Being in control makes the difference

In this month’s column, Nigel Jones considers the changing world of dentistry and why many clinicians are choosing to take back control.

My team and I are privileged to work with many dental practice owners and dentists who love and enjoy what they do.

Professionals who, with their dedicated teams, take real pride in how they help patients with matters of oral health and personal confidence.

It was therefore, with dismay but little surprise that I read the statistic from the latest BDA survey about how 71% of dentists would not recommend a career in dentistry. That is both shocking and tragic and needs to be changed as I see for myself every week how dentistry can still be a career that is fulfilling and rewarding, both financially and for the soul.

Heavily regulated

I’m not trying to suggest that the practices we support are universally happy with their lot and that none of them would be in the 71%.

The world of dentistry has changed much during my career. Adapting to a more heavily regulated world, battling with recruitment and retention issues and navigating paths through the latest economic crisis all take their toll.

However, I interact with dentists all the time who are happy, motivated and willing to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. The key difference for them is one of control.

These practices have recognised that much of the disillusionment within the dental profession stems from a lack of freedom to respond effectively to the challenges outlined above.

Increased running costs

These responses may include being able to schedule longer appointment times to create the space to communicate with patients more effectively and mitigate the risk of complaints.

Or having the option to pass on a share of the increased running costs to patients benefitting from the care provided or adapting the focus of the practice to reflect the changing financial or treatment needs of patients.

Of course, going private is not always the answer – it would be naive of me to put forward that view, despite the role I play.

However, the worry for the government should be, if it’s serious about salvaging an NHS dental service, that the BDA statistic, high though it may be, is likely to be a significant underestimate of the proportion of dentists who would not recommend a career in NHS dentistry.

If you’d like to find out what options are available to you and what support you could have to leave the NHS, contact Practice Plan for a free, no-obligation conversation.

Call the team on: 01691 684165 or book your free and confidential one-to-one NHS conversation by visiting

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