Societies draw new dentists with bevy of events, resources, opportunities

Next generation: The Greater St. Louis Dental Society hosts an event for Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine students on Sept. 9 at Grafton Winery in Grafton, Illinois. During the event, members of the society’s New Dentist Committee spoke to the students about organized dentistry. Photo courtesy of Greater St. Louis Dental Society.

There is a lot vying for the attention of new dentists — new associateships to consider, practices to size up for potential purchase, student and practice loans to pay back, and much more.

How do dental societies attract some of their attention, then?

Engagement may look a bit different depending on the society, but the challenges are similar — encouraging busy new dentists to get involved in organized dentistry, perhaps to even seek leadership roles, take on the challenges of advocacy and, in turn, appreciate the value that organized dentistry returns to the individual as well as to the profession.

To accomplish such goals in St. Louis, the Greater St. Louis Dental Society maintains a robust slate of new dentist events, around five each year, with different engagement aims. In September, the society hosted its annual New Dentist Welcome Event with tacos, drinks, arcade games and raffle prizes.

Food and fun are often part of the mix, but they also keep a keen eye trained on bolstering the ranks of leadership where needed. Their efforts bear good results, as the local dental society reports 260 new dentist members, including several who are in the House of Delegates and on the Board of Directors.

Greater St. Louis Dental Society New Dentist Committee Chair Kirthi Tata, D.D.S., exemplifies leadership by being a busy example that also includes encouraging advocacy.

"I actually happen to be the American Dental Political Action Committee new dentist person too," Dr. Tata said. "I have my hands in a lot of different things."

Dr. Tata said the society has many positions and committees, and she and others do their part to help spread the word about openings and recruit interested new dentists.

"For me, since I have had a little bit more of a role with the advocacy part, I have tried to bring in continuing education or events or try to find a way to weave that in with the new dentist events," she said.

The New York State Dental Association began offering its Survival Guide Series: Setting Yourself Up for Success to new dentists in 2021, offering them a range of valuable webinars with essential information relevant to new dentists. The five- part lecture series covered wellness and mental health, financial planning, starting a practice, and leveraging online reviews to grow your practice.

"When COVID hit, we recognized the importance of providing virtual content to our new dentist members," said James Wanamaker, D.D.S., who is the ADA New Dentist Committee District 2 representative and past New York State Dental Association NDC chair. "We sought out speakers that could present information our New Dentist Committee felt was most essential to success as a recent graduate."

Dr. Wanamaker sees the series as hitting its aim.

"Our attendance and registrations doubled from our first to our second year even during a time when many were burned out from Zoom meetings, so our topics must have resonated with new dentists," he said. "Our best-attended session was on legal contracts as a new dentist ranging from associate contracts to purchasing a practice."

Dr. Wanamaker said that the New York New Dentist Committee is currently planning a hybrid model of both virtual and in-person events for 2023.

Visit the websites of your local and state dental societies to find out what resources and activities they offer for new dentists. For more from the ADA, visit

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