When I was first in practice--very late 80s and early 90s--I noticed that not many new patients in the age range of 25 to 34 came in healthy. What I mean is, if some physical or esthetic pain occurred, sure, they'd have to come to the dentist. We didn't see too many dentally healthy patients in that age range who were primarily interested in maintaining their health, however. I'd spin theories about how they were in their own sort of "donut hole" when it came to health care costs. Trapped in a decade-long bubble when they were off their parent's medical and dental benefits, but perceived, at least, that they had not the income nor the benefits of their own to support things like dental visits.
Of course, these folks were making two significant miscalculations. First of all, many of them were jetting off to Europe or the Caribbean pretty regularly, or buying luxury automobiles, or sending some significant lettuce off to guys with names like Louis Vuitton, Roy Halston and Mario Prada. Also, they didn't grasp that prevention always costs less than treatment, especially in dentistry.
Ah, salad days.
But now? Oh myyy. Have a look at this bar graph of new patient demographics in our office for the past six months:
Fully 45% of our new patients are age 25 to 34!!!
As I meet and get to know these folks, I realize that these are young people who are making sound decisions in many aspects of their lives. They just "get it." And maintaining their dental health is one part of what they do.
I know, I know--I'm just seeing a tiny slice of American life. All I can say is that in our practice, in an Eastern urban environment with great cultural diversity, this is what we see.
Doesn't matter. I'm proud of my younger patients and of the sound decisions they are making. We're going to strive to prevent them ever suffering physical and esthetic pain from their teeth, and we're going to have a much easier time helping them keep their teeth for a lifetime than we have with any other generation.
Because they started off well.
More on prevention here: