I have been practicing Dentistry for thirty years and enjoy all aspects of the job, but especially enjoy meeting new patients and helping them to understand how to prevent disease in their mouths.
Many patients do not know that with the right advice they can completely prevent the common problems with their gums and teeth. I see my main role as someone who helps patients to help themselves rather than wait for things to go wrong and then try to fix the problems that occur.
Working at Hilltop allows me to practice in this way. The whole team has a preventive approach and puts the patient’s best interest first.
I enjoy dentistry because it allows me to be creative. It is technically challenging to work inside a small space with limited access and recreate a natural appearance and restore function. It is satisfying to be able to repair and rebuild broken down teeth and help people to eat and smile again without discomfort.
I started my training at Liverpool Dental Hospital 30 years ago but have learnt far more since I qualified by regularly attending post-graduate courses all over the country and abroad. Since qualifying I have been awarded a postgraduate certificate in Restorative Dentistry at the University College Hospital London and certificate in Dental Implantology at the University of Lille, France.
When I qualified in 1987 I worked at the Dental Hospital for 9 months. I then underwent post-graduate specialist training for a further three years in Hospitals in Manchester and London in Oral and Maxillo-Facial Surgery.
I then worked in General Dentistry and bought a Private Practice in Harpenden, Herts which I ran for 8 years.
I moved to Cheltenham in 2006 and have since worked part-time as a Family Dentist in general practice, and part-time at Bristol Dental Hospital as a Clinical Teaching Fellow. I joined Hilltop in 2014.
At Bristol Dental Hospital I supervise dental students treating patients on the Adult Dental Health Clinic and am involved in teaching and examining on the undergraduate degree course.
I was recently appointed as a Specialist Dental Advisor to the Care Quality Commission. This post involves carrying out inspections of Dental Practices in the Southwest region to ensure that they maintain high standards of patient care, offering advice and support where needed.
I enjoy root-fillings as they often present problems which many dentists find challenging. I am lucky to work in a practice with the same level of equipment that would be found in a specialist practice. We have an operating microscope and I can select from a range of the very latest instruments and materials.
Working in this environment allows me to put into practice all the techniques I have learnt on the advanced courses I have attended.
An exciting development in Dentistry is the use of digital scanning equipment. Instead of taking impressions or moulds we now use a digital camera to scan the mouth and create a virtual 3D model. On this virtual model we can design crowns to rebuild and replace broken teeth. The crowns can be made in the surgery and fitted immediately using CADCAM technology. This allows us to use minimally invasive techniques and help preserve teeth that might otherwise be lost.
I enjoy working at Hilltop because it is a happy place where everyone works together as a team. We have regular meetings where everyone feels able to contribute and their views are important. My job can be quite stressful so having a well trained and efficient team around me is important. At Hilltop we have a fantastic team so my working life is made easier. This is reflected in the high standards of patient care we can deliver.
In my spare time I fly gliders. I am also a gliding instructor and teach others how to fly. In 2010 I was a member of The British Gliding Team which competed in the World Aerobatic Championships in Finland.
I now have a varied week working part time in three different roles, as a Dentist, a teacher and a Specialist Practice Advisor. I want to stay at Hilltop for as long as I can as I am very happy here.
My new career with The Care Quality Commission is a new and exciting opportunity.
The Commission’s main role is to offer support and advice to practices which are falling short of the standards that patients should expect.
Working at Hilltop has shown me how a well led and caring team can achieve the highest standards and I look forward to helping other practices do the same if they need that support.