The definition of a perfect storm is a young dentist with a severe illness or injury. With the high cost of dental education, student loans, and economic pressures;  today’s dentists face an ever-growing mountain of challenges to continued successful practice.  Disability doesn’t care how old you are.  Cancer doesn’t care how much you are in debt.  A neck injury can happen when your kids are still in elementary school.   Understand that just because you are young and healthy doesn’t make you immune from injury or illness for another 25 years.

The newest aspect of disability for millennials is the feeling of entitlement that unfortunately creeps into the practice of dentistry. Having a new office with the most modern, sophisticated equipment is a sign of success. Driving a new car and living in a new home is often expected early in dental practice. Dentistry is financially rewarding, but not quite that fast.  With the high cost of education and liberal student loan policies, many newer practitioners enter into the field with a mountain of debt. Combine this with the high overhead of running a successful practice, you are back to our definition of a perfect storm

The saddest story we heard is of a severely injured 35-year-old dentist with four young children, a newly purchased dental practice, and huge student loans.  No disability policy in place and limited to no savings. This happens too often and is entirely preventable from a recovery standpoint.  Being proactive now is key a will require some effort on your part.

We spend numerous hours training our staff and ourselves to be prepared for medical emergencies in our office. Much of this training is required by state law and is in place to protect the public. You need to spend some time protecting yourself and your family. You have a one in four chance of facing a disabling accident or illness during your career. This is a solid number and backed up by detailed insurance industry data. Believe us, they stay in business by having very accurate information on their clients.

You need to start your preparation now. It’s not that hard, but it does involve some simple logical steps.

  1. Guard against economic disaster. Invest and save wisely now. DON’T WAIT.
  2. Defend your income. Purchase great life, disability, and overhead insurance policies.
  3. Have detailed Mutual-Aid agreements and Practice Continuity Plans in writing.
  4. Make sure your spouse knows how you practice runs.
  5. Have all legal documents drawn up now. Wills, Power of attorney,Trusts.

These five steps will save you months of frustration and may prevent severe personal and financial disasters.  Get started now and sleep better at night. The old saying AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE  definitely holds true here. See our posting on the ten steps to fight disability if you encounter an accident or illness.TEN STEPS TO SURVIVE DISABILITY.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Even if you cannot return to practice, you are young and educated. Transition into education, consulting, and research will be significantly easier for you than a senior practitioner. This especially holds true if you decide to go back to school in a related field or specialize in dental radiology, dental pathology, or oral medicine. You have value and will need to contribute. It should be looked upon as an opportunity. REMEMBER THINGS HAPPEN FOR YOU, NOT TO YOU.

Part of the failure in preparing for the possibility of a disabling event is due to the lack of preparation at the national level with organized dentistry.  This also holds true for dental school education.  We are working to change the perception of disability and are confident real change can happen. It will start with programs directed by the ADA and sent to each state for their individual policies. The key is advertising, and letting the membership know that real help is available.  Look for changes soon. We are working with them now to get programs up and running.




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