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The Obvious and Not-So-Obvious Post-Graduation ‘To Do’ List

By Lauren Belous, D.M.D.

1. Order Materials and Equipment
Ensure your new practice has all the materials and equipment necessary to safely and efficiently practice endodontics. This includes not only major equipment like dental microscopes, rotary files, endo motors, CBCT machine, etc., but also little things like the specific brands of rubber dams, gloves, burs, obturation systems, etc. you prefer. Additionally, take time to do a “dry run” in your new operatory progressing through each stage of treatment:
consultation, anesthesia, rubber dam isolation, access, instrumentation, irrigation, obturation, closure and documentation, ensuring all the tools and materials are accessible and stocked. Also review the auxiliary instruments and materials should a less common procedure end up in your schedule.

2. Credentialing: Licensure and DEA/NPI Numbers
Start your state-specific application for dental and anesthesia licenses as soon as possible, keeping your new practice manager updated on your status. The ADA has a webpage detailing the application procedure for each state. NPI & DEA numbers are also necessary in order to prescribe medications. Note: You need to have a state dental license in order to apply for NPI and DEA numbers.

3. Prepare Your Biography & Headshot
Most offices like to send an introductory letter/email to their referral base when a new doctor joins the practice, so having your bio and headshot prepared makes your first few weeks less hectic. Use the other doctors’ bios as a template for your own, but remember to personalize yours with tidbits about your family, hobbies, etc. Ask your employer if they have a preferred dress code, photographer or background for your headshot.

4. Acquire Personal Insurance: Disability, Liability and Life
Liability insurance (aka malpractice) is something you could negotiate into your employment contract. You should independently research the brand, type and amount of malpractice insurance best suited to your needs. The ADA has a web page detailing the different types of insurance available, and recommends speaking to a licensed insurance agent before purchasing.

Disability insurance should ideally be in place prior to your first day on the job. It typically requires a blood draw, full medical history and, of course, additional paperwork.

Finally, if you have assets and/or dependents, Life Insurance should also be discussed with a licensed insurance agent.

All of these insurances are most heavily discounted the first few years post-graduation, so it could make sense to get all three early in your career to keep long-term premiums lower.

5. Join Dental Insurance Provider Networks
Should your practice accept dental insurance, you will need to be added onto the insurances’ Provider Network. This requires ample documentation (copies of your diplomas, licenses, CV, board certification certificates, etc.) and is a lengthy process. Work with your practice manager to get some of this paperwork processed prior to your start date so that you can hit the ground running with those (hopefully decent) contracted reimbursement rates!

6. Prepare for the Board Examination(s)
In order to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics, you must pass the written, oral and case portfolio examinations. These can take years to accomplish, and require a good amount of preparation and dedication. Learn more about the certification process and find the applications here, and come see me lecture on how to successfully pass the Case Portfolio Examination at AAE23 as part of the New Voices Track. I look forward to meeting you soon!!

Dr. Lauren Belous is a member of the AAE’s Public and Professional Relations Committee.