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Operations & Procurement Thought Leaders’ Opinions on what DSOs can Expect in 2024

DSOPro polled its 2023 Operations & Procurement participants on the future of DSOs and their roles.

We asked our 2023 featured industry leaders: Where is the DSO industry now? What will be different and where do you predict the industry is headed in 2024? Any thoughts on emerging technologies in 2024? Any company news?

Hot topics in the Operations & Procurement category in 2023 included emerging technologies; opening new markets, building teams, and developing cultures; the importance of regional management networking to team building; clinical quality and risk management; transparency and communication during centralization and growth; and the benefits of a GPO.

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Abigail Castro 
Procurement Specialist, GPS Dental 


What is the current state of affairs and what will be different from 2023? The industry is definitely heading toward a more technologic standard. As the years go by, we are moving more and more towards accepting the use of technology as a second set of eyes. Technology is also becoming a great assist in closing the gap between medical and dental. I predict that is going to become a big part of 2024 as we see more DSOs moving to try to incorporate more ways to combine medical and dental healthcare for our patients. It’s so great to finally see this happening! We hope to see these trends this year with existing GPS Dental offices and new partner acquisitions.

Kellie Cernobyl
COO, Freedom Dental Management

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Throughout 2023 we have seen a rapid decrease in availability of qualified talent in the dental space. Doctor and hygienist shortages have been a challenge since the close of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently we are seeing competition for administrative assistants and dental assistants increase, along with higher payroll requirements for both. Likewise, we have seen the impact of increased interest rates and borrowing capacity from financial institutions. Investment groups and financial partners are looking more closely at same-store growth opportunities and plans for that versus how many acquisitions can be done in a short period of time.

Competition for top talent will continue to be something we all deal with. Focus on internal growth and technology that can provide those efficiencies should become more popular than they already are. We are seeing investment in technology for all levels of the organization, from AI and image evaluation to patient communications and procurement. The teams that are developing these great platforms we know and love should be prepared for the demand for services and cost-sensitive pricing models for DSOs of all sizes. The “Great Consolidation” is still at work this year and I’m expecting to see some big moves from buyers/sellers over the next 10 months.

Jennifer Demont
Founder, Re*Lease Administration

Jen D headshot fullThe DSO industry continues to evolve. Current industry discussions revolve around maximizing same-store growth, emphasizing operational efficiency, and enhancing the overall patient experience. Recognizing the cost-effectiveness of retaining existing patients, the focus remains on strategies for patient retention. Looking ahead to 2024, I anticipate a continued emphasis on technology integration to optimize individual office growth.

In 2024, the dental industry highlights the crucial link between oral health and overall well-being, emphasizing the connection between the mouth and the rest of the body. Major organizations and emerging tech innovators advocate this understanding, signaling a rising awareness. This growing focus on patient education not only highlights the industry’s commitment but also aligns with the same-store growth objective. By emphasizing the importance of oral health, we pave the way for retaining patients and fostering increased same-store growth. The hygienist in me could not be more thrilled about this focus.

Re*Lease is crucial for same-store growth, leveraging our technology to efficiently manage real estate leases and ensure market-rate payments at every location. Recognizing that real estate expenses rank second only to payroll, having a dedicated team of real estate professionals and easy access to your lease data is crucial for effective portfolio management. This not only streamlines business operations but also alleviates administrative burdens, enabling dental practices to dedicate more time and resources to patient care, directly contributing to practice growth.

As the dental industry continues to consolidate, emerging technologies tackle critical challenges faced by practices. Acquisitions shed light on areas where operational efficiency is a struggle. Innovative solutions, such as those in real estate and contract management, represent a proactive response, enhancing overall operational effectiveness in the landscape of dental services. The “technology wave” is here to stay and I am excited to see how our industry adapts.

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Heather Durand
CT / MA Regional Manager, Affinity Dental Management


In 2023, by prioritizing employee engagement and retention, Affinity Dental Management not only cultivated a motivated and high-performing workforce but also established a solid foundation for sustained success and growth. A cohesive and committed team not only drove business performance but also played a pivotal role in delivering exceptional patient care and advancing the organization’s mission of providing unparalleled dental services to communities across the Northeast.

Affinity Dental Management is strategically prioritizing several key areas to drive business performance and excellence within its operations. One of the foremost focuses for 2024 is leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to revolutionize various facets of dental care provision. By incorporating cutting-edge AI solutions such as Overjet into its day-to-day operations, Affinity Dental Management witnesses firsthand the transformative impact these technologies can have on optimizing diagnoses, treatment planning, and overall patient care. Overjet’s capabilities not only provide invaluable visual aids and simulations but also contributes to increased case acceptance rates, demonstrating its efficacy in streamlining workflows and enhancing patient outcomes.

Moreover, Affinity Dental Management further advanced its utilization of AI by integrating Sabrina, a comprehensive dental revenue cycle platform developed by iSpace. This strategic implementation allowed the organization to streamline administrative processes, empower staff with robust documentation support, and ultimately free up valuable time and resources to focus on delivering high-quality patient care. By embracing AI-driven solutions like Overjet and Sabrina, Affinity Dental Management showcased its commitment to innovation and staying at the forefront of technological advancements in the dental industry, ultimately positioning itself for sustained growth and success in the years to come.

We welcomed 2024 with the acquisition of Western Mass Perio, which further solidifies Affinity Dental Management’s position as a leader in providing exceptional dental care and expanding its specialized services. Dr. Schmidt’s expertise in periodontology adds significant value to the Affinity Dental family, allowing for the integration of advanced implant and periodontal surgical services into their existing offerings.

By integrating the expertise and dedication of Western Mass Perio’s team, Affinity Dental Management not only strengthens its perio platform but also reinforces its mission to deliver unparalleled patient care and comprehensive dental solutions. This acquisition underscores Affinity Dental Management’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of excellence in dentistry and enhancing the oral health and well-being of patients across the region.

I’m looking forward to a successful 2024 year within Affinity Dental Management and looking forward to seeing what’s in store for the advances in technology and trends for the overall dental industry. I’m eager to continue to learn and grow within this industry!

Blake Hibray, Amanda Lisle, Angela Miller
Sevāredent Sourcing Solutions

BCH_headshotAML_headshot_1.JPGAngela_Miller_Head_ShotThe DSO industry continues to grow, but in a very fragmented state. The definition of DSOs will continue to change, including using terms such as dental partnership organizations (DPOs) and managed service organizations (MSOs), but the reality is and will grow in 2024 that being part of a group can help capitalize on buying power. Given the current ultra-competitive environment, DSOs are becoming more mindful of controlling spending, including focusing on indirect spend categories.

Dental continues to be years behind our peers in medical pertaining to procurement and supply change strategy. Growth and expansion of groups will continue, but developing a strategy for procurement and supply chain should take the center seat. Those dental groups looking for acceleration of EBITDA growth should look to develop a holistic procurement strategy including achieving cost savings by formulary consolidation and centralizing indirect spend categories.

Sevāredent Sourcing Solutions is a group purchasing organization that helps DSOs and other dental organizations realize savings and efficiencies by aggregating purchasing volume of our GPO members and using that leverage to negotiate discounts with manufacturers, distributors, and other vendors.

Created in 2019 and modeled after successful medical GPOs, we currently have over 30 GPO members, represent more than 2,300 locations, and offer close to 150 vendor contracts that our members access. Sevāredent’s portfolio of contracts also includes coverage of non-labor spend categories such as purchased services, technology, software, and facilities operations. Often, these categories are overlooked because of their complexity and decentralized decision-making. These non-clinical categories are a powerful ally in acceleration of cost reduction strategies and EBITDA growth.

We believe DSOs and groups that want to grow and improve their efficiencies and strategies will look to partner with a GPO. We also believe those groups that have visibility to their purchasing data and make that a priority will set them apart from the competition. Also, groups that make the effort to establish metrics for change management and spending behavior will be most successful in 2024.

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Anthony J. Naranja, DDS
President, Serendequity Partners

Anthony Naranja

Navigating the Evolving Landscape of DSOs: Strategies for Revenue Optimization and Operational Excellence in 2024

The 2024 landscape for Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) is characterized by notable uncertainty concerning same store revenue (SSR), top-line revenue, and expense management. The events of 2023, including economic fluctuations, resource scarcities, and personnel shortages, alongside a decline in consolidation, have underscored the importance of focusing on SSR, top-line revenue, and expense management for many DSOs.

Looking ahead to 2024, the industry is poised to prioritize solutions that address these critical imperatives. Forecasts indicate a strategic emphasis on initiatives aimed at:

  • Increasing access to patient care
  • Enhancing the patient experience
  • Delivering high-quality care
  • Optimizing operational efficiencies
  • Ensuring predictable outcomes
  • Facilitating revenue growth

These areas of focus will serve as drivers propelling the industry forward in the coming year. At Serendequity Partners, we are committed to addressing these key areas of improvement. Our suite of solution-based products is meticulously designed to optimize these foundational pillars.

For instance, our Oral Med Solution offers cutting-edge revenue cycle management, leveraging our proprietary algorithm for medical necessity billing in oral surgical procedures. Additionally, our ERP Integrate Sync Pro streamlines the integration, implementation, and retention of technology (such as implants, CBCT, and printing/milling) or service lines within DSO organizations, thereby enhancing operational efficiency and effectiveness.

As we navigate 2024, emerging technologies geared toward consolidating and creating efficiencies across all verticals will be essential in driving success. Serendequity Partners remains at the forefront of innovation, continuously adapting and evolving to meet the evolving needs of DSOs in an ever-changing landscape.

In conclusion, the challenges and opportunities inherent in the 2024 DSO landscape underscore the critical importance of prioritizing SSR, top-line revenue, and expense management. By embracing innovative solutions and leveraging emerging technologies, DSOs can position themselves for sustainable growth and success in the years to come.

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Patrick Perodin 
President, COO, Marquee Dental Partners

Patrick-DSC00278-Edit_LinkedInThe DSO space is stronger than ever and it’s only getting better. 2024 is going to be another year of DSO growth. More DSOs joining the space, and the current DSOs continuing to grow. It’s not just an exciting time for those of us who have been fortunate enough to have been in the industry for several years, but it’s also exciting for those who are looking for new options to explore for their business and their careers. The best part? There are so many DSO options out there to choose from. Regardless of what type of support a dentist is looking for, it’s available. That’s exciting!

Karla-Marie Santiago
Sr. Director of Practice Optimization & Growth, Oakpoint

Karla_new_headshot (1)The DSO industry in 2024 is set to concentrate on enhancing same-store growth by developing and implementing targeted strategies. Performing SWOT analyses will help DSOs identify areas within operations that offer the highest potential for optimization and value creation. Efforts to drive same-store growth will be accompanied by a detailed review of organizational expenditures, aiming to uncover opportunities for cost reduction.

Procurement will continue to play a key role this year, supporting DSO leadership and partnering with doctors in these efforts. The procurement team’s objectives will include leveraging buying power more effectively to achieve cost savings and cost avoidance. To achieve these, a robust data analytics platform is a must. At Oakpoint, we’ve created our own procurement analysis dashboards using the data from our eProcurement platform and our accounting software. We’re able to have visibility to analytics in areas like purchasing of dental supplies and equipment. The visualization of the data has proven to be very useful for strategic sourcing and decision making.

Emphasis will also be placed on leveraging vendor relationships and contract negotiations with industry partners. Networking to stay updated on new products, services, and technologies will support operational efficiency and growth.

At Oakpoint, our focus remains on ensuring our team stays dedicated to growth, with an emphasis on procurement, operations, and revenue cycle management to support profitability and drive our practices forward in 2024.

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