Introducing the "Orthodontic Products Podcast", a journey into the dynamic realm of orthodontic innovations. Each episode dives into fresh research, transformative technologies, and the methodologies redefining the field. Expert interviews seamlessly blend with in-depth analyses, offering listeners a comprehensive look into the ever-evolving world of orthodontics. This isn't just a podcast—it's a portal to the future of orthodontic practices and breakthroughs.
Getting to Know the AAO's New CEO Trey Lawrence
Trey Lawrence will take up the reins as CEO of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) on March 1. Ahead of that, he joined the Orthodontic Podcasts podcast to talk to host Alison Werner about the role he’s stepping into and the work of advancing the association’s strategic plan. Lawrence covers the AAO’s advocacy and legal efforts, continued implementation of the Strategic Plan, and what members can expect from the upcoming Annual Session in New Orleans. He also talks about the relationship he wants with members—from residents in their first year to senior doctors approaching retirement.
Consolidation, Private Equity, and DSOs: What Does it Mean for Orthodontic Practices
In this Orthodontic Products podcast episode, Chief Editor Alison Werner interviews Greg White, DMD, MSD, president and CEO of PepperPointe Partnerships, about a recent white paper he authored. “The State of the Dental Industry” looks at the rapid consolidation in the field, led by private equity, and offers predictions for the future.
In addition to his role at PepperPointe Partnerships, White is an orthodontist in private practice for more than 25 years and a founding partner of White Greer and Maggard, a pediatric and orthodontic group practice located in Lexington, Ky. Through these two lenses, he explains the nuances associated with private equity backed DSOs, what that model looks like, and what the end result can mean for both dental professionals and the communities they serve.
White explains how consolidation in the dental industry isn’t a recent phenomenon. There was movement in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until the 2008 recession that the trajectory of consolidation ramped up—with its biggest jump coming with the pandemic. In the 1990s, only 2% of practices were owned by DSOs. By 2013, it was 13%. And by 2023, it was 34%, according to White.
Given this, White talks about the need for dental professionals, especially orthodontists, to understand what it means to sell your practice to a DSO that is backed by private equity. He talks about who owns what; what a doctor is really earning; and what role stock plays into a potential payout.
In this episode, White also talks about how this consolidation affects associates today and future generations of dental professionals. Younger doctors are struggling to buy or start a practice due to high student loan debt. Many are unable to afford the upfront costs of a practice, which leads them to DSOs to start their careers. But what happens when they want to start their own practices? White argues that their options are limited.
To round out the conversation, White talks about the importance of knowing your exit plan whether you’re 5 years or 30 years into your career. There are options, but you need to do the work to understand all of them.
Orthodontic Trends for 2024 with Intiveo CEO Josh DeVries
In a recent Orthodontic Products podcast episode, Chief Editor Alison Werner interviewed Josh DeVries, the founder and CEO of Intiveo, a cloud-based patient communication software tailored for dental and specialty practices. Intiveo offers features like automated appointment confirmations, recall reminders, booking requests, and reputation management.
The discussion delved into trends shaping the orthodontic industry in 2024 such as personalized treatment plans, the growth of adult orthodontics, diverse patient engagement strategies, and advancements in technology that promise to enhance care options for patients and streamline practice workflows.
DeVries emphasized the significance of personalized treatment plans, considering factors such as age, genetics, and lifestyle for more effective outcomes. The growth of adult orthodontics, driven by aesthetic brackets and clear aligners, was identified as another prominent trend. Adult patients, comprising one-third of orthodontic patients in the U.S., are seeking cosmetic improvements at a higher rate, contributing to a 40% increase over the past decade.
“[There is] a trend towards people putting more value in cosmetic care. This is driven by aesthetics,” says DeVries. “People want to have a healthy looking smile more so than an actually healthy smile, which I think is really beneficial to the orthodontic industry.”
Regarding patient engagement, DeVries highlighted the need for varied communication methods to cater to different patient preferences, combining email, text, and phone calls.
The podcast also touched upon advancements in orthodontic technologies. DeVries highlighted the rise of in-house solutions, 3D printing, computer-aided fabrication, teledentistry, and emerging robotic dentistry. These technologies offer both precision and efficiency, impacting urban and remote areas alike, providing advanced care.
“People just want solutions to their problems,” says DeVries. “And the quicker and better the solution is, the more appealing it is for us to consider.”
Dr Robert “Tito” Norris on How to Create Clinical Efficiencies and a Better Work-Life Balance
Host Alison Werner kicks off the 2024 season of the Orthodontic Products Podcast with Dr Robert “Tito” Norris. Known for his innovative contributions to the orthodontic industry, including the Norris 20/26 Passive Self-Ligating Bracket and Wire System which he developed with DynaFlex, he shares insights on creating clinical efficiencies and achieving better work-life balance.
In the episode, Norris talks about his journey into orthodontics and the intersection of engineering principles and orthodontics, before the conversation shifts to talk about the importance of systems in every aspect of his practice—from the moment a patient calls the office to placing brackets. In a practice that treats over 900 cases annually, Norris explains how he and his team rely on a systematic approach that starts with a meticulous patient examination. This exam allows the team to thoroughly collect the data they need to progress the case efficiently and successfully. From there, everything from bracket placement to appointment staggering is systemized. These checklists are vital to keep patient outcomes consistent among all three doctors in the practice.
Norris goes on to explain the significance this systematic approach has on the interdisciplinary cases he treats. He shares the systems he has in place to efficiently treat cuspid substitution and airway cases.
In recent years, Norris’ practice, Stone Oak Orthodontics, has become known for treating patients with airway issues. In fact, Norris shares his journey to treat his own airway issues with a MARPE. In this conversation, Norris breaks down with it takes to incorporate airway treatment into the orthodontic practice and how treating these cases can have a profound impact on a patient’s life, including his own.
Throughout, Norris reminds the audience how important systems are regardless of the type of case to achieve efficiencies in the practice and practice profitability. And when it comes to profitability, Norris is quick to explain that profitability is about more than increased revenue; it’s also about time gained.
A frequent lecturer, Norris explains how systems and the efficiencies they create allow him to have the work-life balance he wants, which includes about 15 weeks off a year. He not only spends that time with family and engaging with the actives he loves—like competitive swimming and surfing—but he also uses that time to spend on professional development and lecturing and offering in-office courses.
Norris has two courses upcoming: a 2-day course (February 23-24, 2024) with Dr Chad Foster offered by DynaFlex on Exceptional Esthetics and Predictable Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz; and an in-office course offered twice a year (in May and October), also in conjunction with DynaFlex, at his San Antonio, Tex-based practice.
Best of OP: Eye Safety in the Orthodontic Practice
As Dr Marie Fluent puts it, “We’re only granted one set of eyeballs in our life, and we must do everything we can do to protect them.” In this episode, we revisit our interview with Fluent and infection prevention consultant Jackie Dorst. They talk about eye safety in the orthodontic practice and how to keep staff and patients safe.
Dr Roger Levin: SmileDirectClub’s Bankruptcy and the Lessons for Orthodontists
Dr Roger Levin on SmileDirectClub's bankruptcy, their role as a disruptor, and how orthodontists can adapt to changing consumer preferences and emerging technologies.