Prosthodontics: Providing a Pathway to Professional and Personal Enrichment
Jose F. Cortes-Botello, DDS, for the American Prosthodontic Society
Unlike prior generations, millennials face challenges that may impact their path into dentistry and stability in the workplace. To start, millennials represent the largest growing group in today’s US population, approximately 80 million, while confronting economic uncertainties. A significant percentage of this generation remains unemployed or underemployed, and those who enter graduate school will carry considerable student-loan debt for years to come. Certainly, for someone heading into an already competitive dental field, this is not a desirable medley of elements. While millennials, Generation Xers, and baby boomers may have different working styles, all generations have a common denominator: their interest in networking and personalized communications. Technology and social networks have revolutionized the way we conduct business and communicate, allowing us to share cultures, ideologies, and information in an unprecedentedly efficient way. So, what can dentists do to help?
In an era in which educators and students face significant obstacles and quandaries, professional organizations and academic institutions that are open to embracing change will succeed in connecting with the new generations. Dental graduates and technicians should consider a relationship with a discipline-based organization that offers networking and mentorship opportunities. Such organizations provide resources to improve knowledge, skills, and human capital.
The American Prosthodontic Society (APS) is committed to providing collaborative opportunities among lifetime members, younger professionals, and established educators. Competition in dentistry today is global and daunting. In the United States, 151,500 dentists were actively employed in 2014. Success will come to those with the best skill sets and connections in a growing dental field where employment for dentists is projected to rise 18% by 2024.
A Piece of History
The APS, founded in 1928, is focused on the future of prosthodontics and recognizes the challenges that new generations face and the talent they offer. The APS is an inclusive and progressive organization consisting of specialists, generalists, and dental technicians. The APS is unique in that dental technicians, general dentists, and specialists are all equal members. There is no such thing as an adjunct member in the APS. That equality opens the door for productive conversation, creative thought, and shared responsibility. The diversity of members at the APS, from 24 countries, offers an amalgam of culture and knowledge that benefits past, present, and future generations through networking and mentorship programs.
The APS maintains interactive and close contact with members from around the globe through the APS Facebook page and the APS Clinical Study Club. These growing social-media platforms provide resources to network with leaders, educators, and colleagues from throughout the world who wish to share their interests in dentistry. On the horizon of the 90th anniversary of our society, the APS is committed to continuing to promote the advancement of prosthodontics by uniting generalists, specialists, students, residents, and dental laboratory technicians in a manner that will seek the improvement of patient treatment through education and research.
The APS Annual Scientific Session offers a renowned scientific program and a unique forum for professionals from every corner of the world to make lifelong professional and personal relationships. Highlights of the meeting include the Digital Poster Presentations, the Manufacturers’ Technology Exhibition, and the evening reception. Established as a table clinic competition, the Digital Poster Presentations provide a digital platform for younger clinicians, students, and technicians to share their research and knowledge. The Manufacturers’ Technology Exhibition offers a preview of technology that is shaping the way we treat our patients. Last, but certainly not least, the APS evening reception brings the first day to conclusion with an opportunity to connect with old friends and network with new.
If you are interested in belonging to an international, progressive society that can support and frame your professional and personal development, please join the APS. Visit us at prostho.org.
About the Author
Jose F. Cortes-Botello, DDS
Membership Committee Chair
American Prosthodontic Society
Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Texas
Health Science Center at San Antonio