The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice Of The DSO Industry – Episode 55

David Lohmann, CEO & Dr. Michael Fooshee, Chief Clinical Operations Officer of Apex Dental Partners join Ryan Murdock, Special Markets Manager of Garrison Dental Solutions on the Group Dentistry Now Show. Dr. Fooshee and David Lohmann discuss the history and culture of Apex Dental Partners. They also address the opportunities for affiliating dental practices and career seekers. Ryan Murdock and the Apex Dental Partners team cover their partnership with Garrison Dental Solutions and how Apex and Garrison work together to provide clinical education to the Apex team. Finally, the panelists give us their thoughts on the future of the DSO and dental industry.

Our podcast series brings you dental support and emerging dental group practice analysis, conversation, trends, news and events. Listen to leaders in the DSO and emerging dental group space talk about their challenges, successes, and the future of group dentistry.

The Group Dentistry Now Show: The Voice of the DSO Industry has listeners across North & South America, Africa, Australia, Europe, and Asia. If you like our show, click here to leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5-star review.

Choose your favorite listening app below and subscribe today so you don’t miss an episode! Full transcript is also provided below. Choose your favorite listening app below and subscribe today so you don’t miss an episode! Full transcript is also provided below.

Full Transcript:

Bill Neumann:

Hi and welcome everyone to the Group Dentistry Now show. I’m Bill Neumann, and we appreciate everybody listening and watching us today here. We have some special guests as we always have, but we actually have Apex Dental Partners. We have two people from Apex Dental Partners here today, and they were on our 2019 emerging groups to watch lists. So we’re actually going to drop a link to that in the show notes so you can read that entire article.

Bill Neumann:

We’re going to find out where they are now and get a little bit of background on what they’re up to, their thoughts on the industry and then we also would like to thank Ryan Murdock and Garrison Dental Solutions for being here and sponsoring this podcast. So we have David Lohmann who is the CEO of Apex Dental Partners. Hi David, thanks for being here today.

David Lohmann:

Hi Bill, thanks for having us.

Bill Neumann:

And we also have Dr. Michael Fooshee and he is the, let me get this right, because this is a little bit different. He is the chief clinical operations officer. I think I got that right for Apex Dental Partners.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

That’s correct. Thanks for having us Bill.

Bill Neumann:

Great. And Ryan Murdock of course is here and he is the national special markets sales manager of Garrison Dental Solutions.

Ryan Murdock:

Thanks Bill.

Bill Neumann:

Great. So what I’ll do is, I’ll make it easy on myself is, I’m going to let David and Dr. Fooshee introduce themselves, a little bit about their background, talk a little bit about Apex and then we’ll dive a little bit deeper there and then we’ll let Ryan as well. So David, why don’t we let you start things off.

David Lohmann:

Yeah, you bet.

Bill Neumann:

Give us a little bit about your bio, your background.

David Lohmann:

Yeah. My background is actually in finance. My introduction into the dental industry through my wife, who’s a general dentist and really we’ve built Apex around her experience coming out of school. She joined a group practice straight out of school, had a wonderful experience, but the setting itself was maybe different than she envisioned. And we really founded Apex in 2014, several years after she came out of school with really the vision of building something that melded both worlds perfectly. So it’s the values of private practice with the resources and the support of a much larger dental organization.

David Lohmann:

As I said, we founded Apex in 2014. We’re Texas-based and we pursue a non-branded affiliations-based business model. We gravitate towards larger, more mature dental practices. And as you said, we made your emerging groups list in 2019 and have continued to grow. So today we support about 50 doctors across Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado.

Bill Neumann:

Okay. So there’s 50 doctors, how many locations do you support?

David Lohmann:

We’re about 30 locations today.

Bill Neumann:

30 locations. Okay, great. And your background as I read your bio here and you’re an investment professional, you had investment banking experience at Morgan Stanley.

David Lohmann:

That’s right. Started my career in investment banking, spent a few years in an investing role before ultimately founding Apex.

Bill Neumann:

Excellent. All right. And let’s talk to Dr. Fooshee. And he obviously is a clinician but has a much bigger role than just a clinician at Apex. So talk a little bit about your background, if you don’t mind and then your role at Apex.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Yeah, certainly. So I went to dental school at The University of Oklahoma, college of dentistry. I’m from a family of dentists so I’ve been in the field for a lot of years. Since I got out of dental school, I’ve really been in a wide range of dental practice models. And really what brought me to Apex was my passion for building organizations, specifically ones that keep providers and patients at the forefront. So really trying to protect that private practice experience for everyone.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Here at Apex, I’m the chief clinical operations officer. Really focus on leading the clinical operations team and also supporting our doctors across all of our practices, leading any organic growth initiatives as well. So it’s keeping me busy, it’s been exciting since I’ve joined here. I’ve known Dr. Lohmann for a long time and certainly she shares a lot of the same values that I do as far as creating an organization and a patient experience that really focuses on that private practice feel.

Bill Neumann:

Dr. Fooshee let me just ask this question. In your role, are you involved in choosing or helping understand what products would make the most sense for the clinicians there? Education? What things are you doing there to help support the practices and the doctors?

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Right. From a doctor support perspective, it’s really creating opportunities for education. It’s making sure that they’ve got the resources they need. I think COVID was a really unique year because a lot of our doctors were struggling to get the CE that they had typically been able to get from some of the larger events. And so, yes, part of my role here was to be able to provide more opportunities for them to get those CE credits that they need.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

From a product perspective, we really take the approach that those are clinical decisions that we want the doctors to make at the practice level. And so really my role is to make sure that we have the partnerships with different suppliers that make sense for our practices and our doctors, and providing that support and facilitating the conversation between our practices and groups like Garrison.

Bill Neumann:

Great. And that leads us to Ryan Murdock and Ryan’s with Garrison Dental Solutions. And Ryan actually has an interesting background. So he’s worked with Aspen Dental, worked for Aspen Dental and D4C and another DSO I’m blanking out on right now, but… Oh, Kool Smiles, Benevis. So talk a little bit about that Ryan and your background. And then I’d love to talk after that, maybe you can talk about Garrison, but most importantly, talk about the partnership that you have with Apex. And I think that leads right into what Dr. Fooshee was talking about with continuing ed and educating the clinicians.

Ryan Murdock:

Like you mentioned, I have a little bit of a unique background, somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to the product manufacturing world. I started out in 2006 with Kool Smiles many, many years ago as a doctor and doctor specialist recruiter with the DSO environment. And then I went from there to Aspen Dental, where I was for close to eight years, and then a short stint with D4C. And it was all pretty focused on either general dentist or specialist recruitment, and a lot of time at dental schools and residency programs recruiting at that level, as well as bringing a lot of brand awareness about the DSO space to the students for much of that career.

Ryan Murdock:

My vantage point or my lens of the dental industry is pretty exclusively in the special markets fields. So that’s really how I know or came to learn dentistry, which was why I wanted to transition that into the product manufacturing world, into the special markets segments of that product manufacturing world, because I think I could bring a lot of value to prospects and customers. Just understanding their pain points and being able to look at it through their eyes a little bit better because of that background that I had all those years in the DSO space. So it was really a career motivator for me to shift over to the product manufacturing world and really be able to try to help out a broader spectrum of groups, small groups all the way up to the big guys.

Bill Neumann:

It’s not often that you have somebody on the manufacturer side of things that has actually worked for DSO for a while and recruitment certainly has to be one of the tougher challenges I think for DSO. I feel for you there. It’s probably even more difficult now. So maybe it’s a good reason that you’re not there, but one of the biggest challenges today is recruitment.

Ryan Murdock:

I think a doctor recruitment is, and probably always has been the elephant in the room for sure.

Bill Neumann:

Yeah. Well, good. Talk a little bit about Garrison and I know that you’ve had a couple of new product launches this year in particular. So I’d love to talk about that and then maybe transition that into, how you’re really partnering with Apex.

Ryan Murdock:

Garrison was founded in 1996 by Dr. Edgar Garrison and his son right out of their dental practice in Spring Lake, Michigan. They saw a challenge and a solution that needed to be developed in particular in sectional matrix systems. So they developed a Composi-Tight Sectional Matrix system years ago, ’96 in the practice. And then it’s built from that early ring system to what we now have, a fairly advanced sectional system and a pretty wide offering related to matrices. That was probably the foundation of it was the Composi-Tight section, but we have a lot of auxiliary products that also have developed. And it’s usually developed through clinician feedback primarily. We get a lot of feedback from customers in the field and we’ll develop products based on some of that feedback through them and our key opinion leaders.

Ryan Murdock:

We’re really excited. This year we’ve launched two products that are already quite popular. The first one was our SubG FitStrip system and the Fusion Anterior Matrix System just launched in March. And it’s incredibly popular already. It’s a very unique system when it comes to anterior restorations. It’s a metal band with a wedge, very similar to our basics in the Composi-Tight systems, but it’s applied to the anterior cases. So really focused on those social six. And it’s already doing really well right out of the gate. And we’re real excited about that prospect this year.

Bill Neumann:

Great. I think the one thing I’ll just tie into this, which is coming from the dental manufacturing space as well as, when you think of matrix bands, it’s amazing how big a business it is and Garrison is actually a large company on every continent, right?

Ryan Murdock:

Yeah.

Bill Neumann:

So it always just fascinated me that it’s a very, very big business and it’s also technique sensitive. So talk a little bit about that. COVID hits, trying to educate groups that have multiple practices across multiple states. What are you doing to help out Apex and some of the other groups? What are some solutions that you typically use?

Ryan Murdock:

That’s a great point because our system is quite technically advanced to some degree. So it does require a little bit of education. If it’s someone that’s used an older system, a Tofflemire or whatever that is looking to transition into a sectional matrix system, there’s a lot of education and technique support that needs to go on in that regard. Or if it’s somebody that’s been using a system and wants to try a new one, or even someone that’s accustomed to a Garrison system, it’s always nice to be able to offer these groups and the doctors and the assistants in that group some additional training and support.

Ryan Murdock:

And we’ve got a few avenues we can take both from a new customer onboarding process or an existing customer continuing education. And then what we did with Apex, I think it was in January or December, we did a hands-on course with them, which was a little bit more involved where we sent product to the offices and it was through Zoom. It was a video CE course, but we did a pretty extensive hands-on course with their doctors and assistants with one of our key opinion leaders helping out in that process to really dig in and get real granular in that CE with those guys.

Ryan Murdock:

It’s just something that they chose they wanted to do. I do have a CE course that’s more of a basic and advanced sectional matrix course, but I can do it for any one of our product lines. We have CE offerings from everything from the FitStrips on to the sectionals.

Bill Neumann:

Dr. Fooshee, I’m kind of curious because when Ryan talked a little bit about this hands-on through Zoom, I thought that was pretty unique. I mean, is it something that Apex has done in the past or was it really COVID-driven and what were your thoughts on how it went?

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Great question. So the hands-on approach was COVID-driven and I think Ryan knew that we had a large number of our doctors already using Garrison’s products, but like most things in dentistry, the technology and techniques change over time. And so, I think the approach that Ryan had offered was exactly right and what we needed. Because you had mentioned, use of the sectional matrix system is technique sensitive. And certainly the hands-on part, I think, is super important for doctors just to feel comfortable using it. And we also offered our assistance as well to get that CE.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

And so I think it went really great. I think everybody by then was really tired of just doing a Zoom CE where they’re sitting there at home. We had these, in the practice where the doctors went ahead and used hand pieces and polished and did all those things. So it really felt more like a typical CE environment where you’re actually going to use product, get a feel for how it would work in the mouth, work with your assistant in a hands-on capacity so that they understand how the sectional matrix works as well. And so, I think it was a big hit after a very long time for our team to not have access to that hands-on component.

Bill Neumann:

Excellent. Now, I’m going to ask David this question. As far as you’re talking to clinicians that may be looking to partner with Apex, I mean, are you hearing things from them as far as access to education? What do you hear? And I’m kind of curious, especially with COVID, have you seen an increase in inquiries? You often hear these maybe docs seeking shelter from the next storm, right? So we had into the great recession in 2008, and you just get through that. Everything’s back up to maybe where it was pre-2008 as far as your retirement account and then COVID hits and do you really want to go through whatever next is? Right? So I’m curious.

David Lohmann:

Yeah. It’s been a really interesting time for Apex and I suspect other groups out there that you were faced with this really, unique challenge that was the pandemic. And at the same time, we experienced quite a bit of growth over the last year as an organization. You did have these doctors who, I think for the first time, were faced with this reality that there is risk in the world. So many dentists have the overwhelming majority of their personal wealth tied up in their practice. And when confronted with this really unique challenge, I think it caused a lot of people to at least at minimum begin exploring options out there.

David Lohmann:

And you talked there or you asked earlier in the question about, what are doctors looking for? And this is where I think that this partnership with Garrison and their flexibility to really tailor something that fit us was so unique and important for other groups of our size. Those groups in the 20 to 50 practices call it that. You have a scale where your doctors are actually starting to look to you for more of these educational opportunities, for you to bring ideas to them. And yet you’re still not at a scale where you’re throwing a major conference just for your doctors in Las Vegas, call it. So the ability for Ryan and Garrison to step up to the plate, tailor something that met our doctor’s needs and the organization’s needs more broadly was, really, really appreciated at that time.

Bill Neumann:

That’s great. I’ll ask this to Dr. Fooshee and also David. As I was looking through some of the information that was provided ahead of time, talk to me a little bit about this. This is interesting. Is private practice re-imagined? I know that probably there’s concern when somebody is affiliating, partnering with a DSO that they’re going to lose their autonomy, Dr. Fooshee talked about this. We leave it up to the clinicians, what products they use and can choose. But I think there’s a lot of apprehension going in that I’m not going to be able to use the lab I want to use, I’m not going to be able to use the products I want to use. So is that what private practice re-imagined is? Talk a little bit about that.

David Lohmann:

Yeah, it really is. And again, I talked about, this was the model from the beginning. And it was to build an organization that melded that historically private practice experience for doctors, for staff, for patients, with the resources of a larger organization. And what we mean by that private practice re-imagined is, it’s really staying true to those values. It’s got to be a doctor centric organization that we’re building. We believe strongly that dentistry must remain extremely relationship oriented between that doctor and that patient. And it’s really Apex supporting that doctor to practice the way that they believe is right.

David Lohmann:

I think the most exciting thing about dentistry right now Bill, and you have groups on your podcast all the time is that, there are so many models out there that there is an option for every dentist regardless of your geographic location, your practice size, your payer mix. And the one thing that we’ve done at Apex is just stay very true to our model. Yes, we’ve experienced growth, but it’s really been focused around growing around the right people, the right practices that we think we can be successful with and in turn support their success. Again, back to your question, that’s what that private practice re-imagined means to us.

Bill Neumann:

That’s great. Dr. Fooshee, I don’t know if you have anything you want to add to that.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I come from a mixture of experiences both in the small boutique service private practice world, as well as a larger branded organization prior to coming and working with Apex. So I understand all the values from a sport side that DSOs can provide. I also understand what the typical private practice owner is really looking for and wanting to protect in their practice. And I think that’s really what dentists turned to us. They turn to us when they’re looking for a partner that can really protect that private practice feel and experience. And really, our focus is from a, you asked the question about supplies use and materials and labs. We look at all those decisions as clinical decisions that our doctors have the autonomy to certainly make those decisions. Our approach is to continue to protect that private practice patient experience, private practice experience for the team and the doctor, and really continue to protect that for years to come.

Bill Neumann:

Excellent. Ryan, what’s your experience? What are you seeing with some other groups out there as far as the need for continuing education because you get to see a lot. So you see what Apex is doing. They’ve talked a little bit about things and I will say that it’s great. You’ve explained your model really well. It’s got to be a challenge if you’re looking to maybe possibly affiliate. Everybody has different models now, it’s like you can’t… It used to be there maybe three or four different models and now there’s iterations of about maybe 20. It’s got to be a daunting task.

Ryan Murdock:

That’s actually a really good question. I think sometimes the larger the group, the harder it might be for us to implement some of these CE offerings just because they may offer a lot internally, they just may not have the need, they’re getting inundated with so much. So the smaller the emerging groups are really a good wheelhouse for us regarding the CE offerings or even the hands-on portion. It’s just because they’re smaller groups, they may get neglected a little bit or not full on neglected, but somewhere in that type of range where they’re being overlooked sometimes. So I like to spend some focus on obviously my large group customers and prospects, but I like those mid-tier small and emerging groups just because I think that I have a little bit more access to both them and their doctors to really dig in and help at that technical level that sometimes may get lost with the larger groups.

Ryan Murdock:

I can still run these programs with larger groups. It just depends on the group sometimes, but a group like Apex and then that size bracket is a real good fit. For a lot of reasons, it’s just far more interactive type of courses, just a lot more responsiveness out of the groups before, during and after the program. So I think they tend to maybe get a little bit more out of it than when there’s a huge amount of people on a virtual CE, if you can winnow it down to have 20, 30 or so doctors per course is a little bit more beneficial for everyone.

Bill Neumann:

Great point. Dr. Fooshee, I’ll ask you this. What products and technology do you see out there? What are you excited about? What do you want to find out more? I mean, it seems like, everything’s AI now, right? Whatever that means. So that may be one thing that you’re excited about, but even on the clinical side I’m kind of curious, what you see out there that maybe has you and the clinicians excited.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I mean, I think the trend in digital dentistry is finally becoming considered the norm and really, I think that trend has been a long time coming. I mean, we’ve had access to digital scanners for restorative for many, many years now, but I’ve really been excited by just the quality of the scanners are out there and also the uptake and use from doctors just in the past, I’d call it, five to 10 years. So I think that’s an area that’s going to continue to grow and is going to continue to also lead to better patient outcomes, better patient experiences.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I think, yes, the AI is interesting. I think especially for larger organizations, they’re really looking for quality assurance and ensuring that we’re providing best standard of care for all of our patients. I think it’s a constantly changing environment, so I’m sure there’ll be a lot more changes in the coming years that we don’t even realize are coming yet, but it’s definitely an exciting time in dentistry.

Bill Neumann:

Yeah, it certainly is. Ryan, let’s talk about some of these new products. You have two new products out, right? So let’s talk a little bit about those and [crosstalk 00:24:18]-

Ryan Murdock:

Yeah. I’ve got the SubG FitStrip, which is a spinoff of our FitStrip IPR systems that’s quite popular, especially if you’re doing clear aligners or Invisalign cases for your interproximal reduction. The SubG one is more of, for your cleanup processes to knock away some of the overhangs at a SubG level, but it’s really a spinoff of the IPR FitStrip system that’s been real popular for a few years.

Ryan Murdock:

And then our Anterior Fusion Matrix system is also kind of a spinoff and comes from clinician feedback. We had some clinicians that were actually taking our metal bands for posterior restorations and turning them sideways and creating their own little metal band and working with it that way because they didn’t like the mylar system for anteriors, so they created their own little back door if you will, to get around that.

Ryan Murdock:

And we built off of that and it’s a nice little metal band. Comes with a wedge similar to the posterior system and it takes away the need for three or four hands to do a mylar anterior restoration. And you can do it with one set of hands and just speeds up the process there in the chair. It’s really, really popular already. And it’s only been out since March. And it’s definitely one of the top products so far this year.

Bill Neumann:

That’s exciting. And I mean, I definitely can relate. It seems like dentists always can repurpose products out there for, it’s their special technique or if there isn’t a product that has been created yet, right? So I’m sure you probably have that going on at Apex as well, where, there’s that… It’s kind of interesting because you have clinicians, so you’re a doctor, but you’re also an artist and a craftsman kind of all combined. Interesting.

Bill Neumann:

Let’s talk a little bit about, Ryan and then we’ll talk to Dr. Fooshee and David about this. On the education side of things, maybe you could talk about this Ryan. You talked about hands-on, so it’s kind of a combination, right? It’s virtual, but they’re doing the hands-on there as well. And then we’re going to start to see more in-person opportunities for CE. I mean, what’s Garrison seeing now? Are you going to start to do more of those?

Ryan Murdock:

That’s a good point because what we did with Apex, ideally I would have preferred to do that in-person in the old world, for lack of a better term. I would have rather have done that in-person. But oddly enough, it went really well virtually. We had a key opinion leader come in there, it was quite interactive. You lose some of that interpersonal relationship development when you’re doing it virtually, but that is what it is at least for the last year. So there were some benefits to that virtual hands-on because they could interact with us over the video and the like, like you could do in-person.

Ryan Murdock:

The other nice part was, it’s a little bit easier to record those courses the same as our other CE courses, where we’ll record that course and I’ll send the followup recording out to the leadership team and the other doctors, whoever participates in it so that they could watch it at their leisure. Or if somebody missed the course, they could watch it whenever they had some time. We do the same thing for our basic and advanced courses as well that are webinar formats. We’ll record that and send those videos out too. So it’s just another way to hang on to it. You can revert back to it if you need a little bit of a recap of the course, or if you are struggling somewhere in a case, you could watch the video and fast forward to the part you needed to pay a little bit more attention on at a later date.

Bill Neumann:

That’s great. Dr. Fooshee, what do you see? I mean, do your clinicians, or do you feel like that they want to get out and do more hands-on and to Ryan’s point, maybe you can’t certainly ask all the questions you may want. You do lose some perspective with hands-on if you can’t actually. You use the 3D, right? So you don’t have that as well. So what are you looking forward to towards the end of this year?

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I think that that was perfect for the time, but I 100% agree with Ryan that in general, our doctors really do enjoy that ability to be in-person with other doctors and collaborate. Because those one-off conversations with the instructor or other clinicians that you have, another technique or another approach that they’ve used. You just lose out on some of that virtually.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I think we’ll see a continued increased acceptance of virtual options, but I know that probably, I would assume over the next year, as people are getting, more opportunities to go to in-person CE events, we’re hosting our first company-wide here in June. So I think we’re going to see more of that trend towards in-person CE just because people are ready for it. And like I said, it’s a really great opportunity from our perspective to continue to build culture and build relationships between doctors and with our doctors and we’re in a relationship business and we focus really heavily on that and it’s tough to do virtually.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

So we are looking forward to those opportunities through the end of the year to really connect with our team members and our clinicians. And I know they’re looking for that same thing between each other. So we’re excited about the shift that I think is going to occur for most groups through the end of the year.

Bill Neumann:

I mean, that’s a great point about culture. David, talk a little bit about that. Has it been difficult over the COVID to really keep that culture going and communication and just, I think keep people’s spirits up?

David Lohmann:

I think it’s a great point because I think culture is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that any growing group faces. We’re in a multi-location business by nature of how Group Dentistry works. Each location has a relatively small number of team and doctors there. And how do you meld the uniqueness of that practice with the overall culture and just philosophy as a larger group? We talked about it. Doctors are joining groups for a reason. They want to be part of something bigger. They want the benefits that come with that. And I think overall culture is a big component of that.

David Lohmann:

Literally during the shutdown, we made a big push towards digital. All of our teams were at home. We started doing company-wide Zoom town halls. It was really about staying in front of our team, letting them know what we were working on behind the scenes. Letting them know that they were at the forefront of all the decisions we were making to, in our case, we kept all of our teams employed and really wanted to be there for that. We have continued that even as we have reopened and as Michael said, I think it’s going to be part of the way that both the industry and I think companies more broadly across industries interact with their teams, interact with each other, but there really is no replacement for that in-person culture building opportunity.

Bill Neumann:

And it sounds like you’re going to have something coming up in June. You’re going to bring all the stakeholders in from the different practices and get together in Dallas. Is that the idea?

David Lohmann:

Since we’re spread across, we’re actually doing three locations. So breaking it into still relatively small. We’d love one central group, but we made the company-wide decision that, “Hey, lets at least be responsible and try to keep these somewhat isolated for the time being.” But three locations. One in Houston, one in DFW and the one in Oklahoma city where all surrounding practices and truly the entire team. Assistants, hygienists, front office and doctors are coming together for, centered around a CE opportunity but the bigger emphasis is really on reconnecting people after 15 months of what’s been isolation and really driving that culture component back home.

Bill Neumann:

That’s a great idea. I mean, I think everybody’s ready for it. All right. I’ve got one last question here. I always ask my guests to take out their crystal ball and give me a little perspective on what you see the future of the industry. And so I’ll start with Ryan. What are you thinking from maybe the manufacturer side, and then of course your customers, the DSOs, what are you anticipating in whatever three months, a year? As far as the-

Ryan Murdock:

I mean, I’m really excited about the prospect of getting back to some semblance of normalcy, because as we all just spoke about to some degree is, it’s a very personal industry at its core, I think. And I think that’s what I’ve always liked the most about being in the dental industry in particular, the DSO space. But dentistry as a whole is a very personal, both at the clinical level all the way up from the manufacturing partnerships, the dealer relationships, all those things. It’s a very personal environment. And I kind of miss that personally. And I think that that’s going to bring a lot of high hopes for the future is, opening those avenues of those interpersonal meetings and that type of relationship development, which has gone by the wayside, I feel like to some degree in the last 12, 15 months. And I just think that there’s a huge eagerness waiting in the wings for that sense of normalcy in that personal relationship piece of the dental industry to get back to normal.

Ryan Murdock:

Garrison as a whole, we’ve got a lot of high hopes with these new product launches. We try to launch, two, three new products a year and continue to innovate the lines that we have right now. So I think just personally at the Garrison level, there’s a lot of high hopes there. And me in particular in the segment that I support, the special markets and the DSO worlds. I’ve been in the DSO space 15 years. I’ve seen it grow from Aspen Dental at 90 locations when I started in 2009 there, and now I think they’ve got, well, I don’t know, 900 locations. So just that segment of the industry is really exciting in general. And I think continuing to watch it do what it’s doing gives me a lot of personal and professional high hopes.

Bill Neumann:

That’s great. So Dr. Fooshee and David, I’ll let you give a little perspective on, where’s Apex going? I’m sure you’ve got a business plan laid out and whether it’s moving beyond the geography you’re in, or maybe doing a little bit more within the geography. What are your thoughts and then maybe what are your thoughts on the industry as it is continues to consolidate? Are there any pitfalls potentially with the consolidation that’s going on? So Dr. Fooshee if you want to start things off.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Yeah. I’ll speak to maybe the clinician’s perspective on the future of dentistry. I’ve grown up in the dental field and experienced different types of practice models, but really, I think all of these changes that have occurred and the growth of Group Dentistry, I think is, I really view as positive overall for providing more diverse opportunities for clinicians really at any point in their career, which I think is great for the profession.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I think for young doctors specifically, there’s more options than ever as they come out of dental school. And I know that there’s different challenges that younger clinicians are facing now than they may have faced 30 years ago and that related and such. But I think that the types of practice opportunities they have now and just the number of options they have, really is great for clinicians in the profession overall.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

I think there’s talk of a shift in what dentists are looking for as well as they graduate, whether it’s looking for more of that work-life balance and flexibility. I think those trends fit really well with the opportunities that are being created with Group Dentistry. And I think that we continue to see just more opportunities for clinicians and really we were talking earlier about just all the different types of ways of being a group in the dental space. And I think that there’s more options for doctors never before, which I think overall is great for the industry.

Bill Neumann:

Absolutely. David?

David Lohmann:

I’d echo that. I would say that both as an organization in Apex and as an industry overall, I think we’re extremely bullish on what the future looks like. At Apex, yes, we have growth plans. I mean, that’s probably no secret. We expect a significant growth this year both within our existing markets and even looking at additional state expansion. I think what the Apex model is, is resonating really well with dentists today and we’re excited to grow around great people. But I think the industry more broadly is it’s such an exciting, I say inflection point, but it seems like each year, that’s just moving the goalpost down the road.

David Lohmann:

The way that we’ve always thought about it and talked about it is, for the last century, it seems like dentistry has always lagged the physician side of healthcare more broadly. And I think that gap is closing so rapidly with the evolution in technology, in marketing initiatives and in ways to connect with your patient. And then on the group practice side, I mean, I mentioned it earlier that side of the industry has evolved so much just in the last, 10 years, certainly, but even five years to where there’s so many unique models out there, there’s truly a solution for any dentist looking for the support of a larger organization. And I think that’s really exciting.

David Lohmann:

Finally I’ll say that, you look at how dentistry performed through the pandemic, how it bounced back. If that doesn’t get you excited and confident in the future of dentistry, I don’t know what will. Like I said, myself as an organization, we’re extremely excited about where dentistry is going.

Bill Neumann:

I think that’s a great point to end things on is, there were dire predictions, right? At the beginning of COVID and some numbers like the dentistry production in North America would be halved, right? It would be in half. And fortunately we didn’t go that route. But that was what I had heard early on from a couple of different people that didn’t know what they were talking about. So I think you’re right, the way we bounce back, makes me feel pretty confident that we’re in a good industry and consolidation is exciting and dynamic, and I feel like every week there’s a new story of somebody coming into the space and somebody being acquired. And I think as long as they’re providing quality care to the patients and also supporting the clinicians, we’re on a good track here.

Bill Neumann:

All right. I think we’ll end things on that. I appreciate David Lohmann from Apex Dental Partners and Dr. Michael Fooshee from Apex Dental Partners. And thank you Ryan and Garrison Dental Solutions for sponsoring this. I appreciate everybody being here on the Group Dentistry Now show. Today, it’s been a lot of fun and we hope to have you all back sometime soon.

David Lohmann:

Great. Thanks Bill.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Sounds great.

Ryan Murdock:

Thank you Bill.

Bill Neumann:

Thank you.

Dr. Michael Fooshee:

Thank you all.

Bill Neumann:

Until next time. I’m Bill Neumann, and this is the Group Dentistry Now show.

 

 

Facebooktwitterlinkedin