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After Dental School

ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership — Application Deadline April 30, 2014

Applications for Diversity InstituteThe ADA is seeking applicants for its Institute for Diversity in Leadership — the deadline is April 30, 2014.

Established in 2003 by the ADA, the Institute is designed to enhance the leadership skills of dentists who belong to racial, ethnic and/or gender backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in leadership roles.

As a participant in this tuition-free program, you’ll have opportunities to:

  • Enhance your leadership skills and gain leadership experience
  • Strengthen your professional network and build a lifetime of supportive relationships
  • Set new leadership paths within the profession and communities

To be considered as a candidate for the next Institute class comprised of twelve U.S. dentists you must apply by April 30, 2014. Class members will convene for three sessions held at ADA Headquarters in Chicago on the following dates:

  • September 4-5, 2014
  • December 8-9, 2014
  • September 10-11, 2015

You’ll be reimbursed for travel expenses related to attending three sessions held at ADA Headquarters in Chicago and receive a stipend to help offset any costs related to your leadership project.

Lead by faculty from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, over the course of the year you’ll develop and execute a personal leadership project to address an issue or challenge in your community, organization or the profession.

In addition, you’ll have opportunities to network with ADA leaders, as well as leaders from the program’s corporate sponsors and non-profit organizations, faculty, program alumni and ADA staff.

To learn more about this extraordinary educational experience and submit your application, visit ADA.org/diversityinstitute or call Kristi Gingrich at 312.440.2598.

The ADA thanks Henry Schein Dental and Procter & Gamble for their support of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership.

Life as a New Dentist — Practice Owners

Dentists posing with dog

Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, Dr. Larry Dougherty and Emma

The ADA is made up of individuals — here’s one two of them.

ADA New Dentist Now: Who are you?

Ana: I’m Dr. Ana Paula Ferraz-Dougherty, a proud member of Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine class of 2008. I’m the co-owner of a dental practice in San Antonio, Texas with my husband, Dr. Larry Dougherty.

Larry: That’s me, Dr. Larry Dougherty, also Nova 2008. In addition to our practice, which we started from scratch about 2 ½ years ago, I teach dental anatomy one morning every week at the dental school here in San Antonio.

ADA NDN: Is this part one of your master plan or is this “happily ever after?”

Larry: Eventually I’d like to own the building rather than leasing space for the practice. I’d like for us to be known for having one excellent practice, rather than having multiple locations.

Ana: I don’t know that I’ll ever be in a “happily ever after” phase professionally. I have too much to accomplish.

ADA NDN: If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be?

Ana: I’d be an actress living in Paris. This almost happened!

Larry: I would either be composing music for children’s television shows or working one of those jobs like in MONEYBALL where I analyze statistics to help professional sporting team make personnel decisions.

ADA NDN: Biggest surprise since leaving dental school?

Ana: I thought life would get a lot easier after dental school, but mostly it has just been a new set of challenges. I’m completing my teacher certification in yoga and I hope to teach some of what I’ve learned to my fellow dentists.

ADA NDN: Any advice for someone wanting to follow your career path?

Larry: Get involved with organized dentistry. After school there isn’t that built in group of peers and advisors, and that’s what I get out of being a member.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org

Take your knowledge of evidence-based dentistry to the next level

ADA Headquarters BuildingThe EBD Champions Conference 2.0: Implementing Science in Practice happens May 9-10 at ADA headquarters in Chicago. Steven Novella, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Yale University School of Medicine and host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, will explore the question, Why is Science-Based Medicine Important? in his keynote address.

The registration fee is $150 for ADA members and $225 for non-members. Visit ADA.org/EBDconference for more information and to register by March 31.

The conference is supported by a contribution from Procter & Gamble Professional Oral Health.

Dental Student Loan Repayment and FQHCs

Couple discusses moneyWe’re hard at work on the next issue of ADA New Dentist News, including a piece about FQHCs and dental student loan repayment.

An FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) is part of the dental safety net — these centers serve locations or populations with limited access to care. They may be located in urban or rural areas. An FQHC is often an integrated medical facility, where a patient has a single chart encompassing all care, including medical, dental and behavioral health.

Some dentists work full-time at a FQHC, while others devote part of their schedules to working for one of these centers. Loan repayment is available for a combined commitment that includes both a minimum number of 20 hours per week, and a minimum number of years of service.

Find out more at this link.

Have you worked at an FQHC? Share your experience in the comments.

Have you volunteered outside the United States?

Int'l Volunteer Svc LogoSo many dentists give generously of their time and talents with international volunteer dental organizations. In 2013 the ADA recognized 59 dentists and 26 dental students with the Certificate for International Volunteer Service.

The ADA is currently accepting nominations for the 2014 Certificate for International Volunteer Service — the deadline is April 1, 2014. Eligible candidates must have volunteered at least 14 days within a 24 month period. Find the complete guidelines and nomination forms at ADA.org.

And if you are looking to volunteer overseas, visit the ADA International Volunteer website. Find information about selecting a program and location, preparing for your trip and what to expect upon your return home. You can search over 100 organizations by site location, program type, religious affiliation, and other considerations.

Life as a New Dentist — Transitioning to Ownership

Dr. Tyler Scott

Dr. Tyler Scott

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Tyler Scott. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2009 of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. Currently I’m working as an employee in my father’s dental practice, and we are working with advisors to transfer ownership from him to me.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? That’s a tough one—this has been my dream ever since I was a kid, so I didn’t ever focus on a plan B that wasn’t dentistry. Although the thought of being a PGA teaching professional or a pro photographer has some appeal.

Biggest surprise so far about this career path? Practice management is such an underlying key to success. I’m working to learn the science of running a dental practice.

What’s your schedule like? I’m working in the office four days a week. For fun I like spending time with my family. I also officiate high school wrestling.

Any advice for someone considering your career path? My biggest influence has been my father. I would encourage everyone to find a mentor to help guide you and increase your chances for success at making your dream become reality.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

Here’s How They Did It — Real Talk from Dentists in Private Practice

Dr. Chris Salierno

Dr. Chris Salierno

Operations, human resources, finances, marketing — there is so much that goes into being an owner. If you missed the new dentist panel discussion about the nitty-gritty of private practice ownership, you can stream it at ADA.org/ADA365, the online extension of ADA13. Access to ADA365 is free to ADA members; non-members can sign up for $50.

Both dentists who bought into an existing practice and dentists who started practices from scratch were represented on the panel, moderated by Dr. Chris Salierno. The group tackled topics ranging from patient recall to search engine optimization, addressing all those non-clinical skills that aren’t a part of school, but are critical to your success. Stream the entire program at ADA.org/ADA365.

Life as a New Dentist — Veterans Administration

Dr. Rebecca Berry

Dr. Rebecca Berry

The ADA is made up of individuals — here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Rebecca Berry. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2011 of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and I work for the Veterans Administration health care system in a community-based outpatient clinic in Bangor, Maine.

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? Well it would definitely involve living in London. I spent a month there during undergrad, and I fell in love with the city. Moving there was my fallback plan if I didn’t get into dental school. Who knows what adventures would happen if I moved abroad?

Why did you choose working for the VA? I completed an AEGD at the main dental clinic in Augusta, Maine and I had a lot of encouragement to apply for this position. Some of that time there was a second dentist, but often it’s just been me. I meet up with my dentist colleagues once a week to discuss cases, and I always have someone I can call if I have a question. Being in the clinic on my own really helped me to grow as a dentist.

Biggest surprise so far about this position? I’m the first dentist in my family, so I didn’t have a lot of pre-conceived ideas. Definitely the best surprise has been all the gifts of food from my patients. Homemade pumpkin chocolate chip whoopee pies, 50 pounds of potatoes, moose meat — I really do have the best patients.

What’s your schedule like? I have a four-day week, and each day lasts ten hours. I really like this kind of schedule! I start and end my day with something straightforward, like a denture step or an exam. Then the rest of the day is a mix of surgery, operative, prosthetics and endo. We get a lot of emergency patients as well. It’s never dull!

What are you doing for fun? I enjoy cooking and I’m happy to make an effort to put together a good meal. Fitness is important but I get bored easily. I just did the Tough Mudder obstacle course and I also go to aquafit where I am easily the youngest person by 25 years. And it turns out that I miss academia, so I’ve been taking free, online courses just for fun.

Any advice for someone considering this career path? Do a residency with the VA to see if you like it. It’s very different from private practice. For me it’s a good fit.

What are your plans for the future? I’m very happy at VA. I love working with the veterans; they are very appreciative of the care we provide. I have a great team and my direct supervisor is very supportive so I feel lucky in that regard. My plan is to stay for at least 20 years. If I decide to explore other interests then I’ll still have plenty of time to go down a new path before I hit my 50th birthday!

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

Life as a New Dentist — Private Practice

Dr. Vivian Burk

Dr. Vivian Burk with Capo and Missy

The ADA is made up of individuals—here’s one of them.

Who are you? I’m Dr. Vivian Burk. I’m a proud member of the Class of 2011 of the Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry, and I am working for my family’s general dentistry practice in Anchorage, Alaska.

My brother graduated from dental school, and he bought our dad’s dental practice, then hired me after my graduation. Our big joke is that now my older brother really is the boss of me!

If you could have any job OTHER THAN dentistry, what would it be? When I was in dental school I had the opportunity to work on some films on the production side, and it turns out I have some talent! I like the idea of becoming a Director of Photography on some cool projects. That said I wouldn’t trade my job for the world!

Why did you choose working for this practice? My dream was to be a dentist, not to be a business owner. I see a wide variety of cases, from complicated procedures to cosmetic work, and I have a lot of autonomy. I like that I don’t have someone second-guessing the treatment plans I develop.

Biggest surprise since leaving school? I was anxious about feeling like getting the training wheels ripped off, but it turns out my education prepared me very well. In school that first restoration takes a long time but with practice you gain speed and confidence. I was concerned about speed, but working with an assistant and not having to wait for an instructor to sign off on procedures makes everything go much faster.

What’s your schedule like? I work Monday through Friday, 8:00-4:00. I used to work until five, but now I work through lunch so I can go home an hour earlier. The day flies by, and it means I’m not going home in the dark during winter.

What are you doing for fun? I bought a house and adopted two lab-husky mixes so all of that keeps me busy. I also travel often, especially to see live music.

Any advice for someone considering this path after graduation? In talking with my classmates from school, it’s clear that going to work for your brother isn’t an option for most! I’m very fortunate. Having said that, just because you get along with family outside of work, doesn’t mean you will automatically mesh while you are at work. That’s a dance that takes a little time to finesse.

What are your plans for the future? I’m already where I want to be, in terms of location and practice. I like seeing my confidence grow with experience. My production keeps improving. My family is a real support—we’ve had some big changes and health scares and seeing how everyone helps each other while powering through gives me a lot of confidence in facing the unknown.

Interested in sharing your experience as a new dentist? If you are fewer than ten years out of dental school we’d love to hear from you! Contact us at newdentist@ada.org.

Employee or Independent Contractor — What’s the Difference?

The ADA Center for Professional Success

The ADA Center for Professional Success

Sometimes there is confusion over what it means to work as an independent contractor vs. working as an employee. Here’s the IRS on the topic (PDF link):

“An employer must generally withhold federal income taxes, and pay unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. An employer does not generally have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.”(IRS Publication 15-A)

So is this just a matter of word choice? Absolutely not!

The ADA Center for Professional Success has more information:

Employees are typically subject to the employer’s instruction, such as when and where to work, what supplies must be used, how work is to be completed and other procedures. Employees may not be required to invest in their own materials and may be eligible for benefits. For an employee, the employer dentist must generally withhold income taxes, withhold and pay social security and Medicare taxes, pay unemployment tax, and afford workers’ compensation benefits.

Be careful though, as being an employee does not mean that the employee dentist can defer ethical responsibility for care. That always rests with the individual professional. “The boss made me do it” is never a good defense!

Independent contractors have more control and are often paid a flat fee for their work. They are not as likely to be reimbursed for expenses, nor to receive benefits and the relationship is usually just centered around the end results of the work, not the time at or means by which those results are accomplished. There is generally no requirement to withhold or pay taxes for independent contractors — the burden is on the independent contractor. Keep in mind that the final test comes from what actually goes on in the relationship. The label on a piece of paper doesn’t matter as much as the day-to-day workings of the practice.

If the IRS believes that a worker has been mis-classified, the business may be liable for back taxes. And it’s important to note that part-time or full-time status is not a deciding factor.

If you are concerned about the classification of those who work for you, or of the classification of yourself as a worker, it’s important to consult with a local employment attorney in your state of practice.


ADA members — check out the ADA Center for Professional Success at Success.ADA.org. Resources include financial calculators to factor loan payments and overhead expenditures, ergonomic tips to keep you healthy and patient communications strategies to build trust and increase patient satisfaction.