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Kristi Casey, CEO and COO of Rock Dental Brands, visited The Dental Economist Show and host Mike Huffaker to discuss how to build winning teams, emphasize the importance of setting big goals, and explore the challenges of leading at scale. Kristi also shares insights into growth, patient acquisition, and marketing strategy.

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  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Originally published by Capital Assets: Little Rock Regional Chamber Business Guide

With the mission to serve those who serve their patients, Rock Dental Brands has brought Arkansas’ premier dental practices together since 2016. With affordable care provided with multidisciplinary offerings in several areas of oral care, Rock Dental plays a huge role in the Little Rock health care sector.

Not only does Rock Dental Brands invest in a local workforce, but it has also brought top industry professionals to the Little Rock area. While the group supports more than 50 clinic in Arkansas, it also develops talent and is dedicated to supporting other Arkansas businesses through its investments in the real estate market and local vendors. 

With the bloom-where-you’re-planted mentality in hand, the company has succeeded in crafting local teams that consistently earn recognition for excellence in several areas of care and has created successful, industry-leading teams in intelligence, human resources, accounting and finance and operations with most of its workforce hailing from right here in Central Arkansas.

Kristi Casey
“You can expect our growth and commitment to shaping the industry through technology to continue.” — Kristi Casey, CEO of Rock Dental Brands

CURRENT PROJECTS: 

Rock Dental Brands continues to grow and has tripled its business size in the past four years. The group now has over 100 affiliate dental clinics in five states.

“This year, we added new practices near St. Louis, Orlando and Memphis, and we strengthened our offerings in Arkansas, adding a new facial and oral surgery specialty practice in northwest Arkansas and a pediatric dentistry clinic in North Little Rock,” said Kristi Casey, CEO of Rock Dental Brands. “Our work has resulted in a thriving workforce of nearly 900 employees, with over 500 staff in Arkansas and over 300 in Central Arkansas — and that’s no accident.”

FUTURE GOALS:

Rock Dental Brands is set to fly even higher as it navigates new territories and enriches its communities. “You can expect our growth and commitment to shaping the industry through technology to continue,” Casey said. “This means a sustained effort to recruit and cultivate talent in technical fields, so we work locally with the Arkansas Center for Data Sciences and also Arkansas Fellowship to help develop the young talent here. We’ve continuously invested additional resources in Little Rock, and we plan for that to continue.”

The company doesn’t see this vision happening only in Arkansas — its dedication stretches to its facilities in Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. 

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Welcome to Rock Dental Brands! Today, we’re diving into the fascinating connection between heart and dental health. You might not realize it, but these two areas of your well-being are closely linked. Understanding this link empowers us to take proactive steps in caring for both our hearts and our smiles.

The Connection Explained

Let’s start with gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. It’s a common oral health issue that affects the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. What many people don’t realize is that gum disease doesn’t just stay in the mouth—it can impact your heart, too. Research shows a strong connection between the two.

When gum disease progresses, it can lead to inflammation and infection in the gums. This inflammation can release harmful bacteria into the bloodstream, which then travel to other parts of the body, including the heart. These bacteria can trigger inflammation in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.

Furthermore, bacteria play a crucial role in both dental and heart health. Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria, some beneficial and others harmful. The harmful ones can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and even infective endocarditis—a serious infection of the heart’s lining or valves.

Numerous studies support the link between dental and heart health. For instance, one study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that individuals with gum disease were twice as likely to suffer from heart disease compared to those with healthy gums. Another study in the American Journal of Cardiology reported that treating gum disease can lead to improvements in heart health.

Recognizing the Signs

Knowing the symptoms and warning signs of gum disease is crucial for early intervention and prevention of potential heart health issues.

 Common symptoms include:

  • Bleeding gums during brushing or flossing
  • Swollen or tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose teeth

These symptoms not only affect your oral health but could also be indicators of potential heart issues linked to gum disease. These include an increased risk of heart disease, inflammation in the blood vessels, and a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular problems.

Also, the oral infections caused by bacteria from gum disease which can travel through the bloodstream and affect the heart can manifest as chest pain, sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, or shortness of breath. If you notice these signs, seeking professional dental care and consulting with your healthcare provider are crucial for evaluating your heart health.

Maintaining Heart and Dental Health

How should you maintain both heart and dental health? It starts with an effective oral hygiene practice. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Keeping your mouth clean, reduces the risk of harmful bacteria entering your bloodstream and causing inflammation in your arteries.

Your dietary choices also play a significant role in promoting dental and heart health. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy provides essential nutrients for both your teeth and heart. Limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks can prevent tooth decay and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Along with at-home care, regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining heart health. During these visits, your dentist can detect early signs of gum disease and provide appropriate treatment. Studies show that treating gum disease can improve heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.

At Rock Dental Brands, we prioritize both dental and heart health. Our experienced dentists are committed to providing comprehensive dental care, including regular check-ups, preventive treatments, and dental repairs.

By understanding the connection between heart and dental health and taking proactive steps to care for both, you’re not only ensuring a healthy smile but also supporting a healthy heart. Thank you for joining us in exploring this vital aspect of overall well-being!

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

Let's Talk!

Share this story

Embarking on the path to your child’s radiant smile starts early, with the first tooth marking a crucial milestone. As we celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) this February, the importance of early dental care becomes even more evident. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents have a dentist in mind for their child by the time they celebrate their first birthday. Our commitment to children’s dental health extends to sharing valuable insights. Throughout this journey, we will explore establishing healthy habits, the significance of orthodontics, and practical tips to nurture your child’s dental and overall well-being.

Establish Healthy Habits Early:

Recognizing that children with cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth emphasizes the need for early intervention in children’s dental health. As a parent, you play a pivotal role in promoting healthy dental habits from the onset of your child’s dental journey. For infants, cleaning their gums with a clean cloth after feeding sets the foundation. Once baby teeth emerge, instill the habit of brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. While they may not be experts immediately, your guidance ensures a successful transition. For children under six, supervise their brushing, emphasizing the use of a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to avoid swallowing.

Good Habits Require Discipline:

Prioritizing your child’s oral health through regular check-ups and instilling age-appropriate dental hygiene habits is crucial in maintaining children’s dental health. Shockingly, nearly 56 percent of U.S. children ages 6-8 have untreated cavities, underscoring the importance of preventive measures. Poor oral health not only causes pain but can be financially burdensome for families. Moreover, kids with poor oral health are statistically more likely to miss school and perform poorly in the classroom, as noted by CATCH Healthy Smiles.

Adults Make the Best Role Models:

Children learn by example, and your healthy dental habits play a vital role in shaping theirs. Emphasize that cavities aren’t solely caused by sugar; carbohydrate-heavy diets can also contribute. Lead by showing your love for teeth-friendly foods and encourage the switch from sugary drinks to water. Establish a routine that includes flossing and waiting 30 minutes after meals before brushing to protect enamel. Create a fun atmosphere by incorporating a playlist of two-minute songs for your child’s brushing time, emphasizing the joy of maintaining good habits.

Linking Dental Health to Overall Well-being:

Digital Footprint and Real-life Connections:

In the age of digital sharing, your child’s smile may be seen by hundreds daily. As we consider our digital footprint, it’s crucial to think about real-life connections. A child’s reluctance to smile for pictures may indicate potential issues affecting their day-to-day school life. Embarrassment, discomfort, or other dental concerns could be influencing their interactions with friends, peers, and teachers.

Prioritizing Your Child’s Health:

During this vital developmental stage, prioritizing your child’s health is paramount. Dental health significantly impacts psychological and overall well-being, emphasizing the importance of pediatric dentists. Starting your child on Phase I treatment is a transformative step that can make a substantial improvement in their life. Seeking Phase I treatment from a trusted pediatric dentist is the first step in this journey.

Join the Movement:

As National Children’s Dental Health Month unfolds, millions of parents across America are scheduling Phase I orthodontic appointments for their children, taking proactive steps to protect their dental, mental, and overall well-being. After all, watching them smile is one of life’s greatest joys.

The journey to nurturing your child’s smiles involves establishing healthy habits, addressing general dental care, and recognizing the importance of orthodontics and pediatric dentists. By prioritizing their oral health, you contribute to their overall well-being, confidence, and a lifetime of joyful smiles. As February, National Children’s Dental Health Month, unfolds, let’s join the movement towards proactive dental care for our children, ensuring they carry their smiles with pride and health.

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

Let's Talk!

Share this story

Fort. Smith, Ark. (Jan. 22, 2024)  — Leap Kids Dental, a comprehensive dental practice with 16 locations across Arkansas and Missouri, announced today that Dr. Russell Gardner will be joining the team at the Leap Kids Dental office in Fort Smith, Ark. The Fort Smith location of Leap Kids Dental is located at 7801 Phoenix Ave.

A native of Rogers, Ark., Dr. Gardner earned his undergraduate degree from Harding University in Searcy, Ark. He went on to pursue dental education at the University of Oklahoma School of Dentistry, where he served as president of his dental class for four years. In practice since 2021 and a member of the American Dental Association, Dr. Gardner has a passion for creating a fun, relaxed environment that takes the anxiety out of dental care for both children and parents.

“I believe that making kids laugh and have positive experiences at the dentist’s office is a crucial part of promoting healthy smiles for life,” Dr. Gardner said. “If we show children that going to the dentist doesn’t have to be something to dread, they tend to grow up into adults who are much more proactive about their oral health and much less likely to put off regular dental care. I’m excited to have the opportunity to grow in my ability to treat young patients.”   

In his spare time, Dr. Gardner enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, hiking and sailing.


Leap Kids Dental strives to offer a fun and relaxing environment to ease any anxiety that young patients may have about their dental visits. Leap Kids Dental provides comprehensive care to address the needs of all patients—education in oral hygiene, regular and emergency examinations, preventive care, and dietary consultation are just some of the services we proudly offer.To find out more about the practice, visit www.leapkidsdental.com.

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Originally Posted at the Trussville Tribune.

BIRMINGHAM — An orthodontics practice with local ties, Birmingham Orthodontics, announced in a press release on Friday, Jan. 19 that Dr. Nada Souccar had joined its team.

Dr. Souccar is an orthodontist with a distinguished career that spans 17 years and includes more than a decade of instruction at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, where she most recently served as an associate professor.

Birmingham Orthodontics is an orthodontic practice based in Birmingham, Ala. In addition to the Trussville clinic on Main Street, it has clinics located in Alabaster, Greystone and Hoover. The practice employs more than 60 employees, and Dr. Souccar joins a staff of orthodontists that includes founder Dr. Michael McCarthy, Dr. Erika Hartman, Dr. Careybeth Rivers, Dr. Katelyn Feinberg and Dr. Alexis Pugh.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the caring, patient-focused team at Birmingham Orthodontics,” Dr. Souccar said. “I take immense pride in helping patients create beautiful smiles and seeing the impact orthodontic care can have on their success and self-esteem. I know my new colleagues share my passion for providing the best and most advanced orthodontic treatment.”

Dr. Souccar has lived in Birmingham since 2009 and earned both her Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) and her Orthodontic Certificate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She has received numerous awards for her research and teaching, including the Fred and Dianne Garrett Biomedical Research Award and the Eugene E. West Fellowship Award, both from the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

A member of the American Association of Orthodontists and Southern Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Souccar is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics.

Birmingham Orthodontics consists of 4 practices operating under Rock Dental Brands in Alabama.

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Originally Posted on Arkansas Business.

Rock Dental Brands of Little Rock continued its expansion with new affiliations in four states.

Four practices have joined the dental services organization:

  • Cardinal Orthodontics, an orthodontic practice based in Missouri
  • Smile Concepts Orthodontics, an orthodontic clinic in Apopka, Florida
  • Meade Moore Pediatric Dentistry, a children’s dentistry clinic in Germantown, Tennessee
  • Arkansas Oral & Facial Surgery Center, a facial and oral surgery practice with locations in northwest Arkansas

“We believe that the integration of these four excellent and regionally recognized dental providers into the Rock Dental Brands network will create exciting opportunities for growth and collaboration,” Kristi Casey, CEO of Rock Dental Brands, said in a statement. “Together, we will continue to raise the bar in dental care and orthodontics for patients, leveraging our collective expertise to improve the oral health and overall well-being of those we serve.”

The dentist-owned practice management group now operates 108 dental offices in five states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Originally Posted at The Jonesboro Sun.

JONESBORO, Ark. (1. 15, 2024) — Westrock Orthodontics announces its co-founder Dr. Mark Dake is now providing orthodontic services at its Jonesboro clinic, located at 2606 Browns Lane, and its Paragould clinic, located at 2713 Kingshighway. Westrock Orthodontics brings high-quality orthodontic care to 56 locations across Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. 

Dr. Dake provides specialized braces and Invisalign® treatment plans for children, teens and adults. He holds a Silver Tier status for his expertise in Invisalign® treatment. Dr. Dake’s passion for orthodontics and the health of his patients has served as a driving force behind the success of Westrock Orthodontics.

“Providing children and families with happier, healthier smiles is one of my life’s greatest gifts, and I’m overjoyed to start practicing at our Jonesboro location,” Dr. Dake said. “We have an exceptional team here. The level of experience and capability is truly remarkable. I look forward to contributing my expertise alongside these seasoned professionals as we continue to provide top-notch orthodontic care.”

Dr. Dake opened his first orthodontics practice in West Plains, Mo., over 30 years ago, before partnering with Dr. Bryan Hiller in 2009 to establish Westrock Orthodontics’ parent company, Rock Dental Brands. Rock Dental Brands now includes more than 100 clinics and 900 team members. 

Dr. Dake received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He later went on to complete his Master of Science in Dentistry and Orthodontic Certification at the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. 

For more information about Dr. Dake and the services he provides to Jonesboro patients,  visit westrockortho.com

About Westrock Orthodontics

Westrock Orthodontics is an oral health care brand with more than 50 affiliate clinics in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. For more information, visit www.westrockortho.com

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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Originally Posted on Becker’s Dental + DSO Review.

Despite many execs expecting economic challenges to slow DSO activity, Rock Dental Brands is remaining flexible and committed to its expansion goals.

Chief Growth Officer Jake Sligh recently spoke with Becker’s to discuss the Little Rock, Ark.-based DSO’s growth efforts, the trends he is following today and how the organization plans to adapt amid a challenging economic climate. 

Editor’s note: Responses were lightly edited for length and clarity.

Question: What are your DSO’s top priorities in 2024?

Jake Sligh: We remain steadfast in our commitment to expanding the practices we serve and championing innovation wherever possible throughout the Rock Dental Brands network. In 2024, we will continue to build a culture that wholeheartedly embraces industry-changing technology and recruits top-tier talent. We aim to help shape the future of healthcare through investment in exceptional doctors, advanced technology and our invaluable workforce.

Q: What are some key strategies in place to expand and grow your footprint?

JS: Rock Dental Brands has devised robust strategies aimed at expanding our footprint and bolstering our presence in our key markets. These include strategic acquisitions and partnerships within our current geographic footprint and also accessing new, strategic geographic regions. It is important that we continue to build out the density of our network to continue to build multispecialty networks of providers who can seamlessly take care of their patients’ needs. Furthermore, we will continue leaning on our internal data infrastructure to drive additional organic growth within our existing footprint. 

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing DSOs today?

JS: It continues to be a challenge to address workforce shortages. In response, we are investing in our people in more ways than one. That means a focus on culture and creating an environment where our people can thrive. It also means a comprehensive look at our pay and benefits to ensure they are competitive. In terms of additional challenges, DSOs are pressed to develop flexible and agile operational models to respond to market dynamics, and we also continue to see competition from mail-order dental services, although the recent closure of SmileDirectClub might indicate a shift there.  

Q: Many DSO execs are expecting slower growth amid a challenging economy. What are your thoughts on this? 

JS: While economic challenges may lead to expectations of slower growth within the DSO industry, Rock Dental Brands remains resilient and adaptable. We acknowledge the potential impact but are confident in our ability to navigate these challenges by optimizing operational efficiencies, streamlining processes and doubling down on our commitment to innovation. These strategic initiatives position us to mitigate adverse effects and continue our growth trajectory despite economic headwinds.

Q: What are the top trends you are following now?

JS: We are closely monitoring several industry trends that shape the future of dental care. These include the integration of telehealth solutions in dental services and personalized patient-centric care models driven by technology. Embracing these trends aligns with our commitment to innovation and enhancing patient outcomes. Industry expertise and innovation go hand-in-hand, so we partner with the best providers and then we look to them to vet new technologies and ensure that patient care is always front of mind. 

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment of 2023?

JS: In 2023, one of our proudest achievements was the successful expansion of our network into new territories. This year, we added new practices near St. Louis, Orlando and Memphis, and we strengthened our offerings in Arkansas. We now have more than 100 affiliate dental clinics in five states, marking a significant milestone for Rock Dental Brands. Our work has resulted in a thriving workforce of nearly 900 employees. This strategic growth allowed us to extend our reach and services to more communities, reaffirming our commitment to providing exceptional dental care while expanding our footprint in line with our mission to serve diverse populations with excellence. 

  • Job Title: Westrock Orthodontics

    "The decision to affiliate with Rock Dental Brands was easy. They are a dental practice management group that is founded by dentists and focuses on putting patients first. This affiliation has not only relieved harrowing administrative tasks, but also allowed me to keep my professional autonomy and set my own schedule. All of this, plus Rock Dental Brands’ proven track record, I am able to trust them to do the right thing for my practice and my patients."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Chief Dental Officer

    "How can I say as an individual provider, when I get out of school and open my practice, that I am providing better care than a group of doctors who have support with difficult cases and other specialists available for consultations? I don’t think anyone would disagree if I have a heart issue I want to go somewhere where there are multiple specialists that will take good care of me. I got into this because I feel that our organization can provide great quality and do it cost effectively. We are serious about quality. If we weren’t I wouldn’t be a part of it."

  • Job Title: Owner | Pediatric Dentist

    "Rock Dental Brands prides themselves on taking care of their patients before profits. I was in a place in my life where I wanted to be with a group who was owned by dentists, practiced dentistry, and knew what it is like to own a business and to provide excellent patient care. Rock Dental has wonderful values that align with my own core values. I love that about them."

  • Job Title: Owner Founder | Orthodontist

    "I love to see patients - that's why I became an orthodontist. What I don't love is bills, past due accounts, managing employee 401(k)'s, bonuses, marketing, and of course countless other issues that unexpectedly arise each day. Rock Dental Brands has taken many things off my hands leaving me free to concentrate on what I love: treating patients. The partnership between Rock Dental and our team "on the ground" has been wonderful. Rock Dental is an extension of our team that benefits our practice and our patients in way that I was unable to provide myself."

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