Espire Dental, a fast growing, doctor-led Integrated Dental Organization (IDO), announces the acquisition of La Costa Dental Group in Encinitas, CA.
Founded in 2018 and headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Espire aims to reshape the industry with its 21 practices located throughout Colorado, California, Oklahoma and Wyoming. The company acquires practices with a clinical philosophy that focuses on the patient experience, while placing significant emphasis on elevated, quality clinical care and employee fulfillment. Adding La Costa Dental Group strengthens Espire’s position in the Southern California market while expanding the quality of dental care available to patients throughout the state.
Tim Hill, CEO of Espire Dental, is thrilled about the synergy between Espire and this new practice. “We’re proud to partner with a practice that has such a longstanding history of providing exceptional dental care to the community. This location is an ideal fit with our existing presence in the area, and we couldn’t be more excited to work with Dr. Anisso to advance the dental care quality available to patients.”
La Costa Dental Group has been providing excellent patient care to the people of Encinitas and surrounding areas since 1975. Dr. Omer Anisso, D.D.S., owner of La Costa Dental, said, “When I first met the team at Espire, I knew that they were the best fit for our practice and patients. We were searching for a business partner who would not only help our practice grow but support our team members and elevate our patient experience, too. Espire is elevating the entire dental industry, and we are proud to join the cause.”
Espire Dental supports its practices with best-in-class business services including practice operations, clinical training, human resources, marketing and accounting. This allows Espire’s dentists to focus on what matters most: patient care and elevating their teams’ experience. For Hill, Espire sets itself apart from other group dental partners by offering the guidance practices need while delivering exceptional patient and team experiences. He said, “We’re proud of our positive and unique culture and the way it effortlessly integrates with our exceptional business support systems. We’re committed to raising the bar on the quality of support that integrated practices should expect from their business partner.”
According to new Delta Dental findings from its 2023 Original Tooth Fairy Poll, the average value of a single lost tooth during the past year increased 16% from $5.36 to $6.23. The new value not only has children beaming with gap-toothed smiles but also represents a record high in the 25-year history of the poll.
Since the poll’s inception, the average cash gift left by the Tooth Fairy has surged 379% from $1.30 to $6.23 per tooth. At this rate, in 2048, the Tooth Fairy would be leaving a whopping $30 under the pillow for a single tooth.
“Delta Dental has been analyzing the Tooth Fairy’s U.S. annual giving trends for a quarter century, highlighting the role of good oral health care habits for children,” said Gabriella Ferroni, Senior Director, Strategic Communications, Delta Dental Plans Association. “We know this time-honored tradition will continue to bring great joy to homes across the country, and we look forward to seeing how the Tooth Fairy’s giving changes over the next 25 years. Given the projection, it would be in the Tooth Fairy’s best interest to invest in a larger purse.”
The worth of a lost tooth and the economy
Historically, the Original Tooth Fairy Poll has typically mirrored the economy’s overall direction, tracking with the trends of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500). However, while the average value of a single lost tooth increased 16% over the past year, the S&P 500 experienced an 11% decline during the same period.
U.S. regional ranking for the average value of a lost tooth
South ($6.59): Led U.S. regions with the highest monetary gift for a lost tooth, marking a 14% increase since last year’s results.
West ($6.25): Increased 53%, despite being only two cents higher than the national average.
Northeast ($6.14): Dropped below the national average, after leading last year with $7.36 for a lost tooth.
Midwest ($5.63): While still trailing the national average, it went up $1.36 (32%).
About the survey
The Original Tooth Fairy Poll was conducted between Jan. 6, 2023, and Jan. 19, 2023, among 1,000 parents of children ages 6 to 12. The margin of error is +/- 3%.
The January 2022 S&P 500 average was 4,410 and decreased to an average of 3,942 for January 2023, consistent with the timing of the Original Tooth Fairy Poll.
For more information about the Delta Dental-sponsored survey and oral health tips for infants to pre-teen, visit the Original Tooth Fairy Poll®.
In anticipation of continued growth, Specialized Dental, the holding company of US Endo Partners (USEP) and Specialized Dental Partners (SDP), announced additions and changes to its top leadership team.
“This is an exciting time for the Specialized Dental family,” said Scotte Hudsmith, Chief Executive Officer. “These highly competent, well-regarded leaders are integral to the successful future of our company, and we are fortunate they are on our team.”
Dr. Steve Frost will assume the new position of Chief Clinical Affiliations Officer. Frost will work in tandem with the Business Development team as it pertains to new practice affiliations. Frost was a founding partner of USEP in 2018 and has served as its Chief Clinical Officer since that time, concurrent with practice at Red Mountain Endodontics in Phoenix, AZ, which he founded in 1994. He attended Brigham Young University and earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at University of the Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA. He received his endodontic specialty training certificate at Tufts School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA. Frost is a member of the American Dental Association, American Association of Endodontists, and the Arizona State Dental Association.
Dr. Vladana Babcic Tal has been promoted to Chief Clinical Officer. Babcic Tal is a practicing endodontist at Cameo Dental Specialists, a five-location multi-specialty practice in Chicago and pioneer in integrated oral healthcare. She attended University of Wisconsin–Madison, then Boston University School of Medicine for a dual Master of Medical Science and International Public Health, before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She completed her post-doctorate advanced specialty training in endodontics at University of Illinois–Chicago College of Dentistry. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and is a member of the American Association of Endodontists, American Dental Association, Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental Society and the Serbian American Medical and Dental Society. Babcic Tal serves on the Board of the Edgar D. Coolidge Endodontic Study Club and is an advisor for the Windy City Seminars-Seattle Study Club, which focuses on continuing education and interdisciplinary treatment planning for general dentists and specialists.
James Twellman has been promoted to Chief Development Officer. He has served USEP as Vice President of Business Development since the company’s inception in 2018, driving growth at an extraordinary pace. Previously, Twellman was the Vice President of Acquisitions and Development at Riverchase Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery, as well as the Director of Corporate Development at IPC Healthcare, Inc. (TeamHealth). He also served in the Corporate Development Group of HealthPort Technologies and as a private equity Senior Associate at Thurston Group, LLC. He is a graduate of Stanford University.
Connie Wright has been named Chief Human Resources Officer. Wright has served as Human Resources Vice President for ENT Specialty Partners, a practice management platform for ear, nose and throat specialists, and the Scottish Rite for Children in Dallas, TX. She also worked as a Human Resources Officer for Texas Health Resources, a magnet-designated hospital. Wright holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master of Business Administration from Texas Woman’s University.
As the Great Resignation reaches dentistry, it may exacerbate existing access-to-care problems — possibly leading to declining oral health, more dental emergencies, and even an increase in heart disease and other serious health problems.
A July report by the ADA’s Health Policy Institute found that 74% of private practice dentists say that it is currently “extremely challenging” to recruit qualified dental hygienists, and another 19% say it is “very challenging.” Similarly, 84% of dentists say it is extremely or very challenging to recruit dental assistants. We recently looked at ways that practice owners can retain their knowledgeable staff who have built relationships with patients.
However, dentistry is also seeing another side of the Great Resignation: many older dentists are accelerating their retirement plans.
At ADA Practice Transitions, we’re seeing another trend: young dentists are embracing the opportunity to step into established practices and take proactive steps to retain hardworking staff. In many cases, these dentists can tap into programs, such as the National Health Service Corps, that forgive student loans for dentists providing care in underserved communities.
On behalf of its members, the California Dental Association has filed a legal action against Delta Dental of California in San Francisco Superior Court.
The legal action challenges Delta Dental’s adjustments to Premier and PPO provider agreements effective Jan.1, 2023, which include significant fee reductions for many providers, increased administrative burdens and diminished value of benefit plans. CDA alleges that the board of directors of Delta Dental, a nonprofit, tax-exempt company, violated its fiduciary duties by, among other things, failing to conduct appropriate analysis of the need for and impact of the contract changes to Delta Dental’s provider networks and patients.
“CDA is committed to supporting our members in their practices and ensuring the patients we serve can access dental care,” said CDA president John Blake, DDS. “As a dental benefit plan company, Delta Dental has a responsibility to be transparent about such significant changes that affect its provider networks and their patients. CDA believes that Delta Dental failed to adequately consider the basis for and impact of these changes and has failed to offer sufficient justification for these actions.”
CDA previously sought clarification from Delta Dental on the methodologies used to justify the significant contractual amendments and reimbursement changes, including 20-40% rate reductions for most periodontists, endodontists and oral surgeons. Delta Dental, however, has stated that it would not provide any additional information, claiming that it is confidential and proprietary.
“Challenges with dental benefit plans are a top concern for CDA members as we are keenly aware that current dental benefit structures are not working for patients or dentists,” said Dr. Blake. “This litigation is a step toward increasing transparency and accountability. Significant work must be done to develop quality, standardized and meaningful dental benefit plan requirements that meet the oral health care needs of Californians.”
In 2018, CDA and Delta Dental of California reached a $65 million settlement agreement on behalf of Premier providers who had their fees reduced improperly by Delta Dental’s “inflationary adjustment percentage,” resulting in payments ranging from $500 to many thousands of dollars for 14,000 dentists. In the settlement, CDA also secured 120 days’ written notice of material changes to participating dentist agreements to all contracted Delta Dental providers and an individualized illustration of how those reductions would potentially affect the dentist’s practice.
By Jess Giebel, professional education manage, OraPharma
Dental hygienists often act as the first line of defense in addressing oral care issues, providing patients with education, and flagging problems like cavities or periodontitis—the latter being the number one cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. Taking a closer look at overall health is critical to catching and treating periodontitis early and properly.
Though they serve as the day-to-day support for patients in the management of oral health, many think the role of dental hygienists is focused only on cleaning teeth (itself an important part of oral health); in reality, the role of a dental hygienist is much more comprehensive. As the industry has shifted over the last couple of decades, gone are the days of merely getting a patient in, cleaning their teeth, and getting them out.
Today’s dental hygienist role has evolved to looking closely at overall health to assess and diagnose correctly is of utmost importance, ensuring that teeth are preserved and that patients are getting the best healthcare possible. Considering that oral care is important to everyone’s health – from the young to the old, the steady stream of patients never ceases. Consequently, dental hygienists are not immune to burnout.
The COVID-19 Toll
Yet, like many professions across the health care industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to mental health challenges and burnout for many dental hygienists. In fact, a 2020 survey published in the Journal of Dental Hygiene found that 8% of dental hygienists left the workforce since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, a 2019 survey of dental hygienists found that 43% cited not feeling valued or respected as a primary reason they would seek a new job within the next year. Addressing burnout and providing additional support is key to retaining dental hygienists within the profession.
One important way to make sure that dental hygienists are supported is simple—by making sure they are heard, valued, and respected. When looking at different resources that a practice offers, what’s important to one may differ from another, but ultimately these three values are essential across the board. Seeing patients back-to-back, being on your feet all day, and working to assess oral health issues can be exhausting.
Ensuring that practice owners are supporting their staff by prioritizing work/life balance, giving enough breaks, and providing professional and personal support is monumental during this time. Not getting enough support at your practice? The American Dental Association (ADA) offers many resources to help with physical and mental wellness, including videos, articles and podcasts on topics such as stress reduction and navigating anxiety.
Pearl, the global leader in dental AI solutions, announced today that TIME has named its Second Opinion software to its Best Inventions of 2022 list as a special mention. This year’s special mentions list featured 50 inventions recognized for their unique impact and transformational capabilities.
Evaluated by an esteemed panel of TIME editors, the publication’s Best Inventions list honors the innovations across all industries that deliver groundbreaking impact and influence on consumers, the industry, and society at large.
“Impactful innovation is core to our mission at Pearl and this recognition from TIME is a testament to our progress in pursuit of that mission,” said Ophir Tanz, founder and CEO of Pearl. “It is also rare to see a dental technology garner popular interest, so for a widely read and respected publication like TIME to single-out Second Opinion for a list of premier inventions is a particularly special honor.”
Earlier this year, Second Opinion became the first-and-only chairside AI radiologic aid authorized by the FDA to read both bitewing and periapical x-rays of adult teeth in patients as young as 12 years old. The AI delivers its findings in real-time for patient-facing display in the dental operatory, helping dentists ensure the accuracy of their x-ray evaluations and enabling them to better communicate diagnoses to patients.
Click here to read about Second Opinion on this year’s TIME Best Inventions list.
Dentists and all other types of healthcare providers who operate one or more offices as a business will reach a point when it’s time to make a career transition. It could be because a dentist with a solo practice wants to sell the business and retire. Or maybe a dentist wants to expand into new locations, join a dental group through a merger or acquisition deal or sell the practice to a dental service organization (DSO).
In every case, the actions the dentist takes prior to the transition will ultimately affect the outcome by creating or losing practice value. The value of a dental practice is always in motion; it is either gaining or declining in value, never static. So, to enter a transition period in a position of financial strength, dentists need to identify a practice transition timeline and maximize practice value at the right time. Here are some factors to consider to build value.
Optimize Your Practice With Greater Productivity
Increasing practice productivity is one way to add value, and there are two ways to do it: Welcome new patients to the practice or offer more services to existing patients. Whether you intend to scale up by expanding to new locations or are looking to improve practice value, it’s critical to optimize efficiency at your current location before taking any other steps. Your choices for optimization will depend to some extent on your current physical facility.
Your location’s size, layout and diagnosis infrastructure like CAD/CAM, lasers, radiography, etc., are relevant because in theory, a practice that focuses mainly on preventive dentistry needs two full-time hygienists to drive demand for restorative work. In a solo practice, five operatories are ideal because they allow the dentist and hygienists to take care of scheduled patients and have room to manage emergencies, overflow whitening, walk-ins, etc.
The average facility varies by region, but generally speaking, if you add professionals (dentists or hygienists), you must have the infrastructure in place to support their work. If that’s not possible in your current location, you can either upgrade the current infrastructure by expanding the facility or adding office hours to offer more appointments (early or late weekday hours, weekend hours, etc.).
Find the Right Work-Life Balance
Another factor to consider when thinking about ways to maximize practice value is that some choices entail trade-offs that can affect your work-life balance. For example, if you add professionals to your team and/or expand into new locations, you’ll spend more time managing people and facilities. It’s important to make sure you’re okay with that by identifying your personal quality-of-care threshold and being mindful of it while making decisions.
Some highly successful practices are owned and managed by dentists who willingly accept a higher level of fixed overhead in exchange for more personal time. Some extend their reach by adding partners, hiring more support staff and/or keeping longer office hours so they can work shorter shifts to have more family time. It can work well if everyone agrees on the priorities.
The bottom line is that each dentist needs to find their own equilibrium, and many factors are critical in finding that balance, including the number of people you manage and the types of procedures you perform. The practice will require capacity to achieve the right balance, so identify your comfort level and act accordingly.
By Dr. Tyler Orehek, president North America, Airgle.
As we continue to live with COVID-19, the nation is adapting to a new normal. While hopes of fully eradicating the virus are all but gone, the government, businesses, and individuals are now adjusting to living with it.
One industry that must make this a priority is dentistry. Patients wearing masks while at dental offices, is all but impossible. Because of this, the dental industry must take every precaution possible to lower the risk of airborne pathogens spreading during procedures.
One of the most effective ways that the dental industry can adjust to this new normal as it relates to Covid-19, and keep patients safe, is by utilizing air purification systems. So, what exactly should dentists know about indoor air quality (IAQ), and the measures they can take to safeguard it?
Dentistry and Aerosols
It’s important to keep in mind that dentistry generates aerosols. Dental handpieces, air-water syringes and ultrasonic scalers are all capable of producing such aerosols, which typically consist of a mix of air and water from these devices and from the patient’s saliva. These aerosols are capable of remaining suspended in the air for long periods of time and travel even greater distances than splashes and splatters. Thus, the potential for disease transmission, even after the infected individual has left the space, remain high.
While personal protective equipment in dental offices is always recommended, there are additional steps that practices can take to protect both its employees and patients alike.
Deploy Medical Grade Air Purification
One of the best ways is through the use of medical grade, stand-alone air purification systems. The ability of a purifier to capture and contain airborne contaminants, such as pathogens, volatile organic compounds, ultra-fine particulates, and aerosols in general, is primarily determined by the type of filtration used. An air purifier’s effectiveness is correlated with the quality and integrity of the purification filter media itself.
While traditional HEPA filters can be effective at capturing more common pollutants, cHEPA filters are much better equipped at handling the smallest of particles and viruses, which are especially threatening in a dental setting. Cleanroom-grade cHEPA filters have a capture threshold down to .003 microns, a significantly smaller threshold than standard HEPA filters. These medical grade air purification units are capable of capturing the smallest airborne pathogens.
HVAC systems are best equipped for heating and cooling a building, which means that they must be porous enough to allow small contaminants and potentially dangerous pathogens to flow through. Many viruses are as small as 0.1 microns in diameter, which HVAC systems are unable to capture.
This is why medical grade, stand-alone air purification units are the most effective way to filter out pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and mold spores. Additionally, mobile units allow offices to move them to different treatment rooms where most needed.
Today’s dental patients are looking for less-invasive options to improve their smile at a price they can afford. That’s why 3M has introduced the 3M™ Filtek™ Matrix – a new restorative solution that makes composite placement less stressful and more predictable for dentists and more affordable for their patients.
Dental composites can be a great choice to restore or improve the esthetics of a patient’s smile. However, the traditional process can be long and complicated. The Filtek Matrix procedure begins with a digital restoration design. A patient-specific matrix is created that helps the clinician transfer the digital design to the patient’s teeth using 3M dental composites. Unlike more invasive ceramic procedures which often require the removal of tooth structure, the Filtek Matrix relies on additive composite techniques where little to no tooth reduction is required. In a clinical evaluation, dentists reported that using the matrix increased their confidence, delivered predictable and esthetic results, and saved chair time.
“This product brings together leading material science and digital innovation to enable clinicians to predictably and efficiently transform patient smiles,” said Andrew Milder, global portfolio director, 3M Oral Care. “It is exciting to see the amazing results that clinicians have delivered using the Filtek Matrix.”
The Filtek Matrix is the latest innovation in 3M’s industry-leading portfolio of restorative solutions. Clinicians can pair the Filtek Matrix with 3M Filtek Dental Restoratives to deliver excellent composite strength and wear resistance for patients.