Supporting young dentists to success- Dr Barry Oulton for the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD)

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  Posted by: Dental Design      7th February 2019

Dr Barry Oulton discusses the importance of joining the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) in order to foster a supportive community from the very beginning of your dental career and beyond.

There’s no doubt that dentistry is fraught with various challenges that can dampen the spirits of even the most optimistic practitioners. For many young clinicians, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of experiencing heavy work loads for the very first time. Moreover, those with a specific desire to pursue a career in cosmetic dentistry may not be in a practice where there is support or mentoring available to help them do so. Researchers have seen the effects that a lack of support can have on young dentists – many of whom are fearful of making a mistake and facing litigation. Without a strong community to turn to for guidance and advice, there is often an increased risk of a decline in confidence among young dentists, and their willingness to attempt more complex cosmetic cases. This can ultimately fuel negative feelings of anxiety, isolation, and even depression.[i]

This is one of many reasons why it is vital for young dentists to have guidance, support and positive interactions with other clinicians. For the first ten years of my career, it was difficult to find someone to mentor me so that I could continue to learn and grow my skill set within cosmetic dentistry. Today, those dentists in the early stages of their careers are fortunate to be able to engage with a dynamic organisation that strives to support dentists’ professional development and success through a community of shared knowledge. As a world-leading authority within the field of cosmetics, the BACD has long been committed to promoting the delivery of high quality, patient focused cosmetic dentistry. The Academy also prides itself on offering a highly inclusive membership scheme, which enables dental professionals of all backgrounds and experiences to share their passion for cosmetic dentistry.

The benefits and rewards of membership to the BACD far outweigh the financial investment required to join. These benefits include:

  1. Access to the exciting programme of social and educational events, such as:
  • Recommended Meetings, which are held in various locations across the UK and are led by highly experienced clinicians that cover a whole range of interesting topics.
  • The BACD Annual Conference, which provides a fantastic opportunity to gain the latest insights from distinguished “home grown” and international speakers – all of whom are keen to share their knowledge and experience in order to help others in the profession overcome certain challenges and excel in providing first-class dental care.
  1. Access to a variety of studies and scientific journals such as the International Journal of Cosmetic Dentistry (IJCD). The accessibility of these research papers can prove particularly useful to newly qualified practitioners, who are expanding on their foundational knowledge from dental school.
  2. The opportunity to become a BACD Accredited dentist, which is of remarkable value to any practitioner. In the past, Accreditation has been perceived as a near-impossible achievement for younger dentists, but it is important to understand that it is a progressive programme. Dentists who are now BACD Accredited are the individuals that young clinicians should aspire to become. With their expert guidance through structured mentorship, young dentists are more than capable of achieving BACD Accreditation, gaining an exceptional accolade for their passion and skill within the field. I would encourage all young, cosmetically-driven dentists to begin their journey into BACD Accreditation, particularly as there are plenty of great workshops to support them in doing so.

The Academy sets itself apart from other professional organisations because it offers invaluable access to a wealth of expertise and mentorship opportunities in cosmetic dentistry. Whether you are a dental student, a foundation dentist, a new or experienced associate, a practice owner, or a practice employee, the BACD is not only welcoming and approachable, but also provides a fantastic platform from which to network. This is of huge benefit if you are a young dentist seeking a cosmetically-focused practice principal that may be looking to recruit an associate. Some of the most positive feedback from members has been focused on the unique opportunities to meet and socialise with like-minded individuals. In this respect, the BACD cultivates an extremely supportive community that enables young dentists to create long-lasting relationships. I still maintain strong connections and friendships with people that I met through my early association with the Academy. I sometimes wonder where I would be if there the BACD had existed when I was a newly qualified dentist.

If there is one thing that I have learned from the BACD, it is that the Academy has always been highly inclusive, with everyone working to support each other, and this is instrumental to any young dentist’s success – particularly at such an exciting time within dentistry when patients desire and are seeking the benefits that cosmetic dentistry provides. It is clear that young dentists are eager to learn and to grow in order to serve patients to the best of their abilities. One of the best ways to do this is to join the BACD and take advantage of the innumerable opportunities that Academy membership offers.  


For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, visit


[i]Baldwin, P. J., Dodd, M. and Rennie, J. S. (1999) Young dentists – work, wealth, health and happiness. British Dental Journal. 186: 30-36. Link: [Last accessed: 14.11.18].

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