Limerick politician highlights long delays for dental treatment

Damaged palate
Dental image of a damaged palate

THERE are almost 1,300 children in the Mid West waiting more than a year for corrective dental treatment, some of it for serious conditions such as cleft lip or damaged palate.

And some have been waiting more than four years, according to Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins.

Deputy Collins said that while the reintroduction of certain free dental procedures under the PRSI scheme is welcome, the numbers on the waiting lists are a “sorry fact”. 

“Information received by Fianna Fáil at a recent Oireachtas healthcare committee show that there are 1,234 children in counties Limerick, Clare, and Tipperary waiting longer than 12 months for treatment.

“Included in this cohort are 36 children who have been waiting longer than four years for treatment.

“These children have been assessed by HSE orthodontics as having dental issues at Grade for or five. This means that a skilled professional has recommended that they require treatment.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“Of the 1,234 children in the region waiting, 668 of them have been assessed as being Grade five. Patients with this status are in some cases those children requiring treatment due to having cleft lips and damaged palates.

“How is it acceptable to have them waiting so long for such necessary treatment?

“These children cannot and should be left waiting. Early treatment delivers better dental health. For those with cleft and damaged palates, every extra week they wait adds to the risk of further damage to their speech,” he said.