At Peak Dental Services, we’re gearing up for the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention in Denver, which takes place at the Colorado Convention Center from January 18-20, 2018. We’re excited to have some of our team presenting at the conference, including Dr. Brett Broda, of Panorama Dental.
He’ll be speaking on Friday, January 19th from 1:30 – 4:30 pm in room 709/711. Get a preview of what he’ll be covering below in his presentation titled “The First Five Years Out of Dental School” and be sure to check out the full conference schedule.
The First Five Years After Dental School
Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” but maybe more relevant would be to say, “The career of thirty years begins with one day.”
Dentistry can be an amazing profession, but decisions early on can have a big impact on your career. Are you taking a path towards success or failure, early or late retirement, satisfaction or discontent, financial well-being or instability? Do you have the skills to succeed? Do you know how to get them?
Dentistry can provide a great lifestyle, income, and job satisfaction; furthermore, there’s a lot of ways to get there. Your first years after dental school should set yourself up for the career and life you want.
Have a Vision
Where to start? The single most important thing you need is to have a vision.
- What do you want your life to look like?
- What type of practice do you want to be in?
- Where do you want to live and work?
- How does this align with your spouse or family?
Without a defined vision, it’s impossible to know if you’re working towards your goals or not. This isn’t easy; most people struggle with it. Take some time and think seriously about it, but don’t procrastinate too long! You don’t want to be five years into your career and realize you’ve been heading the wrong way.
Now, How Do You Get There?
Once you have a clear vision, you can start to decide how to get there. There are many roads to take in dentistry. You can build a new practice, buy an existing practice, become a partner in a practice, join a community or public health clinic, or become an associate. The vast majority of new grads will become an associate first. As an associate you will be working for someone else, usually in private practice or with a DSO (dental support organization).
An associateship is a great time to learn as much as you can and get paid to do it! You want to look for places that help support you as you move towards your goals. Keep an eye out for opportunities that have mentors, continuing education programs, and enough patients/work to support your needs. For new grads especially, you will want a guaranteed salary until you can start to produce enough to support yourself.
Don’t make the mistake of saving some money and not hiring an attorney to look over your employment contract. You’re a dentist, not a lawyer. The people you’re negotiating with used a lawyer to create the contract, and you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have an attorney on your side. There are people who will try and take advantage of you and it can cost you big time in the long run.
Handling Your Finances as a Dentist
Finding a job is only part of the story. What are you supposed to do with that money you’re making, and let’s not forget about that student debt! Jim Dahle, of The White Coat Investor, said, “like it or not, you have a second job.” Personal finance is your second job, and you need to educate yourself on it.
Just because you’re a doctor, does not guarantee you financial well-being. The average age of retiring dentists is 71 years old and going up! The good news is there are people that can help you. Working with a good financial planner can help you plan for retirement, a practice purchase or buy-in, and help to manage that student debt. Financial planners can be a great resource, but it’s not an excuse to hand off all your responsibilities. It’s your money, and ultimately, it’s up to you to know what’s happening to it.
Continue Your Development as a Dentist
Now that you’re working and managing your money, it’s time to develop yourself. As a dentist, you are a leader among your office and among your community. Patients look to you for your expert advice and care. You need to be able to listen and then effectively communicate in order to treat them. You can have the best hand skills in the world, but it doesn’t matter if patients don’t say yes to treatment. Your team is a reflection of you and they will look to you for how to behave and act. Be the person you want your team to be! Even as an associate this is important. Remember, the way you practice today is how you’re training yourself to practice in the future. Dental school taught you clinical skills, but it’s up to you to develop your leadership and communication skills. This is what separates a good dentist from a great one.
The first five years after dental school are terrifying and exciting. The road to a successful career in dentistry beings one day at a time. You have some big decisions to make and a lot of work to do. What steps will you take towards your vision?
About Brett Broda, DDS
Dr. Broda was born and raised in Alaska, and completed his Biology degree on the shores of Lake Superior at Northern Michigan University. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery (DDS) from the University of Minnesota where he studied the latest trends and technologies in dentistry. Along with his wife, Dr. Broda moved to Colorado and has been providing patients with the best possible care ever since. Dr. Broda is committed to excellence and continuing education, especially in the areas of dental implants, digital dentistry, and aesthetics.
When he isn’t at the office, he can be found riding his bike, skiing, brewing beer, or traveling with his wife.