No dentist is an island

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  Posted by: The Probe      6th January 2018

Dentistry can be a fairly isolated profession at times. You spend most of your days in the surgery, staring into patients’ mouths and writing up clinical notes on the computer. While people do come and go during appointments, many of you will only have a dental nurse or the other members of your practice team for professional company. If you work in a small practice, you may not even work with another dentist who you can turn to for information or opinions. However, there are many things you can do to branch out and create a much wider network for support, advice, inspiration, camaraderie and friendship.

Attending conferences and exhibitions is a good start – they get you out of the practice and into a fresh environment. They are a fantastic source of new ideas, often with an array of brand new products, technologies and innovations you can browse to broaden your thinking and improve the way you do things. The ‘wet fingered’ dentist has the perfect opportunity to try out new materials for themselves or to watch live demonstrations performed by product experts and those involved with the development and refinement of innovations. These events are also a great platform for interaction with the wider dental community – you might catch up with colleagues you went to University with, meet those you attended courses with, or simply meet new people you would otherwise not have come across.

The benefits of physically attending conferences are clear, but this is not always the most convenient option. For example, you might have to wait several months between events, or you may not be able to take the time out of the practice on the dates these shows are put on. In such situations, seeking out alternatives is important.

For the same face-to-face interaction, attending local study clubs can be hugely beneficial. These are usually held in the evenings, when it is easier to work around surgery hours without inconveniencing patients or practice colleagues. They have the added advantage that they are much more focused on one or two specific topics as well, so you can better tailor your learning and ensure you get the very most out of the time you have. The smaller groups also tend to encourage discussion and debate, allowing everyone to have their say on a subject and to share their own experiences for the growth and development of all.

In addition to study clubs, online forums and groups can provide an even more convenient way of communicating with other practitioners who share your interests and passion. You might be looking for advice on a particular case, seeking recommendations for a new product or considering further training, and a simple post to a dedicated social media platform or online community could provide the answers you need quickly and easily. You will also have the chance to learn from others, as they highlight their own concerns, problems or solutions, and you can gain much from perspectives of different members of the team. Importantly, all this can be done at a time and from a place that suits you – all you need is the internet.

However you decide to connect with the wider dental profession, the most important thing is that you do it. Whether you hear about new procedures that will improve your patient care, discover novel ways of approaching certain cases, increase your referral base or simply make friends, it’s essential that you don’t feel like you’re on your own.

For those interested in or already working with dental implants, the Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) provides many options for you to get involved. With more than 2,400 members – including dentists, dental nurses, dental hygienists / therapists and dental technicians – ADI Members-only Facebook Group is the perfect platform for conversation, information sharing and advice. Committed to supporting professional education, the ADI also organises several events throughout the year, including the larger biennial ADI Team Congress and ADI Member’s National Forum, as well as the smaller ADI Study Clubs, ADI Masterclasses and ADI Focus Meetings, offering something for those of all experience levels within dental implantology.

So regardless of what stage you have reached in your career, where your practise or what your main interests are, there are several ways you can be get involved with the dental community. Doing so may not only reignite your enthusiasm for what you do and therefore increase your job satisfaction, but it could also give you the step up you need to advance your career.

 

Remember, no dentist is an island!

 

For more information about the ADI, or to join, please visit www.adi.org.uk

 


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