The Importance Of Self-Care For Dentists

May is mental health awareness month and a good time to reflect on the importance of self-care for dentists, mindfulness, and mental health awareness in the dental industry. When you are running a dental practice, it is easy to put yourself last when you are managing a team, handling the day-to-day tasks, and taking care of patients. While you might not have the time to take off on a yoga retreat, there are some daily practices you can start adding today that will help you handle stress in a healthy and accessible way.

Managing Stress For Dentists

Finding time in the day to do anything for yourself can be a challenge, especially when you are just starting out at a new practice or running a new practice. I always recommend streamlining your processes and strategies as well as adapting automation whenever possible to cut out some of the busywork that can eat away at the hours in your day. If you are not sure where to start, I offer 1:1 coaching to help you create a sustainable practice that aligns with your lifestyle (not the other way around). Another great way to reduce stress is to outsource if you need support for marketing, content, and even things like groceries, cleaning, and other home tasks that take up a lot of time after work.

Once you have some smart systems in place, it’s still important to add self-care and mindfulness to your day. Here are a few easy ways to reduce stress in just 10-15 minutes per day.

Start Your Day With Gratitude

While expressing gratitude might seem like a simple act, it is a great way to start your day in a positive headspace. It can be as simple as jotting down five things you are grateful for in the morning before you get ready, or even mentally noting what you are grateful for before getting out of bed. Feeling grateful helps shift the way you move through your day and changes “have to’s” into “get to’s.”

Add Meditation To Your Night Routine

Meditation can be a little intimidating to start, but there are plenty of ways you can add this practice into your day, and the benefits can be felt in just ten minutes. You can download a guided meditation app or just throw on a iTunes meditation playlist, close your eyes, and relax. Mindfulness is all about practice, so don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to rid your mind of thoughts and worries. Just let these things float through your mind without giving them too much attention.

Try A Yoga Class

Moving your body is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and improve your health. Yoga is a great practice for connecting your mind and body. Research has shown that yoga has many stress-reducing effects that are great for your brain.

Try A Digital Detox

If you spend all day working, treating patients, and being “on”, it might be a good idea to have a little digital detox at night. While watching TV and scrolling on your phone can be a go-to way to relax, aim to put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode and unwind without screens at least an hour before bed. This will help you sleep better and reduce stress right before bed.

Stress is a part of the process, but this is a great time to do a life audit and see where your biggest stressors are coming from so you can adjust things. While hard work is a necessary part of growth, there’s no point in burning yourself out along the way.

How To Hire A Team For Your Dental Practice

Maintaining a dental practice takes a lot of work, maintenance, and strategy to keep things running efficiently. Yet, while dental school prepares you for the patients in your chair, it doesn’t always touch on the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a dental practice, including how to hire a team for your dental practice. 


You can easily navigate a cavity, but what about sales, marketing, hiring a team, and scaling your business? While the fear of the unknown can often hold us back, there’s no reason to prolong the process if you have the right information on your side. I understand this struggle and wanted to create a go-to guide to help new dentists develop storing systems and procedures from the very beginning of growing their practice, so they can continue to grow in a sustainable way. 


Running A Dental Practice 


In my book, Just Enough To Be Great In Your Dental Profession: Processes And Procedures For Success, I guide you through the hiring process while also sharing efficient ways to ensure they have the right training and education. 

This book was created for the new dentist, ready to grow a team and learn the insider tips I have used to grow and maintain my 14 dental practices. I have created a refined process and system that will bring ease and expertise to your hiring process with my own system I have developed over the last 30 years of running a dental practice.

In this book, we cover everything from the smallest details like managing phone calls to the process of follow-up care and dental records and how to develop your own processes and procedures to keep things running smoothly. 

If you need more 1:1 support beyond my book, I also offer coaching services for new dentists to ensure they have the tools they need for success. I can walk you through this process 1:1, or I also offer group coaching for anyone who needs it. 

Whether you want to dive into a book or go all-in for coaching, I am dedicated to your success and can’t wait to take my knowledge to help you grow a successful team, streamlined processes, and ultimate success. 



A Guide To Transitioning From Dental School To Dental Practice

You did it! You finally completed dental school, and while it is a very exciting time, it can also be overwhelming. After the celebrations are over, you are left to determine your career and what your professional life will look like moving forward. If you are looking ahead with some apprehension, this guide can offer you guidance for transitioning from dental school to a dental practice.

1.) Time management will become your best friend. Now that you are jumping into professional life, becoming a master of your own time will help you navigate starting or joining a dental practice.

2.) Start networking. There’s no better time than now to build your professional network. This will help you stay connected for support, job opportunities, and collaboration.

3.) Get a mentor or coach. It can be easy to get overwhelmed and need some guidance when you are just getting started. The truth is, starting your own practice can be a lot of trial and error (which is expensive) so working with someone who is already well versed in this experience and who can guide you in a way that supports your success.

4.) Start focusing on your savings goals and money management. This will become a pivotal part of the process when starting your practice.

5.) Prepare for running your own business. Dental school is a wealth of knowledge, but it does not always prepare you for the reality of starting a business. And as you can imagine, a lot goes into running a business, like setting up systems, hiring, finding clients, and accounting. Of course, working with a mentor or coach can also help you create a more seamless transition.

Is A Coaching Program Worth It?
Yes! When you start out working with someone who has already successfully started a practice, you can skip the growing pains of doing the same. With student loan debt, balancing a new practice, and navigating life after school, a coaching program can help set you up for success.

After starting 14 successful practices, I created a coaching program that teaches you everything I know about the process, how to reach financial success, and how to determine the next stage of your professional life. Even if you don’t want to start a practice right away, this program can still be beneficial in teaching you about contracts, finding a patient base, understanding dental compensation, common mistakes to avoid, insurance requirements, and so much more.

You don’t have to go through this process alone. If you would like to learn more about my coaching program, book an appointment today.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist?

Are you considering becoming a dentist but want to know more about what it takes? How much school is involved? Do you need more than a four-year degree? These are very important questions to ask when considering a career in dentistry. Whether you are just starting out or have completed several courses already, this article will provide a basic overview of what it takes to become a dentist in 2021.


Before starting any endeavor, it’s wise to consider the “why” behind your wanting to do something. This is especially the case with dentistry because it is a rewarding career as well as a demanding one. Consider what draws you to the dental field. Are you interested in how dentistry works? The desire to help people improve their oral health? Maybe you come from a family of dental practitioners and you feel this is expected of you. Whatever the reason, by addressing these questions, you can be prepared for the hours of training ahead with purpose, which can make all of the difference in the long run.


If you want to pursue a career in dentistry, it’s important to understand the cost. Dental school is a financial and time investment, although, for many aspiring dentists, the benefits outweigh the cost. It is helpful to consider how you plan on paying for school beforehand, for example, and to keep in mind the amount of time that will be required of you. While you most likely are aware of this, understanding the financial, emotional, and mental investment ahead of time often means you are more prepared to tackle setbacks along the way.


In terms of actual timing, it takes most aspiring dentists about four to eight years of school before joining a practice or starting their own. Most dental schools require several prerequisites, including college biology, physics, and chemistry, before applying for a spot. After you have completed these prerequisites, the next step is to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT). The majority of candidates take the DAT about a year before they plan on enrolling in a dental school program. After the admissions test itself, you complete the application, which can also include interviews, personal recommendations, and academic evaluations from your GPA and DAT results. Once you are accepted to dental school, the majority of programs take about four years to complete. However, if you are interested in a more specialized field like dental surgery, for example, expect several years of schooling following the initial four years. Each state has specific licensure requirements as well. Review the Massachusetts requirements for dental licensure here.

While the path to becoming a dentist takes time, money, and energy, it is a highly rewarding and fulfilling career. To learn more about the steps to becoming a dentist, your career options, and everything in between, contact Dr. Coughlin at

Thinking of Selling Your Practice? Here’s How to Prepare

Are you thinking of selling your dental practice? It’s a big step. There are lots of things to consider before, during, and even after selling your practice. That’s another post for another day. So, what are the key things to keep in mind as you prepare to sell your practice? Let’s take a look.


Like many other business models, a successful dental practice hinges on the reputation and opinion of your clientele. Because of that, any changes to your practice, including one as big as a sale, should be disclosed to your patients. The more transparency you can offer them will not only solidify your reputation but also provide the incoming practice a boost in revenue as well. Keeping your patients in the loop is a simple way to prepare for selling your practice without them feeling like you’re pulling the rug out from under them.


Similarly, your team plays a vital role in keeping your practice running. Make it a point to keep your employees informed and educated about the potential sale, and especially during the crucial parts of the transition. Communication regarding any changes in roles or job reductions is imperative. Do you have a plan for your employees to stay on in the current location, or move with you? Can you incorporate meetings with the new management to foster trust and rapport? The more honest and transparent you can be during the process, the more successful the transition will be.


Does your dental equipment need an upgrade? Could your walls use a fresh coat of paint? Now is the time to focus on physical improvements within the practice location. It’s important to take stock of potential areas of improvement even if you’re not looking to sell, but if you want to attract buyers, don’t skip this step.


As tedious as it is, an integral part of getting all of your ducks in a row when you sell a business has to do with administrative organization. Make sure to keep any vendors or other business relationships in the loop to avoid unwanted pauses in service or programs. Since dental practices rely on secured systems to manage and hold sensitive patient information, a successful administrative transition is crucial. Communicate with your electric, heat, and internet providers and work with the buyer to see if they might want to transfer the services. All of these factors help make the process of selling your practice less stressful and more seamless overall.


For more questions or concerns about how to move forward with selling your dental practice, contact Dr. Coughlin today. He helps dental practitioners sell their practices with a high return on investment – he can help you too.

Dental Careers

Are you in your late twenties, thirties or even forties and want to start a dental career? Don’t think it’s a possibility? Despite what you might think, there are options for you to get started in the dental industry if you want to do it. We’ll discuss a few steps you can take to make your dream a reality.


Whether you’ve worked in several positions and/or industries up until this point, knowing your career options as a dental professional is an important step. Do you see yourself owning your practice one day? Would you prefer the stability of a salaried position in an established practice? Have you considered a career in the dental research and academic space? What kind of dental career track makes the most sense for your life situation, taking any family or other commitments into consideration? You could even ask a dental school admissions officer some of these questions as part of your research.


Dental schools do require basic prerequisites for admission. These typically include about two semester’s worth of classes in biology, general and organic chemistry and physics with a lab component. Some schools may also require additional prerequisite coursework like anatomy. It’s also worth noting that shadowing – where you observe the work and practice of an established dentist – is usually required prior to starting or during your dental school course load.

In terms of where to apply, much of that depends on things like location, clinical specialization preferences, community feel, and more. Are you willing to relocate, or do you prefer to attend somewhere close by? What kind of community and/or curriculum do you want? Do you have an idea of the clinical services you’re most interested in? All of these factors play a role in where you decide to apply.


Finally, the path to a dental career is rigorous and demanding, both in terms of the workload and lifestyle but also on your wallet. If you’re switching to dentistry from another career, you may have had time to grow resources or savings you can tap into. If your current employer allows it, you can ask if they would be willing to reimburse some of your education expenses.

If you need to finance your dental school education, there are several options you can choose from. They include federal loans specifically for the dental industry, institutional loans, and third-party financing alternatives.

For more information on financing dental school, go to the American Dental Education Association.


Thinking about a career change to dentistry? Already in dental school but don’t know which career path to choose? Contact us today and we can help guide you confidently in the right direction.

The Biggest Hurdles After Dental School

What are the biggest hurdles after graduating dental school?

Have you recently graduated from dental school? As a new graduate, chances are you’ve accumulated practical knowledge, modern skills – and a huge amount of debt. Obviously, you want a successful career, but because there are a lot of options to choose from, it can be difficult to know which path to take.

There’s good news: you’re not alone! Our New Dentist Career Path coaching program gives you the tools and information to address many of the questions you might have, in addition to equipping you to ensure success in your dental career.

Here are some of the common questions and problems our 6 Week New Dentist Career Path covers.


There are many paths a new dentist can take. Should you join an established team? Do you dream of owning your own practice? What are the benefits of each? Dr. Coughlin helps you navigate each of these options and which one might be the best one for you.


An important factor in predicting success as a dentist is the ability to know your patient’s needs. But how do you do that? What are some tools you can use to navigate your ideal patient base in order to target and tailor your services for maximum benefit?


Navigating the ins and outs of how your pay structure works as a dentist can be tricky, especially when factoring in the differences between opening your own practice and joining a dental group. For example, is your pay based on collection, production or guaranteed salary – or a mix? Understanding these practical considerations gives you more confidence as you enter the dental workforce.


Like any career, it takes time to establish trust and respect as a dentist, not to mention the lessons you learn from mistakes along the way. However, there are some very common pitfalls that you can avoid if you know what to look for and how to prepare for them. The personalized coaching sessions give you the opportunity to work through these common mistakes. Even more than that, Dr. Coughlin equips you with resources and tools to save you time and money.

The New Dentist Career Path consists of six coaching sessions. We can work with you either in person, over the phone or via teleconferencing. In addition to the coaching sessions themselves, we also send you four of Dr. Coughlin’s books, which are valuable resources you can refer back to in the future.

Ready to get started? Call us today to register for the New Dentist Career Path coaching sessions or with any questions.

How Are Dentists Compensated?

One of the biggest questions that most dentists have upon graduating with their D.M.D is whether to join a Dental Service Organization (DSO) or open their own practice. Related to this is the difference in compensation plans that are available with each option. How exactly are dentists compensated in a dental organization versus as a business owner? Which option makes the most sense for you? These are the questions we will answer today.


Many dentists need to start generating income quickly to start paying off student loans or other expenses. The good thing is that according to, the average base salary for a dentist ranges from $82k-$200k, not including bonuses and commissions. How your salary is determined differs based on your location and whether or not you are self-employed or an associate in an established dental service group.


As an associate at a DSO or other established practice, you are typically paid by the hour or are salaried. You can also be paid as an independent contractor, and you would be expected to track income and set aside funds for tax purposes. However, you can also get a percentage of commission based on either the ‘production’ that you work on or, most commonly, of the funds that are collected after employer discounts, costs for office overhead, etc.

For example, if you are an employee at a dental group and you have several patients that have a 20% discount through their employer, you might only be eligible to receive roughly 50% of the remaining funds after they are allocated towards administrative expenses.


If you plan on or already run your own dental practice, compensation will look different for you as the owner. First of all, there’s no one over you determining your hours or commission rates, so your income potential can be higher than an associate. You also have more flexibility in terms of how you prefer to be paid – ie per production or a portion of total monetary collections for rendered services – which can maximize your compensation as well. One key benefit you have as a practice owner is to carry over your business as an asset when or if you stop working with patients.

However, like any business owner, you will need to take the overall overhead of your practice into consideration before compensating yourself. In addition to setting aside the appropriate amount of your gross income for tax purposes, several factors affect how you can claim as take-home pay. These include:

• Employee wages and benefits, if applicable
• Business Insurance
• Office space rental or mortgage
• Administrative systems like payroll, accounting software, etc
• Equipment
• Marketing

Once these main considerations are taken care of, then you can think about how much it makes sense to allocate for personal compensation. This number is often based directly on your overall success as a practice.


Understanding the ins and outs of how you get paid as a dentist can be a little confusing. You might also be wondering if one type of compensation plan works better for your needs than others. If you have further questions about compensation or anything else related to your dental career, give Dr. Coughlin a call at (413) 224-2659.

Should You Lease or Own Your Dental Practice Building?

If you’ve decided to own a dental practice, there are lots of things to be mindful of to be successful beyond the day to day operations. Your time, money and other resources need to be spent on marketing, effective management techniques, and bookkeeping. In addition to all of these, you also need to factor the whereabouts of the physical location of your business. And with that comes the need to think about what your plans are for your practice for both the long and short term.

Do you want to have more flexibility for the physical location of your practice? Do you have access to funds for a down payment and mortgage for your practice space, if desired? These types of questions can help you hone in on the more practical option for your business needs and goals.

And these questions lead to a very important one.

Should you own or lease the office space for your dental practice?



Leasing is essentially the same thing as renting your office space. If location is of utmost importance to you, leasing allows you to have more flexibility than owning real estate. There’s a higher likelihood of being able to find short term leases, for example, if that’s something you feel you need. In many cases, leasing gives you more options in terms of property locations. Finally, you won’t need to have a large amount of capital to invest in real estate property if you decide to lease.



If you’ve had experience with renting at all, you know that one of the biggest drawbacks is that rental rates consistently increase over time. If you’d like your dental practice to remain in the same location for the long haul, signing onto a long-term lease might not be in your best interest. You also don’t get the benefits of property ownership, namely equity value and tax advantages, if you lease your office space.



Real estate ownership offers many advantages and benefits in general, and the same is true if you want to purchase property for your dental practice.  Some of the most compelling benefits are flexibility in controlling location and any future expansion projects, the ability to build equity as you pay down the financial terms, and to eventually earn a return on your investment.



In contrast, owning your dental practice location requires a significant amount of upfront capital. As a property owner, you would also be responsible for any upkeep and maintenance, including fronting the cost for any property-related damages. These responsibilities can take away from other tasks necessary to growing and sustaining your practice,like marketing, staff management, and accounting.

The decision to lease or own your dental practice property is based on a combination of your personal and business needs. It’s good to think through all of your options with either choice.



Are you just starting out with your practice? Sign up for Dr. Coughlin’s program that details the principles of success to learn what it takes to have a successful, thriving dental practice!

Do Your Potential Patients Know Your Dental Practice Exists?

Effective marketing can mean the difference between a successful, thriving business and one that’s just barely making ends meet. A clear, consistent marketing plan attracts the right customers, at the right time, in the right location. If they have a good experience, these patients then share your practice with others, come back for dental services, and the cycle continues. If this happens regularly, you’re likely to have a thriving dental practice. But what happens if you don’t reach these target customers?

They don’t discover your business, so they go elsewhere. And you (and your practice) suffer for it.

Luckily, there are some surefire ways to market your business, and are well worth it because of the return on investment (ROI). Interested to know if you’re taking advantage of these effective marketing channels for your business? Read on.



If you haven’t listed your business on Google, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Customers who search for dental practices typically are from your local community. And because they’re already searching for dentists on Google, you’ll be able to see what brings your patients to your door. That information alone is beyond valuable.



Have you joined your Local Chamber of Commerce yet? Since most dental practices are based locally, this marketing strategy is a great choice for you. Once a member, most local chamber chapters give you the option to list your business in their main directory. You can also participate in networking and other organized events throughout the year for additional community exposure.



Social media remains an effective and popular marketing channel for many businesses. In today’s fast-paced digital world, social media provides a way for you to keep up with your customer’s demands, expectations, and desires easily. Customer service usage options abound. You can even create targeted ads to reach your patients that perhaps may not have found you otherwise.



While social media is great, don’t forget about tried-and-true marketing strategies like email marketing and direct mail. Did you know that a recent study showed that 99% of Americans check their email at least once a day? That’s a lot of potential eyes on your content. If you haven’t built an email list for your dental practice, start today. Email marketing can be particularly helpful for retaining current patients, which can end up being more lucrative to you and your business than acquiring new patients alone. Try sending a monthly email newsletter or put together an email drip campaign that provides recipients with valuable information.



Finally, direct mail marketing collateral can be an effective way to market your business, particularly if you target patients in and around your physical practice. Send out a basic flyer with an introductory offer or collaborate with other local businesses to cross-promote your services.



It can be time-consuming and frustrating to try and figure out the most effective way to market your particular dental practice. If you want personalized guidance by a fellow dentist and dental practice owner that’s been there, contact Dr. Coughlin today. We will help you find the right marketing approach that’s based on your specific ideal target audience that effectively meets your business goals.