Nicola Wood

Senior Dentist (Orthodontist) & SIB Standing Member

The majority of my week is spent practising in clinic where my patients comprise children and young people requiring orthodontic work.

I really enjoy being an ambassador for Smile Together and as such I have recently been re-elected onto the LDC (Local Dental Committee), this time as secretary. I also attend the Orthodontic Managed Clinical Network meetings.

I was the inaugural chair of our elected Staff Council (now our Shareholder Impact Board), with a seat on the Smile Together Board. I have remained a member of SIB and I also attend Quality Committee meetings.

I was Clinical Director for three years with a range of leadership and management responsibilities within our employee-owned social enterprise. This included leading on the clinical planning for our brand new, purpose-designed and accessible dental centre at Harleigh Road in Bodmin. I then relinquished the role and became full-time clinical once more in order to help maximise the number of orthodontic patients we can assess and treat.

So what attracted me to dentistry?

I loved studying sciences at school but knew I didn’t want to be a doctor, so I did my work experience in the local MaxFax department whereby I assisted the orthodontist and hygienist, and spent 2 weeks in the lab waxing up false teeth and other weird and wonderful facial prostheses. My passion for dentistry grew from there and after a taster weekend at Liverpool University in 6th Form entitled ‘So you want to be a dentist?’ where we got to restore plastic teeth and fissure seal them, I applied to Dental School and secured a place at Liverpool University School of Dentistry. I really loved orthodontics at Dental School yet was offered a MaxFax job as a Senior House Officer at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust. It was a fabulous year – on call, surgical extractions, apicectomies, working in theatres – my favourite clinic was the Soft Tissue Clinic where we did all the biopsies. I went on to do my year as a Vocational Trainee in Redruth and ended up staying in practice, then worked as a general NHS dentist for a number of years until at last being offered a hard to come by position at RCH as a Clinical Assistant in Orthodontics. Working in private practice had showed me ‘the other side’ and I will always thank the principal there for showing me how to do a perfect composite restoration.

When I then started in the Community Dental Service as a Dental Officer doing Access, I tried my hand at being a VT trainer and also a mentor to a dental student on placement. My Clinical Director knew I had orthodontic experience so when the Senior Dental Officer in Orthodontics retired, and they struggled to recruit a replacement, I was invited to do a couple of days each week orthodontics. As the need increased, I was able to do more until eventually I stopped doing Access and focused on orthodontics, eventually transitioning into what is now Smile Together.

I like to know what is going on and how I can help shape our company and keep the needs of clinical colleagues at the forefront of any decisions made, so when I was asked to become interim and then Clinical Director it seemed like a natural step – albeit a steep learning curve!

It’s a truly inspiring environment here and I love seeing the excellent work we do for our patients and the positive impact it has on their lives. Having worked in general practice I prefer a salaried position rather than the pressure of being self-employed under the control of a practice owner, and I like to work with like-minded colleagues with a large support network of peers. So to someone considering working for Smile Together I would say ‘go for it’!

Being a Mum takes up most of my time outside of work but I love spending time at the beach and going out for coffee and cake!

The fun bit

Cats or dogs?

Surfing or sunbathing?

Manual or electric toothbrush?

Cornish cider or gin?

Mini or VW Campervan?

Peace and quiet or loud and lively?

Flossing or interdental brushing?

Full on roast or salad?

Football or rugby?

Rock or classical?

Under cover or outside in the elements?

Dogs – I used to have a crazy Weimaraner




Campervan (have you seen how tall I am?!)

Peace and quiet





Being outside in the elements, ideally on a Cornish beach!

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