Gryphon-backed Smile Brands invests in DecisionOne Dental Partners

Smile Brands Inc, a portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, has invested in DecisionOne Dental Partners. Financial terms weren’t announced. DecisionOne, of Schaumburg, Illinois, is a dental group.

DecisionOne Dental Partners, one of Illinois’ fastest growing dental groups, has announced a new strategic investor; Smile Brands Inc. Based in Irvine, California, Smile Brands Inc. is one of the nation’s pioneering dental support organizations (DSOs). By taking on this strategic investment, Smile Brands will allow DecisionOne to accelerate the rate of their growth and acquisitions throughout the Chicagoland area as well as neighboring states.
DecisionOne Dental was founded in 2011 by two brothers, Dr. AJ and Dr. Mike Acierno. They’ve witnessed several changes affecting the dental industry: dental students are graduating with high amounts of debt, the needs of an office both technologically and administratively have become increasingly complex and costly, and insurance companies are providing less coverage for higher costs, all of which are disrupting the doctor-patient relationship. They created DecisionOne Dental Partners by blending the values of a solo practitioner dental office with the business efficiencies of larger group practices and immediately attracted like-minded dentists. In seven years they’ve grown from 2 dental offices to nearly 30 while maintaining a commitment to a high level of oral healthcare and steadfast patient advocacy. The company was recently ranked as the #1 Top Workplace in Illinois for mid-sized businesses in the dental industry (#16 across all industries and businesses in the state) by The Chicago Tribune.
“Today there are hundreds of DSOs and thousands of group practices in the U.S.,” said Steve Bilt, CEO of Smile Brands. “Each group has its unique affiliation model in terms of financial compensation, business support and management processes, but the success of a partnership comes down to whether the groups share a common set of values. Our investment behind DecisionOne is as much about shared values as it is about business expansion. The DecisionOne team is clearly committed to maintaining the doctor-patient relationship as the vital center of our industry and that is something that we absolutely want to help expand.”
Smile Brands Inc. currently provides business support services to over 400 locations across 17 states and will provide DecisionOne with significant expansion capital as well as access to additional business support services. Both companies realize the future of mid-market DSOs is to have an investment and business support partnership that can accelerate growth while continuing to meet the needs of providers and patients. The strategic partnership between the businesses is an example of the industry investing into itself with the ultimate goal of changing the way dentistry is done to improve lives.
“Many DSOs help remove day-to-day management headaches allowing providers to focus on clinical excellence. At DecisonOne, we go beyond this by building offices around our doctors instead of simply inserting providers into cookie cutter offices,” explains Dr. AJ Acierno. “This approach allows us to create individual office cultures that result in lasting patient relationships. We believe strongly that building patient relationships based on trust is the key to acceptance of care and making patients better.”
As the world of dentistry has changed dramatically over the past several decades, more and more providers are looking to affiliate with a dental support organization, but finding the right fit is imperative, something Smile Brands Inc. knows all too well. “A strong cultural connection within any team and across any partnership is fundamental to success,” explains Steve Bilt. “Glassdoor just named us as one of the best places to work in the country for the second straight year, and the fact that Dr. AJ and his team have received similar honors is very telling of how important a great culture is to this partnership.”
Dr. Mike Acierno, co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, knows that clinical autonomy is key in a patient-first delivery model. “After dental school, I went into private practice and AJ took the DSO path,” explains (Mike) Acierno. “That gives us a unique perspective on both sides of the industry and how to improve the lives of our patients as well as our team members. We have always wanted DecisionOne to be a place that people want to work, not have to work, and we feel with this strategic partnership we can continue to make that dream a reality.”
DecisionOne Dental is a network of carefully curated dental professionals who value personal doctor-patient relationships and high quality patient care. Over the last decade, the growing complexity of the dental sector has diluted doctors’ focus and led to a perceived reduction in patient care and trust. DecisionOne Dental Partners was founded by brothers Dr. AJ and Dr. Mike Acierno, both practicing family dentists, who believe dentistry can thrive locally while adhering to the core values that support patients above all else. With nearly 30 current locations, DecisionOne is the fastest growing dental group in Illinois. DecisionOne Dental has been named one of the “Top Workplaces” for mid-sized businesses in Illinois (The Chicago Tribune) and one of “9 Dental Groups In The Nation to Watch” (Group Dentistry Now). Acierno Dental in Schaumburg was also identified as a “Top Doctor” by Chicago magazine.
For more information about DecisionOne Dental or to find a dentist, please visit
Based in Irvine California, Smile Brands Inc. is one of the largest providers of support services to dental groups in the United States. Smile Brands provides expansion capital and access to support services to independent dental groups and DSOs. The organization delivers comprehensive business support services through exclusive long term agreements with affiliate dental groups, so dentists can spend more time caring for their patients and less time on the administrative, marketing, and financial aspects of operating a dental practice. Smile Brands supports over 400 Bright Now!® Dental, Monarch Dental®, Castle Dental®, A+ Dental Care, OneSmile Dental, Johnson Family Dental, P3 Dental Group, and DecisionOne Dental offices in 17 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington. Smile Brands is a portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, a leading middle-market private equity firm based in San Francisco, CA. For more information, visit