Award for Limerick dentist who went to great lengths for cancer patient

Dr Rita O'Dowd of No.8 Clinic, Cornmarket with the Munster Caring Dentist of the Year award

A LIMERICK City dentist has received a major award for the exceptional care she gave to a patient who was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.

Dr Rita O’Dowd of No.8 Clinic, Cornmarket won the Munster Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year award after the four person judging panel referred to the great lengths she went to for her patient in her own time and at her own expense.

She was nominated by her patient who said she couldn’t believe the incredible generosity and empathy shown to her by Dr O’Dowd in her hour of need.

“In December 2021 I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and at a subsequent meeting with my oncologist I learned that I would need a letter of clearance from my dentist as I would have to undergo chemotherapy,” the patient recalled.

“I suspected that I might have a problem with a long dormant infection at the root of one of my main upper front teeth. I felt I had to be sure that this was clarified and dealt with quickly as time was also a pressing factor.

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“I hadn’t contacted Dr O’Dowd in years and felt that getting an appointment and possible treatment in time was going to be very challenging.”

“Dr O’Dowd took x-rays of my tooth and decided that as it was a significant upper front tooth, she would get the opinion of different specialists she had dealt with over the years. The issue was should the tooth be extracted or not.

“I subsequently went back to Rita and the opinions of the specialists were evenly divided. She decided that there was one final test that would help confirm the decision. She took a 3D scan of my bone and tooth with a different machine and explained that if there was a cavity visible near the root, the tooth would have to be extracted.”

“She carried out extensive work to ensure I wasn’t left without a front tooth for any period of time before finally fitting a permanent retainer and crown.”

“The timescale for all this treatment, which was done in the evenings after she had seen her patients was three working days. I had gone from trepidation and anxiety on the Friday to peace of mind with my letter of clearance the following Tuesday. This was exceptional service and treatment above and beyond what I thought possible.

“There was no charge for the consultations, time, use of various machines, x-rays and scans, extraction and materials. I couldn’t believe the incredible generosity and empathy shown to me in my hour of need.”

The annual Colgate Caring Dentist of the Year awards recognise dentists that have provided dental treatment and care over and above expectations, often with transformative effects, as nominated by patients and the public.

Hosted by the Irish Dental Association and title sponsor Colgate, this year saw almost 1,700 nominations received from dental patients and their families all over the country.