The increased use of technology when searching for health care providers means that consumers of dental care are more concerned with efficiency in making appointments and paying bills, immediate access to information, clear pricing, and transparency when it comes to choosing a provider and a facility to visit. Keeping up with the increased demands for efficiency and technological advances presents a challenge to sole practitioner dentists, which is the standard dental practice model. Dental support organizations (“DSOs”) have seen an increase in popularity recently, especially over the last five to ten years, in part to meet both the needs of dentists and the increased demands of patients. DSOs are corporations that provide management support for dentists and dental offices.

This Note explains the DSO model and its increasing popularity of DSOs and how this could lead to more violations of the ban on the corporate practice of dentistry. More clarification and regulation regarding contractual proceedings between dentists and dental service organizations are needed to ensure compliance and to avoid future litigation. This Note discusses DSOs by examining the body of case law beginning in 2002 regarding litigation against the “OrthAlliance” chain of DSOs, decided in district courts across the United States, and how these cases exemplify the fact-specific inquiry of violations of the corporate practice of dentistry that almost always arise out of contractual disputes. Ultimately, this Note recommends increased regulation in the realm of DSOs for the protection of patients and the public at large but acknowledges the important role that DSOs will play as technology advances.