Disability Statistics

Many of us think that it just won’t happen to us, but because of the physical nature of the practice of dentistry or your dental specialty, the risk is very real. Disability Statistics for Dentists to consider:

Just look at the facts:

  • Just over 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire.*
  • Over 37 million Americans are classified as disabled; about 12% of the total population. More than 50% of those disabled Americans are in their working years, from 18-64**
  • More than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach the normal retirement age.***

Common Causes of Disability:****

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, the following are the leading causes of new disability claims:

  • Musculoskeletal/connective tissue disorders caused 29% of new claims.
  • Cancer was the 2nd leading cause of new disability claims at 15%
  • Injuries such as fractures, sprains and strains of muscles and ligaments at 9%
  • Cardiovascular/circulatory disorders caused 8.2% of new claims
  • Mental disorders caused 9.1% of new claims.
  • Approximately 90% of disabilities are caused by illnesses rather than accidents.

* This category includes claims caused by neck and back pain; joint, muscle and tendon disorders; foot, ankle and hand disorders, etc.

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Sources for Statistics

*Social Security Administration, Fact Sheet (https://www.ssa.gov/disability/Documents/Factsheet-AD.pdf)

**U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 2011

***Social Security Administration, Disability and Death Probability Tables for Insured Workers Born in 1997, Table A.

****Integrated Benefits Institute, Health and Productivity Benchmarking 2016 (released November 2017), Long-Term Disability, All Employers. Condition-specific results.