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20. An Open Letter...

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 10/01/18 18:00



20. An Open Letter to new Dental Graduates – published 22.10.2013

This published 22nd October 2013 and was later supplemented with books for new dental graduates which I haven’t reviewed in these posts but a revised version of which will be coming out in 2018.

It’s bizarre to read back at this and to see that the message of what I was talking about over 4 years ago has not only come to pass but has depend in terms of the crisis that has occurred.

I’ll be lecturing to hundreds of dental students in early 2018, much of the message could just be a re hashing of what was said in these page. The situation is exactly the same and I intend to chat to the new graduates about this blog when I get there.


Dear Dental Graduate

Congratulations on obtaining you degree in dentistry following years of academic study through school, hugely onerous selection processes and then an incredibly demanding 5 year undergraduate course of theory, practical and clinical.

I am sorry to let you know that while you were away at University the world of dentistry changed dramatically and irrevocably and the profession you now find yourself entering is not the one you saw when you did your work experience 5 years ago.

In the first instance, the system of payment for NHS dentistry has changed dramatically and is about to change again. This will encourage further use of dental complimentary professionals (DCP's) to do some of the simpler tasks which were afforded to dentists previously and allowed them to make "an easy living".

Secondly, there has been an explosion in "commercial products" in dentistry. Some of which is leading to huge erosion in the faith in our profession and the materialistic approach by dentists which is likely to permanently affect the respect we once had with the public.

This has led, within our profession, to a cohort of dentists who are under skilled and continue to de-skill further. Whose income has reduced dramatically (no one will be sad about that) and his morale within the profession has reached the lowest point for decades.

If you have entered dentistry, applying 6 years ago, expecting to make a lot of money in the early stages of your career, drive fancy cars, have very expensive holidays and buy an expensive house then i'm afraid you are likely to be disappointed.

The new pathway to success in dentistry over the next decade will be the pursuit of mastery in a certain aspect of your craft. This will likely involve working in much lower paid positions with "experts" and senior professionals to learn as much as possible. It will also involve moving around institutions to get the most possible exposure to ideas and clinical techniques. It will involve sitting exams and it will probably involve doing research into your chosen area.

Once you have been on this career pathway for the next 10 - 15 years it is likely you may begin to see the rewards for your investment both emotionally, academically and chronologically.

Gone are the days when a first year dental graduate exits dental school and provides high priced private dentistry to patient.

My advice would be simple - watch this video 

If you find that there is nothing in dentistry which stimulates you enough to "seek out your desire" as Alan Watts puts it. I would suggest you use the degree you now have to change career.

With my very best wishes for your future.

Yours Sincerely



Blog post number: 1518

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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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