THE NEXTDDS Blog

Importance of Lifelong Education

Posted by THE NEXTDDS on Fri, May 19, 2017 @ 10:15 AM

AD_CE.pngYou are the best and brightest dentist in your town, with freshly minted skills and knowledge. How will you maintain that edge and continue to be the best provider that you can be? Through continuing education (CE). Continuing Education is extremely important to keep dentists of all levels on top of their games, since the field is evolving rapidly with new technologies and digital solutions that improve practice efficiency and patient care. Journals are an important resource, but without a well-developed plan including hands-on courses, classes, and lectures, you may lose that edge.

It is widely held that the body of scientific knowledge in healthcare doubles every six months. The one article that may fundamentally change the way you practice and impact the standard of care may be published the day after you graduate from dental school. You need a well thought out plan that will keep you abreast of changes that occur in the profession. You can quickly learn about new approaches that provide better outcomes, happier patients, and a more efficient workflow for you and your staff. Some products or techniques that you currently rely upon may be found to have significant adverse effects, or a newer generation of those products may be described that can make what you learned from your mentors obsolete. You, your patients, and your staff deserve the latest scientific knowledge available.

The Importance of Compliance

Dentists in all 50 states must acquire and maintain a license to practice. The vast majority of states require license renewal every one to three years, and most of those renewals require a prescribed number of CE hours and credits. Many states have specific guidelines on what types of CE they will or will not accept, such as home study versus group education formats, classes on ethics, courses on domestic violence and child abuse recognition, prescribing, and care of the underserved. If you want to continue practicing, you will have to comply with the rules of licensure in your state. State-by-state regulations vary, and links to information on these regulations can be found here.

But CE is not simply designed to keep you out of trouble. Through CE courses, you have the opportunity to improve your skills and learn the latest clinical techniques from qualified, knowledgeable instructors. Thus, your patients can be offered the latest diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic methods in the industry. Letting your patients know that you are the first dentist in the area to offer this new approach will help with practice marketing as well, since word of mouth from satisfied patients is a powerful tool. Your reputation in the community will improve as a direct result of your cutting-edge approach to dental care.

Opportunities for Professional Development

Continuing education courses are often designed for the dentist to have fun while learning. Some live courses are offered in vacation destinations, and industry conventions such as the ADA Annual Session, Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting, and the Greater New York Dental Meeting now feature live patient demonstrations and exhibitions with vendors with whom dentists can interact. Manufacturers will demonstrate new technologies available to improve the efficiency and results achievable in your practice. Many dentists travel to these conferences with their families, combining education with entertainment. You can also meet and network with other dental professionals, opening new career pathways for you as you begin your new position in the dental industry. In almost all cases, traveling to and attending CE courses is a tax deductible expense for you and your practice. Once you return to work that next Monday morning, you can begin to share your new knowledge and clinical “pearls” with other dentists in your practice, your support staff, and your patients.

Self-Directed Education

The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we gain information—and consume CE. Interactive CE courses abound, many more engaging than a printed journal. Interactive education through online webinars (live or archived), instructional videos, and the like allow you and your professional peers to consume CE at your own pace and convenience. Finding high-quality CE courses that fit your needs, schedule, and finances is easy. The American Dental Association and the American Dental Education Association provide numerous self-study programs that are certified for CE credits, and also list links to live CE courses and CE providers. THE NEXTDDS is a leading provider of educational articles, videos, and
webinars, with multimedia courses available free to dental professionals. Your state’s dental licensing board is also a reliable resource for local and national courses for dentists.

Conclusion

Continuing education is a critical component to your ongoing success in practice. While it is true that it is a requirement for licensure, the reasons to actively plan for and seek CE go far beyond that. CE courses keep you sharp, educated, attractive to patients, and marketable for your next career move. Aspen Dental Management Inc., is a great resource for high-quality education for you in your successful career as a dentist and available to support you throughout the journey. Ask us today how we can help!

 

Are you a recently graduated D4 student? Check out these related articles:

Dental Practice Insurance that Pays for Itself
Ten Tips for Running a Successful Practice
Partnering for Success

Tags: education, continuing education

The "New Dentist Track" at the CDS Midwinter Meeting

Posted by John Papa on Mon, Mar 02, 2015 @ 09:39 AM

This year, the Chicago Dental Society offered a track of four courses specifically written and designed for new dentists. These courses were intended to give new dentists insight and tips in certain areas that might be overlooked or not covered in-depth in traditional dental school curricula. The four courses that were included in the “New Dentist Track” were:
  • Leadership in Social Media for New Dentists: Presented by Ms. Rita Zamora
  • Risky Business: What are the Dangers and How to Prepare: Presented by Dr. Roy Shelburne
  • Career Paths in the Private Practice of Dentistry: Presented by Mr. Peter Ackerman, and
  • Sales free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of New Methodology: Presented by Dr. Steve Fretzin

In her social media course, Ms. Rita Zamora began by establishing the idea of creating and maintaining your online brand/identity. Her words of advice to the would-be social media savvy dentist were: know yourself, know your brand, live your brand, be visible, and lead by example. She went on to discuss social media marketing through Facebook ads or Google ad words, and suggested using small incentives to get patients to “Check-in”, “Like”, or “Follow” your social media outlets; such as giving out whitening strips (or some other one-time-use item) for check-ins before appointments. As for negative patient reviews on social media, her advice was to either ignore them or to reach out to the complaining patient personally via email or phone, talk to them, and see if they will take the review down afterwards. You can read more about Social Media Marketing and Integrating Social Media in your Future Practice on THE NEXTDDS.

Dr. Roy Shelburne’s presentation on risk management was focused on pointing out the small things that sometimes get overlooked by new dentists which could result in a visit from the IRS. He began his presentation by saying that every new dentist should know the legal definition of intent. He then went on to describe what, in his eyes, constitute the five biggest legal threats to your practice: failure to comply with HIPPA, OSHA, tax laws, the dental practice acts of your state, and other contractual obligations. He touched briefly on informed consent, malpractice claims, and record keeping; stating that keeping air-tight records of every procedure, why it was done, and how it was done is a good way to insulate yourself from malpractice suits, but that the biggest protection from malpractice suits is to have a good relationship with your patients.

Mr. Ackerman led off his “Career Paths” course by explaining his outlook about the future of the dental profession. Due to a number of factors including increased competitiveness in the field, growing student debt, distribution of new dental offices, changes in patient values, and older dentists being forced to work longer, the allure of “corporate dentistry” appears to be growing for new graduates. He does, however, still believe there are viable paths to private practice ownership for young dentists. He went on to discuss associateships at length, including why they sometimes fail, how to best insulate yourself from liability and failure, many legal issues that arise through associateships including contractual obligations, terms of agreement, compensation, "due diligence" research, and types of practice sales (retirement [full]) sales, delayed full sales, extended sales, and partial sales). Read more about making the transition from Student to Professional in THE NEXTDDS Magazine

Steve Fretzin ispecializes in coaching business owners on the finer points of sales and investment. In his presentation, Mr. Fretzin explained his new methodology of sales, which favors a much more consultative and relationship-oriented approach over the traditional sales model. He then explained how his sales model is specifically applicable in the dental/medical fields, especially during patient consultation and in attempting to garner interest and consent for treatment plans.

The New Dentist track at the CDS Midwinter meeting is a way for young dentists and current dental students alike to learn some of the finer points of business management, legal matters, and marketing that may not have been covered in depth during dental school. Each of the speakers were passionate their subjects, and gave easily applicable tips that could improve business, exposure, and revenue while reducing risk and liability for a new practice owner. As dental students attending the CDS Midwinter, the New Dentist track is one way to get a jump on one’s professional career, and to start thinking about the real-world business of dentistry in a new and exciting way.

Tags: midwinter, CDS, CE, continuing education, marketing, liability, sales, New Dentist Track, social media, legal, associateship

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