Be an Active Participant in Your Career

An illustration of rural dental practice sold

Dentistry is such a great profession. You can be a business owner, an associate, an academic, or a researcher. You can serve your country or help those less fortunate. And no matter your path, you’re helping people protect their health and their smiles.

Like so many things in life, you have to be proactive about your dental career to get the most out of it. That means deciding what you want, setting priorities, and taking steps to get there!

I recently sat down with Rolando Mia at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting. We discussed how dentists can make the most of this wonderful profession at any point in their careers. Listen to the Dental Voice podcast episode now.

The dental profession will embrace and support you — but you have to engage. Many dentists (including myself!) have introverted tendencies, yet we’re usually happy to help our peers. You just have to take the first step and reach out.

To get the most out of the profession, start by asking yourself: What’s my dream?

Have you always thought about ownership, but you’re not quite sure? Reach out to a couple of practice owners and ask for a conversation to discuss the pros and cons from their perspectives.

Do you feel “stuck” in an associateship that’s no longer holding your interest? Consider making a change — and again, connect with peers to learn about their experiences. Or double down on CE to learn a new specialty or skill. See: Feeling Stuck? Take Control of Your Dental Destiny

Or maybe you’re just about done with day-to-day practice. Consider research, teaching, or another pathway. If you own, you may even think about selling your practice and moving into a part-time associateship (maybe at an FQHC) to focus more on the dentistry and less on the business. Remember: you have options! See: Five Years Out: How to Sell Now and Retire Later or How to Create the Right Exit Plan for You.

As dentists, we’re not content to sit on our laurels and wait for someone else to fix things. So I urge you to go out there and do it, knowing that you have the support of your dental peers.

Don’t be a tacit participant in your career — or your life. Understand your goals and what motivates you. Then explore all the possible career paths and opportunities to find out what’s possible.

When you expand your horizons and you will accomplish things that you never, ever dreamed of. Have the courage to walk through the doors that dentistry opens for you.