DSOs dive into pediatric dentistry to continue growth

Two DSOs have recently made notable moves in the pediatric dental field to enhance care for patients and expand their networks.

Sacramento, Calif.-based Straine Dental Management added its first pediatric dental practice last month by affiliating with Myers Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in Florida. 

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sage Dental also acquired its first office dedicated to pediatric dental care and orthodontics. The DSO used the acquisition to launch its Sage Dental Kids brand, with plans to expand the brand further this year.

Sage Dental Chief Marketing Officer Jonathan Kaufman told Becker's that the new venture is part of the DSO's mission to provide comprehensive dental care while tailoring to the unique needs of pediatric patients. The goal is also to keep these patients within the Sage Dental network throughout their lifetime. 

"We aim to blend our advanced clinical technologies and streamlined patient convenience processes to create an in-practice experience that is enjoyable for kids and easy on parents," he said. "We will build and refine this model based on significant feedback from the patients and parents we serve. While this is the inaugural Sage Dental Kids pediatric and orthodontic practice, it certainly won't be the last. We anticipate expanding our successful model to many of the other markets we serve in the near future."

Other pediatric-focused DSOs are continuing to expand their networks as well with the help of investors.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Vitana Pediatric & Orthodontic Partners secured an expansion and upsizing of its existing debt facility in February, while Denver-based Lone Peak Dental Group received an investment from BlackRock and Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System. 

Lone Peak Dental Group is one of the largest pediatric-focused DSOs in the U.S., supporting more than 60 offices in 14 states. The company recently entered Tennessee with its acquisition of Zoo Crew Pediatric Dentistry, which has four locations in the state.

Barry Lyon, DDS, a chief dental officer for the division of orthodontics and pediatric dentistry at Sarasota, Fla.-based Dental Care Alliance, told Becker's in January that pediatric dentistry could see increased growth this year as a result of a larger child population and expansions in state reimbursement programs.

"Pediatric dentistry and orthodontics will be a big part of DSOs' movement into specialty care," he said. "Pediatric dentistry is especially attractive to DSOs because demand is very strong, operating costs are less than other specialty practices, there is a steady stream of recurring revenue through hygiene services and profits are greater."

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