Dentists and DSOs – What do practitioners really think?

The relationship between dentists and DSOs has always been an interesting one. In this article we look at how practitioners opinions and consensus of DSOs has changed and evolved over the years. There are 2 numbers/statistics that really stand out when it comes to the largest state associated with the overall dental industry within the U.S.

To begin with, there are currently around 1,000 Dental Service Organizations groups that range in sizes from 5 to over 900 locations. This figure translates into around 20% of the U.S. practices. Secondly, this figure (percentage) is set to increase into the higher 30s, over the next few years.

Dental Service Organizations come in all types of models, sizes, and shapes, and can be found in just about every location across the U.S. The reality of the matter is that the DSOs are not going anywhere anytime soon, and represent a sizable portion of the dental industry’s present and future.

So What Are Dentists Saying about DSOs in Relation to All of This?

Over the last decade, Dental Sales Academy has been in the process of conducting a number of surveys that are provided to general independent dental practice owners across the U.S, to determine their feelings about how the DSOs have evolved.

They started off by asking this concise and simple question:

“ How do you describe your initial sentiments towards the DSOs and DSO groups?”

Below is an overview of the responses received since 2010:

• In 2010: 87% negative, 9% neutral, 4% positive

• In 2014: 84% negative, 10% neutral, 6% positive

• In 2018: 66% negative, 23% neutral, 11% positive

• In 2019: 59% negative, 27% neutral, 14% positive

Over the past 2 years, there is an indication of a change in the less negative/ neutral feelings in comparison to 5 years ago.

The next question that was asked was:

“If you decided to sell your practice tomorrow, who would you prefer or want to sell it to?”

Below is a list of the latest answers:

• Another general independent dentist Only: 60%

• A group/DSO or an individual dentist: 29%

• Group/DSO only: 11%

This indicates that around 40% may be somewhat open or open to making the choice to sell to a DSO, which in some way relates to the positive/neutral results from the first question.

The last question offered a result that was somewhat interesting:

“Are you able to name 5 DSOs?”

• Only 12% were able to name 5 DSOs!

Just about every respondent, regardless of their location, were only able to identify 2 to 3. The DSOs’ named were typically the largest and more well-known companies like Heartland and Aspen (which just for interest sakes, have totally different business models).

Other surveys have already been conducted (these results will be revealed in upcoming articles), that have asked emerging, midmarket-sized, and startup DSOs to give their comments on the information that they “know” about dentists along with the dynamics linked to dental practices.

Regardless of all the available information along with the DSO presence in this industry for a while now, there is one thing that is extremely clear: There is much still to learn from either side about each other.

Did you enjoy our article and insights on Survey: What Dentists Really Think Of Dental Service Organizations? If you’re looking to learn more about how to help your practice thrive – be sure and download our FREE 43-page Report on Increasing Case Sizes and Collections.

Kevin Steineman is a Digital Marketer, Entrepreneur, and Producer. Find out more about Kevin @KSteineman on Instagram, Facebook and wherever your heart desires. Be sure to also check out our Dental News Site - The Daily Floss!

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