Advice on life from a young-ish dentist 

Advice on life as a young-ish dentist 

Having graduated 10 years ago, Kiran Shankla reflects on her career journey so far, and offers some sage advice.

Tell us your career history

I graduated 10 years ago from the University of Birmingham. I worked for two years in the NHS followed by a year abroad in Queensland, Australia. Working abroad opened the doors to private dentistry at a very early stage in my career. It made me appreciate quality over quantity.

Due to the distance from the UK and a lack of access to postgraduate courses, I decided to return. I then enrolled on a part-time Restorative Masters at UCL Eastman. I did this alongside two practice jobs in the NHS. As my master’s continued, my skills improved, and I slowly transitioned away from NHS dentistry into private. 

I am currently based at Kendrick View Dental Practice, a beautiful 10-surgery dental practice in the centre of Reading with all the specialists in-house. Being in these surroundings allows my skills to flourish and enables me to work to the highest standard. I believe it is very important to work in an environment where you are supported, have access to all the correct equipment and are surrounded by a happy team. 

Outside clinical dentistry I am involved in my dental community. I am part of the Reading BDA Committee and I teach on the Restorative MSc at UCL Eastman. I am very fortunate to have teamed up with two dental manufacturers – DMG and SDI. This has enabled me to fulfil my passion of teaching through lecturing and writing professional articles.

What advice do you have for young dentists looking to make an impact in the industry?

Always work hard and try to achieve the best results you are capable of. Find a good, structured learning pathway that will help build your confidence to practice general dentistry to a very high standard. Don’t rush into the latest courses or trends, stick to the basic principles of dentistry, and try to maintain a high standard of work. Buy a camera and document as much of your work as possible, this can be used to reflect on how you are improving and how far you have come along the way.

Don’t work more than four clinical days a week, spend the fifth day doing something away from dentistry. Invest in a good pair of loupes and try to stay active as you only have one back, so protect it. 

Remember dentistry is a lifetime career and there is plenty of time to learn, take it slow and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to have fun while working, you’ll only be young once so try to enjoy it. 

Do you have any areas of interest in dentistry?

I am, and always will be, a general dental practitioner. I think too many young dentists fall into the trap of following ‘anterior teeth dentistry’. Not enough time is spent on the posterior teeth.

My favourite treatment is a posterior quadrant. I place my rubber dam on, play my favourite music and have 2-3 hours of pure relaxation when carrying out this treatment. My other area of interest is in Icon resin infiltration. I am known locally as the ‘Icon Dentist’ and really enjoy carrying out this treatment on young patients.  

Do you have any hobbies outside of dentistry?

I am very fortunate to have a good work-life balance. I am an avid traveller and have travelled to over 50 countries and seen all seven wonders of the world. As a certified scuba diver, I always take the time to explore the depths of the ocean when travelling. When not travelling, you can find me at my local reformer Pilates studio. This new hobby helps reverse the physical impact of dentistry and allows my body to heal. 

What are your plans for the future? 

For now, I would like to concentrate on my clinical dentistry and providing the highest level of care. Alongside this I would like to start providing a one-day course on Icon resin infiltration and whitening as I believe there is a gap in the market that many dentists would benefit from… watch this space! 

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