Life in DCT

I am currently a DCT2 in Queen’s hospital, London in OMFS. I graduated from Bristol, and moved to London to complete DFT, and though I enjoyed my time in practice I was left with the feeling that there was so much more to learn and experience in dentistry. I felt that doing DCT was the perfect way to continue progressing, while keeping my options open! Given that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the future, I wanted a post that could give me broader experience. I moved to Liverpool to start a DCT1 post in general duties. It was a huge commitment, personally, to up sticks and move city again, but I was sure this was an opportunity I would regret losing. Each DCT had their own rota which they followed for the whole year, with a mixture between consultant clinics, treatment clinics and a variety of all the specialties. This was a week during my DCT1 job last year (before redeployment sent me to A and E!).

Monday

Mondays on my rota were usually quite a relaxed start to the week. The day began with a generalised, restorative consultant clinic. We saw just about every aspect of restorative dentistry during this session, but most patients were complex, and required several restorative elements in their treatment plans.

The afternoons saw oral surgery consultant clinics, involving the initial assessment of patients in order to develop a treatment plan for further appointments.

Tuesday

The paediatric trauma clinic (while busy and slightly nerve-wrecking) was such a fun and interesting learning experience. Dealing with patients is difficult; but when they are 6 years old, crying, and need a complicated root canal, then you have to pull out patient management techniques that would put Welbury to shame.

Tuesday afternoons were also rather challenging. An innocently termed ‘denture clinic’ saw you providing prosthesis for people with more MRONJ than bone, or 1mm of alveolar ridge, using techniques that I’d never even heard of.

Wednesday

The mornings were spent in oral medicine. Not many DCT jobs offer oral med experience and this was one of the main draws of this post for me. This busy clinic was interesting, and really helped me gain confidence with mucosal diseases.

We had the option of an extra clinic on a Wednesday afternoon, and I chose to spend this time in special care. This was a mixed clinic, featuring: sedation (with and without propofol), follow-ups and new patient assessments. No patient or treatment plan was ever the same, and it was heart-warming to provide a service to an often over-looked patient base.

Thursday

Sedation clinic in special care. You really got to bring together all of your normal dental skills and patient management, as well as having the opportunity to get accredited in sedation.

Afternoons were supervised oral surgery clinics. I found this particularly useful as I wanted to improve my surgical skills, and you don’t always have the opportunity for one on one teaching.

Friday

Paediatric consultation clinic, with its eye-wateringly long waiting lists. Much to my own surprise, this was one of my favourite clinics. The presentations varied from developmental issues such as amelogenesis imperfecta, to trauma, to ulceration, to caries requiring extensive treatment or general anaesthetic. There didn’t seem to be a single condition that we didn’t see.

And finally, in the afternoon I had oral diagnosis, which either consisted of supervising students or dealing with any emergencies when the students were off. On several occasions this involved going to the hospital to see an inpatient.

Weekends

Off! One clear benefit of a general duties job.

I would definitely recommend DCT to anyone, you get to experience a bit of everything, and also have a good amount of time to undertake projects.  With every specialty under one roof it’s hard not to find something you enjoy! I know people worry about ‘de-skilling’ during DCT, but you will always have the time and opportunity to go back to practice, and I think it would be hard to gain these same experiences outside a hospital environment.

Thank you Sophie for your contribution - This article was published by the The Next Step, in collaboration with The Tooth Germ