CDA helps new dentists launch their careers

To help new dentists start their careers off on the right path, CDA hosted a New Dentist Career Launch at its headquarters in July.

The three-day program held from July 9-11 provided new dentists extensive and intense training intended to increase their understanding of the nuances of a career in dentistry and guide them toward achieving professional success.

The 50 new dentists in attendance learned about topics such as reducing student loan debt, contract and lease negotiation strategies for practice start-up or acquisition and understanding their credit and personal financial resume. The new dentists also were taught how to create a professional vision statement and strategic plan.

“The reason it is so important for the younger dentists to get this information is they have an opportunity to understand what’s occurring in the marketplace before they make decisions that are irreversible and before they make major investments in practices or on equipment or in marketing programs,” said Michael Perry, DDS, CDA director of Practice Management.

Perry led a course titled “Strategic Planning and Critical Thinking,” which examined the three stages of the dental practice: survival, growth and fulfillment. Perry also informed the new dentists about the different dental benefit types, such as indemnity, PPO, HMO, discount, direct reimbursement and government subsidized.

“In general, the greater the percentage of contracted dental benefits, the more production is necessary to achieve a given net profit and the greater the need to control variables related to time,” Perry said.

Shyam Brahmmbhatt, DMD, is a recent graduate of the College of Dental Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences. He currently practices in Orange County and said the overview on the business aspects of running a practice at the Career Launch was valuable because dental students don’t get taught the aspects of owning a practice in dental school.

“We did a business overview, which is nice because in dental school all we did was focus on the theory of dentistry. At the Career Launch, we got a nice crash course on the theory of business dentistry,” Brahmmbhatt said. “We talked about the legal aspects, we talked about risk, we talked about developing a business plan — all of those aspects of dentistry that we really barely scratched the surface on in school."

One of the sessions over the three-day program was titled “Avoiding Legal Minefields.” Ali Oromchian, Esq., an attorney at a California law firm that specializes in contracts and employment law, led the presentation. Oromchian discussed everything from lease terms to embezzlement.

Oromchian shared with the new dentists these common characteristics of an embezzler:

  • Hard workers;
  • Volunteer often;
  • Take on more tasks than others;
  • Trusted by you, spouse and your team;
  • Pattern of lying;
  • Speak about themselves more often than not; and
  • Don’t speak nicely about others and aren’t as affected when others are hurt.

“There is no way of avoiding embezzlement, you can only hope to catch it early,” Oromchian said.

Another presentation, led by Luis Soria, MS, MA, and Natalie Dawson, MBA, was titled “10 Habits for a Highly Profitable Practice.” This lecture went over vicarious liability, dealing with patient referrals properly, record keeping, how to amend an entry on the treatment form, dealing with angry patients and more.

Other lectures touched on communication and interpersonal skills, employment law and professional finances. 

Dentists also were able to use the time to network.

“I’ve met a lot of people that I’m going to keep in touch with,” Brahmmbhatt said.

CDA plans to host another New Dentist Career Launch program in the future.