5 Stages in the Professional Life cycle of a Dentist

Dr Pranav Agale

Dr.Pranav Agale is an MBA from Indira Institute of Management, Pune and a BDS from Nashik University. He is experienced in Brand Bulilding for Dentists.



In this post, we will discuss the various stages in the entire career of a dentist. Learn about the various stages and plan your dental career accordingly.

Life cycle of Dental Practice

We are taught dentistry in colleges but no one taught

us the business cycle of Dental Practice.

This business illiteracy has put many dentists in dilemma; leaving them unsure about their future. I believe this is one of the primary reasons why many dentists are unhappy with their practices.

Let’s get into the details of “Lifecycle” of your practice 



Yes, it’s a long journey on a cycle …

that you start in your mid-twenties and then keep on going as long as you can.


This post is Written By Dr. Pranav Agale.

Director of Viva LifeCare Pvt. Ltd. and DentistFriend.com is his brainchild. He is an MBA & holds experience in branding and marketing.


N.B – This post has been published with approval from the author and changes has been made by DentalOrg.Com Editorial Head – Dr.Deb

An average life of your practice is 25-30 years.

It undergoes five different stages which are

Introduction

Growth

Maturity

Saturation

Decline

& all these stages have their own set of pros & cons.



Why is it important to know about the stages of dental career?

  • The beauty of your practice lifecycle is, unlike human lifecycle these stages can be reversed, delayed or avoided to a certain extent.
  • Understanding practice lifecycle gives you the orientation of Do’s & Don’ts of the respective stage.
  • It acts as a guide in strategic planning & building a successful practice.

Dental Practice Management

Are you already into professional practice?

Then this article will help you to identify which stage your practice is in?

Wait  ! Are you just about to start your practice?

Then also this article will tell you many points that you will learn before you jump into practice.



So, Let’s Start with the 1st Stage of Dental Career 

The introduction phase where a young dentist is entering into professional dentistry for the first time. He/she is full of doubts & fears. There is the fear of failure. There is the tension of the finance that has been invested in setting up the dental practice. There are many other stress points. But a young dentist who is starting his/her professional dental practice has to overcome these points. 

We will discuss these points about the

1st stage of dental career  (Introductory Phase) in the next slide.


Press Next →

to go to next slide

And know the 1st Stage of a Dental Career

The Introduction Phase

Stage 1 of Dentistry: Introduction Phase

(Practice age: 0-3 Years)

Dental Practice Management
Introduction stage is the beginning of your dental practice which lasts up to 3 years.

The average age of the dentists in this phase is between 24 to 30 years and most of them are a bachelor.

This is your first opportunity to earn professionally after studying dentistry for 5-8 long years.

You try your best to establish the practice, no matter, however hard it seems. You are always ready and motivated to make a mark.

You entertain each and every patient even when you understand he/she won’t go for the treatment. Sometimes if the location selection is not proper, you end up with stiff competition from the dentists who are already practicing in the location.

This is also one of the most stressful phases in the dental career.

You might have started your practice but you are still in that phase of doubt. You are skeptical and worried about all the other practices that have started much before you. You are worried about the investments you have done to set up the practice and whether you are going to be successful. 

Doubts & Stress & Mistakes !!!

But with time you make yourself strong internally & externally. 

You learn patience. 

You learn from your mistakes.

You also realize that – in the practical world, it is much different from movies.

Your notion and expectation of overnight clinical practice success gradually fade away. 

You understand that it is not a 20 – 20 game. 

It’s an extended test match and you are in it for the long haul.

You develop and realize the value of patience.

In other words, you learn the waiting game.

You learn the man management skills and how to deal with patients.

The Introductory phase is all about getting into the grind of clinical practice.

You slowly get used to it and gradually go beyond that initial stress.

In short, you get more Sensible & Calmer!

You are just warming up the dental career stages that are going to come next.

This marks the end of your Introduction phase of Dental Practice &

you slowly get into the 2nd phase which you can call the growth phase.

Go to the Next Slide to learn about the Next Phase of Your Dental Career

The Growth Phase: The phase to grow & establish yourself.

Press Next →

Stage 2 of Dentistry: Growth of Practice

(Practice age: 2-12 Years)
Growth stage lasts for 5 to 10 years and the average group age is 26 to 40 years.

Dental Practice Management

By now, you have crossed the introductory phase and learned many things from it. 

You use that and slowly you start showing growth professionally. 

Your presence in the market has built a brand value for yourself & your dental practice.you have patients who have established a comfort level with you and in

You have patients who have established a comfort level with you and they feel confident to refer your practice to their friends and families.

It is the best stage of your practice as the patient flow is good and you leap towards financial stability.

Pic Credit: Littlewing

You will observe the rise in your income by 15%-25% every year.

Most dentists get married in the beginning of this stage and plan baby in mid-stage which sometimes adds to your financial burden and so you are still ready to work as per patient’s convenience.

Increasing financial demands (due to growth in the family) makes this phase one of the most laborious and hard working phase of your dental practice career.

There will be days when you will just feel like not going to the clinic the next day. 

You are still in that competitive mode, seeing other dentists. In this stage also many times you are somehow managed by the patient because of your sense of necessity.

But you realize the Worth of this phase and keep striving hard. You are slowly going through that self-realization. There is that happiness of being the family man and also the determination to build a better future for your family.

Because the amount of Work you put in this phase, it will lead you to the Maturity phase where you have the chance to Enjoy the maximum premium. 

it will lead you to the Maturity phase where you have the chance to Enjoy the maximum premium.

Maturity phase is that phase of dentistry where you are going to be in the position to reap the maximum benefits from the practice which you have built in the last two phases.


See Next Slide to know all the details on the 

Maturity Phase of the Dental Career

Press Next →

Stage 3 of Dentistry: The Maturity Phase

(Practice age: 10-20 Years)

Maturity is the stage where you enjoy the premium.

This stage lasts for 5-10 years & average age group is 35 to 50 years.

  • You are now among established and long standing Senior Dental Practitioner in your locality.
  • Your brand value is at the highest with patients eager to be treated by you.
  • At this phase, you will see many other young dentists entering into the 1st phase of the Dental Career.
  • But your confidence in your skills and brand value will be at the highest.
  • You are financially stable by this stage and you will appreciate 10%-20% rise every year but it doesn’t increase like it was there in the growth stage.

In short, you are financially stable, confident and less psychologically dependent on patients.

You don’t seek patients anymore.

In fact, patients seek you.

You are under no compulsion to adjust to the whims of the patients.

In short – You are no more dependent on patients.

You will also observe a change in the approach towards dental practice. Of course, you work to earn but money isn’t your priority. You are seeking peace and less of the stress that you faced in the initial days of your practice.

Your priority becomes “Time” for your family which stops you from entertaining every patient.

This stage gives you the confidence that every dentist seeks from the beginning of his/her career.

You are now confident about the brand recognition of your dental practice.  

You get relatively rigid about the treatment charges and is least bothered about the competitors.

From the introductory phase till the maturity phase there is a gradual increase in the graph of your dental practice. You are about the complete the most productive years of your dental practice in terms of the hard work you can put, both physically, mentally & emotionally.


Next, comes the Saturation Phase

The phase where the saturation & the fatigue sets in!

Press Next → to go to next slide

Stage 4: Saturation Phase in Dentistry

(Practice age: 20-25 Years)

Dental Practice Management

Starting from the introductory phase you have slogged for years to reach the saturation phase.

Till the maturation phase, you will notice an increasing graph of your dental practice. 

But as you enter into the saturation phase, you will get physically weak and mentally exhausted. It is a natural thing to happen.

It is a natural thing to happen. Dentistry puts a lot of pressure on your body and mind over the years.


This stage can last for 5-10 years & it is commonly experienced after the age of 50+ years.

In this stage, you appreciate stagnation in your income whereas there is a definite increase in your expenses.

The financial requirements are increased as your kids will need money for education, marriage or business.

You will also experience the increase in competition; as the young dentists whom you considered “Kids” has now entered into their growth or maturity stage…

Stage: 5 Decline

(Practice age: 25+ Years)

Dental Practice Management

This is the last stage of your dental practice career which is experienced after 60 years of age.

Dentistry is a skill & investment driven branch, unlike other medical fields where green cloth, stethoscope and a prescription pad is enough for starting a professional practice.

It is the stage where either you have to close down the practice or hand it over to the younger generation. But there are always exceptions. I personally know some dentists who are into their 60’s and still enjoying the maturity stage. But it will vary from one dentist to another.

The best case scenario for a dentist to remain active in this phase is to take up the role of a mentor. Rather than working actively in the practice, let your kids (if they are a dentist) or other trusted young professional manage the practice. That gives you a relief from the physical strain. It is still your practice and you now control it as a mentor and observer.

Conclusion:

By the time you reach this stage, your kids will be grown ups with their own career and family. Maybe your kid(s) decided to follow your footsteps and became a dentist. In that case, you have already established a good dental practice for them to inherit. You can be the guiding force who teaches them or any other young dentists the tips to succeed in dentistry.

This stage also highlights the importance of planning for your retirement properly.

Time loop for a dentist

It is an unending time loop. Once you were in the introduction phase trying desperately to make a mark in the world of dentistry. You crossed all the different phases successfully. But today you are in the decline phase as physically you can no more carry out hectic dental treatments. Now you see you kids(provided they are dentists) or other young dentists entering into the same cycle again.

But there is nothing to be sad about it. You have done your part in the journey called dentistry.

Be rest assured that you have earned the respect of patients and your fraternity.

Now it’s time to relax and leave the rat race.

It is time for you to enjoy the retirement and also be a mentor to the young and upcoming dentists. There is always a great satisfaction in sharing your experiences with the younger generation dentists. That is one great way to build up your legacy.

It is time to do many other things that you could not do in all these years of the fast racing life cycle of a Dentist.

Wish you all a very happy & successful dental career.


This post is Written By Dr. Pranav Agale.

Director of Viva LifeCare Pvt. Ltd. and DentistFriend.com is his brainchild. He is an MBA & holds experience in branding and marketing.

You can contact with Dr. Pranav here.




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