I Wish I Had Known…Exploring My Options

By | October 23, 2013
Dr Ryder Waldron

Dr. Ryder Waldron

By Dr. Ryder Waldron

When I was in dental school I was under the incorrect assumption that all dentists were private practice owners. I thought that I either had to buy an existing practice from a retiring dentist or start my own from scratch. I became a practice owner right out of dental school. It was a struggle to make ends meet for several years.

I wish I had explored more options.

  • I wish I had a course in dental school to help me with that exploration
  • I wish I had started researching before my third year in dental school.
  • I wish I had considered an associateship, an employee situation, or other approach to earning a living immediately after graduation

Ask yourself this question: Why did I choose dentistry?

  • To be your own boss?
  • To earn a comfortable income?
  • To set your own hours?
  • Because you’re a people person?
  • Because you’re good with your hands?

These are all questions that I wish I had answered before setting out on a career in dentistry.

The good news is that it all worked out and I’m thrilled to be doing what I love every day. But I could have saved myself a lot of time, stress and money by doing more research prior to graduation.

That said – now that I’ve been there, I’ll know to take a step back and evaluate things before I make any major career changes in the future. I will get advice and input from other dentists who have come before me. And I will continue to share what I’ve learned with my dentist colleagues along the way!


Dr. Ryder Waldron is a proud member of the class of 2003 of Marquette University School of Dentistry and the co-author with Dr. Marcus Neff and Dr. Troy Stevens of the book So You Want To Be A Dentist? What you Must Know To Succeed In Dentistry.

3 thoughts on “I Wish I Had Known…Exploring My Options

  1. Dr. Michael Bolten

    When you think about attending dental school you’re not really thinking about building your practice right away. But to be successful you do need to have a business course just to understand where you go from dental school to having your own practice or in a partnership. This course would be ideal for all dental students once they have completed their schooling.

  2. Dr. Sunil Ilapogue, DDS

    The best thing I did was be an associate for a year and then acquired the practice. It was great experience and it has been self rewarding making a difference in my patients.

  3. Od. Luis Marcano

    Thanks for sharing Dr Waldron´s testimony

    He´s right, we need to ask ourselves what we are going to do as a Dentists beyond providing treatments to our patients

    On the other hand, I think is very important we get trained in some aspects Dental School doesn´t train us, or trains us a little (Marketing, Branding, Managing our offices)

    That´s the importance of Continuing Education!

    Greeting from Caracas, Venezuela


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