Dental Trends

What’s behind the rise of DSOs?

June 20, 2018

In a previous post, we examined some of the reasons why younger dentists are drawn in greater and greater numbers to DSOs: burdensome student loans that make it difficult to take on the startup costs of a new practice; and a desire to focus on the clinical aspects of dentistry.

A recent Newsday article highlights another possible factor behind the rise of DSOs, a demographic factor: the growing number of female dentists.

According to Marko Vujicic, chief economist of the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, “Part of it is the gender effect. It’s not scientific to an economist, but the hypothesis is there is a desire [among women] for a work-life balance that is different than males.”

If indeed female dentists are more likely to seek out the kind of work-life balance that is difficult to achieve as an independent practice owner, and if more and more dentists are female, then it stands to reason that new dentists will continue to favor DSOs.

One thing is certain: there are more women in dentistry than ever. To take an example from New York state highlighted in the Newsday article, the Stony Brook School of Dental Medecine expects the 2019 graduating class to be 52 percent women. By 2020, the school expects the number to jump to 57 percent.

All the more reason to believe that DSOs are here to stay. For a list of the country’s top 10 DSOs, see our post on that topic.