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.


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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!


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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

Dress the Part for Your Interview

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Mon, Aug 08, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

Business-people-waiting-for-interview.jpgOf course you look great in a pair of scrubs. You look professional and ready for action. Unfortunately, this isn’t appropriate for an interview for an associate dentist or a Specialty Program position. In fact, before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you’re dressed, according to fashion consultant Karen Rose of Nordstrom, Inc.

The guidelines given here are commonly accepted as appropriate for interviewing for your first position as an associate dentist. While many dentists wear scrubs in the practice, how you dress at work has very little to do with how you dress for an interview. In addition, research has shown the importance that clothing has on how you feel about yourself and how you present yourself.(1)


Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position for which you are applying. In almost all cases, this means wearing a suit. It is rarely appropriate to “dress down” for an interview, regardless of the practice’s dress code policy. When in doubt, go professional.

According to a recent article in Vogue,(2) you should strive to “fit in” with your dress. Your ensemble should be professional and polished, with subtle colors and a conservative hairstyle. Spend a little time with a fashion consultant at a reputable clothing store to find out what cut of suit would work best with your physique, what colors would match your eyes, and what combination will help you project professionalism and integrity.

“Wear a suit that fits you well,” says Rose.” A carelessly-fitted suit implies carelessness on the job, not something you want from a dentist.” A dark-colored suit with a light colored shirt is your best option. Your suit should be comfortable and fit you well so that you look and act your best. Your suit should make you feel strong, confident, professional, and polished. As they say in show business, always out-dress your audience.

Avoid loud colors and flashy ties. “If you want to make a statement about your personality,” Rose notes, “show some creativity in your tie. I’m not suggesting a tie with a large fish on it, but something distinctive that the employer dentist and/or interviewers will remember.” Shoes should be well-polished and in good condition, and they should match your belt in color. You will get a great deal of use out of a good-quality pair of dress shoes in a traditional style. Ask the salesperson at the shoe store for advice.


Generally, you should wear a suit with a skirt or pants. Rose notes, “A suit is just more professional and it shows that you’re taking this very seriously. You have to put your best foot forward. If your outfit is well put together, it projects you as being well put together.” When in doubt, be more conservative. Your suit should be comfortable and fit you well. Just like men, a fitting suit applies to women as well, according to Rose: “A suit with an excellent, fastidious fit implies an excellent, fastidious professional.” Higher-end stores have sales associates with a keen eye for fit and fashion and usually offer free alterations when you purchase a suit.

Interview suits should be simple and dark in color. Stick with dark solids like navy or black, or pinstripe. Stay away from brown or light-colored suits. Anything tight, bright, short, or sheer should absolutely be avoided. “Interviewers have been known to complain about the length of interviewees’ skirts; if you have any doubts, it’s probably too short,” says Rose. Knee-length skirts are best. Very long skirts, while modest, are also considered too trendy for an interview.

Wear a conservative blouse with your suit. Do not wear animal prints, or anything lacy, sheer, or low-cut. Rose noted, “Having said that, a woman wants to be remembered in some way. A tasteful flowered blouse, a unique broach, or a subtle attractive scent may help the interviewers remember who you were and says a little something about your personality.” Academic research supports this assertion. People who are interviewing are torn between choosing an outfit that fits the mold and an outfit that says something unique about their personality.(3) Given a little thought—and a good fashion consultant—you can and should do both.

Make-up and nail polish should be understated and flattering; shades that are neutral to your skin tone are generally advisable. Avoid bright or unusual colors or very long nails. Keep your jewelry and hair accessories to a minimum, and stick to those that are not flashy, distracting, or shiny. One ring per hand is best.

Shoes should be conservative and fairly low-heeled. Rose encourages pumps: “Don’t wear shoes with an open toe or back; any shoes you would wear on a date or to a club are probably inappropriate. A basic pump is flattering, versatile, and will stay in style forever.” Be sure to carry an extra pair of hose with you on the day of your interview.

Your hair should be neat, clean, and conservatively styled. “If you are one of several candidates being interviewed for the same position, you want people to remember you based on your blouse, your scent, or that little broach. Not the scrunchies or ponytails you wore,” says Rose. You may want to wear your hair in an updo, pull it back into a low ponytail, or wear a barrette. The idea is to look polished and professional, not to advertise the creativity of your hairdresser.

Men and Women

Think of your suit as your secret weapon. It is making powerful statements about you as a professional, allowing you to secretly check out the practice and the partners to see if this is where you really want to work. While it may be appropriate to dress more casually for a second interview, you must still dress professionally. It’s much better to be too formal than too casual.

These are the generally acceptable guidelines you should follow when deciding what to wear to an interview. Dressing professionally shows respect for yourself, the interviewer, and the practice. You obviously will not have to dress like this every day, but you are more likely to be taken seriously when you present yourself in a professional manner and take the time to attend to details. Dress to impress, and good luck!


  1. Grogan S, Gill S, Brownbridge K, Kilgariff S, et al. Dress fit and body image: A thematic analysis of women's accounts during and after trying on dresses. Body Image. 2013;10(3):380-388.
  2. Ward M. 7 Job Interview Tips Everyone Needs to Know. Vogue. 2016 April 6, 2016.
  3. Cutts B, Hooley T, Yates J. Graduate dress code: How undergraduates are planning to use hair, clothes and make-up to smooth their transition to the workplace. Industry and Higher Education. 2015;29(4):271-282.

Tags: interviewing, dress for success

5 Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sat, Aug 06, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

time-management-edited.pngLet’s face it, it can be challenging to focus sometimes. With so many easy distractions at our disposal, it might be hard to keep your attention on one task for an extended period before reaching for your phone, popping on the TV, or finally starting that DVD boxset. If this sounds like you, you might need to readjust your time management skills.

Studying for your exams, researching, reading, and note-taking are all at risk to these interruptions. When doing these activities, it’s important to keep in mind that time is of the essence. Wasting time means losing the opportunity to concentrate on more important matters, being prepared, and accomplishing goals.

Here’s some tips for improving your time management skills:

  1. Organize a To-Do List – It might seem old-fashioned, but writing a to-do list is an easy way to manage all of the day’s tasks in a simple format. Make first-priority tasks at the top of your list, and start to chip away. You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done when you focus on tasks individually. Writing tasks down on a list might help if you feel you have so many problems circling around in your head. Google’s Momentum, Evernote, Apple’s Reminders, and even Microsoft Outlook all provide digital ways of organizing your To-Do List.
  1. Scheduling – Planning ahead and setting up deadlines will make your life easier when you’re overcommitted. Using calendars, daily planners, and other methods will schedule out your tasks so you can tackle each in groups or one at a time. In contrast, don’t overschedule your time. Leave room open for any unforeseen events that may arise. You can also build free time into your day-to-day.
  1. Get Rid of Distractions – The many distractions that we have at our disposal are a killer to productivity and focus, which leads to things like procrastination, stress, and simply not getting your work done. Put restrictions on how much time you spend on your phone, tablet, or laptop, and shift your attention back to your studies. How else will you master all the latest developments on the oral-systemic connection? If the distractions are more serious, try certain apps or programs that lock your technology for a certain amount of time so you won’t find yourself lingering.
  1. Don’t Multitask – You might think you’re getting more work done by juggling two or more tasks in a short period of time. However, at some point, you’ll probably start to feel overwhelmed. You might ask yourself, did I really do enough planning beforehand? Diverting your attention back and forth between multiple tasks means wasting time that you could have devoted to one full task. Complete one task before moving on to the other.
  1. Take Plenty of Breaks – You can’t work like a machine for too long. Make sure to allot time to take breaks, get food or water, and rest. Try to do something that doesn’t require the use of technologies, as you might find yourself indulging and taking a longer break than necessary. Don’t slip into another distraction. Clear your head, take a breather, and recharge for the next round of work.

Good time management skills could make the difference in passing your NBDEs, matching a postgraduate program, or becoming a successful dentist. In a world that is constantly trying to divert you, cause stress and anxiety, and not let you get things done, it’s important to resort to self-control and discipline. With these skills, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fullest potential as a practitioner.


School, Harvard Business, ed. Time Management: Increase Your Personal Productivity and Effectiveness. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School, 2005. Print. Harvard Business Essentials. Accessed on 11 July, 2016. Accessed on 11 July, 2016. Accessed on 12 July, 2016.

Tags: tiem management, soft skills

Seven Considerations for Purchasing Your First Dental Practice

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 @ 03:22 PM

Modern-Dental-Practice-resized.jpgAs a future dental professional, you may be excited by the idea of one day owning your own practice. In fact, according to THE NEXTDDS Student Transition Survey, 47% of graduating dental students plan on pursuing an associateship or employee dentists position immediately following graduation. A position like this offers you the opportunity to gain confidence, build your skills chairside, and consider one day having a dental practice of your own.

Employer dentists are planning for the future. They want to be profitable—building up the value of their practices—while also making sure to bestow some wisdom, training, and systematic management to the new dentists to make sure that their practices will be left in their image. This buy-in operation is a very delicate process, one that may go through various peaks and valleys before you even sit down to discuss the transition. Things may fall through, or new conditions may entirely affect the opportunity to buy-in. Thus, you should know what aspects of purchasing a practice you’ll be confronted with, and be sure to do all negotiations up front.

1. Numbers Game

Almost always, it comes down to numbers. Is there room for two owners in the practice? How in advance is the employer dentist planning his or her exit strategy? Are they taking a pay-cut for the transition? Is the practice expanding to more services or demographics? Taking a look at these preliminary estimates will give both parties a better idea of if the move makes sense.

2. When Will We Negotiate?

Most buy-ins don’t begin until well into the associateship proceedings. Thus, planning a set date when both parties can work out agreements will be necessary. This period of time, instead, can be used for you to get to know one another, making sure that you have a productive and harmonious working relationship.

3. Negotiating Percentages for Value

Once that time comes, how much of the practice will be purchased? Will it be half, more than half, or a full buyout? It will also be important to mutually determine payment terms. The value of the practice will also come into question. Typically, between the value at the time of your initial employment to the time of the buy-in agreement, the median price will be the value. This is something that can be foretold through calculations such as percentage of gross collections.

4. Getting Financing Involved

Chances are, you’ll be providing the investment through a bank loan. The bank will work out the basics of debt, assets, and equity. If the owner of the practice also owns the building, he or she might ask for an option and a right of first refusal to purchase a percentage of the property.

5. Taxes and Profits

Work out the taxes, seeing which aspects are supportive of the buyer and seller. Taxes are a very important aspect to the buy-in, so do not take this part lightly. Profits also need to be split, based on production and who performs at a higher rate than the other/

6. Preparing for the Transition

If you’re buying in a large portion of the practice, chances are you will now want a say into how things are managed and the overall scope of the practice. Work out these kinks as well in the negotiations. Because of this, it’s important to ease the existing practice owner into a well-deserved retirement, rather than burn bridges. If you can, help them make that adjustment.

7. Jumping Ship

It would not bode well for you if the soon-to-be retiring dentist were to leave to work for a competing practice. Make sure that grounds are laid out to avoid this move. Hopefully something like this would not happen after the buy-in proceedings, but it’s important to be prepared for anything that could happen. If everything is agreed up upfront, nothing should be compromised.


Autonomy in one’s job is a much sought-after prospect. Many dental students like you pursue a career in dentistry in order to work for themselves: making their own schedule, managing a team, and running their businesses. Buying into a practice is a huge achievement for both parties involved. For the retiring dentist, this will be an opportunity to reflect on his or her legacy, and know the practice will be in good hands. For a young dentist, this will be an opportunity to become a leader and operator. Now it’s up to the you to lead the practice to a successful future.


Additional resources on THE NEXTDDS regarding practice ownership include:

To Own or Not to Own?

Understanding Your Dental Practice Office Lease

Seven Suggestions for Initially Exploring a Possible Associateship Opportunity

Purchasing a Dental Practice: Legal Protection

Ten Tips to Running a Successful Practice


Find more helpful information by enrolling in THE NEXTDDS

Tags: practice managment, dental practice, private practice, practice purchase

Understanding The ADAT and How to Prepare

Posted by Dr. Patrice Smith on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Have you heard of the ADAT exam? ADAT stands for Advanced Dental Admission Test and is a new computer-based examination that is now being required for entry into many post-doctoral education programs. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the exam is designed to provide advanced dental education providers with insight into applicant’s potential for success in their programs.

This exam was implemented due to a lack of scores from other standardized exams, namely the NBDE I and NBDE II. Some of us may recall that in January of 2012 the NBDE exams changed from having scores to a Pass/Fail system. Since then, a number of dental schools moved away from GPA and started reporting grades as Pass/Fail. Thus, advanced education programs have been faced with the difficult task of comparing and selecting program-seeking candidates. The exam will enable programs to quantitatively compare applicants using a nationally standardized and objective test.

The ADAT exam comprises multiple-choice questions and consists of two broad categories: Critical Thinking and Principles of Ethics & Patient Management. The Critical Thinking portion is then further broken down into: Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Data, Research Interpretation, and Evidence-Based Dentistry.


Concept adapted from ADAT Guide; © 2016 American Dental Association

The exam consists of 200 questions to be completed over a four-and-a-half-hour period. There are 80 items in the Biomedical Sciences section, 60 items in the Clinical Sciences section, 30 items in the Data, Research Interpretation, and Evidence-Based Dentistry section and 30 items in the Principles of Ethics and Patient Management section. The specifications of each section can be found below:


Concept adapted from ADAT Guide; © 2016 American Dental Association

The ADAT exam is in its pilot year and will be offered from May 2016 through August 2016 and April through July of 2017. According to the ADA, scoring will be based on a scaled system in a range from 200 to 800 with a target mean of 500 and a standard deviation of 100. Scores will be reported in increments of 10. Scores will be reported for six scales:

  1. ADAT Score - an overall score that is computed based on performance on all ADAT items
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Professional Ethics and Patient Management
  4. Biomedical Sciences
  5. Clinical Sciences
  6. Data and Research Interpretation

The number of correct responses will not be reported, and examinees will not be privy to immediate feedback of test results. However, scores will be reported to the advanced education program to which the applicant applied. Though test administrators will hold the exam this year, official scores will be available on September 15, 2016 on the ADAT website.

While the ADAT is still in its early form, it is anticipated that this test will become the standard for students applying to advanced dental education programs. Many changes will most likely occur as the ADAT continues to be developed. As previously stated, this test will enable programs to quantitatively compare applicants using a nationally standardized and objective test.

The ADA has done a good job of providing resources that will aid applicants in preparing for this test. You may find a list of schools that will be participating in the ADAT for the 2016-2017 cycle via this link. You may also find guidelines of the ADAT exam here; sample practice items here; an ADAT practice test here, and an interactive tutorial may be downloaded on the Pearson Vue website here.

Good luck and all the best in your future endeavors!

Tags: ADAT

Understanding 6 Types of Dental Coverages

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Sat, Jul 09, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

rising-cost-of-dental-care-resize.jpgBuying into a dental practice means one day being a care provider as well as a business owner. Running a business comes with its own set of perks, but also comes with an entirely different set of management tasks. Now, you’ll find yourself with those two major responsibilities on your plate, and it’s up to you to drive your practice to a successful future.

During this time, you’re sure to come across patients with varying degrees of dental coverages, benefits, and plans. It’s important to understand what each coverage means for you, and what you and the patient each bring to the table. Getting a better understanding of these coverages now will prepare you for any patient that comes into your future practice.

Courtesy of a previous THE NEXTDDS webinar presented by Ms. Evelyn Ireland, Executive Director of the National Association of Dental Plans (NADP), here are six dental coverages you need to know, and what each coverage entails:

Discount Dental Plan

Also known as a "dental savings plan", this is not an actual insurance plan. Here a panel of dentists agrees to perform services for enrollees at a specified discounted price, or discount their usual charge. No payment is made by the Discount Dental Plan to the dentists, who are instead paid the negotiated fee by the enrollee.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization

With a DHMO, comprehensive benefits are provided to a defined population of enrollees paying for general dentistry services from a contracted network of dentists. This includes point-of-service dental HMOs that provide an enrollee the opportunity to opt-out of the HMO provider network and obtain dental services on a fee-for-service basis.

Dental Preferred Provider Organization

A DPPO contracts with dentists for the expressed purpose of obtaining a discount from their typical fees. Discounts may be negotiated on a provider practice basis or through use of a schedule of fees. Enrollees receive value from these discounts when using contracted providers. They do not include participating provider agreements based on a fee-for-service.

Dental Indemnity

Providers are reimbursed on a fee-for-service basis and there are no discounted provider contract arrangements, whereby the provider agrees to accept a fee below his or her customary fee.

Dental Exclusive Provider Organization

A DEPO will limit coverage to in-network providers or facilities. Patients may select where they access and receive care, and copayments and deductibles are similar to those found in PPO plans. There is no out-of-network coverage; the insured is fully responsible for costs of care delivered by an out-of-network provider.

Direct Reimbursement

Patient pays the bill, turns in proof of payment, and gets reimbursed; alternately the benefits' payment may be directly assigned to the dental office. Benefits are stated as a maximum dollar limit per year per eligible individual, or a percentage thereof. Reimbursement is based on dollar expenditures rather than on the type of treatment received.


Different plans have different implications for reimbursement and payment of your services. As a new dentist, it will be your mission to keep track of what each coverage means for you, your practice, and how you treat the patient. Stay prepared as you begin your journey to leadership in your own practice. For a deeper review of dental insurance coverages and dental care terms, download a helpful glossary of terms that Ms. Ireland provided THE NEXTDDS to share with you!

Download Your Glossary of Terms


Tags: dental insurance, dental coverage, dental benefits

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