Dr. Karen Andrews Principal Dentist at Distinctly Dental
I must confess that whilst at school I didn’t dream of becoming a cutting edge dentist. I had in fact decided to take a degree in agriculture, hoping to become a farm manager. I acquired a place at Nottingham University and proceeded to work on a pig farm in Forest Row, East Sussex for a year. I soon discovered that career opportunities in agriculture were limited and I started to consider other avenues. Being an exceedingly practical individual, I knew I would enjoy the field of dentistry and all the challenges that it presents. I soon applied to dental school and opted to attend the London Hospital Medical College [now The Royal London] as this was purported to be one of the best dental schools in the country [and it is warmer down here than in Newcastle!]
After qualifying I worked as an associate for Dr Datta in Grays Essex and within a year I was leasing my own surgery in Wickford Essex. I enjoyed working there and quickly expanded, however, as the owner wished to terminate the lease I went in search of my own practice that I could build and make my own. I found the perfect place - an extremely run down practice here in Hatfield that desperately needed a dose of “TLC”. After plenty of elbow grease and a refurbishment, I proudly opened my doors in June 1994.
Initially the practice was contracted to the NHS and rapidly patient numbers grew. However, in 1997 the NHS introduced yet another new contract which I found too restrictive on the quality of care I was able to provide and so I decided to convert to being a fully private dental practitioner.
At this point I undertook a series of extensive postgraduate courses enabling me to deliver “that something special” that a private patient anticipates and ultimately deserves.
As an NHS provider I had always endeavoured to achieve a high standard of treatment and judging by the success of the work carried out on my patients all those years ago (who are still with me today), the treatment I provided has served them extremely well.
As an independent practitioner, free of the constraints of an NHS contract, I have been able to evolve as a dentist, offering quality treatments that have increased longevity, improved function and exceptional aesthetics. Having the autonomy to offer diverse treatment options has empowered me to present dentistry in the caring and compassionate way to which I had always aspired.