Collaboration is innovation

Dr. Vladana Babic Tal says that the way to grow our practices is to embrace technology and seek opportunities for mentorship.

During the AAE Annual Meeting in Chicago in May, surrounded by a record-setting crowd of the brightest minds in our specialty, I was reminded of the overwhelming dedication and hard work we put in every day to save teeth and improve experiences for our patients. It is that commitment to excellence that drives us to constantly adapt and evolve in our field.

This year’s AAE made it abundantly clear that of all the changes we’ve experienced, one seems here to stay: We thrive when we work together.

In our post-pandemic world, endodontists are hungry for human interaction, flexibility, and time outside of the operatory for what matters most. The rampant burnout in the dental world is finding a foil now that we’re starting to acknowledge there is strength in numbers and great power in working alongside our peers, whether under one roof or virtually with groups that span the country or world.

These realizations will echo in our industry for years to come, as they produce longevity in our careers, increase the quality of our work — and the quality of our lives. Collaboration is the ultimate key to unlocking new possibilities in endodontics.

Mentorship is one of the most important forms of collaboration, and it is critical for the future of our specialty. Whether it’s generational or symptomatic of the world we live in, today’s students and new clinicians crave leadership and coaching and are actively seeking them out. They are embracing the opportunity to grow as professionals, rather than just aiming to produce more than the competition as quickly as possible, as may have once been the case.

As experienced doctors, it is our responsibility to pass on our knowledge and skills to the next generation of specialists. We owe them that care and consideration; it is a valuable opportunity to help ensure that young clinicians are well-trained, confident, and passionate about their work, and to assist them in honing their professional and personal attributes. We can provide guidance and support, helping them to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with starting a career and mold them into better leaders.

And they can help us. The opportunity to mentor is a two-way street; those young minds can be of benefit to even the most seasoned professionals. Doctors fresh out of residency come to the table with a new library of knowledge and experience that might not have been afforded to us because the research was not yet fully developed. That knowledge can be disseminated to doctors who may have been doing things one way for a long time. That is — you can learn as much as you teach, so long as you are humble and open.

So, let’s embrace collaboration as an important form of innovation — just like a new technology or clinical breakthrough — and welcome the opportunity to work with each other and to share our experiences with a younger generation. By working together, we can continue to learn and grow throughout our careers and provide next-level oral health care to those in our communities.

One of the ways to embrace technology is to read articles in our technology column! You can find them here:

Vladana Babcic Tal, DMD, serves as Chief Clinical Officer of Specialized Dental, the parent company of US Endo Partners. Dr. Babic Tal is a practicing endodontist at Cameo Dental Specialists, a five-location multi-specialty practice in Chicago and pioneer in integrated oral healthcare. She attended University of Wisconsin–Madison, then Boston University School of Medicine for a dual Master of Medical Science and International Public Health, before earning her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. She completed her post-doctorate advanced specialty training in endodontics at University of Illinois–Chicago College of Dentistry. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and a member of the American Association of Endodontists, American Dental Association, Chicago Dental Society, Illinois State Dental Society, and the Serbian American Medical and Dental Society. Dr. Babcic Tal serves on the Board of the Edgar D. Coolidge Endodontic Study Club and is an advisor for the Windy City Seminars-Seattle Study Club, which focuses on continuing education and interdisciplinary treatment planning for general dentists and specialists.

Stay Relevant With Endodontic Practice US

Join our email list for CE courses and webinars, articles and more..

Scroll to Top