THE NEXT DDS - Empowered Dental Providers

Keeping Dental Students Connected

The Next DDS

TO KEEP PACE WITH THE DEMANDS OF THEIR FUTURE PROFESSION, today’s dental students need access to information that encourages critical thinking, complements their classroom and clinical training and improves their ability to provide patient care. THE NEXT DDS, a unique online resource exclusively for dental students, is poised to respond to these imperatives.

Heartland Dental Care, together with leading organizations and associations in dentistry, supports THE NEXT DDS and its commitment to tomorrow’s dental professionals.

“With social media now playing such a large role in education and communication, THE NEXT DDS helps dental students prepare for their future careers like never before,” said James Fetsch, DMD, Clinical Director at Heartland Dental Care and practicing dentist at Heartland Family Dental Care. “The dental industry is continually evolving, so it is important for dental students to prepare themselves as much as possible. THE NEXT DDS can give them that edge.”

"“With social media now playing such a large role in education and communication, THE NEXT DDS helps dental students prepare for their future careers like never before."

James Fetsch, DMDJames Fetsch, DMD
Clinical Director at Heartland Dental Care and practicing dentist at Heartland Family Dental Care

THE NEXT DDS fosters communication among dental students by connecting academic communities and enabling the sharing, forwarding and tagging of dynamic educational content that supports their training:

  • Articles - Grouped so they can be easily sorted by a user’s D1-D4 status and paralleling the university curriculum
  • Case Studies - Detailing specific cases from patient presentation to diagnosis, treatment planning and post-operative outcomes
  • Podcasts - Featuring educators who present clinical information, debate research issues and explore key topics related to career development
  • Videos - Access to hundreds of educational videos and animations that help prepare students for a career in dentistry
  • Clinical Images - Encompassing more than 1,000 before and after photos, as well as instructional diagrams to aid comprehension—all in an easily searchable format

These resources complement the traditional curriculum, enabling students to interact and discuss expanding topics of interest that include clinical techniques and technology, as well as financial, licensure and practice management. In addition, blogs and forums on THE NEXT DDS allow dental students to share ideas, experiences and concerns with an audience of peers. If they prefer personal communications, the site also features its own messaging system and real-time chat similar to that of Facebook. A well-maintained events calendar ensures that members are aware of national and regional meetings as well.

"Having the opportunity to learn from the real-life experiences of tenured dentists and actual case studies is invaluable to dental students," said Dr. Fetsch.

"Likewise, learning and sharing with other students is a tremendous resource as well. If students have questions, they have a whole community of other students at their fingertips to reach out to for support."

Profiles and Groups on THE NEXT DDS

The Next DDS Screenshots

THE NEXT DDS allows students to customize their personal profiles—inclusive of connections, groups, and content favorites. Customizable privacy settings enable students to control how their personal information is displayed to the community and, through content settings, even allow users to determine how the site notifies them of updates. The site’s community groups let dental students connect with university peers and students in other professional organizations (e.g., the Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity, Hispanic Dental Association, etc.), or fellow students at universities across the country. The groups also feature message boards through which students can post, share important documents or view their school’s calendar of events.

Program Expansion

THE NEXT DDS Mobile—delivering the full-site experience in smart phone format—was unveiled to dental students last fall. The program will continue to expand in scope to keep pace with students’ pressing needs. Accordingly, a new segment on licensure and testing will be added to the site in the coming months. It will consolidate information into one location, so students can look for licensure requirements, testing dates, locations and related requirements. Additionally, the testing section will provide practice examinations to aid dental students in their preparation for the NBDE I and II exams.

All this content is closely linked with social media tools that are intuitive and used daily by the dental student audience. Valuable content can immediately be linked to Facebook, Twitter and similar sites with the simple click of a button, allowing students to share content quickly with study groups and a larger audience of their peers.

Best of all, access to the website is completely free to dental students. There is no fee to become a member, nor is there any ongoing membership charge. The only requirement to join this helpful and expansive community is to be a registered dental student—or to share a passion for dental education by joining the Academic Advisory Board responsible for guiding, developing and reviewing the contents delivered through THE NEXT DDS.

Education is a big part of Heartland Dental Care’s philosophy. Therefore, HDC is proud to support THE NEXT DDS in preparing students for future success. Students can become empowered members of this growing online community today by signing up at