Average Dentist Spends 75 Hours Annually on Continuing Education

Dental Continuing Education Is an Important Part of Dentistry

In our most recent survey, we asked dentists how many hours of formal continuing education they log in an average year. The mean response was 75 hours per year, more than enough to meet state requirements. Interestingly, general dentists reported more CE hours than did specialists.

“More continuing should be required,” wrote a Georgia dentist who logs 200 hours/year. A Michigan orthodontist (logging 120 hours/year) agreed: “The orthodontic world is exploding with information and the state CE requirement is 20 hours a year. Hopelessly inadequate!”

“I’m a CE junkie,” said a Tennessee dentist boasting 150 hours a year. “I also chase extraneous awards and distinctions from various organizations.”

Check out the full results of our dental continuing education survey for more data and comments from dentists.

Dental CE Hot Topics: Implants & Cosmetics

Continuing dental education hours This survey found dentists averaging 70 hours of clinical CE and 15 hours of practice management CE each year.

“The minimum requirements are ridiculously low,” said one.

Doctors’ top priorities for clinical dental continuing education are implants, and cosmetics.

Orthodontics and sedation dentistry were doctors’ lowest clinical priorities.Dental continuing education topics

Somewhere in the middle we find periodontics, oral surgery, and endodontics.

The top dental management continuing education priority was team training, followed by leadership and office systems.

Dentists appear less interested in education on technology and new patient marketing.

“Unfortunately, in New York, CE credit is not obtained for practice management courses,” mentioned one dentist from that state.

Read more: Continuing Dental Education Topics

Continuing Dental Education Requirements for the Dentist (video)

Dental CEThe average dentist completes at least 50 hours of dental continuing education each year, much more than mandated by state requirements.

“State CE requirements are ridiculously low,” said one dentist. “Illinois only requires 32 hours every two years, and they don’t all need to be health care related topics that might actually be something that would help you deliver better care for your patients.”

“The orthodontic world is exploding with information and the state dental CE requirement is 20 hours a year,” complained an orthodontist who completes 120 hours of CE a year. “Hopelessly inadequate.”

“I teach about 125 hours a year (dental implants and bone grafting for GPs),” said another doctor. “I also take about 100 hours per year personally.”

Read more: Dental Continuing Education: Dentist Survey Results

Dental Continuing Education: Are State Requirements Ridiculously Low? (video)

Dental Continuing Education: Are State Requirements Ridiculously Low? (video)Where would dentists be without dental continuing education?

Behind the times and not up-to-date on current dental issues, that’s where they’d be without continuing education.

One dentist, who does one hundred hours of continuing education a year says, “The State shouldn’t have to dictate a minimum number of hours of continuing education, but dentists should take much more that fifteen hours mandated by the State of Virginia!”

An Illinois dentist, who completes one hundred and seventy-five hours a year scoffed, The State continuing education requirements are ridiculously low. Illinois only requires thirty-two hours every two years, and they don’t have to all be health care topics!”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey that asked dentists how many hours of formal dental continuing education they logged each year.

Dentists are often required to do only about ten hours a year. The dentists who responded to this survey do more. How much? Click on Play to watch the video and find out —

How many hours of dental continuing education do you complete each year?

Dental Continuing Education: No More National Approval for Invisalign

Invisalign loses AGD approval for dental continuing educationThe dentist rumor mill says that the AGD is revoking Invisalign’s PACE approval — that is, the AGD will no longer formally recognize Invisalign continuing education.

Some quick background: The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is the educational arm of the American Dental Association (ADA). The AGD offers national certification to dental continuing education courses through its Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE).

Like so many in the dental industry, the AGD was not happy when Invisalign announced in 2009 that all providers would have to meet Align’s new “proficiency requirements,” which mandated completing 10 hours of Invisalign continuing dental education and starting at least 10 patient cases per year. The AGD congratulated Align on removing Invisalign provider requirements:

On June 2, 2009, Align Technology Inc. announced its Invisalign® Proficiency Requirements that mandated a quota of 10 patient case starts each year utilizing the Invisalign product. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) acted immediately by engaging Align in negotiations and exploring all legally permissible options. More than 1,500 AGD members voiced their concerns directly to the president of Align.

The AGD is pleased to report that the members’ voices have been heard. Align announced yesterday, April 22, that it has dropped the patient case start quota from its 2010 Invisalign Proficiency Requirements.

AGD Press Release, 4/23/10

When I followed up with Invisalign, here’s what their PR rep told me:

  • Align received notification in March that the AGD National PACE Council had decided to withdraw PACE approval from Align.
  • AGD’s decision does not impact Align’s ability to offer CE hours, but it does change the way that doctors will need to apply CE hours towards their individual licensing credentials. Doctors who are interested in applying Invisalign CE hours towards their license renewals will now need to submit them to their respective state boards for accreditation.
  • California doctors are not impacted by this decision. Align is a Registered Provider of Continuing Education in the state of CA, through the Dental Board of CA.
  • This decision by AGD does not impact the 10 Invisalign CE hours Invisalign providers must complete each year. CE hours earned for taking Align courses still count towards the proficiency requirements – regardless of whether or not the doctor chooses to submit the hours to his/her state board for licensing renewal purposes.
  • The AGD PACE guidelines provide a process for appeal or reconsideration of this type of action, and Align has already initiated that appeal process.

– Align Technologies

Confused yet? Me too. Here’s my understanding:

  1. Invisalign doctors will still have to complete 10 hours of Invisalign CE each year, and Invisalign will still offer those courses.
  2. Invisalign CE is no longer nationally recognized under AGD’s Program Approval for Continuing Education (PACE). This means that accreditation of Invisalign CE hours will now be state-by-state.
  3. You can still get credit for your Invisalign CE, but now you’ll have to submit those hours to your state board for approval.
  4. Luckily for California dentists, the dental continuing ed has already been accredited by the Dental Board of California.
  5. If you’re an AGD member, you won’t be able to use Invisalign CE hours to meet AGD membership requirements for dental CE.
  6. Invisalign is scrambling to reverse this decision!

An interesting aside: I was not able to get any information on this subject from the AGD itself. They have a confidentiality agreement with providers, so their PACE representative would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. I was directed to their website, where it says that Invisalign is “Nationally Approved from 10/1/2007 – 9/30/2011.” The woman I spoke to at the AGD said that the information on their website reflected the current database.

So what do you think? Is Invisalign on the right track?


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