Continuing education can help you to grow in a new direction.
Pediatric dentistry is a unique field in dentistry because it specializes in the growth and development of children’s oral health. Dentists typically choose to pursue pediatrics because they enjoy working with children, they are interested in adolescent dentition, or they like the challenge of behavior management and special needs. However, after several years in practice, some dentists wish to reinvent their practice and grow in a new direction. Here are 5 top tips to get your pediatric dental practice to maximum productivity and to expand your meaningful career.
1. Focus on preventive services.
Parents may know they need to bring their child to the dentist every six months, but do they understand the purpose? Focus on preventive services to educate families and treat children to avoid tooth decay and long-term dental problems. Preventive services promote all ways to develop a lifetime of healthy oral care habits at home and provide simple, non-invasive treatments in the dental office.
- Professional cleanings—preventive visits are wonderful because they remove plaque and tartar that a patient may not be able to remove at home. A scaling and root planing or even just a simple prophylaxis helps brighten children’s smiles, improve their oral health, and lower their risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
- Fluoride treatment—fluoride is one of the most affordable services you can offer your patients to help fight tooth decay. Fluoride is non-invasive, all while providing your young patient with the assistance to fight acid attacks that cause enamel breakdown.
- Dental sealants—sealants are one of the best ways to help prevent tooth decay by covering the deeper, susceptible grooves of molars. Sealant application is quick and painless, and your patients and parents will appreciate the effort to avoid difficult visits.
- Injury protection—a custom mouth guard is a small investment compared to the stress and agony of losing a front tooth from trauma. Custom mouth guards also fit properly and protect your patient’s jaw and soft tissues from an athletic injury.
2. Work in academia.
Taking a part-time position in a dental school or residency program can completely transform how you look at dentistry. It can introduce new techniques and materials that you may never hear of working solely in private practice. Working in academia is beneficial for so many reasons, you will:
- Be challenged by teaching pre-dental and residency students
- Perform exciting dental research
- Collaborate with dental colleagues
- Learn how to lecture students and dentists
- Produce a passive income
- Have a professional support system
- Assume administrative duties that can help you manage your practice
3. Volunteer your time.
Dental mission trips can be a changing experience if you have a passion for helping others. Why not put your dental skills to use and volunteer your time with reputable projects like outreach? Dental volunteer work can be local or even abroad. There are several programs and activities that have dentists volunteer their time and skills to help others who are less fortunate. A dental mission trip can expand your outlook on your career and how you practice dentistry. Typical dental activities during outreach programs include:
- Dental health education
- Preventive care (cleanings, fluoride application, sealants)
- Minimally invasive dentistry
- Oral cancer screenings
4. Treat airway management.
Parents constantly report their children grind their teeth or snore at night. In the past, pediatric dentists would tell families it is normal and children will outgrow it. We now know it is not a normal habit and can cause drastic health effects in the future. Airway issues can lead to sleeping problems like sleep apnea, behavioral issues, and bedwetting. It is now well known that tongue ties can drastically affect a child’s growth and development during their adolescence.
Studying airway management with treatment of frenectomies, myofunctional therapy, and early intervention orthodontics can make a positive, major impact on a child’s life. There are numerous online and in-person continuing education courses that can advance a pediatric dentist’s knowledge of airway recognition, treatment, and management.
5. Offer orthodontics.
There is little doubt how pediatric dentistry and orthodontics are directly linked. Taking online orthodontic courses like the Basic Straight Wire Course teaches pediatric dentists how to incorporate orthodontics into their practice to provide better patient care and increase revenue. Orthodontics can easily help grow a pediatric dental practice because parents will appreciate being treated under one roof and have already established a shared dental vision with you.
Providing orthodontic care in your pediatric dental practice is a great way to expand your skill set and area of expertise. Pediatric dentistry heavily involves orthodontics starting from a young age and if you can provide treatment learned from an online orthodontic course, why not? Providing orthodontics in your pediatric dental practice will increase your productivity and give you additional income.