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Dublin dentist’s treatment of cancer patient earns him Dentist of the Year Award 2018

(04 Dec 2018)

Dublin dentist, Dr Sean Ó’Seachnasaí, has been named ‘Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year 2018’ for his treatment of a patient who was suffering from depression and totally lacking self-confidence, due to his appearance, after surviving stage 4 advanced cancer.

The judging panel praised Dr Ó’Seachnasaí for his caring, hands-on approach to the treatment, especially “his ability to see the need to care for the patient’s entire mental, physical and dental health”.

Dr Ó’Seachnasaí, whose practice, SOS Dental is based on the Howth Road in Raheny, also claimed the Dublin award. A very popular winner, Dr Ó’Seachnasaí paid tribute to his wife Jan and the members of his dental team before explaining what winning meant to him.

“Winning the Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year Award 2018 has renewed my energy and confirmed my personal belief  that caring dentistry consists of listening to and doing small things well, for many patients in the pursuit of their best oral health. It also means examining their dental health, not in isolation, but in the context of their overall health care, now and into the future.”

The awards, which were attended by over 400 people at the RDS last night (Saturday) enable patients to nominate dentists who have provided them with dental care above and beyond their expectations.

In the nomination, the patient recounted how he spent seven months in hospital after his last operation and had said his goodbyes to his wife and four sons under the age of 14. “That was the darkest day of my life….but by some kind of miracle, my prayers were answered and I started to put on pounds and my body started to heal.”

While he was delighted to eventually get home he faced other serious challenges. At this stage his teeth had nearly all fallen out and as a result he didn’t want to talk to people and began to isolate himself. When he was referred to Dr Ó’Seachnasaí from the Dental Hospital, he didn’t think he would be able to do anything for the way he looked or spoke.

However, Dr Ó’Seachnasaí put him at his ease immediately and he began to think there was more to life to come.

“Throughout my treatment Sean reassured me and gave me a wonderful feeling of self-confidence that I had lost long ago……..by talking, treating and understanding I gradually started to feel really good in myself and stand tall. There was not one time throughout my treatment I came home depressed, in pain or lacking confidence. I had a good smile, a new life and outlook thanks to Sean. Sometimes in life you do get a second chance.”

Ballyjamesduff Dental Clinic in County Cavan was named the Dental Team of the Year. Dr Helen Mathews’ practice was nominated by a patient for the kind and considerate treatment she received, taking into account her nervousness.

The judging panel noted the very effective teamwork which was evident across the practice, from the empathy and discretion of the receptionist right through to the excellent care provided by the dental team.

Regional Award Winners

This year three regional winners were nominated after discovering their patients had cancerous growths. Munster winner Dr Cristina Barba Rabadan from Limerick noticed a lump on her patient’s soft palate. After an initial medical assessment considered it not to be significant, Dr Rabadan insisted her patient have it rechecked immediately. A biopsy showed it to be a rare malignant condition which required at least two operations.

Ulster winner Dr Joanne McGarrity from Cavan spotted a small suspicious abnormality on the tongue of an elderly patient and due to the early diagnosis, the patient recovered well from surgery and no chemo or radiation therapy was required.

For Leinster Winner Dr Lisa Lucey from Greystones Co. Wicklow, it was a mole on a patient’s face which triggered concerns. It was later established that the patient also had moles on her arm and one of these was found to be cancerous.

Connacht winner Dr James Flood from Galway won his award for his skill in treating and earning the confidence of a patient with an extremely challenging condition.

Commentary

The President of the Irish Dental Association, Dr Kieran O’Connor said the fact over 1,700 nominations had been received from patients – in this the tenth year of the awards - underlined the excellent work dentists across the country were doing on a daily basis.

“Over the last decade these awards have celebrated the commitment of dentists to the highest standards of dental care. The fact three of this year’s award winners discovered their patients had cancerous growths is a reminder to all of the importance of regular dental check-ups and the dangers posed by mouth cancer.” 

Christina Havaldar, Professional Oral Care Leader for North Europe at Colgate said the Awards provided a wonderful opportunity for patients to share their stories of exceptional care. 

“We have been hugely impressed by the enthusiastic involvement of patients and their willingness to share their stories. That in itself is a great compliment to the care they have received from their dentist. We would like to congratulate all the Award winners and all the dentists who were nominated by their patients.”