Prepare to be a leader: Deca Dental exec's advice for dental school grads

The incoming wave of dental professionals should be prepared to quickly become leaders in their fields, according to Shalin Patel, DMD, chief medical officer at Deca Dental Group.

The Dallas-based DSO supports more than 100 locations in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington.

Dr. Patel gave several pieces of advice to graduates at the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry in Jackson on April 15. Dr. Patel graduated from the school in 2007, WJTV reported April 18. 

Here are five pieces of advice Dr. Patel has for new dentists:

1. Prepare to be a leader on day one. Dr. Patel shared a story with students about his first day of work at a dental practice in which he quickly got to work on a patient. "Dentistry is crazy. The first day you start, you will be the boss. You will be the leader," he said.

2. Job interviews go both ways. Dentists attending job interviews should also be asking questions about the practice to make sure it is right for them, including whether the practice offers mentorship opportunities. 

3. Appreciate your practice staff and patients. "Your patients will choose you. The minute you forget that, you're going to fail," Dr. Patel said. "It matters how you make your patients and staff feel. The staff makes significantly less than you, but they do everything to make you successful. How you treat your staff and your patients will ultimately define your success."

4. Recognize the distinction and connection between a practice's finances and patient care. Dr. Patel said his practice focuses on cases completed rather than dollar amounts and said it is also important for practices to prepare their patients for the consequences of neglecting their dental health, including rising costs.   

5. Take advantage of technology. Dentists should make sure they are using innovative technology to enhance patient care, including artificial intelligence tools.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.

Featured Podcast