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Posted by: Dental Design 13th February 2023
Sam Jethwa, Vice President of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) and dentist at Bespoke Smile Advanced Dentistry & Academy speaks about what inspired him to pursue dentistry, what’s happening at the BACD and why the Academy has been so instrumental in his career:
‘I had made the decision to pursue dentistry by the age of 11, which may sound very strange to some! I was introduced to the idea by a friend, and I was always fascinated watching shows such as 10 Years Younger, where dentistry plays a key role in improving people’s appearance and boosting their confidence. It then became the only option.
‘Despite a natural preference for the humanities over sciences, ultimately, I could not envision myself in a career surrounded by documents, paperwork, or even in a corporate environment with a set career ladder. Choosing my profession was always about finding something that gave me the freedom to create something of my own. That’s why dentistry works so well for me – it has an element of artistry, as well as the opportunity to be in control of the brand and customer experience you’re delivering.’
Despite a passion for dentistry, Sam discovered early on that it wasn’t an easy career. Here he discusses some of the challenges he has faced:
‘There is nothing easy about dentistry, or a career around it – then you add in cosmetic dentistry and the whole thing is one huge, never-ending challenge! To succeed in the area, I very quickly I learnt that I needed to up my clinical skills, so I invested every bit of extra income on courses.
‘After doing everything under the sun, I realised that porcelain veneer work was where I felt most passionate, but the preparation levels I was seeing made me feel uncomfortable. I was brought up with the idea of minimally invasive dentistry being at the forefront of everything we do, so my first challenge was to learn more about materials, work with my labs one-to-one and push boundaries using ceramics that were not the norm at that time. I then had to put my work out there, for all to see. This was at a time when I still had reservations about some of the results, and in an environment where “veneer” had been painted as a dirty word.
‘The second challenge was to believe that I could create Bespoke Smile Advanced Dentistry & Academy, with confidence. It felt like I jumped off a cliff, and had no idea if I would land safely or not. My mentality is always that anything could disappear tomorrow – so it is still a constant fight within myself to innovate, learn, grow, and succeed. What I have learned through patients and fellow dentists is that how we treat people and the results we achieve, speak volumes. I only count our Academy courses, or my cases as successful if I am happy with the outcome. The patient being happy is only the baseline minimum requirement, not the final goal.’
The BACD has been fundamental throughout Sam’s career. Here’s how it began:
‘I remember a group of us going along to a BACD regional meeting in 2010. We all left feeling entirely inspired and had our eyes opened to a type of dentistry that, at the time, we had no idea was even possible. I then attended a conference alone, as a very nervous young student looking up at these dental gurus in awe. I had no reason to be, everyone was incredibly welcoming and the rest is history. The BACD has since become a huge part of my life.
‘Becoming Vice President (VP) of the BACD feels surreal especially as presidency was never originally on my radar. My role this year is to support our President (Dr Simon Chard) and our President Elect (Dr Luke Hutchings) in every way I can. I am still responsible for BACD Communications, which I am co-chairing with one of our new board members, and past BACD student rep and committee member Dr Sheila Nguyen. This year, Suzy (Mrs BACD!) and I are working on a HUGE new BACD website which will digitally automate many features, and reduce our carbon footprint massively. This new website will also make the user experience incredibly smooth.’
So, why join the BACD?
‘The BACD is a life changing organisation. The proof is in the pudding – I would not be answering these interview questions if it wasn’t for the BACD and the people within it. The education is world-class, but it’s about experience, and networking. It is simply THE family to join if you believe in ethical cosmetic dentistry and want to be a part of what’s happening in the UK. Surrounding oneself with people who we respect and want to learn from, and have them become friends, can change the course of our careers, and therefore lives. That is what The BACD is about.’
To find out more about becoming a member of the BACD, please contact the team today.
For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, visit www.bacd.com