Corporate Dentistry Takes Education and Training Inside
By Alex Medaglia
It is no secret that the dental technology industry is facing a critical shortage of highly knowledgeable and skilled removable dental technicians. That fact, however, is not slowing down the rapid expansion of Aspen Dental Management Inc. and Affordable Dentures and Implants practices nationwide. Each care center is staffed with a dental technician and together the two companies employ hundreds of dental technicians with plans to hire more as they continue to build out their chains of dental practices. How are they able to find and staff these centers with qualified technicians? Both companies follow carefully formulated plans to build their teams.
Aspen Dental utilizes an aggressive advertising campaign to attract qualified candidates, and both companies strongly emphasize the importance of education to develop their technicians’ skills.
“We advertise nationwide to get the attention of technicians who have the type of experience needed to be successful in an Aspen Dental branded location,” says Lori Bowling, Talent Acquisition Manager – Lab Program at Aspen Dental. “In addition to that, we have a team of Aspen representatives who exhibit at trade shows and network at association events, taking a ‘boots on the ground’ approach to meeting technicians and introducing them to the Aspen Dental practice model.”
Aspen requires work experience for technicians who manage individual laboratories. The company’s laboratory technician training program helps prepare new employees for these types of positions, Bowling says.
Affordable Dentures and Implants also advertises and recruits nationally. Additionally, it has similar goals with its training program, which next year will include a new education center located in North Carolina.
“As more schools closed their dental laboratory programs, we understood that we would need to provide our own education,” says Jim Perry, COO of Affordable Care, the Dental Services Organization that provides services to the Affiliated Affordable Dentures and Implants Practices.
VP of Operations Mike Thomas, CDT, recently implemented a requirement of Affordable Dentures technicians in traveling managerial positions to be CDTs. The company helps support technicians in their pursuit of that certification.
“We want to give our employees every opportunity to be excellent at what they do, and they appreciate that opportunity,” Jim Perry says.
Training future technicians, he adds, will not only help his business grow but also continue to inspire employees to dedicate themselves to their careers, and continued improvement.
“Investing in our employees and offering them the skills to do better work is in our best interest,” Mike Thomas says. “Business only gets better with employees learning as much about our industry as they can.”