An Overview of Australia’s Dental Industry
The Australian dental industry supplies equipment, product and services to dentists and allied oral healthcare professionals employed both in private practice and with government healthcare providers. In a broad sense, the dental industry is defined as companies that supply:
- Dental equipment and consumables;
- Consulting, legal and regulatory affairs services;
- Software used in dental surgeries and laboratories; and
- Dental surgery and laboratory design and fit-out services.
Research undertaken by the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) indicates that there are approximately 11,600 practicing dentists in Australia, a number consistent with data published by the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare (AIHW). The number of dentists registered with the Australian Dental Board (ADB) varies as the Board’s data also includes a number of Dentists who are primarily employed in administration, education and research.
It is estimated that Australian dental companies import 97% of equipment and consumables with the remaining 3% being manufactured in Australia by less than a dozen companies. Some of these manufacturers successfully export products such as amalgam, composites, autoclaves (i.e. bench top sterilizers) and equipment.
Data available to ADIA indicates that the sale of equipment, product and services is approximately $800 million per year which does not include over-the-counter (OTC) retail sales to the general public of toothpaste, toothbrushes and other consumer dental products.
The distribution of supplies to dentists and oral healthcare professionals in Australia is highly regulated with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) being the responsible regulator for medical devices, therapeutic goods and medicines. ADIA plays a lead role in assisting member companies understand and comply with regulation in this area.