Congratulations to everyone that is graduating dental school this month. You’ve worked hard and earned the privilege to be called a doctor. While it feels like an ending, it is truly just the beginning. Now is when the fun really starts. Many of you have chosen to do a residency, join the military, or join a family member’s practice. I didn’t do any of those things so I don’t have much to comment about any of those paths. Personally, I graduated from dental school and started replying to classified ads on Dentaltown. That was my first step, and it landed me my first opportunity. In future blog posts I’ll get into more details on my thoughts about corporate vs. non-corporate opportunities. For now, let’s just focus on a few basics that apply no matter which route you take.
1. Find a Recruiter
There are recruiting agencies that help offices looking for dentists find them, and you need to be in touch with them. I ended up here in the great state of Texas with a little help from Carl Guthrie at ETS Dental. You tell the recruiters what you’re looking for and they help you to find it. These people are highly knowledgeable about what is out there and can provide some valuable advice. It also saves you a lot of work. The best part is you don’t pay them a penny, the recruiting dentist is the one who pays for the service.
2. Get Involved in Organized Dentistry
If you’re looking to work for a dentist or find mentors in dentistry, it makes sense to meet as many dentists as you can. Make as many friends and connections as possible. Other young dentists can give you tips on opportunities available in your market. Older dentists might give you a job at their office if they have availability. Don’t discount the sales reps, either! Experienced reps usually know the community quite well and can be on the lookout for you. Don’t think you can just put up a Facebook post or an eblast and expect results. Dentistry is a people business, and you actually have to get out there and meet people and form relationships if you expect the doors of opportunity to open for you.
3. 2 is Better Than 1.
Every single dental office is different. The variety is amazing. As a new dentist, there is so much to learn. I can almost guarantee you will double your rate of learning at the beginning of you career if you are practicing in two different settings during the week. You’ll have two different perspectives and you will be able to compare and contrast what you’re learning from both situations at all times. The ideal situation would be 2-3 days a week in a public health/high volume practice where you have the opportunity to treat many patients. Repetition and being busy doing dentistry are critical at this stage, but it can be challenging to only do this type of dentistry and see this type of dentistry at the beginning. You don’t want to burn out early! For the other 1-2 days a week, find a higher end PPO/Cash practice where you can see how private practice dentistry works. Two other benefits: 1)Part time work is usually easier to find, and 2) If you have to leave a position that isn’t working for you for whatever reason, you’ve still got another source of income going.
Position yourself to learn as much as possible about quality dentistry and to be busy so your skills can improve. Good luck to all of you. Many great dentists have come before you to pave the way, and it is now your turn to carry on the tradition. The profession and the public is counting on you to be great!