The changing face of cosmetic dental education

dental education

Gaining skills and knowledge in multiple disciplines is key to delivering beautiful smiles, says Paul Abrahams.

There’s no doubt that the oral health priorities of patients have changed significantly in the last few years. Many patients now value a smile that looks as healthy as it is. This is a driving factor in the increasing popularity of cosmetic dentistry.

This is an exciting career pathway whereby clinicians can earn incredible rewards. They can do this by improving the function and aesthetics of a patient’s smile. They can help that patient regain their self-image and self-confidence.

A far cry from the ‘drill and fill’ days of the past, cosmetic dentistry is progressing at such a pace that dental professionals are continuously discovering new and innovative ways to provide the high-quality results patients seek.

The focus is on how we can deliver the most beautiful, natural-looking outcome through minimally invasive treatment. This revolves around gaining skills, knowledge and experience in multiple disciplines. This ranges from restorative dentistry and orthodontics, to also oral surgery, prosthodontics and implant dentistry.

Continued education and training

There is a great deal of science and artistry involved with achieving predictable, long-lasting results in cosmetic dentistry. These results require a comprehensive understanding of complex concepts and using various materials, tools and technologies.

This emphasises the importance of investing in continued education and training in order to master a wide range of techniques. Many of which are evolving as cosmetic dentistry advances.

Education within this area of the profession has transformed to a degree that both UK and overseas clinicians can now benefit from learning opportunities that hadn’t been available in the past.   

Online education, has given clinicians the chance to learn from leaders in the field, across the world.

Indeed, the value of digital learning platforms like the members’ webinar portal on the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry website has really come to the fore over the course of the COVID-19 crisis.

Social distancing guidelines and travel restrictions have impacted our ability to join in-person educational programmes.

As the pandemic eventually subsides, I’m certain that many clinicians will be hungry to reimmerse themselves in face-to-face training and courses. Here they can get hands-on with new products, and explore the latest cosmetic dental advances and trends.

Shared learning and networking

The benefit of modern educational platforms is that they provide the chance to compound theory with practice. This enables us to improve our understanding of various treatment concepts that dental schools haven’t touched on.

They also promote shared learning within an environment where you are able to interact with other dental professionals of varying experiences and backgrounds.

This can give way to like-minded individuals bouncing ideas off each other. Also, seeking advice on complex or advanced cases, and discussing industry insights, which can be used to inform current knowledge of treatment and how to deliver even better results for patients.

There are now many cosmetic dental academies, associations and study clubs devoted to supporting shared learning and collaboration among clinicians. These organisations often provide a vital space for networking, where you are able to connect with potential mentors who can provide invaluable guidance on overcoming the unique pitfalls of the field and progressing your career.

Incredibly exciting

Networking opportunities can also be useful in terms of putting you in touch with possible referral partners that you can turn to for professional support. Particularly when dealing with challenging cases.

The importance of continued education in cosmetic dentistry cannot be underestimated. Especially given the ever-increasing demands and expectations of today’s patients.

Newly-qualified dentists are in a fortunate position. They are able to take advantage of multiple avenues to gain further education in the field. Therefore, they stay ahead of the curve. This can go a long way to helping clinicians stay engaged in their work and motivated to excel.

Despite the challenges of the last year or so, it’s still an incredibly exciting time for those who are interested in pursuing a career in cosmetic dentistry and taking their skills, knowledge and experience to the next level.

This article first appeared in Dentistry magazine. You can read the latest issue here.

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