They say hindsight is 20/20, which is why it’s critical to adhere to the insights of more experienced dentists and learn from their mistakes. These mentors have accrued a lifetime of knowledge, providing tips and guidance on common matters many young dentists haven’t even considered. One such individual, Dr. David Black, has more than 40 years of clinical experience, which he put to use to provide advice to younger dentists. Among his tips:
Continue Your Education.
“It is essential to master new techniques throughout your career,” says Black. He believes that while dental school helps doctors become jacks of all trade, they cannot become true masters of any area without extensive experience and continued education. He recommends attending meetings held by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) to learn more about other areas which can help expand your practice offerings.
Write Down Your Plan.
Black says he worked with a life coach who advised him to write down goals, and then go further by writing what, how much and when. “This includes income, days to work, vacation, how many new patients to see each month and [your] budget.” He also recommends tracking production and collections, which can provide an illuminating perspective on the day-to-day operations of a practice.
Save, Save, Save.
According to Black, it’s never too early to start saving. In addition to retirement, consider other expenses like your children’s college funds or emergency expenses. “You need to find a brave [financial] advisor, who will give you the hard truth about savings and who you will allow to hold you accountable to them for these savings.”
R.J. Adolfi is another prominent dental expert who took to the web to provide guidance for up-and-comers. Among his advice:
Mind Your Money.
Embezzlement in dentistry is surprisingly common and can be perpetrated by those you trust most. Don’t rely solely on someone else within the practice to tell you how you’re doing financially. Learn how to read the numbers, and what they all mean (a trustworthy firm can help teach you how). Adolfi recommends “[learning] the algorithms of closing accounts receivables for insurance or self-pay.”
Don’t Be Charmed.
It’s not unheard of for someone to be easily charmed by a good salesperson. It can be tempting to rush into a purchase when it’s been presented so well. “You know what instruments and equipment you’re comfortable with, so stick to what you know, or do plenty of research before investing in new technology,” says Adolphi, adding that there are a lot of great technical innovations happening in dentistry. Just think before you buy.
Take these lessons to heart and never pass on an opportunity to learn from the wisdom of those with more experience.