Finally, after years of hard work, good grades and months of submitting applications, you’ve been accepted into dental school. The pressure is off.
At that point in your life, if you were to have closed your eyes and gazed into your future what would you have seen? What was your vision? Did you see yourself in a traditional private practice where you were an extension of your patient family? A situation similar your family dentist or mentor? Did you envision the newest hi-tech gadgets in a stylish office in a medical/dental complex?
Your job during the course of your dental education is to learn what you need to become an excellent practitioner. Much of that knowledge needs to be applied in order for you to learn effectively. Although your school provides you with patients, some of them seem to slip through your hands (metaphorically speaking, of course). Patients are here one day, but gone the next. Some leave because they’re frightened. Some leave because they can’t afford the treatment. But some leave because they don’t want to do what you’re suggesting needs to be done. Since your success in dental school depends on your ability to get your patients to agree to the treatment you recommend, it’s important to understand how to achieve a higher rate of case acceptance.
For many of us, dentistry is a dream job. And for some, it’s a profession that lets us chase our other dreams.
Dr. T. Bob Davis saw dentistry as a chance to keep up with a childhood passion. He started playing piano as a kid, and his first memory is of watching “Goodnight Irene” and trying to play songs from the movie on a piano. Dr. Davis took lessons throughout high school and began recording albums in dental school.
You know how every chef movie has an aspiring sous chef who admires the head chef, but the head chef either doesn’t have the desire or can’t seem to find time to mentor the sous chef? In this regard, the dental profession is no different from the food preparation profession.
Everyone talks about mentor relationships. Some people have them, but would like more. Some people would like to find just one. No matter how you slice it, if you’d like a mentor, you will probably have to do something to initiate the relationship. So how do you go about creating a mentor relationship with a faculty or senior colleague?
Following dental school, we search high and low for the perfect fit. No matter the practice setting, chances are you’ll be working alongside another dentist. I’ve been blessed to work with an incredible mentor for the past 1.5 years.
From the moment I met him right before graduating dental school, he’s been there to support me clinically with complex cases, emotionally on the days when dentistry has kicked my butt and through leadership challenges when I’ve struggled with the team. We recently sat down for a meeting where he shared with me, “I’m happy where I am with dentistry. My greatest success will be when you succeed.”
After working as an associate for a couple of years, you’ll start thinking seriously about whether to become an independent practice owner or remain an employee for your career. This is a personal decision and there really isn’t a right or wrong answer, unless you make the decision based on bad information. I’ve heard dental students and recent grads share a few misconceptions over the years about what it’s like for those who choose to become business owners. I’d like to set the record straight here. Here are the three biggest myths about owning a practice.
Every morning, I lead a “team huddle” in my clinic. The basic goal of the huddle is simple: to ensure that team members are prepared for the day’s scheduled appointments and procedures. However, the greater value of this huddle is that it sets the accountability framework for the day. Clear, measurable expectations are stated to our competent, diverse team of surgical technicians, nurses, dental assistants, receptionists and fellow surgeons. The team is encouraged to ask questions during the huddle to further clarify the plan for the day. All team members leave the huddle understanding what each of them must do to have a successful day.
Read on to find out what Dr. Hammer has been doing differently for better results…