A smiling dentist in his office sitting above a patient

Want to Grow Your Dental Career? Here’s Where to Start

Whether you’re a dental school student preparing for post-graduation, or an experienced dentist looking to expand, networking is essential to grow your dental career.

Simply put, networking is the process of building connections & relationships. On the surface, this sounds like a strictly social action. However, it actually provides significant ways to grow your dental career, too.

A strong network of professional connections provides several benefits. Everyone you meet can provide different perspectives, knowledge, or support.

For example, dentists working in New York City vs. those in rural Pennsylvania face challenges the other does not. Because of that, they’ll develop different strategies to deal with problems that arise. In this simple example, the two can learn from one another.

But, there’s more than just learning that occurs.

Solid connections can also lead to life-changing opportunities.

If you meet a practicing dentist during your schooling and leave a good impression, you may become the first one in mind the next time they need a new team member. If you’re an established professional, meeting a well-connected dentist might provide you access to cutting-edge technology.

So, if you’re looking to grow your dental career, it’s time to start networking with your peers.

Let’s break down some keys to getting started.

If you’re just starting, where do you begin?

If you’ve already established yourself in your profession, you probably know where to look to make connections. And, if that’s your case, just skip to the next section below.

But, if you’re just starting, where do you begin to grow your career in dentistry?

Well, you’ll want to start with a few key groups.

  • College professors and staff members
  • Former supervisors and colleagues
  • Parents’ friends
  • Classmates and club/organization members
  • Recent alumni

Before you begin your path, you need a solid foundation. Establish as many connections as you can in these areas, and you’ll maintain a solid core from which to build.

But, if you’re already practicing, where do you turn?

Let’s explore four useful places to begin networking in dentistry

1. Local, state, and national dental organizations

If you really want to grow your career in dentistry, established dental organizations can deliver the boost you need.

Not only does there exist a wide range of options, but nearly everyone involved can directly help you grow.

Let’s say you’re a dentist located in Florida, and you join a national organization. You might run into someone who can tell you about the latest 3D printer making impressions in California.

On the other side of things, joining a dental organization in your own community can provide more niche information.

You might run into a dentist working only a few miles away from you with a solid reputation. Joining a local organization allows you to talk with them and learn how to grow your dental career within your specific community. 

Obviously, one of the most prominent organizations remains the American Dental Association. By joining the national leader in dental organizations, you’ll ensure you stay up to date with the latest information.

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2. Alumni groups

If you’re a recent graduate, joining an alumni group can offer tremendous benefits. 

To start, it’s often easier to form stronger one-on-one relationships with alumni groups than other organizations, since you already have common ground.

If you find it hard starting a conversation with someone new, you can always bring up something about the school you went to. You can talk about experiences in your education, sports teams, or even your favorite local sandwich shop to get things moving.

Another great benefit is that by nature, graduates travel to different locations.

By joining an alumni group, you can talk to people who once stood in your shoes, but now have experiences from around the country.

Not only can you discover what working in other states is like, but also what it’s like to work in large cities vs. small town communities.

Finally, joining an alumni group offers a chance to learn more about the challenges you might face down the road and how to overcome them.

After all, if they went to your school, they were once in your shoes. And, they’ve probably experienced similar paths to the one you’re on.

Take the opportunity to discuss any questions or concerns you have. You’ll be surprised just how willing your peers are to help you out.

Some popular alumni dental groups are: 

Of course, these represent only a few of the many alumni groups available. Make sure you check with your own school to discover your options.

3. Social media can help grow your dental career

Why keep your network national? Don’t be afraid to go global!

Joining social media dental groups makes it easier contact people from around the world to grow your dental career. Much like national organizations, you’ll discover new perspectives, and techniques, and technology.

With social media, though, you experience a much grander scale.

That said, you’ll need to find the right social media channels to help you grow your dental career. You aren’t exactly looking to discover the latest dance craze on Tik-Tok. 

As such, consider LinkedIn, a platform designed specifically for professional connections.

Generally, it’s used to learn, grow, and expand career options, as well as helping maintain a list of professional contacts.

Use the app to share your latest updates, successes, thoughts, and questions. It’s also great for staying in touch and maintaining relationships with your professional connections.

These days, staying in touch with your contacts is less about calling them on the phone, and more about reaching out through social media.

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4. Grow your network through events and conferences

Networking shouldn’t bore you. To grow your dental career, you’ll need to find and attend meaningful, engaging events.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage.

Numerous events are hosted around the country, bringing together thousands of dentists, providing opportunities to meet one another and learn. 

One of the biggest examples is SmileCon. SmileCon is an annual event, featuring the latest dental technology, expert presentations, and workshops for dentists looking to learn new tactics. 

If you attend any such event, go out of your comfort zone and talk to people you haven’t met before.

You’ll be surprised how much you have in common.

And, as an added bonus, these events often feature different recreational activities, too. Use them as a way to strike up a conversation without leading with a bullet point from your resume.

Conventions like these make networking a bit more relaxed, helping you grow your career less stressfully.

Don't let your hard work go to waste

After you build up a list of contacts you prefer, don’t forget to maintain your relationships.

Check in with people, congratulate them on successes, and share your own viewpoints among them.

Just make sure you don’t reach out to them solely when you need something.  A stagnant relationship or a one-sided relationship is a wasted one, so be sure to maintain your connections and prevent your hard work from going to waste.



About First Choice Dental Lab

First Choice Dental Lab is a full-service dental lab with locations in Downers Grove, Il. & Wauwatosa, Wi.

We manufacture & customize quality dental restorations for general dentists. We create smiles based on your needs and budget.

We’re here to help you give your patients a reason to smile!

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