D4 Graduation Guide: Getting Hired as a New Dentist.

After speaking with Branden, a pd.com member from Midwestern Dental School, I realized that it might be helpful for me to address the topic of "getting hired as a new grad". This is a topic that is probably highly relevant to D4's and Residents RIGHT NOW.

I'm not going to lie to you...your marketability as a new grad dentist is going to start at rock bottom. The good news: it will only get better. Most of us were not the lucky few who had a job lined up before we started dental school. You know who I'm talking about...the guy who is going into practice with their dad or uncle. They had a mentor and job lined up from day 1...lucky :)  Most of us have to grind it out...and our first job should be viewed as a stepping stone down the path toward our ultimate career goal. The purpose of your first job is to get you in the game...allow learn as much as you can...and honestly, to get mistakes out of the way. There is about a 95% chance that this first job will NOT be where you spend the rest of your career.


How will you find your first job as a new dentist? 

- Search state classifieds (dental association)

- contact the sales reps in the areas in which you're looking for employment (Henry Schein/Patterson)

- contact local dental societies

* Network, Network, Network...Get out there and meet face to face.


Don't be discouraged at the lack of options you may encounter as a new grad looking for employment. Some community clinics, public health clinics and corporate jobs can actually be a great start for a new dentist. NO, it's probably not where you'll want to be long term, but if you find one that pays "fairly" and gives you a lot of dental work to do...your career will be set on the right path. The holy grail is finding high quality private practice looking for an new grad associate. If you can find a job opportunity that allows you to hop right into private practice ~ you should definitely consider it.

However, most high quality practices will probably not be in the market for a new grad (they are most likely looking for an associate with a couple years experience). But, there are some 'gems' out there...consider working in a rural practice for a short time, as there may be more opportunities for new grads outside of metro areas. After 2 years you'll have gained experience and marketability...This may be the point you find yourself ready and able to make the jump into a practice that is a better fit, 

Here are 5 rules you should follow when looking for your first job as a practicing dentist. Also, I've included a few questions you should ALWAYS be asking at interviews. 

5 Rules For the New Dentist

1) Find a job that allows you to do a lot of different dentistry and gain as much experience as possible...with mentoring (Don't worry if it's not perfect...it's NOT your last job. But, it should get you one step closer to your dream job).

2) Don't get pigeon holed at a practice where you are stuck doing a limited scope of dentistry  (example: pedo practice or a community clinic where you only do basic operative procedures)

3) Start to get paid...find a place where you will actually make money         ( shoot for >110K at 4 days/wk) and make sure the work is there to do...that you actually will be busy enough.

4) Don't get stuck at a COMPLETELY outdated practice (no digital radiography is a big red flag)...You need to start experiencing and using some modern dental technology right away. If you can find a practice that will teach you Cerec...you'll be way ahead of the game.

5) Don't get stuck having to "build your own clientele" in someone else's practice. And don't get stuck doing ALL the work the owner doesn't want to do (you will have to do 'some' of the work they don't want to do...that's just the reality of your position). Make sure there is a fair distribution of cases.

(Bonus: I forgot to add #6 :)   MENTORING. Make sure you're first job has mentor dentist available (and willing) to help you out and coach you through those first couple months/years. Make sure they are actually successful (great with patients, growing their practice and practicing with an advanced skill set). If you can get support from a dentist that can show you the ropes...You will grow faster and me much happier and less stressed. 

Questions to ASK at Interviews

-What is are your EXACT hours/days worked? Will your schedule be changed?

- What is the compensation percent and formula (Ask to see an example of compensation example from a previous associate...if possible/available)

- What insurances does the practice accept, and what are the most heavily represented plans? Examine the degree of PPO and state insurance involvement.

`- Where is your patient supply going to come from? Is the current dentist cutting back? Will you be taking over for a previous associate? (Basically, are their enough patients to keep you busy. On average, the typical dentist needs 1200 active patients to keep their schedule full. 

- Ask to meet and interview the staff. Look for red flags = low morale, high turnover and unhappy employees. 

- What types of procedures are MOST typical for the practice ( what types of dentistry will you be doing. Best for New Grad = a mix of all types of dentistry)

- How will evening/weekend call be handled? 

- Restricted Covenant: If your first job is located in an area you'd really like to eventually live and practice. Make sure you negotiate the radius of your restrictive covenant....make it as small as possible


~ Cole Brenny DDS