Tag: American Dental Association

Getting Closer! Preparing For The Transition From Dental Student to Associate

Dr. Suzanne Ebert

By Dr. Suzanne Ebert, vice president, Dental Professional Career Services, American Dental Association.

Congratulations! Take a moment to acknowledge your accomplishments and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. The past four years have undoubtedly been challenging.

You’ve likely successfully cleared your national boards and fulfilled most of your requirements. Perhaps you’ve even already passed your licensure exams. Now, as you approach the completion of this phase, it’s crucial to ensure you’re fully prepared for the next step in your career. For most recent graduates, that entails securing a clinical position, often as an associate.

So, what can you do to make the transition from student to professional as smooth as possible?

Step 1: Continue to improve your hand skills and speed

Many recent grads worry, “How am I going to increase my speed and justify my salary? Especially since I had to hand off all my patients to other students who need the requirements.”

It’s common for graduates to lack the clinical experience to act quickly. After all, you’re used to the much slower pace of your school’s clinic. Never fear, though: you will build speed — and confidence — with increased situational exposure.

The very best way to do this is to practice, practice, practice! Use this time between exams and your first associateship to continue to work on your clinical speed and confidence. Doing so will help set you apart from other new grads in the job market. (It will also give you a great answer when a potential employer asks, “What have you been doing to improve your skills?”)

Even if you have already transferred all or most of your clinical patients to an underclassman, there are things you can do to work on your clinical speed and competence.

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The Benefits of Transparency When Selling Your Dental Practice

Dr. Suzannw Ebert

By Dr. Suzanne Ebert, vice president operations and customer relations, American Dental Association.

 In the dental industry, it is widely believed that confidentiality is crucial when a dentist chooses to sell their practice. This notion is strongly advocated by dental brokers and has been adopted by numerous dentists. In fact, a few dentists have stated that they had minimal or no communication with the buyer of their practice until the transaction was finalized.

The logic goes that there are several things that will happen as soon as anyone knows your practice is for sale:

  1. All of your patients will leave
  2. Your staff will leave to work someplace else
  3. Your competitors will actively poach your patients

These are all legitimate concerns. However, if the community knows that a dentist is considering selling their practice, there can be benefits to that transparency. Let’s examine the concerns one at a time.

  1. Will all your patients really leave?

Some might, but those are likely patients who were considering leaving for other reasons. Research suggests that insurance acceptance and convenience (location and hours) are the most common reasons that patients switch practices.

The majority of dentists considering selling their practice are planning to retire. Patients know that a dentist in their sixties is going to retire someday. Is it better for patients to find out through a postcard after you are already gone – or worse, to call for an appointment and learn you are no longer working?

In fact, being upfront with patients may prompt them to finish out a treatment plan before you leave because they trust you to do the necessary work.

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