A career in dentistry appealed to me as a varied and interesting role involving caring for people by providing practical solutions. I was fortunate to work as a house officer in the maxillofacial, children's and radiology departments following qualification.
I carried out vocational training in a supportive practice in Hampshire before entering into general practice in Kent. Due to the rapidly advancing techniques involved in dentistry, I recently completed an MSc in Aesthetic Dentistry at King's which provided hands-on training and study in modern conservative restorative dentistry.
The combination of practice allows me to maintain my clinical skills, but also to approach my role as a dento-legal adviser with first-hand experience of the demands of day-to-day practice. My experiences in dentistry have helped to give me a good understanding of the pressures we are all subject to, and therefore a compassionate approach to providing dento-legal advice.
I was inspired to join the team at the DDU by a presentation given by Leo Briggs. His approachable style made the topic both interesting and informative, and it's this human aspect of my role at the DDU in dealing with members that gives me the most satisfaction. Helping members through a difficult time and subsequently helping them to achieve a satisfactory resolution can be very rewarding.
Any free time is spent with my family and enjoying their musical and sporting activities.
My initial interest in dentistry started during work experience at both a local dental surgery and at King's College Dental Hospital. I thoroughly enjoyed my student years at Guy's Hospital Dental School, where the teaching was excellent, and I was fortunate enough to go to the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka for my dental elective in my final year.
I qualified in 1986 and worked immediately afterwards back at Guy's Dental Hospital as a House Officer. I then worked for many years as a general dental practitioner in Surrey - I've attended the Mid-Surrey BDA lectures for a number of years and am currently an active Mid-Surrey BDA committee member.
I've always enjoyed attending postgraduate dental courses and have found the dento-legal aspects of dentistry particularly interesting. I joined the DDU in April 2014, where my initial role was to provide advice to members who called in with their dento-legal queries and concerns.
Members can naturally be concerned and anxious and I have found that providing assistance and support in these situations can be very rewarding.
From October 2014 I started working as a dento-legal adviser, which also involves helping members with a variety of issues, such as GDC matters and responding to patients' complaints. Members can naturally be concerned and anxious and I have found that providing assistance and support in these situations can be very rewarding. I believe that 24/7 access to the DDU dento-legal helpline is a very important and beneficial service for our members.
When I'm not working, I like to play and watch tennis, explore local walking routes in Surrey with my family and enjoy reading a variety of books.
Since qualifying in 2002, I have been fortunate enough to experience lots of different working environments within dentistry. From the NHS in its various guises to private practice, from London to Sydney, I feel I've developed a strong empathy for the daily challenges dentists face. Through my post-graduate training, most notably at the Eastman Dental Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons, I've gained a wide range of experiences and a broad understanding of clinical practice.
I've always had a strong interest in the legal world and how this impacts on the dental profession in our increasingly litigious society. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to join the DDU and work with such an experienced and knowledgeable team of advisors. Being able to help those members in difficulty, and guide others away from future problems, has proved very rewarding so far.
Away from the DDU I am currently studying for an LLM in the legal aspects of medical practice. Having to study in the evenings and at weekends isn't as bad as it sounds - not only is it this very interesting and useful, but as a new father it gives me the perfect excuse for avoiding changing nappies!
Dr Sarah Ide
Sarah Ide is one of the dento-legal advisers at the DDU. She qualified in 1992 from Guys and worked there as a house officer before entering general practice as a VT. Sarah worked in independent and private general practice for 25 years and completed an MSc in Aesthetic dentistry at King's. She's been working at the DDU for over six years, initially combining this work with general practice, and now working here full time.
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David qualified from Newcastle Dental School in 2002. His post-graduate training included qualifications from the Eastman Dental Hospital and the Royal College of Surgeons, after which he worked in a number of dental settings in the UK and abroad. He has always pursued an interest in the legal aspects of dentistry and has a Master of Laws degree in the Legal Aspects of Medical Practice.
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Dr Wendy Harris
Wendy Harris is one of the dental telephone advisers at the DDU. She qualified from Guy’s in 1986 and worked there as a house officer upon graduation. She spent many years working as a general dental practitioner in Surrey and has been an active committee member of the Mid-Surrey section of the BDA. Wendy joined the DDU in April 2014 and works here part-time.
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