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On the Roam: The Mastery Summit – Peering into the Crystal Ball

Posted by Kevin Cumbus on Jun 29, 2017 12:40:13 PM


Disruption and innovation was the underlying theme of this year’s 2017 Mastery Summit on Group Practice in Phoenix, AZ.

Over the last 10 years the dental industry has faced more innovation and disruption than the previous 100 years combined. In terms of digital clinical technology, this innovation has been nothing short of remarkable. For example:

  • The 3-D Panorex: once reserved only for oral surgeons due to cost and need is now standard of care in almost every new general practice. This has led to better diagnostics and rampant adoption of implants by general dentists.
  • Same Day Crowns: now common place thanks to multiple companies developing digital impression systems and milling chambers.
  • Intraoral cameras: no longer a luxury item but rather a requirement in most offices.
  • 3-D printing: making quick inroads into the dental field with early adopters printing bridges and dentures today in their practices.

On the business side of dentistry there has been ample innovation and disruption as well:

  • There are more dental practice analytics software companies than ever to pick up where the practice management software drops off. Sikka, the elder statesman of the group, faces competition from new entrants on nearly a quarterly basis from the likes of Dentametrix, Dental Practice Analytics, Dental Intel, and Blue IQ.
  • There are more Practice Management Softwares that are taking a Cloud / Group Practice approach to their business.
  • Group practices and DSOs were rare – and rarely discussed – in most of the dental world whereas today they are large and prolific throughout the space. In fact, there are over 20 conferences every year with hundreds of attendees, each learning to create, grow and sell their businesses.
  • Insurance companies are now buying up group practices. The DSOs are voicing concern much like the solo dentists did when DSOs began to make a major impact on the dental space.
  • And there is more interest in our dental industry from Private Equity than ever before due to the low risk, high reward, and stability of typical practice cash flows.

Think about how this has impacted our industry. What companies and which providers have been forced to adapt and evolve? Dental labs? Check. Solo practitioners? Absolutely. DSOs? Yep – them, too!

So, what is next on the horizon? What additional disruptions are coming? One of the brightest futurist in the dental space, Dr. Marc Cooper, hosted over 300 attendees in Phoenix, AZ to discuss these matters at his annual Summit.

Diwakar and I were in attendance and had a wonderful time connecting with clients and friends in the space as always. But this conference had a different feel than most. Remember, Dr. Cooper is the one who penned the blog post recently entitled “Technology Will Reshape Dentistry”. My favorite quote from the article is:

…when I speak with dentists, and tell them that robotics, artificial intelligence, and IT platforms that diagnose and treatment plan are eminent, they respond with disbelief. “That’s the dentist’s job. No one knows better than a dentist. That’s what we are trained to do. I don’t want a computer telling me what to do. I don’t want a robot doing dentistry.”

Marc – being Marc – assembled an incredible collection of disrupters to speak at the Summit this year including:

  • Fred Horowitz (Prime Care Benefits) The FUTURE of Insurance
  • Andrew Matta (North American Dental Group) The FUTURE of Compliance
  • Fred Sharpe (Avesis / Guardian) The FUTURE of Government Programs
  • Brandon Dawson (Stratus Dental) The FUTURE of Operating Platforms
  • Tim Twigg (Brent Erricson & Assoc.) The FUTURE of Human Resources
  • Jake Puhl (DEO | Firegang) The FUTURE of Patient Marketing
  • Vance Taylor (Henry Schein) The FUTURE of Centralization

Notice a theme here? Yeah, it was not subtle. The future of dentistry is here. Although it is impossible to predict what our dental economy will look like 10 or even 2 years from now, those who attended the Mastery Summit last week have a clearer picture of what the future holds. I feel like my crystal ball is clearing a bit. And the more time I spend around Marc Cooper and his new CEO, Jake Puhl, the more prepared I think I will be for the changes that are coming our way.

Have questions or comments on the Mastery Summit or anything else related to the world of group dentistry?  Feel free to reach out to me at kevin@tuskbrokerage.com to continue discussion on these topics or any others related to trends in our industry.  TUSK is a practice brokerage, strategy and M&A advisory firm specializing in the dental market. 

TUSK was be a Breakout Session presenter at Dykema’s 4th Annual Definitive Conference for Dental Service Organizations in New Orleans, LA June 15&16, 2017 where we will share “Strategies for Financing Your Growth.” We will be posting about this conference in next week!


Tags: Growing Your Dental Practice or DSO, Selling your dental practice DSO, Mastery Summit

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