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17 Point Checklist to Prepare for Dental Foundation Training

Preparing for the Dental Foundation Training Programme

Congratulations you have just passed your finals and have that shining BDS. The iconic DDU badge is still pinned to you wherever you go, but now what? The university have been woefully vague on what you now need to do to prepare yourself for dental foundation year.


Worry no longer.

This short and sharp to the point guide will get you in shape for the start of your next journey in dentistry!

These points are relatively open ended so will apply to you even if you aren't in the UK and about to start dental foundation training!

The Foundation Training Checklist

  1. First of all make sure to enjoy this time. Bask in the glory of your success! Get away with some friends or with family, they probably want to see you now you're out of the library.
  1. Decide which indemnity provider you are going to use, there are a number of options available to you in the UK (most heavily subsidized for foundation dentists), and i'm sure it is similar across the world.
  1. Pay your GDC fees. Yes you need to pay to be regulated, the public body for patient protection is paid for by the people they judge not the patients who they protect. That's right...
  1. Will you need income protection? This is a safety net for you in case you are unable to work for any number of reasons.
  1. Do you have a log of the treatment you have carried out in university?  This could come in handy when setting goals with your trainer.

  1. Have you saved up for some loupes? You can get great deals in dental foundation year or as a student. Magnification greatly improves the quality of your work as you can see smaller details, however be sure not to focus in too much and miss out some larger issues. Tunnel vision can lead to missed diagnoses. If you dont have the cash to splash on top end loupes right now these are a good option, and i personally had a pair in university which were great to learn with
  1. Does your practice have a DSLR? Are you someone who will need one? Creating a visual log of treatment you have carried out is useful to use for advertisements as a case portfolio, but also to help in your personal reflection to improve your treatment outcomes in the future. You will need basic dental photography skills for your dental foundation milestone cases.
  1. The performers list, this one is a ballache. Get this sorted as soon as possible. Have all the necessary documents together in a folder to make your life easy.
  1. CPR training certificate from the dental school will be needed!
  1. Don't forget to sort out your accommodation and transport to work. Remember to think of backups in case your car is out of action at some point. There is no excuse for not turning up to work and the scheme people are not very forgiving. Pick your living situation carefully as well, the real world of work can be highly stressful and you need somewhere to fall back on to relax.

  1. Get some clinical notes templates ready to speed up your note-taking and improve your efficiency whilst in practice. Your nurses will love you for being efficient, be sure not to miss out important details when using templates however, as every consultation will have its quirks!
  1. Re-familiarise yourself with treatment procedures so you know in advance what equipment you need for procedures. You can then find out if the practice are missing any of your favorites and politely request them! As you gain more experience this will become easier.
  1. Set some SMART goals for your time in dental foundation year so that you make the most of the opportunity, this will be the last time you are guaranteed to have someone to watch over you whilst you practice, use this time to develop your skills and decision making. Spend the first 6 months learning good quality dentistry and gaining confidence. Then the nect 6 months gaining speed to make your transition into associate life easier.

  1. Find out what special interests other dentists in the practice have so you can broaden your learning experience and feed these into your SMART goals.

  2. Occupational health records, will be required to ensure you are fit and healthy to practice. this will be a record of your immunisations up till now. you will need these in order to work in dentistry!

  3. A DBS check is also required before you start foundation year in the UK.

  4. Your Practice Manager will need some information from you as well. Have ready a copy of your photo ID and your national insurance number.  

Bonus Top Tip - It might be a good idea to get your favourite tutors a little gift before you journey on to the next stage of your professional career. Those guys put a lot of work in behind the scenes even when they aren't directly teaching you!

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