DentaltownUK speaks with the
youngest dentist to achieve
accreditation with the British
Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr Richard Field
Where did you grow up and go to University?
I grew up in Edinburgh and studied dentistry at the University of Glasgow, graduating Class of 2011.
Where do you work?
I now work between two private practices, one in Bristol and one in central London.
What are your specific
interests in dentistry,
and how did these come about?
My main interests lie in aesthetic and restorative dentistry, and I would have to say that my interest in this area of dentistry stemmed from my early involvement in the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
How did you first hear
about the BACD?
I first heard about the BACD in my fourth year of dental school, when an email was
sent around to all the students, seeing if
anybody would be interested in assisting at their annual conference later that month in Edinburgh. I put my name forward—not for
any burning desire to attend a cosmetic conference, but more just for a few days
‘Cosmetic dentistry’ was not painted in the best light at university, so when l found out that it was not all cowboys slinging toilet-seat-white porcelain veneers on everything they could get their hands on, I was a little surprised! The standout memory of mine from those few days was attending a complex case panel discussion between three accredited members: Ken Harris, James Russel and Chris Orr. This lecture blew my mind, and it was at that moment that I knew that was the kind of dentist I wanted to become.
Who have been the most influential dentists in your career, and why?
I’ve had a lot of influences throughout my career so far and there is great risk in offending by leaving someone out, but definitely the two earliest and significant influences would be Drs Tif Qureshi and Chris Orr.
Dr Qureshi took a leap of faith and gave me my first job straight out of VT, and instilled in me early on the philosophy of minimally invasive aesthetic dentistry. Dr. Orr changed the rules and accepted me on his one-year aesthetic course straight from VT, ensuring that I hit the ground running and, even after the course finished, continued his advice and mentorship for years.
How has BACD membership
The BACD opened my eyes to what it really means to call yourself a cosmetic dentist. It showed me at an early stage in my career what’s possible in terms of restorative dentistry, and gave me the drive to push myself continually to be able to provide the highest level of care for my patients. It also introduced me to leaders in the field who have mentored, inspired and given me jobs in nurturing and constructive environments.
What advice would you give
to other dentists who may be
considering joining the BACD?
It’s never too late or too early to get involved. The BACD has something to offer dentists of all experiences, and it is a great way to meet other like-minded people.
Why did you believe it was important to achieve academy accreditation?
For me, accreditation was a personal goal, rather than something I did for career or other reasons. Going back to the panel discussion I saw as a student at my very first conference, all three of them were accredited members, so for me it was always something I strived to one day achieve. My secret goal was to do it before my 30th birthday, and I managed it with just weeks to spare!
What was the process
like to gain accreditation?
Accreditation is a long but worthwhile process. There are five case types that must be submitted, and part of the struggle was finding appropriate cases.
The cases are:
1. Multiple, complex restorations using direct or indirect restorative procedures that demonstrate an understanding of smile design principles and protocols.
2. One or two indirect restorations
with natural teeth beside (treated
teeth should be incisors or canines
in the upper arch).
3. Tooth replacement case: implant
or bridge to replace missing upper anterior teeth.
4. A posterior quadrant, showing two
or more direct or indirect restorations (upper or lower arch).
5. Complex bonding: Class IV or
upper anterior diastema closure.
You must write a report for each case; I found this to be a very constructive process because it made me look at my cases in minute detail, justifying each step. Once you’ve passed each written case, you have an oral exam. I won’t say much about this and spoil the fun for those going though the process themselves!
What are BACD conferences like?
They’re great from both the social and educational viewpoints. It is the highlight of the dental calendar in my diary! There are hands-on workshops the first day, followed by two days of fantastic speakers, with of course a few parties thrown in.
The BACD regional meetings seem an important way for members to meet and learn. What are your thoughts about them?
The regional meetings are great; they give dentists the opportunity to do really high-quality CPD throughout the year, in different locations around the country.
What do you feel most excited
about with regards to the future
of cosmetic dentistry?
At the risk of sounding like everyone else, I’m excited to see how digital dentistry will shape the profession. In my short career, it has already changed so much, I’m excited to see what the future holds!
What do you do to unwind?
Do you have any hobbies,
interests or pastimes?
I love skiing and scuba diving. I also recently did a blacksmith course, where I made my own kitchen knives. That was great fun, because it gave me an opportunity to do something completely different!