Top 5 Mistakes New Dentists Make

By: Dr. David Rice

Read them. Digest them. Ask igniteDDS how to avoid them!

5 Mistakes I Made As A New Dentist

Here are five common mistakes new dentists make (including me):

  1. Paying Off Student Debt Too Fast
  2. Not Building Board of Directors Soon Enough
  3. Buying a House before a Practice
  4. Not Asking Enough Questions
  5. Not Staying Focused

1. I paid off my student debt too fast

Yep, you read that right. I paid off my debt too fast!

From a young age, I was taught to avoid debt at all costs. Like most things, there’s truth in that; just not the whole truth. The whole truth is this.

When your interest rates are below 7% and there are multiple options to make 10% on your dollar, YOU ARE LOSING 3% on every dollar you pay back early! The whole truth is your FASTEST route to success is OWNERSHIP and banks don’t care about your student debt. They care about you having cash; they care about you showing fiscal responsibility; they care that you have invested in your skill sets and can do the dentistry.

Want to know more? CLICK HERE and ask questions!!

2. I didn’t build my board of directors soon enough

Mentors. You need 3 types:

  1. A cheerleader who can pick you up when you’re not feeling/believing you can do it
  2. A top 2%er who is crushing it in the exact dental life lane you want
  3. A contrarian who sees your blind spots

Diving deeper, in your top 2% category and rounding out your board of directors, you need a top 2%:

  • Attorney
  • CPA
  • Financial planner
  • Start up OR acquisition mentor/coach

If you have them all, excellent, if you don’t and need help, GO HERE, register, it’s free, and ASK for help!

The faster you learn to be great at dentisting and build a dental team who is great at everything else, the faster you win.

3. I bought a house before my practice

You might not like this one, it is however true. If ownership is your fastest path to success, buy or start-up a practice first. Buying a home first makes lenders unhappy, ask me how I know. I had zero student debt, I thought an asset in a home, and a spouse who earned $150k/year was enough.

When I went for my first loan, it was a hassle. Had I just attained the practice loan first, life would have been easier!

4. I was afraid to ask more questions

Vulnerable moment here. I wanted everyone to think I had all the answers. I falsely believed dentists and mentors would think less of me if I asked questions I thought I should know the answer to.  NOW, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to do your homework. Mentors and other dentists will expect that of you. That said, when we know you’re all in, we’re all in.

ASK, ASK,  and ASK questions.

5. I didn’t stay focused

There are two kinds of habits. Great ones that bring you closer and closer to your goals. Everything else.

Work/life balance is important. Choosing daily habits that drive your goals and eliminating all other daily habits is everything. The best part is…you know what habits are healthy and helpful and which are not. Don’t pretend to be confused! Surround yourself with people and habits that work.

Bringing it home…

It’s okay to make mistakes in life. It’s just not necessary to make the same ones others have made before you. You’ve worked very hard to be here. You’ve sacrifices that many of your friends and family never would. Re-read this top 5. Look in the mirror. Which is going well for you? Where are you having challenges?

How can we help?

Photo by Anna Shvets

David Rice

David Rice

Founder of the nation’s largest student and new-dentist community, igniteDDS, David R. Rice, DDS, travels the world speaking, writing, and connecting today’s top young dentists with tomorrow’s most successful dental practices. He is the editorial director of DentistryIQ and leads a team-centered restorative and implant practice in East Amherst, New York. With 27 years of practice in the books, Dr. Rice is trained at the Pankey Institute, the Dawson Academy, Spear Education, and most prolifically at the school of hard knocks.