Affordable Dentures & Implants: Supporting Dentists Specializing in Tooth Replacement
Early in his career, Charles J. Zasso, DDS, had the opportunity to work as a part-time associate at both a traditional private practice and a Dental Support Organization (DSO)-owned practice. Zasso discovered that the DSO provided him with more patients and as much or more clinical autonomy while allowing him to practice the type of dentistry he wanted. The experience "allowed me to fulfill my dreams for my career," he recalls.
Today, Zasso is Chief Clinical Officer at Affordable Dentures & Implants, a DSO with more than 250 affiliated practices in 40 states throughout the United States. DSOs, he says, offer practitioners two different types of support. On the business side, support includes functions such as insurance collection, human resources, and recruiting. The clinical side of support, however, provides what Zasso considers to be the greatest benefit of a DSO. "It's the sharing of ideas. You get to confer with like-minded dentists who are working within the same building or organization. The dentists have similar patients and support staff, allowing them to compare best practices," he explains. Onboarding and mentoring programs as well as robust clinical continuing education (CE) opportunities are also available.
"At Affordable Dentures & Implants, we have doctor counsels that look at many different topics. The doctors on these counsels review everything from excellence in implantology, to other clinical initiatives, to quality assurance. These are doctor-led initiatives, and the findings are shared across the network. This allows a continuous quality improvement aspect," Zasso says.
In an individual practice, Zasso suggests, it may take many years to procure enough data to truly understand the effects and/or repercussions of a given procedure. Within a DSO network, however, the group of practitioners may be able to recognize significant technique trends over the course of sometimes just a few weeks. "There's a sort of ‘turbo' learning that occurs because of the data we can share within the network," he asserts.
In comparison with other DSOs, what differentiates Affordable Dentures & Implants is its focus on tooth replacement, Zasso says. Practitioners perform only procedures involving implants and dentures, giving dentists the opportunity to become specialists. There are no fillings or crowns being done. By zeroing in on a few procedures, including extractions, bone grafting, dental implants, and full and partial dentures, the company is able to optimize care for patients at an affordable price point. "Patients see a lot of value in us being able to deliver a high-quality denture in a single day, and perhaps even start doing implants that same day."
Zasso is also proud of Affordable Dentures & Implants' low turnover rate among its doctors, pointing to a rate of just 3% in 2016, which he attributes mostly to practitioners retiring. "Doctors feel supported, yet they have clinical autonomy and freedom. They own their practice; we are just there to support them," he reiterates.
The company specifically selects candidates who are interested in transitioning into a DSO. A typical doctor candidate goes through a series of interviews with other practice owners, Affordable operational management personnel, and Zasso himself. The rigorous process helps ensure that the company finds doctors who enjoy working in oral surgery, implant dentistry, and dentures. In addition, Affordable performs in-office assessments where the dentist treats cases and puts the dentist through a full month of training, including live implant training, before placing the dentist in his or her own practice. The company then provides the dentist with about 100 hours of CE on implants in the first year.
In summary, Zasso says, Affordable Dentures & Implants is "a nice place to be if you enjoy having support on the business side with clinical support that allows you clinical autonomy. You have a ‘built-in' group of peers. Ultimately, the dentists are completely responsible for making the clinical decisions. We're there to support them with education, training, and sharing of best practices."
Affordable Dentures & Implants