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News / November 7, 2014

IDHA talks fluoride and domiciliary care at yearly conference

by Guy Hiscott

Above picture: Main sponsors Swordfish Medical founders with IDHA president Louise Flemming (second left) and Professor Kirsten Warrer (third left)

The Irish Dental Hygienists Association (IDHA) addressed vital issues at its 2014 Annual Winter Scientific Conference on Saturday 1 November in Maynooth.

Water fluoridation in Ireland, medical emergencies in the dental surgery and domiciliary dental care were just some of the topics discussed at this year’s conference.

Delegates included members from the entire dental team – hygienists, nurses and dentists – and comprised a trade exhibition, lectures from national and international speakers, and hands-on workshops running throughout the day.

Trainer and addiction counsellor Brian Foley eased delegates into the day with an interesting discussion on smoking cessation and understanding the process of change. ‘Information alone is not enough to make someone give up,’ he stated. ‘The work of the dental team is about building the patient’s confidence to give up smoking, rather than launching into action.’

Professor Kirsten Warrer then took to the stage with an energetic presentation on the current thinking around implant maintenance, encouraging dental hygienists and their teams to brush alongside patients. A workshop later in the afternoon with Dr Warrer showed delegates how to implement action through interactive and personal toothbrushing guidance sessions, and much more.

Catherine Doyle, dental hygienist in Dublin, commented on Professor Warrer’s lecture, saying: ‘It’s interesting to take a step back and see how you’re managing patients in comparison.’

Following a break to browse the lively trade exhibition, Dr Mairead Harding’s lecture was presented on issues surrounding fluoride. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Dr Harding was not able to present her lecture, but her absence did not lessen the talk’s impact: the presentation still drew a large crowd and raised a valid discussion within the audience.

Dr Grace Kelly’s presentation was a notable highlight. Her lecture on domiciliary dental care in Ireland raised significant issues that call for improved services in special care dentistry. We reported on Dr Kelly’s talk here.

Elma Papathomas, dental hygienist at Williamstown Dental Centre in Waterford, believes longer conferences like this are beneficial. She said: ‘It keeps up our enthusiasm and it’s lovely to meet and swap stories with people in the same industry. Working as a hygienist can be an isolating thing!

‘Dr Warrer’s lecture on implant maintenance was very useful. We could do with more training in that area, but it’s hard because we are a small country. Events like these perk you up a bit. I’ll work better on Monday now!’

Winner Kin DH Award 2014
Anne-Marie Brennan, winner of Kin Dental Hygienist of the Year award 2014

The finalists for the Kin Dental Hygienist of the Year 2014 award were applauded at the end of the day – putting a sentimental touch to an already illuminating conference. Cork-based dental hygienist Anne-Marie Brennan won the award for her informative leaflet on pregnancy and oral health. ‘It’s fantastic to win,’ she said. ‘It’s a subject that doesn’t often get addressed, so I thought it’d be useful to write about.’

The conference was rounded off with an opportunity to mingle one final time at the drinks reception and raffle prize draw. Swordfish Medical was the conference’s main sponsor, with co-founder Karl Ronan delivering an opening speech alongside IDHA president Louise Fleming.

The IDHA hopes to turn next year’s winter conference into a two-day event. Louise commented: ‘It was great to see so many delegates attend, all with the common interest of continuing education. Next year’s conference will take place on 6 and 7 November in Dublin. The theme of the conference will be “scaling to new heights”.

‘I hope that it will be another great day for the dental team to get inspired, better their skills and lay the groundwork for future collaborations.’

Last updated: 10 November