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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Smiles in Overdrive at Pacific Dental Services

Nearly $100M in Free Dentistry Across Country

Irvine-based Pacific Dental Services, which has 2,627 employees in Orange County and is among the country’s largest dental management organizations (DMO), provides back-of-the-office services for thousands of dental practices.

The company’s work for its business partners includes just about everything—billing, supply ordering, staffing, education and much more—but the dental work itself.

But when it comes to community service, the firm is anything but behind the scenes, as the company prides itself on giving back to areas it serves in, as well as areas lacking in dental care.

“Every year, we carve out one Saturday that we call the Smile Generation Serve Day,” Pacific Dental founder and CEO Stephen E. Thorne IV said. “We encourage all the offices to open up and serve their communities doing dentistry for those in need and those who cannot afford it. Last year was our biggest yet. We are approaching $100 million of free dentistry done.

“What’s really cool for me to see is team members that give up a Saturday and almost every office does it and almost every team member works a Saturday to serve their community. That shows the heart of this organization.”

Pacific Dental’s philanthropic efforts both in OC and elsewhere earned it a spot in the Business Journal’s latest Companies That Care listing, the centerpiece of this week’s print edition.

1,500 Local Hours

In 2022, Pacific Dental gave $100,000 to charity and another $193,000 in in-kind contributions within Orange County.

Nearly 250 Orange County team members at Pacific Dental have volunteered more than 1,500 hours throughout the county.

One patient was so moved by the company’s efforts that she became a dental hygienist, Thorne said.

The DMO’s National Support Center along Red Hill Avenue in Irvine hosts quarterly blood drives, quarterly collection drives for local nonprofit partners, and a variety of additional events like sending holiday messages to veterans. In the first half alone this year, its National Support office partners donated 33,331 pounds of used electronics, 99% of which was repurposed.

Do Something

Outside of Orange County, in 2022, the company supported Special Olympics International with a $100,000 national partnership; Kaboom! with a $100,000 playground build; and the American Diabetes Association with a $275,000 partnership.

Its founding framework is dubbed the Three Ds: “dentistry, donate and do something.”

“Whether it’s down the block or around the world, we focus on four areas: improving access to oral care, improving access to basic need, creating healthier communities, and healthy team members,” according to Pacific Dental.

“Service is integrated into our overall culture and is a part of who we are. We feel that it’s important to give.”

The PDS Foundation has three main programs: Special Needs Dentistry, Dental Assistant Scholarships and International Service Trips.

The special needs dentistry program, its most comprehensive offering, aims to improve care for individuals with disabilities by training dental professionals and advocating for the special needs community.

PDS employees are also encouraged to visit PDS Foundation’s dental clinic in Guatemala four times per year.

To encourage community aid, PDS offers its employees eight hours of paid volunteer participation in areas of their choice, including homeless shelters, food pantries and animal shelters.

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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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