Irish Society for Disability and Oral Health - DHF Bursary 2008

Michael Freedman is a fifth generation dentist and qualified 2 years ago with first class honours from Trinity College Dublin, he was awarded the DHF Bursary Award 2008.

He completed his project whilst a Dental House Officer at the National Centre for Hereditary Coagulation Centre at St James Hospital, Dublin. It is a protocol for the dental management of patients with Haemophilia and its implementation has enabled patients to be treated by their local dental practitioners on a shared care basis and encourages regular care for patients with haemophilia. The implementation of the new protocol, which he audited as part of his study, has removed many barriers to access to dental care which can now be provided by a local well informed and supported general dental practitioner. This will hopefully encourage more accessible restorative based preventive dentistry and has been welcomed by the Council of the Irish Haemophilia Society and the medical team at the NCHDC who were also closely involved the development of the dental protocol and embraces the multi-disciplinary and patient centred approach at the centre.

Michael will use his bursary towards travelling to the International Conference of Disability and Oral Health in Santos, Brazil to present his study and take part in a seminar for dentists working with these patients in the developing world.

Special Care Dentistry Prize

Sharifah Al-Rushaid qualified in June 2008 and her winning entry was an essay on the problems of maintaining good oral health in patients fed by naso-gastric tube. All dental students at Dublin Dental School receive training in Special Care Dentistry as part of their undergraduate training and this pertinent subject formed part of her final year dissertation project.

Sharifah highlighted the link between poor oral hygiene and aspiration pneumonia by inhalation of respiratory pathogens which colonize the dental plaque and noted that over the last 5 years there has been a 75% increase in the use of tube feeding to maintain nutrition for patients with dysphagia in Ireland. After an extensive review of the literature she made recommendations for ward nursing staff to be given training in providing oral care to this group who were mainly dependent on others to maintain goral hygiene.

She concluded that this would reduce the risks of both providing or withholding oral care for patients who are nil by mouth and help to over come the physical difficulties by use of special equipment including the use of a suction toothbrush.