Whether you’ve worked in dentistry for a few months, years or decades, the supply of “things to know” will probably never shrink.
And while the field of dentistry ever-evolves, some pieces of advice will always stand the test of time.
- Take care of your body
Leaning over patients all day can lead to health issues later in life—from chronic back pain to Carpal tunnel syndrome. Take care of your back, arms, and hands by focusing on the best position for each task you complete (ergonomics—look it up!) and trying an exercise like yoga to stretch and strengthen muscles you use most.
- You’ll need to fight the stigma of “the scary dentist”
Even though you know dentistry is a positive profession, so many patients live in fear of even a routine visit. To make the most of your work you’ll need to actively demonstrate that you will help not hurt.
- Don’t ignore your finances
If you own part or all of a practice you know the struggle. Unfortunately, you didn’t go to school for accounting and were probably not thinking much about it when you chose your profession. But keep up with it or hire someone to do so—you’ll avoid a lot of headaches when it’s time to retire.
- People skills can make or break a practice
You can be the most skilled dental professional in the world and still be unsuccessful if you don’t form relationships with your patients. How you make patients feel (welcome, safe, happy, etc.) defines your work just as much as your skill level. All dental professionals learn the same techniques, so if you don’t know how to bond with your patients you can bet they’ll look elsewhere for dental care.
- Embrace change
It’s vital to keep up with new technology in the industry. Dental manufacturers constantly innovate and it’s up to you to keep up to date with new techniques and technology that may benefit your patients, even if it feels scary. Pro tip: ask your dental supply rep if you can try out a sample before committing to a large purchase!
- Learn to work with dental insurance
It’s not going to go away. Learn all you can about the different plans, what they’ll reimburse you for, and how you’ll need to budget to cover any costs that aren’t reimbursed. You’ll also need to consider which plans to accept, balancing what’s best for your office and what will be enough options to attract new patients.