By taking a whole health approach to dentistry, Great Expressions Dental Centers is working to reshape access to comprehensive oral care.
“Your mouth is the access point to your body. Good oral health is essential to good total health.” Take it from Amy Tipton, COO of Great Expressions Dental Centers, who is steering their 300-strong national network of dental practices into a model that encourages a strong connection between oral and general health.
“Great Expressions’ dentists are bridging the gap between the known impact of oral health on overall health and the challenges of comprehensive care,” Tipton added. “An advantage of being a large dental group is our regional reach and ability to manage the practical implications of connecting physicians at scale, including clinical, technology, training and education, and systems requirements.”
As one of this country’s leading consortiums of independent dental practices, Great Expressions serves patients in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Texas. Its operating company, ADG LLC, provides non-clinical business and administrative support services to practices across the nation. “Think of us as experts in the business of supporting the practice of dentistry,” Tipton said. By releasing dentists and clinicians from the administrative hassles of running an efficient practice, ADG frees clinicians to perform the work they excel at doing — caring for patients and delivering great patient experiences. “Our systems, infrastructure, and training are designed to connect hundreds of dentists for clinical collaboration and mentoring to improve patient outcomes and accelerate clinical development,” added Tipton.
“And by doing so, GEDC can focus on making the connection with patients that dental health is more than just cleanings and X-rays,” she stressed. “It’s a vital connector to your overall health but often neglected compared to what we can see, like a skin irritation. Maintaining your oral health helps with the treatment of chronic bacterial infection and disease. If dental health is ignored, patients are prone to declines in health. Dental health is connected to diabetes, coronary disease, and even Alzheimer’s. It’s a vital part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
The Evolution of Smarter Dentistry
The support of a dental service organization (DSO) brings a level of stability and confidence to a dental practice that may be unattained through an independent practice. As Tipton pointed out, “The dental industry consists of approximately 85 to 90 percent solo practitioners or group practices with one dentist per office. These solo practitioners are performing clinical procedures on patients while at the same time trying to schedule appointments; pre-authorize insurance; improve patient satisfaction; recruit and train new team members; stay compliant with rapidly changing laws and regulations; market the practice; keep accurate accounting records; perform financial analyses; and manage student debt. It can be challenging for a dentist.”
ADG’s support enables GEDC to implement best practices, as well as access to training and education, financing options, and a network of hundreds of connected doctors who can share advice and offer assistance on difficult cases. “Now the providers can focus on their passion and excel at what they do best, which is treating patients. Connecting hundreds of doctors with the same focus is what makes Great Expressions the smarter choice,” she added.
A Clinical Advisory Board maintains regulatory and compliance requirements and acts as a conduit to share best practices and clinical modalities amongst providers. Additionally, the board oversees formulary development, laboratories, develops and implements clinical quality assurance and follow-up protocols, and promotes career advancement.
The connected network approach provides a platform for engaging with large health systems to help provide more integrated care for patients, something that previously only industry organizations have had the reach and resources to explore. “Connecting oral health to the broader medical community is something our affiliated practices are very passionate about,” Tipton said. “In order to successfully achieve this, our providers care for their patients with medical conditions in different ways. For example, patients who are pregnant, have diabetes, or have been diagnosed with sleep apnea require different care than patients that don’t. Our dentists are developing a ‘medical bridge’ to Great Expressions’ dental operatories to ensure patients get the best care available. This will certainly provide patients with both the care they need and deserve.”
GEDC also endeavors to give patients a more accessible experience as well. According to Tipton, “Part of providing a smarter choice is educating patients on their options and what to expect before and after treatment. This approach increases transparency, affordability, and the accessibility of need-based and ongoing oral healthcare.”
Since 1982, GEDC has cultivated a network of high-quality, experienced clinicians. Tipton says, “Our organization has grown through affiliations, and people who have been practicing for 40 years have been so good at welcoming and embracing our management team and our culture and direction, which is very gratifying.”
Describing the organization’s culture as being “all in,” Tipton concluded, “Our culture focuses on inclusion, collaboration, and positivity. While thinking big, we also realize patient connections will catapult Great Expressions into the future. Everyone is encouraged to perform at their best and embrace change for the better. And, in doing so, great things are happening, including the development of a business resource group for emerging women leaders: Women Inspire & Network, or WIN. But it doesn’t stop there. I am proud that as the COO, I am working to obtain my certification in dental assisting so that I can gain valuable insights. We ask everybody to be ’all in’ on the business, people, and total health, and I’m happy to be fostering this mindset and leading by example.”
For nearly 40 years, Great Expressions Dental Centers has been a leader in preventative dental care, orthodontics and specialty care with offices in Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Texas. Consistently recognized for contributions to improving oral health through quality and safety initiatives, affordable dental care services, patient convenience, and research, the dental service organization ranks among the best in the nation. At Great Expressions, patients are not just choosing one dentist, they’re choosing an independently owned and operated dentist connected to hundreds of others— the smarter choice.
Great Expressions Dental Centers
29777 Telegraph Rd.
Southfield, MI 48034