Dean's Blog


Ian Mills FFGDP(UK) is a partner in a mixed NHS/private general dental practice in North Devon, and Dean of the FGDP(UK)


Ian is hosting a webinar on Preparing for the Challenges Ahead on Tuesday 5th May, 2020 at 6pm. Register to join at


It’s time to use the F word!
As we look forward to the re-opening of dental practices, our priority has to be safety, but this will undoubtedly come at a price. The Faculty will be supporting a safe return to work with the clear, practical guidance the profession desperately needs.

Working together to deliver Urgent Dental Care
Urgent Dental Care centres may provide an excellent service, but they do not have the capacity to meet the need. The number of dental practices involved needs to be rapidly increased to prevent the backlog of worsening cases becoming unmanageable.

A horrendous mess, but everyone's working tirelessly to improve the situation
I fully appreciate how anxious and frightened many of us are, and how angry we are at the apparent lack of support, but the outpouring of vitriol on social media towards colleagues is completely unacceptable.

Covid-19: finding our own way forward
Between patients, I have been triaging phone calls, meeting with my practice manager and scouring the internet for updated guidance from NHS England. It is a bit like waiting for Father Christmas, except he generally turns up on time and has rarely let me down over the years.

This virus is punishing delay and indecision
We certainly need to avoid the escalation of panic based on hasty guidance, but when there is a paucity of research we need to rely on expert opinion and patient preference in light of the level of risk and potential consequences.

If ever we needed NHS leadership, it's now
Being in general dental practice during the coronavirus epidemic is a bit like watching a trailer for an apocalyptic film, then realising that you are part of the cast.

We need to act now to identify and manage erosive tooth wear
Why is it important to identify erosive tooth wear? And what can we do as a profession?

The significance of oral health for vulnerable groups
We may have been successful in delivering better oral health for many, but we have been largely ineffectual in addressing inequality and supporting those who are most in need our support.

Responsible prescribing for the sake of future generations
As healthcare professionals, we are told that we are well placed to raise awareness of the need to reduce the use of antibiotics. But how easy is it to explain that to the emergency patient with a raging toothache?

It’s who you know
Working as a dentist in primary care can be tough. The key to success is to surround yourself with the right people, but that’s easier said than done.

The essential role of the team in dentistry
From time to time we find our jobs difficult or uninspiring, but it is often the sense of team that pulls us through.

The Importance of Record Keeping
The use of records as much for protection as for patient benefit is now a necessary evil, but we appear to be spending as much time at a keyboard as we do at the chairside.

People Power
Last year saw the influence of people-power in changing society and the attitudes of others. With patients queuing to access NHS dental care, perhaps the public will also influence contract reform.