Dr Gerard Gavin

Chief Dental Officer, DeCare Dental
Attended: 
SDL-8 (2014)

Dr. Gavin is Chief Dental Officer since May 2004 with DeCare Dental an oral health care company based in Ireland which provides dental insurance and other oral health related services. Previously he was Chief Dental Officer with the Department of Health in Ireland from 1996 to 2004.

Gerard Gavin graduated in dentistry from Trinity College Dublin in 1977 with a B. Dent Sc degree. He began his career as a volunteer dentist in the Philippines in 1978 and moved back to Ireland to the Community Dental Service in 1979. In 1984 he was appointed Lecturer –Registrar in Community Dental Health, Preventive Dentistry and General Dental Practice under Professor Martin Hobdell at Trinity College Dublin and the Dublin Dental Hospital. While there he engaged in research related to planning oral health services, established the first Diploma course in Dental Health Education of the Royal Society of Health which evolved over the years to become an outreach specialist diploma in Health Promotion through University College Galway. He was also a lecturer/tutor on the international Diploma in Dental Health course for administrators of dental services from developing countries.

In 1988 he was appointed to a senior management position in the Community Dental Services in the Dublin region and helped to reorganise the dental services for children using a planned approach with an emphasis on oral health goals, oral health promotion and a preventive approach to the delivery of oral health care.

In 1990 he joined the Department of Health as Assistant Chief Dental Officer with the task of preparing a new strategy for Dentistry.  In 1994 the Dental Health Action Plan was published as part of a new strategy for the health services in Ireland. The key components of the action plan were oral health goals for adults and children, research and investment in fluoridation combined with other oral health promoting activities, planned expansion of services for children and low income adults, expansion of secondary and tertiary care services with an emphasis on special care dentistry. 

In 1996 he was appointed  Chief Dental Officer at the Department of Health  and  while continuing  to oversee  the implementation of the Dental Health Action Plan  Dr. Gavin also led the setting  up of an evaluation framework for the plan  in the form of an epidemiology and oral health services research project which was established in 1998. This development gave rise to a large volume of published research and guideline documents for delivering preventive dental care to children by the Oral Health Services Research Centre in University College Cork. A probity framework for delivering dental care to low income adults using private dental practitioners was also established.

In 2004 Dr Gavin joined DeCare Dental a US Oral Healthcare Company and since then has helped to establish dental insurance in Ireland.   Oral health promotion activities in the workplace setting are an integral component of the dental insurance service provided to companies who purchase dental insurance for their employees. Dr. Gavin has also produced a wide range of evidence based oral health materials for informing the general public and for use in dentist waiting rooms throughout the country. These publications are highly regarded by the public and by the dental profession in Ireland and some are available in Arabic and Mandarin.