Bridging the Generation Gap
The holiday season is upon us. It's a time when family members, both young and old, come together to celebrate, and generational differences are more than apparent. Year to year, the younger generation's participation reshapes the tone of family gatherings, changing the traditions and expectations. The family of dentistry is no different. Our December Cover Story captures the voices of several millennial dentists and examines the impact that this next generation of clinicians is having on the profession. With a desire to work collaboratively and rapidly implement technology, millennials are changing the practice of dentistry, and with their patient-centered focus and command of social media, they're changing its image as well.
To offset a greater student debt burden than that of their predecessors, many millennials are embracing alternative practice models, such as group practices and dental service organizations (DSOs), which do not require dentists to buy in and offer a guaranteed return for their efforts. For young dentists who wish to prioritize their families and lifestyles, or who simply aren't interested in or ready for the stresses of owning and running a business, contracting with a DSO can provide an opportunity to focus on the aspects of clinical dentistry that they enjoy without having to manage all or part of a practice. But for those who are highly motivated to aspire to practice ownership or to maximize their profitability, buying into an established practice or going in as an associate with an option to later become an owner is still a viable option for today's graduates. Many don't realize that despite being $250,000 in debt, there are still banks out there that will loan them a million dollars to get started. Buy into someone's practice, receive mentoring as an associate, and then, when the time comes, role-reverse and take ownership of the practice-if you have the drive, thinking like a DSO can make you tremendously successful.
If you're a millennial, the attitudes and approaches of our featured dentists are sure to resonate with you, and if you're a baby boomer, you may learn something about this next generation of clinicians that can inform your future collaborative efforts. After all, if you aren't interested in leveraging the benefits of the DSO model, you'll likely be partnering with a millennial who will one day buy out your practice.
This issue features great content from clinicians across the generational spectrum, including an article addressing a systematic approach to interdisciplinary full mouth rehabilitation, an article examining fiber-composite reinforcement of 3D-printed dentures, and a CE on collaborating to reduce oral-systemic inflammation from a cardiologist/hygienist team who practice using the BaleDoneen Method. I hope you enjoy it. As always, your insights and feedback are welcome.
Robert C. Margeas, DDS
Editor-in-Chief, Inside Dentistry
Private Practice, Des Moines, Iowa
Department of Operative Dentistry
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa