This Journal provides evidence of patients’ pain, interviews a dentist who helped the peace process, reminds us to mind our own health, and previews Identex 2015.
A study of the pattern and severity of odontogenic infections in patients presenting to an acute general hospital by Dr Conor M. Bowe and colleagues is published in this edition. It compares the periods before and after the cuts to access to primary dental care were made by the Department of Health. The study shows that there was an increased number of patients presenting with such infections after the changes in access to treatment, and that these patients showed an increased complexity and severity of infection. Dental professionals reading this will say – we didn’t need a study; we predicted that the cuts would produce such an outcome. Less treatment is bound to cause more pain. Nevertheless, this Government and most politicians make a great virtue out of producing policy based on evidence of need. Well now we have the evidence to back up the professional opinion, and our Association should and will use it to maximum effect.
The clinical relevance of dental occlusion is well established: a sound knowledge of dental occlusion is important in order to improve dental treatment outcome and achieve a long-lasting restoration. We are, therefore, grateful to Dr Abdulhadi Warreth and his colleagues for their paper on fundamentals of occlusion and restorative dentistry, part one of which is published in this edition, with the second part to come in the next edition. It is a really useful overview.
Our clinical feature (from Dr Eoin Mullane) and our practice management article (from Dr Susan Willatt) both address the issue of broken instruments in endodontic work. Dr Mullane provides us with invaluable tips to prevent instrument separation, while Dr Willatt reviews the procedure to handle such an adverse event with a patient.
A humble and brave man
This island recently suffered 30 years of cruel and appalling violence. Getting people who hated each other into dialogue took courage on the part of many people. One man who played a vital but low-profile role in that process is a soft spoken, humble dentist from Belfast. Dr Martin McAleese trained in Dublin and practised in Bessbrook and Crossmaglen. For the first 20 years of his life, he experienced daily verbal abuse and in 1969 his family were forced out of their home. Not surprisingly, he set out to forget that first 20 years but, as you will read in this edition of the Journal, he ended up using his intimate knowledge of east Belfast to open dialogue with those very people who had abused him. His perspective on dentistry is also interesting because he had practised accountancy before joining our profession. It’s a compelling story.
Physician heal thyself
The Sick Doctors Scheme was well known among the medical profession. It has been relaunched to cater for a much wider group of healthcare professionals, including dentists. Chief Executive of the Association, Fintan Hourihan, has been closely involved in the development of the new service, entitled The Practitioner Health Matters Programme. The Clinical Lead of the new service, Dr Íde DeLargy, is interviewed in this edition and her words make for a warning to all of us. Mental health and substance misuse issues affect a greater number of us than we might think and we need to pay attention to those issues in ourselves and in our colleagues – and then need to know that discreet and professional help is available.
Identex and the IDA
In other contexts, we have said that dialogue is good. The continuing co-operation between the Irish Dental Trade Association and the Irish Dental Association is good news for everyone. We have a symbiotic relationship. We need each other and we rely upon each other. Identex in September will be a fantastic event and will include the IDA Autumn Programme – attending it will be time well spent. This edition contains an excellent preview to give you a flavour of what to expect