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Written by Dr Diana Omar

A day in the life of a foundation dentist

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3 min

Beginning foundation training this year has been a huge learning curve, and a big jump compared to dental school. At dental school, I don’t think we were prepared for the realities of what life as a dentist would be like.

I hope that by reading this you will get more of an idea of what being a foundation dentist will be like – and that it will help you prepare for the journey.

Working across practices

Unlike many of my colleagues, I currently work across two different dental practices. My usual day starts at 9am. I tend to get in around 20-30 minutes beforehand to have a look at my day list and see what treatments I’m doing. I do any extra reading I need to around the topics if necessary, so I am fully prepared for the day ahead.

Treatments range from root canal treatments, fillings, extractions, crown preparations, crown fits, denture work and much more. Believe it or not, my favourite treatments are root canal treatments, extractions, and crown preparations. My least favourite is denture work.

Managing my diary

In today’s diary, I had two extractions booked in for two separate patients. My nurse usually brings in the patient and I greet them and ask them how their week has been. The first patient required an extraction due to extensive decay.

He was extremely nervous. In these cases, it’s important to make the patient feel at ease. To do this, I made sure to talk through all the steps and give him regular breaks. As a result, we were able to successfully extract the tooth.

Following this, I had a few examinations booked in for both adults and children. At the start of the year, I had an hour to complete check-ups. I know this won’t sound like a lot, because at dental school we had around 2.5 hours just for check-ups!

Gaining hands-on experience

Now that I’m coming up to the end of my year, my educational supervisor (who guides and advises any dental treatment I do), has reduced my check-up appointment times to 30 minutes. Comparing myself at the beginning of the year to now, I do believe I have sped up a lot and this comes naturally with experience.

I usually have a few emergency patients booked in. Today, one patient was in severe pain due to a large carious cavity. After taking radiographs and completing a restorability index, we decided it was unrestorable and consented the patient for the extraction. I always ensure to go through the risks and make sure I am thorough in my checks.

I also had a 1.5-hour appointment booked in for a root canal treatment for an upper premolar (UR4), the tooth had been extirpated in a previous appointment where the patient was in pain. She had come back to have the treatment completed.

I managed to complete both stages of the root canal treatment and obturate. I placed flowable composite to seal the GP followed by charisma composite ready to be prepared for a porcelain bonded crown.

Keeping on top of admin

I sometimes run behind on my notes as I can see 10-12 patients a day, and don’t always have time to write my notes after each patient. So, during my lunch break or at the end of the day, I’m often busy writing my notes and completing referrals.

Today I also saw a few children who required referrals for orthodontic treatment, so these were completed at the end of the day.

That just about sums up a typical day in the life of a foundation dentist! I hope you found this useful and have a better idea of what to expect when you begin DFT.

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