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Bang for Your Buck! Prioritizing CE opportunities as a new dentist

We knew all along. We knew there were things we were not learning while we were in school. Now, we’ve made it out. We are practicing dentists. We’ve climbed the mountain, celebrated, taken a deep breath, and turned around to find ourselves at the bottom of another mountain. We know there are things we don’t know. Now what? How do I decide where to start? How do I prioritize what CE warrants my time, effort and money?

Dr. Moon

Dr. Moon

Before elaborating on choosing CE, let me say this: First of all, give yourself a break. You don’t have to save the world your first year as a practicing dentist (even though it kind of feels like you can once you’re treating more than 2-3 patients per day). Use your training to approach cases and treatment conservatively as you build up your confidence and skill level. Don’t get in over your head early. Personally, I believe I spent about six months focusing on my job prior to taking any CE after school.

Once you’re ready to get back at it, make CE choices that benefit you and your patients. After some time practicing, you should have a feeling in your “gut” that if you just knew how to __________ or ________ your patients would benefit and you would feel like a more proficient dentist. Once you have that feeling you are more than halfway there.

I have found that asking myself the question: “Is this good Bang for My Buck?” has consistently helped me make good decisions about how I prioritize my CE. I consider three areas when answering this question to myself:

1. Will learning ____________ benefit the majority of my patients, or a few?

2. Is this topic something very limited or specific, or something I can build upon in the future?

3. Is there a hands-on component to this course, or will I potentially leave this course without the confidence I need to implement what I was suppose to learn?

Answers to these questions usually guide my decisions. I prefer to attend CE that offers benefit to the largest number of patients possible, on a topic or area that can consistently be built upon or integrated into multiple procedures, and especially those that include a hands-on component.

Early on in my career, I found myself focusing on CAD-CAM dentistry and bone grafting procedures. I had come to the realization that the majority of my patients would benefit if I increased my skills in these areas. Also, a basic foundation in these topics is beneficial, but you can learn an extensive amount with either, and continue to build your skills and expand the number of billable procedures you provide. Again, once you know what you want to learn, incorporating a hands-on component will make you that much more confident as you implement your knowledge and new techniques in clinical practice.

For new dentists looking to pick up some valuable CE, I suggest that these two areas are not a bad place to start. Incorporating CAD-CAM dentistry into your practice opens up a lot of treatment options and office scheduling benefits that are not available without it. Also, implant dentistry continues to develop and become a more commonly selected treatment option. Bone grafting and socket preservation procedures help patients obtain optimal treatment results, can often be performed quite easily, and will in many cases be the difference between success and failure concerning fixed prosthodontic and/or implant treatment options. Go get that Bang for Your Buck!

For more information on online and in-person continuing education opportunities, click here.

Dr. Brenden Moon is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and currently serves as Chair of the Illinois State Dental Society New Dentist Committee and sits on the Board of the Illinois Academy of General Dentistry. He began practicing in western Illinois after completing dental school at the University of Mississippi in 2007, and enjoys participating in organized dentistry on the state and national level. Dr. Moon practices in both Public Health and Private Practice settings and is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, International College of Dentists, Academy of Dentistry International, and the Pierre Fauchard Academy

2015 ADA/Kellogg executive management program registration opens

New dentists and office management staff seeking to enhance their business experience and acumen with enhanced management skills and business principles can register by July 1 for the 2015 session of ADA/Kellogg Executive Management Program.

KelloggIn its 11th year, the executive-level program, organized in collaboration by the ADA and Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management, consists of specially designed curriculum for dentists to learn more about business management from one of the nation’s top-ranked management schools.

“Dental school and my orthodontic residency taught me the clinical skills I needed and I learned the necessities of running a practice over time, but I always felt like I was missing the business fundamentals that would that allow my practice to thrive,” said Dr. Spencer Pope, a 2014 graduate of the program and who has been in practice for 16 years.

“Unfortunately, you don’t know what you don’t know, and dentists tend to lack the business fundamentals that almost all other sectors of the economy utilize on a daily basis,” he added. “This program helps to level the curve and provide you with a knowledge base to go forward.”

Based on the core curriculum of incoming Kellogg Master of Business Administration students, the program addresses business strategy, organizational leadership, marketing, finance, accounting, economics, business analytics and operations. Kellogg professors teach all courses.

The 12.5-day program is held at Northwestern University’s Chicago campus, near the ADA headquarters. The 2015 sessions are set for Sept. 18-21, Oct. 23-26 and Nov. 13-17.

Registration fees are $16,750 for ADA members and $17,750 for nonmembers. Fee includes tuition, course materials and most meals. Tuition does not include travel and lodging. ADA members receive discounts on select Chicago hotels. Registrations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

To register, visit ADA.org/Kellogg or contact Connie Paslaski at the ADA toll-free number at ext. 3541, or email ADAKEMP@ada.org.

NY Times: Student loan facts they wish they had known

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtThe New York Times’ Your Money columnist Ron Lieber asked his readers to share their own stories and offer the most important thing they wish they had known before they taking out and paying for student loans.

From taking counseling for borrowing money from private lenders to keeping track of your running loan total, Mr. Lieber shares some of the most prevailing answers he received.

To read the full column, click here.

As a new dentist, what do you wish you had known when you decided to apply and acquire student loans to study dentistry?

Journalists to speak at ADA 2015

Washington — The ADA Distinguished Speaker Series will feature columnist Charles Krauthammer and journalist and author Eleanor Clift at ADA 2015 — America’s Dental Meeting here, Nov. 5 from 8-9:30 a.m. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer

The ADA Distinguished Speaker Series annually presents renowned personalities with notable careers and accomplishments in politics, media and industry. The 2015 Distinguished Speaker Series is presented by Church & Dwight, makers of Arm & Hammer, Spinbrush and Orajel oral care products.

Charles Krauthammer, who earned an M.D. from Harvard Medical School, practiced medicine before becoming a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale. Later, he joined The New Republic as a writer and editor. More than 400 newspapers worldwide publish his syndicated weekly column, begun in The Washington Post in 1985. He appears nightly on Fox News’ evening news program Special Report with Bret Baier.

Eleanor Clift

Eleanor Clift

Ms. Clift is the Washington correspondent for The Daily Beast, a longtime panelist on the weekly public affairs show The McLaughlin Group and also provides commentary for Fox News.

Ms. Clift is a former contributing editor at Newsweek and author of four books, including her latest “Two Weeks of Life: A Memoir of Love, Death and Politics,” an examination of the right-to-die debate through personal experience with the loss of her husband.

For more information on ADA 2015, click here.

Three new dentists, three different paths

Whether it’s the owner of a private practice, an associate or a dentist serving in the U.S. military, dentistry offers a wide range of workplace settings. The ADA New Dentist News spoke with three dentists to learn what led them to dentistry and how they chose their career path.

Federal dentist

U.S. Air Force Maj. David Schindler’s passion for dentistry began at a young age with each visit to his dentist whose positive attitude and sense of humor, he said, were contagious. That passion only grew with the influence of his stepfather, Lee Salisbury, a general dentist from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Maj. Schindler

Maj. Schindler

Meanwhile, growing up, Maj. Schindler was also a fan of military history, especially from authors like Stephen Ambrose who wrote “Band of Brothers.”

“I wanted to be part of that tradition and continue the family legacy of service,” said Maj. Schindler, whose grandfathers both served.

Maj. Schindler joined the Air Force in 2005 before beginning dental school, accepting a four-year scholarship. He attended Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry and graduated May 2009.

After graduation, he entered active duty service and began officer training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, followed by a one-year general dentistry residency in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Today, he practices at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C. His mission: To ensure dental readiness by providing high quality care for their active duty population so they can execute their mission at home and be ready to deploy if needed without any dental emergencies interfering.

“One refreshing thing I enjoy about practicing in the Air Force is there is no ‘typical’ day,” he said. Patient care is about 85 percent of a workday, the rest is administrative duties around the dental clinic or the wider medical facility.

In addition, the educational opportunities to expand your skill sets are exceptional in the Air Force, he said.

Other reasons to join are for the great benefits, travel opportunities and the patients who do some extraordinary things for the country each day.

Although service requires some sacrifice on the part of families, Maj. Schindler said, a good option for those going into private practice while continuing to serve on a limited basis is joining the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard.

“Coming out of school, I didn’t want to deal with the headaches that come with managing the business aspect of a practice — insurance issues, marketing, hiring,” Maj. Schindler said. “I wanted to focus on patient care, help in additional duties; and at the end of the day, focus on my family and not worry about potential issues back at the office. I definitely made the right choice.”

Private practice

Dr. Irene Marron-Tarrazzi is a periodontist in Miami, Florida.

Dr. Marron-Tarrazzi

Dr. Marron-Tarrazzi

“I decided to choose dentistry as a career because it would provide me with independence and flexibility,” she said. “My mother was a true inspiration and I grew up spending time in her dental office. Seeing her as a successful dentist and raising a family helped me understand that as women we can achieve work-life balance. I also enjoy the sense of achievement and pride in the handiwork that comes from reestablishing the health and well-being of a patient.”

After Dr. Marron-Tarrazzi graduated from dental school in Venezuela, she moved to the U.S. to pursue a specialty degree in periodontics. She graduated in 2000 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. In 2003, she obtained her D.M.D from Nova Southeastern University.

Immediately after graduation she worked as an associate in a small group practice.  Her initial plan was to buy in as a partner. After some years she had the yearning to open her own practice. She started her solo practice in Brickell, an up-and-coming neighborhood in Miami, Florida, where she has lived for the past eight years. Her periodontal office consists of herself, one hygienist and three dental team members.

“Being an associate provided me with ample experience in the clinical aspect, time for teaching and becoming involved with organized dentistry” she said. “But I think, until you become an owner, you don’t really know the business aspect of it. For example, we get many lectures on practice management in school and during seminars. However, it isn’t until you have to implement that knowledge on your own that you fully understand it.”

Dr. Marron-Tarrazzi said she tries to keep up-to-date by attending seminars, reading the ADA Center for Professional Success, and periodically meets with a group of dentist friends to share practice management tips.

“New dentists’ pursuing private practice ownership should be a little visionary and creative. Dentistry is a hands-on profession with daily challenges that require the combination of critical thinking, compassion and talent,” she said. “There are concerns of debt, and dentistry is changing. However, I think that private practice is a viable model for our generation, especially when you want to offer a unique practice philosophy.”

Associate to owner with DSO support

Unlike her older siblings who both knew what they wanted to be before they were 6 years old, Dr. Andrea Janik didn’t make up her mind until she was 17.

Dr. Janik

Dr. Janik

“I had a really great orthodontist, who seemed like he was really happy being a dentist,” she said of making her career choice.

When she told her father, he gave her his blessing with one condition, that she explore other possibilities in college.

“He said, ‘If you’ve done that and still want to be a dentist, you can,’” recalled Dr. Janik, a general practitioner in San Antonio.

She graduated with a psychology degree and enrolled in 2004 in Baylor College of Dentistry. After graduation, Dr. Janik wanted to focus on patient care — not necessarily on running a business.

“My expertise is as a clinician. That’s what I wanted I’ve always dreamed of being,” she said.

Dr. Janik worked as an associate dentist in Dallas, but after five years, she found an associateship at a practice supported by a dental service organization in San Antonio. DSOs provide support to affiliated dental practices with nonclinical functions, including accounting, human resources, legal and marketing.

“Eighteen months later, I realized ownership was right for me,” she said.

Today, Dr. Janik owns a practice, employing one associate dentist and 1.5 hygienists. She receives services from four specialists and contracts with a DSO for business support services.

“I’ve built around me a tremendous staff,” she said. “We’re doing phenomenal patient care. For things I don’t know anything about, I have people who have degrees in those specialties.”

However, Dr. Janik said she realizes DSOs may carry a bad connotation among her colleagues.

“I’ve had judgments passed on to me that I’ve had to overcome, usually from people who don’t understand what I do,” she said. “Basically, anything to do with patient care is all up to me.”

Dr. Janik said with the cost of student loans, opening a practice from scratch is daunting for a recent graduate.

“That doesn’t include the cost of buying a home or car,” she said. “Just from a personal preservation standpoint, coming in to an office with (DSO) support may not be a bad idea because you’re able to just focus on dentistry and patient care.”

Dental leaders welcome student advocates

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the

ADA and ADPAC leaders joined dentist members of Congress April 13 in welcoming some 380 dental students to the American Student Dental Association’s annual dental student lobby day.

Speaking at the appropriately named Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel across the river from the nation’s capital, Association President Maxine Feinberg told today’s student leaders. “Your voice is important for our profession.” The dental students met to share lobbying tips with the profession’s leadership the day before canvassing Capitol Hill congressional offices to lobby student refinancing and Action for Dental Health bills.

“Your being here is such an important step in securing your future as dentists,” Dr. Feinberg told the students. “When you sit down with a member of Congress tomorrow, and you’re discussing issues that affect oral health and dentistry, yes, you’re going to be advocating for dentists everywhere. But you’ll also be advocating for your future, your patients.”

Dr. Bruce Hutchison, chair-elect of the American Dental Political Action Committee, and dentist/Reps. Bruce Babin, R-Texas, and Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., also addressed the students and offered advice on how to lobby the legislation and work with congressional staff.

Grassroots activist dentists attending the April 27-29 Washington Leadership Conference will also lobby members of Congress to support the Student Loan Refinancing Act “so that we can help dental students like you manage their debt when they leave school,” and the Action for Dental Health Act, which “reduces barriers to care and offers solutions for addressing the dental health crisis in America,” Dr. Feinberg told the students.

“When you meet with members of Congress on the Hill tomorrow, ask them for their support,” the ADA president said. “Ask them to be advocates for you and for the profession.”

Nepal dental school seeks instructors for new Health Volunteers Overseas project

Dr. Hollander's favorite mountain in Nepal is Ama Dablam, pictured here.

Dr. Hollander’s favorite mountain in Nepal is Ama Dablam, pictured here.

Any interest in teaching in Nepal?

The ADA News is reporting that a dental education project in Dhulikhel, Nepal, is seeking volunteers to teach this fall under the auspices of Health Volunteers Overseas, Dhulikhel Dental School and Kathmandu University School of Medicine.

“They want to improve the dental education that they provide the students,” said Dr. Brian Hollander, project director. “Our volunteers will work with both the students and the faculty in helping them improve their knowledge and teaching techniques. Their goal is to produce excellent dentists. It’s a pretty interesting partnership. HVO just launched the project last month. We’ve already had quite a bit of interest. I’m very excited about this program.”

Dr. Dashrath Kafle, left, and Dr. Hollander stand overlooking the dental school at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr. Kafle is a professor at the school and the HVO project's local contact.

Dr. Dashrath Kafle, left, and Dr. Hollander stand overlooking the dental school at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr. Kafle is a professor at the school and the HVO project’s local contact.

The first volunteer is going to Nepal in April. The project needs volunteers for placement between September and mid-November.

Infection control and hygiene; training for dental assistants and hygienists; dental laboratory techniques; finishing orthodontic cases to American Board of Orthodontics standards; oral pathology and oral medicine are among the requested focus areas for volunteers. Academic support in oral medicine and oral pathology has also been requested.

The program needs academic support in oral medicine and oral pathology and training in four-handed dentistry for the dental nurses and assistants.

Volunteers must be fully trained general dentists, specialists and/or board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons who hold a current license to practice. Assignments are for a minimum of two weeks.

To read the full story, click here.

New Dentist Conference Joins ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting

The ADA is pleased to announce that for the first time, the New Dentist Conference will be held at the ADA annual meeting from November 5-10 in Washington, D.C.

New Dentist Conference 2015Features of the New Dentist Conference include:

  • Shark Tank co-star Daymond John as keynote speaker.
  • Exclusive, interactive educational offerings.
  • High-level networking opportunities with leadership and peers.
  • New Dentist reception and lounge.
  • Significantly reduced hotel rates.
  • A chance to give back at the ADA Mission of Mercy.
  • We encourage you to share this information with any dentists who have been out of school for ten years or less as this is an experience they won’t want to miss.

Registration for the New Dentist Conference at ADA 2015 opens May 13 — a full week earlier than general registration! For more information, visit ADA.org/NDC.

If you’re a new dentist, consider these ADA resources

With about 1,000 new dentists graduating from dental school in Virginia alone over the past 10 years, the future of dentistry looks very bright. The hopes of the Virginia Dental Association’s new dentist committee is to keep all of our recent graduates abreast of what is happening nationally as well as in our state and local ADA components.

Dr. Sinclair

Dr. Sinclair

I am a fairly new dentist; I graduated from VCU in 2009 and can hardly believe that I just had my 5-year reunion a few months ago. It was great to visit with my fellow classmates and see just how many different paths had been taken; however, many of us were thriving in general dentistry.

Once you leave the doors of dental school, you quickly realize how career paths are available. You can specialize, attend a residency, become an associate, enter public service or the military and even start your own practice. I have experienced several of those areas myself starting with public health, working as an associate, and finally starting my own practice a few years ago.

Did you know that the ADA can help in almost all of these areas? If we just take a look at my recent journey from student to practice owner, the ADA has been a great resource for me in almost every segment. In the next few issues, I will highlight some of these areas that the ADA has helped out along the way and show a few of the various ways the ADA may be able to help you, the new dentist.

ADA Sponsored Insurance Policies

Did you ever think what would happen if you had some life altering issue while you were in school? How would you pay your loans? What would happen if you injured your hand disabling you from practicing dentistry? I was a young dental student and none of these ideas ever crossed my mind; however, I didn’t need to worry about it!

The ADA had taken care if it for me as they currently do for all dental student members.  When you are student member in the ADA, you are covered in an ADA sponsored policy that not only includes a $500,000 life insurance policy, but also a $2,000 a month disability plan with $150,000 coverage in student loan protection.  There is even a chance to continue on with the policies as your career advances and your need for coverage increases. For more information, click here.

Licensure Maps

Where do you want to practice? One of the main hurdles for many dental students is deciding what regional board is going to be the best one to take. The ADA has a great informational website that lists all of the regional board exams and the states that accept that exam for licensure. There are also links to contact the state’s individual boards as well as state dental components if there are any further questions. For more information, click here.

CV Development

How do you distinguish yourself among your peers for that perfect job?  Not everyone graduating dental schools wants to do the same thing, but how do you get that first interview for your first associateship. As an ADA member, you have access to the group at the Career Transitions Center of Chicago (CTC).  The team at CTC can provide you with general tips for having a successful resume all the way to co-writing that perfect CV to help you land your dream job. For more information, click here.

 

This blog post, reprinted with permission, originally appeared in the Virginia Dental Association journal. Dr. Cappy Sinclair is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a 2009 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Sinclair currently serves on the Board of Trustees at the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, as member of 3M’s Council for Innovative Dentistry, and as an ambassador for the Dawson Academy. He started his own practice Coastal Cosmetic Dentistry 3 years ago from the ground up and is more than happy to share his success and failures with fellow new dentists. He is a member of the American Dental Association and the Virginia Dental Association. To contact Dr. Sinclair, email him csinclair@smilevabeach.com.

Register for 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair

Dental students interested in learning about what comes after graduation, and how to juggle residency applications, writing a resume, leadership and different types of dental careers, should register for the 2015 ADEA Student Virtual Fair.

The free, live, online event will be held 4-10 p.m. EST on April 2. To register, click here.

The 2015 ADEA Dental Student Virtual Fair is designed to give dental students free access to information and connect them with professionals from ADEA, dental specialties and dental companies who can answer their questions in real time.

In addition, two ADA New Dentist Committee representatives — Drs. Kendra Zappia and Jon Pascarella — will be participating in a panel presentation from 7-7:30 p.m. The ADA will also have a booth for attendees to visit.

All dental students are welcome to attend the event. Recent graduates interested in learning about different career options are also welcome to attend.

Students will be able to:

  • Log in to the event from any Internet connected device.
  • Speak directly with dental specialty program directors and association professionals, military recruiters and corporate sponsor exhibitors in live text chat rooms.
  • View presentations about financial aid, interviewing for residencies, ADEA PASS and much more.
  • Download and save resources from dental professionals to access after the live event.
  • Learn about the ADEA PASS application process.
  • Listen to a keynote presentation from the ADEA Chair of the Board, Dr. Lily Garcia.

For more information, including the exhibitor list and presentation lineup, click here.