What To Look For From An Employer And How To Make The Most Of Your Foundation Year.

Congratulations on graduating from dental school, you can now start your career as a professional dental practitioner. As a general Dentist, you will be expected to use the skills you were taught in dental school to treat a variety of dental problems. As a newly qualified dentist, you will also be eligible to register with the General Dental Council. 

You are about to undergo an additional one-year mandatory clinical training to enhance your clinical diagnostic and restorative skills known as Dental Foundation Training (DFT). As a fresh dental graduate, you might have several questions regarding DFT, such as choosing the right employer and making the most out of this one-year training. This article offers tips on selecting the best employer for your DFT and ensuring that this training is a fruitful and an enjoyable experience. So please read on!

Choosing the right employer for your foundation training 

While selecting your first employer, there are several factors that one must consider:

  • The Reputation – naturally, every aspiring Foundation Dentist would like to get the best foundation training possible. Do your research and speak to former graduate friends that have been through their foundation training year.  This is an important first step in your long and fruitful professional career.
  • The Location – choose the location of your foundation training wisely. This decision depends on whether you would like to continue your career at that practice and in the same area after your DFT, or you would like to move somewhere else? Similarly, you should consider whether you can afford to live in the area of your preference? For example, the cost of renting in some areas of London compared to Manchester maybe very different.  You may get to treat a broader range of clinical situations in an urban practice  than in a rural one. 
  • Specialities and Facilities – it would be prudent to consider a practice with clinical specialists and mentors available to train you in all dental specialisations, especially the newer ones like implant and digital dentistry. If you are interested in a particular speciality, you should make a list of practices that offer your preferred speciality and then select the one that best suits your criteria. 
  • Quality of Training – this is the most crucial factor. You should consider an employer that emphasises quality training of Foundation Dentists, offers competitive salaries/benefits and has systems to ensure the wellbeing of all employees. Remember, this year will lay the foundation of your entire clinical career, so you would want to make the most out of it!

The best way to select a foundation year employer is to list all your requirements and then create a shortlist based on their location. The next step is to compare those you have shortlisted based on your requirements and select the one that best fits the criteria. 

Making the most out of your foundation year 

Now that you have been offered your preferred foundation training practice, the next step is to ensure that you utilise this opportunity in the best possible way. Here are some tips that can help you during your DFT:

  • Be Organised – foundation training is all about keeping yourself organised. From patient appointment management to meetings with your educational and clinical supervisors, everything needs to be in order. The organisational skills you will develop during your foundation will go a long way in determining your management skills when running an independent practice in the future! 
  • Keep Notes – make sure to keep detailed records of all your patients; it is not only a mandatory requirement but is equally important from a legal standpoint. Understandably, writing clinical notes can be a time-consuming and tiring task. So here is a tip for you; make templates. In this way, you will already have all the necessary headings and subheadings for a particular case in the template, and all you need is to fill up the required information. Making templates also ensures that you don’t miss a vital heading or point. 
  • Communication is the Key – building rapport with your patients is essential. The better your patients understand you, the more they will trust you. Remember to use layman terms when explaining clinical procedures to the patients and not use clinical jargon that may intimidate them. You can practice your communication skills with your fellow trainees, friends, or family members and ask them to give feedback. Good communication skills are a requirement for a prosperous dental career. 
  • Time Management – keep a record of your patient appointments and administrative tasks (if any), and check them daily. If a patient cancels and you have some time at your hands, make the most of it by updating your patient records, learning new surgical or restorative skills, or watching valuable webinars. You may also ask your clinical supervisor if they can give a tutorial on a procedure that you are not very confident in.

Your dental foundation year can be a daunting and challenging experience, but it will also be memorable as it marks the beginning of your professional career in dentistry. While you are busy learning new skills and becoming a qualified Dentist, don’t forget to enjoy this time with your friends and colleagues. The years to come will be even more hectic and demanding in terms of dental jobs, so make the most of this time.

If your future destination after your DFT is perhaps private practice, Dentex, can help you get there.  Dentex is one of the largest dental groups in the UK, with over 100 locations and we are doing things differently. We will enable diaries to allow for private growth, provide mentorship and shadowing with highly-skilled private clinicians across the Dentex group, support you with specific Dentex in-house and external training courses and group workshops.  Don’t just take our word for it, read what Doug had to say about his time with Dentex.


“I first heard of Dentex when I joined my foundation practice, they had joined Dentex a few months previously. I subsequently stayed with the group and work as an associate across numerous sites. Dentex have proved a supportive and engaging corporate to be a part of, they bring all the benefits of additional training and development without telling you how to do your job! Their practices maintain the identity that patients trust whilst empowering their dentists to push their careers forwards. They have allowed me to create my own journey and provide the support and opportunities necessary to help me on my way.

The annual 10 day restorative course is a must for all young dentists wanting to learn from the very best and offers amazing value for money. They offer discounts on a huge range of external courses and have numerous specialists within the group providing in house training.”

If you’d like learn more and explore dental career opportunities across the UK with Dentex please contact us.