During dental school, we benefit from an interconnected community of experienced dentistry. Dentists and fellow students at school are here to help you. The situation is not automatically the same once we graduate and are practicing in the real world. Who do you turn to? How do new graduates find a new community? The answer: networking.
Networking is a more formal term for connecting. It is important for dentists to connect with all types of people in your new community: other dentists, patients and specialists in your area. One way to meet dentists in your area is to become a part of organized dentistry, whether at the local, state or national level. As a member of ASDA, you are already off to a good start. As a member of an organized dental group, you will find other like-minded dentists who also believe in organized dentistry and advocating for the profession. You can also find colleagues in your community through the ADA Directory or your local dental association directory.
Dentists need to continually grow professionally and technically. Whether it’s studying implantology, improving endodontic techniques, streamlining treatment planning or enhancing already strong foundations, there is always something to learn from continuing education courses. By attending continuing education courses, you can improve your skills, meet other dentists interested in the work you find rewarding, find the right mentor and even possibly land your dream job.
Also consider joining study clubs to learn and get feedback from more experienced dentists around you. Study clubs can assist with advanced areas of dentistry from a colleague-to-colleague point of view versus classroom instruction. In some cases, specialists may appear at study clubs to show their work and market themselves to general dentists in the area. It can be a great opportunity to find specialists who fit your practice and your standards and, more importantly, are the right fit for your patients.
A good specialist can improve your practice because it can show your patients you have an answer to every potential question and conceivable complication.
Many avenues exist for finding the right job, specialists and patients. Networking is key for finding, maintaining and widening your community. When starting life as a dentist, make your way to these already established communities. Whether through organized dentistry, continuing education or study clubs, find what makes you satisfied so you can satisfy your patients.
~Wyatt Nguyen, Colorado ‘23