For the graduating dental student, dental education doesn’t end when you complete your senior year. It continues throughout your dental career–not only because we are required to complete a certain number of continuing education credits per year, but because dental education is necessary to stay abreast of the latest developments in the profession and provide our patients with the best possible care.
There are many choices available to obtain continuing education in dentistry, but none are as valuable as attending a national dental conference like the Hinman Dental Meeting. Conferences like this offer the emerging dentist many reasons to attend. The top five reasons you should consider attending a dental conference following graduation are:
- Special Student/New Dentist Programs: Most conferences offer day-long programs or special courses geared to the graduating student or new dentist. These programs and courses will help you start and maintain a practice or find an associateship, learn best practices from seasoned dentists and establish formulas for success. These programs also typically offer opportunities to network with your peers and experienced dentists who can offer key insight into owning a thriving practice.
- Technical Exhibits: Dental conferences also feature comprehensive technical exhibits that have the latest technology, equipment, products and services available in dentistry. This is the perfect opportunity to interact with vendors and learn about the latest advancements in the industry. This is a chance to get some hands-on experience with new products and equipment, as well as ask questions of company representatives.
- Educational Tracks & Workshops: National dental conferences will offer literally hundreds of courses. Select the ones of most interest to you and your specialty and practice. Many conferences will provide lengthier courses or educational tracks that cover everything from business and financial management to pediatric dentistry and cone beam technology and anatomy. Many of the world’s foremost authorities in dentistry lead these courses and workshops at conferences and share their experience and best practices with attendees.
- Networking/Social Events: As important as it is to attend workshops and lectures from some of the world’s dental authorities, it’s also valuable to network and socialize with other dental professionals. Where else will so many dentists gather in one place? Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from others in the profession and determine what has worked for them. Conferences offer many social events that lend themselves to meeting and networking with others in the industry.
- Employment Opportunities: Dental conferences can also be great resources for searching for a practice to join or professional to hire. Many have programs like Hinman’s Career Connections that help bring employers and employees together. It can be challenging to search for talent or to find the right practice, but dental conferences can help make this an easier proposition.
Continuing education doesn’t have to be a lifelong “task,” but instead can be an opportunity to build your practice, expand your knowledge, learn the latest advancements, network with colleagues and find the right employees. It also can be a nice break from your routine in a fun-filled city like Atlanta. Consider the possibilities!
Go For the Gold at Hinman!
DE: The Hinman Dental Meeting introduced its G.O.L.D. Program last year. Will this be offered again this year?
Dr. Roos: Yes, we are excited to offer G.O.L.D. 2.0–the new dentist’s guide to successful practice ownership–at Hinman 2016 in March. We invite graduates of the last decade (2005-15) to join us for a full-day program that focuses on preparing new dentists for the challenges and pressures of operating a successful, independent dental practice.
DE: Who are the speakers at this year’s program?
Dr. Roos: We have a great lineup this year of experts in their fields. We are fortunate to have Dr. Gordon Christensen provide a course titled “Dentistry 101,” in which he will share his vast experience. G.O.L.D. 2.0 also will feature Dr. Wayne Kerr, Mr. Steve Anderson, Mr. Wes Moss, Mr. Joseph Jordan and Dr. Parag Kachalia. They will cover topics ranging from starting a practice off right and dental technology to formulas for a successful practice.
DE: Why is Hinman providing a program that targets recent dental school graduates?
Dr. Roos: Today, graduating dentists face extraordinary challenges with economic pressures, considerable student debt, increased competition and the lure of corporate dentistry. The G.O.L.D. Program offers seven courses that will help new dentists navigate these challenges and prepare them to run a successful dental practice. There are things you don’t learn in school about establishing a dental practice and we want to ensure these young dentists are prepared to be entrepreneurs and ready to run their own practice. The day-long program also ends with a networking reception that enables recent graduates to speak with another, as well as the G.O.L.D. speakers and Hinman Dental Society members.
DE: What did your attendees of last year’s G.O.L.D. Program think of the program?
Dr. Roos: We surveyed attendees and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We knew we had to bring back the program and promote it broadly to recent graduates. We have some new speakers on the roster this year and we think it will attract a large audience. There’s no fee for dental students and only a modest fee of $40 for recent graduates. Attendees receive seven hours of continuing education credit, a great value. To register for Hinman and the G.O.L.D. program (Course FR500), visit Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
Dr. James Roos is General Chairman of the 2016 Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting and a long-time member of the Hinman Dental Society. He has a thriving practice in Smyrna, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta.