Dentistry career advice
- a conversation with Dr Irram Shah

Dr Irram Shah shares her career journey and gives her advice for those thinking going into dentistry

When did you decide you wanted to be a dentist?

Choosing the path of dentistry was something I decided on whilst doing my A levels, prior to that I had always just chosen subjects I enjoyed which happened to predominantly the sciences.

Was dentistry something that was mentioned in education?

Courses such as dentistry were always mentioned as a career option whilst studying subjects such as biology and chemistry, and something I always knew could be an option.

My family always encouraged me to take on this career path, especially my father. I had originally picked to do my work experience in a law firm but soon realised that I wanted to be more hands on with my career and took on some extra work experience at a dental practice.

From my work experience I realised it definitely appealed to me but I also realised that it would require hard work and commitment to achieve this, and it really gave me a reason to focus on my studies to reach the best of my potential.

Dr Irram Shah, Associate Dentist and Regional Clinical Support Advisor

Dr Irram Shah, Associate Dentist & Regional Clinical Director

"I realised that becoming a dentist would require hard work and commitment and work experience really gave me a reason to focus on my studies to reach the best of my potential."

Dr Irram Shah, Associate Dentist and Regional Clinical Support Advisor

Describe your career journey, and how Bupa Dental Care have helped you progress?

I originally took on a locum position to see which type of general dentistry practice suited me. This made me realise that I wanted to be somewhere where I was supported and really able to cement my training and gain further experience.

I then took on an Associate role in a practice and went on to become the Clinical Lead at the practice, and at this point I realised that supporting and mentoring other clinicians was something that I really enjoyed!

This has now led me on to become the Regional Clinical Serviced Advisor for Bupa, covering practices across central England, providing clinical support to around 45 practices.

The clinical team whilst I was a new Associate were absolutely fantastic and really supported me – and Bupa Dental Care have offered a range of opportunities to progress into different roles and specialities.

For me personally it has opened opportunities into Clinical Management/support which I genuinely never imagined I would be a part of.

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What advice or words of encouragement would you offer an individual looking to follow a career in dentistry?

The best advice I would give is to really think about what makes you tick, reflecting on your strengths in terms of academia but also within your character. If you enjoy helping others and making a difference to others generally then that’s a great attribute for healthcare.

Dentistry is a commitment and you have to ensure that it suits you. I would strongly advise gaining work experience within a practice and seeing what day to day dentistry is like.

It’s important that you know it’s okay if you didn’t consider dentistry from the get go, but if your drive and passion is there, and you get the qualifications, then you can do it.

Thinking of a career in dentistry?

You typically enter into a career of dentistry through a university course, usually lasting around 5 years followed by 1-2 years of postgraduate dental training.

4 year dental degree courses are also an option if you already have at least an upper second class degree in one of the following: biology, chemistry or a biomedical subject.

Entry levels require 3 A levels that vary between AAA to ABB, including chemistry and biology.

Need further information? You can visit the UCAS website here to find out more


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