A Week In The Life of a DCT... Restorative & Paeds at Bristol with Jessica Fletcher

I am pleased to announce the winning entry for my DCT competition... by Jessica Fletcher

Jessica Fletcher, DCT1 in Restorative & Paediatric Dentistry at Bristol

I'm Jessica, DCT1 in Restorative and Paediatric dentistry at Bristol Dental Hospital. This post appealed to me because it included two specialities. There are some dentists who know from the start exactly which path they want to take, from the budding orthodontist to the driven max fac surgeon. For me? No idea whatsoever. So my thoughts were: get stuck into two specialities and see what you like!

On Mondays, I have my own patient lists. At the moment I am working on some challenging cases, including endo on a taurodont molar (microscope needed ASAP - can't see a thing) MTA plug on an open apex incisor and RSD for a patient in their 20's with 70% bone loss. Monday is my day to get stuck into treatment

Tuesdays are spent on Urgent Dental Care (UDC), AKA the walk-in-off-the-street-with-a-problem clinic. UDC has a great team of clinicians, including undergraduate students. The students see the more simple cases (toothaches and simple swellings) and I am given the more complex/unusual cases ranging from avulsions to cysts and, most recently, Erythema Multiforme. I have also encountered challenging situations on clinic such as piecing together upper incisor teeth that had fractured into 5 or 6 little pieces (bonding the fragments back was effectively a jigsaw puzzle). 

I spend Wednesday mornings on a periodontal clinic. We examine, diagnose and treatment plan everything perio - from recession caused by piercings, to necrotising periodontal diseases. I have become very familiar with the new perio classification. Wednesday afternoons are either admin or teaching - so a nice midweek 'break'.

On Thursdays I work with a consultant who specialises in developmental anomalies such as hypodontia, amelogenesis imperfecta and cleft lip and palate patients. The usual format is for me to assess the patients then present my findings to the consultant who helps me to formulate a treatment plan. Thursday lunchtime is spent at clinical club, where each week a DCT/registrar/consultant presents an interesting case to the rest of the department. 

Friday mornings are spent on the paediatric emergency clinic, which is primarily ran by the DCTs, but with consultants on hand to help if needed. An interesting subset of patients seen on this clinic are children with leukaemia/lymphoma who are awaiting bone marrow transplants. My job is to get them dentally fit before they have their transplant. Dealing with children with relapsed cancer is really sad, but it is also an honour to be helping families who have already been through so much. Friday afternoons are spent doing more restorative treatment, but this time with a speciality registrar on hand to observe and assist me. This is the perfect opportunity for me to develop my skills. So when faced with a tricky treatment, I think 'aha - this will be a Friday afternoon case'. 

A great benefit of DCT is you meet loads of new friends in the hospital environment: our DCT group hands out every lunchtime and even has a birthday cake rota (yes!). A downside is that all DCT jobs have an element of admin (your Dictaphone is your new best pal as there's a lot of correspondence with other health care professionals) but for me the good definitely outweighs the bad. 

P.S. if you're wondering whether I have chosen my future speciality, the answer is... no! But I;m okay with that. I'm going to apply for yet another different post (Oral Surgery) to further widen my experience and see where it takes me!

Thanks Jessica for your entry and huge congratulations on winning against some tough competition, it was so tough to decide the winner! I can definitely relate having done a 2 speciality DCT post myself and not having a clue about what I actually wanted to do at the time! 

Do you have any questions about DCT or the competition ? Let me know in the comments below. 

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