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Revenue for OC Dental Companies Increases 31%

Staffing Up for Device Makers, DMOs & More

Orange County’s dental industry returned to growth mode last year after taking major hits during the onset of the pandemic.

The Business Journal’s third annual list of dental companies showed OC employee headcount climbed 1.9% to 5,496 as of July. That compares with an 8.6% drop in 2020 when the pandemic at one point shut an estimated 95% of the nation’s dental practices.

This week’s Business Journal list on dental-focused businesses is a varied collection of makers of implants and braces, dental support organizations, software firms servicing dental practices, as well as dentistry-focused device makers.

Companywide, their employee count was flat at 136,923; last year, the companywide employee count fell 6.4%.

The six companies that reported revenue collectively saw a 31% increase to $5.9 billion in 2021; in the prior year, companies on the list reported revenue fell 2.7%.

 

Biolase Boost

The biggest headcount increase was 59% to 89 employees at Foothill Ranch-based Biolase Inc. (Nasdaq: BIOL). It grew 15% companywide to 169.

Sales at the maker of dental lasers last year jumped 72% to $39.2 million. Its first-quarter sales climbed 25% to $10.2 million; it currently has a $25 million market cap.

“Our continued strong performance in the first quarter reflects positive momentum on several fronts,” Chief Executive John Beaver said in a statement in May.

“With only between 7% and 8% of the U.S. dental community currently using dental lasers, we are confident that we can leverage the enhanced capabilities of our dental lasers to drive further adoption and become the new standard of care,” he said.

 

Sonendo Expands

Another fast grower was Laguna Hills-based Sonendo Inc. (NYSE: SONX), where employee count increased 37% to 174; companywide, it grew 23% to 239 employees. The company, which makes a “GentleWave System” to treat root canals, has a $48 million market cap.

The company is in growth mode as revenue last year jumped 42% to $33.2 million. Its first-quarter revenue increased 22% to $9 million.

“We are very proud of our quarterly results and start to the year, as we continue to see strong utilization among our install base, despite the spike in omicron infection rates early in the quarter,” Sonendo CEO Bjarne Bergheim said in a May statement.

 

New Glidewell CEO

Topping the list again was Newport Beach’s Glidewell Laboratories, the world’s largest privately held provider of dental lab products, which has an estimated 1,500 employees in Orange County and 4,000 companywide.

Stephenie Goddard, a veteran of 15 years at the company, on Jan. 1 took the role as CEO, a position held by Jim Glidewell since he founded the company in 1970.

“This is not a matter of me stepping down,” Glidewell, who remains president, said in a statement at the time. “But with all that we’re doing in an effort to improve the lives of dentists and their patients, I could use another hand at the helm.”

“Jim is in the office every day, sharing his vision and insights and continuing to challenge us to develop solutions that improve the quality, speed and affordability of dentistry,” Goddard said.
Entrepreneurial Excellence

 

Entrepreneurial Excellence

No. 2 Irvine-based Pacific Dental Services, which builds and manages office practices for dentists, taking care of just about everything except the actual dentistry, has an estimated OC headcount at 1,200; companywide it grew less than 1% to 12,000.

Chief Executive Stephen Thorne has previously told the Business Journal that the 2020 pandemic severely harmed the business of its clients. In 2021, it rebounded by growing revenue 28% to $2 billion.

In May, Thorne was recognized with a Business Journal Excellence in Entrepreneurship award.

“At certain stages in your career, you wonder if you’re going to make it,” Thorne told the Business Journal audience on May 26.

No. 3 Brea-based Envista Holdings Corp. (NYSE: NVST) has three entities on the list: Ormco, Nobel Biocare and Kerr. Envista employs 900 in Orange County, flat from a year ago. Its companywide employee count of 12,000 was also flat from a year earlier.

In 2020, the pandemic caused the company to have the biggest sales drop on the list, 17%.
Revenue at the company, which has a $6.5 billion market cap, rebounded in 2021, climbing 30% to $2.5 billion. Sales slowed to 3.1% growth of $631.4 million in the first quarter.

“Despite a challenging macro environment, we delivered another solid quarter,” CEO Amir Aghdaei said in a May statement about its first-quarter results.

Envista is scheduled to report second-quarter results this week.

Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan
Peter J. Brennan has been a journalist for 40 years. He spent a decade in Latin America covering wars, narcotic traffickers, earthquakes, and business. His resume includes 15 years at Bloomberg News where his headlines and articles sometimes moved the market caps of companies he covered by hundreds of millions of dollars. His articles have been published worldwide, including the New York Times and the Washington Post; he's appeared on CNN, CBC, BBC, and Bloomberg TV. He was awarded a Kiplinger Fellowship at The Ohio State University.
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