“I think communication is the most important thing.
They can teach you that to an extent at university but, for the most part, I think it’s innate.
You have to be able to empathise, to calm someone down if they’re anxious, or to deal with patients whose anxiety comes out as aggression.
You have to be able to relate to all kinds of people, too. First, you could be treating a 5-year-old, then, ten minutes later, a 95-year-old.
One moment, you might be explaining to a millennial that getting their scientific evidence from Instagram might not be the best idea. The next, you could be running five minutes late and dealing with a middle-aged businessman for whom time is money.
The technical skills are what you go to dental school to learn. Nobody expects you to be able to do a filling when they interview you.
You need to show you’ve got the communication skills, that you’re ready to develop and ready to learn.
Show your thirst for knowledge. So much of dentistry is about professional development: you need to take those courses, you need to want to better yourself. Otherwise, you’ll get bored.
So, a drive for knowledge, a passion for helping people and communication.”