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Dr Natasha Verma: Working As A Dental Practitioner

Dr Natasha Verma: Working As A Dental Practitioner

We speak to Dr Natasha Verma about what being a dental practitioner really entails.

Questions by Jacqui Lee. Answers by Dr Natasha Verma

Dentists generally work on a preventive level, protecting our mouths from decay and disease. Not only do they diagnose problems, but perform intricate dental surgery and procedures.

In the interview below we talk with Dr Natasha Verma about her job as a Dental Practitioner. She discusses her role, and how she came to enter the profession.

We’d like to thank Dr Verma for sharing her experiences with us.

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How did you enter your profession?

At the age of 12, my elder cousin was commencing dental school and he was treating my grandfather as part of his final year case study. I would often sit in the discussions and found myself quite interested in this field.

Upon completing my GCSE’s, it was clear from my results that my interest was in the sciences, therefore I organised work experience within a dental surgery, a dental hospital, a GP practice, an orthopaedic department in hospital and in an opticians’ office.

I thoroughly enjoyed my dental work experience, and thus pursued this career pathway by applying through the UCAS system and gaining a place in University of Newcastle upon Tyne. This department became my home for 5 years until I obtained my Bachelor of Dental Sciences degree.

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What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy working with patients who can see I’m here to help them. The satisfaction when an anxious patient becomes comfortable with the clinical environment, and when a child no longer holds their mother’s hand during a check-up. The joyful expression when a patient is happy with the aesthetic work done to a front tooth, or even the gratitude when the pain is alleviated.

I’m currently working within an Oral Surgery department, where I thoroughly enjoy the skilled work and complex cases. I am a Clinical teacher in Guy’s Hospital, Kings College London which allows me to advise and guide students based on my experiences, and enables me to see them grow as individuals and medical professionals.

I am also venturing into Medical Aesthetics. Being involved in medical advancements that allow the ageing population to grow elegantly excites me. This field is forever a learning pathway.

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What do you dislike about your job?

As always, a disgruntled patient can ruin your day, and your confidence.

The NHS system in dental practice ensures there’s no risk of over-treating the patient, and as a result the dentist is out of pocket. If a patient returns and is unhappy about something, then once again the dentist is out of pocket. The cost of having to work as a dentist versus the money made working on the NHS, is skewed.

I also dislike the consequences that a disgruntled patient can have on your career. There are multiple organisations that assist invalid and unsupported claims, thus causing professionals to question or doubt their lengthy and demanding training and experience.

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What does your job entail?

I’ve been fortunate to be involved in many opportunities allowing me to work in many different Dental Jobs.

Since qualification I’ve worked in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for 1.5yrs in 2 different units. Within this role, I saw patients on clinics and wards, pre-and post-operatively. I was involved in assessing, diagnosing and treating patients under Local anaesthetic and General Anaesthetic.

The most interesting part of my role was managing and treating patients in Accident & Emergency. The adrenaline rush that is much needed in dentistry!

I was offered a position as a Senior Dental officer in Community dentistry working with special needs and paediatric patients. This experience improved my communication, and significantly improved my management of anxious and paediatric patients.

I transferred the skills gained, and applied them within my role as a part-time General Dental Practitioner in multiple practices across London. Here, I provided routine NHS and private dental care including short-term orthodontics, In-surgery tooth whitening and porcelain indirect restorations.

I currently work as a Speciality Doctor in Oral Surgery in Hospital, which involves extraction of simple or complex teeth, and diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions and diseases.

As an undergraduate clinical teacher in King’s College London, I am responsible for assessing the presentation and clinical skills and knowledge of 3rd - 5th year dental undergraduates. I am also involved in providing regular interactive seminars for the students to grasp the theory behind each clinical procedure.

Each role engages different skill sets, and I’ve been fortunate enough to enhance these skills through my experiences.

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Explain some of the challenges you foresee in your profession over the next 5 years.

Changes to the NHS will always be a point of discussion, particularly as dental professionals already feel limited due to lack of funding. More patients and professionals have seen the benefits of the private experience, hence the movement in the market.

I also believe that new graduates will be forced to decide a specialist pathway within the career, just as medicine, as the role of a general dental practitioner will no longer be attractive.

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How To Qualify For And Find A Job As A Dentist

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