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What is the Owner Dentist Model and How Has it Contributed to PDS’ Latest Impressive Milestone?

Dr. Carolyn Ghazal, DDS

Pacific Dental Services® (PDS®) has recently announced that its 700th supported practice has opened, a significant achievement for one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. As leaders in the dental industry, PDS continuously raises the bar in its support of owner dentists as they foster a culture of Clinicians Leading Clinicians in Clinical Excellence®.

The owner dentist (OD) model is one of the main reasons PDS has been so successful (supporting more than 700 practices) and why so many dentists are attracted to the organization.

As PDS-supported ODs, they have access to an extensive group of highly skilled professionals with broad experience, from other clinicians to business professionals. The OD is responsible for all things clinical, including their office’s clinical culture.

Administratively, PDS provides owner dentists with the operational support they need: real estate identification, office build out and equipping, operations team, marketing of the practice, P&L statements and banking assistance along with much more. The ODs contract with PDS for these services.

How successful has the owner dentist model been?

PDS supports over 2,000 dentists and after 25 years, more than 500 have become owner dentists, including Dr. Carolyn Ghazal (pictured above), the first OD of the very first PDS-supported practice in Southern California. Now operating in 20 states, the organization has an aggressive growth plan to support the dentists in these states, as well as future states, including Ohio, Maryland and Kentucky.  The 700th supported office, West Lawrence Dentistry, is located in Lawrence, Kansas, just outside of Topeka.

Although PDS’ support services network has expanded across multiple states throughout the U.S., the business remains uniquely local. Regardless of how large PDS grows, PDS’ focus is on supporting one dentist at a time, one office at a time, just as each owner dentist remains focused on providing comprehensive oral healthcare within their local neighborhood practice, one patient at a time.

“I’m pleased with the extraordinary accomplishment represented by the opening of our 700th supported dental office. PDS’ primary purpose is to support clinicians to help their patients be healthier and happier. We are honored that so many owner dentists have trusted us to provide support services to them and their clinical practices. Although our support services network has expanded across 20 states throughout the U.S., our business remains uniquely local. Regardless of how large PDS grows, within their local neighborhood practice, each owner dentist remains focused on providing comprehensive oral healthcare, one patient at a time.” -Stephen E. Thorne, IV, CEO and Founder of Pacific Dental Services.

Founded in 1994, PDS is committed to staying ahead of the latest advancements in technology and innovations in oral healthcare so that supported dentists can provide the Perfect Patient Experience®. This includes a commitment to the whole-body health of their patients. A key focus of supported clinicians is educating patients about the systemic link between oral health care and overall health, known as The Mouth-Body Connection®. There are more than 120 systemic diseases originating in the mouth, and new research continually supports the link between oral health and whole-body health. Enabling oral healthcare clinicians to more easily support a patient’s overall systemic health was cited in PDS’ recent announcement that it will be moving to the EPIC practice management system. (See GDN’s article on PDS’s integration of EPIC here.)

All PDS-supported dental offices provide patients comprehensive dentistry, including CEREC® CAD/CAM same-day crowns, scaling and root planing, restorations, extractions, and digital x-rays. In addition, patients are provided a wide range of specialty services, such as endodontics, oral & maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, and pediatric dentistry.

Another aspect of PDS that sets the organization apart from competitors is its foundational culture of service. “Our culture of service is at the core of who we are as a company,” Mr. Thorne shares. “Participating in the act of service changes our hearts and minds about what matters most in life.” Over the years, in partnership with the Pacific Dental Services Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to providing oral health care to those in need, PDS-supported clinicians have provided more than $25 million in donated dentistry to underserved patients in need.

It’s all part of the PDS goal to create Healthier, Happier Patients®, one person, one clinician, and one new office at a time.

PDS is making waves even outside the dental industry. Inc. Magazine placed PDS on the prestigious Inc. 5,000 list a remarkable 13 times and also named the company among the “Top Ten Heroes of the American Economy” in recognition of PDS’ ranking as one of the top job creators in the healthcare industry. (See GDN’s article on dental companies on the Inc. 5000 list here.)

What Makes Pacific Dental Services Unique?

Sources: PDS, Inc. 5000


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