Honorary Editor, PROFESSOR LEO STASSEN, welcomes a scientific paper with an important social aspect; recommends the clinical feature; and, looks forward to a development in the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year Awards.

A notable measure of the values and ethos of any society is its treatment of those who are weakest and most vulnerable and there can be no more vulnerable group than homeless drug addicts.

Therefore, we especially welcome the peer-reviewed paper on ‘Oral health behaviours amongst homeless people attending rehabilitation services in Ireland’ published in this edition (pp144-149). Dr Marie Claire Van Hout of Waterford Institute of Technology and Evelyn Hearne of the Dublin Simon Community are to be congratulated on their research with individuals who were either in detoxification, rehabilitation or maintenance programmes.

Their findings echo previous research outside of Ireland, which indicates the low uptake of dental services amongst such individuals. It also highlights how self-consciousness and guilt around dental neglect impacts on the recovering addict’s self-perception and potential for employability. On the positive side, it is evident that preventative care improves when the individuals are attending treatment and rehabilitation and that for those in recovery, specific dental interventions would be received positively.

The study calls for further research and we heartily endorse that call. Meanwhile, the Journal has just been made aware of a recent initiative by dentists to make dental care more easily accessible to the homeless in Dublin. We welcome this initiative and will report on it in future editions.

Clinical education

In the second of our clinical features, Dr Maurice Fitzgerald of Sandyford in Dublin outlines a step-by-step technique for building up an accurate mandibular impression (pp122-125). Given that the edentulous mandibular arch can be a difficult impression to make, this is a most practical and helpful guide. Dr Fitzgerald’s provision of 16 photographs to illustrate the 11 steps that he describes makes for an easy-to-follow guide, for which the Journal is grateful.

CPD central

There is no doubt that the occasion of an IDA Annual Conference is a veritable treasure trove of continuing professional development. From the pre-Conference ‘hands-on’ courses to the presentations on all aspects of dentistry, there were learning experiences to be had in all lecture and conference rooms. The Journal can only bring a flavour of the proceedings, but does so once again on pp127-128. That such an important learning event has such a successful social aspect makes it a compelling experience.

In addition, there is the AGM and business of the Association to be conducted. Dr Barry Harrington and Mary Graham were the recipients of well-warranted recognition, while Dr Seán Malone passed the chain of office to Dr Peter Gannon, who we welcome in his first President’s message in this edition.


In our interview, we learn of some of the more difficult cases that dental forensics expert Professor David Whittaker has encountered. There can be no doubt that David advanced the science of forensic dentistry very significantly throughout his career and those who heard him speak in Kilkenny were privileged to do so. His fascination with Hitler’s remains also makes for quite a story.

Sensodyne and the Journal

We are, as always, very grateful to all our advertisers for their continuing support. All research shows that the Journal offers advertisers the best place to advertise to dentists in Ireland.

Back in 2008, we set out in a very modest way to explore the notion of facilitating patients in expressing appreciation of the oral healthcare they receive from their dentists. With GSK, we entered completely unchartered territory with the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year Awards. In our first year, we were thrilled to receive several hundred entries testifying to the great work of Irish dentists. Over the years since, the volume of entry has multiplied and the task of judging has become ever more challenging. Now in 2014, we are set to move up another gear in tandem with Sensodyne, with the announcement that there will be a Gala Awards Ceremony in Dublin to mark the culmination of this year’s programme. We look forward to, once again, showcasing the superb work of Irish dentists as testified to by their patients.

This is another packed Journal and I trust that you will both learn from it and enjoy its contents.

Leo July 2005

Prof. Leo F. A. Stassen

Honorary Editor