Dentistry's next hot ticket

Oral surgery is becoming a popular field of interest for private equity groups, DSOs and other dental companies as the opportunities for growth are ascertained. 

Investment in the oral surgery field is expected to pick up through the end of 2023 and in 2024 after a decline earlier this year, according to Brian Hamilton, a managing director at investment firm DuneGlass Capital and chief development officer at Allied OMS.

Mr. Hamilton told Becker's that healthcare transactions declined during the first half of 2023 because of higher capital costs and reduced credit availability, but investors have now become more anxious to invest in quality assets. While interest in specialty dental care has picked up across the board in recent years, companies are eyeing oral surgery because of the field's size and profitability.

When it comes to the workforce, oral surgery is one of the largest dental specialties after orthodontics and pediatric dentistry, according to data from KFF. There are currently more than 7,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the U.S., and there was a 5% growth rate between 2022 and 2023. Employment for oral and maxillofacial surgeons is also expected to increase 5% by 2032, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a few percentage points higher than the average for all professions, which is 3%. 

Several oral surgery-focused DSOs and MSOs have also launched in recent years, including Allied OMS and Max Surgical Specialty Management. Both companies have positioned themselves for expansion in the coming years.

Allied OMS has tripled its growth since its 2020 launch and plans to continue relying on its doctor partners to identify markets for expansion. Meanwhile, Max Surgical Specialty Management plans to double its network in the next 12 months.

MSSM Co-CEOs Jason Auerbach, DDS, and Jeff Ward, shared with Becker's their expectations for oral surgery investment.

"There are a lot of investments in different specialties and there has not been a lot of investment in oral surgery, so because it remains so fragmented, it has a very high level of interest in the investment world," Mr. Ward said. "We expect a lot more activity, we expect more entrants and we do expect all of the current participants and platforms to grow very rapidly in the coming years."

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