Alumni Profile – Dr Daniel Caga

Dr Daniel Caga, a MSc Advanced Dental Clinical Practice accelerated pathway graduate, talks about his studies time at the University of Kent

Dr Daniel Caga is graduating from the University of Kent with an MSc Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Advanced Dental Clinical Practice) programme. He is an Associate Dentist at 606 Dental Practice, Solihull. His Graduate Profile reflects his journey from the Diploma in Restorative Dentistry at the FGDP (UK) to the full Master’s qualification at the University of Kent and provides an interesting insight into the benefits of both programmes.

After completing the FGDP (UK) Diploma in Restorative Dentistry you enrolled in the University of Kent’s MSc Advanced Dental Clinical Practice accelerated pathway. What attracted you to studying the MSc Advanced Dental Clinical Practice programme?

Towards the end of the FGDP programme the options to complete an MSc top-up year were highlighted. Dr Debbie Reed, from the Centre for Professional Practice at the University of Kent came in to discuss the MSc in Advanced Dental Clinical Practice. I appreciated Dr Reed actually attended the Dip Rest Dent study day and I enjoyed the lecture, and was interested in the design of the top-up year. I was also drawn to the MSc due to the cost, as well.

What did you particularly enjoy on the Master’s programme? How would you describe the teaching at the University of Kent?

The Master’s programme was very well organised, with all the modules being linked to the ultimate final dissertation module. Therefore, the programme flowed very well. I really enjoyed meeting the tutors and my colleagues on the course. We formed a very good relationship during the programme that has continued after the course has finished. The teaching at the University is brilliant. The lecturers were all professional in how they provided their lectures. They were all very approachable if and when I had a question which is vital for a distance learning course. I have heard of many distance learning students struggling with communication with their institutes and this was not the case with the University of Kent.

 What did you think about the assignments you were given? Did you feel well supported in your studies at the University of Kent?

The support on the course was very good. Tutors responded to questions very quickly, and their input was also positive. I feel my assignments benefited from this input. The assignments were very useful, they all culminated in the dissertation module, so we were able to work up to completing the research project and write up.

What about the facilities on Medway campus?

The Medway campus is very picturesque and very well maintained. The library was always tidy and quiet. The computer system was easy to utilise.

How would you describe your fellow Master’s students?

They are very good friends now. We have come through the MSc programme together and managed to form a great bond with one another. Having other dentists on the course was very useful when designing and running the dissertation project, as we could tap into one another’s clinical experiences and this enhanced each individual project.

How do you think your Postgraduate studies have developed you in your working practice?

The Diploma in Restorative Dentistry course provided clinically oriented knowledge with the evidence-base. Both of these positively impacted my clinical practice. The knowledge of different techniques and topics increased and my clinical skill set developed dramatically. My confidence also improved. My MSc top-up year gave me a solid foundation in understanding the processes involved in designing and running research in primary care. It solidified my ability to take the evidence-base and critique it and this is vital when practising evidence-based dentistry. Overall, my postgraduate studies have opened up potential roles in academia and teaching, both of which I wish to pursue in the future. I now peer-review articles for various dental journals, which is something I enjoy as it enables me to further investigate and expand my knowledge of the chosen topic as well and I am currently working towards getting my dissertation work published in a peer reviewed journal.

What were you researching for your dissertation? Can you give one specific example of what you are doing differently in your practice as a result of your research?

My dissertation project investigated the clinical use of rubber dam isolation by general dental practitioners in the UK. Although this topic had been researched before, the major difference with my study was that I utilised an internet-mediated approach. This not only made my study different from those previously reported in the literature, but it also simplified my study design slightly as I could simply re-post the link to my questionnaire in the social media group and I did not have to work with the positives and negatives to traditional paper-based questionnaires (i.e. costs of postage). Now in practice, I feel I have developed a certain interest in using internet-mediated research approaches to complete other primary care research projects. I am very keen to get involved in primary care research.

 Could you please describe how having two postgraduate qualifications – the FGDP (UK) Diploma in Restorative Dentistry and the University of Kent’s MSc Advanced Dental Clinical Practice – will help you in your professional development?  

Having two postgraduate qualifications strengthens my commitment to further professional development, I am already considering completing an Implant Diploma and also courses associated with dental ethics. I have a good relationship with the tutors that have taught me on both courses. This is very useful in terms of networking and hopefully may lead to developments in the future (i.e. teaching and academia). I feel both courses have enabled me to change my dentistry for the better and through this I am able to tackle more complex clinical cases, having the clinical skill set and also the evidence-base to actually treatment plan such cases.

Do you have any advice for your peers – the ones who are looking into starting the FGDP (UK) Diploma in Restorative Dentistry and those who completed it and are planning to take the accelerated pathway to gain a full Master’s degree at the University of Kent?

Collectively, the two courses have been very useful to my personal career development and I do not have any regrets about completing either. The FGDP course will change your dentistry, your knowledge of restorative dentistry will improve and it is very much implementable to daily practice because of its design. The MSc course will cement your academic abilities which again will benefit your clinical work by being able to critically analyse clinical research. As with all forms of education, what an individual takes from it is very much down to the individual.

Find out more about the University of Kent’s MSc Advanced Dental Clinical Practice accelerated pathway by clicking here.

To learn more about the FGDP (UK) Restorative Dentistry Courses follow the link here.

To follow them on Twitter, go to @FGDP_UK

Watch a video with Dr Daniel Caga talking about his experience on the Faculty of General Dental Practice’s postgraduate course Diploma in Restorative Dentistry