Early career dentists: training significantly impacted by Covid-19

29 April 2022
2 min read

Three in four early career dentists in the UK (75 per cent) say the Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant and negative impact on their dental training, according to a Dental Protection survey.

In the snapshot survey of dentists who qualified in the last five years, 70 per cent went on to say the pandemic has impacted their career plans.

Nearly a third, (31 per cent) say the reality of general practice is not in line with their expectations, and 39 per cent feel the Covid-19 pandemic has created uncertain career options and choices for the future.

34 per cent say they are exploring career opportunities outside of dentistry.

George Wright, deputy dental director at Dental Protection, said, “A career in dentistry can be immensely rewarding. However, Covid-19 has created many challenges for established and newer entrants to the profession alike and the impact on young dentists is particularly alarming.

“The future of the profession relies on the strong foundations of early years training including an assessment of career opportunities and development. It is concerning that many newer entrants say they have experienced a severe and negative impact on their training due to the pandemic.

“Additionally, after almost two years of restrictions impacting the delivery of routine dental care, and a growing backlog necessitating the rising need for emergency appointments, the longstanding goodwill and understanding of the public towards NHS dentistry is fraying. This means many early career dentists have experienced a challenging environment, dominated by clearing the backlog. This is of course quite different to what many will have expected.

“Dental Protection’s early career members continue to benefit from our advice and support. Whatever the question, problem or dilemma, we are only ever a phone call away. We also offer a range of resources, including access to confidential counselling via our trusted partners ICAS, as well as CPD webinars and workshops made available regularly throughout the year.”

Some early career dentists who participated in the survey commented:

  • “I was lucky with my training in that the university got us back to clinical practise quickly. There is a backlog of patients in practice, and I’m concerned their neglected dentition will cause them to complain in the future as some things may have been prevented.”
  • “Starting work in practice after leaving dental school has taught me how little dental school prepares you for the realities of work.”
  • “The pandemic actually helped my career as I could only find private practice associate jobs, this then opened other doors for me.”