Baby Boomers Eating Up Cosmetic Dentistry

June 29, 2007

In a column published in Dental Economics, Dr. Craig Cooper analyzes the affect of baby boomer consumers on implant dentistry. He attributes the growth of the implant dentistry industry to baby boomers discretionary spending: “Folks who prefer driving BMWs to Fords want the best when it comes to dental care … and many are willing to dig deep in their pockets to pay for it.”

Sadly, some of Cooper’s general assertions are incorrect.

  • “By 2017, many of the baby boomers will have died.” In 2017, the oldest baby boomer will be 71-years-old and the youngest will be a mere 53. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, average U.S. life expectancy is at an all-time high of 77.6 years. Something in Cooper’s math isn’t adding up. Even if there was “only” 10 years of heavy demand for implants, what practice would want to ignore that?
  • “It will be impossible to replace their business due to the size of this population group and its high per-capita wealth….Also, this group and subsequent generations might not be able to spend as lavishly as the baby boomers did.” Marketing to baby boomers is not about questioning the future wealth of the younger generations. (According to a study on Echo Boomers, born between 1979 and 1989, there will be little difference in how they spend discretionary income.) Properly crafted messages can appeal to both the old (primary) and young (secondary), packing quite the one-two punch. It’s also important to remember that many boomers are still paying for the dental care of their now adult or almost adult children.

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