Mentorship is the holy grail of your initial years after graduation. But it is hard to come by and cannot be expected in your job.

Dr Stephen Dudgeon and Dr Eli Burger saw this struggle and decided to help change it. In 2014 they introduced the Australian Dental Graduate of the Year Award and subsequently provided the Australian Dental Mini Residency to the runners up and winner of this award.

From first hand experience I know this is an excellent foundation for those lucky enough to be able to attend the course. It’s my pleasure to be able to interview one of the brains behind this Dr Stephen Dudgeon.

The planned chat with Stephen and Eli will have to wait, Eli was unwell however we were lucky enough to spend an hour with Dr Stephen Dudgeon.

In this chat we cover:

  • His experience through school, uni and the initial years after.
  • Great mentoring – Dr Bell really made his first year out great. It wasn’t all the bells and whistles of the practice it was the man himself
  • The difference between CPD then and now
  • Stephen’s treatment planning advice
  • Building rapport with your patients is key.
  • The initial stresses that came with practice ownership and how he overcame them – i.e. diving into personal growth and business books.
  • His experience going into business with his best mate
  • Won the best workplace in Australia for under 100 staff twice – linked to his interests in creating positive culture, strategy and creating a great workplace environment.
  • How their Australian Dental Graduate program came about
  • Main things that Graduates tend to struggle with
    • Treatment planning
    • Caries removal
    • Crown and Bridge

Here is a link the The Australian Dental Graduate of The Year Award, the Australian Dental Graduates Facebook Page and Avenue Dental.

Also, here’s a link to the Endodontic access Blog I mentioned.

Thanks for supporting the show Dental Protection Limited

The Dental Head Start Podcast is for students and new graduates. We interview successful dentists and specialists to uncover the tips, tricks and advice to help you transition from dental school to private practice successfully. 

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David is a recent graduate dentist working in private practice in regional NSW, Australia. Read more at

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