The number of dentist practices has continued to decline. From 2005 to 2021, the ownership rate dropped from 84.7% to 73%. While solo practices have decreased, the number of dental support organizations and groups has increased. The American Dental Association attributed the accelerated shift in practice modality to a number of factors, such as the increasing number of young dentists, the mass exodus of the baby boomer dentist population, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute reported in a June 2022 poll that dental practices are only 86% full for June (down from 88% in March 2022) and only 16% of dentists have confidence in the economic recovery in the U.S. To address these issues, dental practices have stated that recruiting staff is a priority and hiring dental hygienists is the biggest obstacle for dentists.

Some challenges that dental practices face is the lack of qualified and experienced staff members. According to the survey, the average raise for dental teams has been around 4-6% in the past year. The increasing number of M&A activities in the industry could help address these issues and other persistent concerns by helping them improve their efficiency and effectiveness.

Acquisition of Sterisl by Solmetex

In April 2022, Solmetex, a leading supplier of water treatment products for the dental industry, acquired Sterisil. This acquisition was aimed at enhancing the company’s capabilities and developing new transformational technologies for the safety and efficiency of dental procedures. Subsequently, Solmetex then acquired DryShield, which manufactures all-in-one isolation systems for patients. These include high-suction evacuators, saliva ejectors, tongue shield bite blocks, and other oral protectors. The acquisition is expected to help boost the company’s global sales and increase the scale of DryShield in the domestic and international markets.

PE-backed iTrac makes three DSO acquisitions

iTrac has been on a roll-out of its aggressive M&A strategy, which has resulted in the acquisition of multiple businesses, such as SmartBox Dental, Local Search for Dentists, and Dental Post. iTrac is a portfolio company of 424 Capital and HealthEdge Investment Partners. Through these acquisitions, iTrac has been able to expand its product and service offerings. iTrac is a leading dental marketing agency that has offices throughout the U.S., which includes Florida, Indiana, Georgia, and Oregon. It offers various marketing and training services, including club software solutions and outsourced marketing.

Sonrava Health acquires DSO Mid-Atlantic Dental Partners, Plymouth Meeting, PA

In June, Sonrava Health completed the acquisition of the 215-office DSO of Mid-Atlantic Dental Partners. It was initially acquired by DSO Western Dental of Orange, California, in May. Through this acquisition, Sonrava Health was able to expand its DSO portfolio to include Brident Dental & Orthodontics, Vital Smiles, and Western Dental. The company now has over 560 offices in 20 states.

Daental365 and Premier Care Dental Management acquire New Jersey-based DSO

Premier Care Dental Management and Dental365 have acquired Dental Care New Jersey, which had eight general practices. This acquisition brings the company’s total number of supported practices to over a hundred. The two organizations were founded by Brent and Jerome Simon, who currently serve the residents of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Middlesex counties. Premier Care Dental Management expanded its support services to multiple practices, such as Beacon Dental Health, Dental365, and Leading Edge Oral Surgery, through this acquisition. This acquisition marks a significant achievement for the New Hyde Park-based organization, as it has doubled in size each year since it was founded in 2014.

Benco Dental acquires Wisconsin-based Popp Dental Supply, LLC

In February 2022, Benco Dental, the nation’s largest independent distributor of dental healthcare technology and supplies, announced the acquisition of Popp Dental Supply, LLC. The terms of the sale were undisclosed; Popp Dental Supply was represented in this transaction by Connect the Dents, LLC, a dental-specific M&A Advisory company based in New York, NY. Benco Dental now has access to an expansive array of technology, equipment, and services that will provide doctors with all of the necessary tools to expand and thrive in their practices.

To ensure a successful merger, careful due diligence must be conducted, which takes into account not only financial and legal aspects but also the human elements. It is essential that the right professionals are hired to create the feasibility study, employment, and buy-sell agreements, and to ensure the compatibility of the two parties. The rewards of such an endeavor can be exceptionally substantial.