Throughout her extensive and diverse career, Margaret earned her BDS from the University of Liverpool in 1972. Following initial dental ‘house jobs,’ she worked in Community Dental Services, lectured in restorative dentistry, completed a PhD and specialist training in restorative dentistry, and ultimately became the Director of the National Advice Centre for Postgraduate Dental Education. In 2013, Margaret retired and took on the roles of Honorary Curator of the BDA Museum and Editor of the Lindsay Society journal Dental Historian. Additionally, she served as President of the East Lancashire & East Cheshire Branch of the BDA from 2015 to 2016.
When asked about her reaction to being granted Life Membership of the BDA, Margaret expressed her immense gratitude, stating that she was deeply honoured to receive such a distinction from an organisation she has been involved with for over 50 years.
Margaret was taken aback by her nomination for Life Membership and had no inkling that someone had put her name forward for consideration. She had previously nominated others but never imagined she would be nominated herself.
Margaret decided to pursue a career in dentistry after learning about the field in her sixth form at school. The idea of providing intricate treatment for patients appealed to her, and she found inspiration in her family members who worked in dentistry. Her mother was diligent about dental hygiene, ensuring that her children brushed their teeth morning and night. However, Margaret admits that her childhood diet included a fair amount of sugar, which led to a mouth full of dental amalgams.
Margaret’s family supported her decision to study dentistry but did not try to influence her career path. She opted for a focus on education and hospital appointments rather than general practice to gain further experience after her initial undergraduate dental course. Margaret’s interest in restorative dentistry ultimately led her to pursue a specialty in the field, where she remained for the rest of her career.
While completing her PhD in biomaterial sciences and participating in the largest clinical trial for visible light curing dental materials, Margaret formed connections with dentists and material scientists worldwide. This network led to invitations to the material science departments of Southern Illinois and Baylor for collaborative research projects.
Margaret’s involvement with the BDA has been a vital aspect of her dental career. From eagerly awaiting the arrival of the BDJ for job advertisements to accessing essential dental journals during her graduate studies, the BDA played a significant role in her professional life. Margaret also appreciated the social aspects of the organisation, which allowed her to connect with colleagues and discuss the challenges and triumphs of patient care.
Margaret’s fascination with dental history began when she stumbled upon a pair of dental graduation certificates at an antiques fair in Manchester. This discovery led her to revive the Manchester Dental Hospital museum and delve deeper into the city’s rich dental history. As the Honorary Curator of the BDA Museum, Margaret now considers the institution a “jewel in the BDA crown” and the best dental museum in Europe.
Some of the highlights of Margaret’s career in dentistry include passing her challenging Fellowship exam, being appointed as a consultant in restorative dentistry, and using her knowledge and expertise as Honorary Curator and Editor of the Dental Historian. Her work has led to national and international speaking engagements, where she has had the opportunity to connect with colleagues sharing her passion for the history of the profession.
When asked about the current state of UK dentistry, Margaret lamented the decline of NHS dentistry over the past 50 years, calling it a “national disgrace” that the most common reason for hospital admissions among children under five is the extraction of teeth under general anesthesia. Margaret believes that the NHS should find a way to reward dentists for providing preventive care rather than solely treating the consequences of preventable diseases
. Despite these challenges, Margaret would still recommend dentistry as a career to young people today, citing the numerous opportunities for knowledge expansion and skill development in the field.
Outside the realm of dentistry, Margaret is an avid gardener and plant enthusiast. Her home is filled with plant pots and seed trays, and she eagerly anticipates the end of frost season to move her tender shrubs outdoors. Margaret is also involved in local community groups, participating in RHS competitions and litter picking initiatives. In addition, she has a keen interest in ancient history, particularly Greek and Roman civilisations, and enjoys visiting archaeological sites around the Mediterranean region.