This year’s IDA Annual Conference returns to the Radisson Blu in Galway for three days of meeting colleagues, education and CPD and, of course, fun.

Taking place slightly earlier than usual, from April 18-20, the theme of this year’s event is ‘All hands together’, reflecting the importance of teamwork and mutual support in difficult times for dentistry.

Once again, this year’s conference will feature speakers from at home and abroad, covering the latest innovations in dentistry in both our hands-on workshops and in the lectures that will take place for the whole dental team. This year’s pre-conference programme takes place on Thursday, April 18, and features topics from adhesive dentistry to medical emergencies. The lecture programme on Friday and Saturday addresses the whole dental team on a range of clinical and management topics, from root canal obturation and mouth cancer, to engaging the consumer and communication skills.

As ever, all scientific sessions have been approved for continuing professional development (CPD) credit. Forms will be available each morning and evening at the Conference registration desk and a separate form must be signed for each morning and afternoon session you attend, so be sure to register for those crucial credits every day (and include your accreditation number).

In a year when membership of the Association has risen substantially, the Annual Conference will give you the opportunity to have your say on issues that affect dentistry and oral health in Ireland. The IDA and IDU AGM will take place from 6.00pm on Thursday April 18, and members will debate and vote on motions that reflect these vital issues.

The Conference trade exhibition takes place in close proximity to the lecture halls, so you will have ample opportunity to visit the stands and meet the trade representatives. All of the top companies in the dental industry will be represented, so please take the time to visit, as their support is crucial to the success of the Conference.

The Association’s commitment to education and professional development is further reflected in the clinical audit workshops on hand hygiene and waste management, which will take place during the Conference. Ably hosted by the Quality and Patient Safety Committee, these workshops are an excellent way to make sure your practice meets HIQA standards.

This year’s social programme has plenty to offer, with an extra, active dimension in the form of the return of the 5k Fun Run on Saturday morning. The black tie President’s Dinner on Saturday night will be the highlight of the weekend.

Pre-conference programme
Delegates will have a choice of four excellent pre-conference courses in Galway this year, all of which take place on Thursday April 18.

One of our prestigious international speakers, Dr John Kanca III, will deliver a full-day lecture entitled ‘Adhesive dentistry 2k11’, which is a must for those seeking to place top quality restorations with the fewest difficulties. Endodontics will be covered by Dr Hal Duncan from the Dublin Dental University in a full-day practical- and lecture-based course entitled ‘From instruments to obturation: a trip through new innovations in endodontics’. Two half-day courses will also take place, so delegates will have two opportunities to learn from Dr Garry Heavey and Mr Trevor McNulty. Dr Heavey will present a practical/lecture entitled ‘Componeers: an alternative to porcelain?’ which will introduce the technique for placing componeers, a new and versatile way to restore anterior teeth. Mr McNulty’s course, ‘Recognition and management of medical emergencies in dental practice’, will update dental professionals on how to manage patients presenting with a medical emergency while awaiting the ambulance service.

Lecture programme
This year’s lecture programme really reflects the Conference theme of ‘All hands together’. For Team Day on Friday, April 19, the morning session will feature Hal Duncan on root canal obturation, Claire Healy and Pat Ormond on mouth cancer, St John Crean on the medical–dental interface, and Ryan Hennessey on consumer awareness, while after lunch the ‘Team Afternoon’ is not to be missed. With the aim of raising morale and team spirit for the whole dental team, Ciaran O’Boyle will look ‘lessons in leadership’, John Tiernan will talk about communication skills for the team, and Eamon O Muircheartaigh will offer some very practical advice on posture and pain. The highlight of the afternoon, however, will be ‘The Human Symphony’, an interactive session with David Brophy, Principal Conductor with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, where the audience will throw caution to the winds, lose their inhibitions and work together.

Saturday’s sessions will cater to each professional group, with parallel sessions for dentists and separate sessions for nurses, technicians and hygienists. The dentists’ programme will address an impressive array of clinical topics, from resin restorations and cross-infection control, to bisphosphonates and dental traumatic injuries. Dental nurses will cover the best ways to deliver oral health, and a discussion on the future of dental nursing. Technicians can avail of lectures on ceramics, new clinical technology and finance. The hygienists’ programme will feature lectures on referral to specialists, medical emergencies, and caring for the smile makeover generation.

Clinical audit workshops
The IDA’s Quality and Patient Safety Committee has expanded its offering of clinical audit workshops to include both hand hygiene and waste management. These workshops aim to promote awareness and ensure compliance with HIQA and Health and Safety Authority standards. Workshops are open to all members of the dental team and will take place on Friday and Saturday mornings:

Hand hygiene
Friday, 11.00am-11.30am
Saturday, 9.45am-10.15am

Waste management
Friday, 12.20pm-1.00pm
Saturday, 10.30am-11.00am

Social programme
This year’s social programme places an emphasis on outdoor activity, with the 5k Fun Run and the President’s Golf Competition, but there is plenty of indoor fun too. On Friday evening, the annual trade show party brings delegates and trade show sponsors together from 5.30pm to 7.30pm for a lovely start to the weekend. Later, there will be music and craic in the Radisson, presided over by the resident Piano Man. Early risers on Saturday can participate (or just come along to cheer) in the newly reinstated Fun Run in aid of Simon. The fun starts at 8.00am and there are great prizes on offer. Registration is €20 to have fun and raise money for a terrific cause.

No Annual Conference would be complete without the Annual Dinner on Saturday evening. This year’s black tie event will commence with drinks at 7.30pm, followed by dinner and dancing from 8.15pm. Guest of honour Alex White TD, Minister of State for Primary Care, will address guests.

Those who still have some reserves of energy after the educational and social rigours of the weekend can take part in this year’s President’s Golf Competition at the beautiful Oughterard Golf Club on Sunday. Playing in three balls, tee times begin at 11.30am and green fees are €40. Delegates, accompanying persons and trade exhibitors are welcome to participate, but only registered delegates can win the President’s Prize.

The two main awards traditionally presented at the Annual Conference return this year, as do our table and poster demonstrations, which will be held from 2.30-5.00pm on Friday, April 19.

Dr Joe Moloney Award
The Dr Joe Moloney Award is kindly sponsored by the Dental Health Foundation. A beautiful glass trophy will be awarded to the presentation judged as best table demonstration.

Tony Costello Memorial Medal
The Tony Costello Memorial Medal is awarded to a table demonstration or poster presentation of not more than 10 minutes’ duration on a subject applicable to dental practice. Each of the three dental schools may enter a team of a maximum of two people.