Hi everyone, hope you found the first 8 tips useful. These are my final 7!
9. Don’t miss the Perio!
Periodontal disease is painless until the patient complains you didn’t diagnose/treat it! Some of the highest settlements are to compensate patients who claim they were not told they had periodontal disease – or that it wasn’t appropriately treated – and the notes cannot prove otherwise. Get out that periodontal probe routinely, record the BPE scores, tell the patient what is going on, and record it! The British Society of Periodontology has published updated guidelines on the BPE so make sure you know these! Also have a read of the guidelines for referral for specialist care.
10. Beware of the occlusion
A good understanding of occlusion is essential to ensuring optimal dental health and successful treatment. However, most dentists would agree that the subject of occlusion is fraught with controversy and confusion. Try to understand it as much as possible, and note down each patient’s occlusion in basic terms. If you’re making a restoration, or fitting a crown, make sure your restoration is in harmony with the patient’s current occlusal scheme. Beware of TMJD and tooth wear.
11. Understand how general practice works
There is very little teaching as an undergraduate on how general practice really works, the management strategies that need to be in place as well as protocols and requirements for the CQC. Make an effort to find out more about all of this. If you would ever consider opening your own practice, developing this interest is all the more important.
12. Keep on learning
Your BDS is just the first step in lifelong learning so it shouldn’t stop there! There are a vast amount of study groups, lectures, courses and conferences available so there is plenty to choose from. You may like to target courses depending on your interest or where you’d like to further develop yourself. It’s also a wise idea to start making a spreadsheet with all the details on your CPD – this will may it very easy when it comes to declaring your CPD. Whilst we’re on the topic of learning, make sure you get your MJDF or MFDS exam done as soon as possible.
13. Make a career plan
Try to start getting a rough plan of where you’d like to be, for example, in 5 years time. This plan may change along the way and it’s a good idea to keep your options open, but any career plan increases your motivation and helps to manage your life better! Speak to as many people as possible and find out how they’ve achieved what they have, what drives them and what do they find fulfilling about dentistry. Think ahead, consider the way dentistry is going and plan accordingly.
Network face-to-face. It’s a digital era and there’s a temptation in our networked age to think professional relationships and ideas can be developed via email. On the contrary, I think creativity and productivity stem from face-to face often spontaneous interactions. Attending national and local meetings and social events is a great way to network and meet new people in our profession.
15. Enjoy yourself
It doesn’t matter how much you love dentistry, you simply cannot survive on a diet of composites, crown-preps and evidence-based practice! Remember all those things you did at university; sports, hobbies and so on? Even if you didn’t, now is a good time to start. Balance your life and your mind and you’ll feel better when you get the chance to switch off!
As a young dentist, I believe we are starting our career in a particularly exciting time. I believe that we should embrace all challenges and grab every opportunity that comes our way, allowing us to thrive in what I believe to be a very rewarding career!