Whether you are injured or sick and unable to practice dentistry at your former capacity or just ready to move on from the daily grind of clinical practice,  you will be faced with a critical decision. What do I do next?  This may be a decision that needs to be made in a timely fashion.  On the other hand, you may have time to work with.   In either case, a decision will eventually need to are made.  Whatever the situation, this is a decision that must not be made in haste. Time is relative, and take a deep breath before you begin to research your plan.

Make no mistake.  You will need to research and probe into the details of your transition.  You will need to be very comfortable in your decision. The more information you gain, the more likely you will be satisfied with the final outcome.  Once you determine several possible career scenarios, narrow you search to those that really interest you personally. Keep in mind they need to fall in line with your family expectations, financial goals, and your actual physical capabilities.

Don’t feel like you have to just jump in and sink or swim.  Transition can be done in stages and or done with trial efforts.  This is a vital component of your research.   Don’t expect to be successful without detailed planning.   Easing into a new field or new environment may be both a conservative approach and the smart approach to survival. This type of planning cannot be done in your head.  Write it down.  Make lists, make contacts, review the advantages and disadvantages of each option.  Networking with your peers and colleagues is a vital component to success.  Get a LinkIn account NOW.  See our posting on networking for details.NETWORKING FOR DENTISTS

Dental career transitions can usually be grouped into three broad categories.  These three areas will highlight the large number of possible options that you really have in your search a new career. By no means do we limit you to the areas listed.  You will need to make the tough and final decisions on your future. Ultimately, if you are really looking seriously into leaving the safety of your current career path; this is likely a matter of life or death.  Whether you are voluntarily deciding on this transition or being forced into it by illness/injury, this process is about adaptation. Adapting to a new reality and moving on with your professional life as a dentist. With respect to evolution, those who fail to adapt don’t survive.

The first category is positions directly related to clinical dentistry.  Whether you choose to return to practice at the same location or another; you will be practicing clinical dentistry at some level.  This may involve sale of you existing practice.  It may involve working as an associate.   It will likely involve reducing your hours or limiting the clinical scope of your practice.  You may elect to move on to academics and teach dentistry at some level.  Include volunteer missions is this category.   Many will devote their remains years to these worthy efforts.   An ever-increasing number of dentists return to post-graduate training in oral-facial pain, pathology, radiology, endodontics, orthodontics, and prosthodontics;  to continue their careers.

The second category is positions indirectly related to dentistry.   This category contains many more options than the first.   Although not practicing clinically, you are using your dental knowledge as a basis for employment.  10% of all dentists do not practice clinical dentistry.  Many pursue the challenges that the healthcare field has in general.   Whether you pursue consulting,  dental sales, medical positions such as being a physicians assistant, dental practice management, insurance company adjuster, and many more related fields;  your knowledge of dentistry directly affects your employability.    There are numerous fields available and see a preliminary list here. Career Options

The third category is positions not related to dentistry.   This is by far the largest and most diverse option open to a practicing dentist.   You name it, and dentists have done it. Real estate, construction , business management, restaurant owners, general sales;  the list is essentially endless.   Of importance here is the true value that your experience has to the real world.   Practical business management experience is worth its weight in gold. Skills with staff management and sales are priceless.  Some dentists will return to school to get MBA’s.  This is an option, but look at what skills you already have to offer.  Of importance here is the fact that you will be venturing out into the unknown.  Dentistry is a relatively safe environment, and moving on to an un-related field can be stressful and frightening.   The good thing is you can approach this a part-time career or test the waters as an employee.   Don’t place too much stress yourself and expect to be a master in your new field from day one.

You will always be a dentist, and look at transition as a process.   Choosing a new direction in your career path is not a set point.   It is a series of checkpoints each with its own challenges and opportunities.   See our numerous postings on the multitude of career options that are open to seasoned dentists nationwide today.    You can combine any of the above noted categories and determine what works best for you personally.   Take a look at this TED talk on authentic careers for inspiration and ideas.

Whatever you decide to do, make the decision to be happy.   Whether you work 40 hours a week or 2.  Set your priorities and focus on what is really important.   Your identity may be tied to your education and career as a dentist, but establishing realistic goals that fit your personal and family expectations is critical.   Please contact us directly if we can be of ANY help at anytime.  We are behind you 100%.





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