When people pursue their careers, they often have many challenges to face. That’s why they seek advice or ways to enhance their career progression. Perhaps you’re a UK resident who’s interested in the field of dentistry. It’s a profession that generally has a shortage of qualified staff so is likely to always be a high level of demand and opportunities for those who want to work in the dental profession.
This article discusses how you can become a successful dental health professional.
Understand The Various Options
With the right qualifications and aspirations, you could become a qualified dentist who works in a high street practice or in a hospital. Alternatively, you could combine both NHS and private activities. Other career paths for dental health professionals include becoming a dental nurse, hygienist, therapist, or technician. These roles could enable you to treat a wide range of different people of all ages.
Some individuals pursue community dental care, such as working in nursing homes and community clinics. There are also non-clinical workers who assess the dental needs of the population. Hospital workers often deal with emergency cases or long-stay patients, or function in a teaching capacity. Finally, you could work for the armed forces, whether it’s in the UK or abroad.
Gain Training And Qualifications
If you want to become a dentist, you’ll need to take a (typically five-year) degree-level course. In turn, you’d acquire a bachelor’s degree. Dentists need to take part in dental foundation training (DFT) or vocational training (VT). For this, you’d need to work in an approved practice for 12 months after graduation. You’d receive supervised training and could also access additional learning. This would be achieved by taking a number of short courses or seeking postgraduate qualifications.
There are several different learning options for dental jobs. For distance learning, there are Dental assistant training programs that are delivered via accessible online modules. Specialist websites display breakdowns of the term contents, and it’s possible to apply for enrollment online.
Access Financial Support
If your university course is recognized by the GMC, you may be eligible for monetary help from the NHS. The funding will vary according to where you live in the United Kingdom. When people take the standard 5-year course, they’re entitled to receive a student loan from Student Finance England. This would be designed to cover your tuition and maintenance fees in the first four years.
During Year 5, the NHS Student Bursary Scheme kicks in. This is a means-tested benefit. If you’re a graduate medical and dental student, you may only be eligible for help from year 5.
Understand The Responsibilities
Dentists are required to examine their patients and diagnose any dental conditions. To do this, they use tools such as X-rays. Dentists also educate patients on oral healthcare, such as brushing and flossing. Additionally, they supply a wide range of clinical treatments. They include treating gum disease and restoring teeth that have been affected by decay.
In order to keep the practice running on a daily basis, dentists are also required to maintain the dental records of their patients. They additionally oversee the recruitment, training, and management of staff. They also need to think about marketing their services, overseeing budgets, and maintaining their supplies and equipment.
Accept The Working Hours
General dental practitioners (GDPs) are able to choose their own working hours, which may include evenings and weekends. They may also decide to become part-time or take a career break.
Dentists who work in hospitals often encounter more irregular hours. Some have short-term contracts or on-call responsibilities.
Understand Life As A Dentist
You can find employment as a dentist in cities or in the country. You’ll be required to wear a range of surgical equipment to reduce the risk of cross-infection. Working in bright lights for extended periods of time can often lead to eye strain. People also commonly experience neck and back fatigue whilst caring for their clients.
As in any area of medical care, working with patients can be stressful and challenging. There are often time constraints, and it’s difficult when patients are distressed. However, working in dentistry can be richly rewarding, especially when it improves people’s lives.
Know The Skills Required
Dentists are required to have good manual dexterity, as well as a wealth of knowledge and expertise. They’re often required to concentrate for extended periods of time, and to maintain good patient relationships. Dentists can be required to communicate with a wide range of different people, and to do so in a sympathetic manner.
You need to be well organized and able to competently manage your staff. You also need IT skills, such as when using computers for records and accounts. You also need to be competent with digital imaging and intra-oral photography.
Consider The Career Prospects
Many dentists who begin as associates or partners end up owning and running their own practices. With the added salaries come greater responsibilities. They include managing budgets, equipment, tax, and the work premises.
Hospital workers are able to further develop their skills in a wide range of different areas. They include orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, restorative dentistry, and oral surgery. If you’re a community dental worker you could pursue postgraduate qualifications through part-time study. If you’re successful, you could become a senior dental officer.
Consider Being A Dental Hygienist
If you pursue this option, you’ll be educating your patients to look after their teeth and gums. You’ll also provide preventative treatments and offer oral hygiene/dietary advice. You could end up in a dental practice in the community or working at a hospital.
Dental hygienists are expected to work alongside dentists, dental therapists, and dental nurses. You won’t normally need to travel for your job, but you could work overseas if required. In order to gain your qualifications, you’d need to take a full-time course (approved by the General Dental Council (GDC). It could either be a three-year degree, a two-year diploma, or a two-year foundation degree.
As you can see, there are several routes to success as a dental health professional. The key is to know yourself and what you really want to do. By remaining disciplined and working hard, you could end up enjoying your career for a lifetime.