The Asia Pacific market for digital dentistry is changing.

Search Dental Tribune

Asia Pacific’s digital dentistry market evolves through innovation and collaboration. (Image: Sergey Ryhov/Shutterstock)

Thu. 18. April 2024


In the 1980s, Dr François Duret pioneered the integration of CAD/CAM technology into dentistry, introducing the revolutionary CEREC system. This marked the beginning of a transformative journey in the dental industry. The first 3D printers for dental applications appeared in the early 2000s, expanding the capabilities of CAD/CAM to support the precise and efficient production of dental components. Today, the dental industry thrives on continuous innovation in CAD/CAM technologies, offering unprecedented possibilities and transforming market dynamics.

The Asia Pacific region’s adoption of CAD/CAM technology in dentistry follows a trend similar to that of more developed countries. What sets the Asia Pacific market apart, and underscores its significance, is the sheer number of people impacted by these technological changes. Japan and South Korea emerged as pioneers in incorporating CAD/CAM systems into dental practices, having a strong focus on precision and technological advancements.

“The digital dentistry market for the Asia Pacific region is expected to experience significant growth by 2030.”

Japan, in particular, played a crucial role in refining CAD/CAM applications for dental prostheses, and the rapid growth of technology hubs in countries such as China has contributed to the proliferation of 3D-printing applications. The collaborative efforts between academic institutions, dental practitioners and technology developers in Asia Pacific have fostered a dynamic environment, driving the evolution of CAD/CAM technologies, including 3D printing. The digital dentistry market for the Asia Pacific region is expected to experience significant growth by 2030 (shown in the figure).

Ageing population and culture

In the Asia Pacific region, an average of 17% of the population is aged 65 and above. This, coupled with an increasing focus on oral well-being, has driven a significant demand for advanced dental solutions. For example, in Japan, while overall dental expenditure rose from ¥1.96 trillion in 1984 to ¥3.00 trillion in 2020, spending on dental care for older individuals escalated from ¥185.00 billion to ¥1.18 trillion overall and from ¥15,500 to ¥32,800 per capita.1

In many Asia Pacific societies, there is a strong cultural emphasis on aesthetics and personalised healthcare solutions. This is particularly evident in South Korea and Japan, where the adoption of digital dentistry seamlessly aligns with cultural preferences for natural-looking treatment results, fostering acceptance and growth of these technologies in these markets.2

Value of the Asia Pacific digital dentistry market in 2020–2030: A visual journey through the growth of the markets in Australia, China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Value of the Asia Pacific digital dentistry market in 2020–2030: A visual journey through the growth of the markets in Australia, China, Japan, India and South Korea.

Education, research and government support

Asia Pacific’s commitment to education and research, particularly in Japan and South Korea, has played a pivotal role in the growth of digital dentistry. Leading dental institutions are driving the development and dissemination of knowledge related to applications of CAD/CAM subtractive and additive technologies, ensuring dental professionals are able to adopt these technologies successfully in their practices.

Government healthcare policies and initiatives in certain Asia Pacific countries have also contributed significantly to advancing digital dentistry, for example by expanding dental coverage; however, there is variability in this regard across the region.3 India, for instance, does not have robust nationwide coverage for elective dental procedures.

Technological innovations and industry collaboration

In various Asia Pacific countries, a synergy between dental laboratories and dental practices is driving technological advancements in digital dentistry, seeking to enhance the quality of dental prostheses fabricated using 3D-printing technologies. Technological innovations, especially in China, are driving international market supply through substantial exports of advanced CAD/CAM materials and 3D printers. Together, these efforts, by leading to improved products and enhanced patient outcomes, have positioned Asia Pacific at the forefront of global dental technology markets and are boosting the value of the Asia Pacific dental prosthesis and 3D-printing printer markets.4

“Asia Pacific’s commitment to education and research, [...], has played a pivotal role in the growth of digital dentistry.”

Challenges and prospects

While the digital dentistry market in Asia Pacific is experiencing notable growth, a range of often interconnected factors are constraining its expansion, particularly regarding adoption of advanced digital dentistry procedures and prostheses. These include economic considerations and technological nuances.5 In certain Asia Pacific countries, patients’ limited purchasing power may restrict access. Furthermore, although competitive pricing is a normal part of market dynamics, aggressive pricing strategies, especially in tender processes—a significant aspect of China’s market dynamics—may lead to compromised product quality and may hinder the growth of competitors.

Cost pressures and the scarcity of well-educated, skilled technicians contribute to compromises in the quality of the manufactured prosthetics can affect the effectiveness and longevity of dental prosthetics. Such compromises can undermine the effectiveness and durability of these prosthetics, resulting in less-than-optimal patient outcomes. This situation not only affects patient satisfaction but also challenges the integrity and perceived value of digital dentistry solutions in the region.

To elevate the digital dentistry sector in the Asia Pacific, a two-pronged strategy is essential: first, enhance the educational framework for technicians by extending program lengths and enriching curricula with comprehensive, up-to-date content to ensure a highly skilled workforce. Second, align the quality standards for dental materials with those of European and American markets (EMA and FDA) through adoption and enforcement of quality and safety standards. This dual approach, supported by collaboration among educational institutions, industry stakeholders, and regulatory bodies, will significantly improve the quality, effectiveness and trust in digital dentistry solutions, setting the Asia Pacific on a path to significant improvements in dental care quality and innovation.6


In the Asia Pacific, the integration of CAD/CAM technology and 3D printing into dentistry marks a significant leap forward, positioning the region as a pivotal player in the global dental industry. Spearheaded by countries like Japan’s and South Korea’s in CAD/CAM, along with China’s rapid growth in 3D printing in particular, position the region as a unique hub for technological advancements. Despite the rapid advancements and potential for substantial market growth, the sector faces hurdles including economic barriers, the need for improved educational standards for technicians and aligning material quality with international norms. Addressing these challenges through strategic collaboration among industry players, educational institutions and regulatory bodies is crucial for leveraging digital dentistry’s full potential in the Asia Pacific.

Editorial note:

This article was published in today IDEM Singapore 2024.

About iData Research

For 19 years, iData Research has been a strong advocate for data-driven decision-making within the global medical device, dental and pharmaceutical industries. In providing custom research and consulting solutions, iData empowers its clients to make important strategic decisions with confidence based on reliable data.


  1. Sato Y, Fukai K, Kunori Y, Yoshioka E, Saijo Y. Trends in dental expenditures in Japan with a universal health insurance system. PLoS One. 2023 Oct 5;18(10):e0292547. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0292547.
  2. Hamid NF, Zulkefle NJ, Ariff TF, Ab Ghani Z, Ahmad R. Computer aided design / computer aided manufacturing (CAD / CAM) post and core—a review. J Evol Med Dent Sci. 2021 Sep 6;10(36):3143–51. doi: 10.14260/jemds/2021/640.
  3. Rahman MM, Karan A, Rahman MS, Parsons A, Abe SK, Bilano V, Awan R, Gilmour S, Shibuya K. Progress toward universal health coverage: a comparative analysis in 5 South Asian countries. JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Sep 1;177(9):1297–305. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3133.
  4. Raghavan A, Demircioglu MA, Taeihagh A. Public health innovation through cloud adoption: a comparative analysis of drivers and barriers in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 5;18(1):334. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18010334.
  5. Van der Wal Z, Demircioglu MA. Public sector innovation in the Asia‐pacific trends, challenges, and opportunities. Aust J Public Adm. 2020 Sep;79(3):271–8. doi: 10.1111/1467-8500.12435.
  6. Chin T, Hu Q, Rowley C, Wang S. Business models in the Asia-Pacific: dynamic balancing of multiple cultures, innovation and value creation. Asia Pac Bus Rev. 2021;27(3):331–41. doi: 10.1080/13602381.2021.1911402.
To post a reply please login or register