What is a DSO, and how can it benefit you as a dentist?

The term “DSO,” which is short for “dental support organization,” is becoming ever-more popular in the dental world. But what exactly is a DSO, and is it worth considering for your dental career? 

There are many negative perceptions about DSOs out there. However, as we previously explored while looking at the role of a DSO hygienist, these myths don’t necessarily hold true for all DSOs. Let’s take a closer look at what being part of a DSO truly means for a dentist and, more specifically, what Mortenson Dental Partners (MDP) offers to the dentists it supports.

What is a DSO?

A dental support organization, or DSO, is a company that provides business support to dentists and dental practices. The DSO itself does not provide clinical care to patients, but rather supports those who do with a wide range of administrative services, including:

  • Human resources and benefits.
  • Payroll and claims processing.
  • Legal and risk management services.
  • Building maintenance and upgrades. 
  • Marketing and information technology.
  • Continuing education and training.
  • Dental supplies and equipment.

In recent years, the number of dentists choosing to affiliate with a DSO has steadily increased. In June 2023, the American Dental Association reported that 13% of dentists across the country are affiliated with a DSO, up from 10.4% in 2019 and 8.8% in 2017. For those who graduated from dental school less than 10 years ago, the percentage is even higher. 

Why do dentists affiliate with DSOs?

When considering the benefits of joining a DSO, it’s easy to see why this upward trend is occurring. For example, because the burden of administrative work lies with the DSO, the dentist has more time to spend with patients. This benefits dentists by allowing them to do what they love, as well as patients by giving them more focused dental care. Dentists affiliated with a DSO are also spared from having to do tasks like payroll and marketing after hours, so many appreciate a much better work-life balance.

What kind of DSO is Mortenson Dental Partners?

While there are different types of DSOs, MDP is relatively unique in that it is completely owned by dentists and employees, with absolutely no external funding, such as private equity. As active owners, dentists drive the administrative decisions that shape MDP as a whole, particularly those decisions that will impact their practices. For example, MDP’s Clinical Committee is made up of more than 70 supported clinicians and team members who explore leading-edge strategies, clinical practices and new technologies. Dentists supported by MDP also have access to a robust clinical education program to further their skills and education and ultimately grow their career. This is on top of company-paid financial wellness resources, professional liability insurance, and state and DEA license renewal.

Getting support from a DSO like MDP offers numerous benefits, including increased time with patients, improved work-life balance, access to a range of administrative and clinical support services, and opportunities for professional growth and development. If you would like to learn more about what being supported by MDP can mean for your career, click the “Get in Touch” button at the top of your screen.