Celebrating 100 years of women dental professionals

Bal Chanabal c

Where did you qualify? Barts and The London 1992

What attracted you to dentistry?

I always had a strong desire for a career in the medical sector. My GP who was also a family friend at that time suggested dentistry. Having explored all the options within dentistry, dental therapy appealed the most. I like the hands-on aspect along with patient interaction. Maybe subconsciously a fascination with drills may have been the driving force as my father was a carpenter and I often helped him.

What are your current responsibilities in the profession?

Clinician – Delivering quality care to my patients.

Tutor – Responsible for the training and education of students.

GDC Inspector – Ensure the required standards are met by the training establishments.

DDU – Risk Assessment

Bal’s dental story

As I commenced my dental career, I had a keen interest in teaching, having qualified as a dental nurse, I then completed a Diploma in Dental Health Education, following this I completed a City and Guilds Further Education Teachers Certification.

I was fortunate to be one of four dental nurses who taught the 3rd year undergraduate dental students Close Support Dentistry at The Royal London Hospital (Barts and The London). This was a unique position, of dental nurses teaching dental students.

This position I held for three years and then became a student myself at The Royal London Hospital.

I qualified in 1992 as a dental hygienist and therapist. I then gained experience in both primary and secondary care settings, I attended numerous conferences and workshops to enhance my knowledge and clinical skills. When I felt I had a good level of subject understanding and knowledge, along with substantial clinical experience, I then embarked on my teaching career again.

I have been involved in Dental Care Professional education since 1998. I worked at the Eastman Dental Hospital where I was one of the four tutors, appointed to teach on their dental therapy programme. I moved to Barts and the London in 2001 where I worked as a tutor until 2004 and was promoted to Deputy Principal Hygiene and Therapy Tutor.

I continue to work in general dental practice two days a week and teach three days a week, I feel this is a good balance for me. I enjoy having that patient contact myself and feel it gives me credibility as a tutor.

I got involved with the British Association of Dental Therapists in 2001 as a Regional Representative, then was appointed Educational and training Officer and in 2006, I was appointed as Chair and then in, 2010 until 2014 as President. I represented the profession on a number of boards and working groups, at various levels.

I am currently a Dental Care Professional Inspector with the General Dental Council, which involves Inspecting Training Programmes, looking at the quality assurance mechanism, ensuring the learning outcomes are met and the students are safe beginners upon qualification. I am almost at the end of my second term with this role. I am also on The Council, DCP Advisory Board and Cases Committee member with The Dental Defence Union, this position I have held since 2015.

My key areas of interest are in Restorative and Preventive Dentistry.

What has been your most memorable achievement in the profession?

Being the 1st dental therapist to be awarded Dental Therapist of The Year award in 2006

What advice would you give your younger self on qualifying?

Give it your best in all you do.

Which of your mentors have influenced you the most?

Graham Dindol – My first boss

Sian Murray – Dentist

Jane Thomas – Hygienist/Therapist

Jenny Parsons – Hygienist

How have you used mentoring throughout your career?

I have used mentoring for support and guidance and as role models.



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Dental Mentors UK is run by two experienced dental mentors.
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We believe that all dental professionals would benefit from regularly working with a mentor from a personal as well as a professional point of view. Mentors are experienced dental professionals who can guide and support you throughout your career.

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