The problem with young dentists…

It might not be the young dentists at fault, it may be the older dentists getting in the way, Alun Rees says.

I qualified from Newcastle University nearly 40 years ago.

Some people would have you believe that this was the ‘Golden Age’ of British dentistry.

A working world of dentistry where rubber gloves were rarely worn.

Cross infection was achieved by boiling water ‘sterilisers’.

Endodontics involved silver points or various medicaments spun down into root canals.

Every second Friday morning I did a general anaesthetic session where I would see 15 or more children for ‘sniff and snatch’ extractions followed by three or four adults for dental clearances and provision of full immediate dentures.

No Golden Age there.

Compare with today where the advances in materials are allied with improvements in technology that we couldn’t even dream of in the 70s and 80s.

Dentists can now truly restore form, function and aesthetics for their patients.

Add to this our knowledge of disease progression and control plus an understanding of the links between oral and systemic disease and we can say we are a proud profession of true medical specialists.


More blogs from Alun Rees:


The future of dentistry

Sadly, many of my contemporaries and younger, bemoan the lack of skills and experience in the current crop of young dentists.

The world that they have entered has been created by us and any faults in the education and reward systems have been allowed to happen on our watch.

Those nay-sayers should have joined me at the fourth BDA Western Counties’ Young Dentist Group conference in Exeter for a glimpse of the future of dentistry.

A great line up of varied contemporary speakers, an enthusiastic and appreciative audience as well as excellent organisation.

Young dentists want to learn, they want to grow and develop their skills and they want to serve their patients to the best of their abilities.

The problem with young dentists may just be old dentists getting in their way.

Comments (3)

Funnily no mention of the uda system de skilling dentists. .The young dentists are taught that a poor root canal with good notes is better than an excellent done one with poor notes. .FEAR of getting sued or a GDC hearing is the problem. .

Agree with Victor, Alun your article is fascinating and well written, dentistry is about pushing ones own boundaries but sticking to the principles of clinical dentistry, this gradual process to self improve entrusts ones self with more confidence, therein a positive feedback loop. Where is the clinical governance pillar of a “no blameculture “when it’s all so easy to make an accusation of blame against a clinician!

Honestly? Just far out too much red tape! It’s ridiculous. I tutored some undergrads this week and although they’re good, ethical and doing the right thing- thanks to the paperwork:clinical work ration- calling it now that they will not graduate as fully fledged dentists.

Not older dentists getting in the way. The profession has let itself get asphyxiated with red tape.

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