Dentists say Medical Card Scheme is unfit for purpose
10,000 children under 15 are being hospitalised every year for dental extractions under general anaesthetic
The importance of bringing your baby to the dentist
Parents are advised to bring their child for their first visit to the dentist when the first tooth erupts or by 12 months of age.
"Most parents believe it is fine to wait for a visit until a child is in primary school or has his or her first toothache," said Dr Rose-Marie Daly, a consultant in paediatric dentistry in Tralee, Co Kerry.
"At that stage, we look for early signs of disease and factors such as risky feeding practices, fluoride use and habits that can affect the development of the teeth such as soothers. This is evidence-based, not a belief. By the age of three years, almost 30pc will have decay experience.
"Typically in small children, they get severe and aggressive dental disease. We look at dietary habits, the quality of teeth and saliva, fluoride exposure and bacterial plaque on the teeth, and any developmental defects in teeth which increase the risk of decay."
"I also clean the teeth and apply fluoride to prevent decay at that stage although no all dentists do."
Dr Daly said: "If you are looking at prevention measures, these are done on a risk assessment basis. Calculating a child's risk of decay can involve the shape of the tooth, enamel, saliva and the child's eating habits.
"Hygiene for young children's teeth is a skill that parents often need help with," said Dr Daly.
"Children who have dried fruit and biscuits for lunch are more likely to have cavities. Cheese and unsweetened dairy help neutralise acid in the mouth and fruit, only in moderation, is good."
www.independent.ie, Jan. 2015
Dentists welcome findings of new
review on fluoridation
02 Jun 2015
The Irish Dental Association has welcomed the findings of a new review which has found there is no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation has negative health effects.
The in-depth review was carried out by the Health Research Board, the lead agency in Ireland supporting and funding health research.
The HRB said that having examined the research available and excluding dental health it had found no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation is associated with positive or negative systemic health effects.
The President of the Irish Dental Association, Dr Anne Twomey, said the Association would study the findings carefully.
“The review found no definitive evidence to link fluoridation to increased bone fractures, reduced IQ, cancer, heart disease, kidney disorders, Down Syndrome or increased mortality from all causes. In relation to an alleged link to bone cancer, it said the literature pointed to “mixed” effects and no link had been proven.”
“The HRB review follows fifteen major peer-reviewed studies of fluoridation undertaken across the world by recognised academic authorities in the past twenty years. None of these major reviews has concluded that community water fluoridation poses a known risk to general health or has suggested halting water fluoridation.“
“These, and other reviews which dealt solely with oral health, show a significant benefit to dental health and through this to general health” Dr Twomey concluded.
Dental Care in Ireland
Oral health is of vital importance to the well-being and general health of every individual. Diseases of the mouth and oral cavity have a significant impact in terms of pain, suffering, impairment of function and reduced quality of life.
There are approximately 2,000 dentists practising in Ireland, in Private Practice, HSE Dental Service, the army and hospitals.
There are two state schemes under which patients may receive state subsidised dental treatment.
PRSI Dental Scheme
The Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme is available to insured workers and retired people who have the required number of PRSI contributions. Under this scheme, the Department of Social Protection pays the full cost of an oral examination once a year. The examination is provided by private dentists who are on a Department of Social Protection's panel. Most dentists are on the panel so you should not have any difficulty finding one. You can find a dentist in your area who participates in the Scheme in ourFind-A-Dentist section. The dentist or the Department will have the application forms. These forms require details such as your Personal Public Service Number (PPSN). If you are a dependent spouse or civil partner, you should give the PPSN of the insured person. The Treatment Benefit Section of the Department of Social Protection manages the Scheme Locall: 1890 400 400. Further information on the scheme is available here.
Medical Card Dental Scheme
The HSE manages the dental scheme for medical card holders. This scheme is available to medical card holders who are 16 years of age or over.
Under the scheme private dentists who have an agreement with the HSE can carry out free dental treatment for you. You can search for a dentist who participates in the scheme in our Find-a-Dentist section.
The HSE introduced changes to the Scheme in April 2010. Under the new measures the range of treatments available are being prioritised in accordance with their clinical necessity and priority. Services for high-risk patients (including those with special needs), and those requiring exceptional care, continue to be available.The remaining care provision is subject to prior approval, which will be required from a clinician in the HSE, who will prioritise:
- High risk and exceptional patients
- Those requiring emergency care
- Patients who are considered to have a greater clinical urgency and/or necessity in receiving care.
The Irish Dental Association advises patients to check with your local dentist who can check what treatment is available to you.
New dental health survey shows 80% of Irish adults believe their gums are healthy however 80% of Irish people have some form of gum disease.
(03 Jan 2014)
New dental health survey shows most Irish adults believe their teeth and gums are healthy and look good.
- 776,000 say they are visiting the dentist less often
- 58% say they only consider visiting the dentist in an emergency situation
- 46% say they are spending less on dental health
- 41% say they rarely if ever think of visiting the dentist
Four out of five Irish people believe their teeth and gums are healthy and look good according to a new dental health survey.
However the survey also found 23% of people are visiting the dentist less often since 2010 while 58% of those surveyed said they would only consider visiting the dentist in an emergency situation.
According to the survey of 750 adults, which was carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Irish Dental Association, 46% of Irish people are spending less on dental health while 41% rarely if ever think of visiting the dentist.
The Chief Executive of the IDA, Fintan Hourihan said the survey shows the impact the recession is having on dental health and a disconnect between what people think and how they act.
“One in four Irish people are attending the dentist less often. In population terms, this equates to 760,000 adults. It’s clear this is having a hugely negative impact on the dental health of the population. While over 80% believe their gums are healthy, according to the most recent national health survey, 80% of Irish people have some form of gum disease.
While 94% of respondents said they thought dental health is important almost 60% said they would only attend a dentist when they really need to or in an emergency. Financial pressures are definitely a factor here but so also is the lack of information from the HSE. The survey shows that only half of Irish adults are aware of their State dental entitlement of a free check up and only 1 in 3 have availed of it“ Mr Hourihan said.
Mr Hourihan said the survey showed the need to reach out to non-attenders and a restoration of the benefits which were previously available under the Medical Card and PRSI schemes.
“According to the survey, people who attend their dentist annually are much more likely to be middle class females under 44 years. Frequency of dental visits shows a strong age pattern, declining sharply from 45 years onwards. The Department of Health needs to reach out to the people who are not attending and encourage them to do so. The cost of preventative treatment will be much less than the cost of the current neglect” Mr Hourihan warned.
The survey also found that Irish people prefer to consistently visit the same practice and/or health practitioner. On average, Irish people visit the same dentist for over 11 years.
It also found that dentists continue to enjoy the confidence of the general public with over 95% of respondents saying they trust the care they receive from them and 94% saying they trust their advice.
3 out of 4 people here do not avail of free check ups
(18 Apr 2013)
3 out of 4 people here do not avail of free check ups
European study of 7 countries shows Irish adults worst for attending routine dental examinations
Dentists say new voucher system would be cost effective way of arresting decline in dental health
New figures from the Irish Dental Association show that 75% of people who are entitled to a free dental examination do not avail of the service.
The Irish Dental Association said cutbacks to the two main dental health schemes and ongoing confusion over people’s entitlements have led to an alarming deterioration in the dental health of the population. It said the HSE’s failure to explain to people what their entitlements were, amounted to a dereliction of duty.
The IDA pointed out that a study on perceptions of dental health in seven European countries* found that Ireland had the lowest number of adults attending the dentist for routine examinations. Ireland also had the highest number of patients citing cost as a factor preventing attendance at the dentist.
The Chief Executive of the Irish Dental Association, Fintan Hourihan, told delegates at the IDA’s annual conference in Galway, that the short-sightedness of withdrawing several modest benefits from three million patients was already becoming apparent.
“These simple preventive treatments were key to maintaining good dental health for the general population. In their absence dentists are seeing a huge increase in dental decay and gum disease. Other problems which may be caused or made worse by poor dental health include heart disease, strokes, diabetes, premature and low birth weight babies and respiratory disease.
By slashing the PRSI and Medical Card schemes, by halving tax reliefs for orthodontic and other dental treatments and by reducing the number of dentists and nurses in the public service by 20% over the last two years - leading to longer and longer waiting lists – this Government and its predecessor has created a dental health time bomb which will have huge repercussions for the population as a whole in coming years” Hourihan said.
The IDA believes that if the Government was to take a number of timely and cost effective measures – including the introduction of a voucher system for the annual oral examination - it could arrest the shocking decline in the dental health of the nation. It says the Government should;
- Introduce a voucher system for annual oral examination
- Gradually restore benefits to Medical Card and PRSI schemes
- Restore marginal rate of tax relief
- End the embargo on recruitment of dentists by the HSE
- Appoint a Chief Dental Officer (Vacant for the last 20 years)
“Everyone would have an entitlement to a voucher and would physically receive one. We think it would be seen as a service they have paid for in the case of PRSI employees and one to which they are entitled by medical card holders. If people had an actual voucher they might be more inclined to avail of the service and this could save them painful and costly treatment down the line as well as leading to higher detection rates for oral cancer at an early stage.
It would also be easier to administer from the State’s point of view and again more cost effective. This system has worked well in Sweden, Australia, Canada and several US states. We need urgent action. The voucher system would be a good starting point and that’s what we need right now” Hourihan concluded.
An estimated 100,000 Irish people suffer from sleep
An expert on the disorder told delegates at the annual conference of the Irish Dental Association that 90% of those who suffer from sleep apnoea are undiagnosed.
Sleep apnoea occurs when the airway collapses and there is a cessation of airflow for 10 seconds. If this happens constantly during the night every night it prevents the person getting the deep sleep required to function normally.
Symptoms of apnoea include:
- inappropriate fatigue
- choking episodes during sleep
- excessive napping
- bruxism or tooth grinding
- irritability, anxiety and poor mental functioning
Dr Michael McWeeney, Consultant Respiratory Physician in the Galway Clinic and the Bon Secours Hospital says the prevalence of the condition is rising in tandem with our increasing awareness.
“Overall we believe the condition affects between 2.5 and 4% of the population but because most people who suffer from it remain undiagnosed that figure may be a little on the conservative side. We are in an obesity epidemic and that increases the severity of apnoea. Poor muscle tone and alcohol consumption also increase the risk substantially. What we really want to do is raise awareness of the condition not just among the general population but also among health providers such as doctors and dentists.
Thirty per cent of men snore while the figure for women is around 10%. Snoring on its own is not the issue as not everyone who snores has apnoea. However if a person who snores suffers from constant fatigue despite adequate sleep they should visit a doctor or specialist with knowledge of the condition to get a diagnosis” Dr McWeeney said.
Dentists welcome new rules for tooth whitening & mouthguards and issue top tip guide for better dental health in 2013
The Irish Dental Association, has welcomed the introduction of new rules on tooth whitening and mouthguards which it says will offer greater dental protection to the public in 2013.
Late last year a new European Council Directive came into force which strictly regulates the use and sale of hydrogen peroxide – the chemical used in tooth whitening. Under the Directive tooth whitening can only be carried out by a dentist.
From the 1st of January 2013 it is compulsory for juvenile gaelic footballers to wear mouthguards in football games and training.
The President of the Association, Dr Andrew Bolas said he hoped that GAA coaches all round the country enforced the new rules from the start.
“I frequently get called into Sligo General Hospital to treat the results of sports related injuries. Some injuries to teeth from a clash of heads or a stray elbow can be quite horrific, with teeth broken, displaced or completely knocked out” he said.
Dr Bolas said that whilst off the shelf mouthguards provide some protection and are certainly better than no mouthguard, care should be taken when fitting to ensure a good tight fit around the front teeth.
“It is well worthwhile talking to your dentist about the best options. While customised mouthguards are more expensive initially they could well prove much cheaper than the treatment needed to repair or replace traumatised teeth” Dr Bolas said.
All the top tips and further information relating to dental health are available at www.dentist.ie
TOP TIP GUIDE
1. Ensure that children who play contact sports have a well fitted mouthguard which offers maximum protection and fits tightly around the front teeth;
2. For consistent cleaning, brush your teeth and gums at the same time every day, e.g. after breakfast and before going to bed. Supervise children under seven. Only use the recommended amount of toothpaste and ensure all teeth and gums are cleaned thoroughly;
3. Make a special effort to quit smoking. Smoking is a major cause of preventable death and oral problems include bad breath, stained teeth, tooth loss and oral cancer. Your dentist can advise;
4. Change your toothbrush every three months and make sure to floss at least once a day;
5. Take time to read the sugar content of your food and drink and reduce intake of high sugar content foods. Keep snacks between meals to low-sugar or sugar-free foods;
6. Remember there is a relationship between oral health and general health and ask your dentist if a visit to your medical practitioner is appropriate;
7. Make a resolution to visit your dentist regularly so that small problems can be resolved before they become bigger, more complicated and expensive;
8. If you decide to whiten your teeth, contact your dentist as s/he can ensure safe and professional teeth whitening under the care of a qualified dental practitioner;
9. Arrange preventative fissure sealants for children reaching the age of six or seven as directed by your dentist. Follow up at six or twelve months intervals;
10. If you notice ulcers or lumps in your mouth or neck persisting for more than a week, arrange to have an oral cancer screening appointment with your dentist.
New Regulations for Tooth Whitening
Rogers Dental welcomes the new regulations from The Dental Council and The Irish Medicines Board regarding the use of tooth whitening products.
The new regulations state how and where this treatment should be carried out. Dentists are the only individuals qualified to carry out this treatment and each patient much be assessed initially to ensure they are suitable for the procedure.
They also allow for the use of 16.62% carbamide peroxide (maximum 17%) which is the tooth whitening gel used here at the practice.
Statutory Instrument 396 of 2012 came into effect on the 31st October 2012. You can find out more information at www.dentalcouncil.ie.
Rogers Dental is happy to endorse the decision by the GAA to make it compulsory for players to wear mouthguards in football games and training. This is a policy that we have long supported.
The GAA Congress passed a motion making it mandatory for juvenile players up to minor grade to wear mouth guards from the start of 2013. The rule will come into effect for senior players from the start of 2014.
The Irish Dental Association believes the gumshield rule should also apply to hurling and it is hopeful the GAA will introduce a similar measure for that sport in the near future.
To show our support for this important decision we are offering a reduction on all custom made mouthguards.
Mouthguards now €50