How dental consolidation is evolving

Consolidation is quickly becoming the norm in the dental industry. Here is how four dental leaders believe consolidation is evolving in their respective markets.

Editor's note: These responses were edited lightly for clarity and brevity.

Question: How is dental consolidation evolving in your market?

Scott Asnis, DDS. CEO of Dental365: In the Northeast market, it's nice to see other DSOs with similar mindsets as Dental365 and Premier Care Dental Management, in that they care about patient experience and good clinical incomes and are coming in to support private practices. This is a positive development because it's a tremendous benefit to the private practice dentists and to the patients.

Teresa Dolan, DDS. Chief Dental Officer of Overjet: With dental consolidation comes a greater need for systems and technology that support consistency, transparency and professional development. Dental groups are implementing innovative solutions like artificial intelligence for radiograph analysis to create clinical alignment and consistency across multiple providers and practices, which increases patients' trust in the diagnosis and elevates case acceptance and productivity. The technology also helps new hires, including recent graduates, quickly scale their diagnostic and case presentation skills, which builds their confidence and the confidence of the patients they serve.

Brant Herman. Founder and CEO of Mouthwatch: We have seen consolidation of practices leading to a greater emphasis for these groups to implement solutions that help differentiate their services and brand. Furthermore, as groups address staffing challenges while simultaneously aiming to improve their patient experience, we have seen interest and increased implementation of teledentistry and virtual care solutions to meet these challenges.

Michael Schwartz. Chair and CEO of Specialty Dental Brands: We have seen an increase in consolidation across the dental industry. When COVID shutdowns were implemented, several private practice dentists decided to explore affiliations with DSOs. During the last two years, the rate of affiliations continued to increase. Several sources at dental conferences have stated that the industry is approximately 30 percent consolidated. This is heavily skewed toward the general dentistry portion of the industry.

Right now, some macroeconomic headwinds are being projected in 2023. These include layoffs, which we are seeing in the tech industry currently, inflation and higher interest rates. When interest rates increase, merger and acquisition multiples tend to come down. We are also seeing dental practice brokers communicating to the broad market that this is the time for private practices to affiliate with DSOs before 2023 uncertainties materialize.

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