How the DSO Model Impacts the Dental Industry (and What’s Expected to Evolve)

The “winds-of-change.” You’re familiar with them, right? It’s also a fitting analogy for how the DSO model impacts the dental industry.

Change and adaptability has been the norm since 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic waves are still coming ashore forcing dentistry to keep its options open.

A few of those open-options have included the DSO model. But how have DSOs navigated the so-called “winds-of-change?”

Forward and into the “wind”

DSOs have relied on alternative solutions to maintain momentum. Stanton Kensinger, a lead dental transition broker, speaks about those alternatives.

”COVID has created market factors that we have never seen before,…there is a different vibe out there compared with what we were dealing with two years ago.”1

Kensinger confirms how the DSO model has responded to the challenges and competition for a share of the marketplace.

”…the DSO model is diversifying, leading to the emergence of what he described as new and more dentist-focused DSOs, such as dental partnership organizations (DPOs), and the pandemic has accentuated the process.

Kensinger adds,

”…although these new DSOs launched at the worst possible time, they have come out flying. Even through the pandemic, we have seen an influx of specialty DSOs and general practitioner DSOs that are giving dentists opportunities that they would not have had otherwise.

These groups are also coming up with different ideas; what I mean by that is they are not your traditional DSO, like Aspen or Heartland. A lot of these private equity groups have grasped the fact that it is really about the dentist. It is about the team and the staff, but it is also about the owner dentist often retaining equity in his or her practice.’”2

This perspective helps explain the adaptability and viability of the DSO model. It adds to the appeal that you, as a dentist, might experience while recovering from what has been a challenging season of dentistry.

How the DSO model and its impact on the dental industry is expected to evolve even more

The consistent growth of DSOs is an attractive investment for private equity firms, for example. Their funds are predicted to steadily flow into the dental industry. This is somewhat due to the trends within the DSO model and its solid place in the industry market.

Expect more acquisitions

Since 2020, DSO acquisitions and mergers have increased. The trend reveals the DSO model’s appeal as the industry adapts to the post-pandemic era.

Acquisitions big or small could continue to shift the DSO landscape going forward. The model’s capacity to expand patient care geographically is a benefit to those looking to partner/affiliate.

Expect staffing support

The dental hiring crisis - as it’s called - is affecting the applicant pool.

The DSO model isn’t immune to the staffing shortage. But they have the potential to scale and flex across their supported offices.

DSOs can also support their affiliated dentists need for autonomy as they individually pursue staffing solutions. This gives supported dentists a sense of control without feeling alone and under-resourced.

Expect renewed patient demand to create opportunity

Pandemic challenges could potentially trend downward. Vaccines, testing capabilities, and declining infection rates will help prompt patients to return for care.

The DSO model is resourced to help practices meet the surge.

Expect technology growth and innovation

DSOs often have the resource connections that assist practices to purchase and implement new technology. For example, the growth of teledentistry beyond the pandemic applications is among them.

Digital innovation increases the DSO model’s impact. Supported practices can take advantage of the tech-upgrades that benefit their patients.

The DSO model is resourced to roll-with-change. What’s ahead is uncertain but the impact of DSOs is not likely to diminish whatever occurs.

Discover more insight into the DSO model through these resources:

Centralize Your System and Processes Like a National DSO

3 Lessons DSOs Learned From COVID-19: Cash Flow, Culture and Care

DSO impact is supported by proven technology

Dentrix Ascend from Henry Schein One centralizes data, supports the structure of your practice (and DSO organizations) and provides scalability as your practice or organization grows.

Learn what makes Dentrix Ascend the right solution for your dental practice and for growing DSOs.

Request a demo today.