Friday, 24 June 2016

CALLING ALL FINAL YEAR DENTAL STUDENTS!

I've been hinting at something exciting coming up and now I'm so pleased to announce....

DENTAL FOUNDATION TRAINING INTERVIEW PREPARATION COURSE!


Organised by yours truly to help you do the best you can in the upcoming Dental Foundation Training interviews.


Make sure you reserve your space to a day of preparation and mock interviews!


Spaces are limited so reserve them while you can!



Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 Reasons to Work at the Weekend

As many of you know alongside my week job in hospital, I work Saturdays. Why would I inflict this on myself instead of having a lie after a late night...?



1. There's no commute!

Maybe this is particularly noticeable for people who work in and around London, but commuting on a Saturday is unusually pleasant. The commute to the job I work on a Saturday takes around an hour, but if this were during the week, an extra 20-30 minutes would have to be added to this. I also always get a seat on the tube and there's nothing like the mad sardine crush there is during the week!


2. It makes the weekend productive

Spend your Saturdays lying in bed watching Netflix or napping until Midday? Forcing myself to get up for work lets me get the most out of the day - especially since I finish around 2pm. I always plan to do some immediately after work, often around the area where work is, so my weekend feels much more productive. 


3. You can develop your skills

This is particularly pertinent for those who are doing training posts or other training which involves a 9 to 5 Monday to Friday commitment. Working at the weekend frees you up to try something else, whether that be in practice to keep up your skills whilst in hospital, running educational courses or travelling to salons to provide Botox! 


4. You can provide an emergency service

This sounds cliche but there's a real opportunity to help others at a time where it's difficult to access care. The majority of health care is accessed during the week, but emergencies arise 24/7 all days of the week. Getting someone out of pain at the weekend is very rewarding as a lot of these patients have been calling around to try to see someone before seeing you and are very grateful for your help. Whether this emergency service is in a local practice or an out of hours on call for the area, you are providing a vital service to the community!


5. You can earn more money

I put this last as this is not the primary reason why I work weekends but I know there are many practitioners that do it for this reason. Working an extra day a week does supplement your income; moreover you may earn more on a Saturday than a regular weekday, for example if you only provide private treatments. 


Of course there are some drawbacks to working at the weekend and it's still very important to make sure you take a breather every now and again as you don't want to burn out! And remember that if you work a Saturday it's not just the Saturday you commit to, but also to be sensible on the Friday night (i.e. no late night clubbing at Fabric!). Certainly at the early stages of your career where you have the energy and the enthusiasm, working a Saturday is not a terrible thing as it increases your clinical and professional experience and I think it's becoming more the norm that young professionals to do. 


Do you work at the weekend? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!





Tuesday, 14 June 2016

So what happens after DFT...?

After 5 years at Dental School, I’m sure those of you who have just graduated are getting your teeth into working out in practice! You have to complete your Dental Foundation Training (DFT) in order to get your NHS performer number but after this year you will be let loose to forge your own career in the world of dentistry.


So what options do you have...? 

1. Dental Core Training



After completing your DFT, you could go back into hospital or into the salaried dental services for Dental Core Training (DCT).

DCT allows you to develop your skills as:

  • You are exposed to many different supervisors who each have their own style of dentistry
  • You can work with experts and therefore work together to treat more complicated cases
  • There is funding available for study leave courses
  • You can get involved in research and audit projects which is useful if you're thinking about pursuing a career in academia

Taking this route is the first step into considering specialising, but there is no obligation to do so. A lot of dentists will do DCT to build on the skills they have learnt in DFT and then return to practice, although there are DCT years 2 and 3 available for those wishing to undertake more training.

There are different options within DCT you can choose; from a Oral Maxillofacial post to Paediatrics to Community dentistry, although the majority are based in MaxFax units or Dental Hospitals.

The application process for DCT in many parts of the country is similar to DFT with a centralised application and ranking of posts but in some areas you will have to apply separately (see the COPDEND website).


Read more about my experience of DCT here

2. Associate



The majority of dentistry is carried out in primary care, so it makes sense that most dentists end up in practice whether it be NHS, private or mixed. There is such variety within practices and you don’t just have to work in only one - I know many dentists who work part-time in several different practices.

If you choose to become an associate dentist, you will be self-employed which has tax benefits but remember you will have to split your income with your principal as well as contribute to your lab costs (see more about finances here). It can also mean that your income can vary depending on how much work you do.

Many young dentists are now finding associate positions with corporates. While there is some negativity surrounding corporates there can be advantages in working for them such as networking opportunities, clinical support and CPD.

If you choose to work in an NHS practice be realistic with your UDA target. If you fail to hit it you will have to pay clawback! Work out how many UDAs you can do in a day to decide your target - typically a post-DFT dentist could achieve 4000-6000 UDAs depending on the hours worked.

Becoming an associate may sound dull for some, but there are plenty of ways to develop your skills in practice and you could even go on courses to offer treatments such as short term orthodontics or Botox to your patients.


3. Locuming



Locuming can offer flexibility with working hours and days but can mean a less stable income every month.

There are several agencies you can sign up with to help you find long and short term locum positions and My Dentist also offer a post-DFT locum post called a Regional Employed Dentist where you work within a specific area and you have a set UDA target.

Locuming gives you a variety of experiences through working in different practices with different teams. It can also be a stepping stone to a more permanent position in a practice and doesn’t necessarily mean changing practice every few days as long term positions can open up such as maternity leave.


4. The Armed Forces



Whether you choose to work in the army, the navy or the royal air force, there are lots of incentives to attract you to the armed forces. These advantages have to be weighed against having to move around a lot and the tie in period - the minimum is around 5 years.


Some of these advantages include:

  • Grants and bursaries during training
  • Competitive salaries
  • Competitive pension plans and annual leave
  • Accommodation provided
  • Health and education plans for you and your family


When working in the armed forces you have the freedom to provide whatever care you deem necessary and there are no UDA targets to reach; however, there are other restrictions you must work to such as what can be achievable working in the forces environment.


5. Overseas



Moving abroad to practise dentistry is becoming increasingly popular. Common destinations include Australia, Dubai and Singapore.


There are agencies you can register with to help you find a job, but make sure you start your visa applications early and contact each country’s regulator in case you need to take entrance exams and if they recognise your dental qualification. Some countries such as the USA and Canada do not recognise the UK Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and you will have to undergo further training if you wish to practise in these countries.


6. Principal/partner



Although it is not an option for most young dentists, there are some instances where dentists have bought their own practice or become a partner early on in their career.

Despite popular belief that the corporates are buying up everything, according to Frank Taylor and Associates they only account for only 8% of the marketplace today so the majority of practices are owned individually by dentists or in partnership.

The market for dental practices is getting more and more competitive, especially in big cities like London but if you’re feeling up to the challenge of running your own business or like the idea of being your own boss, buying a dental practice may be for you! Read more about how to start up a dental practice here.



So what should you choose? If you’re unsure, it may be useful to meet other dentists so that you have a clear idea of the choices available. Over the course of your DFT, your ideas about the next step in your career are likely to change as you gain more experience and discover what options there are in the world of dentistry.


So what do you think you'll get up to? Let me know in comments below!




Thursday, 2 June 2016

5 Things I Learnt from Extracting my Boyfriend's Wisdom Teeth

So earlier on this month together with the help of one of my consultants, I took out my boyfriend's wisdom teeth... but dealing with that aftermath at a personal level has taught me a great deal!


Serendipitously, on a routine DPT prior to orthodontic assessment I noticed what looked to me the start of disto-cervical caries in my boyfriend's lower left second molar as a result of the impaction of his wisdom teeth. I can recall excitement and the dread when his DPT appeared on the screen.

My experience of dental treatment on myself is pretty limited, so explaining what the aftermath of the procedure would be like I based purely on what patients have told me in the past. So what did I learn from the days following the procedure?


1. A bilateral ID block is uncomfortable

We chose to have both lower 8s in one sitting....so 2 ID blocks and long buccal blocks later I had rendered my other half speechless. Not so great a situation to go back to work in! I do bilaterals ID blocks quite often, so have forgotten the implication for the patient of anaesthetising the entire mandible! 


2. Chewing your lip or tongue can have some nasty consequences

Standard post-op instructions include patients avoiding chewing their soft tissues. An hour after the procedure, I was still receiving messages from my boyfriend accusing me of leaving something hard and gritty in his mouth....give it another hour and the next message was 'Oh, it was my tongue'. Later on in the day I was able to see the damage he had self-inflicted when some nasty ulceration appeared all around his poor tongue. This taught me the importance of stressing this instruction to all our patients!

3. The hamster look lasts for days

So when patients ask you how long swelling lasts for what do you say? A couple of days? Obviously this can vary massively depending on the complexity of surgery, but certainly in this case his swelling and hamster look lasted around 3-4 days! And it gets worse the first 2 days before it gets better - then it can start to bruise extra-orally. He looked a bit jaundiced at one point!


4. Stitches take their time to dissolve

Indeed I learnt this from a couple of patients coming back for post-op pain appointments concerned their stitches hadn't dissolved after 2 weeks. In certain areas of the mouth it can take longer than this! Getting the patient to brush at them with a toothbrush can speed up the dissolving process.


5. Patients don't exaggerate being in pain

I've always been under the impression that patients who come back after an extraction complaining of pain needed to 'man up' a little. But honestly witnessing the pain that follows a wisdom extraction has shown me that in fact it really does hurt and that effective pain control using paracetamol, ibruprofen and dihydrocodeine is required for the first 3-4 days following an extraction. Maybe we don't educate patients enough about how much pain they will be in and patients are not fully prepared. 



Most of all, I now understand why patients come back to see us after their surgery and there's nothing wrong. They are just looking for some reassurance that everything's ok! My boyfriend had me to ask questions and seek reassurance, but most patients you treat will not have that luxury. Perhaps we need to educate our patients better when we perform surgery, especially when it can be more extensive or complex. 


Have you provided treatment for a relative or friend? What was your experience like? Let me know!

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