Top 5 Skills to Develop during Dental Foundation Training

This article can be found in the BDJ Student Magazine.

When I started my foundation year (seems like forever ago!), I was overwhelmed by how there was to learn out in practice and it's amazing how clueless I was back then! Looking back there were definitely some areas where I needed to make use of the support that is out there for DFTs. It's best to identify these areas sooner rather than later to give you a head start in improving your skills so here are my top five areas you should aim to develop in your DFT year!

1. Composite

Depending on where you graduate, you will have varied experiences working with composite. It's best to start practising your skills in this area, especially since proposed phase down of amalgam in the Minimata Convention and it's likely to be used more and more in years to come. 

To read more about composite skills check out some of my posts here

2. Endodontics

A source of fear for many young dentists (myself included sometimes), get practising while you have the time! Get working on your hand-filing skills, not just rotary as many NHS practices do not have this facility! 

To read more about endodontics, check out my guide here

3. Extra-coronal restorations

Especially working on partial coverage restorations and how to design them to a gold standard. Developing a good relationship with your technician is also key in providing both good quality work for the patient and receiving feedback on your clinical skills. 

Read more about extra-coronal restorations here

4. Communication

The more patients you see, the better you will become at communicating. Reflect on cases where things haven't gone to plan and work out areas for improvement. Patients in practice can have completely different attitudes from those in hospitals so don't be surprised if they are more demanding.

Read about my top tips for communicating published in the BDJ student magazine here

5. Photography

I try to take pictures of every patient and at first I didn't have access to a practice camera so I invested in my own. This gives me a medico-legal record and allows me to develop both my photography and my clinical skills by being able to look back through my photos and critique them. 

To read more about photography, see my guide here

You will learn so much during your DFT year both in terms of clinical skills and also what life is like out in practice. Keep the above learning points in mind, but most importantly, make the most of out of professional support while you can!

Please leave your thoughts and comments in the box below!

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