When I was in dental school I was under the incorrect assumption that all dentists were private practice owners. I thought that I either had to buy an existing practice from a retiring dentist or start my own from scratch. I purchased an established practice right after graduation, and it was a struggle for several years to make ends meet.
-I wish I had explored more options.
-I wish I had a course in dental school to help me with that exploration
-I wish I had started researching before my third year in dental school.
-I wish I had considered an associateship or an employee situation.
Ask yourself this question: Why did you choose dentistry?
-To be your own boss?
-To earn a comfortable income?
-To set your own hours?
-Because you’re a people person?
-Because you’re good with your hands?
These are all questions that I wish I had answered before setting out on a career in dentistry.
The good news is that it all worked out and I’m thrilled to be doing what I love every day, but I could have saved myself a lot of time, stress, and money by doing more research prior to graduation.
That said – now that I’ve been there, I’ll know to take a step back and evaluate things before I make any major career changes in the future. I will get advice and input from other dentists who have come before me. And I will continue to share what I’ve learned with my dentist colleagues along the way!
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Dr. Ryder Waldron is a proud member of the class of 2003 of Marquette University School of Dentistry and the co-author with Dr. Marcus Neff and Dr. Troy Stevens of the book So You Want To Be A Dentist?: What you Must Know To Succeed In Dentistry.