THE NEXTDDS "Going Pro" Peer Networking Event Series Kicks Off in Los Angeles for Area Dental Schools

Posted by Eric Silverstein on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 @ 11:35 AM

September 8th marked the launch of THE NEXTDDS "Going Pro" Series, peer networking events conducted on behalf of dental students and THE NEXTDDS user community. The first event was hosted in Los Angeles, California, on behalf of invitees from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC, UCLA School of Dentistry, Western University Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine, and Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. Dozens of attendees came together after a full day of classes and patients for an evening of camaraderie, fun, and learning.

USC Attendees at the first THE NEXTDDS Going Pro event.


Upon arrival at the Radisson Hotel at USC, attendees were greeted at the registration booth by THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassadors Giuliana Di Piazza (USC ’17) and Asma Patel (Western ’17) and Eric Silverstein of Next Media Group, who hosted the event along with sponsors Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co., LLC, and Aspen Dental Management, Inc. Registrants received “Going Pro” VIP Admission Passes and personalized nametags as well as tickets for the evening’s complimentary refreshments. All had an opportunity to mingle and network with peers from other universities during the arrival portion of the event. The hors d’oeuvres included a perfectly seasoned chicken satay and delicious shrimp tempura, dumplings, and a first-class pita and hummus spread. Great foodstuffs will be a mainstay of THE NEXTDDS “Going Pro” events!

Special thanks to Giuliana and Asma for making the
evening a success for all their peers in attendance.


Dr. Brian LeSage of the Beverly Hills Institute of Dental Esthetics (and himself UCLA School of Dentistry faculty), contributed the keynote presentation for the evening. For the assembled dental students Dr. LeSage highlighted his own journey into dentistry and shared some of the experiences that enabled him to graduate from dental school and ascend into the ranks of the nation’s best-recognized dentists and educators. “He’s a great speaker,” said Gwendolyn G (Western ’20) “Motivational and really captured my attention 100%.” Importantly, Dr. LeSage offered recommendations on how each student can best position him/herself for the transition into practice after graduation.

“Very informative and engaging,” commented Joshua K (Western ’18). The keynote was followed by an interactive question-and-answer session that allowed Dr. LeSage to emphasize the need to continue the push for knowledge. It was clearly evident for all that Dr. LeSage’s recommendations were of particular interest to the Going Pro attendees.

Dr. LeSage’s experiences and the work he put into becoming a successful dentist resonated with the students, and he in turn applauded the attendees for their drive and passion to learn as much as possible in the time they can during dental school. Dr. LeSage also conveyed the importance of being confident in the craft of dentistry and being confident with one’s patients and staff.

Dr. Brian LeSage brings clarity to the transition from dental student to professional.


 Remarked Dr. LeSage, “Don’t get into dentistry for the money; do it because you enjoy it and the satisfaction you get in helping your patients. The day I stop having fun doing dentistry is the day I retire, but I hope I can do this forever.”

Dr. LeSage was warmly greeted by dental students following his presentation and fielded additional questions before the evening’s conclusion. All were extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend and expressed interest in similar events in the future!

Be sure to spread the word about THE NEXTDDS Going Pro peer networking events that will be hosted in Columbus, Chicago, New York, San Antonio, and Boston throughout Fall of 2016!

Tags: THE NEXTDDS, dental school, Going Pro, Los Angeles, Live Event

3 Ways to Recharge on Your Day Off

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Sep 19, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

girl-stretching-working-out-resize.jpgGiven the density of your dental school schedule, it might seem like you never have a day off. Free time is sparse, and when you do schedule a few moments for yourself, you definitely want it to be both productive and relaxing. But how do you make the most of it?

Here’s three things to do on your off day to recharge your batteries!


Haven’t had the time to go food shopping or clean your apartment? Do them on your off day! Get to these chores early in the morning to get them out of the way and free up the rest of your day to relax, study, or go to an event. As time permits, you might even combine two of these and study through one of THE NEXTDDS webinars. Scheduling chores ahead of time as well can be a good way to work on your time management skills. Amidst very busy weeks, errands are an unwelcome but necessary aspect of life, so checking them off your list as early as possible will help free up your day to more important tasks.

Make a Quiet Space

Try to create a day for yourself free from distractions and noise. While being on the phone or playing video games might sound like a good day off, chances are you’ll probably feel crummy wasting the day away with electronics. Relax, meditate, or just otherwise make sure that you’re in a clear state of mind. Reading, meditating, crafting, or just going on a nature walk will help put you in a good mood to tackle the rest of the day and ready for more dentistry.

Work Out

Sometimes, all you need is a quick boost to reenergize yourself for the coming days in the classroom or clinic. Exercising or working out are good ways to reboot your physical self, while also refreshing your mental state. Sticking to a workout routine can really help maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can also read or listen to podcasts (Stress and Burnout in Dental Education) while working out, in case you need to study as well! If you are unable to attend a gym, try going for a walk and otherwise being active to clear you mind, body, and soul.


With a little planning and some energy, one will no doubt be able to formulate a successful day off. Time is so valuable to dental students, and being able to put that time to good use is so important. Juggling studies with a personal and social life is no easy task, so be sure to manage your time wisely!


Related Reading

Sheri Granader’s article, “Top 10 Ways to Make Time for Exercise,” in the Spring 2014 edition of THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Tags: stress management, recharging on your day off, time management, exercising

Justine Bednarski Discusses Her Life in Dentistry with THE NEXTDDS

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

THE NEXTDDS presents a new monthly series that will highlight our outstanding Student Ambassadors stationed at dental school's across the country. Starting off our series, meet Justine - our Ohio State ambassador and Regional Delegate for the midwest area.

bednarski.16.jpgJustine Bednarski recently started her third year as a dental student at Ohio State University College of Dentistry. If you’re seeking information regarding signs in the oral cavity signifying systemic issues, be sure to read her latest blog, Oral Manifestations of Gastrointestinal Abnormalities. In this interview for THE NEXTDDS, Justine talks about what drew her to dentistry as well as the aspects she finds most interesting. She also shares several challenges dental students face today and what she loves the most about dental school.

THE NEXTDDS: Why did you choose dentistry as a career?  

JB: My decision to enter the field of dentistry stems from when I had braces at the age of 13. During this crucial time in adolescence, I was pretty insecure with my appearance, and let’s just say my smile was not one to be proud of. However, after one short year of wearing traditional braces, my smile drastically improved and I began to have a little more self-confidence. It always amazed me that one person, my orthodontist, could cause such a remarkable change in both my physical and more importantly in my internal self-image.

Upon deciding which career route to take, I kept thinking of a quote my father would always say, “Choose a career that will bring joy, be a challenge, and provide inspiration every single day.” The more I thought about what would make me happy day in and day out, the more I realized that dentistry was the career for me. If I can make a difference to at least one person in terms of boosting their self-esteem through improving their smile, that will make this career choice worthwhile.

THE NEXTDDS: That’s great. That’s similar to many of the students we talk to, yet unique as well. Is dentistry generational for you?

JB: I do believe that dentistry is, to an extent, generational. With new technologies coming out every year, we as the younger “tech-savvy” generation will be utilizing them in our practices whereas the older dentists know that the old ways have worked well for decades. However, I also believe that certain older dentists are aware of the new technologies and are starting to use them in their practices more and more.

THE NEXTDDS: Are you excited nervous to treat your first patient?

JB: As I am finishing now my second year of dental school, I have not had the opportunity to see any patients yet. However, in our Intro to Clinic course at Ohio State, we were able to bring in a family member to be our “first patient”. I brought in my father and we did a typical new patient appointment. This entailed a thorough medical history, dental charting, head and neck exam, periodontal charting, plaque index, and a standard prophy.

I was a little nervous, but more so excited about this appointment--especially because I was able to show my father all of the knowledge I’ve gained thus far in dental school. My father loved the experience and felt extremely lucky to say he was my first patient, an experience neither of us will ever forget.

Justine-with-OSU.jpgTHE NEXTDDS: That’s fantastic! What aspect of dental school is the most challenging for you?

JB: The most challenging aspect of dental school is balancing a busy schedule. Not only do we take over 20 credit hour semesters, which usually entail 6 to 9 classes, but we also enjoy engaging in extracurriculars, like ASDA or being an ambassador for THE NEXTDDS. I often laugh and wish I had more hours in a day to get everything done, but with organization and finding one night a week to completely relax, it is definitely doable to get everything done each week.

THE NEXTDDS: What roles do social media and educational sites such as THE NEXTDDS play in your dental education? How frequently do you access them for school-related activities?

JB: I believe that social media and sites like THE NEXTDDS are useful as adjunct teaching tools. The professors at our schools do their best to teach material as thoroughly as possible, but when certain procedures don’t fully make sense, looking into other sites are helpful to find videos/case studies that pertain to the subject matter learned. I access these adjunctive learning tools when I have practical/competency exams when my hands are put to test just to see the correct ways to perform the procedures asked of us.

THE NEXTDDS: What do you envision your next five years of dentistry to look like?

JB: Of the next five years, the first two will be spent in class and clinic. I am very excited to develop my skills on patients since I have only been in pre-clinic practicing and haven’t had the chance to interact with patients yet. Following dental school, I plan to do a 1-year General Practice Residency-- (GPR) hopefully back home in Chicago—but am also open to traveling to a new city depending on the opportunities available. After the GPR, I then see myself as an associate in a successful private practice in a big city somewhere in the U.S.!

THE NEXTDDS: Sounds like you have a vision taking shape for what’s next. What clinical topics do you find most intriguing?

JB: My favorite clinical topics are those that are centered on esthetics, especially because that is the reason I chose to go into the field. Seeing case studies on orthodontics, whitening treatments, crown lengthening, and veneers put a smile on my face in class and constantly remind me of why I chose to enter this remarkable field of dentistry. Although I am unsure of where my path will lead, I envision my future practice being centered on cosmetic dentistry to help others not only obtain the best oral hygiene measures but to boost their self-confidences with winning smiles.

THE NEXTDDS: What clinical topics would be most beneficial to illustrate online?

JB: I think case studies and presentations are always the best way to teach/show clinical topics. It is often hard to simply read about what happens clinically and, thus providing plenty of procedural images really helps in learning how to perform them. Since more and more people are getting implants, I think more case studies and videos on this topic would be beneficial for all students to use.

Justine-with-Chris-Bashnelli.jpgTHE NEXTDDS: How has THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador experience helped you in networking with your peers?

JB: The student ambassador experience has helped me network with my peers in a significant way. With support from THE NEXTDDS, I was able to attend the 2016 ASDA Annual Session and share the experience with students across the country. I was able to post social media blasts for THE NEXTDDS and handed out literature to a great number of the 600 dental students at the conference. Traveling as a representative of THE NEXTDDS allowed me to interact with more students than I would have otherwise and I was able to learn about their experiences at their individual dental schools. This was such an amazing and unforgettable experience, and if I wasn’t a Student Ambassador I would have never had this opportunity.

THE NEXTDDS: Chief concerns about being a dental student?

JB: Student debt!!! This is the one topic that frustrates dental students the most because our debts are constantly growing and on our minds while in school. When we all have friends and family members who are successfully making money while we are continually falling deeper and deeper in debt. It is often discouraging. With tuition rates constantly rising, I frequently wonder when these rates will ever stop increasing, if ever.

THE NEXTDDS: What do you enjoy most about being a dental student, or dental school in general?

JB: My favorite part about being a dental student has been the opportunity to get involved with ASDA and travel to various conferences across the country. To date, I have traveled to Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Washington D.C., and at each conference have heard influential leaders speak along with meeting a ton of dental students and representatives from several dental companies. Without these opportunities, I would not have heard about THE NEXTDDS, would not know how different dental schools operate, and would not have learned that dental students can make a drastic impact on legislature that will concern us as practicing dentists. I am very grateful that our university supports ASDA and that I became involved as early as I did. The students involved are the ones who continue to inspire me to be the best dental student and best dentist that I can be.

THE NEXTDDS: It’s been a pleasure for us too—we really appreciate all your contributions and your insights. We know you have bright things ahead and look forward to our ongoing collaborations.


Want to be a Student Ambassador at your dental school? Submit your Application!

Tags: Student Ambassadors

5 Questions You Should and Shouldn't Ask During Your Associate Interview

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sat, Sep 10, 2016 @ 11:15 AM

bigstock-Young-Girl-Gives-Her-Cv-edited.jpgThe unpredictability and nuances of interviews can be, without a doubt, stressful and hard to master. It takes practice to easily handle everything that an interview can bring, from being properly dressed, to being on the ready for what questions you’ll be expected to answer by employer dentists. The first impression you make in your interview is as important or even more important than elaborating on your experience and describing how well it fits with the practice owner.

Practice owners are always aware of your presence, cadence, and conviction during an interview, so it’s important to remain confident, kind, and reasonable. Here are the correct questions to ask (and not ask) during an interview:

Five Questions You SHOULD Ask:

What is the practice culture like? – Asking what kind of culture is fostered in a practice will both widen the grasp of where you fit in, while also letting the practice owner know how serious you are about the position offered.

Who is your ideal candidate? – Understanding his or her vision enables you to later explain how you are the perfect choice for the practice, allowing the practice owner to really be confident in choosing you.

What are the growth opportunities associated with this position? – The practice owner will more than likely want to have you in a position that has plenty of growth opportunities, so let him or her know that you are ready for that challenge right away.

What would you like to see me accomplish in the next 30/60/90 days? – The practice owner will know that you are ready to get to work right away, knowing what is expected of you from day 1, and how you can make the practice flourish.

How do you see the practice growing in the future? – Applying your skills to the areas that the practice needs most will allow you to be an integral part of its continued success.

Five Questions You Should NOT Ask:

Tell me about the practice? – A question that might signal to the practice owner that you haven’t researched the practice and done your homework will certainly be a turn-off.

What is the salary/benefits? – You don’t want to be too forward with asking about money or benefits, as most times it will be negotiated at the end of the interview.

What is your background? – It’s okay to get some clarification as to the practice owner’s experience in the practice, but don’t focus the interview on your potential employer, who is here to learn more about you.

What can you say about criticisms of the practice? – Coming off as critical of the practice is not a good move, especially when you haven’t even secured the job yet.

Would you like to see my references? – Practice owners will usually see your references after the interview when they are almost ready to hire you, so posing the question too early can reek of coming off too eager, or worse, desperate.

During interviews, sometimes you might feel like you’re walking on a tightrope. You most definitely want to present yourself in a professional and orderly way, but you don’t want to come across as desperate, flustered, or otherwise ill-prepared to take on the role for which you are auditioning. What do I say? you might be asking yourself. Well, if you do plenty of research beforehand, do a mock interview with a colleague or in the mirror, and jot down notes of some anecdotes you can get into with the practice owner, you will have no problem getting that job or associateship, and be on your way to growing in a practice!



Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS


Tags: interviewing

D1 Year School Survival Toolkit: Note Taking

Posted by Dr. Patrice Smith on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

taking-notes-1.jpgCongratulations on being accepted into dental school! All your hard work has paid off. You made good grades as an undergrad, studied and did well on the DATs, and you had a killer application that earned you a spot in your dental school. Now the real fun begins! There will be several hurdles to jump over throughout the next four years, but don’t worry! We will be taking it one step at a time.

You are about to start classes and, for many of you, it will be a bit overwhelming at first. It will be very different from your undergrad experience in terms of the sheer volume of reading and work required. One of the first things you will want to get a hang of is proper note taking.

Everyone has a different way of doing things. People’s levels of efficiency and how they absorb and retain information vary greatly, and you will have to find the way that works best for you. However, there are some tried and true ways to get this done without stress.

“Old Fashioned” Notepad and Pen

Some people are just not tech savvy, and that’s okay. You might find that you are more efficient at simply writing notes in a notebook rather than fiddling with technology, trying to figure out apps or hearing the lecture over all the clicking keyboards. Pick up a notebook, notepad or perhaps a binder with re-fillable note pages from your bookstore. Grab some colored pens as well if you find that helps you keep things organized. Typed Notes >Type your notes using your computer’s notepad or note-taking tool. Apple Notes, while pretty basic, is a good tool as is Microsoft Word. If you are not into apps or any of that “fancy” stuff, keep it simple and get the job done using one of these tools.


Most of your lectures will probably be in the form of PowerPoint and will most likely be made available to you ahead of class time. You may find it simpler to either 1) Print out these PowerPoint lectures and make notes on each slide as you go along, or 2) Make notes at the bottom of each slide or write on the slide itself if you’re using a touch screen computer or tablet. This will make following along seamless and all your notes and lecture material will be in one place.

Note Taking Apps

If you are somewhat tech savvy, you might find that using some note taking apps will help you be a lot more organized. Some very useful note taking apps include Evernote, Microsoft One Note, Simplenote, Google Keep, and Google Docs. I personally have experience with Microsoft One Note and Evernote. Both are unique and I like different things about each. The great feature with Evernote is that you can incorporate text, images, audio recordings, web links, and files, and then organize them into notebooks. Another cool feature is that even if you have hand written notes, you can scan them into Evernote using the Scannable app by simply taking a picture of them with your phone.   Microsoft One Note was a favorite among some of my classmates. An entire semester’s PowerPoint lectures can be placed in designated folders. On these PowerPoints, you can incorporate audio notes and keep them next to written notes. You can also mark up images and place diagrams and drawings anywhere within your notes. This is particularly great when studying for cumulative exams. All the information for the entire semester can be accessed in one place.

Digital Recorder

Some people don’t necessarily get all the information while in class. Between mid-lecture snoozes and other distractions, it might be easy to miss some things. In this case, you can invest in a digital recorder. You can record lectures and listen to them at a later time. Your school may have podcasts where the lectures are recorded and made available to you at your leisure. A cool app that integrates recording and note taking is Pearnote. It allows you to upload a PDF or PPT file and record as you take notes. Before you start recording lectures, however, be sure you are given permission by the professor.

Hire a Scribe or Note Taker

So maybe you are not good at this “listening while taking notes” thing. You find that there are a lot of gaps in your notes, but you faintly remember your professor mentioning something else that you can’t quite remember. Ugh, how frustrating! Your note taker in this instance can be a classmate that takes really good notes and can seemingly write everything that comes out of the professor’s mouth verbatim. Or, as a class, you can pool together and hire a scribe. This person will get a digital recording of the lectures and turn them into files that can be distributed to the entire class. All of your classmates will have their notes and someone just got a part time job. What a win-win!


The key to note taking in dental school is finding what best works for you. Try a few of the above methods and see what you’re comfortable with and go from there. Don’t take too much time figuring this part out—you’ll have bigger fish to fry soon enough!

Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now

Tags: dental school, note taking

Your Sneak Peek at 3D Printing for Dentistry

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

dental-model-in-3d-printer.jpgFor decades, clinicians have relied on dental materials in the care of their patients. These materials have been continuously refined by researchers, simplifying their application, improving their aesthetics, and expanding their longevity. Today, research and development concentrates on the processes used in dentistry, and digital solutions have become more pervasive in daily patient care. One such example of digital dentistry is three-dimensional (3D) printing.

Despite being invented in the 1980s, 3D printing has only recently been accepted as a technology applicable to dentistry, and it will certainly be interesting to see its growth as it becomes more frequently applied. As 3D printing and the digital workflow continue to influence patient diagnosis and treatment, dental students are on the cusp of having these technologies become mainstays of their education and future practices. Dr. Perry Jones’ recent webinar for THE NEXTDDS, “Digital Scanning in Invisalign Therapy & Implant Dentistry”, offers some insight on how this digital technology works.

What is 3D Printing?

As opposed to the subtraction process involved in milling blocks (zirconia, lithium disilicate, etc.), 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process. Using plastics and polymer, materials are cured by several different methods of laser technology, processed differently depending on printer. A 3D printer starts from the bottom up, building thin layers bit by bit as each preceding polymer layer is cured, dried, and solidified. At present, 3D printing can produce objects from liquids, solids, powders, and even human tissue!

Three-dimensional printing is accomplished through three primary methods:

  • Stereolithography (SLA);
  • Digital light process (DLP), and
  • Material jetting.

With an SLA printer, a laser is projected against a scanning mirror and directed downwards into a container of liquid resin to cure the material. A DLP printer works in much the same way, instead using a projector instead of a laser source to cure the polymer. Material jetting, or polyjet printing, starts with a tank filled with liquid resin. The liquid is carried by a sophisticated system of tubes to a series of print heads in an extruder, which jets the material onto a platform. Lasers pass by the curing light system to cure the material in successive layers.

The Potential for 3D Printing

In dentistry, 3D printing technology erases the need for stone gypsum. Instead, those materials are replaced with more reliable zirconium and polymer materials, which are stronger than stone, more accurate and durable, and lower in material and labor costs. Some of the patient-specific restorations that can be fabricated with 3D printing include full-arch and canine-to-canine retainers, surgical prosthetic guides, pontic and sleep appliances, removable partial dentures, minor tooth movement, occlusal guards and athletic mouthguards, bleaching trays, and provisional matrix appliances.

Personalized Healthcare

The consumerization of healthcare means that patients want greater convenience and comfort when it comes to their dental care. Digital dentistry and other rapidly evolving technologies allow treatment to be more efficient and consistent for both the practitioner and the patient. As the development of these technologies continue, practitioners will have a first-hand opportunity to witness a revolution in the way dentistry is practiced.

To learn more about 3D digital scanning, listen to the rest of Dr. Perry Jones’ webinar here.


Join 14,000+ Students! Enroll in THE NEXTDDS now

Tags: dentistry, 3d printing

4 Major Trends Affecting Dentistry Today

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 @ 04:00 PM

Screen_Shot_2013-09-26_at_2.31.56_PM.pngDentistry is an ever-growing and ever-changing profession. With a high need for dentists in underserved areas and a broad demand for dental care across the country, dentistry is important now more than ever. Many changes to practice philosophies and employment options are on the horizon for dental students in school. These new innovations will also impact the early careers of dentists. Thus, it is important for students to be aware of some of the growing trends that are occurring in the world of dentistry today, in order to foster bright futures as practitioners.

Demographics of the New Dentist

Dentists are now more diverse by race and gender. Women have become the fastest-growing segment in dentistry, with 38% of new dentists being female, and 60% of dentists below the age of 44 being female. Dentists representing different ethnicities are also increasing recent years. According to the ADA, “underrepresented minorities” are growing in dental students and graduates.1

Loans and Competition

Dental students know firsthand the huge burden that high educational debt can take on their psyche. Not only are they a huge detriment to a student’s financial wellbeing, but they can also heavily influence what path the students take for employment after graduation. Thus, many dental students look to employment opportunities that help with their student loans, such as dental support organizations (DSOs) and state loan repayment programs, or continuing their education elsewhere. it can be a very difficult time to buy into a practice because of this.

Many dental students dream of practicing in the Sunshine State of Florida, or the Golden State of California, but competition is steep in these states. The U.S. population has shifted from northern to southern states, and with it, a growing need for dentists in the Sun Belt area, as well as rural and urban areas. While it might not be ideal, setting up shop in an underserved area will let you see a lot of patients, potential increase in profits, and leave smiles on the faces of people who most need it.

An Online Strategy and Consumerization of Healthcare

Mobile and social media optimization is a crucial aspect to running a dental practice. Increased visibility across all social accounts allows for greater customer awareness and reach, which can lead to more appointments and satisfied customers. With more and more consumers browsing via mobile devices and online markets for decisions regarding their healthcare, it’s imperative to have a strong presence online.

In this way, consumers are the driving force behind many of these changes to healthcare. Patients desire value and convenience, which is leading to consolidation among providers. Consumers don’t want to run from office to office, seeing specialist after specialist and spending too much of their time. Instead, they want them on-hand, where everyone is under one roof, making for a more effective visit. Many healthcare providers, such as those in the medical and pharmaceutical industries, are changing their methods to accommodate the consumer. Dentistry is responding in similar fashion.


Certainly, the Affordable Care Act has changed the way insurance is provided and who receives benefits. Establishing pediatric dental care as an essential health benefit, approximately three million children are to begin obtaining dental coverage under this plan. Utilization of dental care has declined among working age adults due to dental benefits coverage steadily eroding the past decade. Not surprisingly, more and more adults in all income groups are experiencing financial barriers to care.2 Adults cite cost as the major driving force behind lack of dental appointments, despite the coverage of Medicaid and other benefits associated with the ACT.3 Adults often have trouble finding dentists who take Medicaid and also lack private dental benefits, which cause adults to schedule less and less visits each year.

Last year, 155 million Americans did not visit the dentist, and 1 in 3 lack insurance. Two in 5 patients will delay further appointments due to financial restraints, while 80% know that delaying treatment will cost them more in the long run.4 While some of these statistics could be chalked up to a very substantial fear or phobia of the dentist and lack of awareness in treatment plans, insurance is a leading force to many not getting the care they need.


These changes in the dental profession are promoting practices to become more efficient and successful. Dental students are at the turning point in modern dentistry where these changes are increasing to new heights in both treatment as well as administrating practices. It’s important for dental students and graduates to get ahead of the curve and not fall behind on trends. Practices need to be operating as smoothly as possible.

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS  



  1. Diringer J, Phipps K, Carsel B. Critical Trends Affecting the Future of Dentistry: Assessing the Shifting Landscape. San Luis Obispo, California: Diringer and Associates; May 2013.
  2. A Profession in Transition: Key Forces Reshaping the Dental Landscape. ADA Health Policy Institute; December 2013
  3. Yarbrough C, Nasseh K, Vujicic M. Why Adults Forgo Dental Care: Evidence from a New National Survey. ADA Health Policy Institute; November 2014.
  4. Reddy A. Improving Operational Efficiency [webinar]. In Evolving Business of Dentistry. May 13, 2016. Accessed July 27, 2016.

Becoming a Dentist in a DSO Practice: 4 Things You Should Know

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

dental-tools-resize.jpgAt some point, you may have heard about dental service organizations (DSOs) and what they have to offer dentists. You might have heard about their culture, student loan repayment process, and developmental programs in order to nurture your career as a dentist. With all the options available to a young dentist out of school, you have to decide early on how well your outlook, philosophies, and goals match up with whatever pathway you decide to take in your career.

If you’ve been considering working in a DSO, here are four things to look forward to when you get started:

Development and Starting Out

In a DSO-supported practice, you can focus on patients and treatment decisions while the organization handles the management and marketing of your practice. Not only that, but DSOs also help with the financing, office, maintenance, and non-clinical operations. Many DSO-supported practices give incoming dentists opportunities for professional development in order to advance their skills, while also providing a generous compensation package and a clear path to practice ownership.

Becoming an Associate Dentist

As when you join a conventional dental practice as an associate dentist, a DSO practice can provide a supportive environment with helpful colleagues that foster a community to make sure your first year is exciting, not an uphill battle. Working side-by-side on extensive procedures with an experienced, mentor dentist, you’ll have support whether you have some experience under your belt or fresh out of dental school.

Becoming a Leading Dentist

After a sufficient period to build your confidence and clinical skills, the DSO practice often provides opportunities to advance to a role where you’re the clinician guiding dentists that are new to the practice. The name of this role varies from DSO to DSO, but it’s an important step on the journey from associate to practice owner. Once you’ve become comfortable in your working environment as an associate dentist, you can play a crucial leadership role in the practice. Here, you’ll receive additional developmental training to aid you in managing the practice’s team of dental professionals. Completing comprehensive exams on new patients and participating in treatment planning are just some of the new tasks you may see in this role. Get ready to feel like an owner!

Becoming a Practice Owner

If you envision practice ownership as a dentist, it is important to know the DSO model often provides a step-by-step process to pursue this goal. Once you’ve considered possible practice locations (either to buy or relocate to) and explored financing options, you’ll be well on your way to becoming an owner. Make sure your credit history and financial profile are well in order. Depending on the DSO and your financial wherewithal, you might be able to choose to partner with other owners or open your very own office. Practice support teams at the DSO are with you every step of the way, working to confront any problems and push you to new levels in your career. You’ll also have the chance to explore owning additional practices!

DSOs offer a great opportunity for advancement in the dental profession: developing your confidence and skills as well as business acumen and patient rapport. With the freedom to focus on the craft of dentistry without the headaches of running your own business, it’s no wonder graduate dentists are choosing this option in increasing numbers. Special thanks are due in part to Dr. John Fazio, owner of multiple practices in Pennsylvania, who shared his experiences with the DSO practice model in a recent webinar for THE NEXTDDS. You can watch the webinar here.


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Tags: dental support organization, DSO, practice ownership

Here's How to Start Your First Year in Dental School Off Right

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

student-studying-resize.jpgIf you’re an incoming dental student, you might be excited and nervous to know that September is right around the corner. Your first year of dental school is about to begin, and with it comes a plethora of new information and experiences awaiting you. The next four years will be met with new friends, technologies, and learning that will lead you to a successful career as a dentist. But how do you get over the hump in your first year?

Abby Halpern, starting this fall 2016 as a third year dental student at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, recently showcased a two-part “D1 Survival Guide” for THE NEXTDDS blog. Here’s a quick overview of some of the topics she covered:


Dental school compared to undergraduate school is, as Abby Halpern explains, an “apples to oranges” situation. Certainly, dental school students already have experience with the hustle and bustle of higher education, but be prepared for an even heavier workload.

A typical day starts at 8am and ends at 5pm, filled with studying, lectures, and lab work. However, you’ll have a team of peers and dental professionals to help you along the way. “The experiences you have inside the dental office and outside its confines give you a better understanding of the practitioner you want to be,” Halpern says.


This workload will certainly warrant a lot of note-taking. It’s important to know that note-taking can be achieved in different ways for different people. Some might condense lectures into small bubbles of handwritten text, followed by pictures and diagrams.

Others might use apps, online applications or software provided by their universities to get the job done. Whichever one you choose, stick to it and develop your note-taking skills.


By this point, you probably have your notebooks full of scribbles and you’re thinking, how am I going to make it another three years? For Abby Halpern, help came in the form of joining and working with an organization such as the ASDA to keep herself motivated.

Good distractions from family and friends will occasionally divert your attention away from the grind of dental school. Spending time with them will make you realize why you wanted to get into dentistry in the first place, helping people as you would your closest companions.

Seeing Patients

While the timetable for seeing patients depends on your dental school, it’s never too early to see what your first-patient experience is going to be like. You’ll want to build a trust between you and your patient, ensuring that they are confident in you.

Build your station, prep your assistant, and once you bring in the patient, build a rapport with them. Abby noted that she felt an “out of body experience” and felt more comfortable than she thought she would. If you’ve prepared for this moment, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Your first year in dental school will no doubt be a challenge. As you start your journey in obtaining your white coat, new paths will begin to open up for you. They will certainly lead you down surprising roads, making new discoveries about your work, your philosophy, and your ambition along the way. For the next four years, you’ll have a clear sense of what kind of dentist you want to be. Good luck in the fall semester!


Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Tags: dental school, first year

Establishing a Plan for Your First 90 Days as an Associate Dentist

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Male-dentist-shaking-hands-with-patient-resize.jpgThe vast majority of your dental school education is focused on making an accurate diagnosis and implementing an appropriate, evidence-based treatment plan. As you near the end of your time in dental school, however, you will need to tap into skills that are not so measurable when it comes time to score that first associateship. These are the people skills or “soft skills” that are also important yet seldom discussed. How do you relate to people? How do you sell yourself? How can you convince an employer dentist that you are the right fit for the position? And how do you know if this position is right for you?

The process of interviewing is an interesting sociological balance between buying and selling. You, of course, want to sell yourself as the answer to a practice owner's problems, including some that they didn’t even know they had. But you’re also being a savvy shopper, not wanting to buy into a practice that is inefficient, ineffective, or dysfunctional. In this sense, the act of interviewing is truly a two-way street, and gives you a unique opportunity to know whether or not you truly want to be a part of this practice. Dental practices may have hiring opportunities for a variety of reasons, and some of those reasons may be red flags that tell you to shop elsewhere.

If you want to make a good impression during your interview, you must come in prepared to answer and ask thought-provoking questions. And if you want to make an even bigger impression on the hiring manager and differentiate yourself from other candidates, you have be prepared to let him or her know what you will do your first 90 days on the job.

The first 90 days are crucial. It’s the standard grace period for new employees and the time during which first impressions are made. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have a plan that will show that you can perform the role and alleviate any concerns your potential employer dentist may have. With a one-page summary, prepared in advance, you can indicate what you will prioritize in the first 90 days, and you’re making it easier for the practice owner or hiring manager to envision you in the role as a new associate dentist.

To create a 90-day plan, you want to think about the dental practice that you’re interviewing for and what needs to be accomplished. This will require some background research and may even the occasional “secret shopper” tactic. Here are a few questions to consider to help with your strategy.


What are the goals and objectives for the practice?

Whether you already received this information during the interview process or not, it’s important to get a firm understanding of what the employer dentist and other members of the dental practice identify as their important goals and objectives. Revisit conversations and strike up new ones to help you clarify what needs to be emphasized. Be prepared to listen and observe to not only learn what is being said but also what is unsaid.


What are the practice’s main priorities?

This question will help you connect the job to the practice’s objectives. How does your skill set help the dental practice achieve its strategic and financial goals? Furthermore, based on what you are learning and observing, which of your skills are the most important? Take the time to discover the answers to these questions, then draft a plan that will show how you intend to approach these priorities in the first 30, 60, and 90 days of employment.


Who are the people with whom I will work to help me reach my goals?

Work relationships are invaluable when it comes to your career as a dentist. Get to know everyone in your practice and their strengths and weaknesses. Not only is this good information to know generally, but it may also help you in your responsibilities. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with collaborating practices outside of yours and who the key people are in each. Learning about your referral network, specialists, and dental laboratories will help you connect the dots and see how your role relates to others within the larger organization.


What are the “quick fixes” and what requires more time?

In the early days of a new position, it’s beneficial to identify the “quick wins,” those tasks that can be completed easily in a short time frame and will visibly improve some part of the practice. There may be an unmet need for a particular set of dental skills within your community, skills that you may be able to bring to the practice on day one. Avoid making hasty decisions by working with the necessary challenges to determine which needs can likely be addressed immediately versus those that need more time and planning.


How will I measure my progress?

As you contribute to the practice, what tools of measurement will inform you of your progress after 30, 60, and 90 days? It may be setting up weekly or biweekly meetings with your supervisor or utilizing performance metrics (e.g., patient satisfaction surveys) to track your progress along the way. Regardless, the idea is that you will want to establish a system to help you understand how you’re doing and whether any changes need to be made.



By addressing these questions in your 90-day plan, you will show the employer dentist that you’ve given serious thought to your role in the prospective dental practice and have created a strategy accordingly. Your plan will also communicate that you’re able to hit the ground running and do what you’re getting paid to do in an efficient and effective way. Present them with a well-crafted 90-day plan and watch them drop their forceps!

Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Tags: associateship, soft skills

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