Nishan Dixit: Becoming an excellent dentist with the BACD
Your journey to becoming an excellent dentist may have begun at dental school, but it certainly didn’t end on the day you left. If you have been practising for a while now, how do you feel when you look back on those first few weeks, delivering real dentistry to real patients?
Was the gap between what you thought you knew, and what you actually knew, huge and terrifying, or was it inspiring and motivating?
Learning never stops because knowledge never ends. If we look back over the last 20 years it’s astonishing how much more we can do to support our patients. There have been incredible advances in minimally invasive techniques which, in turn, have led to the development of cutting-edge materials, tools and equipment.
Standards have risen in all areas, and dental situations that would once have seemed impossible to fix, now have treatment solutions which can be delivered efficiently, ethically, and cost-effectively.
A thirst for knowledge requires an open mind and access to high-quality education, including those aspects of dentistry that you might not seem relevant to the work you currently deliver on a daily basis. Education will also help connect you with fellow professionals.
By actively seeking opportunities to connect with like-minded people, you get the chance to share experiences and best practice, to discover new, exciting techniques, or hear about a great piece of equipment, or a new and amazing material. Knowing what someone else did in a similar situation can be the best way to do things better yourself.
Networking, either at a dental event or through a professional online platform, helps you look at a problem through fresh eyes, which might even be the eyes of someone with less, not more, clinical experience than you. In our vibrant industry those new to the profession can also have valid and valuable contributions to make.
Great dentists are as focussed on meticulous planning as they are treatment delivery. Comprehensive treatment planning protocols, that can be tailored to every patient, their background, lifestyle and needs are one of the hallmarks of excellence and can help guarantee successful outcomes every time.
The open-minded seeker can learn much from their patients too, because every single one is unique. You must never lose sight of what the person in the chair, who has given you their trust, time and money, wants and expects.
So, what is the best route to take, to reach excellence? It starts with breaking down “excellence” into component parts, then making a commitment to bring together all the different threads.
The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) has a “wheel of knowledge” that represents the key areas that, when mastered, will produce a clinically excellent cosmetic dentist. These areas include photography, digital dentistry and materials, plus clinical concepts such as soft tissue and occlusion, and treatments such as implants and orthodontics – there are 16 in all.
One of the many benefits of joining the BACD is that you will get to master all these areas via its world-class programme of education (including a new online portal), events and networking opportunities.
Many of the BACD’s members are leading practitioners in their field, but membership is also open to all members of the dental team, also laboratory technicians and students; it’s about sharing knowledge and experience, supporting, nurturing, and encouraging.
With the challenges facing dentistry today, delivering ethical treatment that produces beautiful, stable results with superb functionality has never been more important. Getting the basics right is essential but you must never rest on your laurels.
Joining a professional academy allows you to master all the key areas of practice, helps ensure you receive first class learning, connect to the right people, and, ultimately, become a true leader in your field.
Nishan is currently the President of the BACD and was previously the Scientific Director. For more information, visit www.bacd.com