Dental foundation training: my experience

hannan-imranHannan Imran, is a Foundation Dentist in the Oxfordshire scheme, and Trainee Representative for the Thames Valley and Wessex Deanery. He shares why he got involved in dentistry and what training has been like so far.

Why dentistry?
My desire to pursue dentistry began at a young age following some extensive orthodontic treatment I had done. The impact it had on my psychosocial well-being was profound. I gained the confidence to speak in front of audiences that I would once shy away from.

I had first-hand experience of how dentistry combines function and aesthetics to produce life-changing results. Additionally, I am fascinated by the intricate nature of the restorative specialities – more specifically, rehabilitative dentistry.

Training has been rewarding and challenging
The biggest challenge so far has been transitioning from the ‘sheltered’ environment of dental school to general practice – and also working within time constraints. For me, the aim of this year is to build upon the foundations taught at university. I know that speed and efficiency will come with time, so for now, I am focusing more on achieving good treatment outcomes, and I am trying not to feel pressured to follow a strict timeline. 

Furthermore, the concept of charging patients a fee for dental treatment has taken some time to get used to. In dental school, the only cost to the patient would be their time; which was not much of an issue as the majority were retired or self-employed!

Nevertheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed the first few months of my foundation year. Not having to worry about meeting a high UDA target, allows me to spend more time with patients; ensuring their concerns and expectations are managed appropriately. I also have the opportunity to take photographs of my clinical work; enabling me to reflect upon cases and generate a dental portfolio for future employers.

Representing my peers
Each year, following a selection process, dental foundation trainees are asked to elect a Trainee Representative from their deanery. He/she is asked to attend the Deanery’s biannual Foundation Subcommittee meeting; ensuring the views of fellow dental foundation and therapist trainees are brought forward. Subsequent changes can then be made to the curriculum, for example.

Recently, I was honoured to have been elected as the Trainee Representative for the Thames Valley and Wessex Deanery. I was able to create my own sub-team incorporating members from each of the five training schemes within the region. I am hoping this will generate more in-depth feedback and engagement with the process from foundation trainees.

Why should young dentists get involved with the BDA?
As cliched as it may sound, we are the future of dentistry within the UK. The NHS workforce is under ever increasing pressure from the government to maintain the world-class service that it provides.

In order for us to achieve this, I think we have to support the BDA, as they can represent our views on a political level. Moreover, the BDA provides invaluable support and advice, such as its advice sheets on a whole range of topics, from financial management to associate contractual guidance.

There’s also the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals at regional meetings/seminars – go along to your next local meeting, who knows where it may lead you!

Hannan Imran, Foundation Dentist

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