Monday, January 6, 2014

My Advice to New Dentists

Our receptionist Gina called to me. “The American Student Dental Association News is on the phone for you!”

Gosh, I have not been a dental student since 1979. The closest I come to school nowadays is watching our son progress through his third year at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The journalist on the phone wanted to ask me about "boomer dentistry" and how it will affect the new generation of dentists. What could they learn from me about being a new dentist and treating folks in the boomer generation?

My answer? "Tell the new dentist to not listen to the boomer dentists."

His hesitation said it all. "What do you mean?"

"Please tell the younger dentists to not listen to all the gloom and doom the boomer dentists are talking about. This younger generation of dentists is way more prepared for the new evolution of dentistry then the boomer dentists ever will be."

Young dentists today have all the skills they need to be successful. They are used to the technology that is now part of everyday life. Boomers are still trying to figure out how the technology works.

Younger dentists are much more connected than boomer dentists. These fledging dentists are connected by technology that was not even invented when boomer dentists first went into practice. The young can communicate and learn more sitting at their desk in a day than we could in a week at a school.

Younger dentists, part of the Gen Y era, are looking for meaning in life and not just work to make a lot of money. As a generation, they are noted for being willing to live beneath their means in order to get what they want from life.

Most importantly, they are used to change. Their lives have been marked by constant change in technology, communication, etc. Their world is flat.

Dentists today are facing many different economic challenges than boomers. School loans and interest rates are at an all-time high. The competition for discretionary dollars is fierce, and utilization of dental services is being pressed in a downward direction. Every day, dentists are told to do more with less.

My message to new dentists is this: "Dentistry: you can have it all if you live small." The journalist really liked that phrase. What my wife and I did 15 years ago was embrace the change and adapt our expectations of what life as a dentist should be. Do you want time or money? Do you want things or experiences?

Let’s not forget the boomer patient. This is a generation of endless of youth. It is the last generation that experienced having “their doctor” as children and young adults. Boomers will be a generation of folks who expect to be fully dentate for their new extended life expectancy. This will be a great challenge for the next generation of dentists.

Back in the late 1990s, former AGD President John Chandler, DDS, MAGD, said about the evolving times, "Change is inevitable, progress is optional.”

My great hope is that dentistry will remember that when two generations evolve, it is change; when two generations work together, it is progress.

Enjoy the journey,

Bob Oro, DMD, MAGD


DianaNguyenDDS said...

Great advice! I really enjoyed this post.

Bindhurani said...

The younger dentists are not shying away from social media marketing. They are more interested in marketing dental practice than the boomers.
Great post doctor.

Unknown said...

This is all awesome advice to new dentists in my opinion. You are so right when you say you don't have to have a big car and house to have everything. You say that if you live small you can do so much more, and I believe that statement. Thank you for your great tips to all the new dentists out there.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your advice and counsel, I definitely have thought the same way. The young dentists of today have been prepared better than anyone else for the changing technology and the different methods that have been developed. They shouldn't be bashed down by the boomer dentists.

Unknown said...

I had no idea that being a dentist could be so complicated. It really makes sense that there would be a lot of change that happens in that kind of career field though. I went to the dentist after two years and it really was incredible the amount of different tools that they had available. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I had no idea that dentists were also facing different economic times. My brother is studying for the DAT currently in hopes of becoming a family dentist. I'm not sure if he is aware of all of the economic change that is happening. I'll have to inform him about this and make sure that this is something he really wants to do. Hopefully he can figure it out before the big exam!

Oral hygiene said...

Thanks for sharing those useful tips. I think the number one dental tip to keep those cavities and gum troubles away is to keep your dentist and/or hygienist happy by regular brushing and flossing of teeth. It can be quite upsetting to see a patient who purposely comes in for a Scale & Polish (S&P) every 4-6 months because they don't plan on clean their teeth regularly.

Caloundra wedding photographers said...

Everyone wants to have a beautiful smile.


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