There was a wide range of dental skills being feted at this year’s Sensodyne Awards.

stress

Several themes emerged from the judging of the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year in 2015. These themes reflect the broad roles played by dentists in the lives of our patients and the entries reflected a real appreciation of our work. These themes were: the importance of oral healthcare in a post-chemotherapy setting; the exceptional care provided to patients with medical conditions; dignity for patients at the end of their lives; the role a smile plays in the confidence of a patient; and, the importance of treatment of gum disease. There was a marked contrast in the clinical seriousness of some of the treatments provided, which provides an instructive spotlight on our work. At one extreme, we had the clinical detection of a serious health problem by our overall winner, Dr Karl Cassidy. It turned out to be acute myeloid leukaemia and Dr Cassidy’s insistence on prompt action saved his patient’s life.
A less serious clinical matter, the provision of dentures to a dying patient, was also hugely appreciated. A family wrote in glowing terms of the efforts made by our Connacht winner, Dr Miriam Grady, to provide dentures to their dying mother. Dr Grady was very humble in her comments at the Awards, but there was a good reason for the nomination. Even though this patient was on her death bed, the dignity of having a set of dentures was really important to the patient and her family (the previous dentures having been lost in one of the medical transfers). Dr Grady’s efforts ensured a certain peace in dying days. That meant a great deal to her and her family. We should not underestimate the effect our most basic attention to our patients’ needs can have on their lives. You can read all the details of this year’s winners in this edition, and the Journal is proud to be the partners with the Irish Dental Association and Sensodyne in the operation of the Awards.

Disenfranchised HSE dentists
The results of the Irish Dental Union’s survey of members in the HSE are reported in the members’ section of this Journal. Members were most satisfied with the relationship with their manager, their work-life balance, and the workplace atmosphere. However, remarkably high levels of dissatisfaction were recorded with consultation on change (73% dissatisfaction), opportunities for career progression (63%) and staffing level (62%). These results are a stark message from our colleagues that they feel disenfranchised in relation to change, promotion and staffing. That’s not healthy for the health service. HSE management – please act.

Gingival retraction, medical emergencies, and indirect composite onlays
Our clinical feature in this edition is from Dr Rebecca Carville, who provides an excellent set of guidelines on gingival retraction. It is, as she explains, a crucial step in the process of capturing details, regardless of the impression technique employed.
In the peer-reviewed papers in this edition, we have the first part of an excellent paper on medical emergencies in dental surgeries. This paper covers the preparation for such emergencies, and helps with prompt identification and management. It is written by Emeritus Professor Stanley Malamed, whom many of you will have had the pleasure of hearing at an IDA Annual Conference in recent years. Dr Ray McCarthy has provided the Journal with a comprehensive paper on the application of indirect composite onlays in the restoration of severely broken down posterior teeth. The paper describes the clinical rationale for resin-based onlays and includes a case report illustrating the author’s experience with the technique to date.

Busy Association
There is so much evidence of the vibrancy of the Association in this edition. The Munster ASM seems to have been a great success, and Dr Iseult Bouarroudj is featured in the My IDA column describing the benefits of involvement. It will continue with many meetings in the new year including the Practice Management Seminar 2016 in Croke Park. On behalf of the Editorial Board of the Journal, I wish you a peaceful and prosperous 2016 and I look forward to meeting you at one of the many IDA events.