The vast majority of dentists work as General Dental Practitioners (GDPs). They provide general primary care services to the general public, usually in a high street practice. They can provide NHS services, private treatment or a mixture both. In the following article Dr Samad gives an insight into what to expect from a career in General Practice.


Mohammed SamadDr M A Samad | BDS, MJDF.RCS(Eng), MFDS.RCSPG

Principal Dentist & Clinical Director
Cartyne Dental Care & Tollcross Dental Care
Tel: 0141 774 3116


I qualified from Dundee in 2009 and completed my VT in Fife for 12 months. After completing VT, I moved back to Glasgow and became an associate. From about 6 months into my associate career, I started to think about what it would be like to be a principal… Never I thought, within a year of starting my associate career, that I would be a principal! Less than a year into being a principal at Carntyne, along came Tollcross and now I am a principal at two practices. Currently, I am split between working in both practices whilst being a VT trainer.

What is General Practice?

General practice is basically doing the bulk of everything which is done on a day-to-day basis. It covers all the competencies which the GDC expect from us. Amongst this, they also expect us to be aware of conditions/treatments that fall outwith our scope of competencies and be aware of when to refer to other clinics for appropriate treatment/investigations. The best way to describe general practice is somewhere that treats the most common conditions and treatments.

A typical day…

A typical day for me starts at about half 8 with the first patient in at 9am. During the day there is always a variation of treatments booked in. Nothing is the same; all the patients are different ranging from race, creed, ethnicity, social class and background, elderly, teenagers and young children. There are a couple of slots allocated only for emergency patients. Lunch is for an hour and that really is just a chance to have a breather and catch up on emails and phone calls. Currently we do one late night on a Tuesday where I finish at 8pm, as well as Saturday mornings with my VT, Zainab Rizwan, where we finish at 1pm. Some days, there can be lots of treatments and others lots of examination patients booked in.

Any other advice to a young student aiming to set off on the path to a career in General Practice?

A successful career will be primarily based on goals you would like to achieve. Some people are happy with being a run of the mill general practitioner with no consideration for advanced level work. Others will strive to constantly improve and excel. The most important factor in having a successful career is always being aware of your limitations and knowing when to stop and get a second opinion or referring it on to a specialist. The last thing you want to do after coming out of the dental hospital with your BDS is thinking that you are invincible and nothing is difficult. Postgraduate qualifications are also highly desirable as they allow doors to be opened in the future, especially if you decide on a change of career path.

Most people will not know where they want to go during their time in the dental hospital. Some people might think a specialist post might be the way they want to go, but then during VT once they have a taste of general practice, then their decision might change. All that I am saying is do not focus on just one thing, but keep your doors open until you have an experience of everything before you decide what you want to do. It’s always a good thing to talk to people who work in the dental hospital as well as those who work in general practice.


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