Immediately after dental school the vast majority of graduates start dental foundation training (previously known as vocational training VT). This is a great opportunity to start gaining experience in all aspects of dentistry. Indeed some newly qualified dentists have little or no experience in some areas!
At this stage and I would say for the first three years of your career, keep an open mind and get as much experience as possible. Your choice is then to either go back into hospital and follow specialist training or to continue to pursue your passion in a general setting. Only you can decide!
My own pathway took me through VT, into general practice as an associate and then into a partnership. In all honesty, this probably came too soon. It also came with the financial perks that meant it was more difficult to give it up and go back into hospital.
I then became interested in implants and oral surgery around 2 years after graduation. I then managed to get a part-time job as a staff grade oral surgeon. This gave me so much experience in surgery and led to a teaching post at the dental hospital. Several weekend courses gave me a taste of implants and it became clear that it was something I wanted to take further.
I then embarked on an 18-month practical implant course. In the meantime, I was lucky enough to find a mentor who was happy to come and help me start placing implants in practice. This is key to advancing your career in a practice setting. Whether its implants or endodontics, find a mentor who will help you push yourself out of your comfort zone without the risk of being on your own.
After my 18-month course I was by no means competent to place implants on my own, but I had enough to get started in planning my own cases. After another 12 months of mentoring I was ready to take the leap on my own. To this day I still have mentors who help and act as sounding boards for cases.
How to choose a course
David Beckham can curl a free kick into the top corner without knowing the physics calculations required to get the ball in the goal. He won’t know the revolutions on the ball, the wind resistance or the angle he needs to hit the ball. But what he has done is practise.
Dentistry is a practical skill and while there is no doubt you need a background knowledge there is no chance of getting started without the practical know-how.
So what to look for in a course? Here are five fundamentals:
- A balance of didactic and practical teaching.
- Educators with a good reputation and a background of dental teaching. Ideally recommended by someone you can trust!
- A course with a pathway to get you where you want to go.
- A faculty or company that will support you once the course has finished.
- A course that is supported by companies with a good reputation for well researched and respected products.
There is no need to start with a Masters Degree. Indeed our feeling is that this level of post graduate training is for someone who already has experience and wants to add to their knowledge. SEE CC BLOG POST ON MSC’s
At the Campbell Academy, our goal is for delegates to embark on a pathway that leads them to placing 50 implants per year within 5 years. We have our own mentoring scheme with accredited mentors throughout the country who support you throughout your learning.
Click below to download the 3 secrets to a successful dental career