Dr Dympna Kavanagh

Chief Dental Officer Dr Dympna Kavanagh

There was much frustration and anger directed by members of the profession at the Chief Dental Officer at the recent meeting in Croke Park.

There is much to point readers to in this edition. The report of the Association’s annual practice management seminar, which took place in Croke Park, is in our members’ only section. It contained fascinating presentations, but perhaps the most significant element was the frustration evident in the comments from the members to the Chief Dental Officer, Dr Dympna Kavanagh. Drs McAlister, Garvey, Holohan and O’Toole, among others, made it clear that the actions of the Department of Health and the HSE have resulted in sub-standard care for our patients. Dr Garvey spoke on all our behalves when she spoke of the anger we feel at the failure of the State to properly provide for the care of our children and our elderly. Dr McAlister identified the removal of the scale and polish “at the stroke of a pen” as a particularly retrograde step, leading to what Dr Holohan termed the dentistry of 50 years ago – extraction and dentures. Surely we can do better. As the economy lifts, patients can reasonably expect better treatment. The Chief Dental Officer has power and influence and she should act now to use it for the good of our citizens. The next speaker after the comments, as it happens, was our Chief Executive, Fintan Hourihan, who said he regretted the apparent lack of trust between the HSE and the dental profession, and observed that while the Association prefers to work with the HSE and the Department, it was just as happy to work against them where necessary.

Peer reviewed
The Journal is grateful to Dr Abigail Moore for her excellent clinical article on management of the anxious child in the dental setting (pp30-32). Dr Moore provides a step-by-step approach, which will be of great practical use to dentists in their efforts to treat children.

The occurrence of paraesthesia after dental local anaesthetic use is a rare event in general dental practice. However, we have a case study of a 38-year-old Caucasian female with persistent numbness in her upper left lip following use of 2% lidocaine with 1:80,000 epinephrine. The report is from Dr Advan Moorthy and can be read on pp34-35. We also have an excellent paper on adverse reactions to facial dermal fillers – it’s another case report. It’s from Dr Elaine Kehily and her colleagues.

The advent of the new Dental Act will make continuing professional education compulsory and so a study of dentists’ requirement for same is welcome and timely. It can be read on pp40-44.

Concern at fluoride debate
Bad Science author and epidemiologist Bed Goldacre will speak at the IDA’s Annual Conference in Cork in April. He is interviewed in this edition, and our journalist Ann-Marie Hardiman asked him for a comment on the fluoride debate. Interestingly, he was not aware of the current debate in Ireland. We are, though, and we need to be aware of it.

Can I appeal to dentists to watch for debates in the local councils? If there is a debate coming up in your area, please contact the IDA office for any information you might want to bring to the attention of councillors before any votes are taken.

Refreshing design
This, as you will already have noticed, is a new-look Journal. It’s a fresh approach to a successful formula – one that you, our readers, have consistently told us that you appreciate. We are always open to your views and we welcome letters, articles, quizzes, scientific papers, reviews of literature, case studies, clinical articles, and practice management articles from you. Whether you contribute or not, it’s still your Journal and we hope you like the new look.

Leo July 2005Prof. Leo F. A. Stassen
Honorary Editor