An honour and a privilege

We meet the first Irish woman to gain BACD accreditation

In November 2012, Dr Gill Martin became the first Irish woman to be accredited by the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. This highly prestigious award is given in recognition of excellence in cosmetic dentistry. There are now only two Irish accredited members, the other being Dr Chris Orr.

Where did you grow up?
I hail from Dublin – Santry, to be precise. I attended Scoil Chaitriona in Glasnevin and departed Ireland’s fair shores in September 1989 to study dentistry at Newcastle upon Tyne University.

Why did you decide to study in Newcastle and why dentistry in particular?
I anticipated that I may want to gain new life experiences and move away from home. Newcastle Dental School has a long established reputation for excellence in teaching and cutting-edge research. Having attended Newcastle for an interview, I fell in love with the city and set my heart upon going there.

Dentistry was not my only option, however. At the time I had as much interest in languages as I had in the sciences. I deferred a place to study international business and languages at Dublin City University, having undertaken a Japanese course in the summer of 1989. It left me with options, should I feel homesick.

Have you any plans to move back home to Ireland to work?
I have established myself professionally in London, so for the foreseeable future I do not expect a return to Ireland. However, my parents and some of my siblings are still based in Ireland, so I return as often as is feasible.

How did you become interested in aesthetic dentistry?
I am an aesthetically sensitive individual in general so it seemed a natural progression. In 2003, while attending the World Aesthetic Congress, I mockingly likened it to being ”swept away by the rantings of some weird evangelical preacher“. A glut of American speakers had me transfixed. I had crossed the Rubicon into my ”aesthetic journey“.

Tell us about your current practice and why you decided to only focus on cosmetic dentistry…
For almost seven years, I have worked at the Welbeck clinic in central London (http://www.welbeckclinic.co.uk). I met Dr Joe Oliver – owner of the practice – at the inaugural British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD) conference. As a former clinical director of Dentics, he was seeking a like-minded associate.

Our main focus at the clinic is the enhancement of smiles, inclusive of all treatment modalities from orthodontics to full mouth restorations.

What does it mean to you to be an accredited member of the BACD?
I am honoured and privileged to have gained accreditation status, as only a small number of members have attained this to date. My BACD membership has been invaluable on a number of levels.

Professionally, it has enabled me to network with colleagues who share a passion for cosmetic dentistry – many of whom have become good friends. Personally, the accreditation process has forced me to hone skills that I had initially considered peripheral to dentistry, such as photography.

It has instilled in me a greater confidence knowing that I am equipped with the requisite skills necessary to attain the exacting standards set by the BACD. It also demonstrates to my patients that I have the knowledge, skill and ability to perform cosmetic treatments to the highest level.

What are your hopes for the future, both professionally and personally?
I am optimistic that I will continue with my practical and academic interest in dentistry as I find my career incredibly rewarding. This, along with my family, will fulfil all my hopes and aspirations.