Dr Dympna Kavanagh, chief dental officer, Department of Health (University College Cork graduate)
I’m on the train to Dublin for a two-hour commute from Limerick. It’s a quiet time, with earplugs in, to catch up on emails, read and prepare for my day ahead.
On the bus, I invariably receive a phone call from a colleague — everyone knows my travel times and that morning is best to catch me.
Up next is a meeting with the Dental Council to discuss issues like undergraduate training and mentoring support for all dentists.
A meeting is scheduled with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
We have together submitted a National Plan to Europe to phase out the use of amalgam (silver fillings with mercury) and we’re discussing research on the best types of substitute filings.
Lunch with the CEO of the Dental Health Foundation, who wants to ensure that parents and children know how to access information about how to get dental services in the future.
We’re aiming that, from 2020, children under six will for the first time be able to access dental care from their local dentist, as per the Department of Health’s new oral health policy, Smile agus Sláinte.
The policy outlines transformative change in the future delivery of dental services.
The public will be able to access dental care from birth until old age at their local dentist.
There will also be a public health programme that will target people at key ages: five-12, 15-19, 35-45, and 70 years plus.
This will be extended to all children over time.
I meet in Dublin Dental Hospital with a group of enthusiastic special care experts who are excited about their new role in the Smile agus Sláinte policy and the subsequent opportunities for them to provide care for vulnerable children and adults.
Dash for the bus to get the 7pm train. I grab a coffee and bookend the day by checking emails and keeping up to date with new research.
Back home, my sons are off for the summer and we chat about basketball and rowing over a late dinner.
Long evenings and no school means we can stay chatting late about our day.