Dental Assistant Training And Programs

The main focus of this article is dental assistant training. Assistants are usually employed by most dentists today. These assistants are responsible for completing tasks that could include assisting in treatment of patients, educating patients on aftercare, lab work, or management of office duties.

Dental assistants are not licensed to perform certain procedures and treatments that either a dental hygienist or dentist are allowed to perform. Dental nurses is the name these assistants are commonly called. To become a dental nurse, the CDA (Certified Dental Assistant) exam must be passed after completion of a dental assistant training program. In order to become active for practice, all assistants must pass this four hour exam. Training programs offer many different paths for preparing for the exam.

One method is to complete a two year associates degree program through a university or community college that offers dental assistant training. To be eligible for the associates degree program, the student must have a diploma from high school or an equivalent measure. It is not required to have an associates degree before one can become an assistant. Although, having an associates degree would help tremendously for those seeking career advancement later, since most dental hygienist have a two year degree.

Vocational studies schools and technical institutes also offer one year dental courses that offer another method to becoming an assistant. This training program spends more time towards hands-on experience and in turn is usually faster paced. To enter a one year training program, one must provide a high school degree or the equivalent. This program is intended to provide a large completion rate for those looking to become dental assistants.

Although rare, in some states individuals are able to work under a dentist’s supervision and get on-the-job training in preparation for the CDA exam. This is possible because many states are able to hire individuals who are not certified in the field that they will be training towards certification at a later date (the rules and regulations vary from state to state). To be eligible to apply for certification, one must work under a licensed dentist’s supervision for two years.

The course work for dental assistant training is divided between theory courses and clinical study courses. The theory courses covered will include such classes as dental science and office procedures and fundamentals. Updating of patient’s records, equipment maintenance and taking of x-rays are all classes that would normally be offered as clinical study courses. One year technical institutes and vocational schools offering dental certificate programs will usually include classes as previously mentioned.

Most programs that offer diplomas will provide more classes that expand further into the clinical study courses. Oral anatomy, human biology, radiology, and other related subjects are many of the classes one can expect from these types of programs. These classes will allow the students to work in the field of periodontics and orthodontics.

The associates degree programs will have further classes in dental assistant training than the diploma programs offer. Health/safety classes (OSHA), dental procedures, impression making, and many other classes are to be expected in this type of dental program. In preparation for the CDA exam and a career in dentistry, the understanding and implementation of these classes are vital to the students success.

How to Establish Yourself As a Leader in Your New Dental Practice

If you have recently purchased an existing dental practice you are probably facing a number of transition challenges. Not the least of your concerns will be human resources related. If you have decided to retain members of the preexisting staff, you need to identify ways of putting their minds at ease while also establishing yourself as both a competent business manager and doctor.

Striking this balance requires both assertiveness and compassion. Often a dental staff is left ignorant of impending transitions until the sale is completed, and feel betrayed or threatened by the news. To win over your staff’s approval and consolidate their support, try implementing the following tactics:

  1. Ask for your team’s help. Including your staff will not only show your leadership but instill a sense of worth.
  2. Implement changes slowly. This allows time for the staff to acclimate to your leadership style and practice updates.
  3. Meet privately with each of your staff members. Ask them what is important to them, what they like about the practice, and what they think could help the practice improve.
  4. Develop goals together as a dental practice. This will give your staff a sense of pride and ownership.
  5. Establish well defined expectations. Your staff will appreciate knowing where you stand on management issues and respond positively to your initiative.
  6. Show the Staff You Care. Find a way to do something for each staff member that shows you genuinely care about them more than just giving them lip service. For example, offer some dental services to them or a family member.
  7. Abide by your own rules. There can be no double standards. Lead by example.
  8. Slowly adjust patient care. This gives both staff and patients time to develop trust in your capabilities.
  9. Make it about more than just money. Staff and patients alike will sense if you are only in it for the money.
  10. Keep your debt to yourself. Do not saddle your staff with excess financial information. Keep your relationship centered on practice goals.
  11. Hold routine meetings. Meet one on one frequently with your office manager and associates.
  12. Be neither a friend nor a tyrant. Find a middle ground between social acquaintance and despotic ruler. Your staff will appreciate your friendly but professional demeanor.

Demonstrating a genuine concern for the quality of care you provide your patients and establishing a professional, goal-oriented office environment will win your new team of dental health professionals approval.

Four Basic Dental Practice Sale Strategies

To identify the strategy with the best probability of meeting your expectations, you should start by addressing the following assessments:

Personal Assessment.
-Are you envisioning retirement immediately in two or more years or in the distant future?
-Do you need or desire to work in the practice after the sale?
-Would you be happy practicing with someone else in control of the practice?
-Would you be willing to give up sole autonomy for a partnership?

Practice Assessment.
-Is your facility capable of supporting an additional dentist?
-Does your practice have the ability to provide an income for you and an additional dentist?
-Will your staff be open to change and able to support an additional dentist?

Once these assessments are addressed, you can evaluate different sale strategies and initiate a systematic approach to your practice transition.

Strategy 1 – Immediate Sale: If you need or wish to complete the sale in a short time, your best option may be a straightforward strategy that will allow you to sell and exit the practice. If you determine that your practice is unable to support more than one dentist’s income, this may be the only viable option. In this scenario, you would work until you are ready to retire, sell the practice, continue practicing on a very limited basis for a short transition period, and then exit the practice. This is the most commonly used practice sale strategy because it suits the majority of practices.

Strategy 2 – Delayed Complete Sale: If your anticipated retirement horizon is two or more years out, this type of sale may be an appropriate choice. In this scenario, the associate/purchaser and owner/seller agree that the sale of the practice will occur at a predetermined date in the future after an association period. This option is ideal for a practice owner with a larger practice who is not yet ready to retire, but wishes to slow down. This gives the associate/purchaser – who is not yet prepared to manage a large practice – two or more years with the practice to become management-ready. The buy-out mechanism should be clearly documented when the association is initiated. The practice income and facility must be adequate to support both dentists. The selling dentist retains control of personal production and management until the sale is complete, and then retires at the time of the sale unless he or she is remaining on as an associate.

Strategy 3 – Delayed Fractional Sale: If your antici-pated retirement horizon is in the distant future, you may want to consider a fractional sale. In this scenario, a fractional part of the practice is sold to an associate after two to three years of employment, creating a partnership. The goal is to enjoy the benefits of a multi-doctor practice over an extended period of time, with a predetermined buy-sell agreement in place. This form of practice sale is complex and requires detailed planning and documentation. The practice income and facility must be capable of supporting both dentists throughout the association and partnership for this strategy to be successful.

Strategy 4 – Merger Sale: In certain situations, a merger sale may be an excellent option. In this scenario, one existing practice purchases another practice in close proximity, merging the two into one facility and eliminating one set of fixed expenses. The purchasing practice’s net income should increase significantly, allowing the purchasing dentist the flexibility to retain the selling dentist as an associate if this is mutually agreeable.

These strategies work very well given proper planning and structure. Professional advice should be sought from an experienced transition consultant. Exiting your practice is an important professional and personal passage, and proper planning is a wise investment.

How to Manage Dental Cost Wisely

Nowadays, in United States, dental healthcare cost is increasing in line with the general healthcare expenses. Due to this reason, many people try to avoid getting dental treatments as they can’t really afford to pay. Frankly speaking, having oral health problems is always a bad experience as it is indeed suffering. At the same time, maintaining good condition is important too as it affects our physical look.

What can be done when dental cost is unbearable? Here are some tips which allow you to manage it wisely:

  • First thing first, find out the low cost services which are available in your community. There are many organizations which you can refer to, such as the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, National Oral Health Information Clearing House, The American Dental Association, Oral Health America, etc. By referring to these organizations, you will obtain detailed information related to all types of dental assistance programs. By doing so, you are able to find out those free or low cost oral health services.
  • Besides looking for service providers, you are advised to look for dental schools too. Most of them in United States are well equipped with clinic settings and staffed by their practical students. They offer good services and treatments to people in need at a very low rate. You don’t need to worry about their quality of service as all the students who deliver treatment are supervised by experienced licensed dentists.
  • Are you looking for free coverage for your children? You are recommended to look for Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program. You will definitely get your solution there.

To sum up, looking for low cost but quality dental services is not hard. There are many sources you may refer to. By following the smart tips above, you will be able to manage the cost easily.

Apps for Dentists – Use Technology to Manage Your Dental Practice Better

Are you always looking for different ways of managing your dental practice so that you can earn more profits while increasing customer satisfaction? While you do need to adopt the latest technology in providing dental care you should try to manage your business more efficiently. It has become standard practice for a business to have a website. However, the growing popularity of smartphones has opened many new opportunities for you. In fact, there are quite a few apps for dentists that can prove to be very useful for your dental practice.

People have become very dependent on their smartphones and are happy to locate apps that help them do things efficiently. In consequence there are many apps with dentistry as their theme that have been designed for iPhones / iPads and for Android phones. Some of the most interesting apps for dentists are:

– Dental Manager (by Team Mozzi): This app is a fixture on most modern dentists’ iPhones and iPads because it helps manage all sorts of patient related data. Dentists primarily use it to construct treatment plans and associated costs. It is also used to create and manage the patient database and also communicate with them.

– My Dentist (by dental everywhere): This is a great interactive tool that enables you to have an excellent level of communication with patients. Patients can use it to request an appointment and also keep track of all their visits to your clinic. You can upload instructions to the patient’s profile which the person can then read. This is especially useful if you require the patient to make any preparations ahead of any dental procedure. Your patients will be very impressed by the enhanced quality of service that this app enables since there is direct communication between both parties.

– Dental Expert (by Cosmetic Innovations, Inc.): This dental app enables patients to have detailed information of the procedures available for various dental issues. This will reduce the amount of time taken during consultations since patients will know quite a few answers already. Many patients educate themselves about various procedures (especially cosmetic ones) and request for these treatments. This company also has an app called Pediatric Dental Expert that is hugely popular with parents of small children.

Make it a point to tell your patients about these innovative and useful apps for dentists. You’ll quickly get a reputation for being high tech and this will benefit your business.