A MegaTrend for Aging Bodies

By: December 15, 2022

Advances in Dentistry

Given the many recent advances in dentistry, the chances of you having usable teeth, even well into your 90s (if you live that long), is higher than ever. In some cases, you may not even need to leave your house to achieve this.

The pandemic motivated many dentists to develop tele-visits, so you can get your teeth examined for cavities without leaving your house. Tele-visits make frequent examinations more cost effective, so catching a cavity before it gets big and painful is more likely.

For those times when you actually do visit your dentist’s office, the ability to accurately interpret the X-rays radiographs has also improved thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

Right now, huge databases are being built that show what real cavities look like in these radiographs. Powerful computer learning algorithms are being trained to identify cavities. Properly trained AI together with good dentists will make the tiniest beginning of cavities on radiographs near impossible to overlook in the future.

The use of AI to detect cavities. (Source: nature.com)

Even for those occasions when it’s too late and a tooth needs to be removed and replaced, the ability to get a natural looking tooth that looks like the original has never been better. Today, dentists can use laser scans to create an exact virtual replica of your lost tooth. Then, using high resolution 3-D printers and specially developed and colored ceramics or resins, they can print a very convincing replica of your tooth.

Virtual Model of someone’s lower teeth. (Source: youngfamilydental.com)
3D printing of tooth implants and virtual model. (Source: blueridgedental.com)

Perhaps the most exciting advance ahead in this area is regenerative dentistry.  Research groups at Harvard University and Nottingham University in the UK are working on dental fillings that incorporate stem cells. These cells are able to produce dentin, which is the main constituent in teeth. By using such filler, teeth will essentially be able to heal themselves in the case of disease, decay, or impacts.

Advances in Hip and Knee Replacement

In the US, the total number of partial hip replacements in 2022 was about 1 million. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) expects this number to grow to 3.5 million by 2030. Similarly in 2022, there were about half a million total hip replacements, and the AAOS is expecting this to grow to over a million by 2030.

Artificial knee prosthesis. (Source: medacta.com)

That’s a lot of growth and a good investment opportunity if you have a long-term mentality.

The technology for knee and hip replacement is advancing rapidly as well. Personalization is the most prominent area of advancement. Orthopedists are using CAT scan data to build virtual models of a patient’s body and then designing the hardware for the knee and hip replacement to best work for each individual patient. The results are better reliability and larger range of motion.

To further maximize the chances for high reliability and an increased range of motion, orthopedic surgeons are beginning to use robot assisted processes that use the virtual patient model to best drill and prepare the bones to accept the prosthetic hardware.

So again, joint failure will not be the limiting factor determining to what age people can properly function.

The MegaTrend

The worldwide dentistry industry was worth about $433 billion, and it is expected to grow to about $610 billion in 2030. The global, total knee and hip joint replacement was about $19 billion in 2022 and is forecast to grow to $28 billion by 2028.

Given the trajectory for the increase in average age of people in this world, and the mostly understood failure rate for teeth and leg joints, these numbers are well supported. By investing in companies that dominate these sectors, it’s a great chance to cash in on this MegaTrend.

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