Stanley M. Bergman
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Henry Schein
Thank you very much, Steven. So let's provide some thoughts on each of our businesses. Third quarter dental revenue growth was solid, as you heard. Overall gains in consumable merchandise and equipment sales in North America and international markets reflect the continuing recovery. And as noted, this is coupled with keen focus on execution by Team Schein. North American dental consumable merchandise internal growth in local currencies with and without PP&E and COVID-19-related products also was quite solid in the third quarter. Consumable merchandise sales continue to improve, which we believe was bolstered by a steady flow of patient traffic.
Here in the U.S., the most recent American Dental Association data shows patient traffic is currently at about 90% of pre-pandemic levels, and Henry Schein One billings associated with dental claims processing are, once again, about 100% and of pre-pandemic levels, a little over. These statistics are similar to those we reported in the second quarter, and we believe the market to be sequentially stable, tilting slightly through improvement. Similar kind of data around the world. Some countries are a little ahead, some a little behind, but on balance, pretty stable on the dental side. You may recall that many of the international markets we serve posted a quick recovery in sales and consumable merchandise in the third quarter of last year when we recorded, at that time, record sales.
This comparison resulted in slightly lower sales growth than we have seen in prior quarters. Most markets are back to normal, as I noted, with some modest weakness in the U.K., although it is better. And in Australia and New Zealand, for a very short period of time, to the main cities were on lockdown. But the market, the lockdown has been largely lifted and Australia and New Zealand are back to normal right now. But we had a dip in the third quarter. Last quarter, we discussed some of the delivery and installation delays facing the U.S. traditional dental equipment business. Overall, our equipment business is performing very well, and equipment demand is strong as demonstrated by the third quarter sales we are reporting today.
We expect the impact of those delays to be pronounced in the fourth quarter with manufacturing lead times returning to normal towards the second half of next year. As such, the traditional equipment manufacturers' delays, along with delays in office construction are creating some timing differences in our reported sales between quarters. Again, these manufacturing delays are primarily impacting delivery and installation of traditional equipment in North America, namely the U.S.. Canada is quite stable. Manufacturers seem to be able to provide us with adequate product, although we do have longer installation times even in Canada, but not as bad as in the U.S. That said, dentists continue to invest in technology solutions that promote more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning as well as workflow efficiency.
This is really important. Dentists are focusing on digitalization of their practices. We remain extremely bullish about the future of digital dentistry and the long-term prospects and trends we believe will flow from advancements in the digitalization of dentistry. Among the dental equipment highlights each year is with Dentsply, DS World, which took place at the end of September in Las Vegas right at the end of the quarter. This event was virtual in 2020. So it was exciting for Henry Schein to be on site and meeting in person, once again, with current and prospective customers. We are very pleased with the results from the show, which did have somewhat of a modest positive impact on our sales in the third quarter, but we expect much more of an impact in the fourth quarter. It's important to note that DS will features high technology equipment, and we believe the supply chain challenges I discussed do not generally, in fact, at the delivery and installation of these products here in the United States.
So we expect the good results from the equipment side, specifically digital and other Dentsply products to flow through in the fourth quarter with a challenge remaining on the traditional chairs, units and lights, which are manufactured largely in the United States by other manufacturers who fill the slack from one of our large manufacturers exiting the market last year. Now look, we've received lots of questions and comments have been written about pricing for dental, merchandise and equipment. So we expect that prices may increase for certain items in the near term. as some manufacturers work through a scarcity of raw materials as well as higher transportation and labor costs.
Unfortunately, this can result in higher pricing for our customers as we typically pass on these increases. However, what's very important, and we're communicating this to our customers, Henry Schein is committed to working with our suppliers to improve supply chain efficiencies and to limit these price increases as best we can and to alerting our customers to upcoming price changes. We are doing all we can to mitigate this inflationary impact resulting from raw material shortages, higher transportation issues, mitigate that for our customers. So now turning to the dental specialties. Sales of our dental specialty product performed extremely well during this quarter with double-digit internal sales growth in local currencies versus the prior year. Remember, the prior year, we did have good sales in the specialty category as well. So this is pretty good compounding.
Approximately 2/3 of our dental specialties revenues are from our oral surgery, implant-based tooth replacement products business. That includes the implants and the bone regeneration products. Our success share is driven largely by our premium value, BioHorizons and Camlog implants and bone regenerations lines, where we also saw strong growth versus the prior year. Our leadership position in the oral surgery, that's both in implant and bone regeneration market as well as in endodontic and orthodontics includes both proven solutions and a commitment to delivering new solutions as we further penetrate key dental specialty markets. At any given time, we have a number of product launches underway, which typically takes us 12 to 18 months for a full rollout. The pipeline was rich and remains rich, and we continue to bring exciting new products to market in all three categories.
During the third quarter, we launched our Progressive Conelog implants with multiunit prosthetics addressing the full arch market in North America. And during the fourth quarter, we expect to launch our Fusion implant solution to enhance our offering of the value price segment of the implant market. Our priority in orthodontics is our Reveal Clear Aligner with global reach now into more than two dozen countries. In the U.S., we are in the process of launching an update to our software, Studio Pro 4.0, which features advanced treatment planning and visualization tools. We expect to launch the software in certain international markets next year. So overall, we're very pleased with the performance of our Dental business globally, our Dental Specialty businesses, and we'll talk now about our Medical Distribution business.
Turning now to our Medical business. Internal sales growth in local currencies for the third quarter was, once again, very strong. But what's important to recognize, the strength was -- in terms of growth, was strong both measured with and without sales of PP&E and COVID-19 related products. Trends in the physician office, ambulatory surgery center, alternate care markets, as noted in my opening remarks are all quite positive. We believe traffic in U.S. physician offices and ambulatory surgery centers is generally improving, as we approach more normalized practice operations for elective procedures that were deferred over the past 18 months, although we're still not back to normal, but the trend is good. We also have increased the number of accounts we serve. I think the medical group has done a very good job in expanding accounts and also penetrating existing accounts. Sales of COVID-19-related products should be lumpy, as you know, all year, with strength in the first quarter, falling off in the second quarter and picking up again in the third quarter. Pretty lumpy, as noted.
In addition, pricing for COVID tests has also declined quite a bit. These volatile sales trends reflect the unpredictable spread of the Delta variant with upticks in cases and testing services being seen between quarters and within various geographies. We continue to expect price volatility for COVID-19 test to continue. This year's third quarter also included the sale of flu diagnostic products, whereas a year ago, we sold very few of these tests. In fact, we are selling the combination flu COVID-19 test to our physician office-based customers to help differentiate these two viruses that result in somewhat overlapping symptoms. Tests are important in the office-based practitioner environment in the office, although as noted, the volatility of the particular price per unit can be quite sharp.
We are optimistic, I would say, extremely optimistic about the future of our medical group as medical procedures continue to move to alternate care settings, coupled with our belief that we are well positioned to continue to grow our market share. Also, as noted, elective procedures that patients have put off for 18 months are now being scheduled. But putting that even aside, I think the structural market shift from the acute care setting to the physician office and the ultimate care setting, particularly the ambulatory surgical center is something that is moving in our direction, and we are well positioned to process this new business that is emerging. So one closing remark regarding our distribution businesses. As we have previously discussed, we believe we have entered a new normal for the use of personal protection -- protective equipment products, excuse me, by both dental and medical practitioners.
We envisage demand for PP&E products continued -- continuing at an elevated level for the foreseeable future, driven by new health care protocols. We do not expect that the demand -- the unit demand for PPE will revert to pre-pandemic usage levels. However, we expect price volatility for PP&E products to continue. So now looking at the performance of our technology and value-added services businesses during the quarter. Henry Schein One, the largest contributor to the sales in this segment, once again recorded record high quarterly revenue. As Steven noted, we saw solid North American sales growth in Dentrix technical support.
That's the support we provide to our existing customers. and really exciting, our Dentrix Ascend Cloud Solutions' business is growing. Remember, historically, the systems we sold, we would book a sale for the product and the total value of the software we sold would be recognized as a sale. Now the Dentrix Ascend Cloud solution is subscription-based software, which means it's a continuous reoccurring revenue, and this is doing very well. Dentrix Ascend is doing well with small customers, midsized customers and growingly now with some of the larger DSOs. Also, our Software Excellence business in the U.K. had a good quarter. The Software business in the U.K. had challenges while the U.K. dentists were in lockdown or largely on lockdown.
We continue to focus on the migration to the cloud and our cloud-based solutions to create flexible, scalable services to drive practice efficiency and patient engagement and a more stable reoccurring revenue stream, as I noted, for these services. Short term may impact sales in that we do not book the full sale of the software upfront, but this recurring revenue is really very good business. And growingly the percentage of our business in the reoccurring revenue field of the total Henry Schein One sales is growing. So overall sales growth was accelerated also by acquisitions we made over the past year in software analytics in particular. And in particular, the services offered by Jarvis are being well received by our customers.
This is a great business that takes data, a lot of it from our Dentrix systems and provides analytics to customers, small and large customers. Lastly, our Practice Services businesses are key components of the value added we provide our customers. And we were especially pleased with the strong growth this quarter, also driven by incremental investment that practices are making in their businesses. We are expanding the range of practice solutions or part of the strategic thinking we've shared with our investors. In this connection, we acquired eAssist Dental Solutions late in the second quarter, and I'm really happy to report that this virtual dental outsourced billing business is performing well. It's been well received by our customers.
And of course, the goal is to reduce the administrative effort required of our customers for their collections. I'd like to spend the closing part of my remarks on ESG, environmental, social and governance arena. As we've discussed during past quarterly calls, environmental, social and governance, or ESG is an area of important focus for Henry Schein and an important topic all of us as we find new and innovative ways to create shared value for society as well as for our company, our businesses and for our investors. I think it is quite clear as we emerged on COVID and hopefully, we're starting the emerging part now, certainly in the developed world. But it's clear that the business of business is no longer only business and the private sector has an important role to play in addressing the critical issues that face the world. This was expected of business now more than ever.
But let me stress, although we didn't call it ESG, ESG has been part of the Henry Schein DNA for decades, as we balance the needs of our customers, suppliers, investors, society at large and the well-being of our team members. To that end, we continue to engage our more than 21,000 Team Schein Members as ESG champions to advance the ESG efforts as we find new and innovative ways to create shared value for society as well as for our company. Henry Schein is committed to -- already, I think our shareholders should be aware of this, to reporting in accordance with GRI and SASB standards next year in 2022. We've also committed to issuing our initial task force on climate-related financial disclosures report next year, and we will set science-based targets.
With specific respect now to the environmental side, we aim to operate more efficiently and reduce our carbon footprint as well as working towards our goal to achieve net 0 global emissions by 2050. Of course, this will be gradual towards that date -- gradual and cumulative. We participate in the World Economic Forum Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders and have signed the business ambition for 1.5 centigrade and the Race to Zero campaign, the 1.5 C and the Race to Zero campaign, which seeks to catalyze leadership and tangible action from the private sector for a healthy, resilient zero carbon recovery and we will continue to do our part for a healthier planet. Again, these are areas that Henry Schein has been committed to for a long time, but we're now disclosing and visualizing what we're doing. Regarding our work under social or Team Schein Members, our Team Schein Members are our, of course, greatest assets.
We are committed to creating a culture of wellness, including very important mental health, which has become a big issue during COVID, providing our team with resources, education and hosting open dialogues, which allow for a meaningful connection on related topics. We have what we referred to internally as a holistic approach to diversity and inclusion, D&I, recognizing that D is important, but I is very important, maybe more important, inclusive part that encompasses talent, culture, marketplace and society, increasing the representation of underrepresented groups, including women in leadership roles, and pay equity are a particular area of focus for us as is providing access to the health care service to historically underrepresented populations. We have been, again, committed to this for a long time.
We have a long-standing commitment to pandemic and disaster preparedness and response and helping to build a stronger, more resilient health care supply chain. And this was manifested in our being a founding member and private sector lead for the pandemic supply chain network, Happy if any investor has questions on that to provide more information. The PSCN network, I think, played an important role during COVID and is ready to continue to help with pandemic preparedness. Our commitment to ethical corporate governance starts with our largely independent and diverse Board of Directors and our nominating and governance committee, who provide oversight over our ESG programs.
In addition, Team Schein Members, in partnership with our customers, suppliers and NGO partners drive a culture of ethics and compliance through our Team Schein values, worldwide business standards and global supplier code of conduct. So that's a lot. But I think it's important to understand that we are committed to ESG, have been committed to alignment with the needs of society, doing well by doing good, as Benjamin Franklin referred to over 200 years ago. We've been committed to that for decades and believe that this is one of the reasons why we, as a company, have provided increased shareholder value each year for decades. So with that in mind, Steve and I are ready to answer any particular questions that investors may have.