Should everyone do a dental core trainee placement after foundation training? – Charlotte Gentry

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  Posted by: probe-admin      8th June 2018

As undergraduates we have limited time and resources, resulting in limited clinical experience. Our clinic time is finite and as I’ve spoken about previously, poor patient attendance can also hinder us and contribute to our limited experience. Despite there being many opportunities for us as new graduates after university – could there be more to make us the best dental professionals we can be?

After foundation training we have the option to do a dental core trainee placement. With an opportunity to work in a specialist environment, we have the opportunity to improve our skills in a handful of specialities we may feel weak or have limited experience in. However, despite it being drummed into us that we should all try and do one of these, there are, of course, limited placements. I wonder whether more should be opened up for newly qualified dentists and that perhaps it is made compulsory for us all to do one of these highly beneficial placements?

Every university has different minimum requirements for undergraduates to fulfil in order for them to be entered into finals and ultimately graduate- however is there really a number of any kind of treatment that means we are competent when we graduate. Every dentist continues to learn and continues to improve their skills, even if they have been doing it for years. As a student, it is very difficult to go from doing for example, one molar endodontic procedure, which has taken you multiple two hour appointments, to going into practice and having at least half the time and the very limited experience.

There are talks about the way that dentistry is provided changing quite significantly over the coming years. The new contract may make it easier for care that would usually be provided in a secondary care setting to be provided within a primary care setting. This would be hugely beneficial for those more isolated members of society who live in areas without dental hospitals and where access to community and hospital dental services is more difficult. From what I understand, the idea is that dental practices have a dentist with a ‘special interest’ or a specialist in a few specialities all under one roof, meaning that much more care can be provided within the primary care setting. By making DCT placements compulsory, or making more available to apply for, this way of delivering dental care could be very possible.

Not only will this different way of dental services being provided benefit patients in the sense that they will be able to receive more complex care without the need for referral in some situations and receive continuity of care; it will help the hospitals with their long waiting lists for some specialities and ensure the hospitals are seeing the people who really need the type of care they provide.

By either making the additional training year compulsory, or having more placements available, I believe so many of us newly graduated dentists will be able to deliver much higher standards of care along with more confidence in an already scary and stressful career. I truly think it will benefit the hospitals, with more staff available to provide the care, as well as patients with the potential for changes in the way dental care is delivered. 


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