Tag Archives: Chris O’Connor

#theApexShow 25th March 2010: Dr Chris O’Connor – UK dentistry & young dentistry

Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Join me for #theapexshow TweetChat at 7pm GMT: http://tweetchat.com/room/theapexshow #theapexshow



Kevin RoseAzimuthdental RT @mkritzinger: Join me for #theapexshow TweetChat at 7pm GMT: http://tweetchat.com/room/theapexshow #theapexshow


Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 Last check #theapexshow



Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 Hello Marita good evening #theapexshow 



Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1
struggling with tweet chat. grrr #theapexshow



Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Welcome to our next #theapexshow http://tiny.cc/welcome509 brought to you by Interactive Dental Media http://tiny.cc/5YCoO


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Our featured guest on #theapexshow is @ChrisOc1 on the watch this intro: http://tiny.cc/ChrisOC


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Hi @ChrisOc1 thanks for your time we are thrilled to have you on #theapexshow tonight!

ChrisOc1 @mkritzinger Looking forward to it #theapexshow



mkritzinger Let’s begin round one of the questions #theapexshow



Marita Kritzinger mkritzinger Round 1: @ChrisOc1 In your opinion, is there are good future for young dentists in the UK? #theapexshow

Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 @mkritzinger They are very well trained in a much sought after profession so yes,yet opport to express themselves are limited #theapexshow


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Chris has prepared a detailed answer about this over here: http://tinyurl.com/chriso1 #theapexshow



mkritzinger Round 2: @ChrisOc1 Are there things you’ve realised they didn’t teach you in dental school that you wish they did? #theapexshow

Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 @mkritzinger Yes but, It’s a huge subject and can’t teach for the dental climate as it will just change, new lessons daily #theapexshow

Marita Kritzingermkritzinger To read Chris’s detailed answer to this question 2 go here: http://tinyurl.com/chriso2 #theapexshow


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Round 3 @ChrisOc1 Describe the young dentists of today and who they are growing into over the next 10 years #theapexshow

Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 @mkritzinger Housewives, property developers & entrepreneurs. Most want to do good job & work in fair system. Let’s make one! #theapexshow

Marita KritzingermkritzingerFor a longer answer about this by Chris, visit this link http://tinyurl.com/chriso3 #theapexshow


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger For those of you who can’t see ChrisOc1 in the #theapexshow feed – there is a problem with his profile, just follow him then you can


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Round 4: @ChrisOc1 As a young dentist, what is your perspective on UK dentistry? #theapexshow

Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 @mkritzinger It’s lost direction but it will get it back. The private sector is already reorganising the NHS will too #theapexshow

Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Chris prepared a detailed answer about this over here http://tinyurl.com/chriso4 #theapexshow


Marita Kritzingermkritzinger Round 5: @ChrisOc1 What are the most common issues or questions young dentists have today? #theapexshow

Chris O'ConnorChrisOc1 @mkritzinger Honestly,I think most dentists just want to know where/how to work without compromising themselves ethically #theapexshow

Marita Kritzinger mkritzinger Here is a link to read Chris’s more detailed answer to this question here http://tinyurl.com/chriso5 #theapexshow

#theApexShow Round 5: Chris O’Connor

#theapexshow: @ChrisOc1 What are the most common issues or questions young dentists have today?

Chris O’Connor: Health care like anything else is a business and there are targets to hit, UDA’s to reach and profit margins to reach.

I think all young dentists are vulnerable and easily taken advantage of my there owners. They work in practices with undisclosed UDA values getting what them wrongly assume is 50%. They get pushed into taking on more and more UDA’s, to work more hours and chastised if they miss target.

I always say that it is not about money and I really believe this. Most people don’t want to try to hit the UDA rates they are given, most would accept less money to spend more time with patients and developing. It might even be more efficient as you could build better relationships with patients and start to gain the trust to sell some private treatment alternatives.

The conflict is that this isn’t what a practice owner generally wants, they want a higher UDA output and they want each surgery to make a certain amount an hour. This is harder for young dentists as they are naturally slower and have a less stable list of patients. It’s easy to say they should just take a pay cut but they can’t because no one would want to hire you. Yes you can work less days but you must produce X amount in the days you are in surgery or you will be out of a job. Surgery rates per hour are key, if you look at it with a cold business light on then you will see there is very little business benefit in an NHS owner supporting your career development; at the moment that only seems to matter as you expand to private work.

In summary I think we often find naive young dentists overstretched and without the stable lists owners have struggling to meet targets and eventually compromising themselves clinically. They rightly or wrongly say they have no choice but to work the way they do. But as a clinician you are ultimately responsible for every check up and piece of work you do. Blaming your owner or materials won’t work when the GDC knocks and it scares me that young dentists could go down this road.

The contract will not always be how it is today, a dental career is a long road, we all know what it takes to do best practice dentistry, the reward this will have as your career develops but the odds are against you when you leave dental school. One of the reasons I write the Inci-dental blog is to remind young dentists that they are not alone, that we are all struggling to find a way to practice the very best dentistry. Maybe that struggle has always been there but I think the new contract makes it worse.

I think you can do it though, there are ways, means and jobs available but you have to fight for it, don’t look over the fence and accept what the guy next to you is doing. Find real clinical heroes and follow them. I think there is a real need to fight for better working conditions for ourselves, we all know what gold standard treatment is and we should spend our whole careers seeking to achieve it every case and the place we work should encourage this attitude.

#theApexShow Round 3: Chris O’Connor

#theapexshow: @ChrisOc1 Describe the young dentists of today and who they are growing into over the next 10 years

Chris O’Connor: the demographic of young dentist of today has changed. There are for example far more females on the course than ever before and a greater percentage of Asians. The general grades needed to do the job have gone up and the course is now even more competitive to get on.

It’s hard to tell what difference this will make on the dental profession (if any) but what strikes me most is the number of people who see dentistry as a means to an end rather than a career. Dentistry is seen as a good flexible job to have part time or a means to make money and launch another business for a significant minority.

These changes may improve UK dentistry as I think it is good for all workers to have more than one string to their bow but I think it will mean there is a continued shortage of dentists over the next 10 years.

I think there is also a feeling that young dentists are money hungry or undertrained from dental school but I would argue that society always looks on a new generation and fears standards are slipping. In reality I think the new cohort of dentists is very clever, determined and eager to have a good work life balance.

There is also an increasing desire to produce conservative or preventative dentistry. There is in teaching and attitude a paradigm shift to adhesive and conservative dentistry which has rubbed off on all trainee dentists. I see this changing the type of dental work produced over the next 10 years.

In 10 years I therefore see more part time dentists, less failing bridge work and fewer practice owners. My hopes are that we will become a more united profession one that strives together to make the most of all sectors of dental work, provide more preventative care and build a better image of dentists for our patients. I think that is what we all leave dental school wanting and in 10 years it will be we who are making the new rules, directly influencing how dentistry is delivered.

#theApexShow Round 2: Chris O’Connor

#theapexshow: @ChrisOc1 Are there things you’ve realised they didn’t teach you in dental school that you wish they did?

Chris O’Connor: One of my favorite phrases is “You don’t know what you don’t know”. If you leave dental school and thought you knew everything you needed to then you have hugely missed the point.

If you want to understand this job then you need to be hungry to learn and find out what it is you don’t know. Dentistry is a huge ever changing subject and I really think I got a great grounding in that from dental school. I leant how to learn, I became interested in the subject, I know the basics and I know why some short cuts give long delays.

Yes you soon realise that you also need to be good at business to do well in dentistry but that is not the job of the dental schools. Their job is not to help you compete in a competitive private market or make this NHS contract work. They are here to make us safe practical dentists and I would say without exception they do that.

The volume and quality of free information on the internet from blogs to dental forums to business blogs is so vast that there is no excuse not to keep learning and filling in the gaps in your knowledge from dental school.

#theApexShow Round 1: Chris O’Connor

#theapexshow: @ChrisOc1 In your opinion, is there are good future for young dentists in the UK?

Chris O’Connor: I think it would be churlish and silly to say that a fully qualified dentist in the UK especially with a UK dental degree would find themselves short of a good future.

I cannot foresee a period where they will not find work or that work will be poorly paid. However the money may be worse than it was previously and certainly the opportunities to own a practice or express oneself in their associate practice will become more limited.

It is now very difficult for a young dentist to tender an NHS contract, they have to compete against the corporates and established practice groups. PCT’s don’t want to take a risk on younger owners so they almost never get the contract. Now to tender a young dentist must either buy out an old practice, hoping to keep the contract or go into partnership with an established group.

Also corporates and practice owners tightly regulate what materials are allowed into practices, they stall and put off buying what people ask for and will only order off a (reduced) approved list. I have many friends who have given up trying to get the materials they want. I suppose there will be good financial reasons for this but I think it’s totally unacceptable for people to undermine the quality of care they can provide by the materials they have available. I’m not talking microscopes or million pound loupes here either just basics like retraction cord, Bunsen burners, decent radiographs and impression materials.

The NHS seems to want less complex work too. No funding for big cases no money (or incentive) for career development and no opportunity for a pay rise unless you build your private portfolio. This is my fear for young dentists that they become low level laborers and effectively deskill learning only how to provide the treatments which pay best on the NHS faster and faster to increase earnings.

I think with the squeeze on NHS funding and especially the ambitions of NHS treatment the opportunities to train and naturally develop more skills will fade. Those who will be able to complete complex, high end work will be the few, the determined and those who are willing to invest in clinical development early in their careers. You will have to buy your own equipment, pay for courses, and accept a big financial hit on NHS cases or potentially more towards the private sector to get this development.

Do this (which anyone can) and you will be in the minority, one that has real value and be in a position to command the very brightest of futures.