Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 01 Confidence 1

How much money do you make in your position in the dental practice?

Jan. 14, 2016
Discussing how much money someone makes has always been a taboo subject, including in dental practices. Lisa Newburger takes one of her frank looks at why this is the case, and what (often primarily) women in the dental practice can do about it.

Talking about money makes most people nervous or uncomfortable. But why is that? And why are so many women who are successful in the dental practice afraid to ask for more money? Lisa Newburger takes on another subject most others won't.

It’s a burning question most of us have. How much money do you make? But, shhh! It’s a secret, right? We aren’t supposed to talk about it with anyone else. Why is that? Is it because we’re afraid if we tell someone what we earn, they’ll use that information to get a bigger raise than us, and there isn’t enough money to go around? That may seem silly, but it really isn’t too far fetched. Let’s explore the idea.

If I told you how much I earned working at this dental practice, what would you do with that information? My guess is you would share it with someone else. That’s human nature. Let’s be honest. I know the dental articles that are about money will generate more clicks. Cynical? Perhaps. But actually, quite accurate. And what’s wrong with acknowledging that out loud? It’s the truth. So my question is—why are we so hung up on talking about money?

When you were young, did your parents ever let you see the bill when you ate out at a restaurant? Why don’t you let your kids calculate the tip? This will help teach them that even though we all want things, we have to be able to afford them. We need to learn to live within our means.

How did you learn about credit cards and how they work? One colleague said, “Diana, I got a really great bargain and put it on my credit card.” Is she nuts? Or is she just ignorant about how credit cards work? Paying an extra 15% definitely is not a bargain. That item now costs her much more than what she thought it would cost.

When someone gets their first job, they usually think their first salary is fantastic. But, how many of us did our due diligence to find out what the going rate was for our new position? Research this before you actually need the answer when you’re offered a position. Don’t be afraid to ask for more money. Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise down the road. But be sure to demonstrate that you’re deserving of that income.

I find often that women don’t have the confidence to ask for the big bucks. This is critical. But how does one develop the nerve to ask for money, you ask? With practice. Practice in front of the mirror. Go on interviews with places where you don’t want to work and practice on them.

Go on the Internet and research what the salaries are in your area in your specialty. Ask other dental practices what they’re paying for that position. As long as you don’t believe you deserve a bigger salary, you will not get one. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are the best candidate for a position and that you’re worth every single dime you ask for.

Be creative. Negotiate. Find a mentor in your field of expertise who can help guide your career. Do you think LeBron James negotiated his contracts when he was starting out? No. He had a manager. He had people to guide his decision making. Eventually, he learned from these folks and has continued to build an empire outside of basketball.

Remember, if you want a bigger salary, you need to do your due diligence, practice asking for money, and believe in yourself.

Let me know your thoughts on talking about money and asking for more money in a dental interview at [email protected].

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Lisa Newburger, LISW-S, aka Diana Directive, is not afraid to tackle difficult topics for dental professionals with humor and aplomb. Her entertaining workshops are available for conferences and association meetings. Writing for DIQ since 2010, her “in-your-face” style of presentation and writing will make you smile, or perhaps shock you into taking action. Check out her website at