CDS ONLINE VOICE

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The New Dentist Reception

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by Joseph DeRosier

Dentists who have practiced 10 or fewer years gathered to meet, greet and eat at the New Dentist Reception held at the 152nd Midwinter Meeting Friday evening, Feb. 23.

The enthusiastic and energetic assemblage of young dentists enjoyed tasty food and adult beverages while mingling with old friends, making new acquaintances and gathering information from several reception sponsors who had representatives on site to give out information.

Kayla Waller, recruitment consultant on the doctor recruitment team for Midwest Dental, said the practice acquisition company sponsored the event last year to great success.

"We met some really great individuals and were able to have one-on-one conversations with them," she said. "We got to hear what new doctors are loving with their positions now and what they're looking for. We got to meet some people who we can help if they are looking to relocate and wanting a new career opportunity."

Midwest acquires traditional family-based practices and work with experienced doctors and new graduates to help them find opportunities that "hopefully" will be the next big step for them.

"We love it, any time we can meet with dentists and pick their brains a little bit and share with them information about our business it's great."

Chris Hare, vice-president of business development with Rhinogram, an 18-month-old company and new exhibitor at the Midwinter Meeting, attended the reception distributing information about his company to attendees.

"We've been told by a lot of people that dentists tend to show up to the Chicago Dental Society show ready to make buying decisions more than at any other conference, so that's been a really positive experience for us," he said.

"The platform we've designed is called a HIPPA compliant conversation kit and it fits very well with new practices that are trying to engage with their patients and even acquire new patients," he said in explaining why the company decided to be a sponsor of the reception. "It allows them to text message back and forth with their patients in a HIPPA compliant manner and we figured a younger group of dentists would potentially be more interested in that."

One of those attending the reception was Jacqueline Caster, a new dentist who practices in central California, who graduated from Midwestern University Dental School in Arizona in 2015.

She said she attended the Midwinter Meeting last year while participating in the General Practice Residency Program at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago and was looking forward to returning this year.

"We had a good year, learned a lot, we had a fun year in Chicago and we all wanted to come back" she said.

Fellow Masonic residency participant Alexandra Hernandez, who is practicing in her home town of Appleton, WI., said she her first year as a dentist "has been adventure for sure, but the real world has been fun, with lots of interesting things going on."

"I really love dentistry, so far it has been great," she added.

"Midwinter is amazing," she said of the annual event. "It is perfect that it is in Chicago, we like to get together with all of our co-residents and people who we know. It is so worth it."

For more photos from the New Dentist Reception at the 152nd Midwinter Meeting click here.

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Wisconsin Breakfast Reception

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by Joseph DeRosier

The Chicago Dental Society welcomed our neighbors to the north, the Wisconsin Dental Association, with a breakfast reception Friday morning, Feb. 24, at the 152nd Midwinter Meeting.

With the WDA canceling its annual meeting, the Midwinter Meeting in Chicago is a convenient and assessable way for Wisconsin residents to see the latest in dental technology and gain valuable continuing education.

The WDA President-elect, David Clemens, who went to dental school at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and now practices in the Wisconsin Dells area, said attending the Midwinter Meeting is like coming home.

"I see a lot of my classmates (at Midwinter), I graduated in 1980 from the University of Illinois and lived about two miles from here (McCormick Place West) and so for me this is coming back and having fun in the city itself, I always enjoy just getting out to the restaurants and maybe going to the theater and bringing my staff," he said.

Besides the social aspect of the event, Dr. Clemens said he enjoys the professional enhancement the meeting provides.

"The meeting itself is great too, because it has a lot of speakers, it pretty much has something for everybody, as long as you get in early enough and don't try to sign up the last week," he said.

Although there are other dental meetings during the year, Dr. Clemens said he looks forward to the Midwinter Meeting every year.

"I consider this to be the Midwest's big meeting, I do go to the ADA meeting every year so I do see things that are very similar between the two. The Wisconsin Dental Association tried to run our own meeting for years and couldn't quite pull it off."

As for the two neighboring dental groups working more closely together, Dr. Clemens said he saw more cooperation down the road.

"Wisconsin will definitely put more effort toward getting its members to come to this meeting rather than trying to run our own," he explained.

Kristi Kopatich, a dental hygienist from Oconomowac, which is just west of Milwaukee, said she attended the Midwinter Meeting two years ago when she was a student.

"I just like everything (about the meeting) I love the main floor (Exhibit Floor) looking at all the new supplies, all the new instruments, and getting education about all the new things."

She said this year she will be taking continuing education courses for the first time.

Fellow Wisconsin dental hygienist Allyson Plautz from Milwaukee said she has been to the Midwinter Meeting once before.

"I love walking the main floor just seeing all the different products and just different things that are out there that I never knew about and getting to recommend some of those things to my patients," she said.

Wisconsin Dental Association President Ned Murphy said he always has a good time coming to there Midwinter Meeting.

"This is always a great show, its a great time, we bring some of the staff and we have fun in the city and we enjoy ourselves on the Exhibit Floor and the classrooms are of course superb," he said.

Dr. Murphy said he helped get the word out about the Midwinter Meeting during eight component visits this past year throughout the state of Wisconsin.

"I tell them, remember the Chicago Dental Society meeting is even better than it used to be and it was always great, so we try to encourage it component by component," he said.

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CDS Mentor Program connects students, new dentists with experienced professionals

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by Joseph DeRosier

Dental students and dentists came together at the Midwinter Meeting Thursday, Feb. 23, to enjoy a buffet luncheon while learning more about the Chicago Dental Society's Mentor Program.

The luncheon was hosted by CDS and Chicago area dental schools, the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry and Midwestern University College of Dental Medicine – Illinois in Downers Grove.

The Mentor Program introduces students and new dentists to dental professionals active in organized dentistry and gives students a resource to learn about important aspects of their future career.

Stephen Martin, a UIC fourth-year dental student who attended the event, said he has taken advantage of the CDS Mentor Program in the past and has had several CDS dentists, especially some from the Kenwood/Hyde Park Branch, help him along the way.

"I've definitely had some very successful conversations," he said. "It started in the second year of dental school.

Mr. Martin said that some of the mentor dentists who have helped include Kimberley Bolden, Rodney Blaney and Sherece Thompson.

"They've been very instrumental in filling me in on the steps along the process and taking an interest in my family life with me and keeping me up to date on things that are going on at CDS and things I should be paying attention to as I get through my education," he said.

He said the best advice he has received is to keep an open mind and to continuously stay on time of his education opportunities.

"With an open mind you want to be able to take in all types of patients, be able to do all types of procedures and be mobile if you can location wise," he said.

CDS Past-president Paul Landman, 2002, said he thinks students miss a real opportunity if they don't take advantage of participating in the Mentor Program.

"What the mentors have to offer is really spectacular," said Dr. Landman, who has been a mentor since the program started about 25 years ago. "I'm actually disappointed when I can't hook up with one of my mentees."

He said he mentored his daughter when she was in dental school.

"I know that the future of dentistry is in the young people, and I always want to do whatever I can to encourage young people's interest and I think I set a pretty good example of what you can do in dental practice if you work hard and do things right," Dr. Landman said.

He tells other dentists that being a mentor is rewarding.

"The young people have energy and they are interested and if we can invoke a little passion in them it's good for the profession," he said.

Angelica Alvarez, the assistant director of student and diversity affairs at the UIC College of Dentistry, who helps students noted, "At orientation we let (students) know they have this mentor program for the next four years that they can join.

“Our students, they love the program, they are always coming down to sign up for the mentors, I think if anything we have too many students and not enough mentors," she said. Students "are really excited to get their mentor" when they are finally linked to a CDS dentist, she added.
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Midwinter Meeting!

Welcome to CDS Online Voice. During the 2017 Midwinter Meeting, we will be hosting selected photos highlighting the 152nd Midwinter Meeting. View and download photos of events and activities from the Midwinter Meeting here.

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The following is Part 1 of a two-part series addressing making the leap from being an employee dentist to owning a practice

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by Joseph DeRosier


Recent graduates from dental school are used to making tough decisions.

Consider this, within the span of only a few years they had to first decide to join the profession, pick a school, narrow a field of study, and finally, find that first job.

But even with that experience behind them, for many, a whole new round of career-defining decisions looms ahead.

After a few years in the profession as an associate, many young dentists decide that the next step is starting their own practice.

Peter Ackerman, a certified public accountant and a certified valuation analyst at ADS Dental Practice Transitions for more than 20 years, said he thinks that dentists have the skills and instincts to be good small-business owners.
“Most doctors don’t realize what they are giving up (financially),” he said of dentists who don’t own a practice. “Owning and operating a dental office is not that difficult and associates can make four to five times more as practice owners.”

He said making the transition work might be a matter of overcoming obstacles, real and perceived.

“The trade off of not facing the fear of the unknown and the opportunity of owning a private practice is typically not worth the income they forgo by staying as an associate,” he said. “If anyone wants to be a private practice owner, the skill sets are not that hard to learn.”

Wendy Pesavento, managing partner of Cutting Edge Practice, a consultancy firm that helps with dental start-ups, post-transition consulting, buyer due diligence among other business-related aspects of dentistry, said most young dentists wait at least two years after graduation before they start thinking about striking out on their own.

That time between graduation and jumping into practice ownership gives those starting out a chance to better position themselves financially and professionally.
“Most (young dentists) can’t get a loan until they are two years out of school,” Ms. Pesavento said.

However, there is another category of dentists graduating from dental school – dentists from other countries who are older and more experienced. She said most of that group can immediately look into opening their own practice.
But someone who just graduated from dental school often needs to get their financial house in order and gain on-the-job experience, she said.
Regarding financing your own practice, she added that many financial institutions are comfortable making loans to dentists because dentists have
one of the lowest default rates of any profession.
Plus lenders see advantages in developing business relationships with young professionals, she said.

Sharon Kantor Bogetz, Ms. Pesavento’s business partner, said while the goals of young dentists vary with some wanting a solo practice and others envisioning operating multiple offices, “all have the capacity, with guidance and coaching, to realize their vision for the practice they want to have,” she said. “There is room for everyone and practice sizes for every individual. There is a practice income level for everyone.”

She said some dentists starting out have more entrepreneurial aspirations. “Some want to build an empire of 30 practices and then sell them off,” she said. “All spell success a different way.”

But experts were unanimous about what young dentists should do before they start their journey toward practice ownership: have a plan and know what you want.

“You have to decide where you want to practice and live,” said Robert Uhland, a dentist who recently started Chicago Dental Broker, a brokerage and consultation firm in the north suburbs. “You have to ask yourself, ‘Do I want to drive all the way out to Algonquin or McHenry because those areas are growing?’”

Ms. Kantor Bogetz said young dentists also have to determine their vision of what they want to do professionally, including the demographics of the patient base.

Doing that homework and having a good grasp of where they want their careers to go will help consultants and brokers steer someone looking to buy a practice in the right direction, the experts said.

“The first three to five years (after dental school) are an outstanding opportunity to develop clinical hand speed and skills and learn the big aspects of dentistry,” said Mr. Ackerman.

It is a time when a young dentist can figure out the best career path, he said.

And when the time comes to start looking at flying solo, the best advice, experts said, was to make sure the take off is not done blindly, without the aid of consultants and a flight plan.

Mr. DeRosier is the CDS staff writer.
Photo: PeskyMonkey/istockphoto.com
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