Dr Nigel Jones (left) with outgoing BSAD president Dr Peter Sanders (right) at the recent BSAD Conference (photo credit: Charlie Turner)

In his first address, since becoming president of the British Society for Advanced Dentistry (BSAD) – Dr Nigel Jones says: ‘The need for training and development of general dentists is stronger than ever.’

Dr Jones, who is also cohort director for the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) UK implant diploma at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, says several recent surveys describe the dental profession as ‘demoralised’. He says that the ‘twin fears of litigation and our regulator’ has led to ‘defensive dentistry’, which is to the ‘detriment of patients and dentists.’

Dr Jones who plans, places and restores over 500 dental implants every year at his Premium Dental Implants practice in Abergavenny in south Wales, says he hopes to tackle this challenge during his presidency.

‘The FGDP and the BSAD hope to inspire our colleagues to look beyond the parapet to the opportunities that exist for dentists with advanced technical and “soft” skills,’ he said, ‘to practice the dentistry they were taught at their dental skills for the good of their patients and their own fulfilment.’

The biggest steps

Here is Dr Nigel Jones’ address in full: ‘The British Society of Advanced Dentistry aims to improve the quality of dentistry practised in the UK by inspiring and providing opportunities for colleagues to develop their skills and abilities. The society was established over 30 years ago by visionary general dental practitioners who recognised that there was no clear career pathway or stimulus to improve once general dentists had obtained their degrees. As a result of their forward-thinking the Faculty for General Dental Practitioners was established 25 years ago who now provide a series of membership, diploma and fellowship exams enabling general dentists to bench-mark and develop their skills.

‘As the newly-elected president of the society, I would argue that the need for training and development of general dentists is stronger than ever. Recent surveys describe a profession that is demoralised by what Martin Kelleher (2017) has described as “state-sponsored dental terrorism”, and the twin fears of litigation and our regulator, which has resulted in what A Al Hassan (2017) describes as defensive dentistry. Anecdotes abound of colleagues referring patients to specialist centres for procedures that my generation would have thought as routine dentistry, of outrageous claims being settled rather than defended, and disproportionate sanctions on colleagues whose fitness to practice is questioned by the regulator. In such a climate defensive dentistry seems sensible, but is ultimately to the detriment of patients and dentists.

‘The FGDP and the BSAD hope to inspire our colleagues to look beyond the parapet to the opportunities that exist for dentists with advanced technical and “soft” skills to practice the dentistry they were taught at their dental skills for the good of their patients and their own fulfilment. The FGDP do so by providing aspirational standards, and the structure to achieve them, the BSAD by providing a network of supportive colleagues with the same vision and ambition for high-quality dentistry.

‘In pursuit of our aims we run two conferences a year, and maintain a website and Facebook page to keep our members abreast of developments in advanced dentistry. Membership of the society costs £45 a year, and more information is available on bsad.website. Dentistry is still a rewarding and enthralling profession for people with the vision and desire to continually improve, and those who take the biggest steps go the furthest.’

References

Hassan A Al (2017) Defensive dentistry and the young dentist – this isn’t what we signed up for. BDJ 223(10)

Kelleher M (2017) State-sponsored dental terrorism? BDJ 223(10)