Dr Alexandra Davies is an Aesthetic and Restorative Dentist currently practising in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. She graduated from Pécs University, Hungary in 2013 and has since attended Tipton Training courses in Restorative and Operative Dentistry, become an Invisalign Go Provider and qualified in Facial Aesthetics.
Now in the last year of her MSc in Aesthetic and Restorative Dentistry at the University of Manchester, Alexandra is expanding her patient portfolio and developing her clinical photography skills. Have a read of how her experience of the course has influenced her practical knowledge, patient care and all-round treatment…
I had always wanted to complete my postgraduate education after seeing both my confidence and skills develop during my Tipton Training courses. When the Tipton office recommended this course, I did some research and found that the methods of learning and the examination style would suit me, so I signed up.
Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry is a complex and multidisciplinary specialism. It requires dedication to better yourself in all aspects of dentistry, as well as keep up to date with adjacent disciplines.
The complexities aside, it is a very satisfying area of a dentist’s work that you can literally progress with on a daily basis. Taking better photos, making a better provisional crown or communicating effectively with a patient; the results are tangible.
Undergraduate dental studies are vast and whilst I wouldn’t say rushed, for want of a better word, the aim is to get students to a certain basic standard so that they can practice safely and understand key concepts on which to build upon. That said, gone are the days where one graduated and simply opened a practice and worked there without any continuing professional development (CPD) until retirement.
Now with ever-rising patient expectations and competition for the best jobs, continuous development in your chosen field is essential. Also, job satisfaction can really only be achieved if interesting and challenging cases are selected and they will not be approached if the dentist doesn’t feel equipped to handle them.
Unlike at undergraduate level, this course is not a hand-holding exercise. By taking it on you are committing to develop as a clinician by receiving in the information given to you, processing it and actively applying it in your own individual setting. You will reap what you sew in this approach and if you put the hard work in you will have a solid foundation to further your portfolio and become a true master, perhaps even a registered specialist.
The skill I value most and have developed during this course is that of advanced treatment planning. Systematically breaking down a complex case and presenting it in the required format has taught me how to compartmentalise a patient’s needs and desires so that the clinical management is smooth and less stressful.
It is by building upon this new skill that I have taken on a more holistic approach with my patients and really invested in their journey through the practice. This has resulted in more loyal, happier patients, an increase in income and a surge in my portfolio, all of which are extremely satisfying.
I am currently looking into further development in Clear Aligner Therapy and Facial Aesthetics which play a crucial role in my holistic approach to my patients. After obtaining the MSc, I plan to continue to develop my portfolio and hopefully become a registered specialist with the General Dental Council (GDC), continuing to uphold my patient-focused approach.
The MSc at Manchester gives you the tools to take on complex treatment and aesthetically restore the dentition with confidence. It will help you improve your patient communication skills and relationship with your lab. You will finish it with a portfolio of work that you can build on in order to specialise or even advertise yourself to your dream job or just the general public.
If you want to take a logical, problem-solving approach that is ethical and allows you to see the bigger picture when treatment planning, then completing this course is a must. You are challenged by being asked to provide evidence-based dentistry in the form of published references during your case presentations, which teaches you how to search the literature and be critical when it comes to reviewing scientific studies.
You are given solid footing when it comes to research, helping you prepare for writing a high-quality dissertation. The assignments make you search, analyse and comprehend what you need to do so that you can then apply it in practice. As the course is part-time distance learning, you will grow as a clinician as the months roll on and each time you arrive in Manchester for the residential, you will be eager to learn and how to take the next step.