Continuing Education


I have 63 hours of continuing education (CE) due next year and am glad that my birthday is not in January. It seems like with COVID that there should have been tons of time to crack it out, but the opposite is true. I’ve never worked so hard and for so many hours in my life. I’ve never had so little time. Honestly, even with online CE being unlimited, that big number of CE hours is daunting. The human side of me wants to shove it in the back of my mind and forget it, but I’ve found a better way. For me, when something seems overwhelming, it helps me to step back and remember the “why.” It reenergizes me and gets me back into a place where I have new drive to get the job done.

The dry version would relate this back to items 2 and 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) ethics code, namely nonmaleficence and beneficence (“do no harm” and “do good”, respectively). Though those are a big part of why keeping current with CE is important, it doesn’t put the human element into it. I need a face to remind me of why. So, I asked my patients. More specifically, the ones I live with.

I asked my 16-, 13-, and 11-year-old the following: “Why it is important to you that your dentist be educated on modern dental techniques”?

The 16-year-old, as many might expect, declined to comment. 

No comment

13-year-old: “With more educated dentists, the patients will most likely have a less painful procedure to go through. They also will not get accidentally stabbed nearly as often. I do not like getting stabbed in the gums by accident, so I am in favor of less of that.”

13 YO

11-year-old: “One word: Mistaaaaakes!”

 11 YO

Honestly, they are right. When we learn better ways to do our jobs and keep current with materials and practices, we do make fewer mistakes. It is a constant push, but the faces that benefit are those we see daily in our practice. These are people we care about. We live with and around these people. We run into them at the store. I just ran into a couple that I treat eight hours from home on vacation in an ice cream shop. We really do owe it to these people to be the best that we are capable of being. Our performance influences their health. 

So now that the “why” is clear, what needs doing? We need 63 hours total by our birthday in 2022. Half credit for online self-study, though parts of that are being looked at. There are several mandatory items that needed to be done like the jurisprudence exam, suicide prevention, opioid training, telehealth training, etc. There are lots of ways of going about it. Find something fun that fits you and make it less of a chore. The “why” people are worth it. 


Have a question about CE? Visit our CE webpage.