What's Your Plan?
Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT
The dichotomy between technological processes and the more nature-driven approach to esthetic dentistry continues to play a significant role in dentistry. For most in our industry the technology/nature conflict becomes a matter of finding a personal balance between the two and accepting that change is inevitable and even necessary for both professional and business growth. It is our approach to the challenges presented by change that will inevitably define our level of success as dentists and technicians.
While a great deal of focus in our industry is concentrated on day-to-day workforce issues, production output, and technological processes, new opportunities are emerging that give us a stronger voice in implant restorative options, material selection, patient treatment acceptance, and diagnostic analysis with an elevated dental team concept that emphasizes quality-driven care. The question then becomes: How should we as technicians position ourselves and our businesses in order to achieve a balance between technology-driven productivity and nature-driven esthetics without compromising our values? I would argue that to be viable in the future, technicians must expand their role in the dental industry by pursuing education that not only improves upon our understanding of the natural and bio-functional elements of dentistry but also marries that knowledge to a clear understanding of the latest technological advances and material options. Armed with this knowledge, we will be proficient in diagnosing cases on a technical as well as clinical scale and can assist our clients in this process.
The benefits of further education and increased awareness of the changes occurring in our industry cannot be overstated. Over the years, I have had the privilege of working with prominent dentists and technicians. One key influential mentor often asked me: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” I must admit that I had long struggled with that question. Although my goal at the time was to further my education, I had given little thought or consideration to an end goal or vision for my future or for the future of our industry. It was then that I realized that without a vision or plan there was no direction and focus to the knowledge I was absorbing. That single challenging question inspired and stimulated me into seeing the profession and my professional development in a completely new light.
So the question now looms for you: Given the rapid changes taking place in our industry, where do you see yourself and your business in the next 5 years? No doubt, this vision will vary for each of you, based on many individual age-related and economic factors. However, the process to achieve your vision remains the same. Create a vision that focuses on and defines what you ultimately wish to accomplish. Establish a workable set of goals centered around education to achieve that vision and keep a sharp eye on technological advances that align with that vision. Lastly, set a realistic time frame for achieving your vision and get to work. Success is always the product of personal growth, dedication, and hard work.