Picking the right CE course

March 1, 2012
How do dentists keep up with the expanding roles of dentistry? Dentists have taken on new and primary roles in a number of areas ...

Louis Malcmacher, DDS, MAGD

How do dentists keep up with the expanding roles of dentistry? Dentists have taken on new and primary roles in a number of areas, such as facial pain management, sleep apnea, systemic health and wellness, and facial esthetics.

Continuing education is the primary source for becoming proficient in new ways to better treat patients and deliver dentistry. As someone who has personally taught over 10,000 hours of continuing education over the past 30 years, here are some guidelines that I use to evaluate CE courses:

1) Who are the instructors, and are they proficient in what they are teaching? I look for instructors who have real practices and treat patients on a regular basis. Life experience is the best teacher, and it takes time doing a lot of procedures in any field to really develop the experience necessary to teach something properly. For example, each faculty member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics treats patients with minimally invasive facial esthetics techniques, and they have practice management techniques in their offices that motivate patients to accept treatment.

2) What has been the feedback from your peers about a particular course and instructor? Are testimonials and references available? Can you contact these people for references? Are the names and cities real or does it say only, “Dr. T, Texas”? What other doctors think of a course is extremely important. On the www.FacialEsthetics.org website, you will find hundreds of testimonials from clinicians all over the world using their real names and identifying where they live.

3) Is there post-course support? This is extremely important, especially when you’re getting into new areas for your practice. In areas such as systemic wellness, sleep apnea, and Botox and dermal fillers, continuing support is essential. This is why we have a forum section in the American Academy of Facial Esthetics website. What we want to create is a community support group on the website so we can ask questions of our expert faculty and clinicians who use these procedures every day.

Too many times I have left a course and come back to my practice and had a question on the first patient I treated, but I had nowhere to turn. We want to make sure dental professionals have a place to go where they can get answers fast, share their experiences, upload their cases to share with others, and interact with our expert faculty. There is not another resource group like this in dental and facial esthetics, and in less than one year it has grown to nearly 1,800 members who regularly visit and use our resources.

4) How many clinicians have been trained by the faculty and organization? If an educational institution has successfully trained thousands of practitioners, there is a reason for that. I have to tell you what my secret weapon has always been. I have studied what the best educational methods are so that any courses I develop are delivered with the best faculty using the best practices available so that attendees will have the best experience possible, no matter what kind of course it is.

Make sure the training you take for any new area of your practice is up to the standard of your state licensing board. I have found doctors offering Botox or sleep apnea training in their offices and claiming to be able to teach everything in just a few hours. This is nonsense and is not penny-wise and is certainly pound foolish.

I have talked to too many dentists over the years who have wasted too much time and money receiving training that was inadequate, useless, and too superficial to be acceptable by any standard. Use the same careful due diligence in your choices of education providers as you would any other important decision for your practice. Most importantly, you want to provide the best treatment available for your patients, and that only comes with the best training possible.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is a practicing general dentist and internationally known lecturer, author, and dental consultant. Dr. Malcmacher is the president of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics at facialesthetics.org. Contact him at (440) 892-1810 or email [email protected]. His website is www.commonsensedentistry.com, where you can sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter.

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