Change is a theme in many of the articles in this edition of the Journal.
Like virtually every aspect of modern life, dentistry is changing and at a rate that is, at times, challenging for all of us. The gender imbalance so evident in the superb picture of the TCD class of 1980 that accompanies Dr Garry Heavey’s excellent and thought-provoking article on changes in dentistry, has long gone. Indeed, we report on the recent meeting of the Women in Dentistry (WIDEN) group, also in this edition. The questions posed at the end of Dr Heavey’s article have profound implications for our profession and deserve our close attention.
Continuing professional education has always been essential, but as the pace of change continues to accelerate (will it ever slow down?), participation in CPD becomes a defence against redundant skills. The Annual Conference of our Association is the single biggest CPD event of the year. The programme is, once again, outstanding and I am personally looking forward to hearing both the Journal lecturer, Professor Tim Newton, and Dr Ben Goldacre, who gave such a good interview to Ann-Marie Hardiman in the last edition of the Journal. There is a particularly strong programme of Pre-Conference courses with an impressive mix of Irish and international course leaders.
The Annual General Meetings of the Union and the Association also take place at the Conference and there is an excellent presentation, in infographic form, of some of the highlights of the annual reports of both bodies from Fintan Hourihan in the members’ only pages in the centre of this edition.
One of our own
Our thanks are due to our former Editorial Board colleague, Dr Tom Feeney, for his assistance in securing an interview for the Journal with the President of the International College of Dentists, Dr Joseph Kenneally. As you might gather from the name, although he is USA born and educated, we can consider him one of our own as his grandfather and grandmother were both born and raised in Ireland. Dr Kenneally is a distinguished practitioner and his views on the changes to dentistry in his lifetime are well considered, as are his views on fluoridation. We look forward to welcoming Dr Kenneally to Ireland in October when he presides at a meeting of the ICD in Dublin.
Clinical and peer-reviewed articles
One of the really pleasing developments in the production of the Journal in recent times has been the introduction of relevant, locally-sourced, clinical features. We asked three members of our Editorial Board to judge the first year’s articles and the winner, amid a very high standard of articles, was Dr Abigail Moore. Our congratulations go to Dr Moore and our sincere thanks to all the authors who provided such excellent information for our readers. In this edition, we are grateful to Drs Padraig McAuliffe and Elaine Purcell for their clinical feature on ‘Sleep apnoea for the dental practitioner’. Interestingly, they note that obstructive sleep apnoea affects approximately 5% of adults.
Our peer-reviewed articles are on ‘Smoking cessation and the role of the general dental practitioner’ and ‘Mandibular implant-supported overdentures’. In relation to smoking cessation, we as dentists have a role to play in helping our patients to understand how important it is for their oral health (as well as their overall health) to give up the cigarettes. And given that it is estimated that more than 50% of all smokers visit a dentist every year, we have an ideal opportunity to inform them of the negative effects of smoking on the oral cavity.
In our second article, Dr Abdulhadi Warreth and his colleagues, in the first part of a two-part article, provide an overview of options available to restore the mandibular edentulous arch with dental implants. Different types of attachment systems, their features and drawbacks are also reviewed.
I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Cork.
Prof. Leo F. A. Stassen