Leading dental support organization Pacific Dental Services (PDS) is proud to join Points of Light in celebrating National Volunteer Week (April 17-23, 2022), a time to recognize those who donate their time, money and talents to be a force for good in the world. At the heart of Pacific Dental Services is its culture of service. In fact, PDS created a We Serve department that focuses on service-oriented initiatives such as donated dentistry, fundraising drives and international volunteerism.
For the first time in more than two years, 10 PDS team members and supported clinicians volunteered their time and traveled to Xenacoj, Guatemala last week with the PDS Foundation to provide oral health care at the PDS Foundation Clinica Dental. The clinic was established in 2015 to respond to the widespread need for oral health care. More than half of Guatemala’s population experiences poverty in some form and 13% live in extreme, impoverished conditions. Dental disease is prevalent for more than 16 million people throughout the country.
PDS-supported dentists, dental assistants, volunteers and students from the University of San Carlos of Guatemala served alongside the clinic’s dentist, Dr. Rodrigo Letona Barillas, where they provided more than $172,000 in donated dentistry and created access to care to 165 patients. The Pacific Dental Services Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to improve overall health by improving oral health, through opportunities to serve locally, nationally, and internationally. Its three main programs are special needs dentistry, dental assistant scholarships and international service trips.
“Service is at the heart of Pacific Dental Services and participating in PDS Foundation international trips are one way our supported dentists and team members lend a helping hand to individuals who lack access to care,” said Kyle Guerin, Director, PDS Foundation and Corporate Social Responsibility. “It’s heartwarming to know that we can help make a positive impact around the globe, one smile at a time.”
Each year, Pacific Dental Services provides eight hours of paid volunteer time to each of its employees, or team members, and encourages its supported dentists and their teams to provide high-quality donated dentistry to underserved patients. In 2021, PDS team members and supported clinicians provided $8 million of donated dentistry throughout the year and as part of the annual Smile Generation Serve Day event, volunteered 50,000 hours to worthy charities and organizations, and raised $660,000 for charity: water and more than $500,000 for the PDS Foundation Dentists for Special Needs office.
Smile Generation connects consumers with trusted dentists who are dedicated to providing an exceptional patient experience and advanced clinical care. Now in its 12th year, Smile Generation Serve Day is a nationwide campaign of giving focused on providing donated dental care to patients in need, providing them with cleanings, exams, digital X-rays, extractions, restorations, and more. PDS-supported dental offices throughout the United States open their doors to provide donated dentistry creating access to care for hundreds of thousands of patients.
Awarded for these services, PDS has been named an honoree of The Civic 50 Orange County by OneOC and Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service in 2017, 2019 and just recently in 2021. The award recognized Pacific Dental Services as one of the most community-minded companies in Orange County, as determined by an independently administered and scored survey.
Since its inception in 1994, PDS-supported dentists have been committed to clinical excellence and providing the Perfect Patient Experience to strengthen the communities in the markets we serve. This includes educating patients about the link between oral health and whole-body health – what PDS and its supported practices call the Mouth-Body Connection. Research shows that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body. Maladies of the mouth, including periodontal disease, may be linked with other medical conditions including oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
Dental support organization Pacific Dental Services (PDS) is joining healthcare professionals nationwide in recognizing American Heart Month by raising larger awareness of the link between oral health and heart health with campaigns in February targeted toward patients and its own team members.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Heart Association. There is increasing research indicating the connection between oral health and heart health is even more pronounced than experts previously thought. About 90% of middle-aged adults and more than 74% of young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity and gum disease or oral inflammation.
Periodontitis is a severe gum infection affecting 740 million people, making it is the sixth-most prevalent disease worldwide. One study showing the association between periodontal disease and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases suggests that the risk factor of gum disease may initiate the development, maturation and instability of atheroma in arteries and conversely when the condition of one disease improves, it positively impacts the condition of the other. Early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease can greatly impact and improve the status of atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.
A new report from the National Institutes of Health summarizes that Americans’ oral health has largely worsened over the past 20 years and that movement toward integration of dental and medical services is an important strategy to improve patient care. Gary Pickard, Pacific Dental Services’ senior director of government and industry affairs, was a contributor on the report.
“Pacific Dental Services continues to lead the way in highlighting the connection between oral health and overall health, or what we call the Mouth-Body Connection, and the importance of dental-medical integration,” said Stephen E. Thorne IV, founder and CEO, Pacific Dental Services. “Our goal throughout American Heart Month is to continue educating our patients, team members and communities we serve about the importance of maintaining good oral health. A healthier smile lowers the risk of heart disease, which in turn creates a healthier heart.”
Pacific Dental Services
(PDS), one of the nation’s leading dental support organizations, today announced a key milestone in its growth journey. Cumulative revenues for calendar year 2021 exceeded $2 billion, marking yet another significant achievement in the privately held organization’s 27-year history.
PDS’ revenues for 2021 exceeded $2 billion, marking a significant achievement in the organization’s 27-year history.
PDS’ unique business model enables dentists to own their dental practice and empowers them to spend more time with patients and less time on the administrative responsibilities of running a practice. PDS calls this their Private Practice + model. Because its supported dentists can leverage the operational support of the large business services organization, they have the freedom to focus exclusively on patient care while PDS remains focused on the business aspects of the practice.
Building upon this successful foundation, notable innovative technology implementations made to the business support platform in 2021 — particularly with the Epic electronic health record system which integrates a patient’s medical and dental records and KaVo OP 3D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) systems — fueled PDS’ unprecedented growth. Additionally, the organization remained focused on raising awareness on a national scale about the critical link between oral health and overall health – what PDS and its supported practices call the Mouth-Body Connection.
Commenting on the milestone, Stephen E. Thorne IV, PDS Founder and CEO said, “Surpassing $2 billion in revenue in one calendar year is a benchmark that few privately held companies achieve. While we appreciate this moment, at PDS we are mindful that our success is not found in any aggregated number, but in the success of each individual dental practice, each owner dentist, and ultimately within each patient interaction. We know that the best clinicians don’t seek us out because of our size.
They come to work alongside our supported owner dentists knowing that they will receive mentorship and training from the best dentists in the world. They will have access to the best tools, systems and technology available in the industry. They will thrive in an environment that helps them elevate their role as a healthcare professional – not only in assisting patients with their dental needs but truly improving their overall health.”
Other key milestones for Pacific Dental Services in 2021 include:
- First dental support organization in the world to implement Epic, the most widely used comprehensive health records system, into supported practices. Through Epic, dental practices can easily exchange patient data with other health care providers for improved overall patient care.
- Implementing CBCT technology in 365 supported practices and using 3D imaging to help more patients with improved diagnoses, precise implant placements, and better clinical outcomes.
- Producing and placing 468,211 dental restorations (crowns, inlays/onlays, and veneers) in 2021 alone using CEREC CAD/CAM technology.
- Launching a one-of-a-kind dental-medical practice in support of whole-body health with the opening of three practices in one – general dentistry, pediatric dentistry and medical care. The innovative, integrated approach offers patients a holistic strategy to managing their overall health care through a variety of services.
- Partnering with the American Diabetes Association to increase awareness of the link between oral health and diabetes.
- Having a PDS executive serving on the CDC’s 10-person National Association for Chronic Disease Directors Medical-Dental Integration Steering Committee.
- First in the dental industry to offer free college tuition to its team members through its College Advancement Program.
- Partnered with Envista on a multi-year agreement to combine their independently developed machine learning capabilities into Envista’s sophisticated DTX Studio Clinic assisted intelligence (AI) software platform which PDS will deploy to its supported practices to bring the full benefits of AI-supported image sorting, interpretation, and analysis to its supported clinicians.
- Opening its 863rd supported dental practice nationwide and contracting with its 683rd owner dentist.
- First dental support organization to join an accountable care organization with a focus on improving the health of the diabetic population.
- Serving as a collaborative medical and dental care team on Harvard Medical School’s Teaming and Integrating for Smiles and Health (TISH) initiative focused on strengthening primary care and oral health partnerships.
- Launching a specialty dental support organization, Periodontics Health Group, in central Florida.
- Creating a quarterly digital magazine, Generations of Smiles, focused on educating patients on how they can use good oral hygiene practices to improve their overall health.
Leading dental support organization Pacific Dental Services (PDS) has announced a new partnership with the American Diabetes Association to increase awareness of the link between periodontal disease and diabetes, and how oral health providers can assist patients in preventing and managing this chronic health condition. The timing of this announcement coincides with American Diabetes Month, a month-long campaign that recognizes all forms of the disease – including Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes and prediabetes – along with the millions of Americans living with diabetes today and those who remain undiagnosed.
Educating others on the link between their oral health and overall health – what PDS and its supported practices call The Mouth-Body Connection – is a priority for PDS. Research shows that harmful bacteria and inflammation in the mouth can indicate and even cause systemic conditions throughout the body. Maladies of the mouth, including periodontal disease, may be linked with other medical conditions including diabetes, oral cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered a complication of diabetes.