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Pros And Cons

DSOs: They're coming for you (but don't be afraid)

Jan. 23, 2023
You might be skeptical about dental service organizations, but chances are good you'll be approached by one at some point. To help guide you through the unknown, here we offer several perspectives from people who've been there. 

Love them or hate them, dental service organizations (DSOs) have become a big part of the dental world. They’re growing, and they’re here to stay. If you own a successful dental practice, you’ve probably heard from a DSO representative who expressed interest in buying your business. Whether you’re thinking about selling now or keeping the option in mind for the future, you may be wondering what’s behind a DSO’s interest in your practice, and you probably have a lot of questions. 

Why did the DSO choose your practice to contact? Do you talk to them? If you enter into a conversation, what do you ask them, and what is the “correct” way to answer their questions? If the conversation progresses, what qualities do you look for in the DSO? Do DSOs try to hide anything from dentists when “courting” them? How do you determine if a DSO is making a good offer? 

Bottom line, how do you figure out if selling to a DSO is a good move for you? If you decide to sell, how do you find the best DSO for you and your values? Your questions will only continue as DSOs become more prominent. To help guide you through the unknown, here we offer several perspectives from people who have been there. 

You may not even see them 

A relativity new concept, invisible DSOs (IDSOs) acquire interests in general and specialty practices that then retain their local brand and local doctor management. Don’t write them off as “corporate dentistry” bad guys. You may know a dentist who’s part of an invisible DSO and not even realize it.

Invisible DSOs: Friend or foe?

“THE hot topic in dentistry” 

Advisor Gary Kadi says he doesn’t have to tell dentists that DSOs are the hot topics in dentistry right now, and unlike anything the profession has ever seen before. That’s because they’re growing and their reps are approaching dentists and practices regularly. He explains what you need to do to make the best and most informed decision for your practice. 

The DSO dilemma: Is a DSO right for you? 

The inside scoop 

Dr. Roland Caire has been on the inside of several DSOs. He shares some of what he learned, and what he found to be advantageous about being part of a DSO (and not so much). And who did Dr. Caire notice was joining DSOs? Older dentists? Younger dentists? Both, and here’s why. 

Who's partnering with DSOs—and why? 

The pros and cons of DSO sales

There are some legal angles to becoming part of a DSO. Dental transitions expert William Prescott, JD, says dentists can choose from many different DSO options. Do dentists understand the differences, or what’s involved in the transition? Don’t focus on how much money you’ll make in the sale. There is much more to consider. 

Are you selling to a DSO?

It doesn’t have to be a tough call 

Allen Schiff, CPA, CFE, guides dentists through the myriad of offers they regularly get about selling their practices. What time in your career is a “good” time to consider a DSO? If you wait, will DSOs still be interested in your practice?

How selling to a DSO is different from selling to a dentist

DSO focus: Doctor, practice, and market 

Here’s some frank talk from a DSO insider who discusses the pros and cons of a transition for both dentist and DSO. Heartland Dental’s Mark Greenstein reveals that his organization looks closely at the top 10%–15% of practices but says there is no one-size-fits-all when determining if an affiliation or acquisition is right. 

What to look for when buying a dental practice—or selling to a DSO

Benefiting communities in need 

Through various government financial incentives and programs, it’s possible to build businesses in communities that currently lack dental offices. But how to market, staff, and run that office is another matter, and this is where the DSO model can come into play. 

DSOs offer dentists opportunity to serve communities in need

Don’t become vulnerable prey

Consultant Jay Geier makes clear that he’s not against an independent owner selling their practice, but “I can’t abide seeing them robbed of the business’s true value through misleading and manipulative tactics.” He presents six well-disguised tactics for what they are and tells dentists to be prepared to defend themselves and their business until the time is right to sell.

Practice owners beware: 6 DSO tactics to watch out for 

What are DSOs keeping from you?

Join Drs. Brady Frank and Pam Maragliano-Muniz in this DE Solutions Lab as they discuss everything DSOs don’t want out in the open. Dr. Frank discusses DSOs’ business plan and exit strategy, and how his group is helping more than 250 dentists achieve the highest valuations and best terms available.

Selling your practice without selling your soul: What DSOs don't want you to know

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