Thousands of children with chronic dental infection requiring multiple extractions are waiting up to a year for treatment, the Irish Dental Association (IDA) has claimed. The association says up to 10,000 children under the age of 15 are being hospitalised for dental extractions under general anaesthetic every year in Ireland. The rate of hospitalisations here is up to five times that in the UK.
“Ninety-five per cent of these cases would have been avoidable if they had been detected and treated earlier,” said IDA president Anne Twomey. “The reason they weren’t is because of Government cuts to family dental supports since 2010, the constant undermining of what had been a highly effective schools screening service and the fact that too many of our young people have a poor diet containing too much sugar.”
Dr Twomey urged the Government to act on the delay in treating urgent cases before a tragedy occurred.
The association says the closure of a walk-in clinic for general dental anaesthetic services in St James’s Hospital has pushed waiting times to 12 months, while outside the capital they stand at six to nine months.