Create successful ePaper yourself

Turn your PDF publications into a flip-book with our unique Google optimized e-Paper software.

FALL 2023



page 2


OSO Equity: Explained

with Wylan Simpson, page 4

Five Strategies for Improving

Clinical Efficiency

with Dr. Jeff Kozlowski, page 6

Creating A World Class

Office Culture

with Dr. Stuart Frost, page 8


Orthodontic Partners began in 2019 with our founders’ two practices and a vision to create an

affiliation of the best orthodontic practices providing the highest quality of orthodontic care,

creating beautiful smiles and transforming lives. Today, our partnership has grown to encompass

thirty (and counting) practices across 15 states, pursuing a mission to build a better orthodontic

partnership model by bringing together leading business and clinical minds and sharing insights

that inspire our partners, teams, and patients.

The measures of our successes are many: from the beautiful smiles crafted every day in our

practices to the unrivaled Net Promoter Scores (NPS) awarded to our practices by our raving fans

and patients.

Looking ahead as we close out this year and beyond, I see so much promise for OP. We are poised for

significant growth while delivering the promise of a beautiful smile to tens of thousands of patients.

We’ll also continue to live out our Core Values of Collaboration, Excellence, Growth, and Trust.

In particular, as I think about the future, I think about the importance of Collaboration and Growth

to our success. The promise of OP rests in the sharing of best practices. I also think about the

importance of a growth mindset to the success of our organization. To grow, we must continue

embracing the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and continue to improve in everything

we do. That attitude is, I believe, at the core of what makes OP so special.

Ultimately, OP’s success stems not just from what we do, but how we go about our work.

Each individual’s commitment to their practice, to their colleagues, and their patients is

what makes me proud to be a part of this team and proud to be an Orthodontic Partner.

With gratitude,

Chip Hurlburt

Chief Executive Officer


1 OP Gives Back

2 First Annual Orthodontic Partners Team Summit

4 Demystifying Orthodontic Service Organization Equity with Wylan Simpson

6 Five Strategies for Improving Clinical Efficiency with Dr. Jeff Kozlowski

8 Creating a World Class Office Culture with Dr. Stuart Frost

Back We Would Love to Hear from You and Conference Circuit


Our Commitment to

Helping Communities Smile

In the orthodontic community, we as practitioners recognize just how much a beautiful and healthy smile

can change the entire trajectory of someone’s life. Our communities recognize this, too — but not everyone

can afford orthodontic treatment. As professionals, orthodontists are uniquely qualified to give their

communities a reason to smile, and at Orthodontic Partners we do this by encouraging participation in

philanthropic orthodontic treatment at all of our partner practices. We proudly support the following

initiatives to bring radiant, healthy smiles to those who couldn’t otherwise afford them.

A Chance to Smile

Bovenizer & Baker Orthodontics – Cary, NC

We want to give children from foster care a

chance to smile. Providing orthodontic care to

these children helps offset some of the

disadvantages they are already facing, letting

their personalities shine through so the world

can see who they truly are!

Smile for a Lifetime Foundation


Our mission is to create self-confidence, inspire

hope, and change the lives of children in our

communities in a dramatic way. The gift of a smile

can do all this for a deserving, underprivileged

individual who, in turn, can use this gift to better

themselves and their community.

Project Mariposa

Reynolds Orthodontics – West Bloomfield, MI

Small changes can have extraordinary impacts.

Our mission is to identify those in need whose lives

will be transformed by the impact of an amazing

smile, and then provide them with orthodontic

scholarships and treatment.

Smiles Change Lives


Smiles Change Lives provides access to lifechanging

orthodontic treatment for children from

families that cannot afford the full cost of braces.

Based in Kansas City, the program has treated

more than 16,000 children since 1997.


First Annual Orthodontic Partners Team Summit




Last September, we welcomed nearly 100 of our

doctors, practice managers, and service center

team members from across the nation to the first

annual Orthodontic Partners Team Summit. Set in

the beautiful J.W. Marriott in Atlanta on a perfect

fall day, this gathering marked the first formal

opportunity for those across the Orthodontic

Partners network to connect and learn from one

another. We shared laughter over duckpin bowling,

and lessons over afternoon coffee.

While excitement was high with a range of speakers

and topics throughout the weekend, the pinnacle

was the unveiling of our company mission, vision,

and core values.

• Our mission is to build a better orthodontic

partnership model by bringing together

leading business and clinical minds and

sharing insights that inspire our partners,

teams, and patients.

• Our vision is to create an affiliation of the best

orthodontic practices providing the highest

quality of orthodontic care to create beautiful

smiles and transform lives.

• Our core values are collaboration, excellence,

growth, and trust.

We were also delighted to recognize members of

the Orthodontic Partners team who excelled in

living out these values, advancing our mission,

and bringing our vision to fruition.

“What a success our first OP Team Summit proved to be! Thanks to everyone who joined together for a weekend

that resulted in ideas, interests, and initiatives sure to inspire and motivate our doctors, practice managers,

service center team members, and office staffs throughout 2023, and beyond.”

Chip Hurlburt, Chief Executive Officer


To collaborate is to demonstrate generosity

of time and knowledge.

We introduced The Heart of OP Award, which

recognizes team members who go above and

beyond in living out OP’s values. It was our honor

to present Dr. Mike DePascale, our partner and

Co-Clinical Director at Kozlowski orthodontics,

with the very first Heart of OP award. There are few

people who live out this definition of collaboration

quite like Dr. DePascale. He has spent countless

hours investing his time and knowledge into others

in the orthodontic profession, while holding

himself to an exemplary standard. We were

thrilled to celebrate him!


“Host an Hour of Power… but make it


With so many world-class orthodontists and

practices in one room, we were tasked with finding

a way to share as many implementable pearls from

our leaders as we could. We held the first OP Hour

of Power, a rapid-fire hour with leaders from across

the country at bat, sharing their best “take home

and start on Monday” pointers in 5 minutes each —

Hour of Power beverages optional.

COLLABORATION: More Than Just Once a Year

To foster collaboration among a national network

of extremely busy orthodontic practices is no

easy feat. With so many voices to be heard, no

annual summit could be enough. And so, the

Doctor Pod (Partner Orthodontist Discussion)

was born: a monthly gathering of partner doctor

breakout groups, with conversations led by

doctors and focused on topics relevant to that

specific group. The pods are built upon

operationally-similar practices, so the information

shared between doctors can be specific,

relevant, and implementable.

Pod Leader Dr. Terry Giangreco of Get It Straight

Orthodontics says, “The best thing to come out of

our pods has been an ongoing text group chat . . .

We are constantly discussing how to improve our

playbooks. As orthodontists, we all have ideas that

present themselves daily. Our pod gives us that

constant open communication with each other that

I can't imagine happening any other way, and is also

one of the main reasons we all joined OP.”

PHOTOS from left to right

1. CEO Chip Hurlburt awarded Dr. Mike DePascale of Kozlowski Orthodontics with the Heart of OP Award.

2. Dr. Nicole Wax and Dr. Jason Scherer of Dr. Wax Orthodontics were awarded the Raving Fans award for outstanding customer service.

3. Aldo Benedetto, COO of Orthodontic Partners, awarded Trulove Orthodontics the OP Cup for the highest year over year organic growth in the organization.

4. Our Missouri practices Moshiri Orthodontics, Embrace Our World Orthodontics, and Robinson & Ries Orthodontics connected for this “stately” photo.

5. Managers Mindy and Angela of LOA Orthodontics shared a team bonding moment.

OSO Equity:


by Wylan Simpson, Chief Development Officer, Orthodontic Partners

You’ve likely heard many opinions about equity in

Orthodontic Service Organizations (OSOs), and don’t

know what to believe. What is equity truly worth?

Which partnership model is right for your practice?

While there are many opinions, there are a few true

facts when it comes to equity in an OSO and the

wealth it can bring for you as an owner doctor.

What are the ways equity grows wealth for

owner doctors?

When an owner doctor joins an OSO, they trade

the significant equity they have in their own private

practice for equity in the OSO they are joining. The

equity opportunity is the largest source of long-term

wealth creation for an OSO partner. It will replace

— and, at a successful OSO, materially exceed — the

cash flow distributions an owner-doctor takes from

a private practice, including for the many early and

mid-career doctors who are electing to partner

with OSOs.

2. What tools and playbooks does the OSO bring to

create value at your practice and others?

3. How is the equity structured, and what type of

ownership are you getting?

Once the deal is closed, then what?

Before getting into the specifics, here is how OSOs

make money for their investors — and why OSO

equity is such a valuable opportunity. Equity in an

OSO appreciates for the same reason equity in a

public company grows — growth in the earnings of

that company over time. OSOs focus on growing

value in three primary ways:

While this should be one of the biggest areas of due

diligence for any doctor evaluating an OSO, it can

also be the most complex area to understand. There

are three key areas to evaluate when working to

understand the equity opportunity with a potential

OSO partner:

1. What is the OSO’s track record of growth — both

to the overall business and the value of that

group’s equity?


Playbooks: tested best practices and operational

support that will accelerate the growth in a

practice. Continued above-market growth

across an OSO grows equity value faster than an

independent practice can.

Arbitrage: the valuation investors place on different

profiles of business. An investor is going to

assign a higher valuation to a large OSO — with

hundreds of millions of dollars of production and

diversification across multiple states and markets

— rather than an individual orthodontic practice.

New Partnerships: OSOs acquire new practices to

join the partnership. This leverages the benefits

of playbooks and arbitrage, creating a cycle

that super-charges the growth trajectory of the

organization as a whole.

Not All Equity is Equal

The success of an OSO and its growth strategy both

have a direct impact on owner doctors’ equity value.

Here’s how a doctor can assess the quality of equity

in any OSO:

partner). The best OSOs are excellent at driving

both internal (organic) and external

(acquisition) growth.

Given the importance of internal growth, ask —

what specific best practices do you bring, what is

your track record deploying them, and what is

the internal starts and production growth of

your group?

3. How is the equity structured, and what type

of ownership are you getting?

This is a critical — and complicated — question.

The majority of OSOs and DSOs have multiple

classes of equity, where larger investors (private

equity, founders, etc.) receive preferential

treatment relative to minority investors (partner

doctors). If possible, a doctor should ensure they

have the same rights and return expectations

as all other classes of investors, and should

avoid any type of equity that caps a doctor’s

returns and upside while subjecting them to

equity-level risk.

1. What is the OSO’s track record of growth —

both to the overall business and the value of

their equity?

Ask the OSO management team: what is the starts

and production growth of your affiliated practices,

and how does it compare to the markets you

operate in? How many practices have joined the

partnership per year over the recent years? What

is the average practice size of your partners?

With these questions, you are looking for stable,

consistent, above-market growth, both through

new partnerships and, most importantly,

internally at practices that have affiliated with

that group.

2. What tools and playbooks does the OSO

bring to create growth in each practice?

The biggest value-add an OSO can bring is

supporting the internal growth of affiliated

practices. It is much more impactful to grow

equity value internally (which leverages existing

resources), than through acquisition (which

require outlay of cash and equity to the new

If you’d like to learn more about how OP

answers these questions — our consistent

track record of above-market growth,

our successful and scalable growth

playbooks, or our single class of equity for

all partners – please reach out to me at


I look forward to sharing what we’ve

built at OP.


Five Strategies for



Adapted from Episode 34 of the Elevate Orthodontics Podcast with Dr. Lance Miller:

“Clinical Efficiency,” with Dr. Jeff Kozlowski

The most impactful way to drive word of mouth

referrals, a key to marketing any business, is to not

only provide beautiful finishes, but to do so on time.

The average braces treatment time in the United

States is 27 months, yet the average estimated

treatment time is 24 months. On average across

the profession, orthodontists are completing their

patients’ treatment 3 months behind schedule,

which is frustrating for patients. Happy patients

refer more patients, therefore finishing on time is

critical to marketing success and practice growth. At

our practice, efficiency is driven by two key metrics:

starts per day and the number of appointments

to complete treatment. However, we also track a

third important metric — the “Happiness Metric” —

which is the percentage of patients completed on

time. The goal is always to provide the best results

in the least amount of time possible, but what is

often overlooked is how our actual treatment time

compares to what we promised the patient. Our

average estimated treatment time for braces is

20.3 months and our average actual treatment time

is 18.8 months, so on average we are exceeding

patients expectations by finishing 1.5 months ahead

of schedule. More importantly, we are finishing over

75% of our patients on time! If you don’t know what

percentage of patients you finish on time, I strongly

encourage you to track this metric. Getting patients

out of treatment on or ahead of schedule is just as

important as getting them in the door; setbacks

in treatment timelines lead to a swell in patient

load, which correlates to a decrease in your team’s

capacity. Clinical efficiency takes self-awareness and

discipline, but there are small steps we can all take

to shorten treatment times without sacrificing

quality outcomes.

1. Commit Yourself to Lifelong Learning

As doctors, we need to understand the mechanics

of the treatment decisions we make. At our

practice, we take photos of every patient at every

appointment; it visually streamlines the clinical

process of orthodontics and helps the entire team

discern what is effective and what is not. While it

is important to take advantage of opportunities to

learn new technologies and techniques, we should

also give attention to improving our

current treatment strategies.

2. Empower Your Clinical Team

If you have good clinical knowledge with a team

that is incapable of following through with your

wishes, that is problematic. I try to teach the clinical

team for 15 to 30 seconds at every appointment

so that they learn a little bit about orthodontics

every time. Eventually, they become robust and

knowledgeable clinicians that can enhance our

clinical decision-making with a mind towards

efficiency. I want our team to be able to put this

knowledge into practice with as much precision

as possible, so each member of the clinical team

wears loops and headlamps for better vision.


3. Do Everything You Can at Each Visit

When we started looking closely at our emergency

appointments, we found that for many patients

we were able to make progress meant for the next

appointment, which shaves weeks off a patient’s

total treatment time. For example, let's say a patient

comes in five weeks after their last appt, with four

weeks until their next appointment. Can you do

everything at this visit that you were planning on

doing in four weeks? Oftentimes, you can. My team

and I have a shared understanding that we will do

everything we can at each visit so that we have less

to do later on, which prevents our schedule from

becoming oversaturated.

4. Help the Patient Understand You’re on

Their Side

Our goal is to have the patient understand that we

are on their side. A patient who actively participates

in their treatment will help you save visits, get

done on time, and achieve your treatment goals.

We believe “compliance” with things like elastics

and brushing increase when we have a practice

focus on education and encouraging ideal patient


5. Consolidate Treatment Stages

There was a time when orthodontic treatment

progressed through three distinct phases: leveling

and aligning, major mechanics, and finishing.

One of the ways we focus on being as efficient as

possible is by blending those stages together.

For example, in 95%+ of our braces patients, our

start consists of bonding upper and lower and

starting early elastics. Bracket placement is THE KEY

for effective and efficient treatment and ultimately

the finishing of a case starts with ideal bracket

placement. In our office it takes 7-8 minutes on

average for us to bond upper and lower 7–7, with

only 2–3 repositions later on in treatment.

That's pretty effective.

Final Thoughts: Evaluating Your Processes

to Achieve Great Results

When asked why you do something a certain way,

if the answer is anything other than, “because

we've evaluated that system and this is the best

way to do it,” then it should be open for change.

If you have any doubts about whether that system

or technique is the most effective, search for a way

to improve it. Your approach to treatment should

be a combination of what has been proven to work

for you, and new strategies that you feel have the

potential to improve your clinical outcomes and

efficiency. It doesn't matter what any other doctor

in the world uses as long as you’re getting great

results, taking great care of your patients, and

taking measures to improve your craft each step

along the way.


Creating a



Adapted from Episode 12 of the OrthoPreneurs Podcast with Dr. Glenn Krieger:

“Your Dream Practice is All About Positive Attitude,” with Dr. Stuart Frost

When I was fresh out of orthodontics school, I had a

simple and humble goal: be the best orthodontist in

the world. For a decade, I honed my craft, perfected

my finishes, and sent people out of our clinic with

perfect smiles. Frankly, I was on my way to being

great — but something was missing. The clinic

environment felt less than it could be.

I sought wise counsel and came back with a new

goal: create a vibrant, positive, and professional

clinic culture.

With a little trial and error, I’m more than proud to

say we got there. Today, my low-turnover clinic is

filled with a smiling team, calm patients, and an air

of relaxed professionalism that makes Frost Nichols

Orthodontics a true experience for our patients.

Here are some of the tools I used to get there.

Get Real with Yourself

My mentor insisted I get very clear about my values.

What was important to me, and why? He had me

write it down, being concise, concrete, and specific.


Why? Because if I was going to ask a group of

humans to follow me on a mission, and even

introduce individual goal setting in our team

culture, I’d better be able to articulate why.

This journey wasn’t easy. It’s uncomfortable to take

a human-centered approach when we spend all day

looking at teeth and deciding what kind of brackets

to use. Having a clearly defined set of values keeps

us focused on the larger mission. It also makes hiring

easier, no longer done on “hunches” about whether

or not someone seems like a good fit. I can assess

values and make decisions quickly.

Moments of Excellence

One technique we use is The Moment of Excellence.

I ask my team to share moments when they saw a

colleague being great. Admittedly, the first few asks

were met with awkward silence, but now our team

could go on all day if we had time.

Moments of Excellence don’t have to be huge.

(It could be noticing that someone took extra time

talking with a patient rather than rushing to clean.)

Starting the day by sharing positive contributions

boosts the mood in the morning and changes

everyone’s mindset. We spend the day searching

for excellence, not problems — and people love

being recognized.

Keeping It Positive

You can put any activity into your morning huddle.

For us, Monday mornings are reserved for sharing

week-long work goals. People want to get better

at their jobs. Letting them share creates a natural

framework for that to happen. Our team encourages

each other to meet their goals and gives shoutouts

for progress.

Another successful activity is our “I Am” statements.

Each team member starts the phrase, “I am,” and

finishes with how they see themselves, or what

they aspire to be. For instance, “I am a hygienist,” is

valid. But so is “I am strong”. I have been shocked

at the impact this activity has had on my team. The

vulnerability paired with encouragement builds a

high-trust environment.

Hire To Fit

I was encouraged to “hire people that shared our

values and let the rest find their own way”. It was

great advice. Not everyone likes change, even if it’s

for the better. In a transformative process, it is not

uncommon to lose up to 80% of your staff. We lost

some of our team when I started changing things

up, but it is much easier to hire a person to fit your

values than it is to change someone’s values. You

may find that people who don’t fit will leave of their

own accord. Every time someone leaves, look at it

as an opportunity to find a better match.

Invest in the Team

Not putting resources into team development gets

you the same result as not putting money in the

bank: no growth. I put my employees through

what I call The Frost Academy to raise their

emotional IQ and job skills. This does three things:

1. It demonstrates I am willing to spend time

improving their skills. They sense I am giving

more than the average boss, so they are willing

to give more than the average team member.

2. The lessons they learn in the Academy improve

their on-the-job performance.

3. The Academy is another affirmation of how

important our values are.

My team wants to be better orthodontic

professionals, colleagues, and humans. I treat them

as though I want them all to be junior orthodontists.

When I give them the support to rise to a challenge,

they almost always do.

Well-Oiled, Happy Culture Machine

These days, I don’t struggle to keep a full crew.

People find us now – the word is out that we are

a great place to work. I look forward to going to

work every day. I still have my challenges. I am

not “done” in any sense. Building culture is a

journey that doesn’t end, but now, I love

every step of the way.


We Would Love to HEAR FROM YOU

Whether you’re curious and have more

questions, or are actively looking for an

organization to partner with, our lines

are open.

If you want to learn about the benefits a partnership

can bring to you and your practices, contact us to

discuss your needs, interests, and how OP would

fit in with your practice.

Our experienced Partner Development Team

welcomes the opportunity to develop solutions

that will help you achieve your unique goals and

provide you with all you need to experience a

seamless partnership.

Wylan Simpson

Chief Development Officer


Dr. Jeff Kozlowski

Co-Founding Orthodontist


Dr. Jamie Reynolds

Co-Founding Orthodontist


Gene Ruffing

Director of New Partnerships


Kari Manning

Director of New Partnerships



OrthoPreneurs Summit

September 7-10, 2023

Orlando, FL

SAO & SWSO Annual Session

October 26-28, 2023

Amelia Island, FL

PCSO Annual Session

November 2-5, 2023

Anaheim, CA

Women in Orthodontics Conference

January 12-13, 2024

Phoenix, AZ

AAO Winter Conference

January 26-28, 2024

San Antonio, TX


Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!