We hope you’ve been following along with our “Tips for New Dentists” series. With topics like making employment decisions, to managing risk, to choosing a professional liability carrier, the series has covered important information for new dentists as they prepare for the first year of practice.

Now, we want to focus on that very first day in a new practice. What can you do to make it as smooth as possible? Here’s how to set yourself up for success from the very beginning.

Buy a long-term care and disability policy.

First, the logistics. Both long-term care and disability policies are inexpensive at a young age, so it’s a good time to purchase them. As a new grad and early-career dentist, you probably aren’t thinking about nursing homes, caregivers, or disability support. However, making a small contribution now will pay off in dividends later should you ever need those services.

Remember the importance of a first impression.

You’ve been in school and training for years, so being a new dentist has been a long time coming. Even with your clinical and academic preparation, keep in mind the one thing that is true for all jobs: first impressions matter. Some live by the adage, “first one to work, last one to leave!” Others show their dedication through thoughtful, high-quality work, each and every day. Whatever your style, being courteous, humble and hardworking is a foolproof way to start off on the right foot in your new practice.

Be confident and do not be afraid to ask questions.

As you start in a new practice, having questions — lots of them! — is normal. That is why you have a team. It can be difficult to ask questions, but it’s an important part of the learning process and fundamental to humility. Oftentimes, others don’t realize what you don’t know until you ask them. Have confidence, voice your confusion and remember that each day will get a little bit easier. One day, you’ll be the one training a new dentist!

Make time for self-care.

A change in job and routine is a great time to build self-care into your daily ritual. Making time for yourself is vital, especially in a clinical, patient-facing profession like dentistry. There’s no wrong way to practice self-care. Whether it’s walking the dog, taking a long bath, reading, going to the gym or meditating, do what makes you feel good. Keep in mind that it might also be helpful to talk to a mental health care professional, which is a normal part of many people’s lives. In order to take care of others, it’s important to take care of yourself, too.

Are you a new dentist with questions for our experts? Or maybe you’re a seasoned veteran with tips of your own to share? Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and tag us in your own “Tips for New Dentists” posts.

This article is part of our series, “Tips for New Dentists.” Click here to read other articles in the series or check out more topics on our blog! We also encourage you to visit our resources page for information related to COVID-19, New York State Executive Orders and more. If you’re interested in applying for professional liability coverage, dentists can do so online.