Irish Dentistry Show 2023

Rowan Thomas reports back from an action-packed Irish Dentistry Show, held at the Royal Dublin Society.

On Saturday 9 September, the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) played host to the Irish Dentistry Show 2023. Exhibitors, speakers and delegates gathered to share their knowledge of and passion for Ireland’s dental community.

RDS’ Shelbourne Hall was packed with over 200 attendees from 10am until 4pm, despite the warm weather and all-important Ireland vs Romania rugby match.

There was plenty to entertain visitors as they explored the exhibition hall, including a giant prize wheel and live product demonstrations. The complimentary Guinness and prosecco stand drew quite a crowd. Guests also received a lunch voucher and free subscription to Irish Dentistry.

But the real highlight of the exhibition was the range of companies, products and services represented on the stands. From implant solutions and oral care ranges to financial services and scrubs, every aspect of dentistry was catered for by the exhibitors. Delegates benefitted from exclusive discounts as they discovered answers to all of the daily issues of practice life.

A caring profession

The show also featured three lecture theatres, which delivered comprehensive talks throughout the day from leading clinicians. Topics were wide-ranging, covering implant dentistry, practice management, aesthetics and patient communication – to name just a few!

Despite their variety, all of the lectures carried the same commitment to facilitating top-quality dentistry and patient care. As Naveed Maan put it: ‘The biggest thing is to be able to make a difference… That’s why we do this.’

However, the health of patients was not the only focus. There was also a great deal of attention given to the wellbeing of dental professionals themselves. 

Bernie Ffrench pointed out the importance of caring for yourself when your career revolves around caring for others. She said: ‘I love helping people, but we need the right tools to be able to do this effectively.’

Nishma Sharma also demonstrated the importance of being able to ‘allow yourself to love yourself’ as a dentist. After all, ‘what is there not to love about being us?’

The show offered a rare chance to celebrate Irish dentistry and all of the people who contribute to it, helping attendees to thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

Conversation

Key professional relationships were undoubtedly forged at this year’s Irish Dentistry Show.

The Irish dental community is interconnected, and the atmosphere of the show was one of old friends reuniting rather than just formal networking. 

Though many of the delegates and exhibitors already knew each other, new connections were certainly formed as well. For the newer generation of attendees in particular, many of whom were students or recent graduates, the show provided an excellent platform for getting to know their contemporaries and the more established professionals who are shaping Irish dentistry. 

Big issues

Another strong theme of the show was sharing an Irish perspective on issues affecting the dental community as a whole. Josh Wren touched on the impact of the cost of living crisis on patient decision making, while Yvonne Howell provided an illuminating picture of mouth cancer in Ireland. The information she shared, such as the fact that there are over 770 cases of mouth cancer diagnosed in Ireland each year, spread awareness of the disease to the entire dental team.  

The solutions on display at the exhibition demonstrated the dental industry’s active response to the issues – from recruitment and retention difficulties to the cost of living crisis – facing Irish dentistry. 

Learning

Each of the lectures at the show contributed to attendees’ continuing professional development (CPD) requirements, something the speakers touched on as a crucial element of dentistry. 

Manrina Rhode summed this up well, stating that ‘the more we learn about what’s out there, the more we can offer patients’.

Yvonne Howell also discussed the value of this education for dental professionals. She said: ‘Remaining current is so important, and that’s what you’re all doing… I can’t emphasise the importance of CPD enough.’

While CPD is important for maintaining a dental professional’s abilities, it can also push their practice even further. Joe McEnhill told his audience: ‘General dentists can do things in a specialist way.’

His belief is that acquiring specialist skills through continued education serves to enhance general practice. 

Innovation

Amid stalls packed with the latest gadgets, there was a strong focus on technology and its impact on modern dentistry. 

For example, Intaprint3D helped delegates engage with new 3D printing methods of digital dentistry. Many companies, such as Zirkonzahn and BTI technology, also presented advanced solutions for implant dentistry.

This focus on technology and innovation was also echoed in the lectures. Stuart Aherne presented an overview of a digital dentistry approach for implant therapy, while Rory McEnhill explored the concept of digital communication between dentists, technicians and patients. 

Overall, the Irish Dentistry Show acted as a valuable opportunity for forward-thinking dental professionals across Ireland to familiarise themselves with the latest developments in processes and equipment alike. 

Something for everyone 

This year’s show saw the very first Hygiene and Therapy theatre, featuring talks by and for dental hygienists and therapists. 

Olivia Hanley, secretary of the Irish Dental Hygienists’ Association (IDHA) said: ‘The Hygiene and Therapy Theatre was a great success with a good turnout of hygienists attending each of the speakers.’

Attendees benefited from insight on new techniques, such as Jolene Pinder’s overview of guided biofilm therapy and Rachael Lilly’s exploration of implant protocols. 

A similar focus on the overall wellbeing of patients, dental professionals and their teams was also present. Dental hygienists and therapists are well placed to communicate the relationship between oral health and the rest of the body – something that came through strongly in the hygiene and therapy talks. 

Siobhan Kelleher’s lecture demonstrated this concept by describing the interconnectivity of oral health with the rest of the body and mind. She also emphasised the importance of lifestyle medicine for a holistic approach to wellness, commenting on the need for better integration between dentistry and general medicine. 

Bernie Ffrench also provided some practical strategies for workplace wellbeing to implement into the practice. Such advice meant that delegates were able to take the knowledge that they had gained back to their own workplaces and share it with the rest of the team. 

Dedicating an entire theatre to dental hygienists and therapists broadened the scope of the lectures on offer. The show was truly suitable for the entire team, providing professional and personal development opportunities for a wide range of dental professionals.

Day and night

The Irish Dentistry Show was planned to be concurrent with the Irish Dentistry Awards, which took place in the evening. Many attendees enjoyed the opportunity to attend both events in one day. It was amazing to see many of the same dental professionals enjoying themselves at the awards ceremony after a day of education and discovery.

Jackie Ffrench, who represented Zirkonzahn at the show, said it best: ‘Everyone is a winner by taking part in these events! Having access to it is even more important for everyone in our sector.’

FMC looks forward to welcoming the delegates back again for the Irish Dentistry Show 2024, which is sure to be just as action-packed as this year’s event. 


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