In this month’s edition, Gurs Sehmi explains the importance of having the right mentors and mentoring and helping other young dentists.
The first thing you need to know after you qualify from university is that you don’t know enough at the moment.
You’re going to have to invest in a lot of private courses to get you where you want to be.
The next thing is that you also need to know where you want to go. You’ve always had an inclination to do cosmetics and to look at that kind of art form.
This should be your goal coming out of university.
You’re going to have to do a lot of NHS drill and fill work. Everyone knows this is boring and everyone knows it’s cutting corners and not doing dentistry properly to the standard that you’ve always wanted to do. So, you’ve got a couple of different plans going on at once.
First of all, you need to educate yourself. But secondly, you also need to get in into an environment where you can really do more private comprehensive work.
There’s nothing wrong with working in the NHS as an initial springboard. Patients in general are less demanding and you can hone your skills with minimalist risk by providing higher than NHS treatment, at NHS treatment costs.
You will use this as experience for building a portfolio.
Building your skills
So, what causes should you go on? Well, these days orthodontics and adult orthodontics is very popular, and for a good reason.
It is minimally invasive and you can have a massive transformation in the appearance of a smile with relatively little cost.
This should be your first thing to understand. Next, a smile design and restorative course is really good. Understand occlusion, this is a keystone that connects all aspects of dentistry.
If you want to get into cosmetics, you also need to understand how to speak the language of cosmetics.
This is going to become vitally important.
When you try to start marketing; differentiate yourself from every other dentist in the world, you probably want to be that person that everybody wants to go to.
If your patients are in need of cosmetic treatment and you want to be that person they come to, you’re going to have to learn how to market effectively.
So in short, develop your clinical skills (go to lots of courses), develop your sales and marketing skills (focus on effective communication).
Finding the right mentor
This plan involves easy things and hard things. The easy things are paying for and going on courses. Anybody can do that.
Then the hard stuff really begins, when it comes to marketing and implementing what you’ve learnt on the courses – where they give you an intense amount of theoretical knowledge very quickly.
Some courses provide a little bit of practical knowledge. However, to really understand the concepts and put all the courses you’ve learned together, you’re going to have to practise.
There is only one shortcut to doing this. That is to get a mentor who can show you how they have got to where they are.
Don’t waste time with those business gurus who have been bankrupt 300 times and are teaching other people how to run their businesses.
You need to find somebody who has actually done the clinical work themselves and has done what you aspire to do successfully.
Only they can show you how to get where you want to go to quickly. These people are expensive, but if you spend £15,000 to £20,000 on mentoring, in the long term, you will get £15,000 to £20,000 per case. So it’s a very good investment!
Once you’ve mastered these skills, can do all the complicated dentistry and you’ve learnt to market, and you’ve got an influx of patients, start teaching this to other people.
Because remember, so many other people are going to be in the situation where you were a few years ago. They want to progress to the next level with confidence and just a phone call.
A little bit of advice is massively important to those people. Start mentoring younger dentists and don’t leave it too late, because you will always have imposter syndrome.
Remember, you are better than you think you are.
You know more than you think you know.
Now that those complex cases are routine to you, it doesn’t mean that it is easy for everyone. Pass your shortcuts on to the next generation of cosmetic dentists.
Catch previous letters to my younger self:
- Arnold Gangaidzo
- Judith Husband
- Andy Acton
- Mervyn Druian.
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