Coaching — why, when, and how

With continuing education more available online during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can more readily be educated and inspired right from your computers.

Remember when your children were learning to ski? If you mentioned the word “ski school,” your kids would freak out. However, if you said, “You have a coach for the day,” they saw a fun day ahead!

Continuing education in orthodontics is no different! Throughout our orthodontic programs, we had dedicated faculty members, both full-time and part-time, to help shape our knowledge base. And we rode this out for years. However, for a number of different reasons, there’s a time in one’s career when the need for retooling or coaching becomes apparent. This realization may come from looking at your practice outcomes with a critical eye. As examples, it may be a professional friend who diplomatically points out a consistent shortcoming in your cases.  It may be realizing your expected results are inconsistent or not what you anticipated. You may notice extended treatment times. Through a more experienced  or detailed lens, you may see outcomes like open-bite relapses during follow-up care or short lower jaws that did not respond favorably to your mechanics. These outcomes may not happen often, but when they do, it eats at all of us! It does not make for a clean practice or, in some cases, creates an unhappy patient.

The growth of an orthodontic practice has three stages:

  1. The growing stage: Your practice begins slowly, and as your reputation develops, your practice begins to develop exponentially.
  2. The thriving stage occurs next as your practice is busier than you can handle, and you now have “growing pains.”
  3. The maintenance stage is defined in many ways, but essentially, you have a little debt, children are out of college, and your practice continues to thrive. At this stage, you have many options. One may be to master your craft. These three growth stages require different levels of information or education.

Advanced orthodontic learning can be divided into four areas:

  1. Fine-tuning your diagnosis and developing clearer and measurable treatment goals for the occlusion, facial symmetry and smile esthetics, airway patency, periodontal, and TMJ health.
  2. Mastering mechanics for both mixed and permanent dentition and managing time efficiently, including your time, patient treatment time, and staff time.
  3. Treating rewarding and complex interdisciplinary cases with specialists who share the same treatment goals.
  4. Understanding the 4 P’s of practice development — People, Place, Promotion, and Product.

When is a good time to consider “upping” your game and making it more fulfilling?  Further analyzing outcomes? No better time than now!

Advanced learning is more available and more easily accessible than ever. Technology has made this possible. Let’s use it. During this terrible COVID-19 pandemic, we can go from “onsite” learning to “interactive virtual learning” and continue to educate, inspire, and thrive. It’s better than ever. Consider programs that are able to specialize in your individual orthodontic practice needs.

Let’s make use of this “no travel time” for virtual learning platforms to share information throughout the world! Cyberlearning will be our sole source of education until the vaccine for the COVID-19 is developed. We then can return to some form of normalcy and traditional “onsite” and hands-on learning. I firmly believe that both can be done to benefit the doctors and, more importantly, our patients.

So just as your kids said, “No ski school!” let’s think of this next learning phase as “coaching” and have fun interacting during this new normal.

What can be easier (and more inspiring) than reading continuing education articles in Orthodontic Practice US and taking the quizzes online? Subscribers can take advantage of this educational and convenient benefit!

Straty Righellis, DDS, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics and an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California at San Francisco, School of Dentistry. He is a reviewer for the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, has written over 40 articles and papers on treatment efficiency and treatment excellence, and has lectured to more than 450 groups nationally and internationally. Dr. Righellis has authored a chapter on treatment efficiency and excellence in the textbook Goal-Directed Orthodontics. He is a faculty member at the FACE teaching program and is past President of the Edward H. Angle Society, Northern California. A graduate from UCLA Dental School and UCSF orthodontic residency, he is an active private practice in Oakland, California.

Dr. Righellis currently offers interactive virtual learning as well as onsite learning. If you are interested in any aspect of his orthodontic coaching, go to, and/or email for additional information.

Stay Relevant With Orthodontic Practice US

Join our email list for CE courses and webinars, articles and mores

Subscribe Today

Orthodontic Practice US is a leading dental journal and your publication for Orthodontic continuing education, Orthodontic case studies, and more. Subscribe to Orthodontic Practice US today!

Online Dental CE

Earn 16 dental continuing education credits as an Orthodontic Practice US subscriber per year.

Other Dental Publications
Dental Sleep Practice
Endodontic Practice
Implant Practice
Orthodontic Practice

MedMark Media is the leading interactive marketing and advertising company specializing in marketing and advertising, custom media, and public relations for the U.S. dental industry.

AGD PACE MedMark White

Copyright © 2024 Orthodontic Practice US - Dental Journal and Online Dental CE | MedMark LLC
15720 North Greenway Hayden Loop, Suite #9 Scottsdale, AZ 85260 | All rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions

Scroll to Top