The Transition from Student to Dentist


Charlene Steiner, DDS

Going straight from dental school into a dental office can be daunting for many new grads. While dental school provides a solid foundation for future dentists, there is still much to learn about the business of dentistry after graduation. The transition from student to dentist can be a difficult one, no doubt.

I first discovered my passion for dentistry during my senior year of high school as an intern for an orthodontist. Afterwards, I completed my undergraduate studies at Indiana University and decided to continue on at the University’s School of Dentistry. During dental school, I was active in the American Student Dental Association as well as a leader in my clinic.

It was during my time as an ASDA Lunch and Learn Coordinator that I first heard about Heartland Dental. I spoke with one of their doctor recruiters and from there; an interview was set up with a supported dental office.

I learned a lot, and really liked the freedom to learn how to practice dentistry without worrying about administrative hassles. I knew that I would have enough to learn without trying to figure out how to work with insurance or handle payroll.

Soon after the interview, I started practicing at a Heartland Dental supported location and I’ve had great success. I love that I am learning the business aspects of dentistry because I want to learn, not because I have to learn in order to keep a business alive.

Looking ahead, I look forward to seeking out mentoring opportunities within the organization. It is frightening to leave the safety net of dental school and practice in the real world for the first time. I would like to offer reassurance to new grads and help pay forward the unwavering support I have received.