3 Critical Action Items You Must Take After Graduating Dental School

You have made it through the rigors of dental school, studying hard, learning as much as you could and doing your best to succeed. Now your journey to dentistry has come to an end, graduation is behind you and a potentially amazing career is on the horizon.

  • So what do you need to do now?
  • How can you help ensure that your foray into professional dentistry is a successful one?
  • What do you need now to get started in your practice and welcome patients?

Here are three critical action items you need to take after you’ve graduated from dental school.

#1. Learn to Communicate

Success as a dentist is about more than technical skill. If you want your patients to trust you, and refer their friends, you need to be a fantastic communicator. 

In the dentistry world you will also need to embrace the non-traditional communication mediums and successfully harness them in your daily routine, i.e. texting, email, and even direct messaging through social media, chatbots and apps. You never know how an important patient may reach out to you, and it may be outside of business hours so stay prepared.

Hopefully, you already have great communication skills, since you did make it through dental school after all. However, now is the time to ramp up those communication skills, focusing on in-person conversations and finding new ways to engage with patients and their families.

Yes, you are probably very effective at speaking with professors and your fellow students, basically people with a strong knowledge of dental terminology and concepts. But, how about the “layman” who is interested in 4 porcelain veneers? Can you answer all their questions while comfortably presenting the procedure so they’ll decide to go with your practice?

“Graduating from dental school is not the end of your dental education,” says Dental Implant Dentist Dr. Igal Elyassi, DDS of Wilshire Smile Studio. “Newly graduating dentists have to constantly be up-to-date with the best and latest dentistry has to offer, by studying latest journals, attending study clubs and attending CE courses to effectively expand their service offerings with more procedures, such as all-on-4 dental implants.”

You will also need to communicate effectively with your team, including the dental hygienists who care for your patients and the back office personnel that handle the billing and other important tasks. Learning how to listen, how to engage and how to ask questions will help you a lot, as will paying attention to subtle cues and body language. You are a professional now, and your communication skills need to match that new status.

#2. Search for a Mentor

No one succeeds on their own, and that is definitely true of newly minted dental school graduates. Now that you have graduated, it is time to find a mentor who can teach you all the things you never learned in school.

Being a successful dentist is about more than just fixing teeth. As a dentist runs a practice, you are also a business owner, and you need a mentor who can guide you through the challenges.

You may end up with a team of mentors instead of just one, and that is perfectly fine. You may have one mentor who focuses on the technical aspects of your practice, things like proper hygiene and sterilization. Another who can guide with decisions regarding finances and taxes, maybe and another who can help you fine tune your business and optimize your operations. You can learn a lot from every one of those mentors so pay close attention and do not be afraid to ask the right questions.

#3. Dedicate Yourself to Self Mastery

As a dentist with a private practice, you are the master of your own future, and now is the time to dedicate yourself to the type of self-mastery you always knew you could achieve. Think about self-mastery and what it means to you.

In the end, self-mastery means focusing on how you can become the best person you can be every single day. It means you can control your mind, your words, your actions, your beliefs and your belief systems. The journey to self-mastery can be a long one, but the destination is well worth the effort.

With dental school behind you, now is the time to put in the hard work, including CE courses. Being open to new learning and new opportunities for growth has never been more important than it is right now; so think of the start of your dental practice as the first step on your journey of self-discovery.

It is likely that you will make some mistakes along the way, but in the future you will look back on those blunders as learning opportunities. Building a business from the ground up, especially one as complicated and expensive as a dental practice, is not an easy thing to do, but you can do it.