When asked if Ferritto was taken advantage of, Aspen Dental chief executive Robert Fontana said, "I hope that the team was clear about what she needed and that that she completely understood what she was getting into.
Fontana, founder and chief executive officer of Aspen Dental, based in East Syracuse, NY, said dentists won't do unnecessary treatments because "it's just not in their DNA."
"I'm not even sure what corporate dentistry means, because we have no influence on the dentistry," Fontana
said Aspen Dental
frees dentists to focus solely on patients, because the company handles back-office duties such as marketing, accounting and billing.
In fact, dentists own and control all of the practices, says Fontana
says Aspen Dental looks for ways to make it easier for those people to walk into their offices.
says this approach is what's best for patients, because neglected teeth and gums can lead to serious problems.
"A typical patient is probably 45 to 65 and struggling just to make ends meet," said Fontana, Aspen's CEO.
acknowledges that the company counted 1,000 complaints posted from 2006 to 2010.
said Aspen Dental treats 12,000 patients a day, so the number of complaints is relatively small.
dismissed complaints by former employees, saying all companies have disgruntled workers.
is a pioneer among corporate dental chains.
Fontana considered becoming a dentist when he graduated business school in 1991, but decided instead to apply his business knowledge from working in a group dental practice, imagining ways of tapping into the market of people who never go to a dentist.
In 1998, he founded Aspen Dental Management.
After five years, the company had opened 50 offices and drawn the interest of private-equity firms.
Capital Resources Partners of Boston invested $18.7 million in Aspen Dental
The Los Angeles firm Leonard Green & Associates
bought the company in 2010 for just under $550 million.
says private-equity firms want out of a business after about five years, and the key to a big payoff is growth.
opens a new office nearly every week, creating a drag on profits, according to a recent report by Moody's.
Last year, the company made more than $500 million in revenue but had a pretax profit of only $12 million.
The company meticulously tracks revenue targets for each office.
said those targets don't apply to dentists.
"I think it's important to keep in mind again, that the dentists don't have these goals," he
The scrutiny dentists are under at Aspen Dental
is clear in a report that Fontana
called the "game tape.