The near future in dentistry we must consider the near past first. COVID-19 was an extreme challenge for dental offices for two reasons. The first reason was the supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was limited or not available in dentistry. Hospitals and the medical field take first priority in the supply of PPE during an epidemic. Secondly, patient care dropped significantly as offices temporarily closed and patients quarantined.
The near future of dentistry looks bright from my perspective. Dental offices across the country are reopening, supplies chains are catching-up to overall demand and dental supplies are reengaging in trade-shows / events. In fact, I will be attending the International Dental Show in Germany with Delta Dental in September.
As president of Orthodontic Care of Georgia, we have seen a massive increase in patients. The state of Georgia opened faster than other states and the result was quickly realized. As Founder of Smile Perfected, we have seen substantial growth over the past quarter, which can be attributed to more and more dental practices opening and the need for oral health care increases.
Some of the challenges our dental service organization (DSO) faces is employee recruitment for the new boom in dentistry. Doctor, auxiallies, RDH and dental assistant jobs are in high demand. The challenges patients face is returning to the dental office after potentially a year away from recommended dental maintenance. Periodontal disease and tooth decay will all see increased frequency as patients return to their dentist. The other challenge as an orthodontic group is the ever growing “do-it-yourself” mail-in aligners. The in-person examination and direct treatment planning by an orthodontist, for the patient’s entire dentition, is something dentistry should require.
As for practice advancements on a microscale, dentists and dental professionals need to be prepared for a continued and ever advancing technology boom in dentistry. The modern dental office should stay on the cutting edge of dentistry by investing in available oral scanning and 3D printing and other state-of-art tools. This will help patients of course, but beyond that the value of the practice will rise.
Practice advancements on a macroscale are two-fold. Capital investment firms and DSOs are looking to invest in or buy small group and single ownership dental practices. This is a direct result of the overall long-term value dental offices present and the current financial state of smaller practices. This is an advancement for a couple reasons. One is because it gives smaller dental practices access to much needed capital to grow their office with the ever increasing costs in technology and supplies. The second is a robust organization will help improve the overall day-to-day running of the practice by access and large pool of talented dental professionals.
In my work, I talk to dentists from across the country who are preparing for career transitions. Some are retiring and taking the next step on their long-planned path, but others face outside forces that make them rethink their priorities and goals.
The reasons can be positive, like spending more time with loved ones or pursuing other passions. Other times, it is a significant life change such as health issues, divorce, or burnout.
It can be too easy to get overwhelmed by fear and stress, but that can often lead to rash decisions that cause regret. It’s human nature and all too easy to panic when facing change.
Luckily, the dental industry has many options. You need to explore the choices methodically and evaluate all the information. The first step, consider asking a trusted colleague or family member for their opinion. They know you best and can be an objective listener.
Here are two tales of what happens when “life happened” to two dentists without transition plans.
Ignoring the problem
Dr. Arthur’s dental practice thrived on complex, intricate cosmetic procedures. His stellar reputation among local practitioners resulted in patients waiting months to book an appointment. He had enough business to bring in an associate or partner but preferred working solo. He felt no one could meet his exacting standards.
In his early forties, he began to experience numbness in his dominant hand. It was worse on days when he performed more prolonged procedures. He tried anti-inflammatories and icing it, but mostly, he ignored it.
After four or five years of this, his condition deteriorated rapidly. He could no longer hold a handpiece, and a hand surgeon diagnosed him with advanced carpal tunnel.
Vyne Dental, a leading provider of revenue cycle, claims management and electronic health information exchange for all-sized dental practices, announces that it has acquired Operability, LLC, and its OperaDDS patient communications and engagement platform.
With more than 14,000 combined users in the United States, OperaDDS facilitates end-to-end transfer of information between dental practices, provider, and patients via automated email, two-way text messaging, custom paperless forms, and encrypted email services.
OperaDDS automatically texts or emails dental patients with appointment reminders, new or expired electronic forms, and other important communications from their dental provider. In addition to texting or emailing customized, paperless forms for completion, OperaDDS allows patients to quickly complete these forms on the practice’s website, or in-practice via tablet or kiosk.
Dr. Bryan Laskin, the founder of Minneapolis-based Operability, LLC, is joining Vyne Dental as a strategic advisor to ensure OperaDDS’ continued success as it is paired with Vyne Dental solutions, including Vyne Trellis.
Vyne Dental recently released Vyne Trellis(™), a comprehensive, web-based dental billing platform designed to help dental practices improve and manage their revenue cycles, exchange encrypted health information, and determine a patient’s insurance eligibility and benefit coverage levels in real-time.
Pairing Vyne Trellis with OperaDDS creates a unique integration, in the dental space, between the traditional revenue cycle and patient engagement workflows, with the goal of elevating the dental practice-dental patient relationship through robust patient interaction and engagement.
“For the past year, Vyne’s Dental’s mission has been to become a leading provider of fully automated revenue cycle management solutions in dentistry,” said Steve Roberts, president of Vyne Dental. “With the previous acquisitions of Renaissance Electronic Services, LLC, Tesia Clearinghouse, LLC, DSO Data, and now this exciting, new technology, we are one step closer to accomplishing this goal.”
Launched in 2011, OperaDDS has focused on elevating the dental industry by embracing technology and putting patients first.
“I’m passionate about helping doctors grow their practices and improve their patient satisfaction by embracing technology,” said Dr. Laskin, a practicing dentist, technologist, and entrepreneur. “OperaDDS’ innovations are being used by thousands of dental practices across the country, and through this integration, I’m confident that we’ll be able to tackle many more of dentistry’s most significant patient engagement and revenue cycle challenges.”
The acquisition of Operability, LLC further establishes Vyne Dental as the industry leader in end-to-end information exchange and communication management solutions for healthcare, Roberts said. Vyne Dental currently helps more than 74,000 dental practices manage their revenue cycles, send encrypted communications, and position their practices to thrive.
Henry Schein One, a subsidiary of Henry Schein, Inc., announces that it has acquired an 80% ownership position in Jarvis Analytics, a software company that develops comprehensive business analytics tools to help dental practitioners and their teams use data to diagnose problems, strengthen decision-making, and improve business performance.
Dallas-based Jarvis Analytics was founded by Steven Maroulis in 2017. Maroulis will continue to manage Jarvis Analytics and lead the Henry Schein One Dental Analytics business as executive director. The expected 2021 financial results from Jarvis Analytics are immaterial to Henry Schein One. The acquisition will be neutral to Henry Schein’s 2021 earnings per share and accretive thereafter. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.
“This partnership further demonstrates our commitment to offer the latest advances in technology through Henry Schein One, making it possible for dental practices to improve nearly every aspect of their business management,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Henry Schein. “We look forward to a strong partnership with Jarvis that will enable dental teams to use data more effectively to build a better business.”
Dental practices have tremendous amounts of data stored in practice management systems, such as Henry Schein’s market-leading Dentrix®, Dentrix Ascend, and Dentrix Enterprise, as well as systems for patient relationship management, finance, marketing, and more. Unfortunately, many dental practices do not yet consolidate and analyze this disparate data. Jarvis simplifies the collection of data from multiple sources and organizes it so the information can be presented in real-time reports, dashboards, and other methods. Jarvis’ analytics tools can also help identify the impact positive changes may have on projected revenue, including hygiene recall, patient retention, case acceptance, and collection.
Dental visits… We know we need them and we know all about them. But do we really? Is it true that regular checkups are enough to ensure proper oral health? Are dental X-rays so harmful as they are believed to be?
In a recent DentaVox survey, we checked the awareness of 11,029 respondents globally of popular myths and facts about dental visits. See what they think and how it compares to experts’ statements.
#1: Going to the dentist will always be painful: MYTH
When asked about their first association with a dental visit, a lot of people are likely to think of pain. 13% of DentaVox survey respondents, for example, are convinced that absolutely all dental visits are painful.
Well, going back in time, that would actually be true in most cases. But nowadays, modern anesthesia, medications, relaxation techniques such as aromatherapy, acupuncture, and similar tremendously help combat aching experiences. Above all, remember that the earlier your dentist detects a dental issue, the less painful your treatment will be.
#2: I can go sick to a dental visit without informing the practice: MYTH
The COVID-19 pandemic has really made us think twice about going to work sick. Once considered bravery, this habit is getting more and more related to lack of social culture and care. Over 60% of our survey participants also pointed out that going to your dentist while you are sick without informing them in advance is not appropriate as well.
Interestingly, another 20% do not see anything wrong with that. Experts warn that dental treatments generate aerosols that increase the risk of diseases transmitted by the airborne route – e.g. the flu. If your dentist is informed in advance about you being sick, they can decide whether your treatment can wait or whether they could take additional hygiene measures to prevent contamination.
#3: If I visit the dentist every six months, my teeth will be fine: MYTH
An astonishing 75% of surveyed people believe that visiting the dentist once every six months guarantees perfect oral health. But what about the time between those six months?
Although absolutely crucial, bi-annual dental checkups are not enough to keep your teeth healthy. See the five basic tips for good oral health.
Vyne Dental, a leading provider of revenue cycle, claims management and electronic health information exchange for all-sized dental practices, announced the launch of Vyne Trellis, a comprehensive, web-based, dental billing platform designed to help dental practices improve and manage their revenue cycles, exchange encrypted health information, and determine real-time eligibility of patient benefit coverage levels.
“My personal experience with Vyne Trellis has been outstanding. As I have worked in dental claim submission for more than 10 years, Vyne Trellis has, no doubt, been the easiest and most user friendly one to work with,” Vyne Dental customer Katie Billings, account coordinator at Reed Family Dentistry in Millington, Tenn., said. “I highly recommend any dental office in need of a claims processing program, to use this one. I can’t say enough positive things about this program and what it offers.”
Vyne Trellis™ offers several new powerful revenue cycle and claims management options to dental practices. The platform’s features include:
Web-based user interface to support and simplify secure, remote billing teams and workflows.
Real-time benefit plan eligibility verification that reduces manual time practice employees spend interacting with payers — practice billing and claims managers receive verification of patient benefits in real-time through the Vyne Trellis web-based platform;
An electronic attachment submission solution that boasts connections to more than 800 payers across the country; A feature-rich portal that integrates a practice’s submitted, processed, and paid claims — and any supporting claims attachments — to each patient and their respective payer; and
Validation capabilities that identify potential errors, such as a missing insurance subscriber number, claim form information, and patient and provider information, before submitting documents to a payer — helping prevent rejected claims, speed adjudication and create efficiency across a practice’s revenue cycle.
An additional benefit is dental practices’ ability to enroll in Vyne Trellis’ Electronic Remittance Advice (ERA) Benefits and Features Option. Through it, they receive electronic remittance advice through Vyne Trellis. Available in electronic format, the individual ERAs are populated alongside a patient’s claim in Vyne Trellis, allowing billing managers to easily identify outstanding patient balances.
Both bills would adjust the eligibility calculation for second draw Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, loans to 90 consecutive days, rather than a calendar quarter.
“The ADA recommended that dentists close their offices during the spring of 2020 for all but urgent and emergency procedures. These closures did not occur during a fixed calendar quarter, but rather during the months of March, April and May,” wrote Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin, noting that the majority of dental practices are small businesses.
“After dental offices reopened, the Paycheck Protection Program has helped dentists to retain and rehire employees and continue to serve the oral health needs of their patients,” the letter said. “However, under current rules of the second draw PPP loans, these businesses cannot use the months of March, April, and May to reflect the 25% decline in revenue.”
The ADA is also supporting S 1232, the PPP Flexibility for Farmers, Ranchers and the Self-Employed Act, which would allow sole proprietorships to use gross rather than net income when applying for PPP loans. The legislation would also adjust the eligibility calculation to 90 consecutive days, rather than a calendar quarter.
“The majority of dental practices are small businesses, including many sole proprietorships,” wrote Drs. Klemmedson and O’Loughlin in an April 29 letter to the Senate.
With the PPP Flexibility for Farmers, Ranchers, and the Self-Employed Act, sole proprietors who had previously applied for PPP using net income would be able to recalculate and receive an increased benefit.
Aspen Dental has officially opened its doors in Wake Forest, North Carolina, with the opening of a brand-new office, bringing a renowned dentist to the community. This is the 24th Aspen Dental practice in North Carolina, as Aspen Dental continues to break down barriers and bring comprehensive, affordable care to patients across the country.
Located at 12612 Capital Blvd, the office is led by Dr. Mohammad Spouh, who received his DDS degree from Indiana University. Dr. Spouh and his team will provide a full range of dental services ranging from preventive care and general dentistry to dentures and restoration. The opening of this new practice will also create local jobs in the Wake Forest community and increase access to care in the state of North Carolina.
Independently-owned and operated, Aspen Dental offices offer patient-friendly programs and services that make it easier for patients to get the dental care they need, including:
Personalized treatment and friendly service. Each patient receives a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan designed by the dentist, with long-term oral and overall health in mind. Available services may include hygiene, treatment of periodontal (gum) disease, clear aligners, implants, extractions, fillings, oral surgery, whitening, and crown and bridge work.
Safe and clean care environments. We’ve always been committed to the highest safety standards, and in a world where things are changing fast, we have implemented heightened cleaning, hygiene and safety standards, symptom screening for appointments, social distancing at our offices, and now offer virtual visits for our patients. You can learn more about our health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic through our Smile Wide, Smile Safe Promise.
Affordable dental care. Aspen Dental practices are committed to keeping prices low so that patients can get the care they need. The practice works with all insurance providers and handles the paperwork, saving patients time and hassle, and offers free new-patient exams and X-rays for patients without dental insurance. And since no one likes an unexpected bill, the practice offers a clear, detailed estimate on the cost of treatment to give patients peace of mind.
On-site denture labs and Denture Money Back Guarantee. Every Aspen Dental practice is equipped with an on-site denture laboratory, which helps facilitate quick turnaround for denture repairs, relines or adjustments. Patients choose Aspen Dental for the seven styles of full and partial dentures and have the comfort of knowing that the supportive dentists and staff will go above and beyond to ensure proper fit and comfort of their custom-crafted dentures.
Convenient hours and location. The office will be open extended hours, including evenings and select Saturdays, so that patients can see the dentist at a time that works best for their schedule. Walk-in and emergency patients are welcome.
Office hours will be Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. To make a dental appointment, patients can go to www.aspendental.com and click on Schedule a New Patient Appointment; or call (919) 435-3313 or 800-ASPEN DENTAL (800-277-3633).
Hunter Street Partners, a Minneapolis-based alternative investment management firm, has partnered with Healy Capital Partners to acquire Kirkpatrick Dental Group, a growing dentistry platform with multiple practices in Tennessee and Georgia. Hunter Street and Healy Capital Partners will work closely with the company’s management team to evaluate opportunities to build the platform across the Southeast region.
Founded in 2007 by Dr. Jason Kirkpatrick, the Kirkpatrick Dental Group is a dental support organization (“DSO”) platform that currently owns and operates eight locations. Dental practices that are a part of the company benefit from cheaper cost of equipment from suppliers as well as centralized HR recruiting and financial reporting. The dental group offers a range of services, including fillings, cleanings, restorative implants, surgeries, and cosmetic services such as teeth whitening.
“Kirkpatrick Dental Group is poised for long-term growth, benefiting from rising demand for cosmetic dentistry, increasing popularity of DSOs, and technological advances in healthcare operations,” said Andrew Platt, Partner at Hunter Street. “With over 8,000 dentists in Tennessee and Georgia, the company has significant expansion prospects in the region.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with the Hunter Street team and pursue a growth strategy for Kirkpatrick Dental Group that encompasses acquisitions, economies of scale, and meeting growth in patient demand,” said Michael Healy, CEO of Healy Capital Partners. “By developing market leading capabilities in dental practice management and insurance compliance, the platform will draw interest from a range of independent dentistry practices.”
Western Dental & Orthodontics, one of the nation’s leaders in accessible, affordable oral healthcare and the leading orthodontics provider in the country, today announced the opening of its newest office in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of northeast Los Angeles.
Located in a new office and retail building at 3303 N. Broadway, the site is across the street from Gates Street Elementary and adjacent to Abraham Lincoln High School, just east of Interstate 5.
“We are proud to expand access to even more residents throughout the greater Los Angeles area with this new office,” said Dr. John Luther, chief dental officer for Western Dental. “We will provide a full complement of dental services all under one roof, as we do in all 233 offices throughout California.”
The Lincoln Heights office is comprised of 12 treatment rooms, including four dedicated to root canal treatments and pediatric dentistry. The office provides comprehensive dental services, including general dentistry, orthodontics, oral surgery, dental implants, pediatric dentistry and oral hygiene services, creating a “dental home” for patients.
“It is fitting that our newest office is in the oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles, where our organization’s roots in the community date back 118 years,” said Dr. Elahe Haghighi Zolmajd, managing dentist of the Lincoln Heights office. “We welcome patients and their families to our new office, where it is our goal to provide safe, high-quality, affordable oral health care in a comfortable setting with the latest technology.”