It looks like more people are taking care of their pearly whites, according to recent findings. The American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute reported that more than a third of dentists experienced an increase in patient volume in 2017 compared to 2016.

But if you’re a patient, you may wait a little longer to be seen. HPI also found that the average wait times for appointments are trending in the same direction, increasing from 4.5 days in 2012 to 5.4 days in 2017 for patients of record and from 5.3 days to 7 for new patients. This is likely a sign that dental offices are seeing a larger volume of patients.

"The last few years have seen an uptick in dental care use among certain segments of the population, namely low-income adults in Medicaid expansion states where Medicaid provides adult dental benefits as well as among high-income seniors," explained Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., ADA chief economist and vice president of the Health Policy Institute.

The information can be found in an HPI infographic that uses results from the ADA Health Policy Institute's annual Survey of Dental Practice.

Other key findings include:

Dentists’ average net income has not recovered to pre-recession levels but the past three years have seen increases for general practitioners. Average annual net income for a general practitioner in private practice in 2017 was reported as around $197,000. For a specialist; around $320,000.

As should be expected, the percentage of private practice dentists reporting they are "not busy enough" has declined — down from a high of 38 percent in 2011 to 24.4 percent in 2017.

The Health Policy Institute (HPI) aims to be a thought leader and trusted source for critical policy knowledge related to the U.S. dental care system. HPI achieves this by generating, synthesizing, and disseminating innovative research on a variety of topics that are relevant to policy makers, health care advocates, and providers.

The key issues that HPI focuses on include health policy reform, access to dental care, the dental workforce, dental care utilization and benefits, dental education, and oral health outcomes.

For more information about the ADA Health Policy Institute, visit