Dental Education

Around 8yrs ago, I graduated from dental school. I was on top of the world, my brain was chalked full of dentistry, and I was ready to become a dentist.  Upon the first month of practicing dentisty, I saw patients and cases I have never seen before and that  I didn’t know how to treat or even where to start. I also learned very fast, I was slow and in order to survive in private practice my practice speed had to increase without compromising quality.
That first year after dental school, I refused to crack a book or sit in a classroom, after all I had been in school the last 20 years of my life.  I just wanted to practice dentistry and earn some extra money, being a student and living very frugally  for so long, I wanted nothing more than to have some extra spending money.  Little did I know at the time, that my dental degree and license was just a ticket to learn, and thats about it.
I have owned my own practice for about 4 years now. I have quickly learned that my dental education is a key to being a great clinican. Every case I see if completely different, and dentist who have been practicing for 30 years still seen new cases and seek new ways to treat them.
I am from Texas, and in Texas, the state requires 16 hours of dental continuing education (CE) over anything you want to go learn about related to dentistry. Practicing in Colorado, the state requires 0 hours of CE. I found this to be odd for the state not to require its clinicians to not learn anything new and be able to practice!
Dental education is not cheap. Some classes out there can cost as much as 5-10k a weekend plus travel! I find it baffling the cost that is associated with CE. I used to think dental school cost a lot, it is nothing compared to advanced education after school. There are dental courses going on around the world daily from various sources. Picking and choosing who you want to learn from and what you want to learn is that hard part!. I tend to go learn topics that I see frequently come in the practice. Each demographic can see more of a certain type of case than others.
In summary, education is a huge part of practicing dentistry. More than ever, todays changes in technology, materials, and equipment make learning an essential part of being a dentist.
Jeff Johnston DDS

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