Most dental students know what it’s like to live on a budget. After graduation, money will stay tight when student loans come due. Before long, a new dentist will want to buy a practice, buy a house or start a family. As your dental career begins, your financial planning skills will be just as critical as your treatment planning skills.
Summer 2016 was a turning point in my dental career. I finished my fifth year in the Army and had one more year to serve on active duty to fulfill my commitment for dental school and my residency program. During dental school, I thought it would be simple to serve my time and leave the military, but as the day of decision approached, it was far from easy.
As a dental student, we’re often not confronted with the importance of experience in business settings. My work history as a human resources professional gave me firsthand insight into the key leadership and management skills that I can use as a practicing dentist.
An article from the Journal of Dental Education defines motivational interviewing (MI) as a “person-centered, goal-directed method of communication for eliciting and strengthening intrinsic motivation for behavior change.” In dentistry, MI is a strategy that can be used to improve patient outcomes and acceptance of treatment plan and suggestions for oral health care by increasing a patient’s motivation for behavior change.
After over a decade of working as a general dentist in England, my wife and I decided to move to her hometown, Los Angeles. This decision brought one huge implication: My dental degree and license were not accepted by the state of California. So I set out to enter a program for international dentists, which meant spending at least two years in dental school again.
Shelves and shelves full of toothpastes, mouth rinses, teeth whiteners and more — which one to buy? In addition to having to choose from a multitude of items, patients may also have questions about the chemicals that make up these products. Dental professionals field questions about toothpaste and whiteners with ingredients such as fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), triclosan, and hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide. Some patients favor products free of these elements and move toward what are perceived as better, natural products. Dental professionals should know about research regarding chemicals in dental products that patients are likely to encounter.
Dr. Mark Costes has a wealth of experience in leadership and practice management, having owned more than 15 dental practices and employed hundreds of people throughout his career. He now has a group of seven practices and a consulting company in the Dental Success Institute. What qualifies him to be a coach? “Having made all the mistakes in the book,” he says. He urges dental students to learn from his experiences, immerse themselves in all of the free self-education resources out there and get out of their comfort zone.