Mentoring Young Dentists

by Shawn Peers, DentalPeers


You may not know this, but the Federation of Canadian Dental Students Associations (“FCDSA”) will be holding its bi-annual conference in Montreal on January 13 and 14. Yes, we are that close to January!

This event will provide current dental students an opportunity to hear from speakers about preparing for those anxious moments as they transition from student life to brand new dentists.

Many of you may recall those first days in your own careers when you were filled with apprehension about what your future held. Patients were suddenly your responsibility, with no professors to help with any questions. Even finding supplies in the office may have been challenging.

Many dentists find the gap between what they learned in school and what they needed to know to succeed in practice overwhelming. And according to some panelists I heard from at a recent event in Scottsdale, Arizona, that gap is getting larger all the time!

The discussion centred around the fact that clinical requirements to graduate today were virtually the same as the case 20 years ago. However, the technology used in a modern dental practice has changed significantly.

Yes, some will argue that diagnostic AI may be the first revolutionary change dentistry has seen in a long time. Still, this panel felt dental schools were falling further and further behind the curve when it came to preparing students for the rigours of practising dentistry.

One can only imagine how stressful this must be! So how do young graduates respond?

Some become paralyzed and have no idea what their next step should be. Others are more proactive and recognize the need to keep their education going!

While this initiative should be applauded, it does need to be channeled correctly. My friend, Dr. Jeff Buske, who practices in Texas, is very open about how he became a “CE junkie” after graduating, taking every CE program he could squeeze into his schedule.

So how do we help ensure young dentists feel confident that they are making the right decisions to advance their careers without bankrupting themselves taking every CE course under the sun?

The answer is mentoring.

Mentoring in all facets. Mentors to help them clinically. Mentors to help with business skills. Mentors to guide them on the soft skills of patient relationships.

Volunteering to speak at a student-focused conference is a great place to start. But it is just a start. Students today crave having an experienced voice to guide them as their educational journey continues long after they graduate.

Can you step up to the plate to take on that role? To be there to make a positive difference in the development of the career of a young dentist. To ensure your patients will continue to experience the best standard of care possible well into the future. To secure your own legacy as a dentist dedicated to care.

The world needs mentors. The rewards of mentoring cannot be overstated. And sometimes, you could find yourself learning something from the person you mentor!

About the Author

Shawn Peers is the President of DentalPeers. DentalPeers is one of Canada’s oldest, continuous operating buying groups exclusively for dentists.