Ann Blackford


College: Dentistry

UK Dental Faculty Prepare Students for Life After Dental School

Published: Aug 28, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 28, 2013) − Fillings, extractions, and crowns are but a few of the many procedures that dental students learn in preparation to practice dentistry post-graduation. While students become proficient in the science of dentistry, many dental graduates are shocked to discover they aren't prepared for the business of dentistry once they graduate. 


University of Kentucky College of Dentistry faculty members, Dr. Tom Larkin and Dr. Wes Coffman, have developed a course modeled after MBA (Masters of Business Administration) requirements but specific to dentistry that will help students successfully navigate their way in the business world as they venture out into their dental careers. The UK College of Dentistry is among a select group of dental schools in the country that offers a business course to prepare graduates to handle the business side of a dental career.


The course, Dental Practice Management, is primarily designed to give student dentists practical and useful knowledge on establishing and maintaining a dental practice such as the cost of putting an office together, the mechanics of a job search, insurance, money management, and developing an associate contract. The course also includes special sessions designed to introduce students to the current environment of dental practice, to organized dentistry in Kentucky, to the College of Dentistry Alumni Association, and to new developments and continuing education in the dental profession.


"I approach experts from all over the country to come to UK and speak to the students to provide answers to their specific questions," Larkin said. "It is our goal to make students aware of the marketplace in a fast-moving age. Current information is everything."


In addition to classroom lectures, Larkin and Coffman launched a website, The Business of Dentistry, a Mini MBA, an informational portal of reference videos made by Larkin and Coffman to help fill in the blanks. Links also include PowerPoint presentations on accounting, finance, management, management communication, marketing, and the health-centered practice doctor.


Larkin brings a wealth of personal experience in business dentistry since he arrived at UK in 2009.  In his senior year of dental school at Creighton University in Nebraska, he had already built and sold his first office. He has built several practices in his 17 years of private practice and his practices have consistently been in the top 5 percent of profitability percentages nationwide. In 1995, he authored a practice management handbook for a lunch and learn series that he gave at the Creighton School of Dentistry, 'Starting and Building a Dental Practice in the 21st Century.'  In previous years, he developed specialized financial and management services for dental clientele of one of the leading health care centered accounting firms in the Midwest and he developed and eventually sold one of the first Dental Ecommerce web sites on the internet, 


Coffman is a UK College of Dentistry alum ('78) who has been in both group and private practice in Lexington for 32 years before retiring in 2010. He is currently an assistant professor at the College of Dentistry, where he and Larkin are co-directors of the Practice Management Course for fourth-year dental students.


"Dr. Larkin is a great mentor," said Danny Noll, a 4th year dental student. "I started working with him my second year of dental school, and he has eased my transition from books to clinic. Dr. Larkin is truly concerned for his students' success both during and after dental school. I've thoroughly enjoyed his lectures on marketing and practice management, and I'm glad that I've gotten to know him. I will be sure to keep in touch with him throughout my career."


Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or


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