Entrepreneurial dentists, DSOs,
CHRIS SALIERNO, DDS
Over the past few years, Dental Economics has covered the growing trend of dentists who own
multiple practices. No doubt you’re also aware of the successes of the dental service organization (DSO) model and how it is contributing to the consolidation of practices. 1 If you’re a solo
practitioner, you might be alarmed to see the traditional marketplace for practice transitions
First, let’s review our best data. According to the latest research by the ADA’s Health Policy
Institute, only 7.4% of practicing dentists are currently affiliated with DSOs. 2 There is no solid
data for tracking dentists who own multiple practices, but it should
be safe to assume that those numbers are not larger than DSOs. So,
the majority of dentists and practices follow the traditional business
model. No cause for alarm there.
Second, what if you were to become one of those entrepreneurial
dentists? What if you grew beyond the traditional model and owned
more than one practice? You might think that would mean you’d have
to treat patients in each location, but what if you were to share those
clinical duties with another dentist? What if you were to reduce your
clinical hours and take on more managerial ones?
This month, Brady Frank, DDS, and Vincent Cardillo both introduce
you to their game plans for fueling your inner entrepreneur by adopting
the elements of a DSO structure. While industrious dentists may still
maintain full control and not look toward private equity investors, they might still want to
take a few lessons from the DSO playbook while growing their empires. For example, how
should we classify and compensate a dentist who is the sole care provider in an office? Even
a well-compensated associate may lose interest after a few years. On the other hand, a well-compensated equity partner (Dr. Frank prefers the term “co-owner”) could stick with you for
the long term.
We’ll continue to monitor the multipractice ownership trend in DE. Even if you have no
such aspirations, I hope you’ll at least agree that it’s a terrific time for dentists to be in busi-
ness. There is no single practice model that is expected to dominate the market in the near
future. So, whichever model you’re a part of, be inspired by the progress of others.
1. Guay A, Wall T.
group practices as a
dentistry. Health Policy
Brief. American Dental
pdf. Published April
2016. Accessed August
2. Vujicic M. How big are
[webinar] Health Policy
Published March 2017.
Accessed August 29,