The dental care market

Explore ADA Health Policy Institute findings on dental care utilization and expenditures across the U.S.
U.S. dental expenditures up in 2021

National dental spending was higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2021. See data breakdowns by payer type.

U.S. dental spending or expenditures 2021 infographic American Dental Association Health Policy Institute

Dental market FAQs

How often do people visit a dentist?

As of 2021, 43.3% of the U.S. population had a dental visit in the past 12 months. Among children ages 0-18 and seniors age 65 and older,  50.0% had a dental visit. For working-age adults ages 19-64, 38.7% had a dental visit. 

Among children, disparities in dental care use have been narrowing over time among income and racial/ethnic groups and between the privately and publicly insured. Among adults and seniors, disparities remain.


Why do people avoid visiting the dentist?

Top reasons adults cite for avoiding the dentist include cost, fear of the dentist, and inability to find a convenient location or appointment time.

However, when adults are categorized by age, household income, and health insurance status, the top three reasons for not visiting a dentist vary.

Source: Oral health and well-being in the United States (HPI State Fact Sheets).

How much does the U.S. population spend on dental care?

In 2021, national dental care expenditures amounted to $162 billion, up 11% from 2020 (adjusted for inflation). Private health insurance spending accounted for most of the expenditures in 2021, followed by out-of-pocket spending.

Source: U.S. dental spending up in 2021 (HPI Infographic).

Where can I get the ADA’s fee schedule?

The ADA cannot quote fees for dental procedures and is forbidden by federal law to set or recommend fees. The ADA Survey of Dental Fees report contains data from a nationwide random sample of dentists who were asked to record the fees most often charged for different dental procedures. The report provides information on what dentists who completed the survey typically charge, but these are NOT "recommended" fees from the ADA or an ADA standard for fees.

Related item: 2022 Survey of Dental Fees, available as a free download to ADA members.

How often are particular dental procedures performed?

For historic trends on dental utilization by procedure type, see HPI's annual dental industry report, which is available for purchase.