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Features / October 11, 2023

IDHA – back to the future!

by Rowan Thomas

IDHA conference

Olivia Hanley looks ahead to the annual Irish Dental Hygienist Association (IDHA) conference and reveals what’s in store for attendees.

As the summer comes to an end, the Irish Dental Hygienist’s Association (IDHA) committee is busy putting the final touches to its 2023 annual conference, sponsored by Haleon. 

On 17 and 18 November, the IDHA is going ‘Back to the Future’ in Portlaoise, where it promises to revisit, revise and renew the hands-on techniques and knowledge of dental hygiene.  

Conference timetable 

Friday 17 November

The 2023 conference will officially get underway with the opening of registration and the trade exhibition from 12.30 on Friday. 

For Friday, we have three workshops, two of which are hands-on. All workshops will be run simultaneously on three occasions, giving delegates the opportunity to partake is all three. An implant maintenance workshop, sponsored by NSK, will be delivered by Kathryn Mayo RDH and Jenny Walker RDH to deliver all the up-to-date guidance on implant maintenance. The LA techniques workshop presented by Dr Mary Clarke aims to provide us with all the techniques required to make treatment as comfortable and painless as possible for our patients. 

Dr Noel Kavanagh will give us an insight into avoiding burnout in our modern pressurised work life. 

The first day of the conference will conclude with the award for Kin Dental Hygienist of the Year followed by a drinks reception to catch up with friends, colleagues and classmates. 

Saturday 18 November

Saturday morning starts early with the trade exhibition and registration opening from 8am. At 8.50, president Yvonne Howell and our main sponsor Haleon will open conference proceedings. 

The morning session of presentations begin with Dr Richard Lee Kin and Dr David Naughton reviewing the steps of treatment planning and when to refer patients to a periodontist. Alyssa Assante RDH will then talk us through fear-free dental hygiene to help nervous patients. 

Following a short comfort break, delegates will then choose to attend three of the four workshops on offer, which will run simultaneously. 

After last year’s successful instrument sharpening hands-on workshop, Judy Caesley RDH, sponsored by Young Innovations, returns to provide us with the skills needed to keep all our hand instruments in the best condition. 

Alan McCartney and Barbara Derham RDH will facilitate a workshop showcasing Itop patient oral care principals and Curaden hands-on techniques. 

In the third hands-on workshop of the day, Louise Warden RDH and Sophie Derham RDT will deliver a power session on guided biofilm therapy sponsored by EMS. Rounding out the programme, Claire McCarthy RDH makes a welcome return to the IDHA conference to deliver a workshop on advanced root instrumentation techniques sponsored by Hu-Friedy. 

The 2023 IDHA Back to the Future conference concludes with the announcement of the location of the IDHA 2024 annual conference. 

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland

In a long-standing tradition, the proceeds of the IDHA conference raffle will go to charity. This year, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland has been selected by the IDHA president, Yvonne Howell, to be the beneficiary. 

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland supports families and people effected by Alzheimer’s. 

As the leading dementia-specific service provider in Ireland, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland works across the country providing dementia-specific services and supports and advocating for the rights and needs of all people living with dementia and their carers.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland advocates, empowers and champions the rights of people living with dementia and their communities to quality support and services.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at the registration desk at any point during the conference. 

Poster competition 

For 2023, IDHA president Yvonne Howell has established the IDHA’s first ever poster competition to be held at our annual conference. This follows the success of previous IDHA webinars on writing an abstract, preparing posters and a study group on case studies. 

It will give dental hygienists the opportunity to showcase their work and inspire colleagues. There will be five categories in this year’s competition, and awards will be presented for the best poster in each category as well as an overall audience choice award. The deadline for submission is 5pm on 29 September. 

For more information on the IDHA poster competition, email 

To secure your tickets and to find out more about the event, head to