Dr Sahar-Tara Aghababaie, part time Dental Associate in North West London, gives you some key pointers as you start your career in dentistry.

Dentistry is continuously evolving, and because of this, we ourselves should be moving along with it and getting the most out of our chosen career. Here are a few tips aimed at young dentists to hopefully help you with the first stages of your career.

  1. Build a portfolio

    Start a clinical portfolio sooner rather than later – this can include anything from the clinical cases you have done, audits, prizes etc. It is good practice to get into the habit of doing this earlier on as more employers are requesting to see portfolios at job interviews to see what you are capable of. So, if you have it – show it off!

  2. Clinical Photography

    A picture is worth a thousand words so they say – so ensure you have your camera at the ready. Invest in a clinical camera and kit and start taking photos of your clinical cases. Not only can these photos go towards your portfolio, but they can also help with treatment planning more complex cases as well as creating before and after pictures for your patients.

  3. Invest in Loupes

    Poor vision and insufficient lighting when performing dental treatment often results in poor posture. The use of loupes has been shown to help maintain a better posture – so invest in your back! Before buying a pair of loupes, ensure you do your research.

    Go in person and try on the different loupes from different companies and see which one feels right for you. Many companies provide personal visits to your place of work to provide demonstrations, or alternatively go to dental conferences so you can try all the different ones in person. Remember as newly qualified dentists most companies
    offer discounts!

  4. Get networking

    As the saying goes “it’s who you know, not what you know” and in dentistry this can often be true. In order to meet future employers you need to put yourself out there.

    This can be at dental conferences, dental talks and meetings at your local dental associations to give you the chance to not only meet your future employers but give you the chance to network with fellow peers and get involved in exciting

  5. Keep on learning

    The 5 years of dental school is only the beginning – get out there and keep on training. This is important to maximise your learning, improve on your skill set and help build your clinical confidence. There are many opportunities out there, such as the MJDF, hands-on clinical day courses, and more long-term post-graduate courses. There are also many free taster courses out there too so you have nothing to lose!

  6. Start a career plan

    Time flies by so quickly, so to help plan your career create a plan for yourself on what you hope to achieve, starting from in 5 years’ time then to 10 years’ time. Then brainstorm how you will get there. This is a great way to manage your future career and acts as a fantastic motivational tool.

  7. Relax – and enjoy the ride

    At times dentistry can be stressful. However, life is not a race but a journey. Do not expect to have reached all your goals by tomorrow, and do not compare yourself to others. Always make time to relax, start new hobbies, go on holiday and recharge your batteries – it will help maintain a good work-life balance!

Author bio

I qualified from King’s College London School of Medicine & Dentistry in 2015, after which I completed my dental foundation training. Following my training, I started to work as a general dental practitioner in a mixed NHS/Private dental practice in North West London which I help to manage.

In 2017, I started my position as a Dental Core Trainee at the Paediatric Department at The Eastman Dental hospital, whilst continuing my commitments in general practice part-time.

I have continued my post-graduate education and gained Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties of the Royal College of Surgeons England and the Faculty of General Dental Practice in 2017. I also have a passion for academic teaching and have recently completed my post-graduate qualification in Dental Education.

This student advice blog was originally published by FGDP(UK) in June 2018 and has been republished by the College of General Dentistry with the author’s permission.