Minister Simon Harris must act immediately and instruct the HSE to recruit at least 150 new dentists to the public system so that children can have proper and timely dental screening. This follows news today that children are waiting between 7 and 12 years for their first dental screening which is a disgraceful situation.
Best international practice says that every child should have their first dental screening by their first birthday. Here in Ireland children are 7 or 8 years old before they are seen with many waiting until the age of 12 which is a scandal. Since the tax relief on dental treatment was cut back in 2009 there has been a huge reduction in the numbers of children being treated and the facts are that many families simply cannot afford to go private to have their children’s teeth cared for. The numbers of children under the age of 16 has risen by 20% in the past decade the number of dentists working in the public sector has dropped by 20% which is leading to the long delays.