Dr. K Explains the Value of Continued Education
By Dr. Timothy Kosinski
When I was a young man coming out of dental school, mentoring programs and local study clubs were an essential way for practicing dentists to receive continued education. During lunch each week, those in the dental community would get together and share our experiences with one another. We’d also arrange a dinner that featured a guest speaker every few weeks or so. Our main goal was to share and receive information that would help us become better doctors.
Unfortunately, over the past few decades, I’ve noticed the community-oriented aspect of dentistry disappear. Instead, what replaced it was a very corporate, sales-driven form of continued education. As a dentist, you get a lot of companies that come in and try to sell you their products. I found that most of the education was very selfish. It seemed like the person speaking to you only wanted to sell you something.
Partnering with Glidewell Dental as a Key Opinion Leader
Thankfully, there are companies like Glidewell Dental out there that want to see continued education evolve in a beneficial manner for doctors and patients. While they are a dental manufacturing company, they also care about sharing industry trends, new techniques and other advancements in our profession. When they hold courses at the Glidewell International Technology Center (GITC), it’s clear that their educators really are trying to make the attendees better practitioners.
When I teach a class on implantology at the GITC, a doctor is then able to take the information that they’ve learned and really apply it to their practice. It’s more about making you a better dentist than anything else. In partnership with Glidewell, we are taking continued education back to its mentorship roots and sharing the information that we know with others in our field.
Motivating Factors of Pursuing Continued Education
I find that the dentists who attend my courses are ones who might’ve been the “gunners” in school. People within the profession will know exactly what I mean by this. These are the people who are at the top of their class due to their extreme self-motivation. It’s still a term used in dental schools across America.
I think gunners who continue their education are a reflection of true leaders. It takes learning more to be able to teach others, because the truth is, dental school is the end of the beginning. We’ve still got a great amount more of learning to do after we’ve graduated. There’s still so much more that needs to be investigated in dentistry because things keep changing so quickly. In the coming years, dentists both seasoned and new to the profession will need more training, especially when it comes to digital dentistry.
An Investment in Your Future
Dentistry is a difficult job, but it’s a great profession to be a part of. Many of my students who have practiced 10, 20 or 30 years are looking for new pathways in dentistry to explore. Keeping your mind active through education is a great way to get motivated again, if you are feeling burned out.
On the other hand, I also teach many younger dentists who are busy establishing their lives. They graduate with a tremendous amount of debt and continued education might be the furthest thing from their minds. But like I said earlier, there is so much more that you’re going to learn outside of dental school. Getting back into the classroom is the best action to take when you’re a young practitioner. If you invest in high-quality education, it’ll pay dividends 1,000-fold.
If you want to become an implantologist, it’s a lot of work and effort. Trust me, it’s more than just a fancy ad in your hometown’s magazine. You’ve got to pay your dues. Regardless, I think that stimulating and motivating yourself to learn something new that you really enjoy is truly life changing.