Devan currently works in two general practices is Birmingham, carrying out a mix of NHS and private dentistry.
Please can you give a brief history of your career since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
I graduated from Birmingham University with a Bachelors of Dental Surgery in 2014 winning the Carlton Gold Medal and having secured my first place job offer.
I completed my Dental Foundation Training in Birmingham where I further developed my clinical skills and won prizes for Best Foundation Dentist, Best Clinical Case and Best Audit Project. My audit project was funded by the British Society of Periodontology and I had several articles published in international journals including the British Dental Journal.
I then gained a post at the prestigious Royal London Hospital where I worked in oral and maxillofacial surgery as well as carrying out restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry and oral medicine clinics. During this year I presented posters at national and international conferences and continued to publish papers. From September 2017 I will begin my specialist training in Peridontology in London.
What is your current role and what does it involve?
I currently work in two general dental practices in Birmingham. I carry out a mix of NHS and private dentistry including a commitment to emergency care for the West Midlands area. Aside from my clinical work I further contribute to the profession with my place on the British Dental Association Sutton Branch Committee as well as the FGDP West Midlands Division Branch Council. These involve attending regular meetings and organising courses and events for dentist/dental students.
What do you love the most about your job and what is the biggest challenge?
What I love most is probably also the biggest challenge! That is, managing patients right through from diagnosis to treatment. Being able to visualise the outcome you want for a patient and executing it to a level that meets and even surpasses their expectations is such a valuable aspect of my job.
How did your degree help prepare you for your career?
At university I was taught by both world-class clinicians and researchers. I was exposed to the highest quality teaching, utilising the latest in dental technologies.
In my final year, I was selected to participate in a special study module in Periodontology where I developed the depth of my knowledge in the area of dentistry I was most passionate about. I was privileged with the opportunity to begin my portfolio of surgical therapy under specialist supervision. This, along with further postgraduate courses, has provided me with a solid foundation to treat patients surgically in general practice.
Why did you choose to study at Birmingham?
It would have to be the reputation associated with the dental school, combined with the vibrant and active student social life.
How would you sum up your time in Birmingham in three words?
Empowering, Inspirational, Challenging.
What inspired you most during your time as a student?
Being taught by an internationally recognised research team opened up a completely new aspect of dentistry to me. I never realised the breadth of opportunity available to me as a student and I was able to take part in research projects, as well as carry out an elective project.
What advice would you give to people who are considering studying Birmingham?
Studying at Birmingham University has been a life-changing experience and helped guide me onto a pathway of continual professional development. With its new dental school (which I just missed out on!) and state of the art clinical and research facilities, it is the perfect institution to develop as a dental professional. Outside of studying the university and city is host to an immense range of extracurricular societies and clubs (I even tried my hand at salsa dancing).
What advice would you give to current students studying your course who are still undecided about which career to go into?
I would say there is absolutely no rush to commit to a particular discipline of dentistry as an undergraduate. What you choose will form a significant proportion of your life for 40 years so you need to choose wisely. I would recommend drawing on the knowledge and experience of clinicians/lecturers at the university.
Graduating is only the start of the journey and taking up posts early in your career within different clinical environments can help you decide which direction is best for you. Going to conferences that interest you can expose you to people who may share similar passions in dentistry and provide valuable networking opportunities.