, Selected Findings, 1996
The survey collected information on family and personal concerns, work-related issues, and practice characteristics of dentists of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. The reports, each of which covers a single racial or ethnic group, includes data on satisfaction with choice of profession, level of difficulty in obtaining credit for their practice, and workload of the responding dentist.

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1990-1997 Procedure Data—Customized Reports
All are individual reports ***specify topic/procedure(s) on order form.

  • General Procedures
    • Clinical oral examinations (00120-00160)          
    • Dental prophylaxis (01110-01120)
    • Sealants, per tooth (01351)
    • Radiographs (00210-00340)
  • Extractions (per tooth)
    • Simple (07110-07130)          
    • Surgical (07210-07250)
  • Restorations (per tooth)
    • Anterior resin (02330-02336)          
    • Posterior resin (02380-02387)          
    • Permanent crowns (02710-02810)          
    • Labial veneer (02960-02962)
  • Other Procedures
    • Three unit bridges (06210-06252)          
    • Complete denture – upper or lower (05110-05140)          
    • Partial denture (05211-05281)          
    • Root canal therapy (03310-03350)          
    • Periodontal procedures (04000-04999)          
    • Implants (06000-06199)          
    • Orthodontic procedures (08000-08999)
  • Miscellaneous (per application)
    • Topical anesthetics (09910)
    • Local anesthetics (09210, 09215)
    • Topical fluoride treatment (01201-01205)

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