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2019: Our plans for our 21st year


This November we will be 21 years old.The time has flown by.

When I established the company in the last century (!) to help dentists keep up to date by using 'interactive multimedia' on their home computers, there was no mandatory CPD scheme and the world wide web was often referred to as the 'world wide wait' with good reason. Mobile telephones were just that: you used them to make telephone calls and send the odd text. Our first e-learning titles were delivered on CD-ROM and distributed through the dental deaneries. But as Internet connectivity and personal computer technology rapidly advanced we gradually made the switch to online delivery, pioneering the use of webinars. These are now common place, and mobile phones are more powerful than the personal computers of 1998. How things have changed so quickly.

This is a time for us to look back on the last 21 years and forward to the next. The following is a summary of what we have planned this year to help dental professionals develop their careers and improve patient care. It is what we set out to achieve in 1998 and will always be at the heart of what we do.

Pulp Fiction: our first e-learning title released in 2000

 Making the most of The Dental Channel

A new initiative for 2019 is our live webinar course Making the Most of The Dental Channel. This will comprise of an occasional series of short presentations that will allow members to learn how to make best use of the key features of our service, ask questions and submit requests for how we can improve it.

The events will be open free of charge to all members and provide 30-60 minutes of CPD. We will run them on different days, so all should have the opportunity to participate. I very much hope this will help members make better use of our services and help the community flourish.

The first event is on Wednesday 23 January when I will be demonstrating our free template for creating a practical personal development plan (PDP), recording your CPD, updating the plan and helping measure the impact of your CPD on developing your career and improving patient care.

Our free webinar series on the facilities offered to our members

Evening Expert programme 2019

This year our Evening Expert events will be looking at some of the key areas that have seen considerable change since we started and are of significance now. The first will be on endodontics, which is appropriate since our first CD-ROM title, first major awards success and first webinar were all on this subject. John Rhodes will be looking at what has changed since 1998 and the equipment, techniques, strategies and materials that are now at our disposal in Back to the future: the evolution of endodontics since 1998.

In March Alon Preiskel will be returning with an update to his 2017 presentation on corporate dentistry. This is an area that will have increasing impact on the delivery of primary dental care, especially in the NHS.

In April we continue our theme of the business of dentistry with a presentation by Simon Hughes, Managing Director – Medical of Christie & Co. He has detailed insight of the dental sector and will be looking at the state of the dental market, especially pertinent with Brexit.

The growing older population is very much a topical subject, and in recent years we have had presentations on the challenges that this presents in providing oral health care. Mike Wheeler was part of a research project investigating delivery of oral care in nursing homes. This is a subject that will be relevant to many health professionals not only professionally but also personally. He will be speaking about this on 1 May.

The rise of 'ambulance-chasing' law firms is another significant feature of recent years. In June, Raj Rattan, Dental Director of Dental Protection Limited will be looking at the past, present and likely future of dental risk management.

Orthodontics has developed from something that teenagers had to now being part of adult care. We have had recent presentations on orthodontic assessment, interceptive orthodontics, the pros and cons of the "Six-month smile" treatments, and adult orthodontics. Claire Nightingale will be returning with a presentation on orthognathic surgery, with audit data conveniently from 1998 and 2018!

In September Caroline Pankhurst will be discussing the drivers for change in infection control. This is a subject that has seen significant changes in recent years along with accompanying legislation, being made one of the GDC 'Highly recommended' topics on their introduction. Caroline has presented on numerous aspects of this subject from the beginning of our webinar programme, so we are delighted that she will be providing us with the latest information.

The efforts of organisations like the Oral Health Foundation with the annual Mouth Cancer Action Month in November have helped raise awareness amongst the public of oral cancer. The was the subject of two of our CD-ROMs and followed up with a series of webinars, but it is time for an update, so I am delighted that Saman Warnakulasuriya, an internationally renowned researcher in oral cancer, will be doing precisely this in October.

In November James Wise, the uomo universale of dentistry, will be speaking about digital printing. He is well placed to do this because he is qualified as both a dental technician and dentist (and a professional pilot too!) This neatly encompasses developments in dentistry and information technology, plus along with Caroline he is one of our most prolific contributors, so is most appropriate for our anniversary month.

The year will complete with an update in child safeguarding. This, along with vulnerable adults, has received much focus in recent years and is something that dental professionals are well placed to make significant contributions. My colleagues Monica Ivanova and Marielle Kaban from King's will be providing some case-based examples to complement our existing training.

We have been unable to get everything into the year because there is not enough time, so we are already booking experts for our 2020 programme. Expect to see a mix of our established and new names.

John Rhodes commences the programme with "Back to the future..."
Brexit will feature in April's event presented by Simon Hughes
James Wise, dentist, dental technician and experienced tutor, will be speaking about digital printing in our anniversary month

Share your knowledge  

A few years ago, we ran occasional live webinars that consisted of short presentations made by members. What was obvious is that there is a vast amount of untapped knowledge and experience amongst members that once shared is of great value. The challenge to us was how to encourage and support members in making it a reality.

Our site now has much better facilities to do this, whether via the community, blog, video or even as a live presentation. If there is a subject about which you have a passion or special interest and would like to share it but are not sure how to do so, please let us know.

Sharing knowledge: a blog by Tim Goodheart

Final thoughts

This year is a significant milestone for us. We are one of the longest established dental e-learning providers (the longest?) and have been fortunate to have worked with so many people who have been keen to share their knowledge and experience. Feedback from our members has meant that we have won numerous prestigious awards over the years for all aspects of our service. But dentistry and technology will continue to evolve and are intimately related. I hope that you will be looking forward to our plans for this coming year and will be keen to participate. So join in and let us know!

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