Something to sink your teeth into: 10 top tips for recently qualified dentists

Dr Jerry Asquith, Chair of the King’s Dental Alumni Community, qualified from the Royal Dental Hospital, later merged with Kings College London, in 1981. He has been a dentist for 35 years. Here he shares his dos and don’ts for recently qualified dentists as they set out on their dental career:

1. Come up with a career plan 
If you want to specialise in a certain area of dentistry, do the jobs that will help you learn about that specialism. I have met so many people that meander from job to job with no structure –it takes a lot longer to climb the career ladder that way!

2. Don’t bury your head in the sand with complaints
We all make mistakes and we all get complaints. However, if you think that things have, or are going wrong, go out of your way to placate the patient. It is a lot easier to stand up against a complaint if you have done your best to remedy the situation.

3. Do some post-graduate oral surgery
By far and away the most problems I have had in general practice is where things have gone wrong with a tooth extraction. If you have post-graduate experience it is a lot easier to handle the situation. Remember to keep up with your personal development, especially medical emergencies.

4. Watch your indemnity insurer
By all means contact your indemnifier if you have a problem, but remember that all companies log contacts. If they have done a lot of work on your behalf, do not be surprised if they hike up your renewal premium next year.

5. Get a specialist accountant
If you want to go into general practice, get a specialist dental accountant from day one. I didn’t have specialist support for a couple of years and my accounts got into a real mess.

6. If you are going to buy a practice, make sure the revenue will pay the bills
It is all very well buying property, but if you have large loans for the business and your home, make sure all the repayments can be made from the projected income.

7. Join a local group
Once you settle into an area join your local British Dental Association or Local Dental Committee. Huge comfort can be derived from chatting over problems with local colleagues.

8. Get to know your local MP
Once you have settled into an area, make an appointment to meet your MP. They will be very grateful for your expert knowledge, and can be useful contacts.

9. Get involved with King’s Alumni
There is a wealth of experience on tap and the network can help you through any problems you might have.

10. Enjoy yourself!
You are a graduate of one of the best dental schools in the world – go out and have a good time!

Do you have any tips to share? If so, why not Tweet us @KCLalumni using #ForeverKings