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The journey to BACD Accreditation

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  Posted by: The Probe      10th February 2020

As challenging as it is rewarding, the BACD Accreditation Programme provides a platform for dentists and dental technicians to demonstrate their passion, knowledge and skills for delivering exceptional cosmetic dentistry. Having successfully completed the programme within just two years, Dr Petteri Viljakainen was recently awarded Accreditation and is one of only two overseas dentists thus far to have achieved this prestigious accolade. He says:

“BACD Accreditation is a really good way of achieving recognition in the cosmetic dental field, and marketing yourself to patients and colleagues. Throughout the programme, you learn new things and challenge yourself in relation to techniques and use of materials. If you want to improve as a cosmetic dentist, there’s no better way to do it than by putting yourself through BACD Accreditation.”

This programme involves anonymously submitting five clinical cases with before-and-after photos, and successfully completing a Viva examination. 

“There is no definitive way to prepare for Accreditation,” says Dr Viljakainen. “I think preparation comes when you start treating patients and face the challenges of treatment. You have to reach a certain level of experience as a cosmetic dentist – where you have developed a basic knowledge of the field and utilise this routinely in practice – before you can take on Accreditation.

“One of the most challenging aspects of the programme is learning about specific techniques, especially with regard to ceramics and composite materials. Nobody can really help you when it comes to composite cases – you just have to attend hands-on courses and develop your experience, which is challenging because you have to learn independently. I attended 12 different hands-on courses around the world during the Accreditation process. 

“Another challenging aspect of Accreditation revolves around communicating with your dental technician on cases you submit. You have to learn how to better co-operate with the dental technician and develop good communication skills. I was able to do this through monthly meetings, where my dental technician and I assessed potential cases and discussed what we could do better. We were then able to reach a certain level of clinical excellence that enabled me to achieve BACD Accreditation.”

So, what was key to Dr Viljakainen’s success?

“Motivation, ambition, drive and commitment to do better for patients,” he says. “When you start treating patients, you identify potential cases for submission that you can devote additional treatment time to. You stop thinking about treatment costs and start thinking more about achieving the best end result. It’s a learning curve.

“I had all the support I needed from the BACD. Suzy Rowlands was particularly helpful – if ever I had any questions, she would put me in touch with Dr Donald Sloss, who had been in charge of the Accreditation Programme at the time of my application. I was able to send him photos and enquire as to whether they were suitable cases for submission, and I always received very prompt replies.

“I also received a lot of support from Dr Anoop Maini. He recognised that I had reached a certain level of experience in the field that, in his opinion, meant I was ready for BACD Accreditation. He encouraged and supported me throughout the process, and was my biggest mentor.”

Reflecting on his experience, Dr Viljakainen says: “BACD Accreditation has changed the way I practise dentistry. I’m thinking less about compromising and more about achieving the best treatment outcome using top quality materials. I think if I was to do the Accreditation Programme again, I would have started documenting cases a little better. I lost a few potential cases because I didn’t have ‘before’ photos and other appropriate documentation to support submission.”

Dr Viljakainen believes that the biggest obstacle to successful completion of BACD Accreditation is thinking that it is unachievable.

“Many dentists are afraid that they don’t have the skills to achieve Accreditation,” he says. “I would advise candidates who are thinking about applying for the programme to attend Accreditation workshops and find out what types of cases are required to pass. I would also advise potential candidates to start documenting cases, even if they don’t seem like the perfect case at first. 

“For those who are currently undertaking Accreditation, I advise you to hang in there! If you are struggling to find potential cases, take advantage of mentors at the BACD. There are experienced member dentists who have achieved Accreditation and can tell you whether a case is worth submitting and what you need to do to ensure success.

“BACD Accreditation has changed a lot for me and certainly raised the bar in relation to what kind of treatment I’m prepared to offer patients. It has inspired me to consider how I can achieve the best results, but also encouraged me to see the bigger picture with each case, rather than simply focusing on single-tooth dentistry. It revolves around acquiring new skills and knowledge in order to be the best cosmetic dentist you can be.

“I would recommend BACD Accreditation to anyone who wants to become a better clinician. Receiving the Accredited Member plaque is fantastic, but the journey to that is even better.”

Find out how you can begin your journey into Accreditation by visiting the new BACD website today.

 

For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, visit www.bacd.com


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