San Francisco, CA (PressExposure) April 11, 2008 -- Four out of five dentists do not think dental school graduates are prepared for the real world of dentistry, according to a recent Wealthy Dentist survey. Only one in five dentists finds recent graduates truly ready for the financial realities of practicing dentistry.
Many feel that dental school must also fill the role of business school. "Dental school needs really good business courses to help students get started in practice, even if they are going into an employment situation," opined a Tennessee dentist.
But is business training really within the scope of dental school? "Today's graduates are not prepared to start a business, but neither were we. Business sense is hard to get in a classroom setting," observed a North Carolina dentist. "It's like preparing for parenting: how do you know when you're ready?"
Though dental technology has advanced rapidly, it's not clear that dental education has followed. "It has not changed enough in at least the last 25 years. Clinically, dental students have just enough knowledge and experience to provide basic care and hopefully will understand that they need to continue to learn and develop their capabilities," wrote an Illinois dentist. "There should be some basic business requirement in the pre-dental education, but I don't see that there is room in dental school to cover this (running a business) in any but the most cursory way."
Doing well in dental school is no guarantee that a student will become a good clinician. "Dental school prepares you for your board exams, not the real world of dentistry," commented a New Jersey dentist. "Academically graduates are over-prepared, and clinically they tend to be under-prepared," agreed a general dentist from Missouri."
Dental school has never prepared students for the real world, but now the consequences for new graduates are a lot more serious," commented one orthodontist. "In past years, overhead was lower, patients and employees weren't as litigious, fewer employees were needed, regulations were simpler, etc. Today, the system is not as forgiving. There is so much more to be aware of, and a slipup is going to be more costly."
"Dental schools might be great, but they're notoriously bad at addressing business issues," said Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of The Wealthy Dentist. "Students learn lots of science and very little about practice management. But how can graduates expect to practice dentistry if they can't run a dental practice?"