During dental school, you dedicated countless hours to studying, hands-on practice, and rigorous exams. Even so, your education doesn’t end when you walk across the stage on graduation day. Instead, your state dentistry board will expect you to pursue additional studies ¹ from your first day on the job until the day you retire.
Fortunately, you can complete your required continuing education credits without breaking the bank. Many high-quality dental CE programs offer free webinars, digital courses, and other flexible ways to expand your knowledge without leaving your practice for days on end.
Our staff at Weave compiled this guide to the ten most popular free CE courses for dentists in 2021. Read on for everything you should know about virtual CE to optimize your practice and take better care of your patients.
What Is CE Dental?
Typically, continuing education (CE) includes any educational programs that professionals complete after graduating with a formal degree. CE varies in format and may consist of in-person seminars, conferences, classes, digital courses, or earning another degree, such as returning for a doctorate after graduating with your master’s degree.
Dental CE programs encompass a vast array of general or specialized subjects, ²such as:
- Infection control
- CPR or basic life support
- Child abuse and neglect
- Pain and symptom management
- Chemical effects
- Medical emergency management
Why Do Dentists Need CE?
Simply put, dentists need continuing education credits to maintain their license to practice. However, the best dentists look at continuing education as an opportunity to stay ahead of trends, improve their care, and optimize their practices instead of an obligatory box the state requires them to check.
Other benefits of dental CE include:
1. Improved Treatment
Online continuing education courses make it easy to offer the most advanced, efficient care for your patients. By attending live webinars, conferences, or digital classes, you can prepare yourself for new industry trends or learn about advanced techniques that could improve your patients’ oral health.
2. Enhanced Collaboration
Running a dental practice can feel isolating, especially if you’re the only DDS in the building. Both in-person and virtual CE events allow you to meet, mingle, and collaborate with your peers. There, you can share your stories, learn about unique practices, and expand your care offerings while satisfying your state dental CE requirements.
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3. Increased Authority
Attending accredited CE webinars is an efficient way to improve credibility and authority in your market. Rather than cramming to meet credit requirements at the end of your licensing cycle, you’ll have a solid lineup of approved, respected programs under your belt, putting you one step ahead of your competition.
4. Specialized Education
Alongside allowing you to accumulate CE credits to maintain your license, webinars are a convenient way to gain specialized knowledge or become an expert in complex practices, such as:
- Pediatric care
- Oral surgery
- Restoration and implants
5. Real-Time Advancements
You don’t need the flashiest, most expensive equipment to develop loyal customers. You do need the most up-to-date skills, client-focused strategies, and relationship-building practices, though.
Authorized, virtual CE webinars ensure that you remain at the helm of product, technology, and care advancements. You may spend an afternoon learning about conducting small talk with patients, sign up for a course on occlusion, or enroll your whole team in a staff-wide training program. No matter what type of CE program you choose, you’ll stay ahead of the curve and poised to expand your practice.
Do Webinars Count as Live CE for Dentists?
Webinars count as live CE credits for dentists in most states. However, your state may not allow you to accumulate all of your required CE credit hours through online webinars or digital programs.
How Many CE Hours Does a Dentist Need?
Each state has different CE credit requirements. Further, renewal cycles vary based on location as well. To determine how many credits you need to achieve each year, you can review the American Dental Association Council on Dental Education and Licensure state CE regulations ³ or contact your state board for more information.
What Should You Look For in a Dental CE Program?
Finding the best dental CE program for your needs isn’t always straightforward. You need a dental CE program to maintain your license, but you don’t want to waste time or money on a course or webinar that doesn’t benefit your practice.
Many dentists feel torn when it comes to choosing a dental CE program. Should you focus on the webinar topic or the instructors? Do webinars offer information for both new practitioners and veteran dentists? Can webinars provide the same quality of information as an online course?
Before signing up for a CE program, consider a few key factors, including:
The American Dental Association’s Commission for Continuing Education Provider Recognition (CCEPR) 4 has created guidelines to help evaluate CE providers. To receive credit for your study hours, you need to ensure that your programs meet the standards set by the CCEPR.
After completing mandatory programs, such as CPR or basic life support, look for courses that interest you and support your practice’s goals. You’ll get more value out of relevant studies. At the same time, you can set yourself apart as a specialist in your market.
You will likely attend some CE webinars hosted or sponsored by specific manufacturers, such as Crest or Oral-B. That said, make sure that you add variety to your continuing education programs by enrolling in webinars or courses created by objective, neutral third parties.
The 10 Most Popular Dental CE Resources in 2021
Dental CE programs are a critical part of your professional development plan. Whether you need more credits to meet state requirements or simply want to attend an exciting webinar, you can expand your knowledge and enhance your offerings with CE programs.
Fortunately, you can enjoy countless hours of free, high-quality webinars with one of the top ten most popular dental CE resources, as follows.
1. Viva Learning
Viva Learning is one of the most popular sources for free, online CE. The organization offers dozens of webinars, classes, and tutorials, allowing you to find relevant courses that suit your needs, taste, and specialties. The website also offers an app for learning on the go.
Weave’s comprehensive library of webinars, blogs, case studies, and e-books spans various industries. As a result, the communication software company has become the go-to resource for busy professionals searching for advanced educational resources. Weave also offers specialized webinars and training for dentists, along with free resources delivered via email each month.
3. Colgate Oral Health Network
Colgate’s Oral Health Network offers both live and self-paced webinars, articles, and virtual events. The dental giant’s continuing education library includes hot-topic webinars addressing industry trends, ethics, and risk assessment, as well as best care practices for special populations.
4. American Dental Assistants Association
The American Dental Assistants Association, an organization for professional dental assistants, offers a vast array of continuing education programs through its e-learning center. If you’re a member of the organization, you can access nearly 100 online courses spanning a wide range of topics. Non-members can pay for individual courses as well.
5. Dental Care
Dental Care, the e-learning resource center sponsored by Oral-B and Crest, offers free access to educational materials, professional development resources, and more than 150 CE courses to choose from. Create a free account to access anatomy programs, pediatric care webinars, and much more.
6. Philips Learning Connection
More than likely, you know Philips as an international electronics, lighting, and healthcare organization. However, the company also offers free CE webinars, courses, and programs for dentists, dental assistants, and other professionals in the dental industry.
7. Academy of General Dentistry
The Academy of General Dentistry provides its users with free webinars, self-paced courses, and on-demand programs addressing a variety of topics. You can also enroll in a MasterTrack program and earn advanced achievements, such as the Lifelong Learning and Service Recognition award.
MyDentalCE.com simplifies the search for state-recognized CE courses. The site offers guidance on statewide continuing education courses, plus up-to-date information on patient privacy, OSHA, and HIPAA guidelines.
9. CE App
Like MyDentalCE.com, the CE App filters continuing education programs based on your professional development plan and state requirements. The app even tracks multi-state licensing requirements, streamlining the licensure process and allowing you to focus on running your practice instead of worrying about CE regulations.
10. State Boards of Dentistry
Finally, state dental boards often offer free CE webinars, courses, or in-person conferences to help local dentists meet licensure requirements. Contact your state dental board for more information or check the Board of Dentistry website for upcoming webinars.
Optimize Your Practice with CE Webinars from Weave
At Weave, we make it easy to unify patient care, practice operations, and continuing education into a single, cohesive communication platform. For more information on how we can help you optimize your dental practice, please schedule your free demo today.