Dentistry gives you a chance to specialize in various fields. If you’d like to adjust your course, or just advance your current business, here are five pro tips for thriving in a dental career.
Make an effort to keep up with industry developments. Broadly speaking, you need to follow technological news, emerging skills, and consumer trends. Read dental news and see what tools and technologies are being developed. Pay attention to anything that could make your work easier and your patients’ experience better. This includes tools, dental technologies, patient management, and patient communication.
Also keep an eye on what skills are in demand among the new dentist generation. These can be practice-specific or soft skills, like communication. In the same vein, observe the opinions of the patient base – what people are complaining about, who they are praising and why, etc. All of these insights can help you keep your career contemporary, relevant, and thriving.
You should start networking with other professional dentists while you are still in dental school. That said, if you missed that train for whatever reason, you’re not late. Start fostering those relationships now. Get in touch with dental professionals in your area, or your school’s alumni, and seize every opportunity to connect.
Most industry members are happy to share their experience and knowledge with up-and-coming colleagues. If you graduated recently, they will likely be willing to give you some advice about starting your career off on the right foot. You might even get some recommendations and introductions. And even if you’ve already joined the workforce, you can get insights from their practice that you would never encounter in the classroom.
Admittedly, this is a hefty investment, but it will skyrocket your career. As soon as you can afford it, open up your own dental business. The factors you will need to consider are location, equipment, and eventually staff. First, decide where you want to work. Pick a specific city, or just a general area, and research it. What are the state regulations? Will you need to take a board exam? Will you need any additional certifications? How much competition are you facing and how can you get a leg up on them?
Next, reach out to a reputable dental equipment provider and start investing in quality dental equipment. Start with the basics and build your equipment over time. Choose individual tools that best fit your practice and purchase the best quality.
Consider the future staffing of your office. You may want to eventually hire employees who will complement your speciality. At the very least, you will need one or more reliable assistants and some amazing hygienists. Keep an eye on new dental talent and see who is entering the workforce to ensure your practice is solidly established.
If you would like to step up your practice, or simply boost your profits, consider becoming a family dentist. Children can admittedly be difficult to work with, but it’s really just a matter of patience. Most of the time they just need an adult to validate their fears and help them navigate.
This could be an especially effective strategy if you are restarting after a career break. Things will have somewhat changed since you were actively employed. Reorienting your efforts toward the family dentistry field gives you space to evolve, and there’s a better chance of being in demand.
Finally, take advantage of every chance to hear people’s honest opinions. If you get stellar impressions, great! But if there’s something that could have been better, take that feedback to heart. Do your best to discern between objective and biased testimonials. If you receive some small token of appreciation from your patients, feel free to display it in your office for others to see.
Children’s drawings are a common example. If you get an upset review, keep a cool head. Figure out if there’s an objective basis for it. If the person is unfairly venting, set the record straight in a calm, respectful, but firm and clear manner. If their complaint is legitimate, honestly apologize, rectify the problem immediately, and don’t let it happen again.
Growing as a dental professional requires smart networking and keeping up with industry developments. If you can, start your own practice, and always keep the experience of your patients front and center.