Go with the DSO Flow, or No?




Like it or not, corporate dentistry is here to stay. It’s often a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors. Often, there are also options for a corporate hybrid, where the dentist has partial equity in the practice. Many corporate dental practices (DSOs) are owned by dentist partnerships on a long-distance basis, but not in the traditional sense, but by having the owner-dentist as the primary provider.

I’ve had the opportunity to work in both settings, as an Orthodontist, and it’s certainly a double-edged sword. Initially, 14 years ago, when DSOs were clamoring for specialists, I was treated like a queen. I was given full practice and scheduling autonomy and paid extremely well. It was the best of both worlds! Eventually, new venture capitalists bought out that DSO and it was re-branded and the resultant nirvana turned into a subsequent nightmare. Cheaper and younger dentists who would accept much less compensation eventually dethroned the queen.

Corporate dental business models are first and foremost competing with you on price. They take advantage of bulk purchasing when it comes to equipment, material, construction, furnishing and supplies, at higher discount structures than you are typically able to negotiate. These models have much larger marketing budgets than your practice. Corporate/franchise facilities are located in highly developed retail areas and invest heavily in the full spectrum of marketing opportunities.

I believe that staffing is the key to a successful dental practice. DSO’s are usually successful at attracting new staff with bonuses and benefits, but retention isn’t often a long-term result. This is one leveraging factor that private practices have over DSO’s. If you pick the right staff and treat them well, they will be proud to work for YOU and grow YOUR practice. They will refer friends and family to you. Make sure you have solid incentive plans and profit-sharing programs in place to cultivate this. Please visit my other blogs for more information on this subject.

StraightSmile Solutions is the future of orthodontic coaching. We are the first online portal to provide a doctor-to-doctor consulting service, that will allow GP’s and their teams, to access the knowledge and expertise of an industry expert. We pride ourselves on lightning-fast service and responsiveness. StraightSmile Solutions is time and cost-efficient. Our services are available exclusively online. Out of the over 128,000 general dentists in the U.S., most have little to no formal or educational training in orthodontics. Those who do seek training, often have to resort to expensive and time-consuming weekend services. You learn on the job, through trial and error, but those errors can be expensive and unfortunate for both patients and doctors. We aim to fill the gap in the market for quality and efficient coaching, by providing valuable solutions for doctors and teams and subsequent positive outcomes, in the quality of patient care.

About the author: Dr. Amanda Wilson is an Orthodontist and the founder of StraightSmile Solutions. For more information, visit