I am so fortunate to have this innovative ‘split’ role with Smile Together. Not only do I work as a clinician in the surgery environment, providing treatment to paediatric patients and special care adults who have been referred into our service, but the outreach element also sees me working in the heart of local communities, including in schools and our mobile dental unit.
I’m also involved in creating and developing outreach projects to ultimately improve dental access for vulnerable groups, families and individuals. This is an important steppingstone for our service to fully utilise our entire dental team and encourage the use of effective dental skill mix.
I have been very fortunate already in my career to have carried out my role within multiple settings, but one major highlight was being able to volunteer in and around India carrying out dental charity work. This was an extraordinary experience which I found hugely rewarding.
I love being able to make a difference both within a clinical setting and out in the community so this outreach therapist role with Smile Together was the perfect opportunity to progress my career. The ability to work with multiple services and teams to improve the provision of dentistry across Cornwall and genuinely tackle oral health inequality is amazing.
I’m a northern lass but prior to joining Smile Together, I worked as a community dental therapist in North and North West London. Within the service I had additional roles which included being a Learning Disability Champion and a point of support dealing with safeguarding issues. I worked and supported several Dental Foundation dental therapy students, and I was a sedation trainer for the Trust, working with numerous dental colleagues and helping them to gain this additional qualification.
It was a big move for me to join Smile Together but as soon as the role was advertised and I spoke with the team there, I felt overwhelmingly passionate and excited about this opportunity. In my view the way that dentistry is delivered to our patients needs to be innovated and I feel that this role is allowing for that.
My biggest challenge to date as a Dental Therapist has sadly been the lack of understanding and recognition of our vital role in the dental team by both the public and other health professionals, and constantly having to overcome this. This Outreach Therapist role was a brand-new position for Smile Together, highlighting the high-level understanding that the team has for Dental Therapists.
And who doesn’t love the idea of living by the seaside!
I was initially inspired into this choice of career during my time completing two weeks of work experience when I had the pleasure of working alongside a Dental Therapist, and I’ve found it an inspirational career journey ever since.
To someone considering working for Smile Together I would say that if you are truly passionate about how you can improve dental services and are prepared to work hard for that, then go for it. I’ve not looked back and the team here are wonderful and so welcoming.
Outside of work I enjoy socialising with friends and family. I have danced competitively for most of my life and been fortunate to have danced in some of the most beautiful venues across the country. I still have a profound love for Ballroom and Latin dancing, so I am most likely to be last one off the dance floor!
Hear more from Nat about what it’s like to work for Smile Together: