Benefits of Dental Mentorship and How to Find a Good Dental Mentor

By: Savanah Craig

If you attend enough ASDA events, you’ll hear about the importance of finding a mentor who can support you on your journey to a career in dentistry. However, there is not much explanation about how to find a mentor or why it is so important.

How to find a dentist mentor

Here are the steps to find the best dentist mentor for you:

Experience

If you’re looking for a mentor, you’ll want to find someone who has more experience than you. It is also helpful to choose a mentor with whom you have something in common, or who has had success similar to what you hope to achieve in your own life and career.

Know what type of mentor you are looking for

Know what you look for in a mentor. If your goal is to become a faculty member at a dental school, you may want to seek out mentors who are already working in that field. However, it can be helpful to have several mentors to turn to for different types of questions. Don’t limit yourself.

Dentistry is unique and subjective and the more people you have in your corner to exchange ideas, the better off you will be. You may have different mentors for different purposes and different seasons of your life and career.

Ask for advice

There are endless opportunities to find someone to learn from. The best advice I can give to anyone looking for a mentor is to get yourself out there. Ask your dental school if they know any alumni who might want to talk to you. Most successful dentists have had someone help them get to where they are today and would appreciate an opportunity to give back by helping you.

Attend dental conferences

Another great place to find a mentor is at dental conferences. Meet the presenters and do some networking. You never know what opportunities may arise if you put yourself out there.

What does a dental assistant do?

Once you’ve found someone you want to learn from, it’s important to communicate what you’re looking for in this relationship and what you hope to learn from them. It’s also important to show them what you have to offer this relationship. Connecting with your mentor outside of dentistry is crucial as it allows for more natural conversations and a better relationship.

A good mentor/mentee relationship allows you to grow and learn from each other. The most important thing is that you respect your mentor’s time. You can call them if you have a question about a case or if you want to discuss something, but don’t expect a long conversation every day.

Also, don’t expect them to solve your problems without putting in some effort yourself. Often I ask my mentor a question and explain the research or troubleshooting I’ve already tried and ask their opinion on what my next steps should be. They are there to support and guide you, not to do the work for you.

The Importance of Dental Mentorship

There are several ways to have a successful career in dentistry, and this is why I think mentorship is such an important aspect of dentistry. Treatment planning, patient relationships and team leadership can look different in every office and for every healthcare provider. That’s why it’s so important to have someone in your corner with whom you can express ideas.

Dentistry is there to teach you the basics of dentistry, but beyond that you have to look for opportunities for further growth and skill development. A strong mentor will help you achieve your goals and improve your skills as a successful clinician.

Next one: Managing a dental team as a new dentist

photo by Christina Morillo

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