Our dreams of a perfect practice begin in dental school. We all end up wanting a model that blends sound business skills with professionally enjoyable cases. Here, Dr. Lee Ann Brady gives insight into what made the difficulties of dental school worth it and how she rediscovered the value of her education.

Dr. Brady on her dental school experience and business goals.In this post, Dr. Brady lets us in on the details of her path to success. She explains how the downsides of dental school eventually turned into upsides and what skills she stopped using once she figured out the types of cases that get her energized.

Reflecting on Dental School’s Rigor, Business Lessons, & Forming a Technical Foundation

Q: Where did you go to dental school and why did you choose that specific school?

A: I went to the University of Florida College of Dentistry. I applied to 6 schools and was accepted at all of them. I really wanted to go to Penn. When I sat down and looked at the cost and how much debt I would have after graduation, staying in Florida and going to a state school was the best business decision.

Q: What was the greatest overall takeaway you got from dental school?

A: Dental school was a rigorous 4 years. It was filled with intense studying for hours on end and then the stress of learning the technical pieces of being a dentist and trying to find the right patients. It is also a time in your life where your friends who didn’t go to professional school are out of college, starting their families and careers and making money while you eat tuna and boxed macaroni and cheese every night.

I guess for me one of the best lessons is that if I set my mind to something I can make it happen, no matter the circumstances. It was a long rough road to get there. The sense of accomplishment when I walked across the stage and was a doctor was a moment I will always remember.

Q: What useful advice learned in dental school do you still use in the practice today?

ASome of the best tips I use today I did learn in dental school. The funny or sad part is that I came out of school and stopped using them thinking they were dumb things you only had to do in school. Then I realized after struggling in real practice I needed to do things different, went and paid lots of money for great CE, and learned the same techniques again I had in school. The difference is that this time I was paying attention and had a body of knowledge as a foundation as to why these things mattered.

Q: What did you learn in dental school that you either never used or don’t use anymore?

AI don’t use any of the skills I learned in Endo or redo really as I decided after general practice for a few years that I did not get any energy out of these procedures. I haven’t done them in many years. The truth is most of what I learned in school is still relevant and serves as the foundation for how I practice now, I have just deepened my knowledge by many degrees since then. I guess I also don’t use the skill of placing amalgam, as silver fillings are a thing of the past for me.

Q: How have you changed as a dentist since dental school?

AOf course, I know way more about the technical side of dentistry. I have learned to run a business and manage a team, and I have realized that being successful is as much about the people skills as the technical.

Q: What advice would you give to dentists early on in their career who have recently graduated and are looking to achieve success?

AKeep learning. Every day in your practice there are things to learn. Take CE and keep learning even if it is online or at a local society and find a way to stay engaged and keep growing. Learn what you love to do and what you don’t enjoy so much and create dentistry so that you LOVE it!

What did you learn in dental school that you still find incredibly valuable today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments! And make sure to read Dr. Brady’s post on balancing a dental career with parenting