It is a strange time in dentistry at the moment. The younger generation of dentists is finding it difficult to secure their dream jobs in a general dental practice.
When I joined dental school in 2008, job security was almost a guarantee and being a dentist made you almost exempt from the uncertainty of job security that came with other trades or professions.
Nowadays, with the implementation of national recruitment and only limited dental foundation training posts, UK graduates are being pushed out by the competition and finding it that little bit harder to secure a dental foundation training post and associate position after.
Every time I go to lectures, the opening words are always along the lines of: 'It's really tough at the moment to get a job' or 'It’s not a great place to be a dentist at the moment'.
After the great emotions and excitement of graduating from university, we all soon hit reality and this has a negative affect across the country for young dentists.
At this moment in time various reports state that there are too many dentists for the positions available in the UK. Principals are inundated with stacks of CVs and applications (up to 300 in some cases) when a dental associate position becomes available. Some of these applicants even claim they will work for free.
The higher education establishments have been rumored to soon cut the number of applicants to dental schools in order to compensate for the sea of dentists searching for jobs.
Due to the surge in the number of dentists in the UK, more and more dentists are applying for an SHO or DF2/DCT position because the associate market is saturated. And quite frankly some young dentists don’t know what else to do in these 'tough times'. Hospital positions are now more competitive than ever and applicants have to really stand out from the crowd to a get a position.
I guess after five long years at university training to become a dentist, we expected some remuneration and feel hard done by in the current dental job market.
For us young dentists, knowing whether to stay in general practice or specialising can be a tough decision to make.
With the contract reform coming along, it seems the general dentist will have to take extra measures (eg post graduate training) to prove they are capable of carrying out the more complex treatment plans for patients. The days of just having a BDS are diminishing.
However, believe me, its not all doom and gloom.
Dentists have to understand there are a lot of other professions and jobs that are far worse off than us, and we need to get out of our bubble and should learn to beat the competition to secure that ideal job.
Attend courses, undertake postgraduate training, build a portfolio with high quality clinical photographs, write journals and articles, become a member of the local dental council, ask your patients to write testimonials, observe local specialists to learn new skills, the list goes on!
Don’t forget to do things outside of dentistry, employers like well-rounded individuals that patients will return to see (remember in the employers eyes, they want someone who will generate good business).
Now is a better time than ever to connect with each other and support one another as a profession.
Dentistry can be a lonely place sometimes, especially if you’ve had to move location just to secure a job and generate some well-deserved income.
I saw a need for all dental professionals (nurses, dentists, hygienists, specialists and technicians) to come together as one big supporting team by creating a dental directory website. The purpose of this idea was to allow dental professionals to easily seek information about fellow colleagues or dental practices to open doors and build on a career pathway.
Nine months of planning with a web team and a few grey hairs later, I have recently launched this new free networking website for dental professionals only, and it's called The Dental-Network (www.thedental-network.com).
The aim of the website is to be a free dental professional directory, to allow networking between every dental professional in the UK.
The Dental-Network is an interface that can be used for getting in touch with old college friends or previous work associates, and as a place to create new friendships.
It's easy and quick to share information with each other to build business relationships with local like-minded dental professionals and businesses, as well as strengthening your referral network.
The website relies on members signing up to become the UK’s first free powerful dental directory service.