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Top 5 Things We Learned at the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit

Here are the biggest takeaways from the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit.

1. In-Person Conferences are BACK!

DSO Summit

Over the past two and a half years, the Dental Conference World (and all Conferences for that matter) has been turned upside down. It was SO very cool to see ‘standing room only’ attendance at the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit in Nashville. While virtual meetings were a necessity for a while, and they still can serve a purpose, in-person meetings provide attendees the opportunity to interact with the speakers and panelists, other conference attendees, and the sponsors in ways that just aren’t possible virtually. It was clear that the learning opportunity was non-stop for everyone attending the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit.

The recipe for success for future conferences must include:

• Recognized speakers and panelists

• A desirable destination

• And a genuine community of like-minded people willing to exchange information and experiences.

With this recipe in mind, you can count on the 2023 DSO Leadership Summit in Austin, TX, to be a must attend event!

2. Emerging DSOs are a Segment to Watch in Dentistry

There are many different types of DSOs, from those just beginning their journey to grow and expand, to mature DSOs with hundreds of locations. While the exact definition of an emerging DSO is a bit elusive, a working guideline to describe an emerging DSO is one with three to 30 locations. This segment is growing rapidly and is of keen interest to Associate Dentists, Team Members, the Investment Community and other Stakeholders.DSO Summit Award Winners

Many people see the emerging DSOs as the perfect place to invest their time, skills and financial resources with the opportunity to contribute and build something of lasting value. Emerging DSOs are attracting some of the brightest minds in dentistry and it will be very exciting to see how their dreams will be realized. The ‘Emerging Dental Groups to Watch’ Awards Ceremony at the Musician’s Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday evening was an incredible experience for everyone attending.

3. The Investment Community’s Interest in DSOs is Unabated

While there is no denying that at the time of the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit there were (and are) some economic headwinds on the horizon. Despite the inflationary cycle we are currently experiencing, the cost of borrowing becoming more expensive, and difficulty in hiring quality team members, among other very real challenges, the Investment Community remains bullish on investing in DSOs! Rightfully so. Dentistry proved that it is recession-resistant in the 2007-2009 economic downturn (now referred to as the ‘Great Recession’). 

The dental profession also emerged from the COVID pandemic and the unprecedented period of shutdown that lasted anywhere from 7-16 weeks, in strong shape. As a business, dental offices provide valued services that are needed or wanted in good economic times, as well as less favorable times. Deal flow remains strong and the financial community is more interested than ever in investing in DSOs with solid business fundamentals.

4. Providing Greater Access to Care Presents New Opportunities to Serve and Grow


The Keynote Panel Discussion at the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit, AADMD: Where People and Profits Collide, was all about recognizing the opportunity to serve people who have historically been overlooked as a potential patient audience. These groups include people with physical challenges, those with neurodevelopmental disorders, and people with intellectual disabilities, among others. 

We learned about National Grant Funding Resources and we gained an understanding about the significant size of this underserved population. Most people in the dental profession care deeply about helping others and this Keynote Panel Discussion was enlightening. This is indeed an opportunity where people and profits collide!

5. The Importance of a Clear Vision was a Thread Throughout the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit

From the opening presentation featuring Pat Bauer, President and CEO of Heartland Dental, to the closing presentation given by Dr. Scott Leune, there was a consistent theme that a clear Vision is critically important if an emerging DSO is going to achieve its full potential. This vision must be embraced by the Executive Leadership Team and reinforced at every level of the DSO. There were many examples provided by speakers, panelists and moderators about how a compelling vision is your most powerful tool to recruit and retain quality dentists and team members and how your vision will provide a solid foundation for DSO growth. 

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DSO Summit


Interested in the 2023 DSO Summit?

Learn about the 2023 DSO Leadership Summit happening in Austin, TX, here.


Author Bio:

Gary Takacs served as the Master of Ceremonies for the 2022 DSO Leadership Summit. As the founder of the first dental podcast, (the Thriving Dentist Show, created in 2011), Gary is recognized as the ‘Voice of Dentistry’.