From cradle to grave

Adult and child holding hands

The changing challenges and demands of oral surgery throughout a patient’s life will be put under the spotlight at this year’s RCSI Annual Scientific Meeting

[ Words: Will Peakin ]

“I didn’t think at the time that we were planning this, we’d still be in the throes of Brexit!” Dr John Marley, Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), is musing on the timing – 1-2 November – of its Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM); the days immediately following the United Kingdom’s scheduled exit from the European Union.

This will be Marley’s last ASM as Dean, but it will also be a ‘first’; the first time that the Association of British Academic Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (ABAOMS), the British Association of Oral Surgeons (BAOS), and the Irish Association of Oral Surgeons (IAOS) have gathered together.

The meeting is titled ‘Challenges to Oral Surgery in Dental Practice in the 21st Century: From the Cradle to the Grave’. “I wanted to chart that journey, from paediatric, to young adult, adult, older adult and elderly adult,” he said, “looking at various aspects of dental healthcare as they apply to those groups during a time of significant change for the profession and particularly for Oral Surgery delivery and especially in light of the recently published National Oral Health Policy for Ireland. As always, the aim of the scientific programme is to provide the dental team with evidence-based, relevant and practical information for their day-to-day practice.”

Dr Marley added: “For the child patient we will tackle subjects as diverse as the future of oral surgery delivery post-Brexit and in the context of the National Oral Health Policy, appropriate CBCT use in paediatric patients and tomorrow’s antibiotics for today’s children.

“For the young adult we will explore early identification and implications of dependency, resilience in the young surgeon and managing the increasing demands and expectations of the younger generation of patients for oro-facial cosmetic surgery, as well as dispelling the myths around the rationale for orthognathic surgery.

“In the adult, we will explore what is new in TMD management, managing risk in oral surgery practice and adoption of augmentative surgery versus alternate methods of enhancing bone and soft tissues prior to dental implants. We will also be looking at how and why head and neck cancer patients frequently develop debilitating pain and how to manage it in our surgeries and the new evidence base for prophylactic dental extractions in patients who are about to receive or receiving radio/chemotherapy. 

“With the ageing patient we will look at the challenges of identification and consent of patients with dementia, polypharmacy in the elderly and its implications for oral surgery and cutting-edge science of managing impaired wound repair in the older patient.”

Among the speakers are:

Michael Donaldson, Head of Dental Services at Northern Ireland’s Health and Social Care Board, who as part of his presentation will be reflecting on the oral health policy launched earlier this year by the Irish Government;

Andrew Bolas, lecturer in dental radiology at Dublin Dental University Hospital, who will look at the growing use of dental cone beam computed tomography (CT) in the context of its use with children;

Dave Thomas, professor and honorary consultant in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Cardiff University’s School of Dentistry, who will report on the work of the School’s Advanced Therapies Group in developing ‘nanomedicines’ – novel anti-infective approaches from nature, to treat life-threatening infections – and, in a second presentation, will look at the challenges of impaired wound healing in the elderly and compromised patient;

Dr Angela Jones; clinical psychologist and practicing dentist who will explore the role of the dentist in identifying addiction and misues of recreational drugs in the young adult;

Natasha Devon, the writer and campaigner who has dedicated her life to promoting positive mental health, body image, gender and
social equality, will explore the changing demographics of demand for cosmetic surgery;

Wendy Turner, a specialist periodontist, with extensive experience in teaching both undergraduate and graduate dental students, will be speaking to the theme: Young dentists: The snow-flake generation or future leaders?;

Brian Schmidt, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery at New York University and Director of the Bluestone Centre for Clinical Research, will be addressing the scientific basis for pain management in the post treatment head and neck cancer patient.

The venue for this year’s lectures will be the RCSI, St Stephen’s Green.


ABAOMS: Established in 2004 to support the dental schools and individuals in their drive to increase the international competitiveness of the research, education and clinical practice of oral and maxillofacial surgery. It is the representative body of academic oral and maxillofacial surgery in the UK and all of the UK and Irish dental schools are represented.

BAOS: Represents all practitioners with a special interest in oral surgery in both primary and secondary care. The Association’s aims are to promote the development of specialist oral surgery practice and address issues relating to NHS and private practice, training, clinical governance and post-specialist training.

IAOS: Established in 2014 to promote the specialty of oral surgery within the dental community and within the public in general. Its membership is comprised of specialist and trainee oral surgeons.

Looking ahead to 2020

The Faculty of Dentistry RCSI will host a Post-Primary Careers Day event on Saturday, 18 January 2020. The event is aimed at transition year students, along with 5th & 6th years, who are interested in a career in dentistry.

While the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland does not presently have a dental school, Dr John Marley, Dean of the Faculty said: “We recognise deeply our responsibility for public engagement to attract and retain a new generation of dentists.” The Faculty regards the event as an extremely exciting and important opportunity to raise the awareness of dentistry.

For students that travel to the RCSI on the day, there will be presentations from senior academic staff from all three Dental Schools on the island of Ireland – Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork and Queens University Belfast. In addition, there will be speakers from different sectors of dentistry along with opportunities to meet students and explore their experience of dentistry.

Following the formal presentations, delegates can meet the admissions teams from each dental school, along with dental student representatives. There will also be interactive stations and students will be able to meet and ask questions of dentists who practice in various fields.

“In this unique event we are working with the three dental schools on the island of Ireland. We’re hosting this exciting event to reach out to, attract and help retain a new generation of dentists,” said Dr John Marley. “We want to raise the awareness of dentistry on the island of Ireland. Attendees can expect fantastic presentations from senior academic staff from all three dental schools describing what they can offer and specialists in the field of dentistry to help students map our possible future careers.

“Students can also experience first hand what goes on in the various specialist fields of dentistry at interactive stations. For those that can be there on the day we will be streaming selected aspects of the conference”.

Interested pupils should speak to their Career Guidance Counsellor or Teacher. 

Details including registration information has been sent to all schools on the island of Ireland. Further details can also be obtained by contacting the Faculty of Dentistry office:

For full programme details visit or alternatively contact the Faculty of Dentistry office:

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Published: 9 September, 2019 at 07:34
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