The Advantages of Group Dentistry

Avondale Dental finds success leveraging a dental group model along with the services of the Burkhart Practice Support Team.

Left to right: Dr. Noah Hollinger of Selkirk; Dr.Hayden Sharp, Dr. Alexis Rollins, Dr. Katie Martin, and Dr. Kory Wilson of Avondale; Dr. Rachel Fehling of Element, and Dr. Jenna Kedish of Legacy

Community, Cost Savings & Collaboration

Dr. Kory Wilson is telling me the story of how he got into the dental industry, and it’s not for the reason you might expect.

His parents ran a dental clinic, so he grew up around it. But Dr. Wilson is an athlete. It’s part of everything he does, and it colors his perspective. When he was 7 years old, he told his parents he wanted to be a horse jockey. Dr. Wilson, who currently stands at 6 foot 5, said his mother looked at her already tall son and told him that unless he was going to jockey that day, he would need to find a different career. As his parents tell it, ever since then, he’s wanted to be a dentist.

Just like that 7-year-old who, once he pivoted and knew from an early age what he was going to do, Dr. Wilson saw early in his dental career that there would be advantages to being part of a larger practice, so he started to explore options to go that route. He wanted to be at the forefront of a changing industry.

He describes how dentistry can be a tough field – often you feel isolated – days can be stressful and full of patients who are not excited to see the dentist. This has created a natural shift towards more of a group model where dentists can commiserate and lean on each other.

Dr. Kory Wilson’s mentor, Dr. James Robson, started Avondale Dental in 1976 with one practice location. When Dr. Wilson joined in 2007, they were already partnered with Burkhart. They’ve added 5 new locations since then.

Element Dental team

I asked him what he saw as some of the advantages of being a large dental group. He first mentions pricing discounts on goods and materials. He says it’s difficult to be a single small practice and be able to afford and be a successful practice. More importantly, he says, “I think today, more than ever, dentists really value that shared mentorship and camaraderie, and new dentists coming out of school, I sense they really want to be a part of a group for that reason.”

The first, and biggest advantage Dr. Wilson lists is pricing on goods and materials. “In some ways, I think it’s really difficult being a single small practice and being able to afford and pay for the kinds of technologies and supplies you need in dentistry to be successful.”

Burkhart Account Manager Danny Pecka is a valuable resource in this area, considered another member of the team, and a value add to the practice. Danny regularly sends reports and partners with Dr. Wilson to provide knowledge and savings.

“The [dental] supply industry is such a difficult industry to be in because there’s so many ways to get supplies today, unlike maybe 20-30 years ago, and it’s maybe just as easy in some ways for people to think they can get their products off Amazon or to you know, some of your competitors that don’t have reps. We’ve always looked at it like Danny [Pecka] and the Burkhart Reps are that value add to our practice. And we’re willing to spend a little bit more, quite honestly, to have that value because we believe that that value brings more.”


They also save significantly on supply costs by being part of the Burkhart Supply Savings Guarantee Program.

“It’s nice to, to know when we, when we are going through our P&L statements and looking at our overhead that really the Supply Guarantee percentage is really never going to waver, so that while we’re always looking for opportunities for savings, or maybe better opportunities, we really know that that part of our overhead isn’t going to change much because of that program that Burkhart’s offered. And I think that’s great.”

The next advantage Dr. Wilson brings up is mentoring. The idea of more experienced dentists mentoring the newer ones came about organically during down times in the office.

“At Avondale, we naturally had three dentists, and now we have four or five dentists up in this office, sitting together day after day where we could commiserate, we could talk about cases, we can talk about patients, we can mentor, two doctors, well, three doctors sitting up in our office, you know, on most days that I’ve only been out of school a couple years, and the advantages that I had, having mentors like I did, that have kind of gave him given me the clinical skills that I have. Now I can provide to others.”


Dr. Martin and Dr. Wilson


Avondale has expanded this idea to include practices that may only have a single doctor, where that doctor can still enjoy the benefits and support of the group mentality. “I think we’ve developed a bit of a unique model. And in that we allow multiple levels of ownership across our practice group, both at the individual practice level and at the group level, we call it a super group. And so that gives doctors kind of multiple tiers of like, ownership, and responsibility, you know, almost like they would have in an individual practice, but they get the support and expertise of a corporate team. We also run our practices very individualized. So, you know, we’re not cookie-cutter at all. And we really let our doctors make their own decisions and decide how they want their practices to look and run. And we’re just there to support them in any way that we can to help make them successful.”

This idea also expands into the running of a dental business. Dr. Wilson points out that with COVID and corporate dentistry being what it is, the cost of dental practices and running a dental business has become increasingly difficult over the last several years. Dentists are looking for more support. To that end, Avondale also uses a Burkhart solution: The Practice Support Team. The coaching relationship between the Practice Support Team (PST) and Dr. Kory Wilson began in April of 2013 following a Business Analysis designed to uncover growth opportunities and support his future goals. They have worked closely together since then.


“The Burkhart Practice Support Team has been a really valuable tool for us. It’s been a lifeline, so to speak.”

“We, like I mentioned, have a great corporate; if you will call it, team. But with regularity, we reach out to Margaret and her team to just kind of ask different questions, [we] fact check what our group is going to see what industry norms maybe are or what Burkhart Practice Support Team was seeing across their clients.”

He describes a recent situation where he reached out to PST with a question about P&L adjustments situation, and one of the things they did was connect him with a dentist in Olympia in a similar situation that he now talks to on a weekly basis.

“It’s neat that Burkhart is also working to connect like-minded dentists and finding dentists that are maybe having similar difficulties or struggles or, or similar growth ideas and plans and putting them together in a way to help them all be more successful.” Having grown up in North Idaho and Coeur D’Alene, Dr. Wilson and Avondale Dental feel a responsibility to give back to the community to make it a better place. He also believes it’s a value shared with Burkhart.

The Selkirk Dental team

“(That’s) woven into the fabric of who we are, it’s really important that our team members, our dentists, or our corporate team, all kind of share that shared value and vision to give back to the community. Burkhart, I think, shares a very similar value proposition that we do; also, kind of a family-born company that also cares about their community and the places that they operate like we do. And again, I think, those shared values have helped make our partnership with Burkhart really successful and why that partnership has lasted as long as it has.”

What Dr. Wilson says he likes most about dentistry is connecting with people, and showing people how to find the value in the decisions they make. And that old horse jockey spirit is still around as he revels in the thrill of the chase, giving him the drive to continue to grow the business while helping his dentists to thrive.


Avondale’s Burkhart Team

Here’s what the people at Burkhart, supporting Avondale from behind the scenes, are saying:

“They are patient-focused, and that’s a rare quality when you become a larger group. It gets harder and harder to keep that focus the larger you grow, but I also think it’s what makes them special, and it’s what makes their patients come back, and it’s what makes new patients go there.”
Danny Pecka, Burkhart Account Manager

“His unwavering commitment to ideal patient care, trust, and relationship building with both patients and staff has been a cornerstone of his continued success. As a favorite client, we take pride in supporting him throughout his journey of growth.”
Kathy Edwards, Senior Consultant, Burkhart Practice Support Team

“Here’s a guy that is truly an entrepreneur as a dentist… He has a passion for people and a passion for his community. If you look at what Avondale does in the communities they currently are in, they truly invest… [and] become a part of that community.”
Justin Felker, Burkhart National Business Deployment Manager


Award Winning Dental Care

Avondale Dental Group was awarded the Best of 2023 from the Business Journal of North Idaho. 

The Best of North Idaho competition gives community members the chance to vote on which businesses they appreciate the most.  To learn more about the award, please visit

To learn more about Avondale Dental Group, visit


Written by Dawn Kahl

Published in CatalystQ2 2024.

Category: Practice Consulting

Back to Articles