Dentistry courses that are worth a 650-mile round trip
Noel Perkins gives his experience of the Dawson Academy’s extensive training courses.
Dentistry: Tell us about yourself and your dental history
Noel Perkins: I qualified from the University of Sheffield in 2001, and then completed four years of senior house officer posts in oral and maxillofacial surgery and restorative dentistry in Merseyside, Yorkshire and Derbyshire. I have completed the MFDS and MJDF postgraduate diplomas from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and England respectively.
I have been in general practice for the last nine-and-a-half years, and currently work between a general practice in Cockermouth, and an implant and referral centre in Kendal. From April 2015 I will be working full-time at Crossbank Dental & Implant Referral Centre in Kendal, Cumbria.
My special interests lie in implant and restorative dentistry, and I have completed the advanced diploma in implant dentistry from the RCS England (DipImpDent RCS(Eng) Adv Cert). I have a keen interest in clinical photography and have lectured on this topic.
I completed the Dawson Academy core curriculum in October 2014 in London with Dr Ian Buckle and colleagues. I also attended the Dawson alumni retreat at Buckle Advanced Dental Care, and the BSOS 2014 course on occlusion and dental implants with Dr John Cranham (clinical director of the Dawson Academy) in Newcastle.
Outside of work I enjoy landscape photography and spending time with my young family.
Noel Perkins: One of my colleagues had been doing the core curriculum over a period of time, and she gave rave reviews about the course. I was also referring all my temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and occlusion cases to her, and decided it was time I increase my knowledge in this area, in order to meet my patients treatment needs. I found it very helpful to discuss cases and treatment approaches with someone who was also going through the core curriculum at the same time.
I carefully reviewed the testimonials and information on the Dawson UK and USA websites, and decided that this was the way to go with my postgraduate education at this time.
Dentistry: What did you find most valuable about the course?
Noel Perkins: Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and approachable teachers who challenged you to go outside your comfort zone, re-evaluate your knowledge and learn. It’s also beneficial to meet fellow dentists from all over the UK and Europe to share ideas and experiences.
Noel Perkins: I have changed my approach to clinical assessment, especially for complex cases, and I now use the Dawson Academy checklists. The Dawson Diagnostic Wizard software is very useful in organising data and treatment planning.
I have integrated Bitefx patient education software and the T Scan III computerised occlusal analysis system into my workflow. T Scan III is an objective way to assess the pattern, timing, and relative forces on the teeth, and it improves diagnosis. It’s also great for patient education.
A team approach is essential for implementing the concept of complete dentistry.
Dentistry: How have you personally benefitted from taking The Dawson Academy Core Curriculum?
Noel Perkins: The core curriculum has enhanced my treatment planning for both routine and complex restorative cases, and we were encouraged to present cases for discussion at the modules. The foundation for treatment planning is acquiring excellent records, which enable accurate diagnosis, and formulation of a comprehensive treatment plan in line with the patient’s needs and expectations.
I have improved my clinical photography protocol, and developed a range of skills, including; mounting and assessing casts in centric relation, doing functional wax-ups (saves on lab bills), providing different types of splints, and occlusal equilibration.
I now look more closely for signs of instability in a patient’s occlusion, and can educate my patients better about their mouths, and decide in collaboration with them whether to intervene or to monitor a situation initially.
I have gained a better understanding of occlusion and TMD problems, including: assessment of patients, appropriate splint selection, diagnostic imaging, other investigations (eg joint vibration analysis), and those cases that need to be referred.
Noel Perkins: The Dawson Academy core curriculum is an investment in yourself and your team, and in my opinion requires a commitment to continually improving the standard of care that we provide to our patients. Improving the predictability of our treatment outcomes will pay dividends in the future.
Attendance at each module was a 650-mile round trip (12 hours) for me on each occasion, but it was definitely worth it.
I would highly recommend the Dawson Academy. It has positively changed my philosophy and approach to providing comprehensive care for my patients.