Hundreds of children waiting more than a year for orthodontic care

More than 1,700 children in the west are waiting longer than 12 months for orthodontic care, despite the Government having reintroduced certain subsidised dental procedures under a PRSI scheme.

According to information received by Fianna Fáil at an Oireachtas healthcare committee, there are 1,724 children in counties Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon, waiting longer than 12 months for orthodontic treatment.

Deputy Murphy said such children have been assessed by HSE orthodontics as having dental issues at Grade IV or V, meaning a skilled professional has recommended they require treatment. Of the 1,724 waiting, 544 of them have been assessed as being Grade V. Patients with Grade V status, in some cases, require treatment due to having cleft lips and damaged palates.

“It is absolutely unacceptable to have these children waiting so long for such essential treatment especially when we know that early treatment is better in the longer term,” said Dep Murphy. “This Government can praise the reintroduction of a contribution towards scales and polishes but until more is done to end this shameful situation there is little to celebrate. Forcing children to endure such long waiting time for treatment is shockingly unacceptable. These delays are a major source of stress and anxiety, not only for the children themselves, but for their families too.”

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