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Heartland the largest DSO for the foreseeable future

May 19, 2021
There's been a lot of activity among dental service organizations lately, due in part to COVID-19. As dentists find their way post-pandemic, DSOs are seizing on opportunities. How does this affect you?

Heartland announced this week that they have “entered into a strategic transaction” with American Dental Partners. I reported last year on the largest DSOs in the United States, and Heartland was sitting comfortably at the top with more than 1,000 locations. If you consider this “strategic transaction” to be an acquisition, then this would add 278 American Dental Partners locations into the fold.

Aspen still holds second place. The website ScapeHero states they have 897 locations (at the time of publication), but it is unclear if those numbers include the 65 ClearChoice locations that Aspen acquired last November. Either way, Aspen still seems to be below the 1,000 practice bar, which Heartland has now easily cleared.

Heartland’s growth is due largely to practice acquisition, a strategy that presents significant opportunity as the dental industry finds its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic. While clear data has yet to be produced, anecdotal reports from experts reveal that the shutdown and reopening of practices last year accelerated practice transitions. This appears to be particularly true of dentists who were nearing retirement. Has Heartland seized this unique opportunity?

Aspen, on the other hand, typically expands its footprint with de novo practices. Due to the recent deal with American Dental Partners and the possible COVID rush of transitions, it would seem that Heartland will continue to be the largest DSO for the foreseeable future.

Chris Salierno, DDS, is the chief editor of Dental Economics and the editorial director of the Principles of Practice Management and Group Practice and DSO Digest e-newsletters. He is also a contributing author for DentistryIQ and Perio-Implant Advisory. He lectures and writes about practice management and clinical dentistry. Additional content is available on his blog for dentists at ToothQuest. Dr. Salierno maintains a private general practice in Melville, New York. You may contact him by e-mail at [email protected].