Continuing education: R&D for the dental office
You have to be a great juggler to be a dentist, whether you’re an employee or run a practice. I’ve practiced dentistry for over 25 years and have always had multiple balls in the air at once.
One of those balls is continuing your education.Continuing education is critical for many reasons other than to fulfill a state requirement. By always learning, you can continue to expand the services you provide. A continued education can also refine and increase your understanding of the services you currently provide and help you avoid problems. Over the past thirty years, I can’t tell you how many times a class showed me something that could help me improve my dental practice.
But with the thousands of classes out there, where does one start?
First, decide what will make the biggest impact to your practice. Would you like to add services or increase the complexity of the services you provide? For example, if you routinely refer all molar endo, perhaps endodontic additional education might allow you to do some of those cases. Perhaps you want to add something new to the office. Then maybe oral surgery, sedation or dental implant classes might be best. The most important thing to consider is what is best for you, and not the latest and greatest topic of the day? If you’re not the owner, you may wish to discuss the opportunities in your dental practice with the other dentists and owner dentist.
Second, decide where to look for the training. Research is the key here. The ADA provides members with CE than can meet your specific needs. From the day you graduate dental school until the time you retire or sell your practice, from online to in-person, the ADA has continuing education to fit your needs. Another option, you can also search online for courses that pertain to your chosen topics and see what comes up. Continuing to research the results of your first search will provide information like who is offering the CE course, the scope of the course, and where and when the course is available. These are important background questions. Continuing education can sometimes be expensive and involves time away from the office. It is imperative that you feel comfortable with the source of your learning.
Third, attend your class or learning opportunity. The key here is to be a very active listener. Always be asking, “Does this information seem to make sense?” “Does this seem too good to be true?” “Does this presenter seem to have an agenda?”
Believe me, there are a lot of agendas and misleading information out there. They can be difficult to detect, keep your ears open and critically think of what the presenter is saying. The ADA Continuing Education Recognition Program (ADA CERP) provides ADA members and the dental community a mechanism to select quality CE with confidence and promotes the continuous improvement of CE both nationally and globally. CE providers are evaluated in 14 aspects of CE program quality defined in the ADA CERP Recognition Standards and Procedures. Only providers that meet the standards are granted approval and are authorized to use the ADA CERP logo and recognition statement. Over 500 providers of continuing education have been approved through the ADA CERP National Recognition Program or the Extended Approval Process. That said, there is a lot of really good continuing education out there.
Continuing education is rewarding and adds much to your office and you personally. Figure out what you want then go get it. Good luck!
Dr. Kenyon Glor is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a member of the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association and Lorain County Dental Society. He is a dentist local to Wellington, Ohio and has been practicing there for 27 years. He is best known for his work in dental implants and teeth whitening.