What Phase of Post-Grad Education Are You In?

By Ben Kacos

May 7, 2024

Many clinicians of all experience levels are lured into learning more clinical techniques to grow their practices. I would submit that earning a fellowship in communication and case presentation should be accomplished before any effort is made to learn more clinically. Without the ability to lead a patient to a “yes,” all clinical skill sets are irrelevant. I advocate starting the journey of an associate with communication and case presentation training.

After a dentist has garnered the ability to learn how to effectively communicate with patients and team members, then and only then would I begin to pour into my associate from a clinical perspective.

I believe that accumulating repetitions of anything in life leads to higher proficiency. We also know that busy associates are happy associates. I encourage leaders to foster education in clinical areas that will keep an associate busy and that they will have ample opportunities to practice. I like to avoid the trap of learning enticing skill sets like implants, clear aligners, and botox.

Instead, I focus on the low-hanging fruit. In other words, what are they referring out the most? Typically, this includes surgical extractions and molar endo. I combine education in suturing, socket grafting, and PRF into this first phase of clinical advancement. I also focus on proficiency in any and all endo in phase one.
Phase two would consist of training in more advanced skill sets like cosmetics, Invisalign, and airway. More leadership and communication.

Phase three education would be simple implant placement, IV sedation, and finally extraction of impacted third molars. Always leadership and communication.
Phase four training consists of advanced surgical training, for instance, immediately placed implants, vertical and horizontal sinus augmentation, and full arch implant surgery. You could also go with advanced orthodontics, advanced occlusion, full mouth rehab, soft tissue surgeries, etc. Focus on specialty-level procedures and, yep, you guessed it—leadership and communication.

This is quite a bit of learning, and I do provide a CE allowance for associates. I also will make contractual agreements with associates to pay for CE above their allowance. This can be made in a number of ways. Just to name a few, you could loan the associate the money and deduct a portion of each paycheck to repay the loan. You could pay for a portion of the course and forgive the loan in exchange for some amount of completed procedures learned from the course. You could give a scholarship that is tied to work contract time commitment. There are many, many ways to approach this. The point I want to make is that if you have an associate that you want to retain, helping them with CE is a great way to create a long-lasting relationship.

Until next time,

Dr. Ben Kacos
Dental Success Blackbelt Coach
Owner, Peak Dental Resources

On June 13th, I am hosting the PDR Associate and Leadership Workshop designed to guide dental professionals in enhancing their practices through strategic associate integration and leadership development. Participants will learn to evaluate the right time to bring on an associate, employ effective marketing and search strategies to find the right candidate, and prepare their teams and systems for seamless integration. The workshop will cover associate calibration and training, with insights into a clinical curriculum that led to significant production success. Furthermore, strategies for nurturing new patient flow, developing accountability, and fostering leadership within associates will be explored, ensuring a comprehensive approach to practice growth and management.