Dan Knibb and Sharon Smith portrait

Supporting Smile Together with specialist special care dentistry

Dan Knibb

As the Specialist in Special Care Dentistry for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust you would normally find me delivering specialist dental care to patients with additional needs across Devon, from Torbay to Barnstaple, and including domiciliary care.  However, I also travel to Cornwall one day each month to work with the dedicated community dental team in Smile Together’s West Country Dental Care (WCDC) service!

I responded to a request from WCDC Clinical Director Nicola Barr to support the team when their Specialist left. My view is that, however busy we are, it’s incumbent upon us to do what we can to provide that special care for patients, particularly in areas of high need right across our region. The South West is a largely rural area where both clinicians and patients willingly travel, so concentrating our expertise in this way helps us all drive success.   

I really look forward to and enjoy my Cornwall day each month!  

Clearly some patient treatments and treatment plans have to be led by a Specialist dentist such as myself but there is an enormously talented and friendly clinical team here who are operating very effectively as special care dentists within their communities, and who simply need to be able to check in with me from time to time.

The dental equipment here is fine and the environment very similar to that in which I work across Devon. The surgeries are well-stocked and well-equipped, and overall I would say the service is stable, secure and very well-administered by a very efficient team.

The dental nursing is great and the support I get, particularly from Sharon and Debbie, the special care triage nurses, is amazing.  Given that I essentially ‘parachute in’ once a month, we work extraordinarily well together – it’s a really easy and straightforward place to work where the team deliver fantastic patient care.  The waiting list is shortening as not only are WCDC seeing and treatment planning for more special care patients but, with my support here as a Specialist, we’re enabling our team and other clinicians across Cornwall to have the confidence to treat some of those patients that previously would have simply been referred in to this service and onto that waiting list.

I already live and practice in a beautiful part of the country but I have to say, Cornwall comes close as an environment in which to live and work as a Specialist in Special Care dentistry, where you can genuinely make a real difference to patients who need you most. If anyone out there is thinking of making a career move, there is a fantastic opportunity here to lead an extraordinarily committed, experienced and passionate community dental team – a team with which I really enjoy working.

And if that hasn’t tempted you, Smile Together are also developing a brand-new, purpose-designed dental centre for their patients at Harleigh Road (link to https://smiletogether.co.uk/harleigh-road-bodmin/) in Bodmin – just take a look and be inspired!