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Cranham on Important Planning for New and Seasoned Dentists

September 2nd, 2009 · No Comments

little-biz-menThe most important thing young dentists can think about, beyond gaining clinical expertise and good business practices, is a long term financial plan. I use Cain Watters & Associates, which helped my wife and me establish goals for retirement, as well as life insurance and disability insurance. Security for your family must be worked into your budget, as should disability planning. Having a fixed point in time when you can retire or only work because you want to, not because you have to, gives great peace of mind. These things are possible for dentists, and the earlier you start, the better. I began at 34 and just turned 48, and despite highs and lows, I’m still on course to retire or choose at 55. But I can’t imagine quitting at 55!

When a seasoned dentist like myself looks toward transition, he or she should realize, there’s a lot of opportunity to work maybe two days or three mornings a week. You can sell practice, or bring on an associate, and create a structure that allows you to stay involved and have a really nice professional life, but also slow down your pace.

When we look at the number of dentists leaving school and those facing retirement, we see a real problem in trying to deliver all the dental care necessary for the population of the future. We’re training 50% women, which has never happened in our industry to date. A consideration with this, though, is that not all women want to practice full time, particularly once they have a family. Many international students graduate in the states, then go back home. Clearly, to meet the needs of our population, young and experienced dentists will need to work together. Personally, I see this as a great opportunity to continue to practice at a slower pace and to focus on the kind of dentistry I truly enjoy.

Dr. Cranham runs a private practice in Chesapeake, Virginia, focusing on cosmetic, restorative and implant services. He is a Partner and Director of Education for The Dawson Academy bases in St. Petersburg, Florida. Additionally Dr. Cranham founded Cranham Dental Seminars which provides a combination of lecture and mobile hands-on programs. Dr. Cranham can be reached at,, or at

Tags: Dental Direction from Dr. John Cranham · Planning for the Future

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