“A Mentor comes in from the outside and has the ability to see your surgery setup in a very different way and can make suggestions and refinements to change things for the better.”

Dave Stone

DDS, MSc, PGDip, PGCert

Working both as an NHS and private dentist, I am currently in the third and final year of studying for my MSC in Dental Implantology at Bristol University. This course has given me a solid academic grounding in implants and allowed me to get my first hands-on experience of placing implants under the supervision of my Mentor Jonathon Schofield at his clinic in Bath.

Placing your first implants can be a daunting process, especially when it comes to working in your own practice when you no longer have the support of your fellow students and teachers around you. Regardless of how much theory you learn there is no substitute for the real thing and that is where mentoring really comes into its own.

Working within your own surgery is very different to academic training. You feel at home, you know where everything is and you know your own patients. I’m already comfortable undertaking straightforward single implants, but I know I can call on Jonathon for more complex cases to help me take my skills to the next level.

It is extremely reassuring to have a Mentor working alongside you. Jonathon knows exactly when to let you carry out certain aspects by yourself, yet he can foresee if anything is going slightly awry and correct you. Even the smallest tips on how to do things a little differently makes a huge difference in the overall accuracy of the treatment. Something as simple as placing one suture in the wrong place has the potential to ruin a whole case.

What I hadn’t expected, and what has been a real bonus, is how much Jonathon has helped me with setting up my surgery for implants. Because implants are just one of the many treatments I perform in surgery, like many others I don’t have the budget or space to hold a great deal of implant-related stock. A Mentor comes in from the outside and has the ability to see your surgery setup in a very different way and can make suggestions and refinements to change things for the better. Jonathon has expertly recommended what

I should have to hand and what I can hold off on. This has been as useful as the actual implant teaching to me. Jonathon has also been instrumental in training my nurses who are also relatively new to implant procedures.

As a Mentor Jonathon has been invaluable. Though my implants can “go in” and “stay in”, the difference between them looking really good or just staying in is what I have him there for. From my experience and in speaking to my peers, mentoring really does work and the benefits are enormous. I would 100% recommend partnering with a Mentor to anyone starting out in implant dentistry.