American College of Prosthodontics’ Position on Corporate Dentistry

According to the American College of Prosthodontics, “DMO/DSO-affiliated group practices are here to stay and will play an increasing role in private practice decisions of dentists in the future.”  Some are concerned with that fact, claiming that quality of care in a DSO environment is subpar to that of a solo owned practice.  The ACP’s position clearly counters that claim.

When evaluating DSOs quality of care, the ACP states that while “management and some employee decisions may be made at a different level, and a partial or complete loss of independent control over some aspects of the practice can occur. This does not imply that there will be any change or degradation of the quality of care. In fact, it may dramatically improve in many circumstances. It simply becomes a matter of which environment best suits the personality and expectations of the individual practitioner as these corporate opportunities become more available.”

ACP’s position statement goes on to examine the business structure of dentistry: “Garcia wrote eloquently in an ADA guest editorial ‘The Restructuring of Dental Practice,’ that regardless of the practice setting, “a dentist’s professional and ethical obligations are always to place a patient’s best interests above the dentist’s self-interests. And corporations per se are not the problem. The vast majority of dentists already practice under some form of corporate structure, such as a professional corporation or a limited liability company.”

There are many factors which make DSOs appealing to both dentist and patient: soaring educational costs, increasing numbers of females and minorities entering the dental field who may desire a salary rather than a total entreprenturial experience, broader insurance acceptance, and highly competitive pricing.

The American College of Prosthodontists is the organization of dentists with advanced specialty training who create optimal oral health, both in function and appearance, including dental implants, dentures, veneers, crowns, and teeth whitening. The ACP supports all of its members, whether they are solo or group practicing dentists, because the ACP asserts that “regardless of who accepts the responsibility for business decisions, dentists hold the responsibility for their clinical decisions and ethical conduct.”

Source: Garcia RI, Santa Fe Group: The restructuring of dental practice. Dentists as employees or owners. J Am Dent Assoc 2014;145:1008-1010, American College of Prosthodontics