Why this dentist believes DSOs threaten autonomy

DSOs are growing, but not all dentists are on board.

Matt Carlston, DMD, vice president of marketing and partner recruitment at Comfort Dental, recently connected with Becker's to discuss the biggest threats to dentists.

Note: This response has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Dr. Matt Carlston: I feel that with the proliferation of the DSO model in our country, dentists will lose their autonomy. They lose the ability to tailor treatment to the individual patient. They develop a treatment plan and don't get the opportunity to develop a relationship with their patient. In a recent article, it was noted that most dentists who work as an associate or non-owner generally last less than three years. It is tough for a doctor to become proficient at what they are doing when they are frequently changing offices. Doctors need reps. They don't need to be told that they must refer certain procedures to specialists. They need to learn management skills. They need in-office mentorship. Many of these things are not provided on the DSO level. They need to learn how to successfully grow and practice at the same as running an office that doesn't have a 70 percent overhead.

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