Getting Down to Business
Although many dentists who go into private practice do so with altruistic goals related to the provision of superior care, let's face it: owning a dental practice is owning a business, and if you are unable to run it successfully and profitably, you will be unable to deliver the care that you've envisioned and may even become burned out or disillusioned with practice. The fact that a lack of business-related education in dental school programs leaves many graduates unprepared for the rigors of practice ownership has always been a problem in the profession; however, with the industry affected by the practice changes and staffing shortages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inflation-plagued economy that has developed in its wake, understanding the business of dentistry is more important to a dentist's success than ever before. In Inside Dentistry's October special business issue, we examine the current and future state of dentistry and present articles addressing essential nonclinical aspects of practice, including leadership, marketing, finance, improving treatment acceptance, and more—all of which are intended to inform and inspire.
Many graduates come out of dental school too exclusively focused on clinical knowledge and skills. To be successful, you have to be focused on business right out of the gate. Even if you begin working as an associate, knowing what you want to build is critical. One helpful approach is to question mentors and others who have successful practices that you'd like to emulate. They can help to shorten your journey. Every decision that you make should be based on personal goals. You have to figure out who you are and what you want to be to attract patients. Dentists should have consultants, but a business coach and a personal life coach can be especially helpful. Personal coaching can help you to focus on your traits and bettering yourself. You have to learn how you're built; people are all different. A coach can help you to shape your vision for your practice so that you can not only be successful but also find balance in life, which can be particularly important for women who are considering starting families. Investing in yourself is investing in your business—it pours into all areas. Don't let your business run you. It's yours, so you run it!
Amanda Seay, DDS
American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
Charleston, South Carolina
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa