Case study

NHS general dental practitioner — Dr Sunkanmi Oladeji Olaore

Sunkanmi enjoys the challenge of selecting the most appropriate treatment for patients with complicated dental needs. Find out more about working as a dentist

How did you become a dentist?

I completed the Dental Surgery (BDS) degree at the University of Birmingham in 2013 after graduating from the same university with a Biomedical Material Science degree (BMedSci).

I now work as an NHS General Dental Practitioner and I am the clinical lead for minor oral surgery for the Oasis Dental Care in Northern Ireland.

How did you get your job?

After spending a few years in a hospital setting improving my surgical skills, I moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland to broaden my experience of NHS dentistry. This experience utilised my surgical skills in an area where there was a need. As a result, I was offered the opportunity to establish an in-house referral service for the Oasis Group in minor oral surgery.

How relevant is your degree?

To become a dentist, obtaining a dental degree is essential, but only the first step. As part of the undergraduate programme, students gain exposure to patient management, through treating patients under supervision. This built up my confidence to treat patients as a professional in a holistic, personal and sensitive manner.

What's a typical working day like?

Most days consist of treating patients with a range of dental issues, including those with dental emergencies such as dental abscesses or excruciating dental pain, who are in need of urgent dental care. At times, these patients are very anxious, and I find myself utilising the soft skills I learned at dental school. I do all this while working closely with a dental nurse and the dental team.

As the clinical lead for minor oral surgery, I often find myself sieving through referral letters of patients who need more challenging treatments. At the end of my working day, all 20 to 30 patients have been seen and managed appropriately.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I work with a fantastic team of dentists, receptionists, practice managers, dental nurses, dental hygienists and therapists. It is the strong relationships built among team members, sharing ideas, being creative, getting patients out of pain, coaching anxious children and adults alike, that I enjoy most about my job.

Dentistry is a people's profession that offers variety every day and that is what gets me out of bed every morning.

What are the challenges?

NHS bureaucracy is the most challenging part of my job. Delivering the right treatment for patients and fighting commissioners to permit certain treatments for patients who need it, can be a challenge.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

Professionally, there are so many avenues that dentistry offers. My experience to date, working in the hospital setting treating patients in Northern Ireland, has made me realise that dentistry and I go where the wind blows. My hope is that I'll go down the oral surgery specialist route, while maintaining my interest in general practice.

What advice can you give to others?

Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve in your career and throughout life. Also, recognise that dentistry offers a range of transferable skills, which can be applied to a variety of postgraduate careers.

Find out more

  • Discover what you can do with a degree in dentistry.
  • Learn more about the role of a dentist.