Associate fuel: Your new-dentist brand within the brand

When they begin their careers, new dentists need to start networking and establishing themselves and building their personal careers. It’s important to build a good reputation early in order to prepare for a time when they open their own practice.

As a young dental employee or associate, it’s never too soon to start building your personal brand. Your goal before you ever walk in the door is to have every existing patient excited to meet you.

Get them talking

Bringing a new skill set to an existing practice is one quick way to get people talking. As a young dentist, or even a dental student, you can prepare for this by training in something you love to do. When I joined my current practice, I planned on providing an array of different surgical procedures. The seasoned dentists did not offer those types of treatments and had been referring them out. I prepared by choosing a residency that would give me a lot of surgical experience, then I opted to take continuing education classes to build my knowledge.

The office staff took this opportunity to let their patients know how excited they were to be offering surgical procedures and backed it up with information about the training I had. They also emailed and snail mailed the patient database to introduce me and say how excited they were to have me join the team. Getting patients excited to meet you before you even walk in the door makes it easy on a new dentist. This also gets your patients talking to other people about the office’s growth.

The best way to wow your specialists is to provide awesome dentistry.

Building the right reputation

It’s wonderful to offer more treatment at a practice, but this is only beneficial when the treatments reflect quality care. Communities are small and you want to ensure you are building the right type of reputation. We all know “that” dentist whose reputation we wouldn’t want to share. But as long as you are putting patients first, this should not be a problem.

Help yourself succeed by investing in your knowledge. As a young dentist, you can seek continuing education classes to expand your skill set and ensure you are providing the best possible care. Different organizations offer classes and continuums on many different topics. Spear Education, The Dawson Academy, and IgniteDDS are just a few. Here’s one tip: stay off of YouTube and connect with professional thought leaders.

Go viral

You might be the best periodontist in the area, but if no one knows it, they’ll never refer to you! Take time in the beginning to meet your potential referral sources and colleagues. It’s important to do this in person. If you’re joining a practice with someone, bring them along. They already have an in. Stop by every so often. You want to stay top of mind. Then connect further. Your local dental association is a great way to add to your reach. It’s not only a way to meet people but you can then work together to better the field.

As a general dentist, you want to meet the specialists in your area. Talk to the owner of the practice. Host a welcome party at the practice and invite everyone—specialists, existing patients, and potential patients. This is what my office did for me. It is a great way to meet everyone in a casual, fun environment with time to talk.

From there, the best way to wow your specialists is to provide awesome dentistry. When some of your beautiful dentistry winds up in their chairs, they will take notice. Another way to connect with specialists is to ask for their input on a big case. Learn from their experiences.

Follow through

Life is busy for everyone. Be who you promised to be. In fact, exceed who you promised to be. I know you’re busy. I know it’s hard to stay focused and consistent. It is tempting to stand still, but don’t let that happen to you! Keep providing top quality care, stay involved, and make sure you get your name out for everyone to know. In no time, you will have built your personal brand.

Laura Barres, DDS, is on the team of East Amherst Dental Center in Amherst, New York. She graduated from the University of Buffalo Dental School in 2015. She’s very interested in new technology and new ways of doing dentistry. She serves on the Advisory Board for Dental Economics. Visit East Amherst Dental Center on Facebook, or on Instagram

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