2020 was anything but normal, changing life as we know it, that certainly includes dental schools and the dental industry as well. However, what the events of this past year don’t change is what’s exciting about the incoming class of newly graduated dentists and what we can look forward to as they launch their dental careers.
How Will 2020’s Dental Students Change Dentistry?
According to an ADA Future of Dentistry Report, “what affects the United States and its people affects the dental profession.”
2020 has brought to light much unrest surrounding health, healthcare, social issues, politics and more. Dental students who “came of age” during this tumultuous time are living through a period of change that may affect their future careers and even impact the future of dentistry.
Here are some areas in which we believe these students are positioned to inspire positive change in the industry:
Dental students faced unique challenges when it came to learning during the pandemic. They were often forced to learn remotely or in distanced environments. They likely used various types of communication like email, forums, chats, etc. to communicate with their peers and instructors.
Their familiarity with digital communication or web conferences will help them in terms of using these methods to communicate with future patients. Consequently, these students might even push the boundaries of teledentistry, making it a more viable option for all, but especially those in areas without access to dentistry.
Teledentistry is considered advantageous for a wide variety of reasons including giving patients access to dental care who would otherwise be without it, helping to reduce the cost of dental care, improving patient engagement and satisfaction and providing a measure of flexibility for patients accessing dental providers.
The dental students of 2020 likely grew up connected to the internet all of their lives. Therefore, solving problems using technology-based solutions comes naturally to these students. This mindset will likely follow these students into their practices and subsequently improve the technological experiences of patients and staff alike.
Dental practices will begin offering even more technology-based features like apps, digital or text-based appointment reminders and more. Dental students who have been around this type of technology their entire lives are more apt to encourage their employees and patients to also embrace the convenience technology can provide.
Preparing for the Unknown
The COVID-19 pandemic shook businesses, including and especially dental practices across the nation.
Today’s students have watched on, some even contemplating if their chosen path of a dental career was still worthwhile. These students will have a different perspective as they begin their dental careers that those before them didn’t.
They will operate their dental practices with a business mind, which will allow them to prepare for unforeseen hardships, including the inability to see patients normally.
While all dental students are taught to prepare for a wide variety of scenarios as they enter their careers, this group of students have been given a hands-on, real-life example to study that they can learn from, which is a far better lesson than any instructor could hope to teach.
Those who lived through the Great Depression were forever changed in terms of how they viewed money and resources, so too will the 2020 dental students have a differing view of doing business thanks to their experience.
Being the Change
The dental students of 2020 are presented with a unique opportunity to change the dental industry. They are able to be the change they want to see in the world. This group of students has perhaps faced the most arduous challenge there is in terms of getting through school in a world turned upside down.
However, the strength and character they displayed to stick with the process and come out the other side victorious will only make them better dentists in the end. Students looking to get started on their post-school dental career should seek as many resources as possible to educate themselves further on the matter.
Prepare to Make Your Impact as a Dentist
2020 has been a wild and unpredictable year for dentists. For students who persevered through these challenges, there is an enormous potential for them to become outstanding professionals who change the fact of how dentistry is presented and done.
But life after dental school is different from life as a student. How can you prepare for such a big change, especially when you’ve had such a chaotic year?
We have some of the answers in our ebook, the Post-Dental School Survival Guide.
Download your free copy today.
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This content is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.