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HPI: 7.4 percent of U.S. dentists are affiliated with dental service organizations

March 07, 2017

By Jennifer Garvin


The ADA Health Policy Institute unveiled new data March 6 showing that 7.4 percent of all practicing U.S. dentists are affiliated with dental service organizations. But for new dentists ages 21-34, that number more than doubles to 16.3 percent.

A dental service organization affiliated group practice, or DSO, is a group practice that contracts with a dental management organization to conduct all of the business activities of the practice.

In addition to age, HPI also looked at the demographics by state, gender and specialty.  

All of the results were the focus of a March 6 webinar, led by Marko Vujicic, Ph.D., HPI chief economist and vice president. Featured speakers included Dr. Dave Preble, vice president, ADA Practice Institute; Stephen E. Thorne IV, president and chief executive officer, Pacific Dental Services; and Dmitry Edelchik, director of marketing, Planmeca USA.

For the state breakdown, Arizona led the way with 17.5 percent of all dentists being affiliated with DSOs, followed by Texas at 15 percent and Indiana at 14.7 percent. Eleven states have less than 2 percent of their dentists affiliated with DSOs.

For gender, 10.2 percent of female dentists and 6.1 percent of male dentists are affiliated with DSOs and pediatric dentists lead the specialty category with 8.1 percent. Additionally, more than 20 percent of dental school graduates from three schools are affiliated with DSOs: Midwestern University, Nova Southeastern and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The webinar also discussed which states have the highest DSO market share and whether or not DSO-affiliated dentists more likely to accept Medicaid.

In compiling the data, HPI determined that a dentist was considered to be affiliated with a DSO if one or more of the locations they practice is a member of the Association of Dental Support Organizations or an employee of American Dental Partners, Kool Smiles Inc. and Western Dental.

View the recorded webinar here.

For more information, visit ADA.org/HPI.