Dentists Selling Their Practice: Transition Issues Part 1 - Pacific Health Law

As an entrepreneurial-minded dentist, you may be evaluating the path of starting or joining a Dental Services Organization (DSO). Let’s find out exactly what a DSO is, its benefits, and whether you should consider joining one.

What is a DSO?

Dental Practice Owners: Should You Join a DSO? | Pacific Health LawA DSO is an organization that provides business support services to a dental practice. As you can imagine, there is more to running a dental business than caring for patients. Essentially, a DSO allows you to focus on providing excellent clientele services while getting operational and managerial support.

The Benefits of a DSO

But what are the benefits for you? They vary depending on your goals. If you’re looking for relief from handling the pressure of management duties and uncovering new growth opportunities, then the following will be appealing to you.

Managing Claims

Dental insurance and Medicare guidelines can be daunting. A DSO can help you navigate the complex system of dental reimbursements by providing a concierge-style approach to handling insurance claims.

HR and Accounting

Dental Practice Owners: Should You Join a DSO? | Pacific Health LawA DSO helps support all the non-clinical systems of a dental practice, from human resources to finance. While you’re focusing on patient care, it can be tough to figure out hiring and firing, accounting, clerical staff, training, billing, and vendor/supplier management. Having a DSO provide guidance and support services for these areas can save you time, money, energy, and headaches.


Marketing and IT

A DSO can provide a range of marketing and IT services, from graphic design to social media. These projects are often time-sensitive and don’t always fit into the budget of a small practice.

Research & Development

Your dental office is unique – with its own patient demographic, practices, equipment needs, and goals. A DSO’s responsibility is to provide dental offices with a range of services and products to meet their needs.

Each DSO offers different research, development, and education opportunities for its dentists. Some offer online courses in dental marketing or leadership skills while others provide equipment training at the annual meeting.

Planning for Growth and Exit

Dental Practice Owners: Should You Join a DSO? | Pacific Health LawA DSO can help you with the planning and execution of your growth strategy. For example, they may provide market research to determine what practices should be merged or which locations are best for expansion.

The dentist members of a DSO will also have access to an exit plan when it’s time to sell their practice (which is often used as collateral). This foresight can be crucial for those who are nearing retirement, as they will want to be able to reap some of the rewards from the hard work that has gone into building up the business.

Should You Join or Start Your Own DSO?

If you’re considering joining or starting your own DSO, consider the following:

  • Do you have enough dental practices where a centralized management structure makes sense?
  • Do you have the funds to start or manage your own DSO?
  • Do you have the time and knowledge to manage it?
  • Are you willing to invest your time in developing the business and building relationships with customers?

If not, then it may be in your best interest to join an established DSO. Joining a corporate office can help increase productivity by increasing business systems efficiencies and opportunities.

Next Steps

Dental Practice Owners: Should You Join a DSO? | Pacific Health LawRemember, a DSO can be a fruitful and sensible option for your dental practice. It’s important to thoroughly weigh out the pros and cons before making a decision. To dot all your i’s and cross your t’s a legal expert can be crucial to making the right steps. Feel free to reach out to us to help weigh your options and take action on the best next step for your business.