Tuesday, June 21, 2016

You Just Graduated ..... Now What?

Dr. Troy Aland graduating from Creighton
University School of Dentistry in 2004.
Graduation season has passed, and many young adults find themselves asking the question, "Now what?"


Dr. Troy Aland of Aland Family Dentistry decided to become a dentist because he loves science and enjoys helping people. "I wanted to find a career that combined the two, but I also wanted to be able to spend time with my family. I talked with a lot of doctors and professionals, and ultimately decided that a career in dentistry was a great blend of all those qualities. Plus, teeth are super cool!"

Dentistry offers a variety of opportunities for work in a professional setting:

Registered Dental Hygienist -- Dental hygienists help patients learn to properly care for their teeth and gums. They start by taking x-rays and probe your gums to look for signs of bacteria or disease, such as gingivitis. They clean calculus off your teeth, or the buildup that happens over time from food and saliva, floss in between each tooth and apply fluoride to protect your teeth from decay. The most important part of their job is building relationships with people and motivating them to take good care of their smile.

Certified Dental Assistant -- Dental assistants sit chair side with the dentist while he/she restores the patient's smile. They take x-rays and talk with patients about treatment. Their job is to keep patients comfortable during their appointment. They hold the suction equipment so the doctor has clear visibility in the mouth. They sterilize instruments and prepare rooms for patients.

Dental Office Administration --  If sucking spit or cleaning teeth all day don't fit your fancy, consider working on the administrative side of dentistry. There are many different job titles for the vast array of administrative tasks required to run a dental office. Some of the more common titles are: Office Manager, Insurance Coordinator, Treatment Coordinator, or Scheduling Coordinator. Each of these jobs require excellent verbal communication skills, as well as an understanding of dental terminology, management software and insurance. Some offices are willing to train on the job for the required skills, but more competitive wages are offered to those who have experience.

The best way to gain experience is networking with dental offices to find an  internship. Online programs are another option, but it's important to make personal connections in addition to online training. Ultimately, the best person to talk to would be YOUR dentist. If you've been influenced by your personal experience visiting the dentist, then that's a great place to start because you already have a familiarity with the office staff.

Whatever you decide to do in life, make sure you are passionate about what you choose. If you don't absolutely LOVE your career choice, you will dread going to work every day. Do what you love and love what you do!

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