With the Swell of Dental Consolidation, How Will Solo Practitioners Compete in a Sea of DSOs?

DSO consolidation is rapidly growing and has surpassed merely being ‘accepted’ as a player in the dental landscape. In fact, at some point the group dental model will dominate the market.  Despite this, we believe that dentistry will remain bifurcated and solo practitioners will always retain a percentage of the dental market. But how will they remain competitive with DSOs who strive for uber efficiency and purchasing power?

In order to address the need for solo practitioners to be competitive with DSOs – group purchasing organizations (GPOs) are growing in popularity. We wanted to understand GPOs better so we interviewed one – DDS United.

GDN: What is a GPO?

DDS United: A group purchasing organization is a group of several private practicing dentists who have come together to form a group and leverage their buying power. Strength in numbers has allowed us to negotiate with suppliers and nationally-known manufacturers to reduce the cost of goods and services.

GDN: Tell us about DDS United. History, Mission, Vision, Culture.

DDS United: Jody Ames DDS and Jerry Cowan started the GPO in March of 2019 with the hopes of helping private practicing dentists and specialists compete on a marginal basis with DSOs. Between the two of us we had extensive experience in both dentistry and in business so we decided to join forces and help address a need that was becoming more and more obvious in the dental field – helping dentists maintain their complete independence, while leveraging the size of the group to control pricing. 

Our vision is to help private practices realize to compete they have to understand the business of dentistry and what it takes to be able to evaluate their practices. This evaluation is not only from a quality of care standpoint but a true evaluation of profitability.

Our culture is supportive, collaborative and low pressure; we are all solo practitioners or small groups that want to see the private practicing dentist thrive in a new business environment.

GDN: How are you different than a typical DSO?

DDS United: We are different because everything we offer is FREE!  There is no membership fee, minimum purchase amount, or contract.  The negotiations and vetting process have been done for the dentist.  If you would like to take advantage of top suppliers, labs, merchant service providers and other options it’s there for you to do so.

GDN: Tell us about your membership – numbers, types of customers (solos, groups, specialty, etc.)

DDS United: The group is made up of all types of offices, large, small, urban, rural, single practice doctors, multi-doctor offices, orthodontists who were once paying for the same type of service, periodontists, oral surgeons, and prosthodontists.  The specialty offices have seen an increase in corporate dental also and have realized they also need to start paying attention to their bottom line.

We have had over 700 offices participate with the group purchasing.  We are launching an aggressive marketing campaign to grow the group in numbers as we speak.

Currently the members are located in 24 states with the largest population in the Midwest.  Recently offices from the West Coast have found out about what we are doing and the word is spreading.

GDN: What are the benefits to membership, cost, etc

DDS United: The benefits are:

  • It’s completely free
  • Members can save on variable costs that run office overhead up without having to pay for services to do so.
  • There are no strings attached—this is a hard concept for us to understand but it is completely true for DDS United.
  • Vendor partners have been vetted by a practicing solo dentist and approved to ensure high quality products and services are available to the membership and that quality if not sacrificed for a better price.
  • We are adding new vendor partners regularly so our members continue to have options and can make the best choices for their specific practice requirements
  • We have the ability to network as part of the group and have access to information about the dental industry that solos would not have independently.
  • We are part of exclusive meetings, webinars, and of course have access to limited time pricing promotions from our vendors

GDN: What is the future of the dental industry? GPOs, solos, DSO, etc.

DDS United: We can’t completely predict the future of dentistry, but we do know the competition is going to be fierce.  With estimates approaching fifty percent of all dental offices being DSO affiliated in the next 5-10 years, if you want to remain in private practice now is the time to start your due diligence and gain an understanding of what you need to do to compete financially. DDS United is a great way to take advantage of reducing your overhead and being part of a group that has the leverage to continue negotiating and reducing costs. To learn more about us or join our network, please visit our website.

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