How does a dentist keep up with the expanding role of dentistry? Dentists have taken on new and primary roles in a number of areas such as facial pain management, sleep apnea, systemic health and wellness, facial pain and facial esthetics. Continuing education is the primary source for becoming proficient in new ways to better treat patients and deliver dentistry. As someone who has personally given over ten thousand hours of continuing education over the past 35 years, here are some guidelines that I use to evaluate continuing education courses:
1. Who are the instructors and are they proficient at what they are teaching? I personally look for instructors who have real practices and who are treating patients on a regular basis. Life experience is the best teacher and it just takes time doing a lot of procedures in any field to really develop the experience necessary in order to be able to teach them properly. For example, each faculty member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics treats patients with facial pain and minimally invasive facial esthetics techniques and have practice management techniques in their offices in order to motivate patients to treatment with high case acceptance.
2. What has been the feedback from your peers about a particular course and instructor? Are there testimonials and references available? Can you contact these people for references? Are the names and cities real or does it just say, “Dr. T, Texas”? What other doctors think of a course is extremely important. On the www.FacialEsthetics.org website, you will literally find hundreds and hundreds of testimonials from clinicians all over the world with their real names and where they live.
3. Is there post course support? This is extremely important, especially when you are getting into new areas for your practice. In areas such as facial pain, sleep apnea, and Botox® and dermal fillers, continuing support is essential. This is exactly why we have a website forum section in The American Academy of Facial Esthetics. What we wanted to create was a community support group on the website to ask the question to our expert faculty and clinicians who are using these procedures every day in their office. Too many times in the past I have left a course and came back to my practice, had a question on the first patient I was treating, but had nowhere to turn. You should not be getting your clinical information from youtube. We wanted to make sure dental professionals have a place to go where they can get answers fast, share their own experiences, upload their own cases to share with others, and interact with all our expert faculty. There is not another resource group like this in the field of dental and facial pain and esthetics. This has grown to over 8000 members strong who regularly visit and use the AAFE resources.
4. How many clinicians have the organization and faculty trained? If an educational training institution has successfully trained thousands of practitioners, there is a reason for that. I have to tell you what the AAFE secret weapon has always been. The AAFE has consulted with and studied what the best educational methods are so that any courses that they have developed are delivered with the best faculty with the best practices available so that attendees can deliver the best esthetic and therapeutic outcomes. Make sure the training you take for any new area of your practice is up to the standard of your state licensing board. I have found individual doctors offering “Botox®” or “sleep apnea” training in their offices claiming to be able to teach you everything you need. If it doesn’t meet a certain standard, it is a waste of money. There is a reason that dozens of state dental board members have attended AAFE live patient training courses.
5. Can you review the information and get your team trained? With the new on-demand educational platform the AAFE has developed, you can now save thousands of dollars and have all of your team trained. You can also review all the didactic information at your leisure. Since releasing this a few months ago, it has reshaped dental education. There is nothing else like it in dentistry and is the best way to learn. I talk to too many dentists over the years that have wasted too much time and money getting training that was inadequate, useless, and too superficial to be acceptable by any standard. Use the same careful due diligence in your choices of education providers as you would in any other important decision for your practice. Most importantly, you want to be able to provide the best treatment available for your patients and that only comes with the best training possible. Go to www.FacialEsthetics.org right now for everything you need to know about Botox® and dermal filler live patient training, Frontline TMJ/Orofacial Pain live patient training, Frontline bruxism therapy and dental sleep medicine on-demand training, Medicare and medical insurance for every dental practice on-demand training, and many other on-demand training options. P.S. The AAFE has a special offer for those who read this newsletter, call 800 952-0521 today!