Why does everyone talk about lifelong learning?

By | December 19, 2016

Continuing education. What do you think of when you hear dentists talk about CE? Does it stress you out thinking about finding the ethics course that you need to fulfill your CE requirement? Do you have flashbacks of sitting in a dental school lecture? Your first few weeks as a young dentist can be a wake-up call — you may end up seeing more patients in your first month compared to everyone that you saw in dental school — talk about overwhelming!

Dr. Lu

Dr. Lu

As boring as lectures in dental school might have seemed, you’ll suddenly be taking a greater interest in the subject matter when your decisions have lifelong ramifications on another’s health, wellness and quality of life. Making the commitment to lifelong dentistry is the first step. So what’s next?

If you haven’t started receiving all the flyers and emails yet, there are so many opportunities for CE! Perhaps you’ve heard of CE institutes, guest lecturers through your dental society or study club, opportunities through DSOs, famous, national meetings, and hands-on workshops. With so many resources available at our fingertips, where does one start?

I was recently introduced to the ADA’s new online CE portal and there’s plenty to be excited about. As an ADA member, I consider this as a great advantage to help track my CE as well as find new opportunities of learning. In the digital age, online CE tracking quickly becomes invaluable when tracking the high volume of CE that you plan to take. Taking CE courses at my local dental meetings still provided me with paper copies for my records. The Millennial in me is still confused at what I’m supposed to do with this paper record. Having access to my transcripts 24/7 is perfect for a cloud drive user like me!

ADA_CE_Online_CMYKAs the ADA builds their online catalog, the topics will continue to expand. I’ve been marking courses using a wishlist feature so that I know where to return! I have been impressed recognizing some of the popular names in dentistry with video content. There’s a wide variety of content ranging from practice management and leadership to pharmacology and clinical dentistry. I had the opportunity to check out a course on pharmacology.

Because it’s new, it still has a few kinks to work out. I chose the course on Pharmacology because it’s a subject matter I would love more information. While the video quality was passable, the speaker could have been more engaging. It also appeared to have a few technical glitches. For example, while the speaker was in the center of the frame, two videos displaying the same slide appeared on both his left and right side. Odd and funny looking.

I love that the ADA has created a portal for CE. The tracking feature, while slightly cumbersome requiring the manual input of data, is wonderful. However, another dental organization has been tracking my PACE CE since dental school. They have a similar feature to manually input CE that currently is slightly more functional. And the cost! As a young dentist, looking at some of these prices, while comparable to other competitors, is still daunting. The ADA does offer discounts to new dentists, students and federal dentists. New dentists can use the code “NEWDENTIST” to receive 50 percent off; students use the code “STUDENT” to take the courses for free; and federal dentists can use the code “FEDERAL” to receive 25 percent off the cost.

Also, adding a search criteria such as “free”, “most viewed” or offering a comment section similar to YouTube ratings may help a young dentist better navigate the site. As new dentists continue to seek and thrive on education, this represents an excellent opportunity as a great ADA member benefit!

I’m looking forward to seeing how the ADA continues to expand its quality content and services to members. Check out the new website here and let me know what you think!


Dr. Daryn Lu is a New Dentist Now guest blogger and a general dentist in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He is a member of the ADA, Oklahoma Dental Association and Oklahoma County Dental Society. A 2015 graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry, Daryn’s passion for his profession shows through his extensive history within organized dentistry. From an eager predental member of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA) to a passionate local, district, and national volunteer leader — the depth of his experiences has helped shape him as a dental professional and lifelong learner. In his spare time, Daryn is an avid traveler, self-proclaimed foodie, and social media junkie. He lives to travel, travels to eat and shares foodie pictures on your newsfeed.

2 thoughts on “Why does everyone talk about lifelong learning?

  1. AnkuraDental

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  2. Od. Luis Marcano

    Continuing Education, for some of us Dentists, stop being a duty and start becoming a wish after we got our degree

    Why? As it is well stated in this post, because we start feeling the responsability of having to improve our skill, and the excitement of taking our career beyond what we learnt in our dental schools

    Also, when we begin our practice, we have the chance to experience what we really want to work on

    Greetings from Caracas, Venezuela


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