Revitalize your career goals, skills, and productivity with continuing education.

After several years of practicing dentistry, it can become mundane and redundant. Days feel longer and longer when you are performing the same skills every day, and as a general dentist, unless you are incorporating techniques like surgery or orthodontics, it can become tiresome.

Rather than have your career become stagnant, there are simple ways you can revitalize your goals, skills, and productivity. Developing a successful dental office is not taught in school. It takes life experience, both good and bad, to determine the type of practice you want. There are numerous ways you can easily extend your general dentist career without much investment or headache.

1. Invest in a motivated team.

Dentistry is like a circus where you may be the ringleader, but you need an entire team behind you to create the show. Without a dedicated team, your work becomes harder and more frustrating. Instead of focusing on patient care, you will need to wear many other hats.

Put time, money, and effort into finding team members that want to be a part of your dental journey. Sometimes it is great when someone is already dental trained, but the most important aspect of a new hire is their attitude and mindset. Train your employee, offer continuing education to advance their career, and reward them when they accomplish goals. A person with an uplifting, positive attitude will attract patients, and let’s face it, it will make your career easier and make you want to come to work.

2. Have an action plan.

Not one general dental practice is the same. There are small solo-run offices and there are offices with multiple associates and larger teams. Regardless of your practice model, it is a great idea to have a practice handbook and discussion of your goals and the strategy to reach those goals.

Give your team an opportunity to help build your practice by communicating daily. Speak with your office manager or accountant monthly about how you are reaching your production goals. Whether you want to get more Invisalign patients or want to incorporate orthodontics into your practice, it is wise to make the direction of your practice clear. When you have goals outlined in writing and are able to check them off when completed successfully, you will feel accomplished and want to create new, reachable goals.

3. Communication is key.

One of the most difficult tasks a dentist faces as an owner is managing an office and team while trying to deliver excellent patient care. Communication with your team will change the culture of your practice and how your office operates. Training your team takes time and communication to outline their job duties, what you expect of them, and how you can have a good owner–employee relationship.

It is also necessary to train your team on how to speak with patients properly so that your patient retention remains and your referrals improve. It can become frustrating after many years in dental practice to keep a positive mode of communication, but it is one of the key factors in helping you maintain a successful practice.

4. Create a comfortable work–life balance.

Your dental career is undoubtedly important, but there is probably a good chance some part of you went into dentistry to establish a good work–life balance. Remember that if you don’t schedule downtime like hobbies, family time, or a vacation, it does not often happen. You need to treat yourself with the same respect you treat your patients. Block off time in your schedule weeks and months in advance so that you don’t need to feel bad canceling something last minute. Overall, time for yourself will give you the needed motivation to rejuvenate and extend your career for many years!

5. Always keep learning.

For many of us, dental school and residency programs were many, many years ago. Since you left school, there are so many changes in dental techniques, materials, and technology. Without taking continuing education courses, you won’t advance your career to where it should be both personally and professionally. You can invest in online orthodontic courses to perform many sought-after treatments like orthodontics to increase revenue and patient satisfaction. The Basic Straight Wire Course taught by Dr. Brad Williams has educated many general dentists on how to incorporate orthodontics into their general practice. This can lead to an entirely new phase of your career and transform how you treat patients.