There is good reason to be confident about the future of dentistry.
It is hard not to feel an element of pride when reading of the current state of, and developments in, dental education as described by Professors Kinirons and O’Connell in this special edition of the Journal. Despite all the difficulties faced by dentistry in recent years, our dental schools continue to attract a high calibre of student from three streams – the Irish school-leaving cohort, overseas students, and a small number of mature students. The standard of education and clinical training that they are receiving in Cork and Dublin ensures that we have a steady flow of well-trained dentists coming into the profession each year. IDA President Dr Anne Twomey comments in her introduction on the need to augment this education with an appropriate vocational training scheme, a sentiment with which all the main players in the profession are in agreement. The Journal is very grateful to the staff and students in both Cork and Dublin for their time and work in co-operating with us for this special feature which, taken with our 2011 feature, ensures that we have a full record of ten years of dental students in Cork and Dublin.
One of the benefits of co-operation between our Association and the Irish Dental Trade Association was the decision to run a practical seminar on decontamination at Identex last autumn. At that seminar Drs Nick Armstrong and Jane Renehan, along with senior HSE dental nurse Siobhan Corrigan, and Peter Gibbons of Henry Schein, demonstrated in the most practical way possible the sequence of decontamination of instruments in a dental practice. Dr Armstrong has put that knowledge into an easy-to-follow photograph-led clinical feature in this edition.
Dental hygienists’ practice
Catherine Waldron and Bairbre Pigott-Glynn carried out a survey of the members of the Irish Dental Hygienists Association asking questions on the range of skills employed, and their views on their future in practice. The answers received are reported in the first of our two scientific papers in this edition. Having had a strong response, they report that a high percentage of dental hygienists never or hardly ever use the skills of local anaesthesia, dental radiography, placing temporary dressings or refitting crowns. However, they are enthusiastic about the future, and most would like to continue working in a team setting.
Our second paper demonstrates how the introduction of a postoperative leaflet significantly improved the content and consistency of advice given to patients undergoing root canal treatment.
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This Journal, as with all issues, has carried out an important editorial function. In this instance, it is the photographic recording of all dental students and staff in the Cork and Dublin dental schools and hospitals. We only have the resources to do that because of the revenue from our advertisers. The Editorial Board is very grateful to those companies that make the decision to market themselves, their products and services through our publication. Please be sure to note which companies they are and to support them with your business in return.
Members of the Association will find a dedicated Members’ News enclosed with this edition. It contains a report of the seminar on practice management held in Croke Park recently. It reports the contributions of all the speakers and several comments from the floor. There were excellent presentations from Drs Peter Gannon, Tom Feeney, Harry Barry and Kevin Lewis, as well as from Chief Executive Fintan Hourihan, accountant David McCaffrey, and pharmacist Oonagh O’Hagan. They provided terrific information and advice for dentists in general practice.
Prof. Leo F. A. Stassen