Irish dental patients across the country have come forward in their hundreds to lend their support to the good work of their local dentist. The Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist Awards invites people to nominate their dentist if they believe they have gone above and beyond normal patient care. From regular check ups to toothaches, emergency treatment on broken teeth to anxious children in need of coaxing into the chair, the stories all demonstrate the excellence of the profession in this country. The awards are supported by Sensodyne and the Journal of the Irish Dental Association.
The 2011 winning nomination highlights how a visit to the dentist can be instrumental in saving a life. Dr Sarah McMorrow of Loughrea has just been announced as the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist 2011 having been nominated by her patient, David McNamara. Other dentists who were highly commended in the awards were Dr Claire McGrath of Dublin, Dr Eoin Fleetwood of Galway, Dr Mairead Browne of Cork and Dr Marcas Mac Domhnaill of Tralee.
David McNamara believes he owes his life to Dr McMorrow when on a routine visit,
Dr McMorrow became concerned about some discolouration she found in his mouth. David was swiftly referred to a specialist consultant where he was diagnosed with oral cancer. According to David "Thanks to Sarah's diligence and professionalism she spotted signs of the cancer. Had it not been for her, my cancer would have been far more progressed by the time I'd have discovered it." David continues, "After the latest major operation on my mouth and jaw, Dr McMorrow again treated me painstakingly, to the point where I now have my speech back, I can eat and smile confidently. Sarah has been like an angel to me in very difficult times."
Dr Barry Harrington, Chairman of the judging panel, comments "We were exceptionally gratified by the comments of a huge number and a wide diversity of patients, on all sorts of dental situations. All the winning dentists had more than one nomination and the judges looked at the story behind the nominations and particularly at the pattern of care being provided. Whilst there was great difficulty in making selections because of the evidently high standards of care, we sought out those nominations which showed that the dentist went beyond the norm to provide professional, conscientious and patient-oriented dental care."
The mouth can act as an early warning system for other serious health problems including heart disease, strokes and diabetes. These conditions can be caused or made worse by poor dental health. The importance of regular dental examinations can therefore not be overstated. A healthy mouth usually means a healthy body!
According to Dr Conor McAlister, President of the Irish Dental Association said, "Dr Sarah McMorrow's knowledge and vigilance led her to refer a suspicious lesion to a specialist for further investigation. This referral was made swiftly and with great professionalism. This prompt referral greatly improved the patient's prognosis and quality of life. Regular dental check ups facilitate early detection and prompt referral of suspect lesions. This is key in the fight against mouth cancer."
How does our mouth and oral health act as a window to our general health :
Bacteria - The mouth is teeming with bacteria. Most of them don't cause any problems. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. If there is not good oral hygiene and if the bacteria are not kept under control, then oral infections can develop. Some people have a weak immune system and/or a damaged heart valve, and oral infections can lead to infection of the valves of the heart (endocarditis).
Cardiovascular disease - There are indications that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be complicated by severe oral bacteria infections, possibly due to chronic inflammation from periodontitis (a severe form of gum disease).
Pregnancy and birth - Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Diabetes - Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection ? putting the gums at risk. In addition, people who have inadequate blood sugar control may develop more-frequent and severe infections of the gums and the bone that holds teeth in place.
According to Ruth Martin of GlaxoSmithKline, "This year's winning nomination is testment to the fact that regular dental visits are key to maintaining not just a healthy smile, but safeguarding our overall health. Sensodyne is delighted to recognise the good work of the dental profession in this country."
Members of the public can use the 'Find-a-Dentist' facility on the Irish Dental Association's website if they wish to arrange an appointment to see a dentist. See http://www.dentist.ie/locator/
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Tracy Kelly, touchstone communications
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Note to the editor:
The Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist Awards, which are in association with the Journal of the Irish Dental Association, were put in place to highlight the excellence of the Irish dental profession and have seen a massive increase in patients coming forward to nominate their dentist by sharing their stories.
The Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist Awards 2011
The awards also work to recognise how the dentist / patient relationship is intrinsic in encouraging regular visits and good oral care. The Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist Awards have proved that Irish dentists are acutely aware of patients' needs and anxieties and that they show great professionalism in dealing with patient concerns.
The Judging Panel
The judges are a highly experienced group representing the private, community, and hospital sectors of dental care and include Dr Barry Harrington, Dr Seton Menton and Dr Anne O'Neill.