Also known as “practice management advisors,” dental consultants are certified by the American Association of Dental Consultants to guide new practices through the first stages of their launch or simply increase revenue in an already established office. Their major functions focus on management (time, marketing, personnel, etc.), general office efficiency, and financial services.
This career involves collaborating with dental product manufacturers to assist in marketing, networking, or other need the company may have for someone with field-specific expertise. You might even consider starting your own business, selling dental care products and/or equipment.
Accreditation employees visit dental offices and evaluate them based on the quality of care and level of patient/practitioner safety. Accreditation agencies prefer to use field surveyors who have extensive experience in the field they are investigating.
There are several opportunities for dental professionals interested in joining an insurance company. They may verify insurance claims, consult in disputed claim cases, or engage in scientific research and analysis for the company. Note that this job requires strong interpersonal skills, as clients may be stressed or uncooperative.
Military/U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Healthcare
If you wish to continue practicing clinical dentistry while moving out of a traditional setting, consider seeking a position with the military and/or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. These groups offer healthcare to current and veteran military personnel and their families. This wide range of patients may present significant challenges, especially as patients may return from service with complex and diverse medical problems.
If you are interested in politics or legal regulations regarding dental care, public policy may be the perfect fit for you. Those involved in public policy development work with state departments of health and/or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to guide and establish regulations and legislation.
Moving into the educational arena may be the solution for dental professionals looking to change careers who possess strong communication skills and are enthusiastic about preparing the next generation of students. Professors will work in a lab and have access to college resources, and so have the benefit of maintaining a working knowledge about current dental technologies and procedures.
Two opportunities for getting involved in research are new product testing and oral health research. Product testing is usually performed by biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, while the epicenter of oral health research is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Other places to look for research jobs include government institutions, universities, and private corporate research centers. When considering a research position, verify whether the specific opening requires additional training, and if so whether the institution offers the training or if you need to complete it elsewhere.
Forensic dentists— or, “forensic odontologists”— work with law enforcement to analyze dental records in order to identify suspects from bite marks, human remains, and missing persons. This position requires certification from the American Board of Forensic Odontology.
Online patient advising is an excellent opportunity for dental professionals looking to move away from face-to-face interaction with patients. Many websites that provide medical services or patient consultations employ professionals who can converse with clients via live chat sessions. These positions offer flexible hours and, frequently, the opportunity to work from home.
If you wish to pursue some change in your career without leaving the traditional work environment, you might be more inclined to consider entering one of the nine specialty dental fields than any of these options.
Madhushree Kelkar – 8 Non-Clinical Career Options for Dentists
Trudy Brunot – Alternative Careers for Dentists
American Dental Association – Alternative Dental Career Options