DSOPro Exclusive

Incisive Purchasing was Created to Provide the Best Resources for all Dentists

Kristina Dion joined Incisive Purchasing because, like her, it is dedicated to finding the best resources for dental professionals while reducing costs and administrative burden.

DSOPro: Tell us about your career. What brought you into dentistry?

I’ve been in the dental field for 21 years, which is wild to me. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an endodontist. I ended up working full-time and going to college full-time for pre-dental. One night I was assisting an endodontist when I fell asleep while suctioning. When I actually fell on top of the patient I realized, “This is so boring!”

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So, I changed majors, transferred to a dental hygiene school, and became a dental hygienist. I absolutely loved it and practiced for 5 years. When I then felt called to work in distribution, I switched careers. It was so much more in alignment with helping more people and having a lot more opportunities for learning and growth.

When they hired me, I created kind of a niche concept. This Vermont gal likes things to be organic and natural, and their sales methods just didn’t fit me. So, I began looking for resources outside of the distributor’s umbrella, out there in dentistry, that could really help dentists give their patients high-quality care.

After 5 years with the distributor, I moved into the DSO, CHC, and hospital space because I really felt like they needed more resources. When you start adding multiple personalities and multiple clinical techniques in multiple locations into the mix is when I started to see a loss in the quality of communication, team member morale, and clinical care and operations. I thought, this is where they need me. So, I shifted into that space 3 years ago, and really have loved it.

In June 2023, I was given the opportunity to leave distribution and go out on my own. I love that I do not have any restrictions on what I can offer and what companies I work with. I want to ensure that my method of organic, authentic communication continues and that there are no leverage points whatsoever, where I’m not getting paid by a company to say this is the right company or anything like that.

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I have teamed up with a company that is like-minded, which is Incisive Purchasing. Incisive falls under the umbrella of a group purchasing or group management organization, but their purpose is much different. Incisive is specifically focused on enhancing the clinical skills of dentists and about giving them proper pricing so they can do so.

When you have full operational systems in place, with a clinical team and a lead clinical director, there is someone who you can comfortably go to with questions. The clinical director has vetted the procedures and can say here’s how you do it and here’s the point person who will help you. A big DSO has these operational systems, and I hope that most dentists feel they’re in a group where they can advance as a clinician. But emerging DSOs, the multi-practice centers, are getting left behind.

And that’s why Incisive Purchasing was created. We can provide all the resources necessary to advance. There is a lot of fluff in the market. There are so many different companies for just one thing. If you want to add some type of patient financing, there are at least 50 companies you could go with. How do you know which one is the right one for you? We vet them and figure out which offers the absolute best support. We are the middleman, and we manage that relationship to ensure they are following through at the level they say they are. If they’re not, we’ll find another company.

All the partners currently under our umbrella are working out great, and it’s free. There is no fee, no obligation, and no contract for people to use Incisive Purchasing, because we don’t want someone to say, “I’m only using this because I pay for it.” We want them to say they are using it because we vetted it, and then they checked it out and agreed this was the best company to use.

DSOPro: Describe the other services under Incisive’s umbrella.

We oversee digital impression tracking and lab services. If we follow the model for improving production by introducing new services, one of the barriers is increasing the number of labs you work with. The average lab may not be able to do those extreme esthetic cases like full-mouth reconstruction. The average practice uses five to six labs for one dentist, so if you have 10 locations and 15 doctors, that’s a lot of labs.

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One of our partners is an elite US-based lab that has three tiers of service and offers high-quality lab work. They have also eliminated the barrier to digital impressioning, which is the best way to cut your lab costs, by providing practices with a scanner and ongoing support. Other labs may give offices a scanner, but that’s it. We are not seeing them tracking the adoption rate or the quality of the scans across locations. When the scanners are owned by the lab, the quality of the clinical outcomes is part of the lab’s responsibility, too. If they see a lack of scan quality control, they will send a trainer back in.

The lab also evaluates tooth preparations for the restorations they create and informs clinicians if they need to reduce more to provide enough clearance for a crown, etc. This helps ensure better clinical outcomes for both patients and dental teams.

Adding new procedures often results in adding new supply vendors. Emerging DSOs and multi-practice owners are using 14+ supply vendors. That’s where procurement platforms are becoming helpful.

One goal of procurement is streamlining as much as possible to one distributor for the overlapping products, but that is hard to do when multiple clinicians plus other people are doing the ordering. When you’re expanding, it’s easy to lose track of who is buying supplies and from whom. And we’re also losing data that would help us control expenses and reduce supply costs. The procurement softwares help close that gap and organize the data in one place. This also makes it easier for whoever is paying the bills.

We’re working with two companies and growing them specifically to handle lab data to see, for example, how many crowns are ordered in a month and how much cement is being used. Is it lining up? Is one location maybe over-utilizing? That will help identify where clinical skills might need attention as well.

Patient financial burden is another concern DSOs and group practices are addressing. The financial barrier often gets in the way of discussing treatment options with patients. There are many subscription models and membership programs you can bring in-house to help patients pay for treatment not covered by insurance, such as orthodontics, veneers, and All-on-x cases. But it is important to know that not all subscription-based models are alike. There are only about five companies in the market with the licensure they need to become a supplemental insurance policy. You can create a plan that makes sense for a patient who is doing aligners or implants with you.

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DSOPro: What do you see when you look into the future?

The future of dentistry is changing. The multi-site and DSO space is growing and it’s not going away. I think it is really important to ensure we’re all working toward the right goal, to maintain the integrity of dental care. It used to be that dentistry was all about the patient and high-quality clinical outcomes. It felt like we lost that for a moment and focused on production and EBITDA. The best thing is going to be merging both, which is what companies like Incisive are working toward. We want to improve clinical skills so we can ensure high-quality care and improve costs at the same time.

I think we can let go of the bad reputation and negative thoughts of what the DSO space is, and instead focus on providing the best clinical outcomes for patients, fostering team collaboration, providing education, and not leaving the in-betweeners behind. A lot of emerging DSOs are in that “struggle” space. If we tear down the silos and everybody starts helping each other again, then dentistry is going to be in a good place again.

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About Kristina Dion 

Kristina_Dion_headshotKristina Dion, a dental industry leader with 21 years of experience, transitioned from clinical work to focus on accelerating clinical skills, enhancing patient experiences, and promoting whole-body health solutions. Dedicated to authenticity, she seeks to propel the industry’s success without a personal agenda. Kristina currently collaborates and identifies with Incisive Purchasing, a DSO success resource dedicated to finding the best resources in the industry that will expand the scope of practice, result in better clinical outcomes, and reduce costs—in that order. 

Incisive Purchasing

Incisive is a value-oriented dental network connecting our membership with the best industry partners to enhance clinical outcomes, expand scope of practice, and reduce costs. We stand apart by focusing on quality and value – never suggesting reduction in cost by using an inferior product.

Our commitment to excellence ensures that our membership receives nothing less than exceptional products and services. By aligning our vendors with the mission of Incisive, we create a network of trusted partnerships that deliver value across the practice continuum.

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