IDS 2023 in Cologne
A recap by Christoph Lauer

The International Dental Show (IDS) drew the entire industry to the wonderful city of Cologne from March 14th – 18th, 2023 for its 100th birthday and 40th anniversary. 120,000 trade visitors from 162 countries stayed on a total of 180,000 square meters and obtained information on industry topics from 1,788 exhibiting companies from 60 countries. With a degree of internationality of 60%, the International Dental Show lives up to its name. The visitor quality was also very high. 80% of the visitors stated that they were decision-makers or involved in decisions in the company. *

But enough with the numbers. Let's turn to the topics on site:

After the "IDS-light" in autumn 2021, which was still shaped by the corona pandemic, it was nice again this year to experience a trade fair without any restrictions - that was noticeable to all exhibitors. In this way, the IDS was once again able to demonstrate its qualities as a facilitator for exchange and a maker of visibility for brands that want to (re)position themselves. In terms of real innovations or even "revolutions", as manufacturers like to call them, this IDS was not the strongest of the recent past. The reasons for this are certainly exhibitor-specific, but can also be found across all sectors in the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR).

IDS 2023 Recap

MDR as a possible innovation inhibitor at the IDS 2023

Those who deal with the dental market will not be surprised by the comparatively small number of really new products. The Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) contributes to this. On the one hand, human resources are tied up in the companies for the certification procedures and, on the other hand, new products may only be placed on the market after successful MDR certification, but no longer under the "old" Medical Devices Directive (MDD). It is therefore not surprising that “further development of existing products” was presented. Some European companies are considering launching new developments on the US market first, because approvals for many products are now often faster, more predictable and cheaper there. If the innovations prove themselves there, it is worth getting certification for the EU as well.

Trends at the IDS 2023

Even if the innovative power of the dental industry seems somewhat inhibited, the IDS is still the indicator for trends. The direction here is still smaller, cheaper devices with improved usability. Target group for this: dental laboratories, which can use them to expand their dental digital workflow in-house. It remains to be seen whether the industry will not develop products to address the shortage of skilled workers. Because even if the devices are smaller and more user-friendly, there is additional work in the dental laboratory that was previously outsourced or done in long-established processes. For example, we discussed whether it makes sense to purchase a LaserMelting system for dental laboratories in our article “LaserMelting system for my laboratory – is it worth it?”.

IDS 2023 Recap

Shortage of skilled workers in the dental industry - solutions at the IDS

Lack of resources is a big issue. Something that is so present and that occupies all market participants in a wide variety of ways is of course not far from the IDS. The visitors were looking for solutions. How to organize everyday work in such a way that human resources can be used optimally? From outsourcing to improving the digital process chain to the use of new technologies such as dental polishing machines - all optimization options offered by the dental industry were examined very closely.

Digitization of the dental industry - also a focus topic at the IDS 2023

The starting point that most came to the fore here was the progressive digitization in dental laboratories and production centers. In our article "Technological developments in the dental industry" we already talked about the Internet of Things (IoT). Maybe you remember - when the refrigerator creates its own shopping list. A development by Ivoclar works in a similar way. The intelligent storage system records and orders material independently, even the inventory works at the push of a button.

But not only digitization was of great importance for dental laboratories at the IDS. The paradigm shift is also progressing in dental practices. The intraoral scan pushes the classic impression taking further into the background. In the next two years, the majority of dental practices will probably have an intraoral scanner and use it to digitize impression taking. A big step towards a 360° digital workflow.

Further development of materials for additive manufacturing

Digitization is therefore still one of the focus topics of the IDS. First and foremost to counteract the shortage of skilled workers, but also because it is with its help that the use of new materials is possible. There is a continuous movement from subtractive processes to additive manufacturing. In the sector of resins, better and better materials for provisionals are coming onto the market that have left the "teething troubles" of the first generation behind, as well as more and more permanent materials.

Progress can also be seen in the field of 3D printing of ceramics. At the IDS 2023 we were able to identify three companies which are developing materials approved for the oral use. But we are still in our infancy phase here, because the results are still a long way from the aesthetics you are used to from subtractive manufacturing processes.


The central topic at the IDS this year was once again digitization in the dental industry. The industry is still in the midst of upheaval here - and the processes are certainly not yet perfect. A small symbol of this is the digital trade fair ticket for the IDS. Because when we talk about digital trade fair tickets, we mean that they are digital until you enter the trade fair grounds. Here you will get a printed ticket again. But even if we smile a little about it now - it's definitely a step in the right direction.

And then there is the Medical Device Regulation – because despite the extension of the transitional period of the MDR, it still hovers over the industry like the sword of Damocles and causes uncertainty among dental technicians and the industry, ties up human resources and apparently delays innovations.

In any case, we're going to do our homework now and will sort through the valuable input that we brought to Augsburg from the IDS 2023 and see what we can do with it for you. So stay tuned!

Would you like to exchange ideas with our experts on topics from the IDS 2023? Contact us. We look forward to your input!

*Source: Final Report of the IDS 2023
Press releases of IDS | IDS (