AMONG the clearest trends in the jobs market is a great urge to look at teeth. Dentistry at every level is one of the most sought-after occupations.

The two-year technical level course in oral hygiene at Essex University has 200 applicants a year for 16 places.

One large-scale employer of dentists and dental technicians in Essex is Dr Esmail Harunani. He continues to set the bar ever higher, in a drive for constant improvement of professional standards,

Dr Harunani founded and continues to run the chain of surgeries Dentistry For You.

Based in Hockley, where it has its head office, it  has eleven practices in Essex, London and the south east. In total, the chain has 150 staff,  including 70 dental surgeons.

While running Dentistry For You as an organisation, Dr Harunani, 60, continues to work on a regular basis as a hands-on  dentist.

He believes it is “important to stay in regular contact with patients, and important to stretch yourself personally and professionally.”

The dual role of dentist and businessman would provide enough filling to ensure there were no cavities in most people’ working schedules.

But Dr Harunani, a driven dentist, is also a significant player in the field of professional training. As well as being an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons and the King’s College London Dental Institute, he is the founder of the Dentac Academy, based in south London, described as “an academy run by dentists for dental professionals.”

Dentac’s aim is continued professional development, throughout dentists’ careers.

Once upon a time, a dentist’s studies were over once he or she was qualified. Now the learning process is continuous, from college to retirement.

“The profession is evolving all the time, and we need to develop our skills along with it,” says Dr Harunani. He has ten sets of qualifications after his name, including fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (dental faculty).

He believes, in particular, modern dentists need to have a grasp of information technology, alongside their medical skills.

Anyone applying for a job with Dentistry for You starts off with an online form, thus testing out their grasp of IT, as well as their credentials.

Dr Harunani believes the principle of being well informed applies not just to dentists, but also to patients.

He says: “We are firmly committed to educating those who come to our surgeries about the processes of dental health, and technology makes the task far more effective.”

A key example is the use of screens. Oral cameras allow internal views of the mouth to be shown on a monitor.

It means patients can be graphically guided and informed about their conditions, and about oral hygiene generally, using their own mouths as visual aids.

“Every surgery ought to be equipped with this sort of technology, but I’m not sure every surgery is,” says Dr Harunani.

Alongside his work, Dr Harunani runs a series of charities. Yet for all his academic and other distinctions, his most high-profile role has been in a different capacity. He is known to millions in southern India for his role in a Sensodyne TV advert.

He appears as a wise, white-coated dentist, dispensing good advice on oral hygiene. It is the key role he has played all his working life.