All smiles for Dentistry Award finalist Laura

Bradford College, Laura Marshall

Laura Marshall will find out whether she has achieved the prestigious accolade for Best Team Member: Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist at a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday 19 November.

The Level 2 Dentistry tutor and dental hygienist has reached the award finals because of  her passion for teaching and supporting the dental health needs of her community.

Laura said: “I'm looking forward to the ceremony and am very excited to see what happens.”

As well as teaching at Bradford College’s Northern Dental Education Centre (NORDEC), Laura is a member of the team at Rayner Dental Practice and Carr Wood House Dental Practice.

In 2017 Laura began teaching 16-18-year-old dental students at NORDEC, the college’s cutting-edge education centre training students and apprentices to join the skilled dental workforce of the future.  She said: “I feel it is truly a fantastic course, giving students a well-rounded introduction to Dentistry. By the end of the year they are so passionate. We have had many successes over the years.”

The lead dentist at Rayner Dental Practice supported Laura’s  award nomination. Laura said: “It is lovely that he has confidence in me as a professional.”

The key to her success is her philosophy, “we treat people, not teeth.” Laura said: “A tutor once said this to me and it stuck.”

The many thank-you cards and notes that patients have given Laura over the years are testament to her skill and talent for helping others.

For many people, going to the dentist can be quite daunting and Laura has a number of ways to put nervous patients at  ease.

These include chattery teeth toothbrush demonstrations, creating her own literature to better explain periodontal disease and ‘elephant gloves’, a handy distraction technique to ease and entertain children during treatment.

“I’m inspired by the movie ‘Patch Adams’ which is about promoting the act to enhance the quality of life, and adding fun and laughter to the work we do.”

Laura added: “I have to mention the brilliant teams I work with. We have worked hard as a team to make sure our patients are confident in our safety measures during Covid 19 and have overcome the many barriers to care.”

Working in the community is also very important to Laura, and in 2017 she began a radio segment with a community radio station, Talking Teeth, to raise awareness of dental health and hygiene in Bradford.

She has also worked with primary schools as well as supporting homeless and vulnerable people through charity Dentaid.

The Dentistry Awards is the UK’s largest dental awards ceremony to formally recognise excellent dentistry being carried out by teams and individuals throughout the UK and Ireland.