How Select Dental Management navigates growth and innovation

Growth and pushing ahead are always top of mind for dentists and DSO executives. For one DSO leader, the expansion of specialty services is an easy growth opportunity to talk about but is difficult to perfect. 

Steve Saukaitis is the CEO of Florham Park, N.J.-based Select Dental Management, which supports 37 practices across eight states and Washington, D.C.

He recently connected with Becker’s on this DSO's top goals for 2024, the rise of specialty services in the DSO space and his proudest moment from 2023. 

Note: Responses were lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What are your DSO's top priorities in 2024?

Steve Saukaitis: Our priorities for 2024 are centered around organic growth, partnering with new practices and expanding our clinical initiatives. When we look for new partners, we first look for a reputation for excellence in clinical care. We also look for practices that are geographically complementary and support building out our regional density. So, for us we're not looking to go to new states, we're looking to build around where we have an existing footprint, which is eight states plus D.C.

Q: What are two to three key strategies in place to expand and grow your footprint?

SS: At Select, our foundation is built on advancing exceptional community dental care. This commitment unfolds through a strategic approach, encompassing three key areas: first is new practice partnerships, the second thing is expanding our existing practices and partnerships, and the third piece is really growing the service lines that we have in those partner practices. We start with a partner that we may have an existing relationship with, and we might look to add a practice that's geographically complementary, and then we work hard with those partners to maximize their practice. We've had a tremendous organic growth rate over the last 18 months or so and that's been driven by a number of different projects including adding specialty services into many of our practices. We also do whatever we can to try and expand the providers we have in practices and where we have capacity issues, we look to add additional capacity.

Q: Do you see the incorporation of specialty services taking off in the next few years?

SS: This is one of those ways we’re working to enhance great community dental care. I think adding specialty services to an office that has historically only practiced general dentistry is good for patients in most cases. There are certain types of complex procedures which you're never going to do in a general dentistry office, but there are many procedures that you can do in a general dentistry office, and patients tend to prefer it. Patients would prefer to get care in the place where they have an existing relationship versus going out to build a new relationship, and they want to know that their general dentist is really helping to be at the center of that. I think it's easy to talk about; it's just really hard to do. I think everybody's talking about it and I think only a few groups are probably getting it right, and it's been an important factor in our growth. There are no secrets when it comes to driving organic growth. It comes down to great patient care, and excellence in operations.

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment from 2023?

SS: We had an amazing 2023 and I think when you look at everything that was going on in the dental industry, I'm proud of what we were able to achieve in terms of our growth rate, our same store sales growth rate was tremendous and our overall increase in the company's profitability was also very strong. That was despite significant inflationary pressures, as we saw all those same things the rest of the industry did and the organization came through really strong. These accomplishments underscore our ongoing commitment to supporting and improving dental care within local communities. We've been able to continue that into 2024 and I think what we're probably most proud of in terms of 2023 is that the momentum we created is really rocketing us forward into 2024, and we're on track to have the best quarter in our company's history.

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