New Dentist Calendar of Events
June 26-28. Join your colleagues for the ADA 22nd New Dentist Conference: Jazzed in New Orleans. This year’s conference will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It’s a great way to network with peers and learn from experts while supporting the city’s rebirth and enjoying the unique Cajun culture. Carriage rides are back, restaurants have re-opened, and that good old New Orleans jazz is in the air. Visit www.ada.org for additional information and on-line registration.
Night of the Round Table
Twenty new dentists gathered Thursday night, April 10, during this year’s Star of the North Meeting for the New Dentist Round Table Discussion. After a delicious meal and drinks, we spent 20-minute segments discussing dental topics, then sharing our best pearls with each other. Topics discussed included effective staff motivators, materials and techniques, and work/life balance. Be sure to join us next year for this award-winning event!
Without being proprietary, here are some of our favorite bits of advice that we picked up.
• Publicly saying thank you to staff members can do wonders to boost morale and make team members feel appreciated. Make sure someone other than you and the person you are complimenting hears you!
• There are many bonding agents available. Overdessicating dentin (love that frosty enamel, don’t we?) after acid etching will surely lead to increased sensitivity, regardless of the brand used. Exercise a little control with the air and water syringe!
• There are several companies that offer significant discounts on the dental items that you use daily. Some commented that their reps have offered to match the prices that are offered by the discount vendors.
• Use your network of specialists for more than referrals! Specialists are more than happy to answer questions, and they appreciate that you are taking an interest in their specialty field.
• No staff member is irreplaceable. A bad attitude, even with a top-notch skill set, is still a bad attitude.
• Achieving a balanced lifestyle is a challenge at any stage in your career. Making time to exercise and eating right can be especially difficult.
• Female new dentists feel they are especially stressed! The pressure to be both a professional and a mother carries its own unique demands.
• Provide staff with an annual written review of both performance and compensation. Be sure to include values for 401K matches, bonuses, medical insurance coverage, family dental discounts, health club discounts, and so on. Many staff members do not realize the expenses incurred by business owners and that the sums of these benefits can be worth thousands
New Dentist Spotlight
Dr. Karl Haemig graduated from St. Olaf College in 2000, prior to finishing dental school at the University of Minnesota in 2004. I interviewed him at his office at the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Dental Clinic, where he is one of three dentists on staff. Although he has been in practice for only four years, Karl has had several unique practice opportunities on which to cut his New Dentist teeth.
JC: You come from a little town in Montana. How did you wind up in Minnesota?
KH: My parents both went to St. Olaf College, so I just couldn’t resist going there too. That’s where I met my future wife, Heather, and then we just kind of got sucked into the Twin Cities vacuum and never left. It’s a long ways from home for me, but it wasn’t too much of an adjustment because of all the cold winters and dour Norwegians. We had a lot of those on the Hi-Line growing up.
JC: You haven’t exactly taken the private practice route, have you?
KH: Not so much. For some reason it just never happened.
JC: You did a general practice residency after dental school, correct?
KH: Yes, I did the GPR program at HCMC under the supervision of Dr. Mary Seieroe. I absolutely loved it there; it was truly one of the best years of my life. I refined the skills acquired in dental school and expanded my knowledge with regard to oral surgery and removable pros, which basically made a logical segue into my tenure at NorthPoint Health and Wellness.
JC: What was NorthPoint like? What sorts of services did you provide?
KH: NorthPoint is a community clinic in the Hennepin County system. It was a lot of nuts and bolts dentistry…plenty of extractions, routine operative, removable work. It was a really nice facility in which to practice dentistry. The staff was top-notch. They were a great team; caring, empathetic, and fun to be around.
JC: What is your current work situation?
KH: Now I work for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Tribe in Prior Lake - they’re the people who own Mystic Lake. The clinic has three dentists and six dental team members. The tribe built a beautiful six-chair clinic in November 2006. Our patients run the whole socio-economic gamut, which keeps things interesting in terms of treatment and patient expectations. We find ourselves doing a veneer case in the morning followed by a 17-surface amalgam. We offer a hygiene program, crown and bridge, removable, operative, extractions, small biopsies, endodontics, and pretty much all the stuff that a general dentist does!
JC: So do you work for the IHS?
KH: No. This is a privately owned clinic that exists to solely treat members of the Mdewakanton tribe, Native Americans who live in Scott County, and employees of the tribe. It is a unique situation, and we find ourselves expanding dental services to new patients on a regular basis. The tribe does do a lot of philanthropic work, and recently they acquired a 90-foot mobile multi-purpose vehicle that houses a mammography unit, chest X-ray unit, and mobile dental equipment. Hopefully we can soon be providing some care to those outside our immediate surroundings.
JC: Are you active in the MDA?
KH: Not as active as I should be, especially when organized dentistry is having to spend a lot of time at the legislature fighting for dentists and the safety of our patients.
JC: Do you have a family?
KH: My wife, Heather, is a postdoctoral researcher for the U of M in Minneapolis, in a lab that researches biofilms, specifically Enterococcus faecalis, which interests a lot of endodontists. In another couple of years, when that’s finished, she would like to teach at a small college or university. We just had an addition last August, when our daughter Natalie was born. Every day is interesting!
JC: Any advice for new graduates looking for a job?
KH: Cast your net wide. Try to get out in the rural areas. The lifestyle there is much more interesting than a lot of people think, and there is no shortage of work to do!
JC: Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?
KH: I love where I work right now, but it ultimately depends upon where my wife ends up teaching. I’ll take what comes my way!
Dr. Clouse is a general dentist in private practice in New Brighton, Minnesota. E-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.