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A week in the life of Melanie Joyce

Dental Therapist in Leeds.


Day 1:

Hi I'm Melanie Joyce and I am a Dental Therapist from Leeds, currently working in a mixed NHS and private practice in Leeds and for the salaried dental service in Bradford.

In the remainder of my time I do some teaching for Ivoclar Vivadent and clinical governance work for a private practice in Leicester.

I am also studying to top my Graduate Diploma in Dental Hygiene and Therapy to a BSc in Dental Studies at UCL and am the North East Representative for the British Association of Dental Therapists.

I'm very pleased to be asked to contribute to Heart Your Smile by taking part in the week in the life of series and would like to inspire other Dental Therapists out there to get involved in bringing about positive changes to the way the profession and the public perceive the dental team!!

So Day 1.... I'm writing this from my car at the Trowel services on the M1, thank goodness for iPhones!! I left Leeds at 6 this morning and have been down in Leicester today on my clinical governance duties. Today I have been updating and organising the practice cross infection control policies and protocols to ensure compliance with all the relevant regulations!!

With the prospect of CQC inspections looming I found a really useful document which you can download from the Business of Dentistry Hub website when you sign up for free at www.bodhub.co.uk.

It gives examples of what could be asked by CQC inspectors to patients and different members of the practice team. To test our readiness I asked staff members to try and answer the questions relating to their role, it will be interesting to see the results and I will use these to assess training needs.

So tomorrow I'm working in my job in the salaried dental service in a place called Holmewood in Bradford. I look forward to telling you about my day tomorrow evening!!

I'd better go now and continue my journey home, will have a few emails to send, then looking forward to the Thai green curry my boyfriend is cooking when I'm back!! Yum!!

Mx ♥


Day 2:

Finally sat here drinking a nice cup of tea in my Heart Your Smile mug!! Sorry for such a late post….have had a busy day at my community dental clinic in Bradford then went straight to the wake of a close friend’s mother’s funeral.

It is a sad time but it was lovely to see that so many people turned out to celebrate the life of such a courageous, strong woman. Times like this make you really appreciate your loved ones.

After hearing on the radio this morning that the Office of Fair Trading has finally published it’s report, I scrambled to tweet our backing from the OFT for direct access!! This comes as great news for the campaign for direct access for dental therapists.

As my colleague Sally Reid at the BADT said it’s “not so much 'if'' but when.” So watch this space!!

My morning once I got into clinic started with a fire alarm, eeeeek!! Cue standing outside for half an hour, luckily it was a false alarm!

I had a steady day, treating a mix of children and adults. I did some scaling, plenty of toothbrush instruction, some temporary dressings and extracted a LLD for a little spider man fan who even brought his own spider man sunglasses to wear for the procedure!!

One thing that did make me giggle today was when a young lady age 12 said “do you have hair extensions in?” which mortified me a little, as I do, they are bonded in though not clip in ones, but I was a little embarrassed that she had spotted this, if only I could encourage her to be more observant when it comes to the removal of the plaque on her teeth!! :)

I was reminded of a lesson in communication today, when preparing to carry out an intra oral exam on my 6 year old patient I said “right I’m just going to wash my hands, then we can get cracking” to which the child replied “what’s cracking?!”

I hadn’t really thought about what I had said or expected the child to pick up on it and take it so literally, shows he was listening carefully though! Another patient today, who was an adult told me he could not read.

These examples illustrate the need to be careful how we communicate with our patients, young children may not understand what we are trying to say, patients with Asperger Syndrome may take what you say literally or there may be a language barrier. Communication needs to be tailored to the individual person.

I sometimes come across patients, particularly elderly ones who will treat a dental visit like a day out and actually seem to want to attend just for the company and a chat.

I saw a patient today and the last time I saw this lady she mentioned that she lives alone and sometimes sings at home by herself, so it had me thinking, there must be activities or groups out in the community she can get interaction with other like minded people, so following some research I found that the charity, Mind in Bradford has a singing session on a Tuesday which I thought would be perfect to suggest to her.

According to Mind, studies show that singing lowers the heart rate, blood pressure and reduces stress!! Today she was having some problems with her denture so we spent most of our time talking about this following her treatment with me so I will pass on these details to her next time.

I think it’s good to look at your patient as a whole and think about their wellbeing and happiness as well as their oral health!

Tomorrow I’m in Bradford again but this time working at my main community dental clinic. Hope you all have a good day, speak soon!!

Mx ♥


Day 3:

Hi all, hope everyone had a good hump day!! On my way to work this morning I was listening to Capital Radio Yorkshire as I do every morning and I heard a call for people to take part in the Yorkshire Run for their charity “Help a Capital Child” and after hearing about some of the work they do in my region, have decided to sign up (it’s confirmed, I’ve paid my registration fee and everything, eeeeeeek!). I’m not a runner and have never done anything like this before so this will be a huge challenge for me but it will be worth it to be able to contribute to such a worthy local cause.

Help a Capital Child was set up in 1975 to help disadvantaged young people in local areas, they support children and young people affected by abuse, homelessness, disability, poverty and illness and this year are helping to fund a new unit at the Castle Hill hospital in Hull and care for young people at units at the Leeds General Infirmary and Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield. Together, these three units will allow for over 1,300 patient stays a year.

Today I worked with my lovely Dental Nurse Hayley (pictured above), she is really efficient and so caring with the patients too!!

It’s my Birthday Sunday and she even brought me a card and a little gift in which was really sweet and unexpected!! :)

I could never work without a Dental Nurse, they are instrumental to the success of treatments for example they are vital for helping to maintain excellent moisture control during moisture sensitive techniques (unless using a rubber dam of course!) and also play an important role in the management of the patient, especially young children who are nervous of treatment.

Sometimes I don’t think Dental Nurses realise how vital they are in the dental team and I think they deserve the utmost respect!!

My day consisted of lots of fissure sealants, an URD extraction, some preventative resin restorations, toothbrush instruction of course, fluoride application and a hefty dose of diet advice!!

I was really pleased to see improvements in the gingival inflammation of two of my patients today whom I had given tooth brushing instruction to last visit, it’s really satisfying when you feel somebody has actually taken your messages on board and changed their habits, makes you feel like you can make a difference!!

Tomorrow is another day at my main clinic in Bradford!! Speak to you all soon!! /p>

Mx ♥


Day 4:

Hi everyone, sorry for yet another late post!! It’s my Grandma’s 80th birthday today so went to visit her after work then went shopping with my brother.

Today I had another day working in the community. The patients I treated today included recovering substance abusers and autistic children.

One of the best things about my job is being able to help people through dental treatment who may not be able to have treatment in general practice.

I was very pleased that I managed to carry out 2 fissure sealants on one of the autistic children when initially I had doubts that it would be possible.

I found out today that my practice in Leicester is having a CQC inspection next Friday, hopefully they will be prepared!! My colleagues bought me some flowers and chocolates for my birthday which was so thoughtful and sweet, it really made me smile!! :)

Tomorrow I get the morning off Woohoo!! Then I am working at my mixed private/NHS practice in Leeds in the afternoon before going to Xscape in Castleford for a couple of hours of skiing!!

Mx ♥


Day 5:

Hello, hope everyone had a good Friday!

Today I enjoyed the morning off and went to the beauticians for a bit of pampering! This afternoon I worked at my practice in Leeds, Newsmile Dental Care. I had a steady afternoon treating a mix of adults and children with a range of treatments. I worked with my wonderful colleague Christine today and we had a good catch up as we don’t get to see each other all that often with her being part time.

This evening I went skiing with my boyfriend and his friend at Xscape in Castleford, tonight was freestyle night so I spent most of the evening in awe of these amazing skiiers and snowboarders doing crazy jumps and trying to avoid falling over. I did enjoy it though!!

Tomorrow I am at University in Preston in the morning then am driving back to Leeds to get ready for my Grandmas 80th Birthday meal!

Speak to you all tomorrow!!

Mx ♥