Life as a Dental Surgeon – Farah Ahmed, St Catherine’s College

It was a pleasure to interview, Paul Williams, a local Oral Surgeon on the advantages and struggles of being a surgeon.

What attracted you to the dental industry?

The main reason I entered dentistry was because of my father. He was a dentist who earned a great salary and the local people’s respect. My father inspired me and encouraged me to aim high. He remained my inspiration throughout dental school and even today as a practicing surgeon.

What qualities are important for a dental surgeon?

The role of a surgeon requires responsibility and care. Without caring for your patient and keeping them as a first priority, you cannot succeed in surgery. As a dentist, you must have an interest in aesthetics and you must understand the importance of a smile.

Which challenges do you face as a dental surgeon?

The main struggles I face within my profession, I suppose, is the long hours. The early starts and late ends. The restless nights. It can all become very overwhelming but eventually, it becomes a routine. Another factor that can be seen as a disadvantage of my job is having to deal with emergencies. The critical situations and high risks. Also, dealing with difficult patients is certainly a challenging aspect to my job.

Why did you decide to specialise in surgery?

When graduating dental school and completing my internship, I realised I had an interest in surgery. My passion for the specialisation lead me to a career in surgery.

Describe your average day

I begin work at 9am every morning. Most days are busy – some days more than others. I begin with a consultation clinic where I see patients with different oral surgery related problems. I then assess the patients clinically by taking x-rays, scans, or blood tests. After this, I make a diagnosis and treatment plan. Finally, we come onto the operating. Some days, I operate while patients are awake and under local anaesthesia. On other days, I operate in the operating theatre while my patient is under general anaesthesia.

Describe your journey through dental school

My dental school experience was both good and bad. The studies were stressful but interesting. The main struggle was anatomy. During lessons I fully understood the feeling of being scared. Dissecting dead bodies was not my favourite but I got used to it.

If you had to start over, would you choose a different profession?

No, I would not. I believe I am good at my job; I enjoy helping others smile and I earn a good salary.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your job?

Covid-19 had a huge impact on hospitals. It was very hard working in full PPE all day. There was a high risk of contracting covid as we had very close contact with patients.


The role of an oral surgeon is so important. Imagine your life without the ability to smile. We should all appreciate the struggles and hardships dental surgeons face everyday.


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