Wicklow dentist wins Sensitive Dentist of the Year award - Dr James Turner detected patient had throat cancer

Wicklow dentist wins Sensitive Dentist of the Year award - Dr James Turner detected patient had throat cancer

(08 Dec 2014)

Sunday 7th December 2014.  A Wicklow dentist who detected throat cancer in one of his patients has been named as the Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year 2014.


Dr James Turner, who is based in Rathdrum, Co Wicklow, was nominated by his patient Mary Hallis, for his role in diagnosing her cancer.


Ms Hallis said Dr Turner had saved her life. “Dr Turner is a very good dentist and so attentive. He takes the time to call me, to see how I am. He played a major role in diagnosing my throat cancer for which I will always be in his debt. I just wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for him.  He has a great personality and is a great people person. I’m delighted he’s won this award; it’s richly deserved” she said.


As well as winning the overall award Dr Turner won the Rest of Leinster regional award. “Mary has come through a very difficult time and I’m just delighted she’s in good health. Given the number and quality of the nominations for my colleagues around the country I didn’t think I had any chance of winning. So I’m just thrilled and I thank Mary for her nomination. I’m looking forward to seeing her in the coming days” Dr Turner said.

As the winning nominator Ms Hallis will receive a holiday to the value of €5,000.


The Sensodyne Sensitive Dentist of the Year awards invites patients to nominate their dentist if they believe they have gone above and beyond normal patient care. This year, the awards, which are supported by Sensodyne and the Journal of the Irish Dental Association, received over one thousand nominations. The awards were presented at a black tie gala event at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham on Saturday night.


Regional Winners


Dr Anna Zwolinska, who is based in Smithfield, won the award for the Dublin region following a heartfelt nomination by patient Brendan Fox. “My wife was ill for 16 months before she sadly passed away. Anna was so kind to gift me a set of dentures I could not afford to buy. I have to say that this is the kindest and the most sensitive thing that anyone has ever done for me” Brendan wrote.


Limerick based dentist, Dr Aidan Higgins claimed the Munster region award after being nominated by Alice Myers who had neglected her dental health due to a serious fear of dentists.  “Even when I chipped my front tooth I still refused to go for treatment, my phobia was greater than the pain. But when I got an abscess I could not avoid it anymore. My brother forced me to visit his dentist, Aidan Higgins and that was a turning point in my life....the patience and understanding shown to me was absolutely outstanding....I now actually look forward to my visits” Alice said.


Galway based dentist, Dr Vincent O’Connor won the award for Connacht/Ulster after Juliana Antonia Byrne nominated him for the sensitive way he treats her brother who has Down Syndrome. “Vincent is so understanding of my brother’s needs. He is gentle and makes the experience as pleasant as possible. He is also our family dentist and apart from regular check-ups is so accommodating and flexible at times of crisis” Juliana wrote.




Professor Leo Stassen, Honorary Editor, Journal of the Irish Dental Association said the purpose of the awards was to highlight the excellence of the Irish dental profession and the central importance of the dentist/patient relationship.


“From the stories above and the nominations we received it’s clear that Irish dentists are acutely aware of their patients’ needs and anxieties. Our winner and indeed all those nominated have been singled out by their patients for the excellent care they provide. That’s a very powerful testimony” Professor Stassen said.


Eilís Tobin, Marketing Manager for Oral Care, GlaxoSmithKline, parent company of Sensodyne, said the awards provided a unique forum for dental patients around the country.


“When we started the awards programme in 2008 none of us knew if it would work. Since then we have received thousands of wonderful stories about dentists and the care they have provided for their patients. Not alone has it worked but it has gone from strength to strength and we look forward to supporting this awards programme for many years to come” Ms Tobin said.




For further information

Contact Kieran Garry

Gordon MRM

01/6650455 or 087/2368366