Case study

Dental therapist — Ibrahim Numan

After working as a dental nurse for several years, Ibrahim studied to become a dental therapist. Find out more about his role and how he hopes to further develop his career

What degree did you study?

I studied for a Diploma in Dental Hygiene and a Diploma in Dental Therapy at the Eastman Dental Hospital (Royal College of Surgeons) and graduated in 2019.

How did you get your job?

I work in two practices and applied for one of the jobs online. I was recommended for my other job by a colleague.

What's a typical working day like?

A typical working day starts with me going in to work 15 mins early and looking over the list of patients that are due to come and see me that day. I see patients and advise on good oral health, provide oral health examinations within my scope, provide PMPR (professional mechanical plaque removal), carry out fillings, treat children and adults, take x-rays and provide teeth whitening (under the prescription of a dentist). I have also started to provide some cosmetic treatments like composite bonding.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy working with people from all age ranges on a daily basis. I see patients every three or six months or yearly depending on their oral health needs. I enjoy meeting new people and building relationships and trust with patients to better their overall oral health.

What are the challenges?

One of the main challenges is that not every mouth is the same and no two patients are the same either. Another challenge is that some areas of the mouth are very difficult to access and keep dry.

I treat some patients who have severe illnesses or dental phobia, which also has its challenges. However, when treatment has been completed it is very rewarding

In what way is your degree relevant?

My Diploma was focused on dental therapy, so I trained and studied from the first day of my course to the last specifically for the job I do today.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I have undertaken further postgraduate study in composite veneers, which has helped me to develop my role. I'm looking now to further develop in the restorative department of dentistry.

My career ambition is to one day own my own dental practice.

What advice can you give to others wanting to get into this job?

  • If you are unsure whether this career is for you contact a local dental practice and ask if you can shadow a dentist, dental therapist or dental hygienist for a few hours.
  • Get some experience in the field. I worked as dental nurse for six years before taking the Diploma. My dental nurse knowledge and experience was helpful during my dental therapy course and still is.
  • Don't give up. Dentistry is a very competitive field, so when applying the more experience and passion you have for the career, the better. Have a look at the British Association of Dental Therapists website for more information on dental therapy.

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