Dental leaders discuss workforce challenges

Senior College members took part in a recent panel discussion on the question of ‘How do we support and retain our workforce and ensure that they have the right skills to meet future challenges?’.

The discussion covered skills development both for the individual and across the profession, the importance of teamwork to staff retention, making great places to work, supporting team members to manage stress, and preventing career burn out. Speaking on behalf of the College, Dr Abhi Pal FCGDent, then President, and Dr Debbie Reed FCGDent, Board Chair of the CGDent Faculty of Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy, also pressed home the need for recognised Career Pathways for all members of the dental team, and the vital role of mentoring as part of the solution for addressing workforce retention issues. The other panel members were Dr Catherine Tannahill MCGDent, Director of Clinician Engagement of Portman Dental, and Dr Dhru Shah, CEO of Dentinal Tubules.

The session was part of a meeting of dental leaders from across the UK, which was held in London on 14 March on the theme of ‘Maintaining an effective workforce fit for the future’. The day also included a panel discussion on the government’s ‘Recovery Plan’ for NHS dentistry in England, and presentations from Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, on role, values and culture; from Ashley Byrne FCGDent, Board Member of the Dental Laboratories Association, on the challenges facing dental technology; from Theresa Thorp, GDC Executive Director for Regulation, who provided insights from the GDC’s work pattern data exercise; and from Stefan Czerniawski, GDC Executive Director for Strategy, on provisional registration.  

The ‘Dental Leadership Network’ is convened quarterly by the General Dental Council to facilitate shared ownership in addressing key challenges facing the profession.

Dr Pal commented:

“The formation of the Dental Leadership Network is a positive step in bringing together key stakeholders and leaders within the profession to discuss current issues.”

Stefan Czerniawski said:  

“It’s really valuable for leaders across the dental sector to invest time in discussing the shared issues that affect us all and, most importantly, patients. Collaboration and ownership only works if the whole of the dental world is engaged.”

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Our experience of the Certified Membership Scheme

Phill Brown FCGDent is a Facilitator on the College’s Certified Membership Scheme and dental therapist Poppy Dunton, Associate Member, is enrolled on the programme and supporting its development. In a recent conversation with Roshni Karia MCGDent, they shared their experiences of the scheme.

Roshni Karia: Thank you both for talking with me today. Can you briefly tell me about your roles in dentistry?

Phill Brown: Hi Roshni, I have a keen interest in primary dental care and have been a General Dental Practitioner for 17 years. Within that time I have worked in several practices as an associate dentist and was also fortunate enough to own a large NHS practice in the North West. My role in Dental Education began in 2017 where I have developed a career in Clinical Academia at the University of Liverpool School of Dentistry.

Poppy Dunton: I accidentally fell into dentistry, when a graphic design work experience placement fell through, I began training as a dental nurse, left for university to train in dental therapy and hygiene. I graduated in 2011, and from there have been fortunate enough to be able to complete my full scope of practice in a busy NHS surgery for over eight years; throughout that time I was privileged enough to be offered a business management position, and have since set up and manage a squat practice which is a private facility providing a multidisciplinary team. I currently serve as a Dental Hygiene Therapist focused on Periodontal care.

RK: Speaking as a Facilitator and a member on the Certified Membership Scheme, how does the Professional Framework support you to plan your development?

PB: As a Facilitator, the Framework allows me to structure and focus sessions with colleagues like Poppy who are on the Certified Membership Scheme. Each career stage within the framework has clear and concise examples of how each capability maps to their current career development and so for me as a Facilitator I can easily help and support discussions when a candidate has identified further areas of development.

PD: The Framework allows me to consider my next choice of professional development by allowing me to discuss my personal goals with my Facilitator. These could be examples of postgraduate training or new qualifications or skills I wish to gain. Once discussed this then supports me to see how my skills or day-to-day work life will match with the current direction of my professional development. We can then plan the next six months of my education together.

RK: Poppy, what does Certified Membership mean for you personally?

PD: Ultimately Roshni, I feel it means I am working towards a career goal. I qualified in 2011 and there were minimal postgraduate courses offered compared to the options available to undergraduates in today’s climate. However I have spent a lot of money in the past on courses – which I have only discovered post-qualification do not hold university merit. Therefore, by joining the Certified Membership programme I am able to ensure, with the help of my Facilitator, that my future investments into postgraduate education are the correct ones in line with my advancing through the Career Pathway towards my goal of Fellowship of the College. In addition it allows me to keep focused and not waste time or money on education which may not fit the goal I have set myself.

RK: Why do you think the CMS is a good idea for those working in primary care dentistry, Phill?

PB: Quite simple really! We have no other scheme currently like this in the dental primary care sector. The College has been very inclusive in who can join its programme. You have access to a Facilitator who will provide support alongside a uniquely developed Professional Framework, which maps to your own development no matter what discipline you work in. With the support of the College, primary care colleagues can start to consider how to develop a career pathway in a primary care setting, gaining recognition at every stage of their career development.

RK: So Poppy, can you explain what’s involved for you as a member of the scheme?

PD: Well, every six months I meet online with my Facilitator Martin, he is lovely! The meetings are structured and generally can be around 2-3 hours in length. Yes I know…this may sound like a long period of time, mapping out and planning career progression is based on forming a professional relationship with your Facilitator. Martin took the time to learn about my career, and I his – how I reached the current status of my job role, my concerns, and my desires to achieve more in further education. During the meeting we will set SMART goals together.

Following this meeting I will complete a reflective journal which allows me to self criticise, peer review my own goals and reflect on what needs improvement. This is then sent into the College to ensure my program is being completed and I am being held accountable. Throughout the six month periods there are constant streams of support and online study programme webinars which is helpful and allows me to focus on particular areas for improvement.

RK: One of the benefits of taking part in the CMS is ongoing support from a Facilitator like you Phill. What’s involved in your role?

PB: As a Fellow of the College I am privileged enough to be able to support colleagues at earlier stages of their career by being a Facilitator of the CMS. My role is to engage with those on the scheme throughout their development at specific points during the programme. The role requires me to set time aside to discuss candidates’ personal development plans and reflective logs, and further encourage, through active discussion, areas of professional development that may be helpful to them.

RK: Online Study Modules are another component of the CMS. What are these, Poppy? Do you find them helpful and what sorts of things do you discuss with your Facilitator?

PD: Online study modules are Zoom meetings and teaching lessons, on topics such as Record Keeping, that I attend with other members on the Certified Membership programme. They allow us to focus on a learning outcome for the next six months in terms of making improvements in our own dental daily workflow. We learn from each other and then listen to peers’ reflections and experiences. During my Facilitator meetings with Martin, we discuss recent events and my clinical progress – such as experiences, challenges faced – and we have an open discussion regarding any of my concerns. Reviewing achievements and planning the next six months make up a fair amount of our time – allowing Martin to guide me in regards to particular courses which will benefit me the most or help me to reach my goal of Fellowship.

RK: I wanted to ask both of you about the reflective journal, which is another requirement of the scheme. Have you learnt anything that you think might have been missed without a journal?

PB: As Poppy suggests the journal is very helpful and is structured in a way to guide and map development of skills to the Professional Framework. There are a lot of skills that we all naturally develop over time and so having a clear space to record these achievements ensures you can identify any gaps within each capability. It is really easy to focus on just the skills you are naturally good at and so encouraging CMS candidates to journal throughout can avoid missing important areas for consideration in their PDP goals.

PD: I must admit Roshni, I am a big fan of daily journaling; I think it forces your mind to reflect on exactly where you are. Therefore at times, I cannot recall missing anything but the opposite has allowed me to explore options which I haven’t previously or disregard ideas that upon reflection may not have been suitable in working towards my goals. I’m a particular fan of the Agency Domain in the Professional Framework, which includes the Autonomy competency, the ability to be self directed and take ownership of the work. This encourages you to look at yourself via the power of self audit.

RK: The fourth element of the Certified Membership Scheme is the objective evidencing of your capability, so formal qualifications you’ve gained or courses you’ve completed. Poppy, do you think this sort of external validation is useful for your career and are you currently working towards anything?

PD: Absolutely, I am proud to be part of the College and am so excited for all fellow dental care professionals who are going to achieve recognition for their contribution to the dental world. In the future this may also aid patients in finding an experienced clinician. I am currently working towards gaining Fellowship of the College. I previously completed courses which unfortunately did not qualify for the correct number of credits – therefore I am restarting my journey from a Level 7 status.

RK: Well thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about the CMS and your experiences so far. I’d love to catch up with you again a little further down the line to find out how it has been going.

PD: Thank you for allowing me to be part of this discussion, I am very grateful for the invite.

PB: Many thanks Roshni.

For further information about Certified Membership, click the button below.


The Certified Membership Scheme is open to Associate Members, Full Members and Associate Fellows of the College, and in the first phase, specifically for dentists – we will be opening to other dental team roles soon.

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A dental therapist’s unexpected journey

Dental therapist and business operations manager, Poppy Dunton, reflects on her career in dentistry and how her mantra that “every day is a school day” has supported her development.

Never would I have expected to have the career that I did out of dentistry. I was a disgruntled 15-year-old being told my graphic design two-week work placement had pulled out. With everyone else having picked their placements, I was left with the unexpected choice of a dental practice. “A dental practice! You’ve got to be joking?” I initially thought. Yet, as I made cups of tea and filed blue forms, the hustle and bustle of the place felt surprisingly comfortable. To say I enjoyed it was an understatement.

As the two-week period ended, the principal dentist offered me a part-time after-school job – making tea and cleaning the old impression trays (pre-single use era), and earning £3.15 per hour. I jumped at the chance, feeling like I was made of money. Every day after school, I would walk and do my 4 pm – 6:30 pm shift. When a trial day at Northampton College for photography didn’t sit right with me, I informed the principal dentist that evening. My father was called in for a meeting, and that’s when the principal dentist said, “I’ll only give her a job here, Graham if she makes something of her life.” That evening became the catalyst for my passion in dentistry.

The evolution of my career is intricately tied to a commitment to education. I embarked on an evening college course, alongside my apprenticeship, to train to become a dental nurse. Tuesday evenings in Milton Keynes led to passing the NEBDN Certificate in Dental Nursing. Once I had this, I spent the following months learning as much as possible – four-handed dentistry, impression taking, and implant nursing. The practice grew, and another was bought over the road, giving me the chance to set up an oral hygiene program.

Following my return from Cardiff University, where I completed a diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy, I was privileged enough to be offered my job back in the practice where I started. The first week was a week to remember; I ran an hour late, fell down the stairs, and stuck two teeth together. I had the most patient mentors, and working in an NHS practice was fantastic, allowing me to complete my full scope of practice, including paediatrics. Was it hard? Yes. Did it teach me speed and resilience? Absolutely.

After graduating in 2012, there were limited postgraduate options. Notable pursuits included constantly up-skilling and working in a team supportive of therapists. Composite courses with GC in Belgium, Level 7 in Employment Law, and being promoted to operations manager of two NHS practices – eventually managing a team of 64 staff – led to me being offered a practice manager position four years into my career. This opened learning about people psychology, leadership, and planning team meetings alongside my clinical career.

I was privileged enough to then open a squat practice alongside my principal, with a business plan for two surgeries over two years which resulted in 10 surgeries being opened over five years, including a vaccination clinic.  Three CQC inspections later, and the role of CQC manager was also added to my repertoire. The most rewarding part of project managing the development of this new practice was recruiting a group of individual dental professionals and watching them grow into a wonderful team.

Upon completing a PGDip in Perio and PGDip in Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry, I was introduced to the College of General Dentistry and was eager to explore the recognition I could gain as a dental therapist. Unfortunately, the course credits were not enough per course to contribute towards Fellowship. Thus, I joined the College’s Certified Membership Scheme (CMS) to gain guidance on how to continue advancing my career and choose the best postgraduate training to reflect my aspirations. As part of the Scheme, I have regular contact with a Facilitator who consistently ensures that my investment in courses leads me in the correct direction. Ongoing self-reflection allows me to constantly critique myself, and the leadership module fits well with my management of staff, completing practice meetings, and public speaking. Being part of the CMS has supported me to complete a Level 5 ILM in Leadership and Management, by enabling me to choose an appropriate course and help develop leadership qualities.

The College’s Professional Framework, which underpins the Certified Membership Scheme, maps 22 key capabilities, many of which have played a crucial role in my journey. Emphasising the value of postgraduate education, I would encourage new graduates to embrace opportunities for further learning and to constantly be self-critical of their work. Recording self-reflection, taking photographs, and analysing what went well in each case, shadowing peers, or approaching colleagues for their opinions are essential. Don’t fear failure; it’s what makes you better.

In my experience, this profession can be challenging and, at times, isolating. There are days when running late, neglecting notes, skipping meals, and even necessities like restroom breaks become the norm. The toll on one’s body—back pain, eye strain, and hand fatigue—can be significant. Looking after your long-term career is vital. Record-keeping has been one of the largest changes I’ve seen, starting in my early career with very short notes. Now, ensuring my conversations with patients are highlights in notes, and my nurses help and scribe during appointments. This has proved invaluable when a complaint arises. Protecting yourself is vital.

The most unexpected rewards in my dental therapy role often come during these challenging moments. Patient gratitude and the joy of assisting anxious individuals through treatment illuminate the darker days.

This career has allowed me ongoing dedication to continuous learning, reflecting on my mentor’s ethos of “everyday is a school day”. My commitment to education and mentorship is rooted in a desire to guide new professionals in navigating complexities while maintaining their well-being. In 2023, I was privileged to join the Board of the Faculty of Dental Hygiene & Dental Therapy for the College and long to continue my career in teaching.

Recently I have relocated due to family illness, and this marks the end of a significant chapter in my career, prompting reflection on the unconventional path that led me to the field of dentistry, the intricacies of managing a bustling practice, combined with the personal growth and educational pursuits that defined my journey. In conclusion alongside all new graduates, I continue to embrace new challenges and aspirations, remaining steadfast in my commitment to contributing positively to the ever-evolving world of dental therapy.

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How the dental sector could retain dental nurses

Dental nurse, Dr Debbie Reed FCGDent, is Chair of the inaugural board of the College’s Faculty of Dental Nursing and Orthodontic Therapy and a Reader and Director of Advanced and Specialist Healthcare in Global and Lifelong Learning at the University of Kent. In this blog, Debbie reflects on the results of her recent research into dental nurse retention in the UK.

There are currently over 61,6631 dental nurses (DNs) on the General Dental Council (GDC) register, making dental nurses the largest occupational group of dental registrants.  However, in recent years there has been a perceived drop in the numbers of dental nurses, to the extent that this has been termed a ‘recruitment crisis’. In my capacity as Reader (associate professor) in Advanced and Specialist Healthcare, I conducted the Dental Nurse Retention Survey, in February – March 20232, which aimed to explore the  current state of the registered Dental Nurse workforce within the United Kingdom (UK).

The main conclusions of the subsequent report3 provide valuable insights into the reasons dental nurses want to remain in the profession, as well as some of the factors that may lead them to consider leaving.

There are three top factors that encouraged 50% of dental nurse respondents to remain registered with the GDC and working within the dental sector. These were, in order:

  • Meaning and growth, focusing on reasons associated with job satisfaction, including meaningful work, career structure and opportunities for professional progression and growth.
  • Extrinsic rewards, including contracts of employment, financial remuneration and pay, as well as additional rewards and incentives provided by employers.
  • Workplace culture and environment, which was defined as a set of values, beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions common to those working together, which influences behaviours and interactions amongst colleagues within the dental team. Workplace environment also means the setting and physical conditions, such as the building structure, equipment, and material, in addition to the culture.

This indicates the potential importance to dental nurses, of having career pathway routes, such as the College of General Dentistry’s Career Pathway for Dental Nurse and Orthodontic Therapists (OTs)4.  CGDent’s Career Pathway offers a progressive and flexible structure through which dental nurses can be enabled in equality of opportunity for career development and progression, alongside a route-map for the achievements of DNs and OTs to be recognised within a prestigious multi-professional, sector wide, recognition framework. CGDent’s progressive career framework, is an accessible and achievable  route to job satisfaction and professional longevity.

Uniquely, CGDent provides a transparent, progressive series of gateways that encourages DNs and OTs to maximise their development opportunities, with means to track their development throughout their career progression. The gateways offer much-needed commonality of approach to career progression across all registered dental professions, with parity of occupational esteem, unparalleled elsewhere in dentistry, nationally or internationally. 

Instinctively, the CGDent Career Pathway, launched in 2022, may go some way to responding to some of the reasons dental nurses not only become uncertain about remaining but the reasons that dental nurses go on to declare an intention to leave.

The Survey Report detailed, with regards to the other 50% of respondents, that 34% who declared having become ‘uncertain about remaining in dental nursing’.  The top three reasons for this, in order, were:

  • First – Dissatisfaction with pay.
  • Joint second – Employers not valuing, recognising, or showing appreciation for the dental nurses’ contribution or no longer enjoying working as dental nurse.
  • Joint third – Dental nurses not getting a sense of meaning and reward from their role or feeling that they were unable to progress in their career.

The remaining 16% of dental nurse respondents declared ‘an intention to leave dental nursing’.  Surprisingly, when requested to be specific, pay was not amongst the top three reasons why dental nurses were making the decision to leave, although it did feature. The three top reasons, in order, why dental nurses intended to leave dental nursing were:

  • Employers not valuing, recognising or showing appreciation for their contribution.
  • Feeling they were unable to progress in their careers.
  • No longer enjoying working as a dental nurse.

Reassuringly, the study also revealed that even within the group who were ‘intending to leave’, that 46% could be tempted by employers, with suitable progression routes, offers, rewards and incentives, to remain or return to dental nursing.  So, it is not too late for employers, there are steps that can be taken to retain this group of dental nurses, and the report offers ideas to be used as a starting point for such discussions and negotiations. The Dental Nurse UK Retention Survey 2023 Report offers hope in the form of possibilities which might be explored to retain or re-engage that group and tempt them to consider re-registering to work in the dental sector.

The Dental Nurse Retention Survey UK Report published the results in Autumn 2023:  Reed, D.P. (2023) The Dental Nurse UK Retention Survey 2023: An Internet Mediated Survey Of Members Of The British Association of Dental Nurses And Wider Dental Nurse Workforce Regarding What Encourages Them To Remain Within The Dental Sector.

Unsurprisingly, it has had over 1,840 reads so far. For those who wish to access the survey results, the report is freely available on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/374919034_Dental_Nurse_UK_Retention_Survey_2023  

Over the course of the year, look out for the associated blogs (such as the GDC January 2024 Blog5),  papers, journal articles and speaker events, including part of the CDO Lounge events in March 2024 at BDIA Showcase in Excel London,  which will provide further detailed analysis of the survey results.

References:

  1. General Dental Council (GDC) (2024a)GDC Registration Reports January 2024. Available online: https://www.gdc-uk.org/docs/default-source/registration-reports/registration-report—january-2024.pdf?sfvrsn=2fc3066f_3
  2. British Dental Nurse Association (BADN) 2023) DN Recruitment and Retention Survey. Available online via: https://www.badn.org.uk/NewPublic/News/Dental-Nurse-Recruitment-and-Retention-Survey.aspx
  3. Reed, D.P. (2023) The Dental Nurse UK Retention Survey 2023: An Internet Mediated Survey Of Members Of The British Association of Dental Nurses And Wider Dental Nurse Workforce Regarding What Encourages Them To Remain Within The Dental Sector. Available online via ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/374919034_Dental_Nurse_UK_Retention_Survey_2023
  4. College of General Dentistry (CGDent) (2022) Career Pathways. Available online: https://cgdent.uk/career-pathways/
  5. General Dental Council (2024b) Blog 4 January 2024: What encourages dental nurses to remain within the dental sector? Available online: https://www.gdc-uk.org/news-blogs/blog/detail/blogs/2024/01/04/what-encourages-dental-nurses-to-remain-within-the-dental-sector

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Ministerial meeting

On 13 December 2023, the President of the College, Dr Abhi Pal, participated in a roundtable meeting with the newly appointed Minister for Primary Care, Andrea Leadsom MP.

Held at the Department of Health and Social Care, the meeting had been called by the newly-appointed Minister to outline her priorities for NHS dentistry in England – ensuring access for urgent dental care and increasing preventative activities such as perinatal advice and supervised toothbrushing schemes – and to hear the profession’s suggested solutions to the problems facing patients and NHS providers.

A wide range of stakeholders were present and discussed the critical need for contract reform as well as the delayed Dental Recovery Plan amongst other issues. On behalf of the College, Dr Pal made the case that the NHS needs to focus on arresting the exodus of the existing dental workforce and on increasing its appeal to newly-qualified professionals and those from overseas, and that to do this it needs to offer more attractive prospects by supporting a formal career progression framework for all those delivering NHS primary dental care. 

A general dental practitioner and principal of an NHS-contracted dental practices in Edgbaston and Derbyshire, Dr Pal has previously given evidence on NHS dentistry to the House of Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, taken part in a meeting on access to careers and progression in dentistry at 10 Downing Street and addressed the House of Lords Committee on the Integration of Primary and Community Care

It is understood that the Minister will continue to engage with the profession through quarterly meetings.

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College engages the next generation of dental professionals

As part of a new initiative to raise awareness of its mission to dental students and early career professionals, the College held its first ‘NextGen’ event on Saturday 25 November 2023.

The CGDent NextGen Leadership Workshop, which took place in Manchester, was open to students on the Bachelor of Dental Surgery, BSc or DipHE Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy, BSc Clinical Dental Technology and BSc Dental Studies courses at the University of Manchester, the University of Liverpool, the University of Birmingham and the University of Central Lancashire, as well as Foundation Dentists and Foundation Dental Therapists in the North West region.

Successful applicants were awarded a fully funded place at the one-day workshop, which explored the skills required for effective leadership in dentistry, through a series of talks, workshops and discussion. The day focused on the five competencies in the Agency Domain of the College’s Professional Framework for Career Pathways in Dentistry: autonomy, decision-making, influence, leadership and management.

Supported by five College facilitators, the delegates were encouraged to examine the key leadership skills and consider how they could develop them through short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.

Christy, a BDS student at the University of Birmingham who took part in the day, said: “…it was great to meet the facilitators and other students there. Everyone was so welcoming, and the talks and activities were easily accessible – no matter what stage or area of dentistry we were in. I’ve learnt multiple ways to develop my skill set, information about the College of General Dentistry and thoroughly look forward to future events!”

Many of those who attended the workshop have become NextGen Ambassadors for the College, with the aim of raising awareness within their communities of CGDent’s mission and of the career support it offers to dental professionals.

The College wishes to thank the students and Foundation Trainees who enthusiastically took part in the day; the workshop facilitators who generously gave their time and expertise (Phillip Brown, Poppy Dunton, Roshni Karia, Abhi Pal and Sir Nairn Wilson); and the University of Manchester, University of Liverpool, University of Birmingham, University of Central Lancashire and Health Education North West for their support.

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Making the move into private practice

Dr Pouya Zohrabpour, GDP and co-creator of the Two Dentists YouTube Channel, describes his journey towards becoming a fully private associate dentist, and the support he has received from the College’s Certified Membership Scheme.

Many young dentists struggle with imposter syndrome, often hesitant to engage in private dental practice or transition to a fully private setting. I graduated in 2020 and have recently embarked on the journey to become a fully private associate dentist. The experiences I’ve gathered over the past few years have been instrumental in easing this transition, helping me overcome imposter syndrome, and instilling confidence in the quality of dental care I provide.

Shortly after graduating, my colleague and friend, Dr. Ali Gowie, and I made the decision to launch a YouTube channel named “Two Dentists.” This initiative was born out of our shared frustration during the lockdown, as we grew tired of lengthy hour-long webinars. Our mission was simple: to create informative, polished, and easily digestible educational videos within the field of dentistry. We aimed to make these videos accessible to both dental newcomers and students.

Initially, our content focused on the intricacies of the new patient examination process, quickly gaining popularity on our channel. We covered a range of topics, from guiding dental students through their first patient interactions to providing insights on dental history collection, conducting comprehensive dental examinations, mastering all the essential diagnoses, utilizing radiology effectively, and excelling in treatment planning.

As time progressed, our content portfolio expanded to include diverse video series, such as our comprehensive exploration of dental photography and Loupes, which resonated strongly with our audience. Running our YouTube channel has opened doors for valuable collaborations with fellow dental professionals, nurturing our ongoing journey of learning and personal development. The channel has provided me with constant motivation to seek further knowledge, which I can then share through our videos.

During my foundation training year, I faced a pivotal decision regarding whether to pursue Dental Core Training (DCT). This choice weighed heavily on my mind as I sought advice from friends and colleagues. However, the diversity of opinions and my own uncertainty about the ideal career path left me in a state of indecision. Ultimately, I chose the associate route to focus on improving my general dentistry skills.

I’m certain that many others have found themselves in a similar situation, which is precisely where the new CGDent Certified Membership Scheme and Career Pathways can make a significant difference. As a young dentist, having a clearly defined career pathway, carefully mapped out by a professional body, offers me a sense of assurance that I’m on the right trajectory to expand my knowledge and evolve into a more proficient practitioner. Knowing that my progress will be acknowledged by the College and that I can work my way towards becoming an accomplished practitioner is incredibly motivating.

The Career Pathway provides a structured ladder to guide one’s professional growth, with clear steps leading to the achievement of the “accomplished practitioner” status. Currently classified as a “capable practitioner” “within the program, I am actively working towards the next milestone of becoming an “experienced practitioner”. One of the requirements for this advancement is completing a postgraduate diploma. To meet this requirement, I have enrolled in a PGDip program in Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry offered by the Advanced Centre of Excellence (ACE). This further education has significantly boosted my confidence in treating a diverse range of patients, particularly in the private dental sector.

The Career Pathway is underpinned by the College’s Professional Framework, which delineates five domains encompassing 22 capabilities expected of dental professionals. My discussions with my assigned Facilitator while navigating these domains have been enlightening. They have encouraged me to pursue self-development not only in technical skills but also in the soft skills integral to dentistry. For instance, I’ve focused on honing my technical knowledge through courses in my PGDip program and ensuring I apply this knowledge in practice. Emphasizing the reflective domain, especially behaviours and well-being capabilities, has motivated me to foster a friendly, supportive, and collaborative environment among my colleagues at the dental practice. I firmly believe that without the framework and pathway in place, many of these actions may not have occurred or could have been delayed. The YouTube channel, Career Pathway, and Professional Framework have all played pivotal roles in shaping my career, enabling me to evolve and find fulfilment in dentistry.

As I near completion of my PGDip, I’m keen to identify the dental procedures that resonate with me most and potentially niche down in those treatments. To me, a successful dental career entails working in a capacity that allows you to practice the dentistry you enjoy, on a schedule that suits your preferences. This journey is neither swift nor easy; it demands patience and thoughtful planning. However, with the right guidance and strategy in place, it can become a more seamless and rewarding experience.

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New PDJ online: Aesthetic dentistry, part 2

The latest edition of the Primary Dental Journal, the Aesthetic dentistry part 2 issue (vol.12, no.3), is now live online.

As with part 1 (vol.12, no.2), this issue is guest edited by two renowned experts in the field, Subir Banerji (Programme Director MSc Aesthetic dentistry, King’s College London) and Shamir Mehta (Professor of Aesthetic dentistry and Programme Lead, MSc Restorative and Aesthetic dentistry at CoMD/Ulster University).

In this part 2 issue, and the previous part 1 issue, the Guest Editors have selected a range of topics pertinent to the whole team of dental professionals, including discussions on the aesthetic management of tooth size discrepancies, the longevity of tooth-coloured materials in dental restoration, and an update on adhesion to enamel and dentine. A full list of part 2 papers can be found below.

Also included in this issue is the final of five domains from the College’s Career Pathways in Dentistry: Professional Framework, which describes the knowledge, skills and other attributes expected of primary care dental professionals at different career stages – from safe practitioner through to accomplished practitioner. The ‘Agency’ domain is published in this issue, and was preceded by the ‘Clinical & Technical’, ‘Professionalism’, ‘Reflection’ and ‘Development’ domains published in the Autumn and Winter 2022 and the Spring and Summer 2023 issues of the Primary Dental Journal. Every domain for all career stages can be viewed online, using the above link.

Full access to the majority of articles is reserved for College of General Dentistry members and Primary Dental Journal subscribers. For non-members / non-subscribers, individual print issues are available to purchase from £41. An annual print subscription, normally costing £125, is included with membership of the College. Membership is available from £125 for dentists, from £83 for other dental professionals, and from £42 for Dental Nurses and those eligible for a concession and also includes online access to the PDJ Archive of over 1,300 articles, and a range of other benefits.

CGDent members and PDJ subscribers should expect their printed copies to arrive in the next 2–3 weeks.

On behalf of the College, the PDJ editorial team would like to express its gratitude to all the authors and peer reviewers who have contributed to the publication of this issue.

CGDent members can view full articles by logging in via the yellow button below, then clicking ‘Access the PDJ Archive’:

At least one paper in each issue is made available online free of charge on an Open Access basis. Non-members can view all other full articles using the purchase options presented when clicking the individual article links below, or can use the links above to purchase a complete issue or an annual subscription, or become a member.

PDJ Autumn 2023 Aesthetic dentistry part 2 issue contents

The next issue of the journal will feature papers on the topic of Dental trauma, and is due out in Winter 2023. Anticipated papers include:

  • A review of the IADT Guidelines 2020
  • Prevention of traumatic dental injuries
  • How to succeed in dental trauma management
  • Assessment and management of fractures
  • Assessment and management of displacement injuries
  • Assessment and management of avulsion injuries
  • Special considerations in paediatric dental trauma
  • Monitoring and complications post-trauma

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Birmingham meet-and-greet

Friday 17 – Saturday 18 May 2024, 9.00am – 5.30pm, Birmingham

Hall 5, National Exhibition Centre, Pendigo Way, Marston Green, Birmingham B40 1NT

The College invites all dental professionals to visit its exhibition stand (Q01) at British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2024

College members and non-members alike are encouraged to come and introduce themselves, to find out more about the College and have their queries answered.

Perhaps you have questions about your membership or how to access your benefits? Or want to know whether you’re eligible for Full Membership, Associate Fellowship or Fellowship? Or you wonder how Certified Membership works, what Life Fellowship is, or how to add your qualifications to the Member Register?

Maybe you’re a former member of FGDP(UK) uncertain of your College status, or the correct way to present your Faculty post-nominals?

Or perhaps you’re a non-member who’s not yet heard much about the College and just wants to find out why we were set up, what our plans are or how we can help you in your career?

Whatever your query, senior College members and staff will be there throughout the conference to help you out, and we’ll have live access to our systems to help solve membership queries on the spot.

Or even if you don’t have a query, we’d be delighted to meet you!

The College is also the headline education partner for the Enhanced CPD Theatre, where it is hosting four lectures.

The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show is the UK’s largest dental event, giving you access to 400 exhibitors and 9,000 fellow dental professionals, and offering 200 lectures across 11 CPD theatres.

It’s FREE to attend for all registered dental professionals – just register via the button below:

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Dentistry work experience webinar

Webinar with Future Frontline, Tuesday 5 December 2023, 6pm

This webinar with Future Frontline, aimed to raise awareness of different careers within general dentistry and to educate future dental professionals about working in the dental profession. Members from across the dental team gave an insight into a typical day in the life of a dental professional, explained what they love about working in dentistry and the career pathways that are open to dental professionals. They also gave information about the College of General Dentistry and how we support careers in dentistry.

Speakers:

  • Michelle Brand, Dental Nurse, Associate Member of the College
  • Dr Roshni Karia MCGDent, General Dental Practitioner, Council member of the College of General Dentistry
  • Frances Robinson AssocFCGDent, Dental Hygienist, Chair of the College’s Faculty of Dental Hygiene and Dental Therapy
  • Carmel Vickers-Wall, Clinical Dental Technician, member of the College’s Faculty of Clinical Dental Technology & Dental Technology
  • Dr Pouya Zohrabpour, General Dental Practitioner, Ambassador for the College of General Dentistry, Associate Member of the College

Membership of the College of General Dentistry is open to all registered dental professionals and dental students and trainees. Find out about our membership types and fees here.  

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