The public dental health service is not doing enough to help primary school children, special needs patients and teenagers, the HSE Dental Surgeon group claims.

Iseult Bouarroudj, president of the HSE Dental Surgeon group, says the service is currently ‘in crisis’ and vulnerable patients are being let down.

Addressing the Irish Dental Association’s (IDA) annual conference in Kilkenny in April 2014, she says: ‘In some areas, children are only being seen in sixth class, which is far too late for any preventative measures to be carried out.

‘We have seen an increase in dental decay due to the decrease in manpower and the end result is a huge increase in emergencies, requiring extensive treatment and extractions.’

The Public Dental Surgeon’s Committee called on the HSE to improve its dental staffing in all areas and allow fair access to general dental treatment for all patients.

Iseult concludes: ‘Preventive measures in dentistry, such as the placement of fissure sealants, are of vital importance in the management of a sound dentition. In many areas, even this procedure is being missed.

‘In order to improve the situation, the government simply must lift the embargo on recruitment within our service, allowing the recreation of a system where each and every child is seen at regular intervals.’

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