Sharpening your clinical skills with online courses is just one step on your journey to Great Dentistry. The key to success is to augment your continuing education by developing systems for consistent practice growth and cultivating more positive relationships with patients and referrers.

Dr. Jason Lipscomb, a Virginia-based general practitioner and co-host of the popular “Dental Hacks” podcast, said his decision to join a Spear Study Club led him to improve treatment planning and strengthen the referral relationships that are so crucial to increasing case acceptance.

dental study clubs

Spear Digest talked with the “self-proclaimed CE junkie” about how his Study Club experience has supplemented and enhanced his online and campus education, and what other clinicians can expect to gain from joining a club.

Leverage your Spear Online access

Even with the slew of information available on Spear Online, Dr. Lipscomb said that learning in the intimate group environment of Study Club will always reveal new questions, concepts and tips that you don’t always find in the singular experience of following online modules.

The online component of Study Club sets the foundation for group learning, but group members also share and analyze their own cases, using Spear Online resources to supplement their discussions.

There's a lot of stuff you can see online, but you don't really get the full value until you have people sitting in same room talking it over,” Dr. Lipscomb said. “There are little nuances you uncover in person in a group setting that probably wouldn’t come up otherwise.”

Gain confidence with more complex treatment

Few doctors envision themselves working on the same basic cases throughout their careers. Spear Study Clubs give doctors a forum to quickly move away from rudimentary, single-tooth dentistry into a mindset of more comprehensive care.

For Dr. Lipscomb, who runs a restorative practice in Richmond, joining his club led him to feel more comfortable with more complex cases and to see his club members as an extended team to help him grasp the best approach to various interdisciplinary challenges.

“Spear Study Clubs have definitely impacted my case acceptance,” he said. “And I’m now able to not only present more complex treatment options but know how to communicate those options to the patients a little bit better.”

Breaking out of dentistry's ‘isolated box’

The ability to rely on a strong network of referring doctors is crucial for any doctor looking to take on more complex cases, and the most poignant Study Club success stories reflect gratitude for the interdisciplinary relationships that doctors routinely build within their groups.  

“It’s been really helpful in terms of growing my referral base,” Dr. Lipscomb said. “I’ve gotten to know people better and better understand their thought processes and how they treat cases. I knew a few of these doctors before joining my study club but hadn’t gotten a chance to connect with them very much. Study clubs showed me who I was dealing with and how to best present to them.”

Dr. Lipscomb added that it’s helpful for him to have a variety of specialists in one room to weigh in on a case.

“Dentists kind of sit in our own little isolated box,” he said. “So, it’s really good to take advantage of these smaller classes that aren’t so overwhelming. And I think study clubs are a little bit more of an active learning than just sitting in a lecture.”

For Dr. Lipscomb, Study Club provided a community that motivated him to take on more challenging cases and give him the support necessary to learn how to generate more consistently predictable patient outcomes.

“There was an implant case that I was planning on doing for a while, but I got cold feet,” he explained. “With my study club though, I was able to send it over to a referral. I felt comfortable that they’d send back to me to be able to create a treatment plan and get the crown we need. In the end, we had a much better outcome.”

Are you ready to connect with a supportive community of doctors like Dr. Lipscomb? Are you prepared to take the next step to build your clinical skills and reach your practice goals? Visit speareducation.com/study-club/join-a club or contact your advisor for more information on how to join a Spear Study Club near you.

Be sure to check out “Dental Hacks” with Dr. Lipscomb and Dr. Alan Mead, available on iTunes and Stitcher, which includes interviews with Spear Resident Faculty and staff.