Dental services increased 1.9% in June, the largest monthly change for those services "ever recorded" since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking such numbers in 1995.
The increase in dental services is just another component of rising inflation which has affected the pricing of everything from gas and food to cars, medical care and clothing.
Prices in June were up 9.1% from a year ago making it the largest 12-month increase since 1981, according to the consumer price index, which measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services. Medical services were up 0.7% in June, with all medical care component indexes increasing over the month and the hospital services and prescription drug indexes also increased.
"Eight out of 10 dentists reported issuing pay raises for their dental hygienists and dental assistants within the past year, which is reflective of a competitive job market across many industries, including health care," said ADA President Cesar R. Sabates, D.D.S. "This is one of many factors driving inflation in the dental care sector."
The economy is also a one of the chief concerns of ADA dentists, according to ADA Health Policy Institute research.
Earlier this year, HPI asked dentists about the most challenging issues facing their practices and 35% said inflation and rising costs were their most significant concerns alongside continuing staffing challenges in the wake of COVID-19. A poll in November 2021 showed that personal protective equipment has drastically increased in price with more than half of dentists polled indicated that the price of surgical masks had at least doubled, and nearly 50% indicated gloves had at least tripled in price.
"The U.S. economy is being hit with a double whammy of lingering supply chain issues and an extremely tight labor market. Dentistry is caught up in this, as is the health care sector overall," said Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., HPI chief economist and vice president.
Each month, the ADA Health Policy Institute conducts a poll of U.S. dentists to measure the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to gather their opinions on other current and emerging issues impacting their practices. The poll, Economic Outlook and Emerging Issues in Dentistry, is a continuation and expansion of research HPI conducted between the onset of the pandemic and December 2021.
To join the panel, read the full monthly reports or view the new interactive state dashboard, visit ADA.org/HPIpoll.