Meet the CEOs of 8 DSO giants

The CEOs of the largest DSOs in the U.S. oversee networks of thousands of dental practices and dental professionals.

Meet the CEOs of the eight largest DSOs in the U.S. in 2023: 

Patrick Bauer. President and CEO of Heartland Dental (Effingham, Ill.): Mr. Bauer has been president of Heartland Dental since 2009, and before becoming CEO in 2015, he served as COO since 1997. He has more than 25 years of experience in dental and healthcare operations management.

Steve Bilt. CEO of Smile Brands (Irvine, Calif.): Mr. Bilt co-founded Smile Brands in 2016. He is also chair of the Smiles for Everyone Foundation. He has won several awards and was recently included on Comparably's "Best CEO" for women and diversity lists. 

Robert Fontana. Chair and CEO of The Aspen Group (Chicago): Mr. Fontana originally founded the company as Aspen Dental in 1998. The company rebranded in 2021 to reflect its expansion, taking on dental implants, urgent care and medical aesthetics. He now oversees the organization's more than 1,000 locations in 45 states.

John "J." Hedrick. CEO of Smile Doctors (Dallas): Mr. Hedrick has served as Smile Doctors' CEO since 2019. His extensive leadership background includes time as CEO of the Pei Wei restaurant chain, COO of restaurant franchise NPC National and vice president of mergers and acquisitions for 7-Eleven. 

Jason Heffelfinger. CEO of Dental Care Alliance (Sarasota, Fla.): Mr. Heffelfinger was most recently appointed CEO in November. He previously served as chief service officer at Petco, but now oversees DCA's network of more than 400 practices and 900 dentists across 23 states.

Gene Kirtser. CEO at Affordable Care (Morrisville, N.C.): Mr. Kirtser joined Affordable Care in 2017 after serving 10 years as the president and CEO of healthcare supply company ROi. He earned a bachelor of science degree in finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Chris Steven Villanueva, DMD. Founder and CEO of MB2 Dental (Carrollton, Texas): Dr. Villanueva founded MB2 Dental in 2007. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in Gainesville and his dental degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Stephen Thorne IV. Founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services (Irvine, Calif.): Mr. Thorne founded PDS in 1994. In addition to his leadership at PDS, he is also a board member for several dental organizations, including the Forsyth Institute.

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