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Constant learning is good for you—in the practice and outside work Continuing education, including hands-on courses and webinars, are crucial for staying up to date with the lastest developments in dentistry. (Image: Ermolaev Alexander/Shutterstock)
Continuing education, including hands-on courses and webinars, are crucial for staying up to date with the lastest developments in dentistry. (Image: Ermolaev Alexander/Shutterstock)

Constant learning is good for you—in the practice and outside work

By Dentsply Sirona
December 03, 2019

We live in a rapidly changing world where continuing education is more important than ever—not only to keep you abreast of new developments and to ensure that your patients get the best possible care but also to help you grow as a human being.

Dr Malene Hallund (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

If you perform no surgeries, you make no mistakes. If you perform a few, you make a few mistakes. If you perform many, you make fewer mistakes. That is the essence of the learning curve described by Dr Malene Hallund, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon based in Denmark, to a room full of dental professionals from China participating in a customised programme at the Dentsply Sirona Implants Education Center in Mölndal in Sweden.

She asked them to envision going back to dental school and to revisit the dreams they had had then of becoming what they are now—and her explanation of how it was all about education and growing experience hit home. Occasionally, the lecture turned into a lively discussion about how best to handle the case she presented on screen. There was a great deal of expertise in the room but, more importantly, curiosity and the desire to learn. It was not all theory, though. Plenty of time was reserved for hands-on training to ensure that the dentists gained practical knowledge too.

Invest in knowledge

Investing time in participating and gaining new knowledge is a choice that is crucial to all professionals who want to maintain their competitive edge. Some of the many reasons for this are:

  1. You will provide better patient care: Offering patients the latest preventive, diagnostic and treatment methods improves both perceived and actual service quality, which increases patient satisfaction.
  2. You grow as a professional: By learning new things, you can become better qualified to offer treatments, handle complex cases and deliver better outcomes. This enhances your reputation, improves your business and opens the door to new career pathways.
  3. You are always up to date: New technological breakthroughs, new developments, new methods, changing demands from patients—all of these are happening at breath-taking speed. It is imperative to understand and adapt to this new reality in order to remain successful.
  4. You must prove your skills: Retaining your credentials or licence might involve undertaking certain courses. These vary in different markets and are regulated by authorities and industrial bodies, but are essential if you want to keep doing what you are doing.
  5. You grow as a person: New knowledge widens your horizons and increases your confidence. And, even if it is unrelated to your job, it might benefit you in the practice too. All forms of learning challenge us and sharpen our minds. So, learning to sing, paint, make pottery and so on might just make you a better (and happier) dentist too.

These and other reasons for continuing education have been identified in several articles. In addition, when attending a lecture, seminar or other form of educational event, you get opportunities to share experiences with your peers and learn from one another.

Learn from literature, studies and experience

Hallund remarked that we learn from literature, studies and our own experience. She also highlighted how new technologies offer more possibilities and guide us in ever more precise ways. Having said that, this can never erase the need to think independently. We must master new solutions and adapt to patients’ needs and often to their demands, such as immediate implants, always aiming for impeccable results.

It is challenging, but knowledge is our ally. Since everything changes all the time, so must we—without forgetting all the good things we already know. We must add knowledge, just like the groups visiting Mölndal did. So, what was their verdict? We asked Victoria Rios Sanchez, Global Course Coordinator at Dentsply Sirona Implants, who said:

Victoria Rios Sanchez (Image: Dentsply Sirona)

“Just like we want people to pursue education, we also evaluate continuously to make sure that we provide the best education on offer. We saw high overall satisfaction with the inspiring setting and the professionalism of the lecturers, including with their ability to answer questions. All in all, the participants went home with new-found knowledge and insights that they will use in their clinical work, which is what this is all about.”

It certainly is—for us all. And it is a never-ending process.


Editorial note: This article was first published on Dentsply Sironas’s WORD OF MOUTH blog.

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