What Dental School Didn’t Teach You about “Adulting” 

By: Savanah Craig

It won’t shock anyone to know that there are many important things that dental school didn’t teach you.

Unfortunately, many of the topics that dental school skipped over are critical to your success and are necessary to protect the investments you made in this career.

3 Things Dental School Didn’t Teach You

Let’s talk through some of the ‘adult’ topics that no one taught you in dental school:

Disability Insurance

You have worked so hard to become a dentist and now it is time to protect yourself. Dentistry is a very physical job. Injury and illness can happen when you least expect it, so having an insurance policy in place is very important.

Applying for disability insurance as a 4th-year dental student comes with several benefits including a lifetime reduction in cost for your policy.

Additionally, insurance companies will investigate your medical records to determine your insurance coverage and you’ll never be younger or healthier than you are right now, so don’t delay seeking coverage.

Reading a disability policy can be overwhelming, so it can be helpful to talk to insurance professionals and practicing dentists you trust to make sure your policy has important riders listed to protect you financially in the future. 

Getting a State License

Graduating from dental school is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a practicing dentist.

Depending on your state there are various ways to become eligible for a dental license and reaching out to your state dental board can be a great place to start!

Once you have completed all of the necessary steps, examinations, and paperwork for your state license there will be fees associated with it.

Additionally, you will need to apply for a DEA license and an NPI number which have their own associated paperwork and fees.

It’s important to be aware of some of the costs associated with licensure and save up money accordingly since these tasks will need to be done shortly after graduation before you can start working. 

Student Loans

Planning for your student loans can be very stressful. You, like me, have probably ignored them for the last 4 years, but now it’s time to understand your options for repayment.

There are companies that specialize in helping professional students formulate a plan for their student loans and I found their consultation very helpful. Student Loan Planner is one such company that can help.

Everyone’s situation for student loan repayment is different and there is no advice that is one size fits all. Consider the total amount of your debt and investigate the various repayment plans offered by the government or your lending institution. It is important to think about the long-term benefits of whichever plan you choose. 

Take Time to Learn These “Adult” Topics

I know it can feel overwhelming when looking at these big topics that you are unfamiliar with.

Rest assured that you are not alone in feeling confused about getting a license, which insurance company to work with, or what is a reasonable monthly payment. There are a lot of resources available to help you through this important transition time in your life.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to someone who has been through it and ask them for guidance and resources. 

Up Next: Dental Associate Contract

Photo by Olya Kobruseva

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig

Savanah Craig is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. She is currently a 2022 D.D.S. Candidate at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. She will be pursuing a General Practice Residency in Columbia, SC following graduation. In her free time, Savanah enjoys reading, exploring new restaurants, and traveling.